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  1. VVT-i actuator is unlocked? Not sure if you sent the whole head in, or took the cams off. The timing gear should not be locked when you reassemble the engine. This could cause the install to become much harder to do + the timing is offset. Same goes with the camshaft position sensor - these can get damaged, causing intermittent output - confuse the PCM. I'd double check all the simple stuff - vacuum leaks, bad/damaged sensors, pinched wires, corroded connectors (corroded surprising quickly when the engine is apart for rebuilding - depending on where the parts are stored), etc. Getting good spark on all igniters? Could be bad connections, damaged PCM, pinched wires, etc. Getting fuel to all plugs - possible bad injector, injector leak, damaged fuel rail, leak at fuel line, fuel pump bad, bad electrical connections. Pull plugs after it cranks and dies a few times - the plugs should be wet or smell heavy of fuel. These heads are quite unique - they cannot be rebuild in the same was a traditional head. Example: The water jacket is so thin in places, like the valve seats, that they do NOT recommend cutting those seats. That material is powdered metal that is laser clad to the aluminum casting. There is a little bit of meat there, but shouldn't really be cut, as the water jacket was design to expose that area directly to the coolant, faster heat dissipation. Head shouldn't be decked either - if it is warped beyond a certain tolerance, the factory service manual says to scrap it. Don't try and cheat and use a thicker head gasket - that will automatically fail in short time. Did the shop give you a print out of the measured clearances? There is actually a typo in one of the repair manuals for the valve specs - I can't remember which publication it was, but it was off by something like 10/thousandths?? Could be an issue, depending on how they rebuilt it - some shops like to push the starting clearances looser than spec, so as the parts break-in, they will close up that clearance.
  2. Sounds like a serious electrical problem. To peg all the warning lights - could be a number of things causing this. Main wiring loom is damaged or shorted somewhere, bad intergration relay (most of the car's wiring runs to this common connection point), excessive electrical noise from EMI/RFI interference, bad wiring to the ECM, etc. History on the car - any major electrical or mechanical repair prior to this happening on the car? Was the car ever involved with flood damage (issues you are seeing are exactly like how many flood damaged cars act)? Definitely do not reset the ECM when this happens. Given that it is an intermittent issue, hard to track this down without seeing it happen in the first place. In this "stuck" mode, they can try and query the ECM and see if they can pull any data from it. Not understanding how you cannot rev the engine - this generation has a cable actuated throttlebody, even if the computer was oblivious to the TPS setting, opening the throttle plate will change the amount of air being sucked in. If you stand on the accelerator and the car doesn't see the change from the TPS or MAF - it will stall. Same with the transaxle not engaging - it is electronically controlled, but only in shift strategy, solenoid operation. Even if they are not controlled by the PCM, you should be able to shift out of part and drive away in top gear (3rd). It is a failsafe in the transaxle logic, incase of the PCM cannot control the solenoid or if the solenoids fail. Are you certain the is running at the time? If the car stalls during operation, all the warning lights will light up, as the key is still in the RUN position - stepping on the accelerator, trying to shift the transaxle, etc. when the car has stalled will act like the car is completely dead. The rest of the electricals will still work - power windows. door locks, HVAC fan settings, radio, lights, etc. - because the key is in the run position. Tried removing the key and reinsert the key restarting the car? Tried to drive the car with just the one key, excessive weight on the ignition switch can cause it to wear out sooner, causing funny behavior - car starts and runs, but mid turn might decide to turn off (bumped the switch)? Does the car have a factory or aftermarket alarm system? Made sure that it was fully disarmed, before starting the car? Possible the control box is damaged, causing intermittent operation - many aftermarket ones have a starter kill, can't start the car until it has been disarmed. Unplugging and replugging the battery can cause these alarm systems to default to a weird mode. Some immediately complain if the power was cut off, some get stuck in a weird operating mode and may cutoff the ignition in the middle of your drive.
  3. Dribbling fuel injector would have to checked off the car - as if it one is dribbling the other would probably benefit from flow testing and a good cleaning. Sounds like you went over the car pretty thoroughly, we don't have the 5AFE engine over here - but I assume it is pretty close to the 4AFE/7AFE in overall design. I would suspect a possible vacuum leak somewhere. Vacuum leak would explain the hard starting and poor idle you are seeing. The very nature of some vacuum leaks being intermittent makes some harder to track down. Only happening when the engine is hot, could be a clearance / thermal expansion issue somewhere. Could also be something to do with EGR system, as quite a few vacuum connections are made to that system.
