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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just kidding.

But seriously - I went on a short little trip today, and on my way back home noticed my clutch was suddenly being very difficult, and changing gears was suddenly a bit tricky. Getting into first while at a stop took a considerable amount of force - it would rarely grind when going into gear, but it was just hard to get into gear. Short of that, cars operation and performance was normal.

I get home, turn it off, go inside & chill for a bit, and decide to head out again to just take a trip to get some gas, what for somewhat nice weather. I started my car & it seemed a bit upset - missing, would rarely idle smoothly - revving it gently yielded standard results, but if you jabbed the gas pedal or were sudden, it would bog fairly hard and there'd be a considerable .7-1 second delay before it would recover and THEN attempt to rev. I turned it off & did a bit of research and ran the codes, but it didnt throw any.

I was intending to get gas on my way home, and skipped it. Its possible that it ran out of gas, so I took the only gas I had on hand (half a gallon.) and put it in the tank. Same results. Starting it was even more difficult, it did manage to fire up, and it idled smoothly for about 4-5 seconds, then started to miss and stumble, and finally just died outright after about a minute. It now will not hit at all. Crank to your hearts content, lol.

Any & all assistance will be greatly respected & appreciated, I hope I can come to a diagnosis. My assumptions are either A) was low on gas, got air in the lines, put a few gallons in it, prime it a bunch, try again, see what I get, OR that the fuel pump has finally just decided to kick the bucket...albeit very suddenly. Thank you all for your assistance!

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In case you are interested, extraneous details:

I broke my left foot about a month ago, and my 'rolla sat for the entire time, what for me not being able to push my clutch. I made it a point to fire it up about once every 5-7 days, and let it idle for about 10-20, maybe 25 minutes just to make sure my very old decrepit battery would remain charged. I did manage to drive it once, ironically to the gas station, and back home, but didn't try again as it was dumb for me to attempt driving what for my foot not being fully healed yet and pushing the clutch at that point still caused pain. It always fired up almost extraordinarily quickly, and would always idle immediately at about 1k rpm, even when dead cold. I found that curious. It did seem slightly sluggish to rev (when parked) possibly.

Upon realizing many days later that I could push my clutch without pain ironically only whilst in my NORMAL shoes, I decided to immediately go for a little drive. I fired it up and it was sort of missing slightly at idle, and revving was similar to what it was doing today. I waited, it didnt smooth out, so I took out my spark plugs to make sure they were ok, checked oil, checked pcv valve, vacuum lines, EGR valve, what have you. Nothing out of place. Spark plugs were surprisingly clean. Re connected my positive battery terminal, as it has a less-than-desirable connection with the post, due to the batteries age - and fired it up again. Normal operation, no missing, nothing odd. Drove it for a few days and then this happened all of the sudden.

Also, a few months back I installed a new distributor cap & rotor - diff material than OEM, I wanna say its aluminum. It made no impacts on the performance, it threw a check engine light for about 5 minutes during the first long trip and then never did it again and has been running well since. The car was running very well up until its sudden failure today. Thanks for readin'!
 

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1994 Corolla DX
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Sounds like you have two unrelated issues - one with the transmission and one with the engine.

And yeah might as well just start with tanking up.
 

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Just kidding.

But seriously - I went on a short little trip today, and on my way back home noticed my clutch was suddenly being very difficult, and changing gears was suddenly a bit tricky. Getting into first while at a stop took a considerable amount of force - it would rarely grind when going into gear, but it was just hard to get into gear. Short of that, cars operation and performance was normal.

I get home, turn it off, go inside & chill for a bit, and decide to head out again to just take a trip to get some gas, what for somewhat nice weather. I started my car & it seemed a bit upset - missing, would rarely idle smoothly - revving it gently yielded standard results, but if you jabbed the gas pedal or were sudden, it would bog fairly hard and there'd be a considerable .7-1 second delay before it would recover and THEN attempt to rev. I turned it off & did a bit of research and ran the codes, but it didnt throw any.

