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  1. #1

    Default Turn/crank but no start-water problem might be involved?

    Hey y'all. I've got a 92 stx 1.6L 4A-FE. Hope I got all of that right. I've had him for about four years now, but I'm still quite the noob on a lot of mechanical things.

    About a week and a half ago I was driving home from work and the temp got pretty high. I was only a few miles from home so I got it home without blowing anything up somehow. My radiator was completely empty. My dad helped me check things out and fill the radiator. Checked the oil, everything looked fine there (no bubbles, milky look, or water). We figured it was some small slow leak that wouldn't be easily detectable, so he told me to keep an eye on the coolant level to try to track it down.

    Fast forward to a few days ago (Thursday), and the temp shoots up again while my sister and I are running errands. I pull over, add some coolant to the reservoir (I at least know better than to open the radiator when it's hot), but it still stays hot. I pull over again, check under the car, and there's water/coolant basically pouring from under the engine, around the passenger side tire. I know it was coolant because I touched it, as hot it was, and smelled it for sure. It had the coolant green tint to it as well. My mom came and got us in her car and I've been driving it since.

    At this point, my car ended up sitting in a parking lot for almost three days since we didn't have the time to trailer it home. My dad tried to get it on his trailer with a wench but had complications there. The car started fine. He and my mom tried to drive it home for me without it running hot but it only took a few miles before it was running hot again. Not sure why, but at some point my dad tried to crank it again and it refused to start. The day after, my dad was able to tow it home.

    Ever since then, I have been trying to get this starter issue taken care of so I can handle the water issue. I figure the water/coolant issue is the water pump based on the location of the water/coolant leak, but I'm still not 100% sure. Like I said, can't even get my car started at this point to even get it into our garage to look at it closer.

    Things I've tried/researched, in (mostly) chronological order:

    1) When I first tried to crank it up, we noticed that there were at least two vacuum hoses off of the intake manifold/breather. The top left hand one goes to the pressure regulator to the best of my knowledge. The bottom left hand one... I can't figure out. I have cruise control, as my trim package is STX, so I think it goes there, but the hose doesn't seem to naturally mold well there. It's also difficult for me to find a good picture of an intake manifold like mine to compare with. I'm not entirely sure this one loose hose is my problem, but I'm not ready to rule everything out yet. I also tried cranking my car using my dad's Yukon to jump it off, no dice.

    2) I loosened the banjo fitting on the fuel rail and got a nice fuel shower, so I assume that my fuel pump, filter, and relay are working. I assume the injectors are working since I pulled out a spark plug later on and it smelled of fuel on the end.

    3) I figured if I was getting fuel, I'm missing the spark. I did some research, found http://www.celicatech.com/forums/sho...on-the-road... this post, and tried both tests of the timing belt and the rotor. The rotor turned and the gear teeth just inside the oil cap turned as well. I really wanted to check the timing belt that way, since I know the water pump and timing belt are very close in proximity, and I feared the water may have messed up the timing belt. (Timing belt was actually replaced about two months ago due to another issue.) I may be completely wrong, but I wanted to check everything I could.

    4 ) I hunted for a spark. Got a spark test tool from Advance, but it doesn't fit well in my spark wire boots. Pulled out an actual spark plug from my engine, and so far, have not seen a spark. Like I said earlier, the end of the spark plug did smell like fuel though.

    5 ) Next I started looking at the distributor. I actually had to replace the whole thing about a year or two ago due to a similar starting problem. When I opened up the cap to check the ignition coil back then, I ended up breaking some connections and such since they were old and brittle. So, buying a whole new distributor was just the best move at the time. Since doing research on these forums, and having had an issue with the distributor/ignition coil before, I pulled out the ignition coil and checked the resistance. Mine was about half as much as it should be, so I figured this may be my problem, considering I've had issues here before AND the others on here saying they had the same issue. Autozone nearby had one, all I had to do was wait until someone else was home so I could borrow a vehicle up there.

    7 ) I'm pretty sure my car smelled the hope and confidence coming from me and decided to just be a brat instead. I put the new ignition coil in and nothing changed. Nothing. Cranks and turns forever, but doesn't actually start and run.

    Some things I feel worth noting: I need to be jumped off every so often to try to crank it. After I've been hooked to another vehicle, it'll crank two or three times before it stops cranking at all. It does click even though it won't crank, though. During the two or three times it tries to crank by itself, the longer it tries to crank, the weaker it sounds before it just quits cranking. I had a guy at Advance tell me he had a 90 model celica once with the same problem. His solution was to replace an alternator fuse. I don't remember what it was called, but I know it was the blue one. And yes, go ahead and laugh, because I already tried to take it out from the top before finding out it had to be unbolted from the bottom. I'll probably replace it anyway since I've just about destroyed all the plastic surrounding it, but also because I want to try his method too. I'm also concerned that since I keep having to jump it off, maybe it is related to the alternator. Also, I have a spare distributor cap and plug wires (even though I know I have basically a new distributor), and am probably going to try that in the morning, just so I've exhausted all I know. Thirdly, I've seen a few posts talking about a coolant sensor, if anyone has more information about that.

    I've read so many acronyms today around these forums such as TSPs and ECUs that I'm not really sure where to go from where I'm at now. I think I'm going to give up (on life) for the night and check back in the morning with a bit of a fresher mind.

    Anyone enjoy that novel? Anyway, if anyone has any pointers on what I could check next, I'd be highly appreciative.

  2. #2
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    First: your battery is dead. Either buy a jump box, or get a charger that will "recondition" the battery and keep it topped up. Cranking the starter pulls a lot of amperage that will kill a battery pretty quick.

    As for the Crank/No Start issue, You've already done most of the normal checks, tracing for spark working from the plugs to the coil. Did you replace the igniter? That would be the next step after the coil. What about all your fuses/relays?

    IMO, its a good thing that you saw the coolant dripping under the car. It'll be easier to trace the leak that way. Personally, I would get a pressure tester, fill the system back up, and pressurize to see where the leak is coming from.

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
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    Overheating usually doesn't blow things up right away - but it will shorten their lifespan. Since it's been overheated 3 times now be aware that you may have bigger issues down the road. If you're not getting spark then worry about that before anything else. It's unlikely to have multiple components fail at exactly the same time, so if you're not getting spark on any of the plugs then I wouldn't be looking at the plugs or wires. Pick a point in the system, test it, and from that you should know which direction to go to find the problem.
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  4. #4

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    Thanks. The last points I need to check right now are the igniter and the distributor connection. Everything else has checked out so far according to the manual.

    I hated to have it overheat so much, I'm sure it will cause me more problems down the road .

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodMoney View Post
    First: your battery is dead. Either buy a jump box, or get a charger that will "recondition" the battery and keep it topped up. Cranking the starter pulls a lot of amperage that will kill a battery pretty quick.

    As for the Crank/No Start issue, You've already done most of the normal checks, tracing for spark working from the plugs to the coil. Did you replace the igniter? That would be the next step after the coil. What about all your fuses/relays?

    IMO, its a good thing that you saw the coolant dripping under the car. It'll be easier to trace the leak that way. Personally, I would get a pressure tester, fill the system back up, and pressurize to see where the leak is coming from.

    Good luck!
    Thanks for the reply. I'll just make sure I'm hooked up to something in order to try to start it from now on.

    I've checked most if not all fuses and delays, at least all the fuses/delays that the manual says to check. How do I go about checking the igniter? That and the distributor connection are the only things I haven't checked yet, the igniter because I don't know how, and the distributor because my wires are different than the one in the manual.

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