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02 Corolla start then immediately stall
12-04-2016, 12:49 PM
Post: #1
02 Corolla start then immediately stall
Hello everyone. I bought a 2002 Corolla CE 1.8L, 3 speed, 168,000 miles that didn't run in hopes of repairing it. I picked it up from the guys "mechanic" and he said it needed an injector and the valves are burnt. Everything looked good otherwise. Oil was a little dirty but no contaminants, no water in the oil, no fuel smell. The coolant looked good. The engine compartment was fairly clean and looked unmolested. The car will start right up and then immediately stall out. I've looked at multiple postings on various forums and haven't found anything quite like this. The closest thing I saw was a "Toyota start then stall", but it would run if the accelerator was floored. This is not the case. If I start with no pedal, it will start and run for about 1 second just fine, then stall. If I press on the pedal after start, it will stall immediately. The next attempt right after that will start right up and will run for 2 to 3 seconds then stall, so I'm leaning toward a fuel issue but the fuel pressure before the injectors is ~45 psi. When it starts and runs, the pressure will drop only about one pound to 44 psi. The injector nozzles are clean and the resistance is within spec for each injector. It will run like crap on starting fluid.

I really don't want to keep throwing parts at it and I'm confident that it's something simple; I just can't figure it out. There are no codes showing unless I disconnect something (sensor) to test it, then that particular code will pop up (IAC, TPS, MAF, etc.). All of those are testing normal according to the book. I first had a MAF code and IAT code when I brought it home so I just replaced that with a new aftermarket one. Still no luck. When I put the old one back in, no new code popped up so I assume that the guy before me tried replacing it already. I picked up a used ECU from the junk yard but that didn't do anything either. I'm getting spark at all four coils, the spark plugs are clean (fairly new) and the gap is correct. I tried repairing all of this before addressing the valve issue because it would start right up and sound good. But since I still wasn't having any success, I ended up pulling the head and replacing one valve that had a small piece missing at the sealing surface. I thought maybe the ECU was either trying to adjust the valves or cutting fuel/spark to compensate for a misfire? I have it all back together now and the problem is still there. Each cylinder has ~125 psi compression now but the symptoms appear to be exactly the same as before.

Has anyone ever experienced something like this before or have an idea of where to go from here? Even though the various sensors appear to be okay, is it likely to be faulty and still pass resistance tests? I was thinking the IAC valve might be the culprit but holding down the accelerator should bypass that problem, according to other posts.
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12-05-2016, 06:53 AM
Post: #2
RE: 02 Corolla start then immediately stall
Our Toyota expert is on vacation right now. I can offer general advice since all vehicles are very similar in the way that they work. If it will run on starting fluid that would indicate a fuel problem. That problem could be a dirty fuel filter, faulty pressure regulator, weak pump, or a leak in the system. It could also relate back to electrical if the fuel pump is loosing voltage or ground for some reason. A bad or loose connection, faulty ignition switch, faulty pressure regulator.

The thing that gets most people in trouble is looking for faulty sensors as the problem. There are a couple that will keep the engine from running, but in most cases, they are just "sensors." Much like the gas gauge is a "Fuel Level Sensor." When it sets a "Code" of "Empty" you don't change the gas gauge. You put gas in the tank. Most of the other sensors are the same. They are telling you that something is wrong, not that the sensor needs replaced. So I always recommend checking the basics first. Use a test light to make sure that the fuel pump is getting voltage. I have rigged up a long wire so I can lay the test light out on the floor so I can see it while I'm sitting in the driver's seat starting the car. Make sure that 45 pounds is the proper pressure. If it needs 50, 45 isn't going to cut it. Is there enough gas in the tank? If there is gas, is it old and stale? Don't let something simple make you spend time and money because you didn't check the basics. I know it happens, I've done it before. Yah, I spent several hundred dollars on a car once only to find that a 50 cent fuse was blown!

Hopefully that will help? Please post any progress, the solution, or if you need more help. Rupe: our Toyota guy, should return soon. Until then I'll try as best as I can to help.

Thanks for using the forum,

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12-10-2016, 12:26 PM
Post: #3
RE: 02 Corolla start then immediately stall
Sorry for the long vacation delay. (sometimes ya just gotta do that stuff)

Ok, I am not an expert on Toyota in particular but I have seen similar problems on other vehicles which relate back to an anti-theft system malfunction. Yes, many cars have it built in (or installed aftermarket) and it will kill the fuel pump or the injector pulse 1-3 seconds after a start because it thinks the car is being stolen.

Looking under the dash to see if someone installed anything extra is always my first shot before pointing a finger at factory parts. Usually it's poor wiring. Cleaning things up and removing that sort of stuff should remove most problems.

As Garner stated, you need to pin down the exact fault, which sounds like "no fuel" in your case, but go the next step. What is the fuel pressure after it dies? Did the injector pulse or spark go away?

BTW, your answer may be as close as a call to the dealer to find out if a replacement ignition key is coded for a security system. Quite often someone will get a copy from a hardware store for $3 and that *IS* the cause. A factory key for $20 - $30 may be the fix.

Keep us posted on any progress.
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01-01-2017, 12:41 PM
Post: #4
RE: 02 Corolla start then immediately stall
Hey guys, I just wanted to update in case someone runs into this problem.

Problem solved! Okay, so I will admit that I made a slight error in my troubleshooting. When I tested the fuel pressure I was getting ~45 PSI with the key on. After start, it would drop just a little (~44 PSI). Well, I wasn't thinking about the check valve on the tester and so when the car would start, the gauge moved just a little (not a high quality gauge) but what was happening was that the pressure was dropping more than that, I just couldn't see it because of the check valve. I had already checked the injector solenoids (they all worked) and I could hear them spraying with the system pressurized and I would manually cycle the solenoids but I couldn't see them spraying. The way the rail is, I didn't think I can remove the rail and pressurize with the injectors while they are just hanging. They need to be mounted to the manifold so that they don't pop out of the rail.

Anyway, the car has been sitting for a few days and so I turned the key to the on position (not start) so that the system pressurized, then off again. I then removed the fuel rail with injectors still attached. Two of the four nozzles were wet. I replaced the two injectors with used ones and the car started right up and kept running. The idle is still a little rough but I believe the injectors were leaking by and dumping too much fuel into the manifold, flooding it out on those cylinders and/or the pressure was too low for the other two injectors. I'm not 100% sure but swapping the two injectors was all that I've done and it works now!

Thanks again and Happy New Year!
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01-01-2017, 01:21 PM
Post: #5
RE: 02 Corolla start then immediately stall
Sounds like a good start. Perhaps this car was left sitting around due to the other issues and the injectors got gummed up? Certainly worth a few bucks for a bottle of injector cleaner to see if it helps. Also add some fresh gas as it will also burn better.
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