#1
Hi,

My car (specifically, my mum's car) has broken down just a couple of streets away from my house. I would normally call the AA (road-side assistance people) but it has to be the person who pays for the service who makes the call, even if it's their car, or they wont help. She's out but will be back in an hour. Thing is, the car's parked in an out-of-the-way but illegal place, so I want to move it as soon as I can. I've left a note saying it wont start but towees are soulless bast@rds so I'm not counting on it.

Here's the situation:
- it's not a flat battery because the car died while running, and the ignition still fires.
- it's not out of oil, even though the oil light did come on just before the engine lost power, because I put about 500mL of engine oil in the oil tank just now.
- it's not out of gas because the gauge still registers a quarter of a full tank.

So, does anyone have any idea what might be wrong and what can be done to fix it? I would really appreciate any help.
Last edited by AVA_Plus44_182 at Mar 13, 2009,
#2
Now, I'm not the most knowledgeable when it comes to cars, but you'd have to be a lot more specific than "it broke down" if you expect anyone to "diagnose" the problem.
#4
Quote by RU Experienced?
Now, I'm not the most knowledgeable when it comes to cars, but you'd have to be a lot more specific than "it broke down" if you expect anyone to "diagnose" the problem.

I'm asking if anyone can suggest any possible engine-related reasons why a car would break down, given that it's not a lack of petrol, engine oil, or a dead battery, that's all. I'm not asking for a miracle or some magic diagnostic, I'm just asking for any help anyone can give me or any POSSIBLE reasons why this would happen.

If anyone wants any more information about the car, just let me know. It's a 1988 Toyota Corona, 1.8L engine.

Quote by Captain Insano
1) Call Friends
2) Put car in neutral
3) Push
4) Figure out problem later

Only one of my friends could be mustered right now, and he's going out soon anyway so it wouldn't work. My neighbours don't seem to be around and there's a sizable hill it would have to be pushed up so that's not really an option either.

EDIT: Some non-sarcastic answers would be nice by the way, just in case anyone didn't get the implication.
Last edited by AVA_Plus44_182 at Mar 13, 2009,
#5
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
Hi,
I would normally call the AA (road-side assistance people) but it has to be the person who pays for the service who makes the call, even if it's their car, or they wont help. She's out but will be back in an hour.


Get AAA.
Quote by JezuzFingerz
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#6
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
given that it's not a lack of petrol

Ah okay then it must be because of a lack of diesel.
#7
Quote by Normul
Get AAA.

The AA is our equivalent of that in this country. We do have it, but it's under my mum's name and they wont answer any call unless SHE is at the car making the call.
#8
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
The AA is our equivalent of that in this country. We do have it, but it's under my mum's name and they wont answer any call unless SHE is at the car making the call.

So your mother is a member of AA and was behind the wheel of a car?


That's dangerous.
#9
Quote by RU Experienced?
So your mother is a member of AA and was behind the wheel of a car?


That's dangerous.

Ironically, both our national vehicle insurance company and alcohol recovery services go by the same name. But there is no conspiracy present in my current situation.
#10
Is it cranking over? If not is it making any clicking at all? Any leaks anywhere? Strange smells?
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#13
Well you could have a bad muffler, not sure about over there or not, but do you guys have the carbon things on your mufflers? They can fill up with carbon and not run. Also, check your batteries terminals and make sure the cables are really snug and secure. Spark plug problem? Possibly. Does it turn over? I'm pretty good at mechanics, been in it for 3 years, but you definitely need to post more info.

Edit: The mufflers carbon collector thing can fill up and not allow proper exhaust to escape. I wasn't sure if I was clear on this.
Last edited by \m/Angus\m/ at Mar 13, 2009,
#14
So did the oil light come on, shortly after the car died.. THEN you put the oil in it?
"When sh*t becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes."
#15
Quote by rdineen
Is it cranking over? If not is it making any clicking at all? Any leaks anywhere? Strange smells?

