Engine problems - possible water damage!

chris-pApril 19, 2008

I have a 94 Honda Accord. It was parked at the curb and a storm came and flooded the street. Water did get into the car on the floorboards, I'm just not sure what damage has been done to the engine! I know that water must have affected the engine just not sure to what extent. The car starts but has a slight sputter and this is when the car is on an incline, engine at the highest point. When I drive it on the street, it starts to sputter really bad and jerks, engine light then comes on. When I give it gas it seems like it wants to go, but is sluggish and continues to sputter. I haven't driven it much because of this and afraid it will stall somewhere or even ruin the engine. The muffler was completely submerged. Don't know if that has anything to do with it, but I thought it might. Is there something that I can do without taking it to a garage? And if so, what?

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Look at the tailpipe and insure that it isn't clogged with debris.

Pull the dipstick and measure the oil level in the crankcase. It should be at about the same level as before the flood. If water got into the crankcase, the fluid level will be higher and possibly will show by a change of fluid appearance on the stick. But, if this looks normal, breath a sigh of relief.

Next, look at the level to which the water rose on your car and locate all electrical wiring and connections that probably got submerged. Examine these connectors. Most of these should be of the weather tight type, but not all may have been, particularly the ones connecting to the body harness. Disconnect (separate) any soaked conenctors and clean and dry these, then reconnect. If this does not cure the problem, then its time to take it in for a set of diagnostics.

Did the alternator get submerged and was the water muddy? If so, it may need to be removed and cleaned.

Did the charcoal canister get water logged? What about the air cleaner box? A water soaked air filter will starve the engine of air and may mess up the fuel mix.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 8:22PM
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The vehicle's computer is located on the passenger side floor board behind the carpet. It is protected by a metal plate, but is by no means sealed off from water. If it got wet, that would cause havoc as it controls all of the vehicle's functions. Pull back the carpet and try to let it dry out... maybe even get a blow dryer on it. Just a likely possibility.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 12:54PM
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I have to agree with "thecarguy" about the likelyhood of the computer having gotten soaked. Unfortunately one thing about that is the problems that can be caused by flood water are totally random in nature and while one vehicle may escape relatively unaffected another could end up being haunted by gremlins forever. (Hence the reason so many flood cars are easily "totalled") The only thing that one can do at this point is take the most noteable symptom, diagnose it correctly, repair it correctly, and then proceed to the next symptom if there is one.

One piece of advice. Have the brake fluid and transmission fluid flused and the engine oil changed whether you percieve problems with them or not. Even the smallest water intrusion to these systems can result in a major failure. Be advised even then there is no solid guarantee that you'll prevent a failure, but at least you are hedging your bet!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 7:53AM
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