Do you want the Road Tax system to change? Do you have thoughts on the potential changes to the Road Tax system? | No thanks
Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - dave_t_aber

Hello,

Went through a flooded road yesterday, because all other routes were cut off, car went through the flood fine, water was only 6 inches deep, but the car stuttered just after the flood, cleared itself, then died at a junction a mile later. Then failed to start at all, it turns over quickly, but wont fire at all.

It is at 94k miles, but Ive looked after it well, mechanically, its got new filters, oil, battery, starter motor, rotor arm and cap, spark plugs plus a few other bits.

I have looked at the car today, there is no water in the air filter, its not even damp, so I can assume that it hasn't sucked up water somehow. But, there is some froth/foam in the breather pipe that goes into the airbox (next to the throttle body) which isn't normally there, I know this because ive had the pipe off plenty of times in the past few months. But there is no trace of water on the dipstick or around the filler cap, so I dont know if that is unrelated or what. There was water around the coil, which I have been drying gently with a hairdryer, and water had been splashed up on the fuel system wiring/loom.

I have cleaned and checked the earth leads from coil and fuel injection system. I am thinking one of the sensors might have been affected by the damp, but I am not so keen to go pulling it all apart too much.

Is there anyway of checking whether fuel is getting through (I can hear the fuel pump working as normal) or not, just in case the fuel injection electrics are playing up because of the water??

Many thanks in advance,

Dave

Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - Cris_on_the_gas

would be worth doing a compression test.

from what you describe it does sound like water has got into the engine i'm afraid

Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - slkfanboy

Sadly this could be a case of hydrostatic lock. The water enters the engine and bend the connecting rods.

I not heard this in VW's but other cars, if the engine is very hot the cold water cools the engine quickly and also bends the rods..

So a compression check is a good idea

Six inch of standing water should be ok thu and 4 of moving water.

Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - dave_t_aber

Thanks for the replies.

I hope its not something as major as that, but if it doesn't start after I have cleaned and dried all the electrics, then I will get it compression tested I guess.

What makes me think that it might not be a major mechanical fault such as hydraulic lock, is that the engine kept running, through the flood and for a mile afterwards, with only one or two stutters, prior to dying at the junction. Surely if it was water in the engine causing the conrods to bend etc, it would do it pretty much straight away?

Its weird, because ive gone through water deeper than that in the past few years.

Thanks

Dave

Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - dieselnut

In your first post you mentioned it had a rotor arm, so must have a distributer to the ignition leads. Have you checked inside the cap for damp?

You could also take out the plugs & see if they spark when you turn the engine over.

Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - dave_t_aber

Yes, I have checked them, made sure they were clean and dry. I checked the plugs, and they all produce a lovely blue spark. So its either a fuel problem or major mechanical problem. Trying to get hold of a compression tester to test it.

Thanks for all the advice.

Dave

Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - dave_t_aber

For some reason, its now started and runs!

I kept re-checking earths and connections etc, and checked that it sparked again, and saw these lovely blue sparks, so thought I would try it just one more time, and it fired once, so tried it a few more times and it ran.

I feel that it must have been water mucking up the fuel injection electrics, but it shouldn't do that in just 6 inches of water, so I want to get plugged into a diagnostic machine, just to make sure there isn't a weak link in the system somewhere.

On another note, who designs them big wiring loom connectors?! They must be made for people with claws or something, rather than fingers!

Thanks for all the advice

Dave

Volkswagen Polo III (1.4 petrol) - Engine got wet in floods and wont start at all. - RT
but it shouldn't do that in just 6 inches of water

Unless you're crawling at less than walking speed, the wheels will create waves high enough to immerse the crankshaft pulley which then sprays water everywhere.

Any more than 6" of water is likely to get a standard car starting to float and risking being washed away if there's a cross-current.

People are crazy when it comes to driving through flood water.

Edited by RT on 08/01/2014 at 17:24

 

Ask Honest John Right column

Value my car