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89 Corolla Won't Start


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Facts. May or may not be related to problem.

The car is a 1989 Toyota corolla. It has a mechanical fuel pump and a carburator. If you have the 88-97 Chilton manual the engine looks identical to the picture on page 118 (as far as I can tell).

The car was having trouble shutting off after I turned the key. I would have to push down the gas pedal and flood it or pop the clutch in and out to get it to shut off.

When I took the car in for a check up about a year ago the mechanic said something like one of the valve covers(can't remember which one) was a bit rusty and it was having trouble closing all the way and that it wasn't a problem now but that later on down the road it might be.

The big problem occured while driving at about 55 mph on the freeway. I was giving it gas and then it started to sputter. I let off the gas and dropped to about 45 and it seemed to be doing ok. I gave it more gas and picked back up to 55 and then it started to sputter again. (The car never back fired at all) This time however the gas pedal just seemed to give out and the car just kicked over to idling. I pushed on the pedal a couple more times but nothing happened, it wouldn't accelerate at all. The car continued to idle as I pulled off to the side of the road. I pushed on the pedal a few more times and then just shut it off.

After I got it back home I tried to start it back up but the engine wouldn't even start up. It has good spark and the starter is firing, It's jus not turning over. (I think that is the right term)

So far I have checked the fuel pump and the timing belt and there doesn't appear to be any problem with either of these.

Personally I think it has something to do with the mechanics of the gas pedal and the connection to the carborator but I am no mechanic so who the heck knows.

Has anyone ever had this problem or does anyone have any other suggestions please? If you have any questions just e-mail me or post them here.

Thank you.

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ok i dont have carb'ed corolla but most engines are simliar.

Turning over means that when you turn the key the starter engages the flywheel and turns the crank around i.e. 'turning over' if the engine does not 'turn over' then it is either seized (locked solid and wrecked) or the starter is failing.

if the engine does spin then its 'turning over'

From the symptoms you have posted my first guess would be that your distributor clamp is loose and your timing is shot, it may well spark at each plug but i doubt its doing it at the correct time ! when your engine 'ran on' (still working after turning the key) this suggests that your ignition is too far advanced.

Set your ignition up i.e. take the valve cover off and turn the engine over by hand (with a spanner not the key) until the no1 piston is at the top of iyts travel on the ignition stroke (just before 'top dead center') then turn the distributor until the contact points are fully 'open' then tighten the distributor clamp up, then adjust the gap in the points to the size specified by your manual.

this should cure the 'running on' effect and the poor ignition, also check to make sure there are no cracks in your distributor cap as this can have similar effects.

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