Intermittent engine stop

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Old 10 Jan 2009, 12:19 am   #1 (permalink)
Gib Bogle
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Default Intermittent engine stop

My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. About 5 times the engine
has cut out. On all except one occasion this happened just after
starting the car, sometimes after it had been running then left to sit
for some time. On one occasion it happened while travelling at 100 kph
on the motorway.

Every time except one the car started again after 10 - 30 min, and ran
completely normally. On the other occasion I left it overnight (having
walked home) but when it still wouldn't start the next day I had it
towed to a mechanic, whereupon it started. The mechanic thought it was
probably the distributor, which he replaced with a used one he had.
This seemed a good idea, until the car died again a few weeks later. He
is an honest guy, and will not just replace everything in sight, but
he's stumped. The car starts easily and runs very well.

I've now put my timing light in the car, so I can check whether there is
a spark the next time it fails. Any other suggestions would be most
welcome.

Gib
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Old 10 Jan 2009, 02:17 am   #2 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

Gib Bogle wrote:
> My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. About 5 times the engine
> has cut out.


What diagnostic codes has it recorded?

--Winston
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Old 10 Jan 2009, 02:37 am   #3 (permalink)
Mark A
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

"Gib Bogle" <bogle@ihug.too.much.spam.co.nz> wrote in message
news:gk9el6$lrg$1@lust.ihug.co.nz...
> My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. About 5 times the engine
> has cut out. On all except one occasion this happened just after starting
> the car, sometimes after it had been running then left to sit for some
> time. On one occasion it happened while travelling at 100 kph on the
> motorway.
>
> Every time except one the car started again after 10 - 30 min, and ran
> completely normally. On the other occasion I left it overnight (having
> walked home) but when it still wouldn't start the next day I had it towed
> to a mechanic, whereupon it started. The mechanic thought it was probably
> the distributor, which he replaced with a used one he had. This seemed a
> good idea, until the car died again a few weeks later. He is an honest
> guy, and will not just replace everything in sight, but he's stumped. The
> car starts easily and runs very well.
>
> I've now put my timing light in the car, so I can check whether there is a
> spark the next time it fails. Any other suggestions would be most
> welcome.
>
> Gib


The 1991 Camry has expired and support is no longer available. Please buy a
newer model.


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Old 10 Jan 2009, 12:23 pm   #4 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

Look on Autozone's free repair guide on how to pull diagnostics code
(s), if any.
http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm
Under "driveability and emissions controls" -> "trouble codes" ->
"reading codes"

The diagnosis will be in the areas of air, fuel, spark:

Fuel cut off is one of the areas you should check. Have you ever
replaced the wimpy little fuel filter?

Diagnosis can be difficult because the problem is intermittent. Your
mechanic can help in checking at least the fuel pump current draw.
Nominally I would think (not sure the exact number) that the current
draw should be < 50% of the fuse rating for the pump.

Also check the ignition coil inside the distributor, see Autozone's
free repair guide for details.

Check the EGR valve (eg, disconnect the hose at the valve when you're
having problem starting) to make sure it's not open while idle. I
think the engine may have a cold-start air valve too. So check it's
proper operation. Also check the idle air valve on the throttle body.

On Jan 9, 10:19*pm, Gib Bogle <bo...@ihug.too.much.spam.co.nz> wrote:
> My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. *About 5 times the engine
> has cut out. *On all except one occasion this happened just after
> starting the car, sometimes after it had been running then left to sit
> for some time. *On one occasion it happened while travelling at 100 kph
> on the motorway.
>
> Every time except one the car started again after 10 - 30 min, and ran
> completely normally. *On the other occasion I left it overnight (having
> walked home) but when it still wouldn't start the next day I had it
> towed to a mechanic, whereupon it started. *The mechanic thought it was
> probably the distributor, which he replaced with a used one he had.
> This seemed a good idea, until the car died again a few weeks later. *He
> is an honest guy, and will not just replace everything in sight, but
> he's stumped. *The car starts easily and runs very well.
>
> I've now put my timing light in the car, so I can check whether there is
> a spark the next time it fails. *Any other suggestions would be most
> welcome.
>
> Gib


