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Hi!

My wife's 97 won't start today. It's the 4-cylinder manual. Never had problems before, and no lead-up symptoms. It turns over fine, and I guess the fuel system is working because I can smell it in the exhaust pipe after all this turning. The only thing different that happened last night was that it rained.

So I guess it's ignition-related. But I can't even get the spark plug caps off! What is the trick? Do I need a special tool just to get the spark plug out?

Anybody got any quick diagnosis tricks I can try I can try before I have it towed into town? Anything prone to failure?
 

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Assuming the engine is not flooded (which it probably is now - so you will have to turn it over quite hard without using much gas to get it to fire) I am always one that goes for the spark first.

I would check the spark plug wires (that they are not cracked and are pushed down properly), then the spark plugs, then the distributor cap and arm and then maybe the ignition coil (in that order). It must be one of these things.

Getting the spark plug wires off the spark plugs is tricky. Pull and wiggle the rubber bits/caps on top of the engine (not the wires themselves otherwise you might damage them).

Good luck!
 

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I had this problem before also, right after it rained, it turned out to be that moisture was getting into the distributor cap and fouling it up. Get out the hair dryer, and remove the electric parts, dry them out well, and reassemble, hopefully it will work for you also,, thanks,, let us know what you find,,,,,,
 
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