Lightning in a World of Thunder

Starting a Flooded Car

Last updated: May 4, 1999

From Spencer Hutchings:

Symptoms: Car ran fine but suddenly won't start.
Plugs are wet with gasoline.


  1. Pull the fuel pump relay.

  2. Pull and clean the plugs or get a new set.

  3. Turn the motor over with the plugs out and the gas peddle wide open for 10 to 15 seconds.

  4. Wait 15 minutes and repeat step 3. Keep repeating these steps until no more gas sprays out of the spark plug holes.

  5. Put 1 tablespoon of ATF into each rotor housing through the spark plug holes.

  6. Put the clean plugs back in but do not hook up the plug wires.

  7. Rotate the motor with the gas peddle wide open for 10 to 15 seconds.

  8. Reinstall the fuel pump relay and plug wires.

  9. Try to start it.

    It will smoke a lot and probably run like crap. Don't let it die and after 20 to 30 seconds it should run on its own.

    I had to do this several times in one evening a while back. Do it properly and patiently the first time and chances are your motor will fire right up.


Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 15:08:37 -0600
From: "Chow, Thom"

The car indeed was just flooded. With the great advice from Nick Reifner (N-Tech Engineering) and others from the List, I was able to get her purring. My mistakes in original procedure:

  1. I should have taken all four plugs out and spun the motor (gas pedal on floor, crank ignition).

  2. let sit for a while (I did e-mail and work for about an hour).

  3. Very small amount of 2 cycle oil injected into the leading (=lower) chambers, and replace all four with new plugs.

  4. Then start!

Also see the page on Electrical System Troubleshooting.

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