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1995 Toyota Celica: only 58,000 miles..It stalls..brakes..sputter

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I am the only owner of my 1995 Toyota Celica and it has only 58,000 miles on it. It has always been a top notch vehicle, but now I'm having trouble keeping it running. It stalls out at red lights unless I feed it a little gas while the brakes are on and it's starting to sputter a lot. I drive mostly in the city and not on the highway very much. Diagnostics show perfect working order, and even the spark plugs are good. The mechanic thinks I have water in my gas tank because it sat idle for the month of June while I was on medical leave and collected condensation. I started it up twice in June and both times it blew out the blueish smoke from the exhaust, then cleared within 15 seconds. The mechanic put injector cleaner in the gas tank (with almost a full tank of gas) and I put a bottle of dry gas (Heet) in it after that, but the problem seems to be getting worse and I'm not even down to half a tank of gas yet. What do you think?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.

THank you for using just answer.

A couple questions here:

-Which engine is in your Celica?

-Any check engine lights on?

-To clarify here- the car WILL stay running if you use the accelerator correct?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It's a Celica ST with a 4-cylinder engine. No engine lights are on, but the whole dashboard lights up when it stalls (battery, oil, etc.). It seems to stay running if I keep the accelerator on, but it sputters until I give it more gas and I'm a little worried about overworking the brakes at red lights. Also, the remote car starter keeps it running on idle for the full 20 minutes, except yesterday when it stalled out after 8 minutes.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Peter, I replied to your follow-up questions almost an hour ago. If you don't know what the problem with my car is, please just say so.

 

Thank you,

Customer/p>

 

Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.

You posted your question at the bare minimum $9 rate, you cannot expect a immediate reply unless you post at a $30 level, we have to help a lot of customers here.

There were 2 differetn 4 cylinders used in these cars, that's why I asked which engine you have, take a look under the hood at the emission label, you either have a 7A-FE 1.8L engine or a 5S-FE 2.2L engine.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Sorry, I didn't know that about the money. This is the first time I've ever used this website and I was a little skeptical. Had I known, I would have paid more or expected less. But if you give me the right solution, I'll be happy to pay $30 for it (the $9 plus a $21 bonus). My engine is a 7A-FE. I also got an e-mail that said my question expired after 24 hours. Does that mean we're finished now, or can you still help me?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.

THe questions time out after 24 hours but you as the customer have the ability to reopen them, you just did that by posting to me again.

I'm not asking you for a $21 bonus, I am just asking for some understanding if you did not recieve a reply in a matter of minutes.

 

I do have one last question for you on the car, does the idle speed seem to be very low when the car is running without applying the gas pedal?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
When I first start the car, it idles at 1200 rpm, then it drops to 1000 rpm, which is where I have to keep it when I'm stopped at red lights. If it falls to 800 or less, it sputters out and the engine dies, which it does if I don't give it gas. Tonight, when I got home from work and parked, it dropped to 700 rpm and sputtered loudly, so I gave it some gas for a few seconds. It kept sputtering, so I lifted my foot off the pedal. Then it revved back up to 1200 rpm. That was a first.
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.

ok, based on our conversation I feel that this is directly related to your IAC valve. This is an electronic control motor on the bottom of the throttle body that the computer uses to set the engine idle speed.

Once the car is warmed up and the a/c is not on your engine should idle at 750 rpm's when in park or neutral. A/c will usually raise the speed by about 200 rpm's.

 

What happens is over time the valve gathers carbon inside it and it fails to move when commanded. Sometimes you get lucky and you can have this valve removed and cleaned out, it has been my finding over the years that if you clean this valve out immediately once a symptom starts then usually you can save it. In your case I recommend that this valve be replaced. At the same time the throttle body and intake manifold needs to be cleaned out to remove all forms of carbon buildup.

graphic

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for such a thorough answer. I just wish I understood the mechanics of it better. Is this a very expensive repair to make? And how much time do I have to get it done before the car conks out altogether?

Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.

This is more of an annoying issue then anything, if you stalled out in an intesection I guess ti could be a safety issue.

My recommendation is to print out this page with out conversation and that diagram above and bring it to your mechanic. Then get a quote from him. The valve is a couple hundred dollars, be sure that he also replaces the gasket that goes between the valve and the throttle. As far as labor, do not let him charge you any more then 1.5 labor hours to do this.

Toyotapro, ASE master tech
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 9973
Experience: ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
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Expert:  Toyotapro replied 5 years ago.
I just recieved your feedback, if you need to contact me again you can reply HERE just as you have done before, just because you accepted a question it does not lock you out from sending me a follow up, thank you and have a good week.

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