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A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'90 Nissan Axxess AWD, Hard Starting Wet

Q: It seems whenever there is moisture (rain, snow or frost) in the morning the van won't start. By the afternoon, or if it’s dry outside, it will start with no problem. I also have trouble when I accelerate, it tends to sputter at times, almost stalling...not the best thing when turning through a busy intersection. I'm assuming electrical but I had my distributor cap, spark plugs and cables inspected and they seem fine and my fuel pump is about 2 years old. Any suggestions would be appreciated. . . Rob B.

A: Forget the inspection part. What you need is a water hose. Here’s how we pin down wet weather problems in our shop. Sometimes it’s a water hose, a light mixture of anti-freeze and water or if we really need to get nasty, salt and water in a spray bottle. The next step is to wet down the ignition system a step at a time until the engine doesn’t run right. What does this procedure prove? The weak area of the ignition system and also provides an alternative path. The path is for the electricity that is suppose to be going to the spark plugs. Moisture mixed with some dirt, oil or whatever we mix in the shop can provide a path for electricity that is easier. Electricity is a lazy energy. It takes the path of least resistance. On a damp morning moisture can collect on the ignition system, distributor cap, coil and wires. Electricity, being the lazy energy that it is, will look for the easiest way around. If the ignition system has a weak spot guess were that electricity goes? Not to the spark plug. That’s why the engine starts hard and runs rough when moisture’s around and the ignition system has a problem.

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