Question about 1993 Toyota Corolla

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1993 Toyota Corolla, No Spark

My 1993 Corolla quit starting. 4 cyl, 1.6. No spark, as tested with a timing light. 12 volts gets to distributor in the smaller connector. I bought a salvaged distributor. Same problemo. The auto wrecker says he tested it on an engine and it worked when he sent it. The coil and igniter are inside the distributor. (He suggested they were outside, on the firewall but I can't find anything like that, and internet searches seem to indicate the ones inside are all there are.) I don't see any cam sensor outside the distributor either. There are two magnetic pickups inside, one four times per revolution, one once per revolution. The coil has low resistance continuity between the primaries and 6K ohm to the button on top. The cap and rotor look almost new. Is there anything outside the distributor that could be the problem? Or did the guy sell me a bad one?

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  • 6 more comments 
  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 12, 2008

    Let me add to my post. There was no check engine light.



  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 13, 2008

    I don't see anything that looks like an ECU either. Where do I find that, and what does it look like? Can I disconnect the distributor connector that has about six electrodes?

  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 13, 2008

    Battery seems fine. It cranks rapidly. At first when the problem arose, the car would sputter a little, as though it might start. But after many attempted starts, it wouldn't sputter at all. Jump starting improved nothing.

  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 13, 2008

    Terminals cleaned, battery charged. No improvement.

    Plug wire connectors inspected. They look fine.

    Multi-prong plug on distributor disconnected. No improvement.

    I doubt that coil is arcing in both distributors. The seller said he had tested and confirmed the distributor he sold.

    Searched for ECU. Found a terminal strip with lots of wires and a two cubic inch black rectangular black box on the right side wall under the glove box. Is that what I'm looking for? It has one connector with two wires, one with six or so, and one with like 20. If this is the ECU, what wires do I disconnect to test whether the ECU has a problem?

  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 13, 2008

    Engin is grounded, because I used a connection to the engine to get a 12 volt reading to one of the terminals in the two wire distributor connector.

    I tested a coil, sort of as you suggested, using power from my battery charger. But the little charger has a high impedance. It didn't produce a spark. But it did shock my finger. I'll try it again with the car battery.

    There was no short in the six prong distributor connector. Some terminals seemed open circuit. Others had resistances of a few thousand ohms.

    I'm getting discouraged. Haven't worked on it much today. Thanks for your ideas. Are your ideas generic, or do you know Toyotas?

  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 13, 2008

    If I take the little electronic ignition module and coil in to a parts store, will they be able to test them?

  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 14, 2008

    At Richie's suggestion, I tested a coil again, using the battery rather than my charger. There was no spark. Still, that troubles me because the seller says he had tested it and found it good. I'll test both today and take the igniters someplace to be tested before I send the distributor back.

  • Peter Stearns
    Peter Stearns Jun 16, 2008

    Did more tests Saturday. With distributor cap off, key to "run," there was 12 volts at the coil. Turning key to "start" reduces that to 9... probably because of load. I couldn't detect any interruption in the voltage with my meter. I put my transistor radio next to the lead to listen for an interruption. I heard none.

    So I phoned the wrecker. She's sending me a new distributor.

    Is there anything outside of the distributor that could cause damage to the igniter and coil? Does a bad coil usually damage the igniter? Why is it that both igniter and coil seem to be bad on both my old distributor and the one I bought from the wrecking yard?



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4 Answers

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  • Master
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Hi,

Assuming the distributor is good and that the ECM/ECU is also good and yet no spark, maybe you simply need to reset the computer. This could be done by removing the battery cable(s).

If that doesn't fixes the problem, then you need to do voltage checks from the crankshaft and camshaft sensors (very low pulsing voltage when engine is cranking) all the way to the ECU/ECM and back to the trigger of the igniter.

A couple of backgrounders:
1. Toyota in 1983 started using the TCCS over the conventional EFI system. This system reads two (2) sensors (crankshaft and camshaft) and needs a feedback from the distributor all fed to the ECU/ECM which then triggers the igniter to fire the coil to produce the spark. Fault on any of the sensors or on the ECU/ECM itself will inhibit the spark;
2. The crankshaft and camshaft sensors need not be on those components, they can and as you posted be in the distributor hence the 4 to 1 and the 1 to 1 per revolution, the magnetic pickups;
3. The ECU/ECM may also take into account security condition (alarm/immobilizer), advance/****** and others and likewise inhibit the spark (igniter trigger).

