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2004 Corolla with 71,000 miles. Its been hard to start lately. Cranks over fine, just doesn't want to fire up right away.

Looking for a common issue before I begin testing the temp sensor and fuel pressure. Is there a schrader valve on the fuel rail to hook up the gauge?

Unfortunately, no schrader valve on the fuel rail like in the older generations. To check fuel pressures - you have to get a SST (special service tool) to "t" into the hard line feeding into the fuel rail. Fuel pressure regulator, fuel pump, and fuel filter are all on the pump assembly - all inside the gas tank. To get to them, you'll have to get to the access cover under the rear seat and pull the assembly up from there.

Note that being a returnless fuel system setup - it will only deliver gas on demand - so by design, it will crank a few more revolutions compared to the previous return type fuel systems. My 3rd gen Camry will fire right up just bumping the key - my 2002 Corolla, 2009 Matrix, 2009 Rav4 and 2016 Rav4 - all crank 3-4 times before they fire.

If yours is cranking way more than that - I'd look into easier explainations than testing the ECT and fuel pressures. Possible that the plugs might be fouled or excessively worn, should last about 120K miles under normal condition, but I've seen cases where they worn way earlier than that. Could be a bad tank of gas / water on the bottom of the tank. Weak charging system / poor chassis grounds - pretty common with a car of this age and mileage - the 1ZZ-FE engine is very sensitive to electrical noise. Fouled throttle body / plugged PCV / clogged air filter can cause induction issues that pop up when you try and start the car.

If all those easy things check out - then I'd jump into testing the sensors, O2 sensors, check for vacuum leaks, etc.


Vacuum leak very common at intake manifold gasket, particularly when engine is cold. Replace with revised orange silicone gasket # 17171-22060 (Victor-Reinz # MS19590).





Thank you for the ideas and the link to the "How to". I remember watching a video about that issue on you tube where South Main Auto covered how to replace that gasket. There is no lean or misfire codes, but I will check the fuel trim reading.

I have noticed another strange thing. I will be sitting at a red light and sometimes the idle will pickup and then the car lurches like it wants to go.


Yeah, just replace the gasket... Make sure is orange silicone gasket # 17171-22060, or Victor Reinz # MS19590.