  4. There was an issue with some 2009/2010 Corollas and 2008/2009 Scion xD that experienced either poor braking performance or excessive pedal travel. Especially in colder climates (cooler weather) and/or infrequent driving - excessive moisture in the crankcase could get pulled past the PCV and clog the brake booster vacuum port. In a sense, it causes the brakes to loose a portion of the power assist. I've also run across this just recently with our company truck (Tundra) - where the pedal will sink very close to the floor or there is excessive brake pedal travel. If you "pump" the brakes and the pedal feel / braking performance improves - then a clogged vacuum port is likely on of the culprits. Pumping the brakes is generally frowned upon, as this could "confuse" the ABS system, depending on the situation. But is an easy enough test to do by the owner. Find a long, straight section of road, preferably free from any traffic - get up to speed, atleast 20-30MPH or whatever you feel safe with, conditions allow - stop normally, note how far you've traveled and how much force is needed to come to a stop, note pedal feel / pedal travel. Can repeat to see if the stopping distance and feel is repeatable. Then redo the test - but this time, "pumping" the brakes briefly before applying normal brake application. Note anything different in braking distance and feel. Problem is reproducing it for the technician to diagnose it - scanning the computer does absolutely nothing and IMO a slap in the face of good diagnostic work. Technicians should use computer scanning as a starting point, the real diagnosis comes from having an intimate knowledge of the system and methodically working through possible problem areas. The method of pumping the brakes or not should have been high on the technician's list of things to do during a test drive to replicate your braking issue. If the technician just scanned the computer, without test driving the car - they did NOT do their job correctly. Also being intermittent and seemingly affecting only some Corollas and not others - also makes it hard to pinpoint. Take it in to the dealership and have them double check the PCV system and the brake booster vacuum port.
  5. At those temps - I'm not surprised that the engine was acting the way it was. What oil viscosity are you running, synthetic motor oil? Part of the starting issue is the returnless fuel system on the car - the fuel pump only sends fuel when needed, this can cause periods where the engine seems to crank longer than usual before it fires. If you get the engine to catch and it immediately dies afterwards - pull hte plugs and double check that they are still in good shape. Double check the plug gap and chassis grounds on the engine (just trace back all the ground lines - from the negative battery terminal). The 1ZZ-FE is pretty sensitive to plug gap and electrical noise. At those temps, it is possible that you have intermittent ground connectivity that is confusing the ECM. The gasoline odor, especially if the car is taking more than the usual number of cranks before it fires up, is normal. The ECM is commanding more fuel to be sent to help start the engine. If the engine initially stalls or dies on the first attempt, fuel will still be loaded in the cylinders, sometimes to the point where they foul the plugs (they become saturated with fuel) and subsequently harder to restart. Only atart worrying when the fuel odor happens every time you startup the car, regardless of ambient temps. Then you could be looking at a leak somewhere.
  6. If the engine cuts out when rev'd in park or gear - that really points at a possible vacuum leak, throttle body issue (TPS sensor), faulty MAF sensor, leak in induction system, or funky ECM problem. There is a chance that it is related to a fault in the VVTi system (could be trying to run timing too far advanced or retarded). Could also be a weak fuel pump - hard to check, as you'll have to insert a T-fitting before it hits the fuel rail to measure pressure. Dirty injectors can also cause stumbling at higher duty cycles (sticking solenoids or intermittent power). A faulty knock sensor (right by the intake manifold) could also be another possibility - but it would pull timing, but not usually far enough to kill the engine like that. Anyway you can post a sound clip - just so we can hear how it dies? Have you tried gunning the throttle in park, slowing accelerating in park - to see if it stumbles at a particular RPM or throttle position? Sounds like you will need to throw a data logger to see what the sensors are reporting back to the ECM. Was there any CELs before you starting working on the car, even old ones?
  7. 99 corolla 86K miles. I have clutch chatter issue. It is intermittent, does not seem to matter if its cold or hot. Only does it when starting from a stop. I have not noticed a slip in other scenarios. ie, Like accelerating at highway speeds with the engine gaining revs but no speed gain... non of that. I tried the Click and Clack clutch test. Pull up to unmovable object, put car in 5th gear, rev engine and release clutch. Mine died very quickly, right as the clutch started to grab. As it should have done. no chatter The chatter is very pronounced. Nothing subtle about it, the cars shakes. Shakes likes crazy, stop 30 feet away and start again and could be smooth as silk. no obvious oil leaks. I have owned 9 manual transmission cars over the years and have never replaced or worn out a clutch. It would seem obvious that the clutch is on its last leg, but the sporadic nature of the symptoms seem strange.. any thoughts?
  8. Battery sounds like it is fine. Very possible that mechanic touched something in diagnosing the starter contacts to "fix" something. Sometimes I get lucky with my EVAP system in that manner - just tugging on some stuff can fix a small leak or scrap surface corrosion away and problem seemingly disappears. That is the toughest issues with these intermittent issues - you never can tell when they will come back, if they do. Just have to wait for something to completely fail - can be quite annoying. Hopefully this "fixes" your hard starting issue.
