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1988 Camry LE
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

This car was given to me from a friend who had left the car sitting outside for about 8 months.

The battery died, and he never bothered to charge it to start the car every couple weeks.

The last known symptoms that I heard from him were, the car would idle, but when you go to put it in gear, it would die.

He took it into a mechanic and he said the flywheel was gone.

So, he left the car sit and gave it to me. Aside from getting too deep into the car - I thought I would ask people who may have had experience with this.

So far what has been done to the car. (the basics)
1) Plugs cleaned (they were really black and the gap was huge)
2) Distributor had a ton of caked corrosion on the leads inside.
3) Needs new spark plug cables
4) All the fuses are aok.
5) The gas is old. (should I syphon it?)
6) Needs 1 quart of oil.
7) New battery (540 cca)
8) When you try to turn it over, it will back fire twice after you release the key.
9) There is spark to each cable. (didn't check resistance)

Thinking its the timing belt. As far as I know from talking with my friend the belt has never been changed.

Any suggestions before I jump in?

Thanks
Rene
 

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i think its the belt too..maybe thats whats causing that backfiring..the belt could be missing a tooth or 2. also check to make sure its getting fuel.

quick way:
disconnect the top of the fuel filter and turn the key to start it for a second..make sure there are no leaks in the spark plug wires and that you have a fire extinguisher nex to you. Once you hear -pitter--patter- (gasoline hitting the pavement) then you know the fuel pump is good.

now hook everything backup and disconnect your spark plug wires from the distributor cap, and take out your spark plugs. Get a clean white handkerchief and stuff it into the hole(not into the cylinder chamber. Also make sure that you position it so you can take it out)Now have your friend turn the key trying to start the motor. after 4 seconds pull the handerkerchief and smell it. also feel it to see if it is wet with gasoline. if it is then your getting fuel.



Let us know how this goes...if everything is ok in this area then we'll try somethig else.
 

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1988 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks kene, will try it - but I think I am getting fuel.

Before I read what you posted on the forum I was working on the car.

I managed to get it started - except.

The only way I was able to get it started holding the gas all the way down to the floor, and it would only catch when I release the key. But it would not catch while turning it over.

I had it running for 10 seconds with my foot to the floor. It sounded like a sick lawnmower so I stopped.

Any clues? - I figure its the timing.

This is gonna be the first car I do any major work on - especially since it was free. So I may not fully understand what you are saying if you use special lingo. I have the Haynes manual and have all the tools I will need.

Thanks
 

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1988 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #4
In my little bit of spare time I cleaned up the plugs, rotor and some other stuff. I wanted to check TDC to see if #1 was lining up. Well, I get the notch to 0 degrees and check #1 - the rotor is pointed to #4. The funny thing is ... the car actually starts. But only runs on #4 amazingly. Plug 1, 2, 3 are clean - no carbon deposits.

So its looks likes its 180 out. Sooo I am wondering if someone was in the car and decided to play with whatever.

I think it was in a mechanic shop before when my friend had it so who knows what they did to the car at the shop. The car was running before it went in apparently, but when it came out it was not.

So what does anyone suggest, should I go about realigning it all, replace the timing belt, or can it be fixed another way - i.e turn the distributor shaft 180?

Thanks
Rene

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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so you tell me what to do instead. ^.^
 

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Not so Noob now!
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564 Posts
Phobos said:
I wanted to check TDC to see if #1 was lining up. Well, I get the notch to 0 degrees and check #1 - the rotor is pointed to #4.
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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so you tell me what to do instead. ^.^
The crank turns twice to once for the dist. So if you turn your crank 1 full rotation your rotor should be pointing at #1.

You might double check the connections to the airflow sensor and make sure you are trying to start the engine with the intake attached to it.
 

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Grenaded piston
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Phobos said:
So what does anyone suggest, should I go about realigning it all, replace the timing belt, or can it be fixed another way - i.e turn the distributor shaft 180?
1. Check the alignment of the timing belt.

You'll have to remove the upper timing belt cover to do this.

When #1 is at TDC the cams should also be at TDC. You might need to rotate the crank 2 full turns (TDC to TDC) to get the cams back to TDC.

This is because the cams rotate at half the speed of the crank. IE: when the crank does a full rotation (360 degrees), the cams only rotate (180 degrees).

