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Brad, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 2366
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician
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Toyota Corolla DX 1995 Toyota Corolla stalls when accelerating

Customer Question

1995 Toyota Corolla stalls when accelerating from a stop. It gets worse after the engine warms up. Problem started after car almost ran out of gas and was parked on an incline (gas away from pump). I roll car into a driveway which was flat. It started right up. I went to closest gas station. Car starting redomly loosing power while driving/Accelerating. I was told the common cause is ignition coil. Strange thing. Alldata states to test the Primary coil it should read about .36 - .55 ohms. My meter is reporting about 7-8 ohms. Here come the strange part. The new coil (Duralast) had about the same setting, which were out of specification, according to "ALLDATA"
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Brad replied 6 years ago.
If I had a dollar for every Duralast part I've seen that was defective, I could probably go on vacation for a couple of weeks.

When the coils fail on these, it's usually when the car is hot and it kicks on and off intermittently... kind of like turning off the key for a second or so. With that being said, I'm not so sure the coil is your problem. I'd be tempted to test it with another meter in case yours is out of calibration, but the fact that the old and new ones test similarly tells me that your old one is probably ok.. at least in a 'static' setting.

Considering this problem started after you ran it out of gas, I would assume you've replaced the fuel filter? It might simply be plugged up.

Beyond this I think the next step would be to install a fuel pressure gauge and see if you can recreate the problem with the gauge connected, to see if the pressure drops during those times. If so, the fuel pump itself is most likely at fault, but looking at the fuel circuit need to be done first if you are in fact loosing fuel pressure.

I ran into a toyota pickup once with similar issues that another shop had diagnosed as a failed fuel pump. It came to me after that failed to fix the problems. I found the fuel pump relay itself was all rusted up internally and I was surprised that it even worked at all!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Additional Info:

Yes the Fuel Filter and Air Filter were replaced by the shop I first took it to. I didn't go back, because they seem to be guessing and not running any tests on components.I tested the Air Temperature Sensor. When I took the fuel pump out, the tank looked immaculate. Very clean. The Screen was very clean and clear. I put my mouth on the pressure side of the pump and was able to suck air through the pump with out any restriction. No blockage there. I am being told that it could be TPS or Idle Control Valve, or replace the Distributor. Let me better describe the symptom. Start car cold. Usually starts without myucu trouble. Idles fine. Rev engine, it responds pretty well, little hesitation if I floor it very quickly. I then can drive the car for 10 -15 minutes. As car warms, driveability decreases. Once the car is warm, the car wil stall if I rev the engine. If I "gun it" pedal to the floor it was stall, sound like it is flooding. If I really rev hard and floor it until it stalls (which will happen immediately if I hold the pedal down), too much. The car will be hard to start (as if it is flooded). If Press the pedal quick, hard and hold it. It will stall, but it will start and idle just fine. If I open the throttle slowly, once the RPMs get over 1250 - 1500 (guessing - No Tach), the car will accelerate, rev and run fine until you come back to the lower RPMS then you will have a ignition/fuel problems. Car runs great in higher RPMs. If you put car in gear, hold brake and open throttle car will stall with the load of the car on the engine. Thoughts.
Expert:  Brad replied 6 years ago.
I think we're looking at a fuel pressure issue here... either it is not getting enough fuel, or for some reason the computer thinks it's getting too much fuel and is leaning out the mixture as a result.

Your symptoms are typical of one of two things. Either low fuel pressure or low fuel flow, or too low of an air intake calculation.

I would start with the fuel theory. You'll need to install a fuel pressure gauge using an adapter on the engine side of the fuel filter. Key on, engine off pressure should be 38-44psi. Key on, engine running pressure should be 31-37psi, but should increase to 38-44psi if the vacuum hose at the fuel pressure regulator is removed while idling. If you can get it to act up while monitoring these pressures but don't see a decrease in pressure at that same time then this is probably not your problem. If you DO see a decrease in pressure then you'll want to monitor the voltage at the fuel pump while this happens, and if the voltage doesn't decrease then the fuel pump is at fault.

Another possibility would be the MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor mounted on the firewall on the passenger side of the engine compartment. There is a vacuum hose going to this and the computer uses this sensor to determine how much air is entering the engine (lower vacuum means more air volume). If this sensor is plugged up or malfunctioning it can cause similar symptoms. Remove its vacuum hose and make sure there is plenty of vacuum at that location. Make sure the hose itself isn't plugged and make sure the sensor itself isn't plugged up either.

Another possibility is the Oxygen Sensor. If it is 'biased rich' the computer could be leaning out the fuel/air mixture to compensate for what it thinks is a rich running engine. If it is not really running rich then this can cause the same driveability symptoms you describe.

The operation of both of these sensor can be verified with a compatible scanner, but this requires a scanner capable of communicating with the older Toyota systems. Not every shop will have this.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hey Brad,

I am just getting back to you. I got sick with the FLU, so I was unable to work on the car. However, yesterday I purchased a new pump and replace the one in the car. The car runs a little better with the new pump, but exibits the same problem. Thoughts?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hey Brad,

I am just getting back to you. I got sick with the FLU, so I was unable to work on the car. However, yesterday I purchased a new pump and replace the one in the car. The car runs a little better with the new pump, but exibits the same problem. Thoughts?

Expert:  Brad replied 6 years ago.
Well if you want to continue to just throw parts on, put a MAP sensor on next, and if that doesn't fix it then replace the distributor (the cam sensor is part of the assembly) and if that doesn't fix it then replace the crankshaft position sensor.

Also make sure the timing is set correctly and that the timing belt isn't slipping or coming apart on you.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Two people have suggeested the Idle Control Valve. What are you thoughts about that?
Expert:  Brad replied 6 years ago.
The idle control valve could allow it to stall while coasting (foot off the gas) but you mentioned that this happens while accelerating, which eliminates that as a possibility.