Corolla intermittent loss of engine power


Old 12-30-04, 05:29 AM
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Corolla intermittent loss of engine power

I have a 1990 Corolla, 1.6 liter, 5 speed, 190K miles, regular maintenance including timing belt replacements. Runs top notch most of the time, but I have a very sporadic intermittent loss of almost all engine power, but you can keep driving and it goes away after a few minutes. This only happens a couple times a year, but when it does it's nasty. It has done this for the 5 years and 45K miles that I have owned this car, but it has recently gotten worse.

It happened again last night while my son was driving home from work. The problem starts without warning. He had to pull over. The engine will start and rev rough, but even letting the clutch out in neutral is enough to stall the engine. He had it towed home, but later in the evening it was running fine again.

I have replaced the fuel filter, plugs/wires/cap/rotor, air filter. Battery/alternator are newer. The only consistent condition that he and I have been able to notice is that this seems to only happen when it is a little cold out (about 40 degress last night) and after it's been running for a little while.

Appreciate any feedback. I'm thinking maybe O2 sensor next. Also a trip to Autozone to get the computer read.

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Old 12-30-04, 06:00 AM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 1,531
You can read the codes.

Jump out the terminal Te and E1 in the check connector under the hood. They are the same ones you would jump to set the timing (see the decal on the underside of the hood)

Read the blinks of the check engine lite with the key on. They are two digit back.
Old 12-30-04, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: metro Detroit
Posts: 8
my '87 chevy nova had the same problem, also had the 1.6 liter toyota motor. my problem was the EGR valve... i think it was a toyota-dealer only item at about $75....ten-plus years ago.
Old 12-30-04, 05:36 PM
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The code is 31. According to the trouble code website, it is a flakey air flow meter. However, the diagram in my Haynes manual shows a part that my son can't find on the car. He is in another state, so I am helping him over the phone. So right now, we are trying to identify something that looks like an AFM. Then he will check the resistance to see if it is bad.
Old 12-30-04, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 1,531
Your car has a map sensor, it's on the pass side firewall. Could be moisture getting into and freezing causing your problem.
Old 12-30-04, 06:03 PM
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Thank you Toyotaman, found it. Would this still give a code of 31?


Tim and Dan

edit - checked the code chart, 31 is for the MAP sensor also.

Last edited by techtim; 12-30-04 at 06:14 PM.
Old 01-06-05, 10:37 AM
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Corolla intermittent loss of engine power - update

Update, still need some help.

Code 31 means bad MAP sensor. Found documentation that showed how to read voltages, which were way off. Replaced the sensor with another sensor that was used. The person we got it from said it was good, but we have no way of knowing for sure.

Put it in, same problem. We have verified connections from the MAP connector to the computer.

Is this a common problem with this sensor? A new sensor is $160 from Autozone for a Wells brand, $325 for a GP Sorensen, or $390 for a Niehoff from Parts America. My son thinks something might be wrong with the computer. I suspect that this failure of the sensor is probably typical and that a new sensor is required.

Thanks, Tim

Last edited by techtim; 01-06-05 at 12:10 PM.
Old 01-06-05, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 1,531
May have seen one bad sensor over the years, not very common.

Whats more common is broken wires in the harness between the engine and ECU because of the engine movement.

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