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Water In Gas Tank - 1988 Honda

I have a 1988 Honda Accord with high mileage. Recently it quit idling when I stopped for traffic light, etc. It started well, ran well, but wouldn’t idle. My mechanic checked it and said it had water in the carb. He cleaned it out and it ran very well for about 2 days; then started acting up again. I took it back to him and he said the same thing with water in the carb happened again. Again, it ran well for a couple of days and same thing again. I took it back to him and this time he drained the gas tank and told me he got out about 2-gallons of water. He suggested I talk to the station owner where I have been buying gas for several years. Before doing that, I pumped a gallon of regular into a clear jug and let it set to see if water collected. No water was apparent. It is running OK now, but before I confront the station owner, I wondered if there could be some way that water might be entering the gas tank from running through puddles, etc. My car has a locking cover over the filler cap area so I am pretty sure nobody is sabotaging me. I just wondered if there might be some way water is seeping into the tank. Or, could the ethanol added to gasoline be causing the problem? But, I remember my dad putting alcohol in his car’s tank in the winter, many years ago, to help with condensation problems. So, I would think ethanol (alcohol) could be a help. Any thoughts from you folks? I would appreciate any comments, suggestions.



Why not just start buying your gas from a different station? If the problem recurs, then that would tend to indicate that your mechanic was just spinning a tale–as I suspect. If the problem does not recur, then you can be glad that the problem has been resolved.

If you get water in your gas tank it is going to sit on the bottom at the lowest point. As you drive some would eventually get mixed in with the fuel being pumped to the engine. If you want to check for water in your gas tank you have to get the siphon hose to the lowest point on the bottom. I don’t think you have a drain plug on the tank in your car.

Water in the service station’s gasoline may not be an ongoing situation. If water is getting into his tank, the gas pumped right after a rain storm would be the most likely to have water mixed with it. Also if the water got in through the delivery truck, the water might still be in suspension if you fueled up while or shortly following the delivery.

This car would have an evaporative recovery system so there is little chance that water would enter the tank either as liquid or condensation unless the system has a break. You might have your mechanic check the gas tightness of the evaporative recover system anyway.

Remember that water will collect in the fuel filter and will be carried to the carburator under high load conditions.

The use of alcohol in the gas tank was meant to place the water into solution so it could be carried to the carburator and burned with the gasoline. If water is not in solution it will collect in low spots of the fuel system.

Hope that helps.

You should suspect your mechanic if he allegedly cleaned water out of the carburetor and did not drain the tank right then and there. He claimes to have gotten 2 gallons of water out. Did he actually show you this water?
Anytime water is the culprit a sample of at least a quart should be saved.

If he cleaned water out of the carb and alleges your fuel tank had 2 gallons of water in it then your car is not going to run well for 2 days after this carb cleaning. Two minutes if you’re lucky.

Sorry, I’m not buying it based on what you’ve been told. A more likely cause would be a problem in the carburetor idle circuit; clogged ports, dirt particle in an air bleed, or even an electrical fault. These carbs, like many, use an anti-diesel solenoid which is electrically operated. This solenoid shuts off the idle port when the key is turned off to prevent engine run-on, or dieseling as it’s called.

Faulty fuse connection, wire connector at the solenoid, erratic solenoid, etc. can cause the car to die at idle and when it occcurs the engine will die instantly while at idle. It will restart and run fine as long as you have the throttle depressed.