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Old 10 Jan 2009, 02:33 pm   #5 (permalink)
Gib Bogle
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

Thanks very much for these helpful suggestions.

johngdole@hotmail.com wrote:
> Look on Autozone's free repair guide on how to pull diagnostics code
> (s), if any.
> http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm
> Under "driveability and emissions controls" -> "trouble codes" ->
> "reading codes"


I was aware of the usefulness of the diagnostic codes, but thought I
needed special equipment to read them. I'll explore that link.

> The diagnosis will be in the areas of air, fuel, spark:
>
> Fuel cut off is one of the areas you should check. Have you ever
> replaced the wimpy little fuel filter?


Yes, I replaced the filter about a year ago.

>
> Diagnosis can be difficult because the problem is intermittent. Your
> mechanic can help in checking at least the fuel pump current draw.
> Nominally I would think (not sure the exact number) that the current
> draw should be < 50% of the fuse rating for the pump.


I should be able to check this, if I can find the desired value.


> Also check the ignition coil inside the distributor, see Autozone's
> free repair guide for details.


Since the mechanic replaced the distributor body, I imagine he replaced
the coil.

> Check the EGR valve (eg, disconnect the hose at the valve when you're
> having problem starting) to make sure it's not open while idle. I
> think the engine may have a cold-start air valve too. So check it's
> proper operation. Also check the idle air valve on the throttle body.


I need to read the manual on this.

> On Jan 9, 10:19 pm, Gib Bogle <bo...@ihug.too.much.spam.co.nz> wrote:
>> My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. About 5 times the engine
>> has cut out. On all except one occasion this happened just after
>> starting the car, sometimes after it had been running then left to sit
>> for some time. On one occasion it happened while travelling at 100 kph
>> on the motorway.
>>
>> Every time except one the car started again after 10 - 30 min, and ran
>> completely normally. On the other occasion I left it overnight (having
>> walked home) but when it still wouldn't start the next day I had it
>> towed to a mechanic, whereupon it started. The mechanic thought it was
>> probably the distributor, which he replaced with a used one he had.
>> This seemed a good idea, until the car died again a few weeks later. He
>> is an honest guy, and will not just replace everything in sight, but
>> he's stumped. The car starts easily and runs very well.
>>
>> I've now put my timing light in the car, so I can check whether there is
>> a spark the next time it fails. Any other suggestions would be most
>> welcome.
>>
>> Gib

>

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Old 10 Jan 2009, 02:34 pm   #6 (permalink)
Gib Bogle
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

Mark A wrote:
> "Gib Bogle" <bogle@ihug.too.much.spam.co.nz> wrote in message
> news:gk9el6$lrg$1@lust.ihug.co.nz...
>> My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. About 5 times the engine
>> has cut out. On all except one occasion this happened just after starting
>> the car, sometimes after it had been running then left to sit for some
>> time. On one occasion it happened while travelling at 100 kph on the
>> motorway.
>>
>> Every time except one the car started again after 10 - 30 min, and ran
>> completely normally. On the other occasion I left it overnight (having
>> walked home) but when it still wouldn't start the next day I had it towed
>> to a mechanic, whereupon it started. The mechanic thought it was probably
>> the distributor, which he replaced with a used one he had. This seemed a
>> good idea, until the car died again a few weeks later. He is an honest
>> guy, and will not just replace everything in sight, but he's stumped. The
>> car starts easily and runs very well.
>>
>> I've now put my timing light in the car, so I can check whether there is a
>> spark the next time it fails. Any other suggestions would be most
>> welcome.
>>
>> Gib

>
> The 1991 Camry has expired and support is no longer available. Please buy a
> newer model.


