Question about 1988 Toyota Tercel 2 Door

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My 1988 Toyota Tercel starts and immediately stops unless I flutter the gas. Carb new, cylinder head, pistons, rings, bearings, all new. Checked for correct timing. Assuming its not the carb or the

I purchases a Haynes repair manual but I don't seem to have a check eng light although the manual does not talk about this. How can I get the codes. Please help. I'm at wits end with this thing

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  • Richard Dickaon Aug 29, 2012

    Hi John, update. I also have rod knock and decided to pull the pan. Changed rod bearing and when I started, I immediately heard th knock. I suspect trash in the gallery over a bad crank. What do you think?

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  • Toyota Master
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Hi Richard, Your vehicle does not have engine management and therefore there are no codes to read. Before anything else, check all vacuum tubes and hoses are connected correctly to the carburetor and to the sensors and valves on the manifold and cylinder head. Make double sure of the hose connection between the lower part of the carb and the intake manifold. If that is not connected or if it is leaking the engine will exhibit the symptoms you describe. The ignition timing on your vehicle is 10 degrees before top dead center. The timing marks are on the front pulley and the timing cover. These vehicles were fitted sometimes with electronic ignition and sometimes with contact breakers and condenser. If yours has the latter, you should first set the breaker or point gap to point four five mm. This should be done using a feeler gauge. To do this, rotate the engine until the points are fully open against the cam inside the distributor and then adjust by slightly loosening the two screws holding the breakers in place. Move the lower part of the base until the required setting is correct. (It is critical) Once the gap has been set tighten the screws and recheck the gap. Turn the engine by hand to the !0 degrees BTDC firing on piston number one and then loosen the 10mm bolt which locks the distributor and turn it so that the points are closed and just on the verge of opening. The difference between open and closed is the lightest possible finger pressure. Lock the distributor again and make sure that there is a spark at the points. If the vehicle has an electronic distributor, take out the rotor arm and the protective cover under it and set the timing by placing the rotor at the position where it has just past the pickup coil. This will allow the vehicle to start. As the vehicle has a carburetor and not injection, the management system if fitted will be for emission control but not engine management. Once the engine starts re set the ignition timing with a stroboscopic timing light at 10 degrees BTDC. Always set the ignition timing before attempting any adjustment of the carburetor. Once the ignition timing has been, set if the carb has an automatic choke, make sure it is connected and getting electrical power and that the adjustment is correct. If after doing the above the behavior has not improved significantly you will need to remove the anti tamper cover of the mixture control screw, take a long flat screw driver and insert it. The screw is located at the base of the carburetor. Turn it inward lightly until it comes to rest on the face of the seating and then loosen it three and a half turns. Start the engine and turn the screw in or out until the engine runs smoothly. Let me know how you get on and if you manage to sort out the problem. If not we'll have a rethink on what the problem can be. It would help to know what engine we are dealing with and as many other details as possible. Best regards John

Posted on Aug 27, 2012

  • 6 more comments 
  • Richard Dickaon Aug 27, 2012

    Hi, it's a 3e, OBD exempt (no check eng light). Kim reading the Haynes troubleshooting. They want be to look at the distributer, correct fuel supply, and vacuum leaks, I will keep this updated. Thank you so much for your time

  • Hi Richard, It seems to me that you do not have any short cuts left to take. Pull out the engine and strip it to component parts. Once done take the crank shaft, the pistons, the con rods the engine block and cylinder head for machining to a specialized machinist. Have them measure all items and do what is required. Go to an auto supply shop and get new main and conrod bearing, new pistons (if required and new good quality rings. You will also need a new oil pump, water pump and timing belt. Follow the instructions in your manual and rebuild the engine from ground up. Do not opt for a used replacement as you have no idea of the condition. Let me know if you are going to jump off the deep end and we can do the rebuild together. You'll get dirty hands but I'll stay clean. No more half jobs, this needs to be done. Best regards John

  • You will also need a complete gasket set, engine oil or rebuild grease and it would be advisable if it is a manual transmission to replace the clutch plate. pressure plate (cover) and the thrust release bearing. A set of new plugs will not go amiss and the same is true for the HT cables, Distributor cap and rotor arm. Also replace the points and condenser (if fitted) When disassembling take special care of the springs which fir under the rocker and tension the arms. Mark each piston, con rod and main bearing so that they are fitted back into the same paces. marking everything is a good idea.Before you begin any dismantling clean the engine and the bay of all contamination. Once any bearing has failed do the complete job or you or whoever you intend to use the vehicle will have a long walk home. Regards John

  • Sorry for the ***** reply, my computer is over heating and keeps shutting down on me! I already know whats wrong with it, it needs a service. where I live it is very dusty during the dry season. Let me know what you decide Richard. Regards John

  • Richard Dickaon Aug 30, 2012

    Thanks for all the great info John. I agree that due to the age of the car. Your solution is the obvious,one, however, with low miles, only 91k, the cost effective course might be to verify the bad crank. I have already did the in frame overhaul. Can I send pics?

  • Hi Richard, I would like to see the photo's, but keep in mind the details and measurements will not be available. I would still suggest the complete job. Forget the recorded mileage, the engine has knocked and I still suggest a job without short cuts. Best Regards John

  • Richard Dickaon Sep 06, 2012

    Hi John. Assume I was required to provide some sort of report or answer a clients question. Any failure analisis report would include mic. Readings on the no four crank journal. This is the second failure of this bearing. I'll have to mic out the journal at a minimum and sand any damaged areas with cloth fine grit sandpaper . Do you have any experience with " repair as necessary" as appossed to complete removal wich would require a dinomonitor test cert. rod bearings are $39 a set . They will be in Friday. Right now, no four crank journal is the only thing wrong. Do you think there is hope or is it a lost cause?

  • Hi Richard, I really would like you to go ahead with the complete recon job. Short cuts can never get the results you will be proud of. The E series engines are not difficult to rebuild, and when you get into the vehicle afterwards, turn the key and listen to the steady purring, think of how proud you'll be. If you go ahead and try to do the job by hand I do not believe you will get the engineering to the critical standards required. Keep in mind that the crankshaft is a revolving mass, consequently any differences in weight will be magnified and the imbalance made more pronounced as the RPM climb. Every engine requires precision engineering and the higher performance the engine the greater the need for precision! Its never a lost cause unless you give up! Regards John

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Piece of @#$%


I'm afraid the only advise I can give, is to overhaul the engine.

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New gaskets will be installed, which will stop the oil leaks. The water consumption should stop. (Provided you just have a warped cylinder head, and/or blown head gasket. If the cylinder head is cracked, it will need replacing)

You will get Much better gas mileage, and the engine should run another 200,000 miles at least.

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