Water plays havoc with an ignition system. Here's a story from a reader who washed his engine.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult to find. This story starts with a Honda engine but is almost universal and can happen to anybody, any car. It all started when looking at the engine I decided that it was time for a "engine cleaning session" so I got the BIG can of Gunk and followed the instructions, let it soak for a while, and wash the engine with the garden hose... ! GOOD, a shiny engine again; but to avoid problems after the removal process of the plastic bags covering the electric stuff (distributor etc.) and after letting everything drip for 10 or 15 minutes the engine was turned on for 15 min. to warm it and help with the drying process of everything OK so far; then: close the hood, go to rest.

Next day is when the fun began, early in the morning, jump in the car to go to work and then... Panic! the engine refuses to start and starts backfiring badly when cranked??? What could go wrong? Well, after being late for work and later several tries checking every visible connector that could get corroded with the engine wash a light flashed on my mind; lets see the distributor, well there was the culprit; inside the distributor cap there was a good amount of condensation that was playing havoc with the high voltage conducting it to several spark plugs at the same time and causing the backfire.

Solution: dry everything with compressed air and put it back together. Simple. End of story, the engine went back to normal again. It may sound silly but I bet you that this may happen to anybody. Keep Up the good work! I only wish that there where more people like you helping with free information, it seems like everybody else is chasing the almighty Buck. Starting with the auto makers, there is a lack of information in the auto repair world, I hate those Haynes etc. manuals sold in places like PepBoys, they suppose that the user IQ is slightly above a shrimp, you spend your money in the book and then when you need the information they tell you "the repair of this @$@#@$ is beyond the abilities of the home mechanic, we recommend: take to the dealer" !big help. The other option is to go with the big boys like Mitchell or All-Data and spend a biiig chunk of cash to get information suitable for a repair shop... but I only have one car!

Message me at BobHewitt@Misterfixit.com

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