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Hesitation Above 65mph


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#1 crypticlineage

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 09:25 PM

I am sorry I made a separate thread for this, but since this is a new problem, I wanted to avoid confusion.
My 2000 corolla VE just had an engine swap (1zzfe from a 2003 Corolla), engine is good, it runs fine, no oil loss, oil looks clean.... but

I have a distinct hesitation at speeds above 65MPH, if I try accelerating beyond that point, the hesitation increases and the whole car shakes erratically.

Engine swap mechanic diagnosis based on one test drive and spark plug checkup (not certified technician)

1. Fuel filters are bad
2. Fuel injectors are bad
3. Perhaps bad gas

Since then I filled tank with 93 octane BP gas and poured one can of Valvoline Synpower fuel injection cleaner, have about 100 miles on car after that, no improvement yet.

Brought the car to my trusted mechanic, he checked coils, spark plugs, everything seems fine. He was able to reproduce the problem while driving in gear 2 (automatic transmission) and also by revving the engine up when parked. He told me he did not have equipment to test this further and that I should take it to local dealership to get it diagnosed.

Now, I don't want to get ripped off at the dealership. They want $85 plus tax for diagnosis and I want to make sure that if I am paying that much, the problem is actually diagnosed correctly.

How should I proceed? How would you guys troubleshoot this problem? Can someone suggest a checklist?

I have absolutely no trouble codes right now. Last week there was a random misfire P0300, but I cleared it and has not come back in over 100 miles, so I think it was a random thing. I was wondering if dirty MAF sensor could create the hesitation problem, but I do not have any MAF codes set. Should I still try to clean it?

Any and all suggestions very welcome. Thanks for your time.

#2 crypticlineage

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:13 PM

Where is everybody? :).

One more question: When the engine was changed, ECM/ECU was not changed, could this be causing the hesitation problem? My car was manufactured in 1999, and the donor engine came from a car manufactured in 2002. Does the ECM need to be flashed with new software, or it needs to be changed?

Its almost like the speed is locked down at 65MPH.

#3 Brendon

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:12 PM

Well I really should wait for somone with more expertise on this matter (Bikeman or Fishexpo). I've never done engine swaps before, but my guess would be that its due to incompatibility, either with your ecu like you said, or maybe your tranny. Though the 8th gen and 9th gen Corollas both use the same 1ZZ-FE engine, there are several distinct differences. That's why the newer 1zz engines put out 5-10 HP more. The only other thing I can think of is that there is something wrong with the donor engine. Getting an engine from an 03' Corolla means that car must have been in a real serious accident (enough to be declared a total loss by insurance).

#4 crypticlineage

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for your input Brendon. The 2003 corolla that the new engine came from was indeed in a collision and was totaled. I do not have any other problem with the engine except for this one. It has not burnt any oil, oil color has not changed a bit, and it runs perfectly fine (has good compression) under 65MPH. I haven't seen any blowby on spark plugs either.

Only thing I can think of right now is ECU incompatibility of some missing piece of software to drive the engine properly. If tranny was not compatible, the flywheel should not have fit properly and should be giving problems at all speeds. I am leaning more towards computer having problems directing the engine because it does not have all the information on the engine.

Fish, Bike, what do you think?

#5 Bikeman982

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 11:13 PM

My guess would be something affecting the fuel to the engine or maybe some kind of computer problem.
Could also be a part breaking down at higher speeds - such as fuel injectors or spark plugs.
Since the mechanic could duplicate it, that means it is a definite problem and not something intermittent.
Try the simplest and easiest (also the cheapest) parts first for troubleshooting.
Maybe try a different set of spark plugs. Different fuel injectors (change the filters regardless).
Look for the correct ECM/ECU for the newer engine (not for a 2000, but a 2003).
Have someone else go for a ride with you that can detect the problem when it occurs (must be someone with auto savvy).
Let me know how it goes. Worst case scenario - you have to drive the car without going over 65.

#6 Accent 1ZZFE

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 05:45 PM

Did you swap the trans from a 1ZZFE too?

Im taking a wild guess here, but if the diff ratio and trans ratios are not exactly the same, the shift points will be out of wack, you will have to get inside the PCM/ECU to reprogram it.


Doesnt sound like a fueling problem since it drives ok below 65mph, so it may be something to do with the lockup converter and overdrive not kicking in, which means getting inside the computer and making changes.

#7 crypticlineage

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:00 AM

Did you swap the trans from a 1ZZFE too?

No, I did not swap the transmission, but yes it is stock that came with my car (2000, manufacutred in 1999, 1ZZFE) and it is a three speed transmission.


Im taking a wild guess here, but if the diff ratio and trans ratios are not exactly the same, the shift points will be out of wack, you will have to get inside the PCM/ECU to reprogram it.


We were able to reproduce the hesitation even when the car was stationary in Park, he just revved up the engine, and it hesitated at high speed (I suppose it was comparable to revolutions engines would need above 65MPH). Now I do not know if the gears still shift while the car is in park, they just don't drive the wheels.

If gears don't shift in park even if engine is revved, then the diff ratio and trans ratio being out of wack would not explain the hesitation I am experiencing.

In any case, how do you reprogram the ECU? Do you need any specialized instrument to do that? Is it a DIY job? I would like to find out.

Edited by crypticlineage, 22 March 2007 - 11:00 AM.

