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Discussion Starter #1
I as driving to see some relatives last night in the rain, and accelerating up a hill, my car started bucking and shaking pretty bad. My first thought was the transmission was on its way out, but I managed to coax it up to 60, and it kept up with the hard jolting at random intervals. I staring thinking "This doesn't feel like a transmission, this feels like a misfire..." It kept getting worse. The last time I had a car act like that was a Jaguar X-Type with a PCV hose that self-destructed and caused a vacuum leak. Thinking I may have knocked a vacuum line loose while changing the alternator a couple of days before, I pulled over under the drive-through of a bank (It was closed, so I wasn't blocking customers), popped the hood, and started poking. All the vacuum lines looked good. The coils and all the plug wires were dry. Nothing jumped out at me as a potential problem.

On a whim, I opened the airbox, and my air filter was soaked. Apparently, whatever it is Ford put on a T-Bird to keep rain from getting sucked up the intake is missing from my car.

I pulled the MAF sensor and doused in in large quantities of contact cleaner, then cranked the engine and turned the defroster to maximum, and put the wet air filter over the defroster vent on the dash for 20 or 30 minutes to let it dry out, while I mopped up the inside of the airbox with a dirty work shirt. I got everything dry enough that the car would run fine without misfiring, and drove it the rest of the way to my grandmother's house. Tomorrow, the weather should be nicer and I'm going to crawl under the nose of the car with some linoleum and zip ties, and see if I can't MacGyver some sort of splash shield that will block water without restricting airflow.

I guess I'm lucky she didn't suck up enough water to hydro-lock the engine. Although I'm guessing she did drink enough to steam-clean the combustion chambers and valves! :)
 

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That's odd. You must have driven through a large puddle to get that much water into the airbox. The stock intake and air silencer are very good at keeping water out of the intake. I've driven my '95 through monsoons with no such problem. The only time I've ever stalled the engine from fluid intake was when my meth injection got stuck after doing an ... acording to RobertP ... "John Force burnout" and dumped a gallon of meth/water into the intake.

Fortunatly for me the meth injectors are down the intake tube far enough that the excess fluid just ran onto the track and didn't flow into the intake.

It's a damn shame no one got video or pictures of that one. :D

You could pull the passenger side tire and drop the fender well mud guard and see what's going on with your intake runner. I'd just replace the filter unless it's a reusable K&N.
 

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My old green bird had a fiberglass cowl hood that would not seal correctly with the weatherstrip at the windshield/hood...water would run down the passenger side of the engine, and water would pool up in the spark plugs...pull the plugs and make sure they're not soaked.
 

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Remove the stupid silencer under the fender at the bottom of the car should allow you to get less water sucked in, but like TM said - that IS highly unusual for it to get in there unless your driving in a pond!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I did drive through a pretty big puddle, but I wouldn't exactly call it a "pond." I did pull the passenger side fenderwell today, and did a little work under there. The elbow up inside the fender and the bottom half of the airbox were both sealed with some sort of lightweight foam gasket that was thoroughly soaked. Gaskets were ripped off and replaced with large quantities of RTV silicone. Also, there was some sort of little rubber nipple at the bottom of the silencer that looked like it was designed to let water out without sucking air in. That thing was clogged with mud. I cleaned that out as well. Hopefully, all of that will mean the next time it rains, my car won't start sputtering on me.

And yeah, it's a shame no one got those John Force Style burnouts on film. Burnout videos are awesome. Especially when it's someone else's car getting thrashed! :D
 
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