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My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me!


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TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 2, 2009, 11:11 AM

Post #1 of 21 (3343 views)
My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

1988 Toyota Camry with I-4 (2.0l) 192K miles. Engine died suddenly, but was losing power maybe a day before. Checked timing belt and was intact. I went ahead and changed belt and cap/wire set, set timing correctly as per factory manual and it won't start but sometimes pops. Removed plug and cranked and there is spark, blue but not super strong. If I set the timing belt so as to advance the timing mechanically, it tries to start and wants to run but dies after a couple of seconds. Friend says it is Igniter or Distributor that is not properly advancing so as to start. To my limited knowledge Igniter controls dwell and relies on ECU for this but does not advance timing. CEL comes on when ignition switch is turned on so I don't suspect ECU. What and how should I test? Thanks.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Sep 2, 2009, 11:19 AM

Post #2 of 21 (3336 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

I would start out by taking a complete compression test to determine if that belt is on right with no other problems there.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 2, 2009, 12:41 PM

Post #3 of 21 (3328 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

The timing marks line up, (ie crank at TDC and Cam at the bearing mark) and the rotor points to #1. Don't understand the reason for a compression test. Car was running well before this, no oil burning, engine never overheated, always had regular and frequent oil changes (2-3K). Even if one cylinder is a little low that shouldn't keep it from starting. From what I know about this engine at 192K it should have a lot of life in it yet.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Sep 2, 2009, 12:44 PM

Post #4 of 21 (3325 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

OK, fix it your way then.

How's that been working for you?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Guest
Anonymous Poster

Sep 2, 2009, 1:05 PM

Post #5 of 21 (3321 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

I loved my '88 Camry. Great on gas, peppy, handled great, just fun to drive. Too bad it was all ate up with cancer. Are you sure the old belt was on correctly? And, didn't jump a tooth?
I'd do a quick compression check, at least on one cylinder.


Guest
Anonymous Poster

Sep 3, 2009, 1:24 AM

Post #6 of 21 (3313 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

I will do a compression check. I know that this engine does have clearance and is "non interference" so I do not believe there was any damage if the belt did slip. i did check the other belt components to ensure that the Water Pump etc had not frozen. I am dead sure that the timing is on. What I am not sure about is why does advancing the timing mechanically want to make it run? Is this a sign of low compression??


Loren Champlain Sr
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Sep 3, 2009, 10:27 AM

Post #7 of 21 (3306 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

>> What I am not sure about is why does advancing the timing mechanically want to make it run? Is this a sign of low compression?? << It's a sign that the cam timing may be off. Take HTs advice. If the belt is only one tooth off, it may not show up on a compression test alone.
Loren
SW Washington


TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 3, 2009, 10:59 AM

Post #8 of 21 (3302 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

Thanks, I am off to buy a compression tester and try this. I have changed this belt 3x before and did experience getting it set one tooth off. Engine started but no power and I had to reset. I should have mentioned in my original post that I advanced the belt about 20 degrees to get it to try to start. Will report back on the compression readings.


Sidom
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Sep 3, 2009, 11:24 AM

Post #9 of 21 (3299 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

Just so I'm straight. It died, you check the belt BUT it was ok & in time? Still not a bad idea to check the comp also check the firing order since you've had he cap & wires off. Sounds like you are familar with it but I've seen seasoned techs get em a tooth off....

You might want to also pick up a spark tester if you don't have one & check the coil output. A weak coil will spark but not start an engine.......


(This post was edited by Sidom on Sep 3, 2009, 2:53 PM)


TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 3, 2009, 1:16 PM

Post #10 of 21 (3288 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

Yes, the belt was ok and appeared to be in time. It had about 30 K on it so I 'm not one for reusing a belt when you go to the trouble of getting to it so I replaced it and put on a new tensioner for good measure. i will look into a spark tester. I don't want to invest too much in the spark tester so I'm thinking one of those 10$ jobs at Harbor Freight might be ok? Something that gives a visual indication. If I did this for a living like some of the people on this board I'd get something more professional to measure the spark. I remember that when I removed one of the plugs and turned it over the spark was blue but not very strong, plugs have about 30 K also.


Sidom
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Sidom profile image

Sep 3, 2009, 2:59 PM

Post #11 of 21 (3282 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

Yea a cheapy tester is fine. Just so you can gauge the kv output. I would say you want a minium of 20kv


GlennAB1
User

Sep 4, 2009, 6:29 AM

Post #12 of 21 (3275 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In


In Reply To
Thanks, I am off to buy a compression tester and try this. I have changed this belt 3x before and did experience getting it set one tooth off. Engine started but no power and I had to reset. I should have mentioned in my original post that I advanced the belt about 20 degrees to get it to try to start. Will report back on the compression readings.


You shouldn't advance the timing like that. Timing is critical and is a balance between engine power and engine longevity. Advancing the timing a little does increase rpm and power output however it causes the piston to be subjected to high temperatures for a longer period and can damage (melt, just like detonation) them during low rpm operation (idle).



