water in the gas tank?

Asked by Apr 27, 2011 at 05:57 AM about the 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio 2 Dr STD Convertible

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 97 Cabrio runs great when it's dry.  However, when it's raining heavily, it starts fine but then starts to give me grief a minute or two later, sputtering and shaking, as if it's not getting enough fuel.  My husband had the gas tank removed and there was some water in the tank, which he said was the problem.  I've heard that these cars are notorious for water leaking into the tank through a cracked something-or-other.  Any suggestions?  I'm tired of taking it in and paying for maintenance that doesn't fix the issue.  The coil was replaced and that wasn't the issue.  I've had it tuned up as well.

3 Answers


if it only does it when its raining then its not your gas tank, I'd suspect your rotor cap and or wires. I had this same issue on a 92 and a few other vehicles, it was the wires/rotor cap I replaced it with new OEM parts(which I highly recommend) and problem solved.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Hi there, I had the same problem with mine and went through this headache for 2 years (paying for numerous unnecessary repairs) until someone finally changed the distributor cap and voila! never happened again. I can almost guarantee that this is the problem based on the description you've provided as it's exactly what mine did, I would get so stressed thinking it was going to stall out at any given time and it only ever happened when it rained - otherwise it could be 50 below zero and it would start and run perfectly. The good news is the distributor cap is relatively cheap and easy to replace. Hope this helps, I know it was a huge relief for me. Best of luck!


Quick and easy check for secondary ignition system problems is to get a spray bottle,and simply spray down the wires and distributor cap and ignition coil with the engine running,if there are any defects in the system the water will find them and short out what is giving the problem,you should also be able to hear the spark snapping to ground and possibly see where as well.On a lot of the four cylinder distributor caps,they were a shielded cap,this also led to a lot of carbon tracking to ground.good luck.

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