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By Guest my911cab, September 27, 2005 in Pre-1997 Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm

Guest my911cab

Every year I buy a "disposable" car to get me through the New England winters. Last year it was a 1978 Chevette I bought off of Ebay. Well this year I found a perfect I mean perfect showroom new always garaged no rust 1989 Corolla, auto, working A/C with 42,000 original one owner miles on Craigslist. I bought the car for $1200.

Because the car had sat for over a year my first stop was to get a complete tune up and new timing belt. After picking the car up at the garage I noticed a slight jingliing sound? Kind of like loose nuts shaking around in a empty coffee can. I brought it back to the mechanic (local gas station garage) and he reset the timing. He told me because he has to clean out the carburator there might be some carbon build up still in the engine and his suggestion was to drive the hell out of it and see if it gets better. Well I ran a bottle of Redline Fuel System Cleaner thru the car and I'm still getting that sound. Any suggestions?

Also I was able to acquire a factory dash clock on Ebay and Im looking for ideas as to how to get access to the dash panel to install the clock.

Thanks List!

Andrew Conti

1989 Corolla

1988 Porsche 911 Cab

2004 Jeep Rubicon

I bought my 1989 Corolla with 44k, but that was in 1989. I don't know how one could jingle nuts in an coffee can and make a "slight" sound. But if the mechanic fixed it, you got a wonderful deal on the car.

If you need to remove the dash, I think you should do it like the service manual says. As I recall, step 1 is to remove the steering wheel. If you try some abbreviated procedure, you may end up with some rattles after it is put back together. The recommended procedure for removing or installing the OEM radio also involves removing the dash. So think about any improvements you want to make in that department. Most aftermarket radios come in an enclosure and you can slide the main part of the radio in and out of it after it is installed (provided you keep the little keys that come with the radio). In the one I installed the enclosure was slightly larger that the hole for the OEM radio, so I had to shave the opening. But now if the radio goes bad, I can replace it without removing the dash again.


Your description almost sounds like engine pinging, which would make sense since you said the engine is carbonized and carburator engines do not have knock sensors. It it is pinging, fix it first before substantial driving. Decarb the engine, give it some fresh, good gas (maybe it is circa 1989?), double check timing, etc. Good luck!

Access-Denied (+1)

Maybe try a higher grade of gas. Check and see if that gets rid of the pining.

Guest my911cab

Thanks for the ideas. It definitely is best described as a pinging sound. When I let up on the gas and then lightly feather back on the pedal I get a pinging sound. I brought it back to the mechanic and he readjusted the timing and told me that there was alot of carbon he had to clean out of the carb and that my air/fuel sensor was very gummed up too. He ended up soaking the sensor and was able to get it to work again. I did try 93 octane gas and now im runing a tank of 89 octane I also ran a whole bottle of Redline Fuel System Cleaner. Any other ideas of additives that might help cure this ill? Could it be something as simple as the timing being off again?

Thanks for your ideas/suggestions. I LOVE THIS CAR!

Andrew Conti


I've never done it myself but some people swear by decarbonization by adding small amounts of water into intake of running engine, carefully and slow so the engine would not hydrolock. Google for the procedure. Same people also use seafoam or brake fluid.

Guest my911cab

YIKES! I dont think I would be up for trying that. I called my mechanic today (local gas station wrench) told me to keep driving the car on the highways to clean out the carbon. There has to be a better solution?

Pick yourself up a couple of bottles of Marvel Mystery Oil (MMO), widely available at auto/part stores.

Put half a bottle in each of your next fillups.

Bet your problem is solved by 2 tanks (then you can use the other bottle as directed, for maintenance). default_laugh

If it were my car, I would change the fuel filter, try running higher octane fuel for a few tanks, and get some red line fuel injector cleaner.

Carbon build up is one cause of pinging, but so is not getting enough fuel. With such low miles, surly the car has sat for a long time and had time for fluids to sit and turn in to nasty stuff. The fuel filter and injectors could be gummed up.

Guest my911cab

Thanks for the MM advice! My car is carburated. The mechanic changed out all of the fuel filters and air filters I already ran a bottle of Redline Fuel System Cleaner and I am on my second tank of 91 octane. I am still getting pinging and its driving me nuts! Im wondering if anyone knows the correct factory specs for setting the timing?

As I recall, the timing for your 4A engine is 5 deg before TDC. For the fuel injected 4AFE, it is 10 deg before TDC (with the appropriate terminals in the "check connector" box hooked together and the radiator fan not running.) I will look up the numbers tonight to make sure. I wonder why there is such a big difference in those specs.

Guest my911cab

THANK YOU! I have not been able to find the correct timing specifications for my mechanic. If the timing is off the car will ping? Correct?

The timing procedure for the 4A-F (which is not fuel injected)

Disconnect the vaccum hoses from the distributor sub-diaphram and plug the hose ends.

Set the idle speed: 750 RPM for Manual Transmission, 850 RPM for Automatic Transmission.

Set the timing to 5 deg before top dead center.

Check the behavior of the timing as follows:

Unplug the hose ends and reconnect the hoses to the distributor sub-diaphram.

Check that the timing changes to 10 to 16 deg before top dead center (at the same RPMS as above).

Guest my911cab

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

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