1988 Toyota Pickup Can Splashed Water Damage Spark Plugs

Tiny
NASTYSS
  • MEMBER
  • 1988 TOYOTA PICKUP
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • MANUAL
  • 16,800 MILES
HI,
My Toyota pickup(Bad weather vehicle) was running perfectly. I was driving it a few weeks ago in a bad rain storm. I hit a few puddles of water that were so huge, water splashed into the cabin through a crack in the shifter boot. So, there is also a good chance a few spark plugs got bathed in cool water too. I soon stopped the vehicle. When I started it, it was missing badly and spitting out major amounts of black smoke from the exhaust pipe. It seemed I was down at least 2 cylinders. I figured something like the distributor got wet. I waited a few days and nothing changed. I replaced the cap and rotor, but no change. Now it is about 3 weeks and no change. I did verify that spark IS getting to all 6 spark plugs, but all 6 cylinders are definitely NOT firing. So much black smoke, it can't idle, and it sputters incredibly. Non driveable. The spark plugs are Bosh Platinum and are new (Maybe 200 miles on them).
Question: I have not yet taken out the plugs to check them out. Is it possible for the splashed water to hit the hot spark plugs and damaged them somehow. Maybe crack the ceramic parts making it impossible for the spark to travel through the plug into the cylinder? This is the only thing I can think of so far that may be causing my problem. The exhaust was clean before the incident, now it is putting out huge amounts of black smoke (Obviously unburnt gasoline). Thoughts? Thanks. Tom.
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Saturday, July 25th, 2009 AT 10:13 AM

12 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi Tom,

Thank you for the donation.

Spark plugs should not go bad that easily. Did you unplug the spark plug wires to check if there are water contaminations?

I would suggest removing the spark plugs to check which are fouling up.

Test the spark plug wires resistance and if any that does not have continuity or have resistance of over 25 k ohms should be replaced.
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Saturday, July 25th, 2009 AT 11:22 AM
Tiny
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You are welcome.

The spark to each plug is immense. I unpluggged each spark plug wire boot from each plug and could see and hear the electrical arc going from the wire end to each plug. I have been working on vehicles for 30 years, and this has me stumped.

What would prevent spark that is going to the tip of new spark plugs from travelling through the plug and igniting the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder, AFTER an obvious water bath soaked the engine?

I do realize the next step is to remove each plug, clip it back into the wire boot, ground the tip, and turn the engine over to see if the spark jumps the gap.

I was just hoping to hear the water could have ruined the plugs somehow. After all, the issue started right after I ran over a huge puddle, and never corrected itself. If spark is jumping each gap, then what? Is that even possible? Thanks,
Tom
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Sunday, July 26th, 2009 AT 9:11 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Spark plugs are mysterious creatures. They can short out after burning rich and in this case, the misfiring due to presence of water at spark plug cables etc, could have caused a rich condition and this has caused one or 2 plugs to fail.

You should check the plug buring condition individually and look out for sings of shorting by the presence of fine lines on the electrodes.
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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 AT 12:43 PM
Tiny
NASTYSS
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Thanks for the reply. Now
"Mysterious Creatures" is more along the lines of what I was looking to hear! Can you please elaborate just a little more on these fine lines on the electrodes? Exactly which part of the plug do you consider to be the electrodes? Both parts on either side that the spark jumps, or just the platinum tip that the spark starts the jump from, or the part that the spark jumps to? Thanks !
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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 AT 8:37 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
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Sorry for not giving a clear description and a misleading one in fact.

The tell tale marks would be visible only on the ceramic parts. Look out for signs that look like smoked lines on the ceramic part. At base of electrode tip on ceramic part, if soots have formed with a clean ring around the central part, the plug is most probably bad.
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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 AT 8:58 AM
Tiny
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NO Problem. Thanks for the clarification KH. What are the chances I could wipe of or smear these smoked/sooty lines in the process of removing the plug? (Except for ceramic tip), but just the plug body? Should I be extra careful not to touch the plug? Could removing the spark plug wire boot remove or smear these smoky/sooty aparitions on the ceramic body of the plug? Damm, I ask alot of questions, HUH? After this, I won't ask any more questions that can probably be answered by simply removing the darn plugs carefully. Lol Thanks for your patience!

