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6G Celicas Forums _ Engine/Transmission/Maintenance _ Need some help with 5S

Posted by: d3ath2009 Dec 21, 2017 - 9:50 PM

Recently did some work on my mother-in-law's car. Not a Celica, but a '99 Camry with a 5S so it should be close enough that diagnosis on here may be helpful. I replaced the head gasket, put on new timing belt and water pump, got everything back together and now the car just won't start. At first it would start to hit on ether, but then it eventually quit with that so at this point it may be flooded out, but not entirely sure. I am wonder if its possibly not getting fuel. Timing is good, did it by the book and i checked everything half a dozen times to be sure. It has compression and is also getting spark. Any ideas as to what would cause it not to start and/or how to remedy a possibility of air in the fuel lines? I can hear the fuel pump running after trying to turn the engine a few times, so it should at least be sending fuel up front, but I don't know if its getting to the injectors yet or not. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated and helpful.

Posted by: Box Dec 21, 2017 - 10:48 PM

How long did it sit? If it's been awhile the fuel could've gone bad, injectors could be gummed up, etc... If you're getting spark and have compression then that leaves fuel and air. Being ether sorta started it and then it flooded out makes me wonder if the IACV isn't working right. Could try starting it with the accelerator all the way to the floor. If that doesn't do it would check fuel pressure at the rail before and after the pressure regulator, try and rule out it and the pump. Can take a screwdriver and place the handle in your ear and the tip on the injectors and have someone crank and you should hear the injectors click. Other things to look at would be the MAP sensor and coolant temp sensor. Just have to play diagnostician, fun fun.

Posted by: d3ath2009 Dec 22, 2017 - 12:53 AM

it literally sat for 2 days. Day one was tear down, day two was reassemble and it wouldnt start that night. I will have to look into the IAC. We tried no throttle, full throttle, pumping the throttle and results did not change. Pump is supposedly newer, and the fact that i can hear it run lends me to believe that it might be working, but it could've crapped out. Coolant temp sensor did give me issues. Or at least I think thats which one it was. It was a 2 wire plug and the 300k mile, almost 20 year old, brittle wires broke at the base of the connector so I had to make that work in a different way. I think I got it connected well enough that it should work, but maybe i need to order a pigtail. I'll have to try that trick for the injectors, although I bet my wife's old stethoscope would work great for that.

Posted by: bloodMoney Dec 22, 2017 - 9:51 AM

Are the plug wires in the correct order on the dizzy?

If you're worried about it being flooded, why not pull the plugs and crank it over a few times to evacuate the cylinders?

It should've started on the ether... And ran for at least for a few seconds.

You're sure you reconnected all your grounds?

Posted by: slavie Dec 22, 2017 - 10:52 AM

No distributors on the Camry engines. They run two coils in a wasted spark system, and it's pretty difficult to wire it incorrectly due to the wire length. Either way, once coils is cyls 1+4, the other is 2+3.

1. Take the spark plugs out, crank it over, smell if you're getting gas. You'll be able to smell it easily. Air in fuel system is not a factor, as it's a pressurized system and the air would get purged almost immediately.
2. You said you did the timing by the book, but did you install the intake and exhaust cams correctly? They can be a little tricky as there are multiple sets of dots. I've done it in the past - lined up the wrong dots that looked suspiciously correct. Took me 2 days to troubleshoot, including replacing the crank position sensor which I found to be slightly out of spec in the process but which wasn't the issue.
3. Make sure everything electrical is plugged in. Through if you're getting spark, chances are all the essentials are plugged in.
4. Check fuses.
5. When you said engine has compression, did you measure it? Does it have full ~180 psi or thereabout, or does it just have "some" compression?

If you have air, spark, and fuel, and it won't start, then your timing is wrong. Starting fluid is very flammable, and will ignite from spark even if you have no compression.

Posted by: d3ath2009 Dec 22, 2017 - 9:03 PM

QUOTE (slavie @ Dec 22, 2017 - 10:52 AM) *
No distributors on the Camry engines. They run two coils in a wasted spark system, and it's pretty difficult to wire it incorrectly due to the wire length. Either way, once coils is cyls 1+4, the other is 2+3.

