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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m having trouble with my daily driver.

It seems to be missing on one of the cylinders; loss of power, stumbles at all RPM ranges, just like a fouled plug.

Here’s what I have done…..

1996 2.2L 5s-fe with 175k miles, I’ve changed the oil with penzoil, religiously….new timing belt and water pump about 120k……no other problems with the car….ever

I put three new plug wires on it. I only put 3 on because I had three brand new ones. I had put one new one on about 6 months ago (on passenger side #1 cyl.???)

Didn’t help

Bought 4 new NGK plugs, gapped them at .44. Installed a new one in #1. Then put the original back into #1. Put the new one in #2…..did this one at a time in each cylinder hoping to find the cylinder or plug with the problem.

Didn’t help

I saw that the 3” or so intake hose (running from the throttle body to the air box) had a good sized tear in it where the hose is starting to dryrot. So, I pickup up a good one from the junk yard…..

Didn’t help

I put a new cap and rotor in it. The O-ring in the distributor is letting a little oil get onto the distributor. I took it out and it was completely dry inside. I didn’t replace the o-ring (didn’t have one…can do later)

Didn’t help

I pulled one plug wire at a time and placed a new plug in each so I could see if it was firing….each cylinder seemed to fire real good……

I took it to a shop that is a neighbor of mine…he does this for a living (I play with old hot rods and non computer cars so I’m lost with the modern stuff). He said cylinder #1 (passenger side??) was leaking under a compression check. He said he thought it was an intake valve and would be expensive. So, I brought it home and took a compression reading myself:

#1 (passenger side??) #2 #3 #4 (driver’s side??)
170-175 180-185 185 170-175

Two side notes:
The passenger side plug was gas soaked when I pulled it about half carbon on one side and white looking on the other….the other plugs where dry and had a little black buildup on them. When I first tried to diagnos the problem they were all nice and brownish white…clean

Also, about the same time this all started I had over-filled the engine with oil by about 2 quarts. I drove it for a day or two to work. Then, changed the oil, filter and put the correct 4 quarts in it.

where would you go from here? I hope I have been specific but not rambled. As you can see, I don’t contribute much but there are much smarter people here than I am.

Thanks for you help, my old truck makes 12mpg so I miss my camry!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
completely forgot....

before this all started, it sounded like i had an exhaust manifold leak...so i put a new one on and it quited mose of the exhaust noise.....it probably still has a hole in the exhaust pipe somewhere but it's hard to see with all that heat shield stuff on there....

don't know if this has anything to do with it......i don't think it pulled on the oxygen sensors in the manifold too hard before i pull them loose from the plugs....
 

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When did the problem start, after putting on the new timing belt? Try running down if the problem really is one cylinder. Remove the plug wires one at a time with the engine on to see if any cylinder is unaffected. If you replaced the gas soaked plug, how does the new one look now? If the plug is firing, might look at the injector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Some good points and I appreciate you responding to help me figure this out....I need this car and don't want to drop the cash on something else!

I haven't run it long enough with the new plugs to find anything........just test starts....

Sorry about not being clear...

The timing belt was put on around 120k.....it now has 175k.....the problem started about a week ago and I haven't been driving it...

All plugs seem to be firing quite well......I took each one out and grounded them and even reved the engine to be sure the fire wasn't breaking down under racing the engine.....each one looked to have great fire.....

Are there two injectors in the throttle body? Do I check them with an Ohm meter?

Again, thanks!
 

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Are there two injectors in the throttle body? Do I check them with an Ohm meter?


No, there a 4 injectors in the fuel rail, 1 for each cylinder. Your car has a multiport fuel injection system, not a throttle body injection system.

There are a couple of other things I can suggest.

First, your 96 car is OBD2 compliant. That means you can drive it to Autozone and they can check for stored codes in the ECU. It's a free service. Is the check engine light on? Has it ever come on? If it is a constant miss in cylinder number 1, you should at least have a code P0301 for misfire in cylinder number 1 or a code P0300 for a random misfire. If there are codes that they can pull, that might give you a place to start looking.

Second, you can check the coil inside the distributor with the specs from any manual and your DVM. With 175,000 miles on the car, the coil could be weak. There have been problems with the internal coils on the generation 2 (87-91) and generation 3 (92-96) Camrys. The coil may produce enough voltage to fire the plugs outside the engine, but not enough to fire them when they are under compression, inside the cylinders. There is a generation 3 manual posted at the top of the General Camry Forum that is available for free downloading, that willl give you the necessary specs. It may also give you some tests for the injectors you mentioned in your last post.

Good luck.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I mean it, I really appreciate it!

Yes, the check engine light did come on right about the time the miss started.

I have the manual downloaded....

I purchased the OBDII code reader from autozone tonight...the $200 one......I don't mind buying tools, I just don't know much about the computer controlled cars....


I could smell fuel on the plug of the cylinder i suspect (none of the other) so it may not be firing in the cylinder as you suggest. Would a weak coil cause only 1 cylinder to be weak?

I'm going to make up a plug wire out of hard copper and run it on cylinder #1....and take a resistance reading on the one wire (as per the service manual).....and, since you pointed it out, take a reading on the coil.

