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Discussion Starter #1
So we all know there are a zillion threads on this forum where people have issues, we all chime in and suggest distributor is at fault, and then we never hear back on a resolution from OP. So what I've been trying to do is create a list of all threads where:


  • OP listed symptoms/issues
  • Distributor was suggested by other forum users as a root cause
  • OP came back and confirmed putting a new distributor in fixed the issue.
If you know of other threads in the 7th gen Corolla forum with this pattern (issue, diagnosis, confirmed resolution = distributor) feel free to chime in and I'll update the list.

The rationale for keeping this list is to summarize the issues and confirmed cases for future posters who might have questions (much like the oil burner thread).

Some common trends from skimming distributor threads:

  • There is a reluctance to believe aftermarket/reman replacements can be bad right out of the box, yet it is commonly a pattern. On the other hand, there are also some threads where aftermarket/reman did seem to fix the issue, but it seems like a roll of the dice. EDIT: Here is an excellent explanation for why poorly manufactured aftermarket distributors fail out of the box: https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/1329273-need-95-corolla-pinout-diagram-ecm-2.html#post11117481
  • The transmission is frequently a suspect in the bucking/stuttering cases, yet it's the distributor ending up being a root cause.

Here is the list:

1995 toyota corolla dx Jerking/bucking 60-70 mph
Symptom: "I have been experiencing an issue with my Toyota where when it gets to 60 mph it bucks and jerks"
Initial diagnosis: Mechanic suggested transmission issues
Resolution: New distributor fixed the issue

Some more distributor info
Symptom: No-start
Resolution: New distributor fixed the issue

Horrible Distributor Thread!
Symptom: No-start
Resolution: New distributor fixed the issue

hard start, won't ldle, bucks and stutters.
Symptom: Hard start, won't idle, bucks and stutters
Resolution: New distributor fixed the issue

A245E Transmission problems
Symptom: Hesitation/kicking
Initial diagnosis
: Transmission issues
Resolution: New distributor fixed the issue

Corolla dies when warm
Symptom: Engine dies when warm
Resolution
: New distributor fixed the issue

Toyota Corolla misses only after turning off engine and restarting it when its warm??
Symptom: Engine misses/stutters from a stop once warmed up
Resolution
: New distributor fixed the issue

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/578066-deeder-s-maintenance-acceleration-list-59.html#post10058250
Symptom: No-spark / no-start
Initial diagnosis: Happened right after piston soak
Resolution: New distributor fixed the issue.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/334680-any-ideas-car-idles-but-then-dies-when-put-into-drive.html)
Symptom: Engine revs fine in neutral. Put into drive and it goes for a couple seconds then stumbles and dies.
Initial Diagnosis:May appear to be transmission-related problem.. but...
Resolution: Bad ignition coil (inside the distributor). Replaced it with a new one fixed the issue.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/1213450-1st-2nd-gear-stumble.html
Symptom: a severe stumble when getting on it in first and second gear. hit third gear or better and the stumble is gone.
Initial diagnosis: replaced ignition rotor, cap, wires and plugs, fuel pump, sock, filter, injectors and regulator (intake and fuel rail thoroughly cleaned), map and tp sensors
Resolution: the new coil did the trick. 500+ mi since replacement and she's purring like my cat after devouring a fresh kill.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/1248929-engine-performance-issues-95-corolla-dx.html
Symptom: car may begin to act weird, loose performance after driving for a while.
Initial diagnosis: replaced fuel pump, fuel filter, cleaned injection system. Then replaced MAP, TPS sensors, EGR valve and air filter. Cleaned throttle-body and IAC. Replaced rotor, cap, wires, and plugs. Replaced distributor with Duralast brand from Autozone, no fix. Finally replaced ignition coil and it made symptoms even worse.
Resolution: went to a local pick your car part salvage yard and acquired ignition coil from another 7th gen Corolla. Replaced it and so far my car runs great!

