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Toyota Collector
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You may have damaged the AFM specifically the solder joints can be fixed if you cut/pry the plastic cover off. The manual and auto transmission ECU is the same for 1987 the difference is the engine harness, 5-speed version has no wiring for the NSS, transmission solenoids and the like. The auto transmission is controlled by a separate computer.

The distributor does have drain holes in it for whatever reason. A while back I bought a WAI GLOBAL dizzy on Rockauto because mine is leaking oil internally, the WAI distributor made the car run like crap, bad hesitation. I tried swapping the coil, different cap and wires didn't help so I'm going to repair the Toyota one. Maybe you'll have better luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
You think the MAF would be bad even though it's testing good and it engages the fuel pump when the door is opened by hand? And that wouldn't affect the spark would it? Anyway, off to clean grounds. How would you test a ground? Put my negative on the ground and my positive on the battery and see if I get 12V? I'd rather check them before getting to crazy. Once she's running again I can take the time to go through it thoroughly.
 

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Toyota Collector
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Maybe the MAF is turning on the fuel pump but the resistor section is not working properly so the engine doesn't know how much fuel to meter. Just putting it out there, but you seem to have weak spark going by your description.

Testing things with an ohm meter is not always reliable because it uses extremely low current, putting more current though a circuit can cause it to fail. That's why you can't really test grounds with an ohm meter.

When I had the crank no start problem it acted exactly the same as your car, would fire randomly and if I cranked the dizzy all the way to the end of the adjustment engine would actually run for a few seconds then die. On the igniters having different part numbers don't think it matters, they are all the same.
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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Yeah, the '87 is funky and different than the rest of the gen2's. Also had an injector ballast resistor setup instead of the high impedance type found on the rest of the gen2's.

Oil in the distributor is a bad sign, and as '71 said, many aftermarket distributors are crap.

I'd still also suspect the AFM too, since removing those screws is a very big no-no. Cut it open and check for problems in there.

-Charlie
 

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Toyota Collector
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Yeah, the '87 is funky and different than the rest of the gen2's. Also had an injector ballast resistor setup instead of the high impedance type found on the rest of the gen2's.
You're the one that convinced me (not directly) to go with the more modern ECU and engine harness I'm now running one from a 06/1989 car. Very light throttle drivability is somewhat better but otherwise I don't notice a difference.

I may be sourcing another 5S-FE (it's JDM don't know the exact year) should I run those injectors with my 3S harness or keep using the 3S ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I'm hesitant to mess with the AFM because I did that nearly a month ago and the other night after adding the ground wire to the ignitor, it fired up and ran for about 10 mins before I killed it with the jumper trying to hurry and get it timed. I'm still getting all the correct readings at the terminals. I would think something would be off if I broke some solder points. But it's electricity and I'm well aware it does weird stuff sometimes. I'll try and source one from the junkyard and see what happens. It wouldn't surprise me that I am my issue with the car.

I cleaned the grounds on the tranny and intake. Alternator and batt to fender looked good. The one questionable one is the tranny to ignitor frame. It's rusted solid, so I'm going to clip it and run it to the other bolt that I could get out. I've scotch Brite'd the area of rust. I'm hoping that ground is my spark issue.

I asked about the condenser on the distributor earlier, any thoughts there? I've seen people struggle with their cars before, dumping money only to have it be that few dollar part the whole time.
 

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On the gen3 Camry sometimes the dizzy condenser shorts out and blows a fuse, have not heard of that happening on the gen2 or it causing any issues but it's possible. If you can find a dizzy at the junk yard buy the whole thing, the coil will probably be bad but nice to have a spare, maybe to rebuild.

If it wasn't so cold I'd do a spark test and tell you want it's supposed to look like or take a video.
 

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I had the WAI Global dizzy from RockAuto purchased for about $115 at the time. It worked great.

The old dizzy was too hard to rebuild on the ground in an apartment parking spot where your not allowed to work on your car.
 

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Grenaded piston
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How would you test a ground? Put my negative on the ground and my positive on the battery and see if I get 12V?
Check for voltage drop between 2 points.

Example: place one lead from your meter on the ground point and the other lead on the negative battery terminal.

