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Grand Am Click Click?


prty's Avatar
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09-10-04, 04:24 PM   #1  
prty
Grand Am Click Click?

Well here is another question. I know someone can help me. (PLEASE!) I have a 96 Pontiac Grand AM. When it rains out it makes a noise like,Click ClickClick. It sounds like when you were a kid and put a card in your bike spokes. (Do kids still do that?) And it loses power. But when its sunny its fine! Thanks for any ideas in advance!

 
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09-10-04, 05:39 PM   #2  
I'm guessing that the clicking sound is coming from under the hood. If so, it sounds like high voltage that is not making it to a spark plug but arcing to some metal spot on the engine. Take a windex type bottle and mist the plug wires with the engine running. Do it on a day when it's running properly. You will probably suddenly notice a miss and may see the spark. Replace the bad wire - easiest to just do a full set.

 
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09-10-04, 06:22 PM   #3  
prty
Thanks Goldstar, Is this something I can fix myself or is it easier to just take it to the "shop".

 
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09-11-04, 06:17 AM   #4  
It depends on your level of mechanical ability. If you cannot remember when the spark plugs were last changed, they should also be replaced while you are replacing the wires. I'm guessing that you have a V6. If so, the back three plugs can be a bear to get to. If you do the work yourself, remove/replace one wire and plug at a time. That prevents any chance of getting the wrong wire going to the wrong plug - a major pain. GL

 
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09-11-04, 06:40 AM   #5  
prty
Thanks again for your response. Sounds a little complicated for me, I guess its going to the "shop!

 
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09-11-04, 10:45 PM   #6  
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Spark plug cables should be replaced anyway each 30 to 40 thousand miles. There is the chance to do it. Enjoy the opportunity and replace the spark plugs, you will notice a nice difference in the engine power.

The click-click could also be something related to serpentine belt slipering with water spilled. Sometimes engine dirt, drops of oil or even asfalt stick to the belt, it runs ok when it is dry, but with water it got slippery. A close attention to the belt for damage, dirt or other materials could reveal the problem.

When rain for sure your car is using winshield wipers on, along with defrost or AC fan on and headlights on too, it means a lot of energy consume from the alternator. If the serpentine belt slips the alternator stop generating energy, so all this power will be coming from the battery. If the battery is not fully charged, or if you have oxide at the battery connectors, this extra current will generate a voltage drop at the connectors, dropping very much the voltage to the car, mostly ignition that can fail, what leads to power reduction.

It could be a sum of several issues.

Start by looking to the battery cables connections, look for corroded or oxide deposited on them, if necessary cut the nice rubber boot from those connectors and inspect closely for any damage, discoloration or even lose wires, then reprotect with electric tape or reseal the rubber boot.

Open the hood, turn on the engine, turn on headlights, fan, AC, and then spray little water over the lower part of the serpentine belt (BE CAREFUL, THERE ARE MOVING PARTS THERE), and watch for the click-click.

I am almost pretty sure you can't *hear* a high voltage spark jumping from the cable to the engine metal, from the inside of the car, driving around.

Recently I have one spark-plug-wire open in my Grand-Am, the spark was jumping between the coil two posts. Even with the hood open and I being 2 ft from the coil I couldn't hear the noise, and I have a good hearing.

Click-click can be also produced by some water drops falling over the hot exaust collector, every water drop is a little explosion (tshhh) that can be confused with a click. I had a Villager (Mercury) that when raining and parking the vehicle, I always had the impression of some short-circuit, the noise was very similar to a live battery wire touching the engine metal, it was only water drops over the exaust collector. Scary.

Again, lack of power could be related or not to the click-click, it could be simply too much electric things on and the battery connectors or even alternator big red wire not very thight, low voltage leads to engine little random failures and power loss.

 
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09-12-04, 08:05 AM   #7  
prty
Thanks wlip, this is a great forum for people like me that dont know a lot about cars. There are a lot of people here who are a great help. At least when I take the car to the shop I "sound" like I know what I'm talking about!

 
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09-12-04, 08:56 PM   #8  
In reference to wlip's post, you might be able to narrow down the problem some. Is the clicking present only with the wipers on? Try turning on each accessory that wlip mentioned one at a time until you get the problem. Or do you have the problem even if no lights, defrost or wipers are on? The defroster (ac compressor) would definitely cause some power loss and possibly cause the serpentine belt to slip. Try turning on every accessory on that you use in the rain, when its sunny if you haven't done that already.

A little more info would be helpful:

* Do you have the problem only while driving or is it present at idle also?
* Does the clicking sound speed up the faster you drive?
* Does the engine run rough like its misfiring?

The more you can narrow down the problem, the less diagnostic time you will have to pay for.

 
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09-12-04, 09:02 PM   #9  
one more question......we're all assuming the clicking is coming from under the hood at the engine.....is that a correct assumption?

 
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