1. Take the spark plugs out, crank it over, smell if you're getting gas. You'll be able to smell it easily. Air in fuel system is not a factor, as it's a pressurized system and the air would get purged almost immediately.
2. You said you did the timing by the book, but did you install the intake and exhaust cams correctly? They can be a little tricky as there are multiple sets of dots. I've done it in the past - lined up the wrong dots that looked suspiciously correct. Took me 2 days to troubleshoot, including replacing the crank position sensor which I found to be slightly out of spec in the process but which wasn't the issue.
3. Make sure everything electrical is plugged in. Through if you're getting spark, chances are all the essentials are plugged in.
4. Check fuses.
5. When you said engine has compression, did you measure it? Does it have full ~180 psi or thereabout, or does it just have "some" compression?

If you have air, spark, and fuel, and it won't start, then your timing is wrong. Starting fluid is very flammable, and will ignite from spark even if you have no compression.


Correct on the coil packs and they were numbered on them anyway. making it very difficult to screw up. I called it quits at about 9:00 on night #2, so I'll have to wait till after my rotation of midnights before I can get back to it. Haven't had a chance to pull the plugs yet, but plan to after Christmas when I get a day off. I checked the timing half a dozen times to be sure it was correct. There are two single punch marks in close proximity to each other on both cams. I set it with one set together and the other set, positioned above the first, looked like they would meet when they came around. Went through probably a dozen times checking electrical pulgs, the only one I am concerned about though is the coolant temp sensor. I found it had one wire broken off and the other broke as I was unplugging the connector. they are currently rigged into place after some dismantling of the plug to get the pins out for use, but I cant say they have the greatest connection. Could a coolant temp sensor cause the engine to not start??? I've got a new pigtail on the way. Fuses and relays have been checked. I do not have a compression check tool, so by saying it has compression, I mean that it took some muscle to try and turn the motor when it was on the compression stroke. would ether still ignite if the plugs are fouling out due to too much fuel or ether in the cylinders?

Posted by: Box Dec 22, 2017 - 9:57 PM

If the coolant sensor is so far out of spec it's telling the ECU the engine is way cold when it's not it'll flood it out. Another thing since it's not been mentioned, but if the plugs haven't been checked for condition and gap it could just be them. Had a similar situation on an Escort, redid the timing and it wouldn't start. Turned out the plugs were terrible and it was just coincidental that it wouldn't start after doing the timing.

Posted by: d3ath2009 Dec 22, 2017 - 10:20 PM

QUOTE (Box @ Dec 22, 2017 - 10:57 PM) *
If the coolant sensor is so far out of spec it's telling the ECU the engine is way cold when it's not it'll flood it out. Another thing since it's not been mentioned, but if the plugs haven't been checked for condition and gap it could just be them. Had a similar situation on an Escort, redid the timing and it wouldn't start. Turned out the plugs were terrible and it was just coincidental that it wouldn't start after doing the timing.


Well if the wiring was broken loose from the sensor and/or i wasn't able to get a good connection on my temporary fix, then I guess this would be the case. Put brand new plugs in it, all gapped to about 0.44

Posted by: Smaay Dec 24, 2017 - 3:43 PM

it should still run if the coolant sensor is bad. just crappy. if you are getting spark then your signals are good to the ECU. you said it has compression but what were the numbers? was it about 180 across the board?

Posted by: slavie Dec 24, 2017 - 5:15 PM

Just to be sure, check the last two posts on the first page of this thread over at ToyotaNation discussing 5SFE timing:
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/103-camry-3rd-4th-gen-1992-1996-1997-2001-1st-gen-solara-1999-2003/339324-questions-starting-camry-recently-rebuilt.html

If by any chance you still have the old plugs, may be worth a try to stick them in there. I've had highly fouled plugs (on my 3SGTE) that would produce visible spark outside of cylinder, but were unable to ignite the compressed air/fuel mixture. Took me a loooong time to figure out that one (thought I had bad gas, dropped the tank to suck it all out, new gas, new fuel filter...), until I said f it and put the new plugs in - fired right up. Before it would barely fire with 1 cylinder and could not stay running. Make sure all spark related connectors are plugged in - you need fairly strong spark, not just one you can see outside of the cylinder.

