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Water under my spark plugs?

I have a 2006 GMC Envoy that has been misfiring for about a week. I took it to the local dealership where they said that there was a clear liquid under the spark plugs. They needed to use a turkey baster to get the water out and then replace the plugs ($300.00). They refused to cover this under the warranty and implied that someone intentionally put the water there, which we obviously did not do. Do you have any ideas of how the water got there? I live in Raleigh, NC and have not washed my car since the drought began last Fall. I never open my hood and live in a quiet subdivision with no enemies. Please Advise

Didn’t they show you? Didn’t you ask to see for yourself? That is common practice in shops in my area. It helps both customer and mechanic; maybe the owner can recall a possibility for the situation.

I’d say they are correct in declining warranty coverage. The water in the spark plug wells, if that’s what it really is, has gotten there mysteriously. No component appears to be malfunctioning or defective. All they can do is get your car running again. No one may ever determine why this happened.

Now for pete’s sake lift your hood now and then! How can you ever check the oil?!

I haven’t picked the car up yet, but they said that they would save the liquid in a container for me to see. I’m not a mechanic so there’s no reason for me to lift my hood because I would not know what I was looking for; that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the vehicle serviced regularly. Thanks for your suggestion, did you even attempt to answer the question?

“… did you even attempt to answer the question?”

YES YOU JERK! Can’t you read???

I covered both your water question and your warranty question.

Now go away and get your free advice elsewhere. We have no patience with such ungrateful fools!

Steve, maybe you need to cut out the caffeine.

Wow! No need to get your shorts in a twist… My question was, if you didn’t see it, “Do you have any ideas of how the water got there?” “…gotten there mysteriously” is not an answer.

I’m not a mechanic either, but that doesn’t stop me from opening the hood to check the the oil and coolant level every two weeks or so on my 2000 Blazer. It’s a good way to catch little problems before they become big expensive problems. Just a guess, but have you used self-serve or regular car washes in the past. Perhaps the high pressure sprays used in either car wash got water up into the spark plug wells.

Certainly you may want to check under the hood on occasion to prevent another $300 repair bill in the future.

Ed B.

Obviously no-one would put water UNDER the plugs?!

Even if water from shampooing did sit in the plug valleys and the plugs were tight, how would that much water get inside without being burned off?

You did say the shop people told you that fluid was CLEAR, so then if that IS fact, the fluid isn’t coolant which could find its way there.

The only way I even imagine a way for water to get in the way THEY claim is if the air intake was submerged in water (as in flooding).

Use a TURKEY BASTER to remove the water? C’mon, with that much water in there , the engine would have hydro locked!

Maybe its just my suspicious nature, but my gut tells me you’ve been had.

Is it clear that the engine is so designed that there is absouloutly no way that water could enter this area by ANY other means but sabatogue? Thats a long call saying that because we cant figure out any other way that it could get there you pay. Cant you just blast this water out with air pressure $300.00?. If water gets there by normal driving (driving through water is normal) then warranty (design error)

the description of “water under the spark plugs” does not make sense, and needs further clarification.

if water was truly “under” the plugs, the only “under” is inside the cylinder. that would be catastrophic.

however, water on the outside, in the spark plug well area, beside, around and near the spark plug would cause this problem. driving through a puddle would cause this to get water up there. however it does not make sense, because as the auto runs it would heat up, and evaporate the water. do you occasionally drive through puddles?

as far as you never opening your hood; well, you lost any sympathy from any of the contributors on this web site. have you at least read your owners manual?

aside from that, it is pretty difficult to get water there without some help. any kids who help you wash the car? maybe a little too zealously? put away the garden hoses, way away, way way way away. see if the problem reoccurs.

you really should be inspecting under the hood. the important items are actually labeled nowadays. you should at least look at them. alternatively you take your car to a true full service gas station. this is unusual to find a true full service station. most gas station attendants don’t even understand what is important to look for under the hood. (probably because their parents never went under the hood and showed them!)

yeah, the compressed air cleaning is what i would do, but then again i am not a high priced dealer overcharging for repairs. sorry OK

probably what the dealer did was take some of the water out with a “turkey baster” so that you the customer could see the liquid that was found. As far as liquid being found under the spark plug, thats bogus. It was probably found around the spark plug area. I am sure most of the water was blown out with an air nosile.

I’m with cappy on this one. If the water was “under” the spark plugs, that would mean that the cylinders were filled with water. If that was the case, the engine would not just be misfiring, but it would now be dead as a result of being hydrolocked. In reality, they probably meant that there was water in the “wells” that the spark plugs fit into. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a difficult time nowadays in describing situations correctly.

Water in the spark plug wells could come only from driving through very deep water at too high a speed, from very wacky use of a garden hose, or from some kind of weird sabotage/pranksterism. If you did not drive through deep water very recently then you can obviously rule that one out. Are there kids in your neighborhood who like to play pranks?

Another thought that comes to mind is that, if your hood doesn’t have an interior hood release, then you should secure the hood with a cable lock through the grill area. And, as others have said–you need to check under the hood periodically.

Thanks to everyone for replying. While you have been chatting I went and picked up the Envoy. The dealership gave me a water bottle with about 8oz of rusty water in it and 6 corroded spark plugs (the two closest to the grill were the worst and the two back by the fire wall were fine).
After reading your responses this is my conclusion: I was indeed mistaken about were the water was; it was in the “wells” that the plugs fit into. This was not a case of hydrolock because my car is still running. The water must have entered thru the grill after driving thru a large mud puddle at a high rate of speed (my wife’s car) and sat there long enough to eventually corrode the plugs causing misfire. My only problem with this explanation is that it’s hard to believe that this would be a rare situation. The dealer rep concluded after huddling with his peers that this was indeed a case of intentional foul play. Regardless everyone take note that the GMC Envoy (and most likely Chevy Jimmy?) have a flaw that is with spark plugs situated in deep un-drained wells in the cylinder head.

As for my comment about not looking under the hood… I was being dramatic. My apologies go out to anyone’s feelings that were hurt. So your thinking know that if I do in fact look under my hood then why didn’t I catch the water that was sitting there for months? My defense is that this particular vehicle has an additional cover bolted to the engine so as to block the plugs from sight. I may check oil, but unbolting is for the pros.

And since I’m going to forward this page in a couple of days to the rep I would also like to add a little something on the side. In all honesty I probably would not have purchased another GMC anyway, but if you or whoever made the call would have seen a cheap opportunity to show how your company goes above and beyond for the customer, I might have thought twice with my next vehicle purchase and definitely would have spread some good word of mouth for you. Instead your getting bad P.R. and losing at least one customer for sure.

It seems like you had the bad luck of your wife driving through some bad stuff and then not driving the car much afterwards, for a long time. This design with plugs in deep wells is pretty common today, especially with OHC and DOHC engines.