Tom
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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 AT 2:29 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
I would have to apologise one more time. Lol.

The ceramic part being referred to is at the tip of the electrode and not the external part.

The plug body would not short unless the ceramic part is broken so you have no worries about smears as any cracks would still be visible.

No problem with questions. Anything that you do not understand, you should ask so that the correct action is taken. I would not venture into anything that I am not certain of by myself if help is available.
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Thursday, July 30th, 2009 AT 10:05 AM
Tiny
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HI,

I replaced the Cap, Rotor, Plugs and Wires. NO CHANGE. All 6 plugs which had no more than 500 miles on them were all covered with lots of black buildup. Looking like they had 50,000 miles on them. I saw no indication of any of them shorting out.

It would take me 6 pages to fully explain why, but I think what is happening is that a huge amount of gas is being injected into all cylinders, making it seem like it is down a few cylinders, and running like crap. I think the problem lies with the Vane Air Flow Meter which is integrated into the air box lid. It has a sensitive electronic circuit board on top that is covered by a metal plate that is glued in place. It also has a 8 pronged electronic plug that clips to it. The part number is "22250-65101". I did a web search on this part number and found some interesting stuff. If these sensitive electronics are a little messed up, it can cause major dumping of fuel, which would explain the huge amount of black smoke from the exhaust. I am wondering if some water got into the plug and maybe shorted out something on the circuit board? This the only thing I can think of now. Do you know anything about this Air Flow Meter, which is I believe a early version of a Mass Air Flow Sensor? Thoughts? Man this is a tough one !
Tom
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Wednesday, August 5th, 2009 AT 10:03 AM
Tiny
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  • MEMBER
You won't believe what I figured out had to be done to fix this issue. See the 3 pics of the Air Flow Meter I inserted? I had to pry off the glued on cover, and rotate the geared wheel clockwise almost a half turn, and that solved everything. It is running very smoothly, no more black smoke. I started a few clicks at a time, then drove the truck. I continued until it ran the best. A web page I saw indicated moving it 5-7 clicks, but mine took probably 30-40 clicks. What caused this is beyond me (Thoughts?), but it is definitely this AFM that caused the dumping of excessive fuel, causing the issue. The last couple times I drove it in this condition, I could practically see the gas guage needle dropping. Man this was a tough one to solve. Have you or any of your colleagues ever experienced an issue like this. I am known for having unique problems no one has ever seen before.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/369767_Toyota_Air_Flow_Meter_whole_1.gif



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/369767_Toyota_AFM_With_top_cover_off_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/369767_Toyota_AFM_Geared_Wheel_to_Turn_1.jpg

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Thursday, August 6th, 2009 AT 10:55 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
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Sorry for the delay in replying.

The water could have caused somthing to shrink when it splashed onto the engine and this can caused the AFM to go out of calibration. Under normal circumstances, this part should be replaced as it is a sealed unit and no repairs are recommended.

Calibrations are from factory and by trial and error you managed to get it correct. Well done.

You input on this problem and rectification is much appreciated. It definitely would be helpful for other car owners.

Thank you.
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Thursday, August 6th, 2009 AT 12:09 PM
Tiny
NASTYSS
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NO problem, and thanks for the compliment. I did consider replacing the AFM, but I thought I would give fixing it a whirl first. They are very expensive, unless you can find a junkyard part. Well into the $200's from online auto parts sites. I can't believe this little part of electronics had such a dramatic impact on the engine performance. I certainly learned a lot, that is for sure. Take care.
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Friday, August 7th, 2009 AT 8:45 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
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This is the main component for fuel control and if it is out of specs, it can cause havoc.

Any vacumn leakages between this and the throttle body would cause a lean condition and erratic idling or stalling as it measures the amount of air. Without it, you would not be able to run the vehicle.

Thank you for using 2Carpros and take care yourself. It has been a pleasure working with you.

Till we meet again.

Have a great day.
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Friday, August 7th, 2009 AT 9:24 AM

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