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2000 Corolla Barely Idles, No Response To Throttle?

by TomGibson, July 16, 2015

I've had problems with this car before, but with the help I received here was able to get it running smoothly again.

Recently it started having problems again, and it got to where I couldn't start it. I changed the spark plugs, and with several tries and some starter fluid I was able to get it running, but it sounds like it's barely idling, and no matter how far I depress the accelerator there is no change. I got it to start again, no starter fluid but still difficult, and I find that the only way that the only effect it has is to cause the engine to stall when I lift my foot off the pedal.

Any ideas?

Couple of things pop into mind to check:

- bad MAF sensor will cause a hard start condition as well as not maintain idle / accelerate, can try cleaning it out - see if that does something, usually if they are suspect and looks clean, just have to replace them.

- bad TPS sensor on the throttlebody itself can cause the same issues - can be checked with a multimeter, just to see if the TPS values are changing. If you have access to a data logging / real-time acquisition scanner - you can check on its operation through the diagnostic port. Wouldn't be a bad idea to check on the TB and maybe even give it a good cleaning - couldn't hurt.

- possible bad igniter, you can pull each out and check for good spark (can be done old school - plug firmly inserted into the igniter, ground sparkplug to a good chassis ground, igniter plugged into the harness - have a buddy briefly crank the engine - should see a good spark). Can also crank the car for a couple of seconds (assuming it doesn't want to start) with known dry or clean plugs in it - then quickly remove the plugs and note of any are soaked with gas, those are the ones that are not getting a spark or have a weak/intermittent spark.

- could be clogged or dying injector(s) - could of ways to see if the solenoid is actually "clicking" on and off on the injector, but to really see if it is working or not - have to pull them out and bench test them. Can use the plug check trick above to see if an injector is dead or not - if all the plugs are evenly wet - then the injectors are good. If a coupe are dry, you can try swapping the igniters with ones that had wet plugs - see if the igniter is bad or the injector is faulty.

- this could be a sign of something more serious, especially since you had to resort to starting fluid to start it up. Could be just fouled plugs and you needed the starting fluid to get the engine to run long enough to clean them off. Possible that compression is bad in one or more cylinders - if this is the case, then all the stuff above won't help you. But for something like this - I usually start with a compression test, if I have ready access to a gauge - if compression is shot, I stop the diagnostic process and stand back to view what the next steps are: tear down and rebuild, engine swap, or dump the car. But since your car ran OK before, I'm leaning toward that the compression is likely OK. If you are able to check - this would be something I'd get done first, at the very least, just to baseline the engine's health.

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