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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
...anybody else had this issue? I've searched around quite a bit for problems with cold start injection, and there are many threads, but I only seem to be finding cases of people having starting problems.

My issue is that the engine is being flooded.

This is a '90 Camry DX 3SFE automatic.

The short:
Car starts, idles, and runs well when cold. Once warm, it starts displaying symptoms that progressively get worse. Sputtering under any significant throttle opening, bad idle, and will sputter and often die trying to start from a dead stop. It does not re-start easily if it has died under these circumstances.

More detail:
The issue was significantly worse before I disconnected the cold start injector harness. When I first did this I actually thought I had diagnosed the problem as being the time switch (with a temporary fix being to simply leave the injector unplugged and deal with slightly harder starting), because the car ran great for several days in a row after for various short trips (and it was getting fully warm). However, on the first trip exceeding 20 miles the issue reappeared, though not as bad as before. If its the first time its being run for the day, it can now handle short drives, but after more than 20 or so miles the symptoms show up.

When the issue first appeared and it was really bad (car not really driveable at all once warm), I inspected/replaced the plugs and they were pretty fouled up. After putting fresh plugs in (NGK copper), the car started right up and drove great...for about 25 miles (this is prior to disconnecting CSI), then symptoms were back full force and I barely made it home, really only because I got lucky at a few crucial traffic lights (didn't have to stop) and some downhill sections. I did not expect the plugs to solve the issue, but this did give me a pretty strong sense that the engine was being flooded (and I think can rule out ignition or vacuum leak)...which led to the disconnect of the CSI.

Again, the issue got significantly better after disconnecting the CSI, but does still remain. Which leads me to these questions....
- Is my CSI leaking?
- Is my time switch also bad (since the problem is worse with the CSI connected), or working properly and just exacerbating the situation by dumping more fuel from the get-go?
- CSI and time switch both bad?
- Is there a separate issue possibly going on? (AFM, O2 sensor, ECT sensor, main injectors?)

I think I can rule out the following (please correct me if I'm wrong): vacuum leak, ignition, fuel pump/filter.

I know I can check the CSI timer switch and the CSI (at least electrically) with an ohmmeter (as well as the ECT sensor) but mine has crapped out at a very inopportune time and I won't be able to get my hands on another 'til next week.

I may be visiting a junkyard this weekend and if the price is right I plan to pick up a CSI, CSI time switch, and ECT sensor...will replace one at a time starting with the injector and see how it goes. Otherwise I suppose I will wait until next week when I have ohmmeter in hand (but I really want to get this car going, its my partners and she's sick of me driving her to work :| )

All that being said, my gut is that it is the CSI leaking. I'm open to any and all suggestions/feedback, but I'm really curious to know if anybody else has come across this?

Thanks a million!
 

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Toyota Collector
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I have not heard of a cold start injector going bad. Easy enough to test pull it out of the intake, on the diagnostic connector put a jumper between terminals +B and FP and turn the key to ON (no start). Watch for leaks/drips from the injector.

Any stored codes or CEL? Your symptoms are similar to an ECU going bad, unlikely but possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have not heard of a cold start injector going bad. Easy enough to test pull it out of the intake, on the diagnostic connector put a jumper between terminals +B and FP and turn the key to ON (no start). Watch for leaks/drips from the injector.

Any stored codes or CEL? Your symptoms are similar to an ECU going bad, unlikely but possible.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I did get code 26 (rich mixture) several weeks before this problem showed up. The code came back twice more within a week after clearing it, but hasn't reappeared since clearing it the third time. At that point the car seemed to be running well, and since then the CEL has not come back on. The Haynes manual lists these trouble areas for code 26: engine ground bolt loose, open in E1 circuit, short in injector circuit, fuel line pressure, open or short in cold start injector circuit, cold start injector, open or short in oxygen sensor circuit, oxygen sensor, water temp. sensor, air flow meter, compression pressure, ECU.

I checked for any stored codes when this issue first started happening (about a week and a half ago) and just got the continuous flashing of the CEL, indicating no codes, but I haven't checked since then.

I'm about to head out to the car now...I will check for codes and then pull the CSI to check for dripping/leaking. Will post my results.

Thanks!
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
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I would lean towards a bad ignition coil as the problem.

But, you can check the CSI fairly easily: Leave the fuel line in place, but unbolt the injector from the manifold and pull it out. Put a jumper between the B+ and Fp connections in the diagnostic connector in the engine bay, then turn the key to the ON position (do not turn on engine). This will power the fuel pump and you can check for leaks at the CSI - leave the electrical plug removed on the CDI to take the switch out of the equation...

-Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.

I unbolted the CSI from the manifold (leaving fuel line in place & wiring harness disconnected), jumped terminals Fp and B+ and turned key to ON. No fuel leaking from injector.

So, onward with diagnosis.

I'm still curious why the car has been doing better since disconnecting the harness from the CSI. (taking longer to act up, and when it does its not as bad as before). I suppose the extra fuel at start up could just exacerbate the problem, or perhaps the CSI timer switch is bad, in addition to the larger issue going on..?

At any rate, I have seen that the ignition coil on these gen2's is prone to issues and that seems like a logical next step. A few questions:
- Would it make sense if the coil was bad for the car to still drive okay the first 20 or so miles?
- Is the coil normally sold separately from the distributor or included with? I ask because the distributor was supposedly replaced within 5k of purchasing the car, and we've put about 8k on it since purchasing. So the distributor should be okay...

Thanks again for the help.
 

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Toyota Collector
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Aftermarket distributors generally come complete with coil and cap. It highly depends on which unit was installed you can get a complete unit for $25 obviously dubious quality a reman Denso is about $150. When the coil went bad in my car it ran okay when cold when warm has an obvious misfire/hesitation. It never ran rich that I noticed and didn't foul the plugs in short order.

Either way I think you should pull the distributor and inspect the coil. With the jumper did you hear the fuel pump running?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When the coil went bad in my car it ran okay when cold when warm has an obvious misfire/hesitation. It never ran rich that I noticed and didn't foul the plugs in short order.

Either way I think you should pull the distributor and inspect the coil. With the jumper did you hear the fuel pump running?
I would lean towards a bad ignition coil as the problem.
Thanks guys. I did hear the fuel pump running. I'm going to heed your advice and pull the distributor & inspect the coil next. I don't think I'll have an ohmmeter in hand until next week but will check for any obvious cracks or wear in the meantime.

I'll post back with any updates. Any other input is certainly welcomed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, this problem has been resolved! It was in fact the ignition coil, and the distributor was leaking internally so I pulled an OEM one off a car with 150k from the junkyard. The coil tested good and the distributor was nice and clean inside. Don't know how many miles I can expect to get from this one (I'm quite positive its the original) but for now, $37 has made the car drive better than it has since I first picked it up, and I've done 120+ miles now since replacing. Woohoo!

It looks like the coil had been replaced on ours but the distro appears to be original. I'm guessing the previous owner went with a cheap replacement and it just didn't hold up, possibly compounded by leaking distro (?).

Anyway, a relatively straight forward fix, but I probably would have been chasing my tail a bit on this one (I didn't think it was ignition) if it weren't for the wealth of info here at TN.

Thanks @71Corolla and @white90dx for the input.

FWIW to anyone reading this, check out the junkyard before buying cheap replacement parts!
 
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