View Full Version : my 161 died :(

10-17-2010, 10:00 AM
hey guys and gals. my current DD is an 86 st161 GT while i finish my st185swap to 165body. my alltracs almost done. i just need an ecu and to finish wiring the engine. but thatll take atleast 2weeks with my busy schedule. i NEED a car to drive to get to work, school, and around the town. heres exactly what happened before it died.

i was having a power steering leak and the car was making that stupid screech. i replaced the leaking reservoir and it solved the problem. well a day later when i started my car, the RPMS shot from 0 to 3.5k to 2k, to 4k, and the needle kept bouncing like crazy and the car was making a screech. at first i thought it was my power steering acting up again but it couldnt have been. the screech sounded like a muffled power steering screech. anyways, i shut the car off instantly then got situated (buckled up and all that good stuff). i started the car and it was fine. it pulled out of the court slowly and it was fine. everything seemed ok. well as i was heading for the freeway it did it again twice within the span of a mile. i was only going 40. i ignored it and thought ill fix it when i get home. well, it didnt do it so much on the freeway because i was in gear, but it tried to. but going a steady 75mph, it kept it under control from fluctuating and the noise hardly popped up. i took it out of gear to see what would happen and sure enough it did it again. it fluctuated intensely between the 2k-4k RPM zone...crazy shit. i drove another 5mins on the freeway, took my exit and pulled into my neighborhood. it did it twice between exiting the freeway and getting to my neighbor hood. well i was driving, and out it in neutral, to take the corner onto my street and it went crazy with the noise and fluctuating needle and just died. i was still rolling so i tried to bump start it. it didnt start and all it felt like was i just down shifted and it slowed me down. i put on my hazards and oushed the car off to the side and called my neighbor to come tow it with his truck to my house. and no it sits infront of my house and idk what the problem is, or what happened. :(

so what happened? :( any ideas for starters?

couple helpful factors:
-bump start didnt do anything.
-turning the key flipped the starter but it wouldnt do anything. the starters good, but with what happened, its obviously not the culprit.
-RPM needle fluctuated like crazy
-an odd screech that ive never heard before occured. it was a medium screech compared to those obnoxious power steering screeches.
-it lagged when i pressed the gas when this scenario occured.
-the check engine light came on everytime this happened

10-17-2010, 07:05 PM
check your codes

and when to say the needle would fluctuate, do you also mean the engine itself was reving up and down as well with it?

10-18-2010, 04:33 AM
im not entirely sure about if the engine actually revved corresponding t the fluctuating needle. i know it did rev with it, but i dont think to the crazy extent that the needle did. because the needle would shoot from 2k to 4k then back to 1k. and the motor did get louder and what not when it happened but not as fast as the needle moved.i talked to my dads coworker whos a celica fanatic. (he drives a 1st gen :) bad as hell...i should convince him to get on this website ;) anyways, we pulled off the distributor cap and tried to start the motor but the arm inside didnt spin. he said either my timing belt broke or my distributors bad. (keep in mind the only thing replaced on this engine was the water pump and timinf belt 6k miles ago and the car has 272k on it with the same motor!) we checked the timing belt and it was good. so tomorrow im going to a junkyard and grabbing a distributor. if it doesnt work, oh well i return it for a different one. ones bound to be good. hopefully thats what the problem is.

As for the codes, the check engine light only came on when it went crazy. When I try and start or turn on the car now, the lights not there because its not acting up...and also I don't have a code reader :( I definately need one though!

10-18-2010, 06:12 AM
You dont need a code reader.
you put a jumper wire from Te to E1, then turn the key to "on" (not start) and read the blinks on the CEL. Everyone should know how to read codes. Its in the BGB if the inks are working.

10-18-2010, 05:44 PM
What he said^

10-18-2010, 05:52 PM
good thing i have the chiltons manual that shows what the blinks mean and what not

i pulled out my distibutor today (and may i say, damn that was easy! i love how easy these cars are to work on...) anyways, the gear that spins the distributor inside thats connected to the cam wasnt centered and looked loose. not sure if thats how its supposed to be. maybe that was the whining i heard? (the cam grinding the distributor rotor?) with this said, im going to take the valve cover off and see if the gear connected to the cam has any play.

heres a pic of what i was talking about with the gear for the distributor not being centered

10-18-2010, 06:07 PM
my celica :) thatll hopefully be running again soon...

not centered at all! is it supposed to be like this?

i tried moving it around witha screw driver but that didnt seem to do much

10-18-2010, 06:08 PM
another shot...

10-18-2010, 07:04 PM
should be okay as long as it worked before. thats the dizzy hole right?

10-18-2010, 07:28 PM
Maybe a broken distributor drive gear. Is that a 2S motor in that? I happen to have a dizzy sitting here in a box for that car. If you end up needing it just pay for shipping and its yours.

10-18-2010, 07:33 PM
wait a minute.....
That gear you are looking at is supposed to be attached to the bottom of the distributor, NOT inside the motor. It looks to me like somehow the pin that locates that gear on the dizzy shaft broke and thats why your dizzy isnt turning. Ive only worked on a couple 2S motors but Ive never seen a gear INSIDE, the dizzy hole like that.

