3FE bogging down after simple wheeling

Red Beard

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Second time this has happened to me. I come home the "long way" through the woods and park it. Next time I go out on the road, the engine bogs down, as if water were in the fuel lines.
On the wheeling adventure I put it in low gear for the uphill part and I go through some water, in high gear. Is there a way that this water is getting in my fuel lines or something? Or is something worse?

This problem seems to disapate after some time. If I'm going up a hill, I'll manually shift it to a lower gear and it'll bypass the problem.
Basically, the engine seems to bog down when its trying to speed up, at like 2,100 rpm it slows down to like 1,700 real fast and gets slower and slower until over the hill or somehow gotten up to the right speed.
 

Red Beard

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Well, here are the facts:
This occurs when its wet outside or I drive through wet terrain. It rained all day today and it happened, all day.
When it does happen, I can hear the engine sputtering.
Yet, if I kick it into neutral, it runs like fine.
If the engine begins to bog down and I shift to a lower gear, say, 45MPH D to 3rd, the RPMs will continue to decrease. And at 45MPH from D to 2nd, it'll force the RPMs to the right level (right above 2,000 rpms) and it'll run like a champ again.

So getting going after a stop is really annoying. Any idea what this is?
 

Red Beard

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Replaced distributor and rotor, no difference. :-\ I went out to some puddles and it did it again. Almost stalled out going up a hill on the trail. The only recent mods I've done was a custom exhaust, gutted cats, and new blue top battery.
You think the wires going to the 02 sensors are creating the problem? Them getting wet causing problems? They're just hanging there..

My car never did this before either. I would drive through the deepest puddles. Any other options?

EDIT: Tonight, I'm going to pop the hood to see if I can spot any arc's to the engine from the spark plug wires. Personally, I'd be happy to find a couple arcs.
 
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Red Beard

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Update: Poured a bunch a water on the spark plug wires and cap, turned on the engine and no arcs were visible.
Maybe its the o2's? I read somewhere about maf sensors too.
 

Lka1988

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You think the wires going to the 02 sensors are creating the problem? Them getting wet causing problems? They're just hanging there..

Could be. Take a look at 'em, see what you can find.

Replaced distributor and rotor, no difference. :-\ I went out to some puddles and it did it again. Almost stalled out going up a hill on the trail.

Almost stalled out? You sure? I got MUD in my dizzy once and still climbed a 30-35% slope.
 

RockDoc

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I might be way off here, but are you getting any water in you air intake? I've stalled out my truck from water splashing up in the fender-well and "choking" down flow through the air cleaner. It started right back up after I cracked the air cleaner lid open to get air.
 

Red Beard

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I do have a vacuum leak. On the driver side, one of those disc things has a broken piece. I've been meaning to get it TIG'd back together. But this effect almost happens right away when the car gets wet.

It is beginning to sound like air intake though. I'm going to get it wet and then drive with the air cover open, maybe that'll be a sign.

Lane, yeah really almost stalled. Going up a steep hill in the city and my pedal was to the floor as the rpms just decreased and decreased. When I pulsed the pedal is when I kinda got somewhere.
 
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I do have a vacuum leak. On the driver side, one of those disc things has a broken piece.

Those are the EGR valve and EGR modulator. Replace them both with new as the internal diaphragms are shot. Clean out the plugged up hard vacuum lines, replace the soft vacuum lines.

You'll notice improved performance throughout the RPM range, especially below 2200 RPM, better brakes, better fuel economy.

FWIW, 3FEs don't really care too much about water if it's not being sucked into the intake. The distributor cap has a nice rubber boot that surrounds it and keeps 90% of the water out. The plugs are not recessed like they are on a 1FZ-FE so water drains away from the plugs. If you spend a bit of time and effort to hit each connector with some moly grease it's virtually waterproof.

I routinely hose mine down (when cold) to clean out the engine bay.
 

Red Beard

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Jonheld thanks for the tips. Those things are not cheap last time I priced them from cdan, I gotta save up for sure.
When I taped up the connectors, really taped them, I drove through some real nice big puddles and drove out no problem. So it was definitely the 02 sensor connectors shorting out. I'm going to start fixing up all these little problems because I'm going to Cape Hatteras this summer and its gotta be ready for the trip!
Thanks for your help guys!
 

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