Sig removed

(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Sep 8, 2009, 1:10 AM)


TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 5, 2009, 2:34 PM

Post #13 of 21 (3262 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! Sign In

Agreed, it was just to see what was happening. When the belt is on correctly according to the timing marks, the most the engine does is pop a couple of times. When I advanced it, it started for a few seconds, which makes me suspect there are timing issues related to the ECU/ICU/Distributor. Additionally, I know there are other things (sensors) that can prevent the timing from advancing properly but I need to stay with the basics for now. Thanks.


TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 7, 2009, 4:04 AM

Post #14 of 21 (3254 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! UPDATE!! Sign In

Following the advice of some I just took some compression readings (psi): #1-155;#2-150;#3-152;#4-165. Granted the engine is cold (remember my problem is it won't start) so the exact numbers may be different. According to manual factory new is 178 psi, minimum is 142 (engine warm). So I'm ok here. I'm getting spark on all cylinders (bought a visual gauge). So back to square one. Called around a couple of Autozones etc. They can't test Igniter or distributor. I have a VOM, anything I can check with this?


Guest
Anonymous Poster

Sep 7, 2009, 6:14 AM

Post #15 of 21 (3244 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! UPDATE!! Sign In

A better question would be: Hammer, do you know what a VOM is? lol






Good bye


(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Sep 7, 2009, 6:28 AM)


Sidom
Veteran / Moderator
Sidom profile image

Sep 7, 2009, 2:29 PM

Post #16 of 21 (3225 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! UPDATE!! Sign In

Ok...Lets back up just a bit & recheck some stuff.

1st make sure the timing belt is set correctly & not advanced. Then grab a test light & check all your fuses. If it's not to much a hassle have the battery tested (I know, but sometimes slower is faster). You said you got a spark tester. What is the max kv output. After you get everything set back to normal get a can of starting fluid or carb clean and spray a couple of shots down the throttle body and see if that gets the motor to start for a few seconds.......


TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 8, 2009, 11:07 AM

Post #17 of 21 (3209 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! UPDATE!! Sign In

I actually have pulled every fuse in the EFI/Ignition/starting circuits and checked them for continuity - all OK. The battery is only three months old and turns the motor over quite well. The spark tester I bought was a bulb type. The ones that measure KV quantitatively are in the hundreds of $$$ and I am not ready to put that much into a piece of equipment I may never use again, wish I could but it's a luxury I can't afford. I did try starting with starting fluid (many times) and the result is the same couple of pops. I'm tempted to go to a junkyard and get another distributor, igniter and/or a ECU and just change them out but I'd rather diagnose and understand what is happening. My thought was that maybe someone reading this thread might have had a similar experience with their car and give me a direction that I might try using the limited test gear (and amateur mechanic status) I have. I do appreciate all comments.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Sep 8, 2009, 11:15 AM

Post #18 of 21 (3206 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! UPDATE!! Sign In

You can buy one most anywhere for under $20

Here's one for $11.80

http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/p-7200-thexton-404.aspx




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 14, 2009, 3:44 PM

Post #19 of 21 (3160 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! 2nd Update!! Sign In

Got the Thexton spark tester and the voltage tests about 20-22KV. I am assuming this is ok. So what is next? I read you can have the voltage but still it won't be enough. But this tester reveals quite a gap to jump to read 20KV, so I would assume the spark is sufficient as the plug gap is about 1/5 of the tester's minimum gap to spark. All timing marks line up, distributor rotor points to #1 at TDC. What else is there?


Sidom
Veteran / Moderator
Sidom profile image

Sep 15, 2009, 7:42 PM

Post #20 of 21 (3147 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! 2nd Update!! Sign In

It's getting to the point to find the problem you are probably going to need a lab scope & scanner.

You've covered the basics, good battery, clean connections, checked fuses, verified mechanical timing, injector pulse, spark, 20 to 30kv out of the coil, you have spark so the ignitor should be good. It won't run on starting fluid, so that rules out a fuel problem. I can't remember but I believe you changed the plugs..

There isn't any easy tests I can think of. I don't do resistance testing except for real basic stuff due to the fact it's just too unreliable. a lot of electrical failures happen under load and it can be tough catching it sometimes even with scope.

I would hate to see you throw a bunch of stuff at it that isn't the problem, especially since you've ruled out the basics now the stuff gets expensive. If you have known good parts that you can swap that would be great and quick. It's your call, maybe see how much a diag would be compared to the parts you are thinking about changing...

Sorry I couldn't of been more help.....


(This post was edited by Sidom on Sep 15, 2009, 7:47 PM)


TakinItEasy
Novice

Sep 16, 2009, 2:46 PM

Post #21 of 21 (3133 views)
Re: My reliable 1988 Toyota Camry quit on me! 2nd Update!! Sign In

Thanks. ruling out the igniter is at least a start. To my mind that leaves possibly the distributor and the ECU or some connection (sensor?) to it that is preventing the application of the spark at the right time. Both of these parts are expensive and unless I can get them from a last known running engine I 'd hate to take a chance on new parts. Just my luck after getting it running the tranny would go south! I'm ready to get one of those mobile mechanics and maybe try my luck with some more sophisticated diagnostic tools. Since this is pre 1996 my handheld computer, an Actron CP9180, is of no use and the OBD for this car as such isn't throwing any error codes.






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