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/1267497-97-corolla-died-won-t-start.html
Symptom: car started sputtering on way home from work. Next morning it wouldn't start.
Initial diagnosis: timing-belt broke? Skipped teeth? Fuel-pump doesn't turn on.
Resolution: Pulled junkyard distributor. Pulled the old one, put the new one in, cranked the engine and it started right up.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/1301089-i-know-i-know-another-jerking-bucking-thread-but-maybe-different.html
Symptom: Random buck around 65mph when trying to coast. It has slowly been getting worse, and happening anytime over 55mph now and really bad over 70. Like bucking almost moving engine. I have to keep almost a constant acceleration or let go of the gas all together when I'm on the highway.
Initial diagnosis: Ignition coil. Replaced with Autozone part. No difference or worse.
Resolution: Pulled junkyard ignition coil. Fixed issue.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/933338-1995-prizm-lsi-running-issues.html
Symptom: It would start but the car would hunt for the idle and rev up and down and then die. Even if you push on the gas it still wouldn't smooth out.
Initial diagnosis: "Thought for sure it was the ECU" ...."They told me the best they could tell it was either the MAP sensor or the ECU"
Resolution: Got a junkyard Denso distributor and that fixed the issue.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-corolla-7th-generation-1993-1997/1450418-95-occasional-misfires-when-accelerating.html
Symptom: About two months ago, it died on me on the way to work. I replaced the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap, rotor, and ignition coil, and it started back up. Except now it doesn't run smoothly at times. As it warms up, it misfires a lot while accelerating, I'm guessing around 1500-2000 RPM, but there's no misfire at much higher engine speeds, or at idle, or when it's cold.
Initial diagnosis: Swapping out the ignition coil for another one made no difference, as did swapping the distributor cap back. So now I'm thinking it's either the distributor itself, or the crankshaft position sensor. I measured the CPS (2kOhms exactly) and the pickup coil in the distributor (220 Ohms), and both appear to have normal readings.
Resolution: The first attempt at replacing the ignition coil was with an aftermarket coil. Swapping that out with an OEM ignition coil solved the issue
NOTE: This thread also serves as an excellent read-through for the amount of testing one can perform to diagnose the distributor. It's a highly recommended read.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-corolla-7th-generation-1993-1997/1617362-engine-stalls-when-operating-temperature-then-restarts-doesnt-stall-3.html
Symptom: I have a problem where the Car runs just fine but once its in the operating temperature range for a little bit, the car just stalls. It does leave behind a check engine code 14 tho but doesn't display while vehicle is running. When I wait about 5 minutes after it stalls, It will start right back up and not die at all even when I'm driving it around.
Initial diagnosis: I have replaced the following:
-Battery
-Alternator
-Timing Belt
-Fuel pump
-Fuel filter
-New Distributor assembly with cap (editor's note: Non-OEM distributor)
-ECM
-Spark plugs and wires
Resolution: Swapped distributors (editor's note: OEM distributor from junk yard) using the mark with Nail polish method, and the Car "IS NOT" Stalling.

Irishdad's journey:
Part 1: https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-corolla-7th-generation-1993-1997/1621458-95-corolla-1-6l-4afe-ran-fine-now-no-start.html
Part 2: https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-corolla-7th-generation-1993-1997/1628736-1995-corolla-crank-no-start-update.html
Part 3: https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-corolla-7th-generation-1993-1997/1632554-1995-corolla-crank-no-start-latest-update.html
Part 4: https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-corolla-7th-generation-1993-1997/1641716-1995-corolla-update-my-thanks.html
Symptom: We needed to run an errand, literally a block away (would have walked but it was over 100 degrees out) and the car turns over but doesn't start/catch.
Initial diagnosis: Multiple (see various threads)
Resolution: New distributor as well as fixing a mobile mechanic's incorrect timing belt install and timing adjustment.

https://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-corolla-7th-generation-1993-1997/1650932-help-i-need-your-guy-s-help-my-93-1-6l-won-t-start-when-hot-after-shut-off.html
Symptom: Car stalled when hot. Wouldn't start back up.
Initial diagnosis: Fuel injectors, distributor (replaced with aftermarket)
Resolution: New aftermarket distributor didn't fix issue. When replacing coil in distributor the issue got resolved.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Thank you, google cache! You saved my post when TN lost it :)

DannoXYZ - managed to add yours too from my deleted email folder.
 

