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Toyotapro
Toyotapro, ASE master tech
Category: Toyota
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Experience:  ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
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I have a Lexus ES300, 1995, which wont start.

Customer Question

I have a Lexus ES300, 1995, which won't start. Its been running fine for the last few years we've had it, but just today it won't fire up. The battery is fairly new, and the starter seems fine, because I can hear it turning over, it just won't fire up. It has fuel in the tank, and it seems nothing has changed from last night when I drove the car home and parked it in the garage, until this morning when i tried to start it. I've tried it over many times and it still won't start, and I disconnected the neg. battery terminal to try to reset the ECU to see if that would change anything, but it didn't. So it must not be getting fuel or spark but I dont really know where to start with diagnostics. The plugs are pretty old, and so are the injectors, but i don't really have the money to just start replacing everything, so I was just wondering what the best place to start is. Thanks for reading.

edit: I also loosened the fuel rail, and fuel was in it, so it seems like its getting fuel. I looked in the fuse box, and where it says the fuel pump relay should be, there isn't anything thing there. Is that normal? it seems like that could be the problem but I have no idea where the relay could have gone, so I don't know. I really need help on this!! Thanks
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thank you for using just answer. Since the vehicle was running fine the night before the no start issue there are a few items I would check first. 1-is the check engine light on?, if so check the codes. 2-does the engine seem to crank at a higher speed than usual??? the most likely issue is that the timing belt broke, I would recommend removing a couple of the 10mm bolts from the top end of the timing cover and checking to see if the timing belt is moving when cranked. 3-if you flooded the engine the spark plugs may be fuel fouled and will not spark to start/run
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Reply to Peter's Post: The CEL was on, but i reset the ecu so its not on anymore. It has been on for awhile now, I checked the codes at autozone, and the code that came up said something like "fuel trim malfuntion" I dont remember what the actual numbers were because they didn't give me a print out or anything. But the car was running fine so I never really did anything about it.

It doesn't seem like its cranking faster than before, but I could be wrong. Which bolts do I remove to check the belt?

It is also possible that I flooded the engine, I did hit the accelerator a couple times to try to fire it up, but hopefully the plugs are okay, Because i read they are really hard to change out.

Another thing I want to ask is maybe its a problem with the IAC? I read about this being a common problem on these cars, and people having similiar issues when their IAC was dirty. Could that be the cause?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.
idle air control valves (IAC) was a component common to failure on 1997-2001 es models, not so on your car, also that would not cause a no start is would cause the car to idle very high or start and stall. If you fel you flooded the engine yes the plugs are very hard to replace, the rear ones on bank one are under the intake manifold at the rear of the engine, if you need to check plugs for fouling I would recommend pulling the front 3 first and inspecting, you can try replacing these 3 first to see if the car will start due to flooding. Was the code you had a p0171 for lean? You may have a defective mass air flow sensor but I usually don't see that as a no start item, usually it has very severe effects on the engine performance but not a no start. As I stated before if you want to check the timing belt there are several 10mm bolts that retain the upper cover to the timing belt, you could remove a few of these bolts and pull back the cover enough to see the belt.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Oh I see. Like I said though I dont remember what the exact code was, I just remember it said "fuel trim malfunction." The car was stuttering pretty bad for awhile but it stopped when I fixed a hole the hose between the MAF and the throttle body. After that it was running okay, if maybe a little slow.

The cover your talking about, is that just the plastic piece that says 3000 V6 on it?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.
if there was an air leak between the MAF and the throttle body that would explain the fuel trim code. Check the front plugs for fuel fouling.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
timing belt is intact, front plugs look okay. What do i try now?

Matt
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.

2 things to check, do the front plugs have spark and does the tachometer twitch or move when cranking to indicate the computer is recieving signal from the crankshaft position sensor? Also while you have the timing belt exposed can you tell if the timing marls are inline to be properly timed?

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
How do i check if the plugs are getting spark, just pull it out of the engine and connect it to the coilpack and crank it? and I didnt check the timing marks, but is that really something that would break itself over night?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Okay I checked the plugs and it didn't seem like i was getting a spark so thats probably whats wrong right? Whats my next step, replacing the plugs?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.
You ned to trace the source of no spark, if the timing blet has jumped time it may be an issue or you could have a coil issue, check all exposed plugfs to see if just one doesn't get spark or if it is all of them.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
sorry I havent gotten back to you, just been busy. I'll be working on the car probably later on thursday, so give me a few things to do since I probably won't be able to login between now and then. Once I check the plugs, if none are getting sparks, what next? And with the timing belt, if that has jumped time, is it something I can do myself or does it require specialty tools? Basically I want alot of ideas so i can get alot done tomorrow without having to keep asking you questions, haha. I appreciate your help!
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.
LIke I said before you need to check spark to more than just 1 plug, you may have just 1 ignition coil bad that is taking out 2 cylinders, check spark on several plugs, you can remove the plugs and connect them to the coils, ground them the plugs to the block to see if you have spark while cranking. As far as the timing belt no special tools, it may be beyond your ability if you are not familiar with timing blet setups but the only hard part about this belt is sometimes the harmonic balancer seizes to the crank and requires a puller to remove. If the plugs have spark and the timing marks are lined up then you will need to have the vehicle profesionally looked at to better determine the root cause. If the vehicle did jump timing you will need to determine what caused this, did a pulley or pump seize and cause the belt to jump or is the engine locking up/seizing?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Well when I checked the plug, I didnt know i had to ground it, what would be the best way to do that? Once I check the three front plugs I can get to, and if there is no spark on either of them, what would be my next step after that? by the way I do have a basic knowledge of cars, but i've never really ran into a problem like this before. I'm pretty confident doing pretty much anything, i've changed clutches on other cars and done some other random jobs. basically what i'm trying to say is that i can probably handle any basic job I would need to do. i just can't figure out what would cause this random no-start.
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.

Yes the spark plug needs a path to ground, either an inline spark tester needs to be connected between the plug and coil or plug needs to be removed and connected to exposed coil and grounded to the engine or something metal on the car to see the spark. How did the plugs look? Were they black with fuel fouling?

 

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no they weren't black at all, they looked pretty clean, with just a small bit of whiteness to them. seemed alright to me. so once i re-check the plugs, what do i check next? coils?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.
yes, make sure you have spark......a random thought just occured to me...do you have an aftermarket alarm system on this car with a car disable function?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Peter,

We actually figured out what was wrong with the car, it was just a blown fuse. I really appreciate your time, and I don't want to sound harsh, but I have to admit that I think this is something you should have told me about. But like I said I appreciate you trying to help.

Matt
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 6 years ago.
Sorry for the confusion, you stated in one of your earlier replies that you were pretty knowledgable in cars, I assumed you already checked for Ecm and check engine light operation. EFI fuse was blown?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Actually it was an ignition fuse in the cabin. I only checked the fuses in the engine bay. But thanks again.

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