Grinding Noise from Engine after Entering Puddle

Hello everyone;

Since about a year now, whenever I enter a puddle with my car (Fiat Palio 2003), I start hearing a grinding noise (like gears are loose) when accelerating. This noise starts about 2-3 minutes after I enter a puddle and goes away in 1-2 days by itself. If I will perform an engine brake (accelerate to 15-20 Km/h on 1st gear then suddenly push and release the clutch) a couple of times, noise goes away almost always immediately. When I do this, I get the feeling that the engine is “moving” a little bit; like it is moving back to its place.
Noise doesn’t come when I am in reverse gear, it is only present when the car is accelerating forward.
Any help regarding what the fault might be would be much appreciated. Thanks!

What type of puddles are you driving in? There are all types and all depths, some are just an inch or so on the side of the road and some are a foot or more deep and you are risking flooding the engine with water. Some of these puddles are really pot-holes that the car tire drops off into and it jars the whole car entering the hole and popping out of it…

Your car was built by Fiat as a low cost vehicle for developing countries. You are not in USA, are you? What are the conditions of the roads that you are driving on, are they well maintained, old roads, dirt roads?

Your car is twenty years old and many things can be happening, perhaps even a splash guard is being moved by the spray of the water to rub on a moving part and you subsequesnt driving allows it to return to its original position.

Does the grinding noise only occur when you are driving or can you stop the car and rev the engine and hear the noise. As you wrote, the engine may feel like it is moving, perhaps you have loose or broken motor or transmission mounts…

I can’t think of anything that might make a grinding noise caused by puddle. But driving through puddles can cause ignition system problems, make engine run roughly or even stall out altogether. Does it ever stall after running through puddle? If so, ask shop to check the high voltage ignition system components. No experience with that make/model. Does it use coil packs, no distributor, or a single coil w/distributor?

The other problem puddle-driving can cause is splashed water gets sucked into the engine. If enough, can cause major engine damage, engine stalls and won’t restart. If just a little, could cause weird noises out the tail-pipe I suppose. This seems pretty unlikely unless you have made a change to the original cold air intake system.

another idea, maybe all you are hearing is water making a zzz zzz noise when it splashes a hot exhaust part, like the exhaust manifold or cat. Put a couple drops of water on a hot frying pan. Does it sound anything like that?

Thank you for your answers. If the puddle is deeper than an inch and I happen to drive through it faster than say 20 km/h, I start hearing the noise in 3-5 minutes.
This noise does not occur when I rev the engine on idle, it only occurs when the gears or “components” between wheels and engine are “stressed” in forward motion; noise is not present when the car is in reverse. I am almost sure that the noise comes from 2 poorly aligned gears.
When this noise is present, I can feel that the friction which I believe is the source of the noise causes the car to be somewhat less powerful. I press the gas pedal a little bit more when this problem occurs compared to normal condition of my car.
I am also thinking that mount(s) might be faulty. If this is the case, I will have to go to a mechanic. I just wanted to know if there is an easy fix that I might be missing because I don’t know much about cars.

Many years ago, I was out hunting with a friend; he was driving a pickup truck with a manual transmission. We tried to cross a creek, but as the water stated climbing up towards the doors, we stopped, had a cigarette, while the water flowed around us, and he decided that it was not worth trying to cross, as the water would only get deeper. He backed out, when he did he got a lot of clutch chatter and after turning around, he continued to get some clutch chatter for a while. We figured that the water just wet the clutch and clutch plate enough to cause the problem. It went away after a while…
Anybody else experience clutch chatter from water getting on the clutch?