Of course the easiest would be to have the distributor as a whole tested (sensors, igniters, coil) as well as the ECU/ECM.

Alternately, you may find additional insight from here or here.

Hope this be of additional help/idea. Pls post back how things turned up or should you need additional information.

Good luck and kind regards.

Thank you for using FixYa.

Posted on Jun 16, 2008

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  • Master
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Pull the cap and look at the connector on the inside, they like to go gooey.
Also more than once I have had modules "tested" that said good only to find out' they were bad.

Check all connections are clean, and that battery is charged - and holding charge. If it is more than 3 yrs old- suspect it.

Try it after cleaning and charging battery.

If still no-go, look for any connections from distributor to ECU. They can run without connection, so try without it. If it fires up - problem lies with the ECU inhibiting the distributor.

Check that all leads are open circuit - and not shorting or providing a current leak.

Hoe this helps.

Posted on Jun 12, 2008

  • 3 more comments 
  • Richard Perkins
    Richard Perkins Jun 13, 2008

    Hi, sorry to take so long to get back to you - needed sleep.

    Yes try disconnecting any multi- plug from it and try cranking again.

    Is there an alarm system or immobiliser fitted anywhere? If there is this also will cut the feed to the unit.



    You can test the coil, but usually requires small crocodileclips or test probes . Set a small spark gap between the secondary windings, and touch 12v accross the primary, you should be able to induce a spark. If not then the insulation of the coil has brooken down and is damaged.

    It will test fine with a meter (no wires broken) - but will discharge at the higher voltage.



    I am inclined to think you need a new spark coil. This may be confirmed if you can hear any clicking noise from it when cranking - it's arcing internally.



    Hope this helps.

  • Richard Perkins
    Richard Perkins Jun 13, 2008

    I'm sorry, all I can suggest is you try each one in turn.



    By rights you should be getting a spark by now.



    If you can remove a plug, connect leads, and rest plug body on earthed engine then this will give a better indication of if there is a spark there or not.



    If you're sure it's not coil or condenser problems, getting power to distributor& coil....... Hmmmm. Check earthing onto main engine from battery too.



    Sorry this is all taking you so long.... Running out of options here.

  • Richard Perkins
    Richard Perkins Jun 13, 2008

    This time it's generic problem solving. A bit like trying to identify an item in a closed bag! Process of elimination, but the principles apply to a lot of different models. Some have specific problems.



    If you take the items to a good "hands on" parts store you may get them tested - but beware, it's in their best interest to sell you one. I would rather phone around a few small garages to see if they could test it for you. They may even know the problem straight off.



    Best of luck.

    Sorry I couldn't put my finger straight on the problem for you.

    Thank you for using Fixya.

  • Richard Perkins
    Richard Perkins Jun 16, 2008

    all of them hve problems

  • Richard Perkins
    Richard Perkins Jun 16, 2008

    A bad coil can backfeed to an ecu and blow that too, but not usually the other way around.



    Test the new coil to make sure you get a spark from it before fitting. Then you're just relying on the ecu to pulse 12v to the coil at the right time to produce the spark, and you said you get 12v at the distributor.



    Hope the new one will be the end of the problems for you.

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Posted on Jun 12, 2008

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  • hemant somaiya
    hemant somaiya Jun 12, 2008

    DEFINITELY HE HAD SELLED YOU A BAD ONE OR NOT IN A GOOD CONDITION CAR.YOU GET CHECKED IT WITH SOME OTHER PROPER TECHNICIAN WHO CAN GUIDE YOU TO SHOW WHAT IS EXACTLY WRONG WITH YOUR CAR.THIS TYPE OF CASES ARE NOWADAYS VERY COMMON.SO DONT TAKE IT LIGHTLY SO CALL THE ENGINEER AND GET IT CHECKED NOWITSELF OTHERWISE IT WOULD BE TO LATE FOR U TO EXCHANGE OR RETURN IT.

  • hemant somaiya
    hemant somaiya Jun 12, 2008

    IF U WANT ME TO SEND A ENGINEER AT YOUR PLACE JUST GIVE ME YOUR LOCATION AND ZIPCOCE.RATE THIS SOLUTION IF IT HELPED U AND SAVED YOUR TIME.FEEL FREE FOR FURTHER ASSISTANCE.

  • hemant somaiya
    hemant somaiya Jun 14, 2008

    i am waiting for your reply. because i had good some more solutions or you can say options.comment as soon as possible.rate this solution as fixya.

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