  9. Yeah, 5-10 seconds of straight cranking would be fine - just give it a little time between cranking episodes to allow the starter to cool down. Even when cranking slow - it should fire up the engine pretty easily. It sounds like a compound issue here. It could also be a fuel/ignition related problem that is compounding that hard starting issue you are seeing. We didn't ask earlier - but if you have a theft deterrent system, remote starter, etc. - this can also be another source of issues. Has the car seen a major tune-up recently? Has the spark plugs been changed recently or are you still on the OEM Iridiums? I know on my Corolla - it doesn't crank hardly more than a few revolutions before it starts up - some cases, I can just tap the run and that is enough to start the car. The Matrix is other way - that one has to crank for a few seconds before it fires - but a known issue on 9th generation Corolla/Matrix. If it starter cranks but the engine does not want to fire - press on the accelerator to open the throttle plate and let the engine get more air. Possible that the throttle body is gummed up and not letting enough air in to facilitate combustion. Also possible that the injectors are heavily clogged or even faulty. They may not be atomizing the fuel correctly or may not even be working initially. Fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator could also be suspect, though unlikely. There could be a vacuum leak in the intake manifold - that might be causing some problems - those tend to pop up more frequently when the weather gets colder. Bad gas is another possibility - though if this has happened before, unlike that could still be the issue now. Couldn't hurt to throw in a bottle of fuel injector cleaner just to see what happens. The starter turning over more slowly than usually is understandable here - as you are cranking for some length of time. The OEM battery and OEM replacements are pretty small, reserve capacity wise, not unusual for the battery to weaken. But since it sounds like it recovers enough to keep cranking the starter - the battery and the connections to the battery and probably the starter (mechanic says looks OK) are probably not the problem. Dimming lamp is a good sign - the starter draws lots of juice (~90 Amps) - so you should see that. The times that starter doesn't do anything and no dimming of lamps is a very specific sign. It could be the starter relay is bad. This can be easily checked out with a multimeter or even just replaced out right to save time. To give you an idea on what to test - I've linked a pic to part of the FSM on testing the relay. This relay is in the engine bay main junction block (the largest fuse box under there) - relay should be marked ST - would just pop right off or may have to be unbolted from the bottom first, then popped off. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v620/fis...arter_relay.jpg As for using the multimeter for testing the start connections - yes and fairly easily. You can check for continuity between the starter body and the hot side connector - should be NONE. Check starter body to chassi ground - should have continuity there. They make inexpensive continuity checkers with a 12V lamp that indicates a live circuit - can be useful - but a full function multimeter is not that much more expensive and you can do quite a bit more with them, not just for the car - all sorts of stuff you can use them one. Definitely something that you want to have for any kind of electrical/electronic diagnostic work. Other possibilities would be the park/neutral position switch and ignition switch - if the P/N position switch is faulty, it would not even get to the main starter relay - you turn the key and get nothing. You can try shift the transmission to Neutral (parking brake set, foot on brake) and try starting there. If the main ignition switch (key) is faulty - it would have similar results - you crank the key and get nothing. Could be that these switches are not completely bad and just intermittent in operation - which makes it really tough to catch quickly. Good Luck.
  10. Yup - it is a fuelie - 4AFE engine designation (E) for electronic fuel injection. But I've heard of this peculiar issue on other Toyotas - usually it is related to the ignition switch having intermittent contact. Could also be an issue with the throttle position sensor - could be drawing too much juice, cracking it a hair may drop the load slightly - enabling the starter to cut on (ignition switch realted) or an intermittent connection on the starter solenoid. I would double check chassis ground connections and make sure you have a good connection to the battery - clean terminals, scrape corrosion away where neccessary. If that looks OK - I'd concentration on the switch. The actuation of the gas pedal is independant of the starting circuit - unless you have some wiring issues (aftermarket alarm system or similar).
  11. Hello and welcome to the forum. As for starting issues, or cases where the car suddenly dies - most of what you posted is correct. The particular model year of your Corolla could point at another issue. Some of these same problems / behavior can be traced back to faulty engine computers. There seemed to be an unusual number of them going bad, very quickly - mostly in the newer 9th gen (2006-2008) DBW Corollas (Drive-by-Wire throttle body, instead of typical cable actuated throttle bodies). Some happened within the first few thousand miles, others some 30-40K miles in. Almost all cases had the original ECM replaced with a new one. Not sure what the exact issue was - might hint at the dealership about faulty ECMs and see how they react to the news. As for the CEL (Check Engine Lamp/Light) - I notice that mine flashes as well right when you are cranking the engine over and it first catches - but once the idle settles - there should be no diagnostic lamps displayed. The intermittent hesitation on a newer DBW Corolla is sort of the first hints that it could be a ECM. If the car dies while in normal use, just out of the blue, but restarts and seems normal - that is the second hint that it could be ECM related. Having another dealership diagnose the issue might shed some light - the first dealership sounds like they couldn't be bother with. Good luck
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