I would defintely take the valve cover off and investigate deeper.

10-18-2010, 07:49 PM
What he said^

10-19-2010, 05:39 AM
yes somehow the gear broke off the bottom of the distributor. because when i pulled out the distributor the gear wasnt connected on the post that sticks out. i will post pics of the new distributor compared to the old one later.

anyways, went to a junkyard today to get the new distributor for a quick cheap fix. my and yes i took off the valve covers and pulled out the gear. the new distibutor, the center spins freely and smoothly but the old one doesnt spin whatsoever. anyways, i put in the new distributor and the car didnt start. so tomorrow im going to do a full on timing adjustment.

now correct me if im wrong but in order to get my timing good, im going to get piston number one at top dead center, then point the arm on the rotor of the distributor so it lines up with the point of plug number 1 on the distributor cap. thats most likely my problem right now because when i put everything in, i could only hope that they were lined up.

oh and yes it is the 2SE motor. i was lucky enough to find an 86 corolla at the junkyard today with the 2SE motor in which i grabbed the distributor from :)

10-19-2010, 07:01 AM
yes, piston 1 at TDC (of the compression stroke, make sure both intake and exhaust valves are closed) then the rotor arm should point to the #1 plug wire on the cap (or just slightly before) for correct timing.

Im guessing the squeeling you heard was the distributor shaft siezing up, then when it quit was the moment the pin through the gear finally gave up.

10-19-2010, 02:34 PM
What he said^

10-19-2010, 03:26 PM
To achieve TDC im going to take off the top timing belt cover. And slowly crank the motor over by turning the camshaft. I have a compression gauge. (Used for compression tests) hooked up to piston number 1s spark plug hole. I'm going to slowly crank the motor that's in neutral and find the point where the compression is the highest. This will show me TDC. Hopefully it'll be pretty accurate.

Wouldd there be any sort of tool you know of that is cheap enough to just buy or that I could rent at an auto parts store that'll show me TDC perfectly?

10-19-2010, 03:26 PM
To achieve TDC im going to take off the top timing belt cover. And slowly crank the motor over by turning the camshaft. I have a compression gauge. (Used for compression tests) hooked up to piston number 1s spark plug hole. I'm going to slowly crank the motor that's in neutral and find the point where the compression is the highest. This will show me TDC. Hopefully it'll be pretty accurate.

Wouldd there be any sort of tool you know of that is cheap enough to just buy or that I could rent at an auto parts store that'll show me TDC perfectly?

10-19-2010, 08:28 PM
First of all, while you can turn the motor with the camshaft, I recommend using the bolt on the crankshaft pully. its a bit easier and safer.
A dial gauge with the needle down the spark plug hole can be rigged to give true TDC, but for what you are doing that is WAYYYYY overkill. Just drop a dowel or nice long pencil down through the spark plug hole and turn the crankshaft until the pencil reaches its highest point. Then verify that your timing marks on the main pully line up with the indicator.
The thing I was getting at is that you have to be sure you are on the compression stroke and not the exhaust stoke. If you line up the dizzy on the exhaust stroke you will be 180 out and the motor will not run. With the cam cover off its easy to check to see that you have both valves closed on #1 cylinder (look at the position of the cam lobes).

10-20-2010, 05:55 AM
oh wait, now i remember why i wasnt going to use the crankshaft bolt...but what i remembered was completely irrelevant. i forgot it will turn the entire engine as well....thats what happens when you over think things. the pencil idea is so much easier...my oh my. 2 brains are much better than one. thats why i always have someone work on cars with me so i dont over think things. and also they may have easier ideas :P

so to verify what you said, once #1 is TDC, i go and check my cam and make sure both valves are closed? and the tear drop shape on the cam is facing down (therefore closing the valves)?

10-20-2010, 06:19 AM
Im not positive on the 2S what direction the lobe will be pointing. If Im not mistaken the 2S uses a cam follower or rocker setup, so you will be able to see the valve spring. Just make sure neither spring is compressed. I think once you are in there it will be fairly obvious. Or you can just put your finger over the spark plug hole as you rotate the engine towards TDC, and confirm that it wants to push air out past your finger (confirming both valves are closed).

10-20-2010, 06:25 AM
i was told about the finger test. which is where i came up with the idea of putting a compression tester. but the pencil idea is seriously so much easier. i believe my valves are good because i got it from the original owner which is a very good friend of my dads. he is not a car guy at all. he had everything COMPLETELY stock. he literally only changed the oil and air filter when it needed to be done. of course along with other fluids are regularly maintainenced parts. but its not like he ever took apart the engine.

the only reason my timings off is because i took out the distributor and didnt remember where the arm faced.

and yes, you can see my springs when you pull off the valve cover

10-22-2010, 01:26 AM
i got it running! it just needed a full timing adjustment. :) while it was down, i spent some time working on my alltrac. i got the new wire harness in so just waiting on the ecu and im done. woohoo