Ether is stupid flammable. It will ignite if you look at it funny. I've had blown HG on a small gas engine that I diagnosed with starting fluid - spray some in, crank it over, watch where the flame shoots through the hole in the HG. The plug was able to ignite it no problem.

Posted by: Box Dec 24, 2017 - 7:59 PM

QUOTE (Smaay @ Dec 24, 2017 - 2:43 PM) *
it should still run if the coolant sensor is bad. just crappy. if you are getting spark then your signals are good to the ECU. you said it has compression but what were the numbers? was it about 180 across the board?

I guess it depends and varies from make to make and car to car, but had a Maxima that refused to start and run when the coolant sensor went out. It just flooded it out and coughed out raw fuel. I think he said he checked compression by feel and not by a gauge.

Posted by: slavie Dec 24, 2017 - 8:22 PM

QUOTE (Box @ Dec 24, 2017 - 7:59 PM) *
QUOTE (Smaay @ Dec 24, 2017 - 2:43 PM) *
it should still run if the coolant sensor is bad. just crappy. if you are getting spark then your signals are good to the ECU. you said it has compression but what were the numbers? was it about 180 across the board?

I guess it depends and varies from make to make and car to car, but had a Maxima that refused to start and run when the coolant sensor went out. It just flooded it out and coughed out raw fuel. I think he said he checked compression by feel and not by a gauge.

But, what would make it not run? Based on your statement, it seems like the ECU would still provide fuel, so no spark (otherwise it would start). OP is saying he does have the spark. So, either there's no fuel, no compression, or timing is wrong (or weak spark, which is possible but I'd say unlikely here).

Posted by: Box Dec 24, 2017 - 10:05 PM

Too much fuel it won't start, which would explain why with spark even ether wouldn't start it.

Which being it was running prior you'd think perhaps related to the timing, but it's been said it was checked already. Without being there it's hard to say for certain as it could be a plethora of reasons behind it not running now.

Posted by: Bitter Dec 25, 2017 - 11:02 PM

Probably the computer is seeing something like -40 coolant temp and flooding the engine during cranking to start, try holding throttle open fully when cranking to get more air in to offset the overly abundant fuel and see if it'll start eventually. Another tell tale it's flooded is if the oil smells like gas strongly. Fix the coolant temp sensor correctly. I believe an open circuit would cause flooding where as a shorted closed circuit would cause a max temp reading. It's especially confusing because the dash gauge is a different single wire sender.

Posted by: d3ath2009 Dec 27, 2017 - 3:00 PM

Well finally got the pigtail in for the temp sensor, its wired back up. And got a tester to do cylinder compression test. Results were not reassuring or I wasn't able to get the tester in the cylinders correctly. Only tested cyl 1 and 2, but both had results of around 60 psi. So what would cause such low compression? Head was torqued to spec when reinstalled, but could a bit more tightening help? We even used that copper spray stuff when we put the new head gasket on to help it seal better.

Posted by: Box Dec 27, 2017 - 4:05 PM

Was the timing done because the engine overheated and blew the head gasket, or was it done because the timing belt snapped? If in the first instance the head, or possibly even the block, could be warped so they'd need decked to mate up evenly again. In the second instance even though it's a non interference engine if everything in the universe aligns just right to **** you over there have been instances of non interference engines sustaining valve damage when a belt/chain lets go because the intake and exhaust valves will crash into each other.

Posted by: d3ath2009 Dec 27, 2017 - 4:29 PM

Timing was down bc the engine has almost 300k miles and likely hasnít been done since 100k Miles. Also water pump seemed to be failing, so may as well while I was in there. It was claimed to be over heating, but still capable of a 150+ mike drive with no problems, so I would assume that means it was just going higher than the halfway point on the temp gauge. Wondering about warped head, but really donít want to tear it back down if I donít have to.

Posted by: slavie Dec 27, 2017 - 4:56 PM

60 psi is garbage territory. If it ran before and you just put everything together with the new HG, it should run no worse than it did before, warped head or not. Even if 2 cylinders you measured are blown, the engine would still start on the other 2 (I'm assuming all 4 are not blown, as that's unlikely)

Pop your valve cover, check intake to exhaust camshaft timing per instructions I linked above. 10 minutes. You want intake valves open, nothing, exhaust valves open then closed, followed immediately by intake opening. Keep in mind that the exhaust cam is rotating in opposite direction to intake cam due to being gear driven.