I forget whats acceptable for voltage drop, but you're looking for a low mV (millivolt) reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
So I went and picked up an AFM and 2 distributors from the junkyard. Will test the AFM shortly, but I came across something different with my distributor and I'm curious if anyone knows what the deal is. There is a capped off connector for a single wire, right by the condenser. The 2 I picked up have caps, but the one on my car, someone made a hole in the cap and there is a wire connected there. There's also a ground going to the screw for the condenser on mine that these 2 didn't have. I thought maybe something to with AT vs MT, but these came out of one of each. Here are some pics....
Gas Electrical wiring Motor vehicle Auto part Machine

Automotive fuel system Electrical wiring Motor vehicle Gas Auto part


The top pic are the 2 I got today, the bottom is mine. Those 2 wire are coming out of the harness, so I have no idea what's going on there. Going to see what happens with the replacement AFM before I mess with the distributors.
 

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I don't know what's going on with that wire hack, but either remove it or use one of the distributors you got at the junk yard or at least the wiring. They all should have that extra connector and cap. Do you normally have that PCV breather open like that or is the hose off just to change the dizzy.

...oh yea and don't assume the coils in the junk yard distributors are good. #1 failure point on these cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I removed the hose to get to the distributor. Those wires have me trippin' now because they come out of the harness, or at least appear they do, I'll try and see what they hook to. I know the one coil is bad out of the newer distributor, it's cracked. The other is intact and tests ok, so I was gonna try swapping. If that don't work I have the one I just bought that is in mine. Battery died so I have yet to try the AFM. Off to do that now. And find out what those wires are doing there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Ok, so those wires, believe it or not, were professionally Installed that way. They're part of the cruise control harness. Installed back on 06/11/1987 by ARA of Seattle. I'll pull them off, I don't use the cruise control anyway because it's horrible. Not smooth at all, like some is repeatedly stomping it and then letting off. Nearly give ya whiplash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
My frustration is becoming despair. Had to get a new battery, no big deal, but I rechecked my spark at each plug and I'm getting good spark. She still will not fire up. I feel dampness on the plugs and they smell like gas. I sprayed starting fluid in the intake and didn't get so much as a pop. My distributor is set mid-way as close as I can get it. I've moved it all around and still nothing. I checked my cold start injector, it's working. I'm at a total loss. I added that ground to the ignitor the other night and she fired up and was running. Running rich by the plugs when I swapped them the next morning, but still haven't gotten to fire up again since I stalled it with the jumper.

Edit: I also checked, again, that the valve timing is correct and the belt is intact.

Edit2: Oh, when this all first started, someone mention a clogged cat to me. Anyone think that maybe my real issue?
 

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If you smell fuel then it is not being ignited to me that says bad spark. Don't see how a clogged cat could be a problem that comes and goes plus you did a compression check and got more than high enough to make the engine run.

If you're patient I'll find out what clean, strong spark is supposed to look like but it's still way to cold to be messing around outside. Don't give up, just let it lay for a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
The oveall problem isn't coming and going. It just is. It was progressive until it wouldn't start anymore. I thought when it fired up after the ground wire that it was good, but she is right back where I've been. When it did run that short little bit, it was running rich, plugs were black, and even though it was cold out, the exhaust plumes seemed bigger and thicker than normal. It was like a fog bank, lol. I also had to floor it to get it to start. I'm just thinking that maybe the cat being clogged is why it won't start up and I just happened to catch a bunch of other stuff that needed to be done while trying to figure this out. Wouldn't a clogged cat cause exhaust to back up in the cylinder and basically smother it? Unfortunately I'm having to do this all solo, so I can't check certain things like feeling if the injectors are activating or whether I feel any pressure coming out the tail pipe.

I just feel like the paths I've been chasing aren't the real issue. Some things needed to be done, but they weren't the actual cause. Spark was weak, yes, but I had it and I had fuel. Which is why I first suspected the AFM, hence my own lil screw incident. So just for arguments sake, fuel and ignition systems not an issue. What could keep your car from firing up? My answer is not being able to breathe.

Maybe my logic is way off. Gladly accepting any ideas.🤣🤣🤣
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
Ok, I educated myself a lil (should have done that first) and scratch the clogged cat idea.
Does this car have either crank or cam sensors? The Chilton's doesn't specify.

Edit: I found that too, nope. What does that leave, the ECU?
 

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When I had this problem spark looked good enough to me, it wasn't. Another thing to check is the wires near the EGR tube see if they are burned/damaged. If you have a bad ECU that will be the first I've seen on these cars.

The magnetic sensors in the distributor are the only way the ECU knows position of the crank and cam there are no other rotational sensors on the engine.
 
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