Wet Weather

I have a 1988 Chevrolet 3500 with a 454 engine. When we get particularly wet weather it won’t start. When the weather dries, starts as usual. I am not mechanically inclined, so I don’t even know where to begin looking.

A new distributor cap and spark plug wire is where I would start.

Yea, ignition systems have problems with moisture.

Make mine another vote for new spark plug wires. This is a common cause of wet weather starting problems.

How long has it been since you changed the plugs . . . plug wires . . . distributor cap . . . rotor? I join the others in this as the first step toward your starting problem. Rocketman

Thank you all for the help. I purchased the truck last fall, so when these items were changed, I have no idea. However, these suggestions seem very reasonable for me to check out. Will let you know how things turn out.

Again, my sincere thanks for the suggestions.

Make this one more vote for replacing the spark plug wires.
If that doesn’t help, then you should also replace the distributor cap.

When I first read the title of the post, I was afraid that this was going to be another post from someone whose car is hydroplaning in wet weather, and who insisted that it couldn’t be either his tires or the speed at which he was driving. Thank God that it isn’t another one of those posts!

As a sports biomechanist, I pose the hydroplaning, friction and speed problems to my own students. I hope they can get it right after sitting through my lectures:)


While I do believe it’s ignition related…MOST or the time it’s the cap. Wires (if properly maintained) should last the life of the vehicle (for me that’s usually 10 years and over 300k miles). But this vehicle is close to 20 years old so if original wires it could be them.

When it’s nice and dry outside and the truck starts fine…get a spray bottle of water and start spraying ignition components one at a time. Start with the cap, then wires then coil(s). After each spraying try to start the truck. The last component you sprayed is probably the culprit.

Wires had cracks underneath that went clear through the insulation. Distributor cap was not cracked, but had not been correctly affixed when last moved. As a precaution I also replaced (correctly) the cap. Started right up. Thanks to all for the help.