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My '96 Tacoma 2wd manual 2.4L wont start. Already replaced…

Customer Question
My '96 Tacoma 2wd...

My '96 Tacoma 2wd manual 2.4L wont start. Already replaced the battery and alternator; and the crankshaft position sensor was replaced 1 1/2 to 2 years ago. One mechanic friend thought it was the ignition module, another said it is rare for that to have to be replaced. The common opinion in talking to other mechanics, is that the problem is in the ignition coil (is that IN the distributor?), or the whole distributor is bad.

Mechanic's Assistant: Does the vehicle stall at low speeds? Does it sputter?

That was the short explanation of whats going on.

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Tacoma yourself? What have you tried so far?

Heres the long one: i made a substantial journey to a much colder and wetter climate. Each morning it would be more difficult to start, but the engine would 'catch'. Then I didnt use it for 4 days and NOTHING when i put the key in the ignition. Got a jump with cables, started right up. Then i foolishly (while running the engine), drove while heater, vehicle lights, stereo, and charging my cell phone.Truck died after approx 1 of running, then driving. A friend who used to be a mechanic helped me put in the new battery and alternator

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

Im not really sure. how does your service work?

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Toyota
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
12/19/2017
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 8 months ago
Toyota Service
Toyota Service, Toyota Expert
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 5,239
Experience: 30+ Yrs of auto experience, Award Winning Svc. Manager; Just Answer Customer's Choice Award Winner
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Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. When you say it will not start, do you mean the engine cranks and does not run, or the engine does not crank at all?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
thats accurate: it will crank, but doesnt 'catch'
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 8 months ago

Would you happen to know if there is spark to the plugs when it is cranking?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
According to my mechanic friend, the answer to that question is no.
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 8 months ago

Ok. In my experience, the issue is either the crank sensor or the ignition coil. I would be leaning to ignition coil, it is located under the distributor cap. The "modules" rarely fail. A coil failure would be most noticeable in a cold/damp ambient.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Understood, to throw a little bit of a wrinkle in the equation, I had a problem with the truck for years in the summer months where it would try to turn over; and sometimes would/sometimes wouldn't 'catch'. Replaced the crankshaft position sensor about 2 years ago, and it completely eliminated that problem. So I guess we could eliminate the "CPS" as the culprit?
Also, for my year and model, is the coil IN the distributor?
What is the difficulty level of replacing the coil (and, for that matter, the level of replacing the whole distributor)?
How do I know if just the coil or the whole distributor needs to be replaced?
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 8 months ago

Crank position sensors are apt to fail if you do not purchase genuine Toyota replacement parts. "Parts Store" sensors are poor in quality and might be all the problem you have. If you pull the distributor cap off, you will see the coil. Disconnect the battery (important) and remove the coil. Inspect it closely. If you see a crack and/or a black 'burn' mark, the coil is faulty. I would not replace the distributor without substantial proof it is bad. They rarely fail. I believe I have replaced one on a 2.4 in 20 years; still not sure it was the problem. The customer wanted it done.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I'm pretty sure the "CPS" was a 'genuine' part, it was done by my mechanic who has 40 years experience solely dealing with Toyotas.
im pretty sure via all the evidence, its the coil.
I think I did see a burn mark on the plastic encasement of the coil.
Any suggestions on how to replace the coil?
I take it by the 'coil', that does mean the encasement of the coil?
Again, any thoughts on the difficulty level of replacing the coil?
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 8 months ago

The coil is the squarish unit under the distributor cap. The coil is replacement is rather straightforward. Once you see the coil, disconnect the wires and remove the retention bolts. Easy.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I thought I remember that this squarish, encased unit (the coil); was IN the distributor cap (couldnt access it without removing the distib cap).
If you were the betting type, do you agree that its probably the coil?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Also, now that im thinking about it, why would the truck have died after running for an hour, if its a problem with the IGNITION coil. Once the vehicle is running, why would ignition have anything to do with it?
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 8 months ago

If there is a crack on the side of the coil, the generated spark form the collapse of the secondary field "leaks" to the nearest ground/path of least resistance. In other words, the coil still "fires", but the spark never reaches the plugs. Temperature and ambient air moisture content can vary. Some days a cracked coil is fine, other days no spark.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I removed all the (I think) necessary equipment to get to the coil: distributor cap, rotor, 'cover' for the ignition coil; but still havent had any luck. Do you by any chance have a step by step via diagram or video that shows how to do this for my specific model and year vehicle?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Hello??
Toyota Mechanic: Toyota Service, Toyota Expert replied 7 months ago

Please see the attached file

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