I literally had the same situation - lined up the wrong dots. Engine still had "some" compression, but exhaust valves would open at the wrong time releasing compression before the spark fired.

Posted by: Box Dec 27, 2017 - 6:37 PM

If it was torn down operational and timing done as preventative then I agree with slavie, has to be something not done right in reassembly for the compression to be that low.

Posted by: d3ath2009 Dec 27, 2017 - 11:08 PM

thanks for the replies guys, hopefully I can get to it next weekend and see what I can find out. Gotta love rotating shifts where you end up working 6 12s in a row kindasad.gif

Posted by: d3ath2009 Jan 8, 2018 - 1:12 PM

Update: It lives!! thanks for all the help. Issue turned out to be timing. Thought I had everything in time, but when i turned the crank to take the slack out of the belt, I was jumping it ahead about 5 degrees. Temp gauge is still hit and miss though. one night it read right about mid-range the whole 15 mile drive (even after sitting at idle for half an hour) and the next it decided to read up near the hot mark after just a couple of miles. Temp would go back down to mid almost instantaneously if I made the car downshift or just upped the RPMs revving in neutral. Wondering if that sensor is bad and may have been the real problem the whole time. (Although I'm sure timing belt and water pump needed changing anyway just due to the miles on it)

Posted by: slavie Jan 8, 2018 - 2:08 PM

Have you bled all the air out of the cooling system? It can take a few heat/cool cycles. Do you get heat in the passenger compartment? Put the heater on max, and you'll feel the air getting hotter with the coolant, if that's really the case.

I believe you should have two temp sensors - one that feeds the ECU, another that feeds the instrument cluster. I guess this is a safety conscious design where if one fails you can still read the other. Hook up some kind of OBD2 reader and read your Engine Coolant temp as read by the ECU, and check it against what you see on the dash.

Also, when was the last time the thermostat was changed? Those go bad, too.

Posted by: d3ath2009 Jan 8, 2018 - 5:20 PM

QUOTE (slavie @ Jan 8, 2018 - 3:08 PM) *
Have you bled all the air out of the cooling system? It can take a few heat/cool cycles. Do you get heat in the passenger compartment? Put the heater on max, and you'll feel the air getting hotter with the coolant, if that's really the case.

I believe you should have two temp sensors - one that feeds the ECU, another that feeds the instrument cluster. I guess this is a safety conscious design where if one fails you can still read the other. Hook up some kind of OBD2 reader and read your Engine Coolant temp as read by the ECU, and check it against what you see on the dash.

Also, when was the last time the thermostat was changed? Those go bad, too.


It definitely has heat in the cabin, it'll roast me out with no problem at all. Didn't bleed the system, as there is no bleeder that I can see. I guess i was under the assumption that air would work its way out and through the overflow tank in time. The one I believe to be faulty is the single wire coming in to the instrument cluster, but both could be failing with the miles that are on it anyway.

Great idea on hooking up the scanner, never crossed my mind to check it that way. I've got a wifi unit from amazon that works with my phone; if you don't have one, they are well worth the $15-$25 that they run.

Thermostat was replaced when I did head gasket, timing belt, and water pump (i.e. this job that was causing me headaches).

Posted by: Box Jan 8, 2018 - 6:05 PM

Put the car where the front is higher than the rear, either by parking on an inclined surface or raising the front onto jack stands. Then take off the radiator cap and let it run for a while, if you have one put in a no spill funnel and fill it with a little coolant and you can watch for air bubbles.

There are two coolant temp sensors, one for the ECU and one for the gauge. The ECU one is probably more accurate since the ECU needs an exact temperature read to run its best, whereas the one for the gauge not so much since it's a dummy gauge and really isn't an exact representation. I can't remember exactly, but I want to say the two wire one is for the ECU and the one wire one is for the gauge. Any kind of OBD-II scanner will go off the sensor for the ECU.

Posted by: trdproven Jan 8, 2018 - 7:02 PM

^ i believe you are correct on the wires, for sure at least for the gauge.

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