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New Owner Kills Corolla - Help!



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Just bought my first Toyota. Here's the facts:

'94 Corolla DX; 175k miles; runs real good; would crank with just a bump of the key.

So . . . being so smart and all . . . . I decide to clean the engine (it was nasty) and change filters, etc.

Go to car wash, choose "engine cleaner" (just as I have with all my cars); wash motor and rinse.

Car then cranks fine; runs about 1/2 mile and starts skipping. So, I assume water somewhere; car gets worse the longer I go. Finally, it won't even pull up a slight hill.

AND, I BEGIN SMELLING SOMETHING BURNING! (not good). Cut car off and notice carpet below the shifter on both sides has melted. (I poured water on it to cool it off). This must be where the Cat Converter is.

Car wouldn't crank back up; I assumed water in dist cap or the like. Pull off the dist cap -- no water, BUT rotor has chip and cap terminals corroded. I scratched them clean and re-tried to crank. Car cranked but was skipping bad. Began pulling of plug wires to check for water. One plug wire came apart.

Went to get new wires and decided to get new cap and rotor, also. Installed all new wires, cap, rotor. (this took a while to go get and install)

Car cranked right up! Yeah!! . . . . so I thought. Went to get help to drive it home. When we get back car cranks but dies when put in gear. Car then cranks again but skips and runs poorly, cutting of when put in gear. Then, it gets to where it won't crank at all.

HELP????

Why did the Cat Convert get so hot? Is it possible that the Cat is clogged up?

When the Cat Converter got so hot, did it damage a sensor or something?

Should I look for more water somewhere else?

Should I set it on fire and collect the insurance? (oops . . . don't have comprehensive, darn!)

Please send help . . . . .

Thanks

Sounds like you did a good job on your car (sarcastic).

I usually keep the car running when I use engine degreaser and then wash it with a hose.

I have never had any problems.

I try not to spray the alternator, batter, fuse boxes, or distributor.

I have never had water in the catalytic converter.

I always run the car as I dry it off with a rag (towel) and it burns off the extra degrease and water.

The engine gets cleaner and runs fine.

You must have water in a place that should not be wet.

Try starting it and keep it running until it gets hot and everything dries out.

I don't know how your carpet would have started to get hot - there is a heat shield between the exhaust and the body of the car.

Is your car a standard?

Cat converters overheat easily when you have one (or more default_huh ) cylinders not firing. The air/fuel goes out the motor then the catalyst acts like an afterburner. As long as the substrate didn't crack or melt, it will be OK.

Did you check the spark plug wells? There is a lot of room for water to pool in there, and the plug wires would help seal it in.

I'm not sure what "standard" means. It's automatic. But it did get really hot there! I've not looked under to see if anything (heat shield) has been altered or removed. Only had the car 2 days.

I did try to blow out around the spark plugs. I didn't think there was enough water there to get up to the spark plug end.

I did drag it home last night, so I'll try it again this morning.

I had an '62 VW that used to do this when I washed it. Pull the dist cap and dry everything off and it did fine. Their dist was pretty vulnerable anyway.

Funny how the Corolla would seem to run worse the longer it ran. Wouldn't it begin to run better if it was only water. Seems water would begin to dry up and become less of a problem?

Yeah, I tried doing this to one of my past Probes, and it started missing really bad, and I think I smelled something too. All I did was remove the wires from the spark plugs, and blow out the spark plug wells with an air gun, which eventually got all the water out. I dont think ill ever try to spray an engine again. Water just seems so wrong there, lol.

Well, to be safe I covered the alternator, battery, spark plug wires, and distributor with each a trash bag... I know it's kinda ghetto but it's safer for me and you won't have to be worried about getting water inside anywhere fragile..

Well, to be safe I covered the alternator, battery, spark plug wires, and distributor with each a trash bag... I know it's kinda ghetto but it's safer for me and you won't have to be worried about getting water inside anywhere fragile..

Thats definitely safer if youre gonna hose your engine down. Ive also heard of people steam cleaning it, dunno how well that works, though.

I've never had a problem using the degreasing/spraying with water treatment.

The trick is to keep it running and then dry it off as the engine also heats the excess water off.

