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Hello,

Please forgive me if I'm bringing up an old question.

I have a 95 4 cylinder Tacoma automatic that sometimes displays the check engine light.

For a while, running Amoco or other "high quality" fuel seemed to make the light go out, after an hour or so. But now, it's staying on all the time... and it's getting harder to start.

If it's hot and I've had the air on... and the truck sits for less than 30 minutes, I may have to crank many, many times... perhaps for 30 seconds, before she starts. It seems to help to turn off the Air Conditioning too... which I normally do anyway.

This first happened a year ago right after an oil change. They put the test box on and it said O2 or Cat Converter. They reset it, and it stayed off for a while.

I've been out of work for over 18 months... so money is an issue.

What should I do?

Thanks!!
mitch
 

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Check engine light - From what you said at the end, O2 sensor is likely the cause.

Hard starting - You said that if you leave the air conditioning or any electronics on, it is hard to start. I would believe it is the battery. Do you know how to test the batteries? Use a Voltmeter or borrow one.
Here's what to go by:
12.6+Volts = 100% charged
12.4 volts = 75%
12.2 volts = 50%
anything less is no good

Also, check for any loose terminals and corrosion on the battery (its green). Clean the corrosion off and tighten the terminals, if that is the case.

Before you take it to any mechanic, always check the most simplest things first.

Your starting system consists of a battery, relay, wires and a starter motor .
The Battery supplies the amps to the starter to crank. On top of the starter, there is a solenoid, inside it are "hold in" and "pull in" windings. In the starter, you have an "armature" and a "Commutator" with their own windings.
The windings, when energized will create a electromagnet. Becuase of the the arrangments of the plates and windings, and the "field coils" around the Armature - it works on the magnet theory that like poles attract and unlike poles repel. These will cause the starter to spin. There is also a drive gear which is connected to a one way clutch which is connected to the commutator. The drive gear is pushed to make contact with the flywheel by a lever by the solenoid. When the drive gear makes contact with the flywheel, it will turn you engine over (cranking). If you don't have enough amps to produce a large enough magnetic field for the armature to turn, then it is hard for the gears to turn the flywheel. That is why it is hard for engine to start. If you hear cranking sound, it means everyhting works in the starting system.

Another thing you might want to do is, check the battery with truck running. The battery Voltage reading should be above 12.7V and under 15V. Perfer is around 13.5 -14V, this will tell you that your alternator is doing its job. RPM have alot to do with the Voltage reading, the higher the RPM the higher the Voltage.

The O2 sensor is pretty expensive, but to recharge is battery pretty cheap. Make sure they charge the battery in low charge.
 
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