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Thanks for bringing this back. I seem to have lost a lot of my posts from yesterday. Database problems? They really should move to OracleDB.
 

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I'd add that aftermarket distributors often solve the problem but turn out to lack the heat tolerance of oem units. This happened to me. Now, for the tooting-my-own-horn part: You might want to include my solution for the overheating problem, at least in my case it has allowed my aftermarket distributor to not burn the module up in Alabama summer heat. I wrote it up here a couple of years ago. http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/532825-ignition-problems-95-prizm.html And after reading what I wrote then, I see that I didn't really write it up. I basically just outlined what I did, taking no pictures and not going into great detail. The idea is simple enough that anyone with some mechanical aptitude should be able to do it. The main thing is to make a little diagram of how the wires are connected inside the distributor so that you can make sure they're still connected to the same ones after you add lengths of wire to relocate the module.
 

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Mounting the ignitor externally is a brilliant idea! I wonder if there's a way we can use an external coil as well. Would be nice to use a more powerful coil like an MSD Blaster-II or HVC.

Here's another bad-distributor thread:

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/130-7th-generation-1993-1997/1213450-1st-2nd-gear-stumble.html
Symptom:
a severe stumble when getting on it in first and second gear. hit third gear or better and the stumble is gone.
Initial diagnosis: replaced ignition rotor, cap, wires and plugs, fuel pump, sock, filter, injectors and regulator (intake and fuel rail thoroughly cleaned), map and tp sensors
Resolution:
the new coil did the trick. 500+ mi since replacement and she's purring like my cat after devouring a fresh kill.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, and can probably lose "resurrected" from the title. Would be great to sticky it so we can keep adding and also keep referring back to "the next time around". Thank you!

Danno, I'll add that one too when I'm on my laptop. Thanks!
 

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I'll add a bit to the discussion about after market distributors. I have one in my AllTrac. My Toyota one had internal leaks and I did not have the proper tools to rebuild it, so I bought the cheapest one RockAuto had. Since my Toyota dizzy had a Toyota coil that was less than a year old, the plan was to swap that into the aftermarket distributor for peace of mind. When I got it in my hands and pulled the cap off, the rotor was wrong. It was about 1/16"-1/8" too narrow in overall length, so once I put my Toyota coil in I put a new rotor comparable to OEM on. I've had zero issues in a couple thousand miles, though that isn't a ringing endorsement, I feel pretty good about it overall.

Basically I think as cores they probably aren't bad. But the actual parts they put on them most likely suck, and since these have built in ICMs that just complicates matters. If you have a newer or known good coil/igniter and need an after market distributor I'd probably put those newer or known good parts in there and rip out the junk that came on it.

Also worth noting that I bought a cheap UltraPower coil for the 91 and I was surprised to get an OEM Toyota (Denso). Probably just got really lucky that they had a lot of those for 3SFE coils but it goes to show you never know what will be in aftermarket parts box for better or worse and ignition parts are one of the last thing to take a chance on.. Both ends of the spectrum would be when Beck/Arnley gave me a cheap PVC tierod boot that didn't fit at all for a car while the Moog was an OEM rubber boot.
 

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I guess a stronger coil would be nice, though you'd probably want to upgrade the plug wires as well. They look to be about 6mm to me. I'm thinking that if you opened up the plug gaps to take advantage of a stronger coil you'd probably have arcs off the wires pretty soon if not immediately. I personally think it's more cost effective to just run the plugs at the right gap, or maybe a bit above, and leave everything else in the secondary system alone. That is not my philosophy on hot rod type stuff, but for these motors, yeah.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Updated with your latest addition, Danno.

Also, Haloruler64, I see the thread title got updated - thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't really care where but the reason I was asking is I didn't see it either places :) I did a search again - couldn't see it in the DIY thread? Maybe I'm blind...
 

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Double posts seem random for me. Never happens when using laptops or desktops. But on phone, it does the double post, but TN catches it. My account has time-limit between posts, so the 2nd post comes back with message of something like, "you must wait 15-seconds between posts".
 

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I STILL double post 50% of the time and have to go back and delete one post.
You need to go double post to the Koito headlights thread. When one selects the most recent post, yours, one gets redirected to the "this thread doesn't exist" page.
 
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