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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

We have a 1996 Corolla DX automatic (165k miles). The car always used to have a fairly high idle, especially when cold. Recently the cold idle became very low, making the vehicle a bit difficult to start in the morning. It would start, but you might have to give it some gas. This sudden change concerned me. Sure enough, a few days later the car would not start, no spark. I had the car towed back to my house and replaced the ignition coil. The Corolla runs again, however the cold start issue is still there. I did not remove the distributer when I replace the coil, so I should not have altered the timing.

Could the timing belt have jumped a tooth? The previous owner claims the belt was replaced around 120k, but I have reasons to believe she lied to us. The car leaks oil from the cam shaft seal, something that would usually be replaced with the belt. The motor seems to run fine once up to temp. It's always been a bit rough due to bad motor mounts, but I don't really notice it any rougher. Car seems to start fine when warm.

I am concerned because the cost to change the belt is more than the car is worth. I don't believe that this is something I can do myself, as it requires some special tools. I'm going to tinker a bit with the IAC valve. The nature of the immediate change leads me to believe it is something like the belt, since it was fine one day and had the low idle problem the next. I really thought the problem was being caused by weak spark, before the coil died completely. It seems odd that the new coil got the car running again, but it still has this problem. Maybe the two issues are not related at all. So confused...

Anyone have any insight?
 

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Other then the starting issue does the engine run OK?

The belt could have skipped a tooth but the result would be an engine that never ran well.

Do not think special tools are required to change the belt. You may need a puller for the crank, some one time use tools you can make cheaply from wood and bolts.

The seal may not have been leaking when the belt was changed, replacement is not standard for shops but is often done by DIY owners.

Could be the IAC valve needs cleaning or the coolant temp sensor for the computer is bad. The sensor tells the computer the tem of the coolant.

Visit the AutoZone website and look in their vehicle repair guide sections for this car/engine. You may have get a password now but the site has a LOT of good info including testing parts and belt changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I Love the autozone online guides. I've beenn telling people about the for years because they are so helpfull. Maybe I can change the timing belt myself. Do I need to lift the engine or is there enough room?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Yes, I Love the autozone online guides. I've been telling people about the for years because they are so helpful. Maybe I can change the timing belt myself. Do I need to lift the engine or is there enough room?
 

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Yes, I Love the autozone online guides. I've been telling people about the for years because they are so helpful. Maybe I can change the timing belt myself. Do I need to lift the engine or is there enough room?
If I recall the right motor mount needs to come off to do it. Check/call some shops for price quote. I think total job on mine was like $180 parts and labor. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE KIT THAT ALSO CHANGES THE IDLER/TENSION PULLEY!!!! Ask me how I know this :rolleyes:. The shop had it done in a couple hours which made it worth it.

The low idle cold as stated is probably the temperature sensor (the one right by the thermostat). It tells the ECU current temp to adjust fuel/air ratio. Happened to me twice over the years, very simple change.

The spark issue could get ugly (and pricey). Read my post (#2) on this thread http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forums/engine-and-drivetrain/41290-denso-iridium-problems-concerns/ Been there done that but after the first time I knew what to look for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The low idle cold as stated is probably the temperature sensor (the one right by the thermostat). It tells the ECU current temp to adjust fuel/air ratio. Happened to me twice over the years, very simple change.

The spark issue could get ugly (and pricey). Read my post (#2) on this thread http://www.tundrasolutions.com/forums/engine-and-drivetrain/41290-denso-iridium-problems-concerns/ Been there done that but after the first time I knew what to look for.
Thanks, I think I'll try a new temperature sensor. I put in a new coil and the spark problem was fixed. Car seems to run fine once warm now.
 
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