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1997 buick avenue quit running when it rains, no start

This was a topic i came across on11/11/2001. There was no cure for the gentleman, and I wondered if he or anyone else has a solution for: Car drives excellent in dry weather, smooth, no hesitation. or misses. While driving in the rain, the car will start running “REAL” ruff and then will stall. I try to start it and the motor just turns over, sounds like no gas or not firing. I will keep trying and after about 6 times it will fire, start and quits, if lucky with a few more tries I can get it started and needs to rev up to 4,000, sometimes it will stay there with a miss or RPM works down and quits. When lucky I can nurse it home and then won’t start for 3 days.I have replaced Crankcase position sensor,(made shield for side at wheel well and shield on bottom), camshaft sensor, spark plugs and wires, had coil packs checked, checked plate that coil packs set on, cleaned battery posts, checked and pulled on wires to coil pack plate, none lose and had continuity, put silicone sealant at end of wires to protect from moisture and hold them in replace.Sprayed top of engine with silicone spray and flex seal. Even had intake manifold gasket replaced in case it was sucking in water. I apologize for long entry, just trying to give you all a complete list. HELP this has been going on for 3 years…PS: replacing crankshaft position sensor did some good, it makes for faster starts.

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Try using a spray bottle and spray a fine mist of distilled water around under the hood with the engine idling.

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Thank You, I have done that. Next, I am going to do under the car

Well at least you’re pretty sure its electrical. Just for kicks might want to do a fuel pressure test when it doesn’t start just to make sure the pump connection above the tank isn’t shorting out when wet. Yeah guess I’d start with that spray bottle underneath on any wires exposed and again proceed up to the coils. I’m not so sure about the coils if they tested them when dry. Also my dad had one that was intermittent. Worked then didn’t work then worked. You can put a whole used coil and the controller in for about $25. Then any chance the computer itself is getting wet through a leak in the body? Should be pretty easy to tell if you exposed the computer case. I used to carry a spare computer with me when I had my Riviera. Worked good for isolating the problem as not the computer,

I’m not sure of the engine in this car, you don’t give us much to go on.

When you have problems starting the car, do all the warning lights come on when you turn the key to the on position.
If not…if your engine uses a Ignition control module this could be the problem.

An ignition control module can be intermittent that sometimes it works, but other times it doesn’t work. When this happens all the warning lights will stay off, but when you turn the key to engage the starter…the starter turns but all the ignition to the plugs is disabled. At least that is the problem I found with a GM car about the same year.

You will have to search a site like “Rock Auto”…list your car and the engine…and see if there is an Ignition control module on that motor.


I found another person that had this problem. The last part of the discussion was about the alternator voltage fluctuations. I would put a meter across the battery when it’s happening. Also, is the lower motor covers on. I have seen problems with Hondas missing the covers.

I believe it would be the 3.8 V6 in that thar car. But yeah the ignition module is what I couldn’t remember the name of. Should be mounted under the coil or coils if they are the coil packs. I used to have a used coil/module on hand just to swap out to diagnose.

Since replacing the crank position sensor seemed to help, double check that connector that it isn’t corroded or getting any rain water on the contacts. Maybe wrap it in some electrical tape as an experiment, the connector I mean, so you know it is staying 100% dry. And see if you can rig up a temporary method to keep the crank position sensor completely dry too. If that fixes the problem, well at least you’ve discovered why it is happening.

I don’t think that’s the problem however. I’m guessing it is one or more of the coil packs. I had this exact problem with my old VW Rabbit, and I could spray water all day long on the engine, from above, below whatever, it would run fine. The next time I drove it through a puddle, it would immediately stall. This went on for several months when I decided I had no choice but to replace the coil on a flyer. After removing it and putting it on the bench, looking with a magnifying glass I could see a tiny crack on the underneath side. Nearly invisible, but there. The new coil completely fixed the problem.

THANKS to EVERYONE for their input: George Sanjose: I did all that, even sprayed silicone, and “flex all” to protect wires and opening into the crank where the plug is. Also had coil packs checked and the plate the coil pack are plugged into…
Bing: Had coil packs and ignition control module checked out,they were dry at time of test.
Yosemite Sorry, engine 3.8, warning lights work.
I did find something out tonight, ran into my cousin who was a mechanic and has spoken to a GM rep, There is a harness of wire that runs across the bottom of radiator and towards the passenger side Buick Park Avenue had trouble with rusting in that area and wires rub and subject to faultiness during rain due to water getting within the wires. Came home and hosed the area, Unfortunately that was NOT “my” problem, unless i missed an area, i did this at 11:00 at night, will do again tomorrow. ALSO, my intentions are to go into the trunk and pop the fuel pump access panel and get it wet. Then i will move from the back under the car and work my way up to the front. THANKS AGAIN, AND I WILL KEEP YOU ALL POSTED/UP TO DATE

How were the coils checked? If they were simply checked for DC resistance on the primary and secondary windings that won’t tell you much. There has to be operating voltage applied to the primary winding to produce high voltage at the secondary winding which is where the arcing is most likely occurring, especially when wet.

I’m suspicious of the coils. especially since the car is 20 years old.