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1989 All-Trac Sedan Stall

By Guest Brendan, August 29, 2009 in Pre-1997 Toyota Corolla and Geo Prizm

Guest Brendan

Driving in the city today, my 89 Corolla stalled twice, in short order. The whole story:

When I started the car, it turned over, but took a long time to catch. The first several blocks I drove, there were no problems. After I had to stop at a light, it started in 1st gear fine, but when I went to shift to second (I drive a standard transmission), something in the drive train felt like it got "caught" for a few seconds. It sort of felt like the brakes were applied, and then released. There was no noise or grinding sensation. This happened twice, after two straight red lights.

The next red light I came to was on an incline, and the car stalled when I tried to start moving. In restarting, it again turned over easily, but took a while to catch. The next light was at a decline, and the car did the same thing. After I restarted it again, I turned around and drove home, making sure to give it plenty of gas coming out of stoplights and shifts, and I didn't have any problems. Transmission and clutch fluid levels check out fine.

Does anyone have any ideas what the issue could be?

I'm no über expert, but since I drive a similar car, maybe I can help. Could be any number of things. First, are there any "check engine" lights on the dash? If so, you need to open the hook, find the OBD I connector, jumper T1 to E1 (I use a paperclip for this; keep it handy in the car.) When jumpered, the CEL on the dash should flash the error code. Of course, OBD I was very limited in what it flags as being bad.

The "long time to catch" may be related to ignition/fuel system issues, such as your distributor/wires/plug, air flow or temperature sensors, or EFI/fuel delivery/fuel-air mixture (fuel filter, PCV valve, vacuum hoses). The latter can also cause problems while driving.

Electrical-ignition related: You should check the battery for a loose cable, plug wires for spark, that the boots fit well into their plugs, and that the wires have the proper resistance. Check all ground points, since the car's ground completes the circuit.

Does the car idle okay or is the idle rough? And when the engine does die, is it when the engine is sufficiently "hot" or when it is "cold"? If cold, you may want to check the cold start injector.

Leaky vacuum lines? Are there loose or leaking hoses? Did you check the gas cap gasket?

Fuel-related: It is also possible that the control unit is not activating the fuel pump. Clogged fuel filter? Is the throttle plate working correctly?

Carb or EFI? 4af or 4afe?

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