I was intending to get gas on my way home, and skipped it. Its possible that it ran out of gas, so I took the only gas I had on hand (half a gallon.) and put it in the tank. Same results. Starting it was even more difficult, it did manage to fire up, and it idled smoothly for about 4-5 seconds, then started to miss and stumble, and finally just died outright after about a minute. It now will not hit at all. Crank to your hearts content, lol.
Your first issue makes me question the slave cylinder, but I'm not familiar with how they fail. Based on memory, when the clutch in my Datsun failed, it more or less failed to grab at any rpm. Can't recall any additional force required getting it in/out of gear.

Your second issue could be a few things:
-Fuel Pump
-Clogged Injectors
-Bad/Dirty IAC
-Bad ECM
-Bad Ground
-Needs tuneup.

When's the last time the basic things like plugs/wires/cap/rotor were changed? Very, very recently I dealt with a very annoying issue with my Datsun. It would bog and lag any time I pressed the gas pedal down, and driving it sounded like I had all sorts of clatter going on. Turned out to be clogged injectors. It started every time though and idled okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So I checked the spark plug wire resistances, checked out & cleaned up the distrib cap & rotor, cleaned the battery, full 12.6V, good charge, had like 11V of surface drain on it and now thats gone thankfully. Everything checks out. Put about 6 oz of seafoam & about 3.5-4 gallons of gas in, gave it about 20 mins, and went to crank it. Cranked for a few seconds, it attempted to fire up and it stumbled at about 100 rpm or so, and I heard some noises that sounded sortof grindy, difficult to explain - unpleasant harsh noise, lol - it dies after about 2-3 seconds, and I get out of my car and realize theres this white smoke coming out from the engine bay. I took my air filter off and determined it was coming from the intake. Can I assume my timing belt crapped the bed? Which would really suck, because I Just got that thing replaced idk, 10K miles ago tops. Aisin replacement too - water pump & timing belt done alongside tensioner pulley.

Please help, lol this is...starting to freak me out a bit
 

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1994 Corolla DX
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The quickest way to figure out if the timing belt is intact would probably be to turn your steering wheel all the way to the right to expose the service port in the splash cover and remove it to access the crank pulley bolt:



You can then put a 17 mm socket on it to manually turn the crank.



You can remove the distributor cap to watch and confirm if the rotor is also turning. That would indicate the belt is not broken. It will obviously not tell you if timing is correct, and may also not expose any broken belt teeth.

The timing belt (especially if you got Aisin) is very sturdy, so if yours only has 10k on it I don't think it's all that likely that is the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
In response to rolladad, I've began a search for alternative problems.

I will add that I did check for codes prior to the full breakdown, and it didn't throw any - I just checked a moment ago, and it threw 31. "Manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor -circuit"

Any relation, Any possible diagnoses?
My fuel economy has been suspect lately, but power was standard - it's had a rough idle issue it exhibited once prior to, and during the breakdown - may explain the hard starts, AND very much possibly the hesitation (or maybe the fuel pump?) that its had for years. Would also explain the gross timing error and the exhaust coming out the wrong tubes. Upon some google research I noted it may the the head gasket, but theres no milky oil to be found, and it smells correct inside the valve cover, for whatever thats worth. Thoughts? Thank you all.
 

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I will add that I did check for codes and it didn't throw any - I just checked a moment ago, and it threw 31. "Manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor -circuit"

Any relation? Any possible diagnoses?
Yes. The engine will run like crap with a malfunctioning MAP sensor. Check the wiring connector. There’s probably a resistance test you could do but I’d have to look it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes. The engine will run like crap with a malfunctioning MAP sensor. Check the wiring connector. There’s probably a resistance test you could do but I’d have to look it up.
Could it be responsible for all of what its doing?
 

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Could it be responsible for all of what its doing?
Possibly. 94RollaDad had some recent experience with accidentally disconnecting the vacuum hose to the MAP after some engine work. He can let us know, but I don't think he actually drove his car like this. He just noticed the bad idle, and misfires, then eventually found the problem.

I'd check the vacuum hose to the MAP first. Then the wiring.

 
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Yeah I didn't drive it. Yes, it misfired and sputtered, but it didn't die, and it also didn't backfire or have any smoke coming out of the intake. Nor did it have any grinding sounds.... so I'm not sure if it could be the entire issue or not as your situation sounds more severe by how you describe it.

