Question about 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

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Car gets really slugish when wet

If it has rained or any other type of wetness the car starts to spit and sputter. I have changed the spark plugs, plug wires and other electrical problems it eventually clears up or you can spray w d 40 on the top of the engine and it will start to run better

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Sounds like moisture is getting into the distributor cap. Try putting a thin film of petrolium jelly around the lip of the distributor cap where it seals down onto the distributor. This should stop the water from getting in.

Posted on Aug 02, 2008

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Why does it sputter and is very slow to accelerate when raining or even a day after it rains?


If it has spark plug wires they could be getting wet and shorting out.

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Did you change the plug wires when you changed dist. cap and rotor?? If not and you want to be sure they are the prob, wait till it's sunny outside and the truck works fine, then get a spray bottle (like an empty windex bottle or something) and put some salty water in it and spray the wires with it when the truck is running. If the engines starts to act up, sputter and what not, the wires are done for, throw em and change em. Also if it's dark enough you will usually easily see the sparks flying around the wires and all when you spray them. Coil isolation might also be the problem, but it's alot rarer than the wires. Same test procedure can be easily done here also. If both those test out good with the salty water, then it's going to be harder to pinpoint, but at least the good ol' salty water trick will work with anything related to humidity/rain and will help you size down the possible problems and areas that can be in fault.

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My 90 model 454 chev 3500 was runnin great.. Then a few months ago.. when it was raining it started spitting and sputtering, but only when it was raining.. When it was dry it ran fine... The other day I...


i would think it may be a distributor cap or wires as they are the only things that when wet are a problem like you mention or the coil may have carbon tracking try looking at coil and cap at night when dark and see if you see any arcing if you do there is your problem

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The is the coil pack itself? Is its surface clean?
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Yes these optispark systems had all sorts of problems in wet weather most of the time you could replace the cap portion and that would solve it but most of the time I would replace the whole thing including new plug wires, coil wire,and spark plugs .Due to the fact that you have to remove water pump to access opti spark

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I would suggest you take the vehicle to your local Auto Zone or Advance Auto Parts and have the diagnostic codes pulled. Reply back to this solution and we can go from there.

I would guess per your description, and this is only a guess until you have the codes pulled, you may have a secondary ignition system problem. If the spark plug wires, spark plugs and module / coil pack are old or original, when they get wet the ignition spark "leaks" to ground and causes the stumble or miss. The ABS light will come on because of the miss because it is disabling traction control.
Let me know what you find.
Regards,

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I recently had a similar problem. I got my car scanned and needed a new catalytic converter. If its already starting to spit and sputter, you probably have 3-6 months to get this done. Mine plugged up one day, and just flat out would not drive anymore. This cost of this repair was about (i recommend changing the spark plugs and wires also) $675....pretty costly. could get a lot more expensive the longer u let it go. Does your jetta run cold, in cold temp? (between 25-40 degrees) if so the thermostat probably took out the converter.

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