Jim Grant's Tech Tips
‘99 Toyota Camry LE, Cold Stalling
When starting my ‘99 Toyota Camry LE the car starts fine but immediately stalls because the rpms drop down to 0. Giving it gas over several minutes solves the problem. The technicians can't duplicate the problem to troubleshoot and by the time I get to the repair facility the car is running fine. This is almost an everyday recurrence. The car has 170K miles a recent tune up, runs good except for start up. A fellow Camry owner said it could be the fuel filter. Is it that simple and if so why didn't the dealership service department recommend the fix?
- Trish Kaufman
No, it is not the fuel filter. To have your Toyota’s condition correctly diagnosed, will likely require an overnight at a repair facility. But, there are a few checks that can be made that might avoid the overnight thing. There is a computer run component called and Idle Air Control (IAC) valve. The IAC is used by the computer to control the idle speed of the engine. When an engine is cold the computer will command the IAC valve to open a greater amount to provide a high idle speed for warm-up. If the IAC valve is not working correctly the idle speed, when the engine is cold, will be too low. This will result in a stalling condition. Diagnosis of the IAC valve can be done when the engine is cold, but Toyota provides for a function test of the IAC valve that is performed when the engine is warm. There is a diagnostic connector under the hood of Toyota vehicles, that allows for a command performance of the IAC valve. When a technician places a jumper between the correct terminals of the diagnostic connector the idle speed will change by over 100 RPM in less than 5 seconds. If the idle speed of the engine doesn’t change then there is a problem with the IAC valve, wiring or computer. If there is a change but misses the RPM mark then the technician has to inspect a different part of the system, but it is still idle speed related. I don’t know if something is getting lost in translation, but from your description, I’d be checking into what makes your idle work right when cold.