I'd love to have a spare engine sitting in the corner that I could use to swap out parts....

thanks!!!
 

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I dont know what your mechanic was was trying to tell you, but those compression readings are good. As you probably are aware. You could have a sticky valve (this means it doesnt close fast enough all the time because of crud on the valve stem/guide/seal). or a tight valve. So you could check the valve clearances as a last step.

I bought a basic scanner for $30 from harbor freight - works great. It already paid for itself once cause it reads codes AND shuts off the CEL too when there is nothing wrong. Anyway, since you know it is getting fuel, you've eliminated one issue. Also you know it has compression too - but did your mechanic do a COMPRESSION check or a LEAKDOWN check.

Your maximum pressure on that cylinder is 175, which is good, but a compression check only reads the HIGHEST pressure and not how long the pressure holds.
I had this problem with my 1988 Nissan pickup Z24 engine and it turned out to need a valve job- 1 bad valve - but maybe id try to loosen the valve with some sea foam first. If reading the OBD II codes doesn't solve the problem, i might suspect the valves as your mechanic was saying (due to the high milage).
 

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i had the same problem
my car ran like crap before
long story short one of my injectors was cloded
easy quick fix got a neew injector for 45 installed and problem solved
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
another rookie question....

depending on how you look at the distributor, i'm having trouble being certain what the timing order is on this car.....autozone and somewhere here on the internet has two different diagrams...

is cylinder #1 on the passenger side and 4 on the driver's side?



on the cap, (i know it's marked and i don't think I can get it 180 out) where should each # be, for example #1 cylinder should be at about the, say, 7 o'clock???
 

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"I could smell fuel on the plug of the cylinder i suspect (none of the other) so it may not be firing in the cylinder as you suggest. Would a weak coil cause only 1 cylinder to be weak?"


This is only a guess on my part, but I think it could. If the plug or the plug wire was marginal in that cylinder, a weak coil possibly could fire the other 3 and not that 1 cylinder. I have seen stranger things happen. If I read your original post correctly, the wire to that plug was replaced 6 months ago and now you have replaced the other 3 wires. I have seen some cheap aftermarket plug wires fail in short periods of time. I had an 86 Camry that I replaced the plug wires on with a cheap set of aftermarket wires. A friend who was a professional tech at that time said they probably won't last a year. I never got to find out as I donated the car shortly after that. Did you run the test with the number 1 wire you made out of pure copper yet?

Also, did you check for codes with your new code reader? If so, did you get any codes?

Abew330 brings up another valid point about it possibly being one bad injector. You could try swapping out the number 1 and number 2 injectors with each other and see if the problem moves to cylinder number 2. You will probably need new injector o-rings so don't try this unless you have them handy. If the ones on the injectors are original, they will probably crumble when you remove the injectors.

The firing order is 1-3-4-2. If I remember correctly, the number 1 cylinder is on the passenger side, but don't quote me on that. Check it first. If you have OEM wires, the cylinder number is printed on the wires themselves. It should also be embossed somewhere on the head or block.

Let us know what's happening.

Mike
 

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The fuel injector in the cylinder could be bad. I'd do a test by swapping the injectors around and see if this makes a difference in the engine idle. If it does, change the injector.

New ones are expensive so i'd get a few junkyard ones if you can and take the chance. I wouldnt try to clean it, etc. id just change it. If not, your pal might be right, it could be the intake valve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
mg and marc780,

it was -2.2 here last night and i went out real quickly to get the codes but the port i always thought (under the hood on the passenger side) was the right one, wasn't.......then i read here on this site that it's way up under the dash......this one is round and won't fit the actron........i emailed actron and they sent a pic of it being behind the ashtrash.........

so, i'm going to go out in the garage and build a fire (supposed to get 6" tonight and get down to 10 above)..........i'm going to make my own wire just to test it, and read the codes.....

there is a used 100k mile engine in a wrecked 96 camry for $450....I'd love to have it for just parts to swap out when i have a problem like this.......it's the same engine that i bought the intake tube/hose from.......looks like it has been sitting for a while....

good point on the injectors......i'd like to get a good set of plug wires and some new orings for the injectors.....

i'll keep you posted, thanks!!! i don't like to get beat, so'll we'll give her a go..
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
well, after all that, it was the plug wire.....#1.......ran like a champ!

i'm kind of humbled because it was so easy.......but i tell ya, when the plug would fire out of the cylinder, i just KNEW it wasn't the wire or the plug....

the code reader threw a p0103 with was a misfire in #1......

guys, thanks! it's great to be able to go somewhere and get some suggestions on something a person doesn't have clue about...
 

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Glad your problem was simple to repair. Sometimes, with all the sophisticated computer controls on today's engines, we forget they still basically are internal combustion engines.

I think you meant the code was a P0301, not P0103. Don't forget to go back and clear the code, now that it is fixed. If you have another problem down the road you don't want that code still in there to confuse matters.

Mike

PS: I would stay away from that mechanic who said it that number 1 cylinder was leaking under compression and that it could be a bad intake valve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
you're right on the code....i had it down in the garage and was trying to remember it here in the house......

yes, i just knew it was getting spark but obviously not......
 
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