Covering the alternator and not spraying on electrical components helps as well.

All better now . . .

Fri morning, car cranked enough to move it around. Still running ruff.

Pulled the plugs and cleaned them. Noticed that the plug gaps were much larger than I ever remembered seeing. (Remember I'm a diesel guy and haven't seen plugs in quite a while).

Car cranked and seemed to run fine. Pulled it out and began detailing it, inside and out. I thought my problems were over.

Was going to take it to the parts place to get light bulbs, etc. Well . . . didn't even make it out of the subdivision before it began running bad again.

Went and got new plugs, installed them (didn't set the gap - don't have a guage) And . . . . low and behold . . . it runs fine! Actually took the wife out to eat last night in it.

The old plugs were eaten up. Wide gap . . . the prong was very thin. I wonder why they would have burnt up so bad.

By the way, should I try to set the gap on the plugs or is the factory setting OK?

All better now . . .

Fri morning, car cranked enough to move it around. Still running ruff.

Pulled the plugs and cleaned them. Noticed that the plug gaps were much larger than I ever remembered seeing. (Remember I'm a diesel guy and haven't seen plugs in quite a while).

Car cranked and seemed to run fine. Pulled it out and began detailing it, inside and out. I thought my problems were over.

Was going to take it to the parts place to get light bulbs, etc. Well . . . didn't even make it out of the subdivision before it began running bad again.

Went and got new plugs, installed them (didn't set the gap - don't have a guage) And . . . . low and behold . . . it runs fine! Actually took the wife out to eat last night in it.

The old plugs were eaten up. Wide gap . . . the prong was very thin. I wonder why they would have burnt up so bad.

By the way, should I try to set the gap on the plugs or is the factory setting OK?

The gap on new plugs is usually fairly close, but it is best to get a tool and gap them exactly.

 

 

Smelling a lot of exhaust fumes in the car now. I think it may have burned a hole in the CAT or melted the gaskets. Looking for a new CAT today.

Unless the plug gap is not large enough and not creating a large enough spark, and causing it to run a little rich.

Smelling a lot of exhaust fumes in the car now. I think it may have burned a hole in the CAT or melted the gaskets. Looking for a new CAT today.

Unless the plug gap is not large enough and not creating a large enough spark, and causing it to run a little rich.

Check for cracks or leaks in the exhaust system and look for smoke leaking out.

 

I have also seen cracked exhaust manifolds and the fumes can come out thru the crack.

I think it's going to be around the CAT or it's gaskets. I didn't smell anything before the "burning a hole in the carpet" experience.

Thanks for the replies.

I think it's going to be around the CAT or it's gaskets. I didn't smell anything before the "burning a hole in the carpet" experience.

Thanks for the replies.

Could it be the smell of burnt carpet, or does it come and go as you run the engine?

 

 

OK - had a new CAT put on yesterday. The old one was really distroyed!!! Looked like someone had beat the inside with a hammer! Small parts of it are now in the muffler! The exhaust smell apparently came because exhaust couldn't get throuch the CAT and was leaking out at all gaskets.

The exhaust and carpet smell is gone now. I cleaned the inside real good.

All is well, running good, I guess I should buy a gap tool and set the plug gaps though.

Thanks for all the replies and tips!!!

Moral of the story - - When your car is not running right, DON"T try to force it to get you home!!!! The CAT got SO HOT the carpet melted through the floor pan and through a heat sheild!!!!! It had to be REALLY, REALLY HOT!!!!!

OK - had a new CAT put on yesterday. The old one was really distroyed!!! Looked like someone had beat the inside with a hammer! Small parts of it are now in the muffler! The exhaust smell apparently came because exhaust couldn't get throuch the CAT and was leaking out at all gaskets.

The exhaust and carpet smell is gone now. I cleaned the inside real good.

All is well, running good, I guess I should buy a gap tool and set the plug gaps though.

Thanks for all the replies and tips!!!

Moral of the story - - When your car is not running right, DON"T try to force it to get you home!!!! The CAT got SO HOT the carpet melted through the floor pan and through a heat sheild!!!!! It had to be REALLY, REALLY HOT!!!!!

Where did you get the cat and how much was it?