This is a good and useful car, with many more miles in it.
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Old 11 Jan 2009, 02:22 pm   #7 (permalink)
Gib Bogle
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

johngdole@hotmail.com wrote:
> Look on Autozone's free repair guide on how to pull diagnostics code
> (s), if any.
> http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm
> Under "driveability and emissions controls" -> "trouble codes" ->
> "reading codes"
>
> The diagnosis will be in the areas of air, fuel, spark:


That is a great site. In this case there is a slight problem. To read
the diagnostic codes using the DLC1, it instructs me to connect the
terminals E1 and TE1. In my DLC I have E1, and TEM and T but no TE1.
This car was made in Australia, and the engine is 3S-FE.

I will try connecting T to E1.
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Old 11 Jan 2009, 02:40 pm   #8 (permalink)
Gib Bogle
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

johngdole@hotmail.com wrote:
> Look on Autozone's free repair guide on how to pull diagnostics code
> (s), if any.
> http://www.autozone.com/shopping/repairGuide.htm
> Under "driveability and emissions controls" -> "trouble codes" ->
> "reading codes"


Very interesting. The car hasn't failed recently, but there are error
codes: 1 4 4 3. Looking at the chart, I see that this means two
separate codes, 14 and 43.

14 Ignition Signal IGF signal from igniter is not input to ECU for 4-5
consecutive ignitions
Open or short in IGF or IGT circuit from igniter to ECU
Igniter
ECU

43 Starter Signal Starter signal (STA) is not input to ECU even once
until engine reaches 800 rpm or more when cranking
Open or short in starter signal circuit
Open or short in IG SW circuit
ECU

This is all consistent with my expectations (circuit problem), but still
leaves diagnosis a very thorny task.
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Old 11 Jan 2009, 03:14 pm   #9 (permalink)
ransley
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

On Jan 10, 12:19*am, Gib Bogle <bo...@ihug.too.much.spam.co.nz> wrote:
> My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. *About 5 times the engine
> has cut out. *On all except one occasion this happened just after
> starting the car, sometimes after it had been running then left to sit
> for some time. *On one occasion it happened while travelling at 100 kph
> on the motorway.
>
> Every time except one the car started again after 10 - 30 min, and ran
> completely normally. *On the other occasion I left it overnight (having
> walked home) but when it still wouldn't start the next day I had it
> towed to a mechanic, whereupon it started. *The mechanic thought it was
> probably the distributor, which he replaced with a used one he had.
> This seemed a good idea, until the car died again a few weeks later. *He
> is an honest guy, and will not just replace everything in sight, but
> he's stumped. *The car starts easily and runs very well.
>
> I've now put my timing light in the car, so I can check whether there is
> a spark the next time it fails. *Any other suggestions would be most
> welcome.
>
> Gib


Did he put a new coil in. You need see if it get spark when it dies.
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Old 11 Jan 2009, 03:31 pm   #10 (permalink)
Gib Bogle
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Default Re: Intermittent engine stop

ransley wrote:
> On Jan 10, 12:19 am, Gib Bogle <bo...@ihug.too.much.spam.co.nz> wrote:
>> My 1991 4-cyl Camry has a very nasty problem. About 5 times the engine
>> has cut out. On all except one occasion this happened just after
>> starting the car, sometimes after it had been running then left to sit
>> for some time. On one occasion it happened while travelling at 100 kph
>> on the motorway.
>>
>> Every time except one the car started again after 10 - 30 min, and ran
>> completely normally. On the other occasion I left it overnight (having
>> walked home) but when it still wouldn't start the next day I had it
>> towed to a mechanic, whereupon it started. The mechanic thought it was
>> probably the distributor, which he replaced with a used one he had.
>> This seemed a good idea, until the car died again a few weeks later. He
>> is an honest guy, and will not just replace everything in sight, but
>> he's stumped. The car starts easily and runs very well.
>>
>> I've now put my timing light in the car, so I can check whether there is
>> a spark the next time it fails. Any other suggestions would be most
>> welcome.
>>
>> Gib

>
> Did he put a new coil in. You need see if it get spark when it dies.


Yes, that's why I'm now carrying the timing light in the car.
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