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Very hard starting on 2000 Toyota Corolla

Resolved Question:

Car starts like brand new first time in AM. Then after 3-5 trips, duration doesn't seem to matter, it requires 4 or 5 long (5-7) second cranks before it fires. At the end of the starting cranking I can feel a slight catch and if I gently feather the accelerator, I can get ignition. The very next stop it usually starts as if new again on first 2 sec crank. Don't have the OBD II code with me now but "think" it showed a P0271 or P0371. Feels like fuel flow problem, but doesn't show signs of hesitation on highway; occasionally a drop in RPM while waiting at a lite maybe from 800+ down to 600+. Once had to push start and it immediately fired having previously spent 15 min cranking it without results.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  AutoTech08 replied 5 years ago.

Hi there,

 

Both codes mentioned are not found in my database. Can you please reconfirm?

 

When it was difficult to start, did you test if sparks were available and bright blue in color?

 

Fuel pressure tested?

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Have confirmed code to be P0171 (not the two I listed).

Am currently in a camground and without tools. Can't pull the cover to access plugs as it's not the old fashioned distributor cap. Fuel pressure not tested as I'm using this forum to narrow the "guessing" that a shop might do.

Plugs had been changed about 20K miles ago. Where is coil on this vehicle?

In confirming the diagnostic code just 10 min ago, I started car for first time today and again, two second crank and fired as if new. If I'd now go to the grocery store and then the gas station, I'd probably have difficulty re-starting after refueling....usually the number 3 or 4 start of day.
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.

Your other expert is currently offline.

Please confirm the year model also, this is a 2000 right?

Does the car seem to lack power when accelerating?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
2000 Corolla CE

All my research mentions "hesitation" associated with code P0171. I have no noticeable hesitation. It is a major STARTING problem.
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.

A p0171 means the computer recognizes lean mixture in the exhaust system.

90% of the time this is caused by a vaccum leak or a mass air flow sensor issue however you usually don't have starting issues because of this.....usually it has a hesitation on acceleration or very poor fuel economy or high idle speed.

 

P0171 can also be caused by low fuel pressure....I would suspect this first on your car because of the conditions you have stated.

Fuel issues are very rare on this car. Unlike american cars the fuel pump does not "prime" when you turn the key to the "on" position, rather it is commanded when engine speed is recognized, so if the fuel system is leaking down pressure then the engine will have to be cranked for several seconds until the pump repressurizes the system.

As far as where to check for a leak in the system.....unless you have smoke at startup indicating a leaking injector or 1 spark plug fouling out I would suspect a pressure regulator or a bad pump causing this.

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Category: Toyota
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Experience: ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
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