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Old 08-24-2012, 01:09 AM   #1
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Swallowed some water???

Okay, so I'll start off with I drive a 1997 Jeep Wrangler 2.5L, stock except for the 31x10.5 tires. It rained here in Arizona yesterday, and the parking lot of my apartment complex flooded, but I had to go to work so I thought itd be fine. I watched the water the whole time, it was less than 6 inches the whole time. I was turning out of my parking lot and I was accelerating and the RPMs dropped to 0 and jumped back up to 3k, like a cylinder mis-fired and then caught again. This happened a few more times, and then power steering locked up, power brakes went out (hard petal) and the engine died. I tried starting it and it just cranked but wouldn't start. I've read alot of stuff on here about when people drive through water, so I pushed it back to my parking lot (staying on the far side of the water), changed the oil, and was only able to get one spark plug out, cranked it and no water came out, replaced the one spark plug I could get out and went for a drive. I drove 1/2 mile, and pulled over because I saw some smoke from under the hood, I opened the hood and saw it was just some of the oil that spill on the engine burning off. I got back in, put it in gear, and started to drive, and then power steering went away, brakes got hard, and then the same thing as before happened. I was barely able to get home and turned it off. And now I'm here, wondering what to do. I feel like replacing the other spark plugs might help, but I can't get to them. The plugs are really stuck on and I cant get them to come off. Also, if other people with 2.5L can help, what terrible engineer put the compressor directly over the front two spark plugs? and how do I get those two out without removing the compressor? Anybody know an easy way to get the cables off or how to reach those sparks behind the compressor? Any other ideas on how to sure my symptoms?

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Old 08-24-2012, 01:40 AM   #2
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how do you know that water got into the motor? could the cap & wires have gotten wet? & that's why it's stalling out? only 6" i wouldn't think water would have gotten into the engine unless your driving around with no hood. but maybe i'm wrong.

i'm running a Teraflex 4" lift with 35's. got stuck in the mud on a recent trip where the front end was just about under water & i didn't have any water in my motor.


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Old 08-24-2012, 01:45 AM   #3
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I agree. With the stock air box you should not be getting any water in the engine intake in such shallow water. I've had my 2.5L in a river up to the doors without issue.

How do the battery terminals look? Serpentine belt? Let's look at general maintenance first!
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:57 AM   #4
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I agree. With the stock air box you should not be getting any water in the engine intake in such shallow water. I've had my 2.5L in a river up to the doors without issue.

How do the battery terminals look? Serpentine belt? Let's look at general maintenance first!
What general maintenance would you recommend? Battery terminals and cables look good (or as good as they ever have) as does the serpentine belt, I'm just not sure where to start?
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:17 AM   #5
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Any chance your alternator is failing?

With a low battery charge, or after starting up, it is possible for these symptoms to show up with an alternator on its way out.

Other than that, I don't know.
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:36 AM   #6
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Except for the power steering. That is something not ignition related. I would pop off the belt and spin your Alt and P/S pump, see how they feel. Then if they feel good you can hook back up the belt and fire it up. Watch the pulleys for signs of slippage. You can clean the belt with liquid dish soap. It really works. No water just wipe both sides with the soap and give it a spin. The soap will clean off any oils you might have picked up in the water and it will act as a sticky belt grip when it dries. No water just the Dawn or what ever you use.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:29 AM   #7
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Except for the power steering. That is something not ignition related. I would pop off the belt and spin your Alt and P/S pump, see how they feel. Then if they feel good you can hook back up the belt and fire it up. Watch the pulleys for signs of slippage. You can clean the belt with liquid dish soap. It really works. No water just wipe both sides with the soap and give it a spin. The soap will clean off any oils you might have picked up in the water and it will act as a sticky belt grip when it dries. No water just the Dawn or what ever you use.
Thanks for the advice, I just went outside and it is pouring so I'll hold off that ti tomorrow, but thanks for your help! I'll let you know if anything comes of it!
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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I hope I have the quick simple answers for you. When did you last get gas? I also have a 97 with 2.5 last Saturday I got gas and 2 miles from the station I experienced similar symptoms nearly stalling bucking not wanting to take throttle etc. Turns out the $4/gal gas I bought had water in it. Put a can of sea foam k. The tank shook it up and back to running. Took a few miles to get back to completely perfect. So long story short you might have some bad gas.
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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I seriously doubt your engine ingested any water and I wouldn't bother pulling any more spark plugs.

I expect some water got in under the distributor cap or simply soaked your ignition system and is now creating problems. I would pull the distributor cap off and dry its interior out and see what happens. Dry your ignition wiring off too, especially if it is old enough that the insulation may be cracking and letting moisture short the spark to ground.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:16 PM   #10
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I agree with JB. In the old days we had to keep a can of WD40 handy when wheeling through water and mud. All it takes is a little water steaming off of the exhaust and condesing inside the distributor cap to make your spark jump everywhere. A quick spray of WD40 on the inside of the cap and you were up and running again
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:24 PM   #11
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WD-40 is highly effective at that task, I meant to include that recommendation as Shoe just suggested.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:09 AM   #12
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I appreciate all the feedback from everybody, I'm not sure if it was the hot sun that dried out the distributor cap and other components out or because I took the belt off, cleaned it and put it back on (Gunner's advice), but the Jeep is up and running again! Thanks for all your help and I'll update if it acts up again! WF rocks!

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