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Old 02-26-2003, 11:29 AM   #1
Mike Wevrick
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Question Can driving in heavy snow wreck your oxygen sensor?

I will be the first to admit that this could be a coincidence ...

When our 95 Legacy had about 45,000 miles on it I drove it through some deep heavy snow (basically parked it in a snowbank ) and jammed snow into the whole front exhaust etc. About a week later the front oxygen sensor went out. Luckily it was covered by the CA-spec emissions warranty so the dealer fixed it free. Then last week at 165,000 miles my wife ran the car through heavy snow after the storm here. A few days later the oxygen sensor went out again.

Yes, I know 120,000 miles on an oxygen sensor is a lot, but still ... has anybody else had a similar experience?
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Old 02-26-2003, 12:37 PM   #2
Opie
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Hmmm, last time my o2 sensor went out the mechanic asked if I had driven through deep puddles that would have gotten it wet. Interesting. I wonder if it's related?
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Old 02-26-2003, 01:24 PM   #3
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water doens't ruin them, chemicals will, but if you get hte tip actually filled wit water the O2 won't be able to doit's job since it can no longer sense the difference between outside air and EGO. Techincally it should be okay but chances are it did manage to take it out.

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Old 02-26-2003, 02:43 PM   #4
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Not sure I follow you ... the tip is inside the exhaust, where it should not be affected by snow or water. What part of it measures the outside air? (and why? outside air is always 21% oxygen)
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Old 02-26-2003, 03:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Wevrick
Not sure I follow you ... the tip is inside the exhaust, where it should not be affected by snow or water. What part of it measures the outside air? (and why? outside air is always 21% oxygen)
there are 4 holes near the end of the sensor that lets fresh air around the "inside" of the tip of the sensor. why is there only 21% oxygen, because 79% of the air is nitrogen which is why NOx emissions have become such a large concern in the past couple of years

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Old 02-26-2003, 03:28 PM   #6
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I meant "why does the sensor need to measure outside oxygen when it is always the same?"

Anyway, I'm surprised a part like this would be so sensitive. People drive their cars in water and snow all the time ...
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Old 02-26-2003, 07:17 PM   #7
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yeah, but how often do they drive in heavy snow as you described? it's happened twice to you. i'm sure you've driven in plenty of snow in between. after 120,000 miles, it's probably just the straw that broke the camel's back.
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Old 02-26-2003, 08:04 PM   #8
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yeah, probably ... these were among the few times that the car got dense snow actually packed around the exhaust, though ...
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Old 02-26-2003, 11:31 PM   #9
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Could it be that the water leaks down into the wire harness and corrodes the insides or something? Seems to me that the oxygen sensor would be fairly robust.
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Old 02-27-2003, 12:17 AM   #10
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As mentioned earlier, I think, an O2 sensor needs to "breathe" fresh air. Most O2 sensors do this through the gaps between the wires in their pigtail, the set of wires that come from the sensor. If you manage to seal, clog or plug those gaps up, the sensor will not work.
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Old 02-27-2003, 08:52 AM   #11
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It wasn't corrosion in the wires; they look fine.

I could understand the sensor not working temporarily while it was blocked, but mine failed days later after they were fully dried out.

I was more curious to see if anyone had had a similar experience to mine to see if there was a pattern. So far just Opie ...
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Old 03-07-2003, 05:45 PM   #12
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Default me too.... :(

I'm in the process of swapping my rear o2 sensor right now. I too was parked in a snow bank fairly recently. In my case it was code P0141, rear o2 sensor heater. I think it's possible that the melted snow shorted out the sensor heater.
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