Help needed -- gremlin living in Paseo - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums

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post #1 of 6 Old 04-21-2017, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Help needed -- gremlin living in Paseo

After twenty five years and 310,000 miles of service, my Paseo is begging for retirement. Unfortunately, I didn't take my own advice and just pumped a lot of cash into this car (never get emotionally attached to a car), so if anyone can possibly suggest how I can fix it just one last time I would greatly appreciate it. Prices rise each day and I just need one more year out of her.

A few months ago, the car suddenly would not catch -- it would turn over fine and strong, but would not fire. After a trip to the junk yard, I came back with $4 worth of igniters and coils, replaced the ones in the car, and it started right up.

Now, it is doing the same thing, so at the advice of my mechanic I put a brand new coil and distributor cap on, and also tried a few used igniters (ignition modulators), but absolutely would not fire.

I thought of eveything I could but finally took a look at the 15 amp "ignition" fuse and saw that it was blown. I then put another in but it and another blew the second I would try to start the car. I cannot figure out what could have happened -- - a short somewhere in the ignition? In the distributor?? And why will the starter work but the distributor not fire???

I will add two things: (1) the car overheated two weeks ago and for a few days I had to add coolant constantly. A new water pump by my mechanic solved it, but it started running funky during that deluge of coolant. (2) the mechanic had to work around a lot of stuff, and I noticed that a ground wire from the fuel injector was replaced and looks properly grounded. But could he have funked up something else??

As I said, I am desperate here... in four days I need to move this thing to an off-street spot or it will be towed, and it was running better than ever before this gremlin got into the car, so thank any of you in advance for your thoughts and suggestions...

- Don
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-21-2017, 01:30 AM
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Is there a capacitor on the outside of the distributor? Those tend to dry out with age and will eventually short out.

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post #3 of 6 Old 04-21-2017, 09:50 AM
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Hi, welcome to TN! We'll get your Paseo running!

The mechanic may have shorted the power-line to the injectors which also powers the ignition. By default, these circuits are NOT grounded like old fashioned systems or lights. They should have constant +12v power all the time. The ECU doesn't send a +12v pulse to fire injectors or coil, it grounds them momentarily. So any other grounds would be a short with constant power flow and blow fuses.

1. Find a better mechanic
2. Download FSM from Toyota for $15, trace wiring and restore to stock condition yourself
3. Throw away new coil and distributor cap
4. Go to junkyard and get OEM brand DENSO coil and distributor cap (or pay your left kidney @ dealership)

Please review these threads:List of confirmed distributor-at-fault issues

Summary: ONLY use OEM DENSO distributor and parts. Your problem most likely was ignition-coil and simply replacing with Denso unit will fix problem.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-21-2017, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to you both and I greatly appreciate your comments and will look into both. Corolla, there is a capacitor... I replaced it with the previous distributor that came with it attached from the junkyard.


Danno, I well understand what you are saying about Denso and have always agreed... this Paseo is our eleventh Toyota over the past 35 years... I drove many to 300,000 (all rear drive 1st and 2nd gen Celicas) and would use only Denso parts and plugs. But Danno I'm wondering how I can apply what you told me about the grounding of the injectors... should I then disconnect that ground the mechanic ran to the fender, or look for possible damage other injector or ignition wiring?? I'm assuming the FSM is a wiring diagram, which I have been trying to find. I have to admit that electrical issues of any sort have always been my downfall, but I'll be darned if I'll give up on this car.


I do have access to a self-service salvage yard that is always full of Tercels and occasionally has Paseos, so I can grab anything I need if you have further suggestions... and thanks again.
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post #5 of 6 Old Yesterday, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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After reading the historic threads suggested, I realize that the distributor may well be the problem, and am heading to the junkyard now. I've never replaced one before and know its alignment is crucial, so if anyone can point to a tutorial for doing it or a Youtube video, please let me know.

Thanks
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post #6 of 6 Old Yesterday, 03:53 PM
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FSM = official field service manual used by mechanics at the dealership

Yes, not just disconnect, but also remove the added ground wires to injector harness. Remove ANY non-factory wiring. Then unplug all injector connectors and test for +12v on one terminal of each one when key is ON. The other terminal should have 0v.

After '86, all Toyota distributors have automatic alignment, so just stick in and that's it.
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