Spins, pumps, sparks, but no start - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Corolla 7th Generation (1993-1997) Specific discussion of the 7th generation

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post #1 of 47 Old 05-11-2019, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Spins, pumps, sparks, but no start

Car is a '94 Geo Prizm FI/1.8/AT.

I see there have been prior Prizm questions on this Forum, so I hope it's OK to post another one here.
Car was running fine. Then sputtered & died. Full tank. Good compression. Getting fuel pressure and spark.
Suspect crank sensor, which on this car is in the distributor. Would that allow pump and spark, but kill the injection? Unfortunately, since a move last year, I've misplaced my Haynes Corolla manual.
Any diagnostic tips?

Thanks, Mark D.

Last edited by Mark D.; 05-11-2019 at 01:07 PM.
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post #2 of 47 Old 05-11-2019, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D. View Post
Car is a '94 Geo Prizm FI/1.8/AT.

I see there have been prior Prizm questions on this Forum, so I hope it's OK to post another one here.
Car was running fine. Then sputtered & died. Full tank. Good compression. Getting fuel pressure and spark.
Suspect crank sensor, which on this car is in the distributor. Would that allow pump and spark, but kill the injection? Unfortunately, since a move last year, I've misplaced my Haynes Corolla manual.
Any diagnostic tips?

Thanks, Mark D.
I think you nailed it!
Crank sensor sets the ignition timing, supply the RPM signal, and determine engine speed. ... without the crank sensor the computer won't know when to fire a specific injector. Car won't start or will experience extreme difficulty starting.
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post #3 of 47 Old 05-11-2019, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdspeed View Post
I think you nailed it!
Crank sensor sets the ignition timing, supply the RPM signal, and determine engine speed. ... without the crank sensor the computer won't know when to fire a specific injector. Car won't start or will experience extreme difficulty starting.
I hope you're right. My only reservation is - would a faulty crank sensor kill the injectors, but still allow spark? Not in a big hurry yet, so I'll keep looking for my Haynes. Meanwhile, any other thoughts & opinions are welcome.

Thanks, Mark D.
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post #4 of 47 Old 05-11-2019, 03:05 PM
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Is your distributor an adjustable one from the factory? What brand is it? What's base timing at? Do you have a timing light available?
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post #5 of 47 Old 05-11-2019, 05:08 PM
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I think '94 was pre-OBD2 and had both G and NE sensors in distributor (no CPS/CAS at all).
Either sensor being out-of-whack would result in no fuel and no spark.
Here's guide to test distributor sensors and coil. Note multiple generations shown, select tests for your specific model:
https://www.autozone.com/repairinfo/...00c1528006ef7b
https://www.autozone.com/repairinfo/...00c152800b8b92


Test fuel-injector circuit:

1. disconnect all injector connectors
2. key ON, test for +12v on one terminal of each injector connector (should be 0v on other)

Power circuit to injectors is independent of ECU and any distributor functions.
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post #6 of 47 Old 05-11-2019, 10:50 PM
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You can pick up a noid light, which plugs in in place of an injector(s), and tells you if the injector(s) is/are getting the command to fire/spray, from the computer.

Alternately, you can rig up a stethoscope and hold it to the injector housing(s) and see if you hear the injector snapping as it opens and closes.

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post #7 of 47 Old 05-11-2019, 11:11 PM
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Yup, 'noid light:
Amazon Amazon
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post #8 of 47 Old 05-12-2019, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks.
Forecast here is rain all day. Will try to get a noid light and find my Haynes & timing-light. Yes, it's pre OBD-II.
From what I'm reading here - if it has no injector function, but does have spark, the problem isn't the distributor.

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post #9 of 47 Old 05-12-2019, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D. View Post
Thanks.
Forecast here is rain all day. Will try to get a noid light and find my Haynes & timing-light. Yes, it's pre OBD-II.
From what I'm reading here - if it has no injector function, but does have spark, the problem isn't the distributor.

Mark D.
Correct. If the noid light does not flash then you're missing either the PCM ground to the injector (which turns on/off) or the constant power from the fuse/relay.
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post #10 of 47 Old 05-12-2019, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Correct. If the noid light does not flash then you're missing either the PCM ground to the injector (which turns on/off) or the constant power from the fuse/relay.
Just the info I needed. Until I find my timing-light or manual, I can certainly check for power at an injector.
May even get enough break in the rain to do that today!

Thanks again, Mark D.
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post #11 of 47 Old 05-12-2019, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark D. View Post
Just the info I needed. Until I find my timing-light or manual, I can certainly check for power at an injector.
May even get enough break in the rain to do that today!

