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94 Camry Won't Start after Timing Belt Replacement

40998 Views 38 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  tmauldin
1994 Toyota Camry LE 4cyl 5SFE 2.2L EFI

So I thought I was a mechanic and I would replace my timing belt, water pump, front seals, spark plugs, plug wires, distributor rotor/seal, and my accessory belts. It sounded like a good idea until I put everything back together and royally effed my car in its a.

Timing belt marks match? Yes (full 720 degree rotations), and just to be sure, rotated the cam just to be sure I hadn't lined it up on the wrong stroke.

I know what you're thinking, is there spark? yes.

Well, what about gas? yes.

Grounding straps? Yeah, all of 'em.

I should also mention at this point I thought I was replace my fuel filter. Bad idea, very bad idea. I bent my steel fuel line a bit, but it is only slightly tweaked, and I don't believe its restricting fuel flow as fuel sprays out if I remove the top bolt and the spark plugs all smell of gas to varying degrees if I remove them after cranking the engine.

I know my ignition timing has got to be off somewhat because I removed my distributor but it should atleast turn over a little, right? I moved it up and down and back around in an attempt to get the car to DO something but it doesn't seem to have any effect. One thing I noticed was

The car was running like a champ before I played mechanic and the only thing wrong was it had a slight oil leak which I've now discovered wasn't even any of the front seals, it was the oil pan itself :-(

I've read this forum top to bottom and I'm at a loss. I've checked everything I can think of and this beast has been laughing at me in the garage unmoving for a MONTH. I need to get my '69 Karmann Ghia garaged up before its covered in a foot of snow so the Camry needs to get working and fast.

If anyone on here has any suggestions I will try them and report back, I've uploaded a video so you can see what the car does when you crank, it will crank and crank and catch just a bit (can be heard 0:35 seconds in) but never seems to actually turn over.

Not sure if this makes a difference but the ignition rotor I took out:

Doesn't look much like the 3rd party Autozone sold me which looks like:
except gray. (it wouldn't stay on the distributor until I bent the metal tab on the bottom to hold it in place. Not sure if that's making sense or is significant..)
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Still Running: I don't have a compression tester, I can rent one if I have to... The spark is bright and blue, I set the propper gap in the new plugs before I installed them but I will double check my spark after work tonight.

71 Corolla: No compression tester but thankyou for the information if I can't nail it down this evening, I'll rent one and report back with a new video.

John GD: The timing marks are spot on, I've double and triple checked the two plugs on the distributor, both are plugged in and are impossible to reverse as they are different sizes. The battery is a spare I had in the garage I've been charging, but it does fully charge and I'm using a battery booster as well. (I have already tried another battery too)

PVT-Public: Hey Public, I've started over 3 times now so its not as bad. Everytime I have aligned my timing marks I have had the crank dead on TDC. I've even independently rotated the cam one full revolution in case it was on the exhaust stroke.

71 Corolla: I have kept the top timing cover off the whole time just to be sure my marks were spot on.

Mister_Perkins: I'm sure the distributor timing is seriously jacked but no so much that it shouldn't start at all. I've moved it through its full range of motion using the two bolts and none of them will even allow it to run roughly. But thankyou for the thought.

I plan to do some seriously trouble shooting tonight and will report back guys, thanks for the ideas please keep 'em coming. I'll post videos of my efforts
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Silver Soarer: My MAF is pulled out of the airbox as I had removed it to get to my fuel filter but I will check tonight to make sure its connected. My EFI fuse.. not sure what that is but I'll look it up in my manual. I haven't done anything with the fuse box in the car so my feeling is that it is probably not the problem, but I will be sure to check it out regardless, thankyou.

John GD: Yeah, I totally don't have a timing light. But I know the procedure, shorting out the pins and all that. I'm contemplating buying one after work tonight. Doesn't the car have to be able to idle or atleast turn over for a timing light to work?

Correction: My Air Charge Sensor was removed from my airbox, I will still check the MAF.
Jaron: Yeah, I directly replaced each plug wire when I replaced them and marked the order on the distributor cap before I removed anything. Plus the wires are different lengths so it would be hard to mix them up. But thanks for the suggestion.
Its alllliiivvvveee!!!

I went by Autozone after work tonight and purchased a new ignition rotor, distributor cap, and compression tester. I spent a couple of minutes and eyeballed where I thought the distributor was position-wise prior to all of my tinkering, then I replaced the rotor, and cap while very carefully making sure all of the plug wires were seated properly and matched up. A fully charged battery later and I chronicled my results in the following video:

My biggest remaining problems would be the nasty exhaust and the original oil leak that started this whole mess. Any suggestions on things to check before heading out on the road, or possible causes of the smokey-ness? Thankyou in advance for all the help guys, you basically fixed my car and saved me a bunch of cash.

Thank you all once again for your awesome replies and great ideas. I think I have the smoke issue resolved, my timing was just eyeballed so I bought that timing light, connect the correct terminals, at first I was freaked out because my check engine light was on but then I realized it meant I had bridged the right e1/te1.

Once I had the car warmed up I was able to rotate the distributor until the car was set to 10 degrees BTDC and the smoke and rough idle were magically cleared up. Once that was fixed, I had to troubleshoot a stuck thermostat, but a trip to autozone later I was set once again.

So onto my new problem (do they ever end?...) I can't retighten to crank pulley bolt. I know many of you have constructed your own unique tools to accomplish this, but honestly, I don't have access to the tools or the skills needed to fabricate such a device. I've called every auto parts and equipment rental place in town and no one has this tool. The dealership doesn't rent the tool but they sell it for around $150... Kind of lame...

I'm thinking of using an electric impact wrench, which is what I used to remove it but since the torque on this bolt is so low, I don't want to mess something up. I'm open to all ideas as this is the only thing keeping me off the road right now. I tried once method I saw posted on which stated that you could "put the car in drive with the engine off and have someone sit in the drivers seat with their foot on the brake (which is supposed to immobilize it) while you tighten the crank pulley. " Totally doesn't work.
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Not sure what this flywheel cover is exactly, is it something I would need the lower timing belt cover off to access? If anyone has a picture I would greatly appreciate it, but if not I'll take a few photos of what I'm looking at this evening, really appreciate the ideas guys!
Back after many months

Too many weeks of driving my moms '91 Previa, time to get this dumb bolt tightened, replace my oil pan gasket and be done. I'm such a horrible procrastinator, does anyone know the thread size on the holes in the crank pulley?

I plan to order this tool from Amazon:

Set Includes:
  • 21” Pulley Wrench
  • 4 pairs of interchangeable pins
    • OTC-4754-1 11mm/16mm
    • OTC-4754-2 8mm/11mm
    • OTC-4754-3 10mm/12mm
    • OTC-4754-4 6mm/10mm
From reading the reviews it seems at least some of the people who've purchased it have been successful.

Or this tool:

Kit Includes:
  • 3.5 mm pin
  • 4 mm pin
  • 4.5 mm pin
  • 5 mm pin
  • 6 mm pin
  • 7 mm pin
  • 10 mm pin
  • Handle
  • Plastic storage case
I'm just not sure which one of these is going to work better... Any tips?
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Thanks for the warning sir! I just bought the tool Fenrix reccomended off of Amazon, I'm heading to get the bolts tonight, thank you all for your help I'll let you know how it goes more than likely Tuesday-Wednesday night I should be tackling this.
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