Its a 4 stroke engine, so it takes 720 degrees (2 full rotations of the crank) of crank rotation for a full compression and exhaust cycle.


http://yotarepair.com/3S-FEtimingbelt.html


2. Check the distributor.
 

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Sounds like a timing issue, fouled plugs or all of the above.

1. Your friend never changed the timing belt.

That’s a good place to start, even if it doesn’t solve the problem it’s a service that is not only required but will help you eliminate that as the problem.;) After you install the belt correctly check the compression!!!

2. The car has been sitting for 8+ months.

Gasoline won’t go "bad" that quickly but it can get contaminated. If you have means to drain the tank fresh fuel won’t hurt anything.

3. Spark plugs were black.

That tells us the car did run at some point and then started to go south. If the timing belt was skipping around that could be the reason. Also a weak erratic spark can lead to fouled plugs.

Since the car was "given" to you a $20 timing belt, $5 worth of plugs, $14 fuel filter, few bucks of clean gas and a afternoon with nothing better to do might leave you with a running car.

If that doesn’t cure it you can look deeper into a weak spark since we will know everything else checks out. My car was acting similar to yours everything checked out even had spark when it should have and even looked decent on the tester but it wasn’t.
 

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1988 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks a bunch for your replies. Will work on it over the next while and let you know what I find.

Rene
 

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1988 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #9
Come on. Be a nice camry now.

Thenks for you all your help, and well its working er was after I replaced the basics.

Basicly just help my foot to the floor with some pumping and turned it over for 30 seconds and it finally caught. Tons of blue smoke.
This is after replacing Cables and distributor, and rotor, and plugs etc. Fillled the tank and ran injector cleaner through it. Refilled tank and then....

Had it out on the highway and it has tons of kick, accelerates really well and was idling, rather purring at 700 rpm. However I took it to a car wash, and after I got it home and was just idleing it, it started to sputter... and then died. Now it won't start at all. Turning it over when I release the key from starting... it sounds like it tries to catch once or twice

Guessing fuel pump or lack of fuel? There is plenty of gas. Oil was just changed, antifreeze and transmission fluid as well. I do know that the thermostat is needing to be replaced.

Is there an easy way to check the fuel pump / is the camry notorious for this?
Anyone have any suggestions.

Waiting for the snow to melt... :smokin:
Thanks
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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8,767 Posts
Ignition coil.
 

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Yeah, I'd also say the ignition coil. I took my distributor out yesterday to replace the o-ring, and discovered my coil's case somehow exploded/cracked, warping the cap, and is full of oil and junk.

My symptoms: Crank the engine over until your arm falls off. When it starts to catch here and there, keep the starter going until the engine's firing or it'll stall. Once it's going, it runs well. I'm going to fix it tomorrow morning.

They're fairly inexpensive, and easy to replace.
 

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1988 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks I will check that tomorrow.

Got it started today. Cleaned the plugs, they were black. Put a new fuel filter on today.

Idles great. If you hit the acclerator 1/4 - full it dies. But if I slowly press the accelerator down and gradually bring up the rpm its ok. Stumped. - Will check the distributor for moisture tomorrow.
 

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1988 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #13
Drugal , Success!!

Well popped off the distributor and lo and behold moisture in the cap. Check the bottom near where the spring loaded lead connects and it was seriously gunked up. Lots of rust and gunk caked on the lead. Dried out the cap. Also I popped off the rubber seal. It looks like if the car is not maintained very well (previous owners) there will be and can be a lot of corrosion buildup.. Needless, I scraped out all the corrosion and cleaned the rubber seal. Fits on there really nice now. Purrs like a kitten now at 600rpm. No shudder in the engine at all. And it accelerates saweet now.

Next projects :hammer: clean the injectors. Installing Clarion stereo system.

:confused: Is it advisable to disconnect all the hoses and clean them out? Or just replace therm? Or if it ain't broke don't fix it. Just considering preventative maintenance.

Also, if the hoses were removed and any are specially fitted etc, should / is there any compound that I should use to seal the hoses on?

Thanks for all your help.
Lovin' my camry :smokin:
 

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If it aint broke, don't fix it. Just add some type of dissolvant to the tank like Seafoam, Auto-RX, or Techron.


I like Seafoam. It's $5 a can and has a good half dozen uses.
 
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