Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help! - Jemsite
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

UUUUUGH car trouble is no bueno. So annoying.
So i have a 1997 Toyota Corolla that i've had for many years now. its got 190,000 on it, and i've never had any real issues with the car. Its been a total champ.
Wednesday, i drove the car and it was totally fine. Thursday, the temperature here in TN dropped a lot, and it pissed rain all day. I went to start my car that day, and the engine cranked just like always, but never quite started. Its sounded totally normal in terms of rhythm and sound… it just wouldn't start!
I read online that sometimes moisture in the distributor cap can cause that to happen on rainy days. So i took the cap off, and it seemed dry inside. I went over it with a paper towel to be sure there wasn't anything in there. The rotor looked okay too. Tried starting it again, no luck. Same deal.
A buddy at work told me that when i have the key in the 'on' position, i should be able to hear the fuel pump turn on. i tried that, and couldn't hear it. I also took the back seat cushion out so i could better hear it, and still no luck. But when i crank the engine, i can hear what i think is the fuel pump humming. After i stop trying to start it, i can hear that humming for another second or so, then it shuts off.
Yesterday and today, it hasn't rained, but the temperature has dropped even lower. I tried starting it again today, and it sounds super terrible! Really pitiful sounding. Its real hiccup-y, the rhythm sounds super jumpy, if that makes sense. Sounds bad. Very irregular.
I can't figure this out. Is it possible its the timing belt? Could it have just happened to have bit the dust? I actually have never replaced the timing belt on it, which is kinda nuts.
Thoughts??? Thanks you all, this is driving me crazy at the moment.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 09:39 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

Got Gas in the tank? Just because the gauge reads full or near does not mean it has gas in it. I am a ASE Certified mechanic. Gimme a few min I will go look a few things up on our info service.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 09:50 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

This is the fuel rail where you can check the fuel pressure. You don't really need a gauge to see if it has pressure. Find a screwdriver or something to push down the little plunger. Stand back because if you have fuel pressure it will jet out. Be careful and don't burn down anything unless you have full coverage.

If you have fuel pressure then you need to know if you have fire. That gets a bit too tricky. Especially considering you just squirted fuel up in the air.

My real advice is take the car to a certified auto mechanic.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 09:52 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

Oh yea, yes it could be a timing belt which is why you should take it to a qualified mechanic.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 10:17 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

I would try this first. Hold the accelerator pedal slightly open. I have seen the idle control valve on many vehicles stick closed in cold weather. Opening the throttle will let more air into the engine.

It could be a timing belt, if it is out of time it could backfire in the intake causing the noise you described.

As cosmic said it could be fuel pressure and many vehicles do have a Schrader valve to check fuel pressure. The picture he supplied shows a gauge that attaches to the fuel line with a banjo(hollow) bolt. It sounds like your pump is working, but it still may not be supplying enough fuel.

You might take the sparkplugs out and see if they have a lot of fuel on them. That would suggest that you have fuel pressure.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 10:24 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angra1 View Post
a Schrader valve
Dude, I could not remember that name. I really should not try to help when my memory/cognitive functions are flat lined.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 10:25 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

I have also seen many vehicles that will not start if the battery voltage falls below 10 volts while cranking. This is due to the engine computer not powering up. Sometimes the vehicle will even sound normal while cranking.

If you have a voltmeter, set it to DC volts, put the red lead on the positive cable and the black lead on the negative cable. See what your voltage is before you crank the engine. It should have a least 12 volts. Then crank the engine for about 10 seconds. If it falls below 10 volts, hook up booster cables and try starting the vehicle.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 10:29 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicDebris View Post
Dude, I could not remember that name. I really should not try to help when my memory/cognitive functions are flat lined.
Your info is right on though.
Schrader valves are also used in a tire valve stems.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 11:31 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

My wife had one and it was always a slight pain to start in the cold, talking Florida cold in the 40's, really weak and sputtery, if I recall. Sounds crazy but I would try a new battery, we've had to replace them in the cold season on more than just that vehicle. When they get weak the engine pretty much stalls over and over before it can even start, sounds terrible, add all the other weather related strains on fluids and materials etc and you need strong power to turn it over.

Last edited by axel_f; 01-04-2014 at 11:39 PM.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 09:08 AM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

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Originally Posted by Angra1 View Post
I have also seen many vehicles that will not start if the battery voltage falls below 10 volts while cranking. This is due to the engine computer not powering up. Sometimes the vehicle will even sound normal while cranking.
You are correct on that but it doesn't apply on his car. It is too old.

Big Duh-Huh, dude this is the internet. Record you starting it with your cell phone and post the vid. Didn't even occur to me to suggest that.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 10:12 AM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

[QUOTE=CosmicDebris;1265695]You are correct on that but it doesn't apply on his car. It is too old.

It does apply to this car. I am looking at the shop manual for a 1997 Corolla. Both engines that are used in this car use an engine control module. If voltage falls below 10 volts, the relay that powers the engine control module may not close. This could cause a no start.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 11:30 AM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

I've owned a 1996 Tacoma (sold it at 248,000 miles!) and now own a dad-mobile '05 Camry. I never experienced a sharp temperature drop like you guys have living in Florida but both cars did the ahhhh.....ahhhhh....ahahahaha vroom slow windup turnover when the battery got low. My cars have always "told me" in this way that it's time to change the battery. I've never been surprised by one dying on me suddenly.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 11:30 AM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

When was the last time you changed the plugs on the car?
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 12:09 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angra1 View Post
It does apply to this car. I am looking at the shop manual for a 1997 Corolla. Both engines that are used in this car use an engine control module. If voltage falls below 10 volts, the relay that powers the engine control module may not close. This could cause a no start.
I have been working as a mechanic for the last 25yrs and have worked on thousands of cars/trucks including what has to be hundreds of Toyota Camry,Avalons. If that car turns over fast "enough" it will catch and start. I have seen a handful of late model cars that would not start with battery voltage below 10v. A few late model Toyota 4Runners trans control module will not "boot" up if cranking/battery voltage falls below 11.2v. "Most" car/trucks will start if it cranks fast enough providing nothing else is wrong.

Having had worked on cars for this long one thing I have learned is not to always trust the service manual or tech bulletins.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2014, 05:00 PM
 
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Re: Toyota Corolla cranks but won't start! Help!

I too have worked on cars for about 25 years, mostly at a Ford dealership. While I have never seen a Corolla not start due to voltage, it is still a possibility. I have seen many Ford vehicles not start if the voltage gets low. Some were made before 2000.

I should had said I was looking at wiring diagrams instead of a service manual.

Anyway, did you get it to start today?
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