My engine sputters and jerks only when it is raining and defrost
You probably have a cracked distributer cap or bad spark plug wires. You can change both easily, but be very very very sure to keep the wires in the proper order. I find that changing one at a time works best.
Re: My engine sputters and jerks only when it is raining...
You have a bad coil on one of your cylinders, most likely one in the rear. If it is in the rear, have all three done as most of the cost is in the labor. I only had one done and a month later another one in the rear went.
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Possibly a plug wire or cracked distributor cap. I'd take a spray bottle and while it's running (be careful not to get your body parts in danger of the fan) spray some water on the cap area. If everything seems fine, you could spray down each plug wire at a time. See if you find the culprit that way. For a vehicle so old, if you haven't done a tune up lately. It's probably a good time. Replace the distributor cap and rotor. Plugs and wires.
Distributor cap and wires can easily be checked with fairly basic equipment, a strong light, good eyesight and a little know-how and this is of course something that is one of the most elementary checks for misfires and bad running and should also be a normal part of routine maintenance.
If the guy who changed your plugs knew why you wanted them changed and didn't check the cap, rotor, wires and spark quality and power as part of the job, I suggest you don't go there again.
Certainly the ignition system could be the culprit of your sputtering engine and it is the easiest to check and rectify or eliminate from your enquiries before advancing onto possible fueling faults.
I'd say it's the spark plug or distributor cap. Instead of writing out a long explanation, here's one already done for you! Should help...
The most common reason for a car
not starting in the rain is found in the spark plugs. Wire insulation
can wear thin and this causes the voltage to arc to the metal of the car
engine rather then going into the spark plug. You can check for this
visually by opening the hood when it's wet outside and trying to start
the car. You might be able to see an arc from the spark plug wires.
The second most common issue is the distributor cap. Take a good
physical examination of your distributor cap for any signs of a cracks.
Also remove the distributor cap and check the inside of it for moisture.
If you find any, wipe it clean; it won't work while wet.
If a check of the spark plugs and the distribution cap has not
solved your problem, then you have a bigger issue. There are dozens of
other reasons a car won't start, from battery corrosion to a fuel filter
issue keeping gas from reaching the engine. Though few of these other
issues will only affect your vehicle during the rain.
Yes they can go bad/ crack ect. But bad/old plugs cause undue stress on wires and coils, so make sure the spark plugs are the correct AC DELCO Platinum spark plugs, and just replace the spark plug wires one at a time. Take a spray bottle (windex works good) and wet the spark plug wires ans see if you can find where they may be arcing.
Usually a telltale of ignition problems. Usually the spark plug wires insulation is gone bad and humidity causes the spark to jump before the plug and thus, prevents the plug from firing. If the wires are OK, then probably the ignition coil's casing is cracked or open somewhere. If the coil(s) is fine (on some engines there is more than one ignition coil), also check the distributor for cracks on its body or cap, and open it up to check the condition of the water seals inside the distributor unit. Should be one of the 3 problems mentionned above, if not, get it checked by the dealer cause it will be some weird problem with the onboard computer or some of the sensors on the engine.
I also have a 96 camery, and have had problems when it was damp, it would not run well. It did start, but did not run well. You mentioned that you had changed the distributer. If you have not changed the rotor too, that is more than likely your problem. The extreme high voltage that todays cars have makes it easy for the ignition spark to jump a couple of inches. If there is a rust line, a crack with moisture or what ever, the electricity will follow the path of least resistance. If you have any WD-40, spray it around on the rotor, distributer cap, and top of the coil. It should start, as this displaces the water. If you can watch it in the dark, you may see fire jumping around the coil, or distributor cap. I hope this solves your mistry!