#8 Brendon

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:18 AM

Wow, that could be a reason for the hesitation. The 9th gen Corolla engines are all designed for 4 speed (with overdrive). One thing I was thinking about is that usually the my car (which has 4 speeds) shifts into final gear around 65 mph. Maybe it's searching for the 4th speed on your car, but can't find it (since your 00' is a 3 speed). It might be shifter earlier than its suppose to. This is a rough example of when my car shifts:
1st to 2nd = about 18-20 mph
2nd to 3rd = about 37-40 mph
3rd to 4th = about 60-65 mph

Try driving it again and see how early its shifting. As for reprograming the ECU, it can't be easy. That means you need a computer that can connect to it, as well as a software program on it designed for mapping the ECU's RPM spectrum and resetting it. On shows like MuscleCars or Horsepower TV, I see them even using dynos to test it out.

#9 crypticlineage

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:58 AM

Oh crap. So now I need to get a new tranny, thats another $500 installed. This just keeps getting better. I saw this one coming when I found that the engine came from a 9th generation corolla.

Are there any considerations while swappning the tranny? If possible I would like to go for a manual transmission now, if I have to swap the trans.

Thanks
V

#10 fishexpo101

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:32 PM

Hmm. Quite unusual - tranny is definitely different between the two generations, but the different ratios should not affect the engine as you mentioned above, though anything is possible. The key point is revving the engine in park and still getting the engine to stumble at a set RPM range. It would be helpful to know exactly what that RPM range that happens, just to help diagnose this issue. As for getting your $85 worth from a dealership diagnostic - probably really depends on the dealership. The diagnosis between the two independant mechanics seem to indicate that this is a difficult problem to track. I'm thinking like the others above, that it is an ECU issue or faulty sensor.

Need more info - I assume that the original wiring and ECM from the donor vehicle were secured, the 9th gen (2003+) Corolla 1ZZ-FE are considerably different than the early 8th gen gen (1998-1999) and later 8th gen (2000-2002) engines. The overall tuning, induction, sensors, and camshaft profiles are completely different between them. You could get a latter 8th gen ECM to run a 9th gen engine, but it wouldn't run correctly. They switched from a 16bit ECM to a 32bit ECM for the 9th gen engine as well as retune the engine for more midrange power.

The unknown possibility (only a Toyota tech can tell you for sure) there may be some ECU interaction between the transmission (4-speeds were standard, all electronically controlled - the 3-speed are hydraulically controlled) - without this sensor input, the engine computer may be running in a "limp home" mode - thinking that the transmission was damaged and trying to get the car back in one piece.

As for transmission swaps - auto to manual are very popular mods. Problem is sourcing decent components for the swap - costwise, probably one of the best performance to price modifications that one can do to a car. Just the typical driveline losses that you will recover in the swap will make the car feel completely different. But I would highly recommend looking for another option first. Typically - I would prefer to due a engine/tranny swap right off the bat - attempting to do it a piece at a time will mean a big investment that you will probably never recover over time. Could be as simple as some rewiring to solve this issue - hard to say for sure, unless you get a full accounting of what parts were installed/used in the swap.

Good Luck

Edited by fishexpo101, 22 March 2007 - 12:37 PM.

#11 crypticlineage

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 12:47 PM

Fish: Thanks for the input.

It seems like I am going to have to bite the bullet and take it to the dealership for diagnosis. I just want to make sure that they actually make an effort to correctly diagnose it and not just blow me off because the car was modified and they were incompetent to come up with an answer.

Also, the worst case scenario, I would like to find out if the problem will go away if I were to swap the tranny to a 2003 4speed auto and also change the ECM to a 2003. Then the entire powertrain and the computer would be from the same generation and year and should be compatible. Are there any other parts that would be needed if I were to get the tranny swapped. I am looking at around $600 for a used tranny and ECU. Also, I should be able to sell my current tranny and ECM to recoup some of that cost.

Thanks
V

#12 Brendon

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:15 PM

If you don't mind me asking, why did you have to swap in the first place? Were you looking for more power and fuel economy by installing the newer 1ZZ?

#13 crypticlineage

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:25 PM

Brendon: I bought this car in Dec 2005 and immediately found out about oil burning problem. It was burning 2 quarts of oil every 100 miles, it eventually killed my cat. I had to replace the engine. First time I got same year same generation engine but it blew a camshaft or something through it and they had to redo the job at no cost to me (warranty), so they made sure the engine was good and got me a 9th gen engine. Of course they did not tell me about that until the job was done. I was out of car for almost 3 weeks.

#14 Accent 1ZZFE

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 06:47 PM

Fish: Thanks for the input.

It seems like I am going to have to bite the bullet and take it to the dealership for diagnosis. I just want to make sure that they actually make an effort to correctly diagnose it and not just blow me off because the car was modified and they were incompetent to come up with an answer.

Also, the worst case scenario, I would like to find out if the problem will go away if I were to swap the tranny to a 2003 4speed auto and also change the ECM to a 2003. Then the entire powertrain and the computer would be from the same generation and year and should be compatible. Are there any other parts that would be needed if I were to get the tranny swapped. I am looking at around $600 for a used tranny and ECU. Also, I should be able to sell my current tranny and ECM to recoup some of that cost.

Thanks
V


I would say the problem will highly likely go away if you swap to the same trans and PCM for the same year as the engine, just have to make sure that all the parts are in excellent condition.

The headache would be making sure it all fits under the bonnet, the wiring and hooking up all the add ons like power steering, AC, radiator and hoses, hopefully theres aftermarket kits for late model swaps into earlier model Corollas.

#15 Bikeman982

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 12:07 AM

You might try the PCM change before you do a transmission change. It would probably save you some money.