Problem starting after driving in wet weather

15

Asked by Sep 20, 2010 at 05:40 PM about the 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The first time I had an issue I was driving along in the rain after having skated
through a few puddles when I switched on the defroster and all of a sudden the
whole system appeared to reboot. I was doing about 50 so once it came back up I
kept driving along just fine (albeit a bit freaked out). A bit later it was fogging up a
bit too much to handle so I decided I had better pull over in case something awful
happened when I tried to switch the defrost on again. I probably should have done
it while driving because low and behold, the system crapped out and after reboot,
the starter wouldn't kick over (no solenoid click, nothing). So after sitting around
for a while and checking fuses etc. I call my girlfriend to bring some jumper cables
and see if that helps (though I figured it probably wouldn't since everything else
electrical seemed to have plenty of juice). That didn't do anything so I called AAA
to tow and of course after placing the call, I decided to try her one last time and
she started right up like nothing happened.

Until yesterday I wasn't able to reproduce the problem... This time I was driving in
a rainy situation, using the defroster and all the electrical bits (wipers, radio, lights,
etc. etc.) and decided to stop at the store. When I came back out, I had the same
problem. No starter activity whatsoever. This time the dash didn't blank when I
tried to kick her over and after waiting for about a half hour, she started up just
fine again.

Soooo... I'm guessing there's a short being caused by water. I figured it was
possibly the power to the starter was grounding out but I've never seen something
like that happen and I've had a number of vehicles that had completely unshielded
starter connections that have never developed a problem, including my El Camino
that had basically the same block and I would imagine a similar starter. So if it's
not a shorting of the power lead, are there any electronics that could be getting
wet or, well, anything that might cause this problem? The fact that the ac selector
switch appears to have had some involvement the first time makes me think it
might be more than just the starter connection too, however the selector switch
hasn't caused a problem since.

I've got the shop manual and it's singularly useless in this case (I think I need to
invest in the electrical troubleshooting addendum). I've searched all over online
and there appear to be a number of problems relating to the Optispark distributor
but she's an '84 which doesn't have it. Anyone have any ideas?

2 Answers

11,245

My Rule of thumb - When you get funky things happening check battery cables and connections ... Sounds like one is loose to the battery to ground or to the starter. If all is good there my next thought would be towards the ignition switch Good Luck

15

Well Mike, you were correct. The nut on the power lead was free spinning. I would never have figured the starter would have worked at all with it as loose as it was. I feel a bit silly. Of course, I haven't gone through any puddles recently but let's hope that takes care of it. Thanks!

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

Search Chevrolet Corvette Questions

UK Questions

Are you a UK consumer? CarGurus now has a discussion forum in the UK.

Chevrolet Corvette Experts

#1 John Carson
John Carson
Reputation 2,070
#2 carGrrl
carGrrl
Reputation 1,340
#3 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 1,210
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Chevrolet Camaro
401 Great Deals out of 40,630 listings starting at $3,500
Used Ford Mustang
532 Great Deals out of 42,736 listings starting at $1,699
Used Dodge Challenger
335 Great Deals out of 25,059 listings starting at $7,988
Used Porsche 911
137 Great Deals out of 4,471 listings starting at $8,901
Used Dodge Charger
467 Great Deals out of 30,103 listings starting at $2,275
Used Ford F-150
3,021 Great Deals out of 207,756 listings starting at $1,000
Used BMW 3 Series
1,515 Great Deals out of 38,830 listings starting at $1,498

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
8,638 listings starting at $41,500
2016 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
30 Great Deals out of 2,455 listings starting at $43,987
2015 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
31 Great Deals out of 865 listings starting at $39,999
2014 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
29 Great Deals out of 873 listings starting at $38,995
2013 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale
23 Great Deals out of 411 listings starting at $26,988