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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got ambitious, did the following and am now stuck...

Background...

1996 4 cylinder Camry LE 221K

Prior to work car ran really well except timing belt was slapping the case and covered with oil. Also had a CEL P0401 code and some oil leaks.

Work Performed...
Replaced timing belt, pulleys, tensioner spring, cam/crank seals, oil pump rotor and pulley (both worn).

Replaced VSV and Vac Mod. (Seemed to have solved P0401 code)

New NGK wires and plugs (NGK in manual).

New valve cover gasket.

New side engine mount
Car sat idle for about 6 weeks before all the work was completed and started for first time. A lot of oil on backside of engine, I assume from valve cover leak.

The Problem...

Car starts fine and seems okay during cold idle warm up. As the car warms up and drops to warm idle, it suddenly drops to about 400 rpm. It tries to adjust jumping to a 1000 rpm every few seconds but is usually stuck at 400-500rpm. Check engine light comes on whenever it drops to the low, rough idle. If you press accelerator to get to 1000+ rpm, CEL goes off and seems fine. If you allow it to idle roughly for a while at 400rpm, eventually the CEL blinks and codes P300 P301 P304 are stored. Random misfire, misfire cyl 1 & 4. I gave it a test drive and it lacked power as well.

Replaced the following troubleshooting the problem...
New distributor, cap and rotor. New ignition coil.

Replaced coolant temp. sensor.

Cleaned throttle body.
Ohm reading on the wires are 5K (originals were only 1-2K, tossed these before I realized there was a problem)

Battery is borderline. Had to recharge twice while I have been troubleshooting and test at auto store said it was on it's last legs.

Checked timing several times. Marks line up perfectly after running engine. (yes using correct cam shaft mark, confirmed by opening valve cover and checking gear marks)

This model has computer controlled ignition timing.

Visual inspection has not located a vacuum leak.

Any ideas or strategies? Don't know if it is something I changed or something else went bad sitting for so long without running.
 

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Sounds like your valve timing is off to me. When your cam is lined up with its mark, is the little notch on the harmonic balancer lined up with the 0 on the timing cover? Also you didn't get your wires mixed up on the distributor did you? I know it sounds like a total newb thing to do but I am guilty of that one myself lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, I am using the correct mark on the camshaft as well as the '0' mark on the outside of the lower timing cover for the crankshaft pulley. Today I double checked the camshaft by opening the valve cover and looking at the two dots on the camshaft gears which were aligned as well.

I have double checked the plug wires and unless the numbers on the distributor cap are not correct they should be okay. (1 lower left corner, counter clockwise 1-3-4-2) Also my understanding is that cylinder 1 is next to the camshaft pulley, so left to right 1-2-3-4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The first group of things I changed all at once. The second group after I realized there was a problem. I have checked the plug gaps and they were okay. I should add I replaced the PCV valve as well prior to starting the engine.

I did purposely try running it with the timing belt off a few teeth to see what happened and it was pretty much the same.

Quite a bit of water was spitting out of the tailpipe along with a black carbon substance when I was running the engine to diagnose the problem. It seems to have stopped after I did the test drive however. I think it was just condensation from sitting so long. The water didn't smell like anything.

I have a OBDII reader that connects to a phone if anyone knows of a sensor to monitor that might shed more light.

When I start the engine cold with the hood up, there is the smell of fuel. Not sure if that is normal.
 

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I'am having the same kind of problems. If I unplug the distributor it runs good. With it plugged in runs like crap. I noticed primary coil resistance is not within specs. So a used coil, from wrecking yard will be next.
 
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