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Toyota Corolla 2003 D4D (81Kw) Cold Start Problem (-5 C)

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Hi all fellow Toyota owners,

I am new to these forums and I do not want to start my membership with a problem, but it seems that I will

I have a 7th gen toyota celica and 9th gen corolla. And since the cold weather came in last week, the corolla will either start very hard, or wont start at all. It has a D4D 81 kW engine. I changed the spark plugs, starter motor and battery last year and fuel and air filter not so long ago. Also the timing belt was changed by a mechanic a month ago but this is neither here nor there.

The corolla also starts a bit harder than other D4Ds during the summer (or in "+" C weather in general) also, but the real problems appear when temperature drops below 0 C.

The diesel used is also supposedly "winter" grade, from the pump, so that should not be a problem. I also made a video here:

Has anyone had similar experience or has a good advice? I already been in two repair shops and they could not diagnose the problem, because when the car heats up, all problems disappear, it drives well and starts well.

I have read that the SCV valve could cause this, but it also causes loss of power in high RPMs when it breaks, and I have not experienced that. One mechanic suggested changing injectors, but I do not see the connection here also

P.S. I have no troubles starting my Celica in any weather, so I have that going for me, oh well default_biggrin


They changed spark plugs on the D4D engine? Didn't know that particular diesel had spark plugs - if you meant glow plugs, that is very unusual, as those very rarely go bad.

Cold start with an diesel is hard - but most of the no start/hard to start issues come from fuel vaporization and the way these D4D engines are setup. Might need to verify the cetane rating of the fuel, make sure it actually is easier to light off.

You hit the other common issues - starter and battery. If the starter is knackered / battery is not up to snuff, they can quickly sap power from the SCV - causing them to not properly actuate - so you starve the engine for a little air / can't properly swirl the mix.

The high pressure common rail injectors could be at fault - if you search for leak back testing, sometimes the injectors can leak internally and not actually inject any fuel. There are tests that can be done to check on those - so don't fall into that parts swapping thing, as those injectors can be pretty expensive.


Thanks fishexpo101 for your reply.

I did mean glow plugs default_biggrin my mistake (this was also suggested by a mechanic).

This is the problem that I currently have:


As you can see, the battery was still good when I made that video. I also hear that there is some kind of temp sensor that supposedly regulates the fuel flow depending on the engine or coolant temperature. Does anyone know how can I check if maybe it is at fault hear?

BTW, I will see if I can get those injectors checked if everything else fails (I guess one more trip to some other mechanics shop is inevitable)

Definitely sounds/looks like a fuel supply issue. I think the sensor you mentioned is the ECT - engine coolant temperature sensor. Don't that familiar with that family of engines - as we don't get any of the diesels here in the US.

Possible it could be as simple as the winter grade of fuel accidentally has water in it. They add certain additives to the winter blend to prevent wax flakes from crystallizing in the fuel, plugging the filter/injectors. I've seen some places blend kerosene with diesel, instead of additives, sometimes the kerosene will have water in their main tanks.