2001 Echo Anomalous Hard Start - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-25-2016, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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2001 Echo Anomalous Hard Start

Just want to see if anyone else has run across this one . . . 2001 Echo that I bought new and drove for 11 years before giving it to my niece in 2012 with 25,000 miles (yes, 25K, not 250K; I ride a motorcycle unless it's snowing). The car is stock in every way and I always maintained it fanatically and kept it in a heated garage.

Once, probably midway through my ownership (so car was neither new nor 11 years old), it cranked and refused to start for at least 15 minutes first thing in the morning (needed to go to work). Eventually it started and ran perfectly; no codes were thrown, and it never repeated this performance. Since I am an engineer and a car enthusiast, I was never satisfied that I knew WHY it did this, and the best explanation I could come up with is that the evening before the episode, I did something I NEVER do. For some reason, I needed to do something in the garage bay normally occupied by the Echo, so after coming home from work and parking it in the garage, I ate dinner, pulled the car outside, shut it off, did my thing inside, then started the car and pulled it back in. That is, the car experienced two starts with only a few seconds' running before shutoff. I don't start cars unless I'm driving at least a few miles, so this was very unusual.

My niece had another car (a 2000 Echo I built from a wreck years ago), so in the past five years it's only accumulated another 12,000 miles. She just drove it from Kansas to Michigan for Christmas without incident. Then, last evening, this scenario was repeated. She drove it several miles to her mother's house, then after a while was asked to move it around in the driveway so another car could be moved. This morning, her stepfather called me to say that he had a very difficult time starting it and asked my advice.

Best I could say (since I'm over 300 miles away) is that I experienced it once before and questioned the car's status last time it was started and run. Again, after the car was started today, it has run perfectly, without any codes or trouble.

Is this something odd in the ECM's programming? Analogous to a flooded carburetor condition on an older car?

Again, this is a well-maintained, garaged, stock car.
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-31-2016, 01:08 AM
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Wow an Echo with 25k miles. That's amazing. I've got almost 287k on mine!
But as far as the random hard starts. It's hard to say. Sometimes cars are just weird like that. For example, I was driving my echo down the road at about 35 mph in my neighborhood a few months back. All of the sudden it just died and I feared the worst automatically. But the car started right back up, and is still running good to this day. That's the only time it has ever done anything like that. I just assumed maybe with +280k maybe it was a fuel pump hiccup or something or just simply bad gas.
But anyways, with any car there are just times when weird things happen, it could be bad gas or maybe the alignment of the stars, etc.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-04-2017, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the car's back at my garage now and I'm going over it, in preparation for it becoming another niece's car. Right now it has 39K miles (so it has actually covered 14K miles in five years; more than I ever ran it).

I have a lift and am spending a bit of time under it; there is very little corrosion to be seen, just surface rust on suspension parts. The paint is still in excellent shape other than a few scrapes. Today I pulled all the brakes apart to clean and lubricate the caliper pins, then flushed and bled all the lines (and the hydraulic clutch as well). Nothing bad going on at all.

I don't think bad gas can explain it unless in each case there was just a bubble of water that then passed, because before and after each event the car ran perfectly. Probably it's just a mystery I will never solve . . .

When I drove the car the other evening (my BIL drove it (to a nearby turnpike exit) from Michigan on their way through to Baltimore), I told my wife afterward that I wanted to just keep it for myself. That car runs so perfectly and is so satisfying . . .

But I don't need another car . . .
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-18-2017, 06:49 PM
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I had a similar issue one time and it turned out to be the fuel pump assembly. I tried to rebuild it but there were a lot of little parts missing from the repair manual and I couldn't put it back together the same way so I ended up buying a used one off a Scion XB (same fuel pump assembly). Car worked perfectly after that. Issue with old one was the fuel pressure regulator and the fuel filter and who knows what else.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-23-2017, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm just going to have to hope that this is an isolated problem, since the car is now about 250 miles away from here with my other niece. I drove it about 200 miles around here after performing some service on it, and it couldn't possibly have run better. I'm pleased to say that she does most of her own car maintenance, so I sent the factory manuals with her and if there's a problem, she can at least discuss it intelligently with me or with a mechanic there.
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