Stalling in the rain...caused by any number of things.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1996

Dear Tom & Ray:

I have a 1983 Oldsmobile 98 in good condition. But after it sits in a large
downpour, it stalls suddenly in traffic. Now I don't drive it after a
rainstorm. Do you know what my problem may be? Thank you. -- Mary

RAY: Did Oldsmobile sell the limited edition "Lawrence of Arabia" package
in '83? You might have one of those.

TOM: Actually, Mary, it's almost certainly some component in the secondary
ignition system.

RAY: The first thing I'd try is new spark-plug wires. If they've never been
changed on this car, they're the prime suspect. When wires get old, they,
in effect, "leak" electricity. Moisture in the atmosphere, because it's
conductive, makes them "leak" even more. So if they're marginal to begin
with, when they get wet, they may not be getting enough electricity to the
spark plugs to keep the engine firing.

TOM: If it's not the wires, it could be a bad rotor, a cracked distributor
cap, or even a bad coil. Any one of those things could be affected by
moisture in the same way.

RAY: Don't despair, Mary. This problem won't be that hard to find. And even
if it is, the Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting a dry year ahead.

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