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1991 Camry 4cyl. 2.0 (I think): Some minor issues
September 5, 2007
I have a 1991 Camry thats been giving me fits when it comes to starting up in the morning. She starts when key is turned, revs up...and then dies down. dash board lights up as if I have turned the key to the on position. After about three times she will do just find. I have had the battery and alternator checked. they are fine. I have replaced the fule filter and the had the pump checked...they seem to be fine. Someone suggested to me that my choke might be getting hung up, but wasnt sure if my make and model had a choke. Interesting thing happened this morning. It was raining...something that hasnt happened in forever. I go out, start her up...after 3 tries she decides its time to wake up. I back out of my driveway, get going down the road and its like she is hung up on something. Wouldnt go past 15 mph if that. Now the engine sounded normal. I pulled off, turned her off and restarted. Made my way down the road. Sat at a light for no more than 10 mins (maybe 12). When it was my turn to go, I took my foot off the break, tapped the gas a little, made my turn and got going down the road. Again, I couldnt get her to go past 15mph. Pumped the gas a bit before having to stop at a light. Sat for all of 2 mins, and she did just fine. Now she had done this once before about two weeks ago. Thats what prompted the fuel filter change. She hadnt done it since. dont know if that has anything to do with the starting issue. I will say that in general, she doesnt like the rain. I cant go faster than 50 before she start slipping and sliding and sometimes getting her to go after having sat in a puddle of water at a light is an issue.


September 5, 2007#1
The odd wet weather behavior is a tip off that this could be possibly ignition related. How recently did you have a full tuneup on the car? Have the sparkplugs, sparkplug wires, distributor cap and rotor been replaced or at least looked at? Another thing you can do is look under the hood at night (make sure there it is as dark as possible) - if you notice any arcing anywhere on the engine or ignition system - could be a sign of misfiring or damaged ignition system.

As for the choke issue - it would cause similar problems on a carburated engine. Your car is a 2nd generation Camry with a 3SGE 2.0L inline 4 EFI engine - no choke. The 3SGE was also used on Toyota Celicas and other models - noted to be one of the most robust series of Toyota engines.

I would also recommend you run a good quality fuel injector cleaner - give the age of the car, even with the new fuel filter, could be some significant amount of gum and varnish in the fuel system. Make sure the air filter is in good shape and the airbox does not have any visible damage to it.

Another possibility are sensor and electrical issues - as like the ignition system, will act different when components are wet. Most basic one is the chassis ground connection to the engine - basically makes sure that the engine is at the same potential as the negative terminal of the battery. If that is not the case (you could use a decent multimeter to measure both resistance between the engine and negative terminal as well as voltage (mV range)) - you could have an uneven idle, poor acceleration, or stalling.

I would suggest a good tune-up first, if that hasnt already been done, then start working the possible issues in the ignition system, electrical, vacuum, etc. To start diagnosing it before the tune-up may cause more problems because you have too much variability to work with.

Good Luck.

September 5, 2007#2
I'm fairly certian the spark plugs need to be changed. Which I had planned on doing either this weekend or next. It started doing this two weeks ago when it got really hot. As for this mornings hill crisis...I'm beginning to think it had more to do with traction and less to do with the starting problem. Like I said, she runs fine once I can get the engine to go and stay on. This fuel injector cleaner, its Do it yourself right? How would I go about doing this?

September 5, 2007#3
Two ways to do this - one is to feed it directly into the fuel log by the injectors (need special equipment and chemicals to do this). The other is using one that gets poured into the gas tank (a little slower cleaning, but the right chemicals will work). I've used Redline fuel injector cleaner, Valvoline Syntech fuel system cleaner, and Chevron w/Techron stuff - all have shown some degree of desolving some deposits. Sometimes takes a few tanks before anything significant happens, depends on the amount of deposits on the injectors. Some cases, you have to physically remove the injectors and send them in to be ultrasonically cleaned and flow balanced - but it doesnt sound like that is the problem here. I'd double check to see that the plugs on it now are the correct heat range - if they are too cold, they would tend to coke up and not clean themselves are well as they should - could explain some of the initial engine hesitation and starting issues until the plugs clean themselves off. As it sounds like once the car gets up to operating temp - all is golden. Good Luck.

September 6, 2007#4
Thanks for the info, I'll try it this weekend.

UPDATE: Now My accelerator is sticking when I try to drive her first thing in the morning or after she has sat for a long time. It does it within the first 10 mins of me driving, after that she drives fine. and now when I start her up, a large cloud of smoke appears fromthe exhauste. Someone suggested that when I had my muffler and manafold repaired about a month ago that they may have damaged the O2 sensor or valve. Makes sense since it started doing this within a week of getting that fixed.

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