That said it's definitely a lead, and a bad MAP sensor WILL contribute, whether it's entirely the issue or just part of the issue. So I'd get that addressed. I can look up the code a bit later today in the FSM to see what it has to say about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The quickest way to figure out if the timing belt is intact would probably be to turn your steering wheel all the way to the right to expose the service port in the splash cover and remove it to access the crank pulley bolt:

You can then put a 17 mm socket on it to manually tYou can remove the distributor cap to watch and confirm if the rotor is also turning. That would indicate the belt is not broken. It will obviously not tell you if timing is correct, and may also not expose any broken belt teeth.
Which way do I turn the crank? clockwise or counter clockwise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Can I assume that attempting to start it should be off the table entirely until I get something resolved? I've not tried to start it since, nor am I interested in causing any damage, but what for diagnostic purposes it may assist me in determining exactly where the smoke is coming from and being able to watch the engine bay upon a start attempt. If this is unwise please let me know, I will not be making any attempts to start it until I feel I have either resolved something, or am out of ideas & want to watch the process from outside the car for diagnostic purposes. And ty rolladad, I'll give this a shot today, provided it ever stops raining - which may be right now actually... Thankfully for the time being I have procured alternative transportation, in the way of a '97.5 nissan altima. Will allow me to continue working and get my savings up incase these repairs come with dollar signs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Just turned the crank, rotor is spinning alongside rotations, so the timing belt is intact. Am somewhat inclined to look at the ECU in this case aswell.

The car had been firing up basically immediately for a couple weeks prior, like unusually quickly. I understand thats probably not a sign of anything bad but diagnostically speaking its a new finding. Literally one crank or two and it'd fire up immediately - it'd also only idle at about 1k rpm, despite being bone cold. I understand its summertime and about 75F usually on average right now but still, thats not normal operation. Of the 3-4 times I fired it up to keep the battery charged during my convalescence, it did this every time. Once I discovered I could push the clutch, I fired it up and it did the same thing but was then idling slightly roughly & was missing a bit. I checked the plugs, put a quart of oil in it, disconnected the positive terminal (and only the positive) and re-connected it, and it fired up normally, no more misses or etc, and did a cold idle of about 1.5K rpm or so like its supposed to. The only relation there I can see is that either turning it off & back on changed its mind (ECU I feel) or reconnecting the battery like that did.

On that note, I've just checked the oil & coolant - both look and smell normal, and are still topped up fully, nothings leaked or gone anywhere.

Also, I hadn't attempted to start it since I made this post. It had ran for a few minutes, roughly, then eventually sputtered out and just died. Cranking yielded no results. Yesterday I disconnected my battery entirely for about 30-45 minutes, in order to clean it thoroughly, this gave the ECU a chance to reset for the first time since this issue began. I hooked everything back up, cranked it for a good 4-5 seconds, the starter slowed down and I stopped, right when I stopped is when it decided to try and run, and gave me the smokeshow. Point being this is what it did after I reset the computer. I can't help but see a relation.
 

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I hooked everything back up, cranked it for a good 4-5 seconds, the starter slowed down and I stopped, right when I stopped is when it decided to try and run,
That makes me think that the problem might possibly could be the ignition switch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That makes me think that the problem might possibly could be the ignition switch.
I think it was probably more akin to when you've cranked it JUST the correct amount of times, and you stop and your car just decides to fire up at the last second
 

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I'd check the vacuum hose to the MAP first. Then the wiring.
Just checked the FSM. DTC 31 is only set when a short is detected so while it won’t hurt to check the vacuum hose the error logged due to electrical issues.

I was wondering if it also would be triggered if an abnormal reading was detected (such as if engine is running but no vacuum) but that’s apparently not the case.
 

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After checking the MAP sensor you should also test the TPS sensor. Disconnect the wiring connector. The bottom two pins on the sensor side connected with an ohm meter should have a less than 2.3 kohm reading fully closed and 1 mohm or more when throttle is open.
 

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No resistance readings for the MAP sensor that I could find. Only diagnostics focus on measuring voltage at two ports on the ECU.
 
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