Thanks again, Mark D.
Being a 94 the injectors are fired in pairs, sequential injection didn't start till midway through the 95 model year or maybe for 96. All 4 injectors will have one wire that's the same color, this is power. 2 injectors will have a differently colored wire and then another two will also have a differently colored wire. I believe the grouping is staggered, so cylinder 1 will have an injector from group 1, cylinder 2 will have one from group 2, 3 will have an injector from group 1, and 4 will have an injector from group 2. If all 4 injectors are not producing fuel the likely cause is a lack of power and the likely cause of the that is either a blown fuse or an open circuit that's not a blown fuse. I don't recall if the injector power feed also powers other things, but I believe that it does.
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post #12 of 47 Old 05-12-2019, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitter View Post
Being a 94 the injectors are fired in pairs, sequential injection didn't start till midway through the 95 model year or maybe for 96. All 4 injectors will have one wire that's the same color, this is power. 2 injectors will have a differently colored wire and then another two will also have a differently colored wire. I believe the grouping is staggered, so cylinder 1 will have an injector from group 1, cylinder 2 will have one from group 2, 3 will have an injector from group 1, and 4 will have an injector from group 2. If all 4 injectors are not producing fuel the likely cause is a lack of power and the likely cause of the that is either a blown fuse or an open circuit that's not a blown fuse. I don't recall if the injector power feed also powers other things, but I believe that it does.
This is the kind of detail that probably isn't available even in the factory manual.

Thanks again, Mark D.
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post #13 of 47 Old 05-12-2019, 07:29 PM
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Does the check engine light come on when you first turn the key to ON? If it doesn't that a sure sign that a fuse is probably blown (ECU maybe?).

If the light works, then have you checked for any stored engine fault codes? The procedure is in this thread. If you've disconnected the battery since this all began then the codes will be cleared.

How to check "check engine" codes on a 1993 Corolla base?

The distributor has the coil that generates the spark and 2 sensors (G & NE) that get sent to the ECU. Those sensor signals are basically the equivalent of cam and crank position sensors. And I can't remember if the igniter on 93-95 is located in the distributor or externally. On 96-97 it's external. Anyway, there are other things in the distributor that can go bad while the distributor is still creating a spark.

And after the coil generates the spark a signal gets sent back to the igniter then on to the computer. If the computer doesn't receive this signal it cuts the pulses to the injectors to prevent unburned fuel from going through the exhaust.

These last few things are getting ahead of ourselves. Check for injector power and pulses, and check for engine codes first. You're taking the correct approach by testing things first to isolate where the problem is.

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And don't forget, you should be able to use some mechanical means to listen and be able to hear if the injectors are snapping, in lieu of any new-fangled electronic gizmos...

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post #15 of 47 Old 05-12-2019, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrZ View Post
Does the check engine light come on when you first turn the key to ON? If it doesn't that a sure sign that a fuse is probably blown (ECU maybe?).

If the light works, then have you checked for any stored engine fault codes? The procedure is in this thread. If you've disconnected the battery since this all began then the codes will be cleared.

How to check "check engine" codes on a 1993 Corolla base?

The distributor has the coil that generates the spark and 2 sensors (G & NE) that get sent to the ECU. Those sensor signals are basically the equivalent of cam and crank position sensors. And I can't remember if the igniter on 93-95 is located in the distributor or externally. On 96-97 it's external. Anyway, there are other things in the distributor that can go bad while the distributor is still creating a spark.

And after the coil generates the spark a signal gets sent back to the igniter then on to the computer. If the computer doesn't receive this signal it cuts the pulses to the injectors to prevent unburned fuel from going through the exhaust.

These last few things are getting ahead of ourselves. Check for injector power and pulses, and check for engine codes first. You're taking the correct approach by testing things first to isolate where the problem is.
All this information will be very useful to prevent me from just throwing parts at it.
Some additional information - this car belongs to a friend. Two months ago, I replaced his rusted, leaking gas tank, and went ahead and installed a new Nippondenso fuel pump and strainer.
Last Thursday night, it died right after leaving the gas station where he just filled his tank. He assumed the new fuel pump had quit. Saturday, before the rain started, I pulled the access cover over the tank and cracked open the fuel fitting. A strong jet of gas shot out when I turned the key. So next I checked and found a strong spark at #1 plug wire. I plan on checking several things, including what's been suggested here, but it looks like rain again for much of tomorrow. Meanwhile, he does have another car to drive.
However, today he tells me that a tanker was finishing unloading gas where he filled up. So I'm also going to attach a hose and have the fuel pump fill a clear bottle, to see if these's any water present.

Thanks again for all the information. Mark D.
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