Yes, it's cranking over, no clicks. There are no strange smells, it smells exactly as it always does when it's been running. There don't appear to be any leaks, other than a tiny oil leak that it's had for years, but the car needs to be sitting in one place for several hours for that to be visible, and it's not doing it now.
#16
Is it auto or manual? If it's manual you can pop the clutch while pushing it and it'll start.
#17
Quote by Illiad86
Might possibly be a broken timing belt methinks


It could be this, although I think it is actually a timing CHAIN with that engine... just hope it isn't because broken timing chain/belt can equal blown motor. Good things don't usually come when this happens, trust me.

Also, it may be a blown headgasket

EDIT: ... or fuel pump. happened to me TWICE before.
"When sh*t becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes."
Last edited by MetalManiac_86 at Mar 13, 2009,
#18
Quote by \m/Angus\m/
Well you could have a bad muffler, not sure about over there or not, but do you guys have the carbon things on your mufflers? They can fill up with carbon and not run. Also, check your batteries terminals and make sure the cables are really snug and secure. Spark plug problem? Possibly. Does it turn over? I'm pretty good at mechanics, been in it for 3 years, but you definitely need to post more info.

Edit: The mufflers carbon collector thing can fill up and not allow proper exhaust to escape. I wasn't sure if I was clear on this.

Yes, that's a good point, it might be that, I'll run up again in a moment and check to see if there's any visible carbon in or being emitted from the exhaust. The battery terminals are fine, nice and tight (we got one of them replaced recently and the other one's definitely ok cause a mechanic said so at the time). If the battery cables weren't secure it wouldn't be turning over anyway.

Dirty spark plugs is another good point, though when the spark plug on my scooter got covered in carbon the engine wouldn't turn over or run in any way whatsoever, so if they're dirty would the engine still be turning over?

Quote by MetalManiac_86
So did the oil light come on, shortly after the car died.. THEN you put the oil in it?

Yes, that's correct, though it was on for a couple of seconds just before it died which is definitely not normal.

Quote by \m/Angus\m/
Is it auto or manual? If it's manual you can pop the clutch while pushing it and it'll start.

It's a manual but that wont help because the starter motor is still turning over, so if it wont start through that it wont start from a rolling start.
Last edited by AVA_Plus44_182 at Mar 13, 2009,
#19
Quote by MetalManiac_86
It could be this, although I think it is actually a timing CHAIN with that engine... just hope it isn't because broken timing chain/belt can equal blown motor. Good things don't usually come when this happens, trust me.

Also, it may be a blown headgasket

God forbid it be this. This happened to me right in the middle of a highway and I had to get out and push it to the side of the road. Most embarrassing **** ever. Plus it totally will **** your engine if any coolant got into the pistons or oil got into the coolant.


You got coolant in my oil! No, you got oil in my coolant!
#20
The car would turn over with ****ty spark plugs, yes.. they just wouldn't fire to start the car
"When sh*t becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes."
#21
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
Yes, that's a good point, it might be that, I'll run up again in a moment and check to see if there's any visible carbon in or being emitted from the exhaust. The battery terminals are fine, nice and tight (we got one of them replaced recently and the other one's definitely ok cause a mechanic said so at the time). If the battery cables weren't secure it wouldn't be turning over anyway.

Dirty spark plugs is another good point, though when the spark plug on my scooter got covered in carbon the engine wouldn't turn over or run in any way whatsoever, so if they're dirty would the engine still be turning over?


Yes, that's correct, though it was on for a couple of seconds just before it died which is definitely not normal.


It's a manual but that wont help because the starter motor is still turning over, so if it wont start through that it wont start from a rolling start.


They could possibly still turnover, but I dunno without actually hearing/seeing it. Don't turn it over too much or the battery will eventually die. Try giving it a little gas when you try to start it and see if that works.
#22
On an unrelated note: here in BC, we have a program called the road improvement program which funnily enough abbreviates to RIP.

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[quote="'[BurnTheDusk"]']Boss pedals may be built like tanks but I would rather buy a cardboard box that is on my side than pay for a tank that is working against me.
#23
Quote by MetalManiac_86
It could be this, although I think it is actually a timing CHAIN with that engine... just hope it isn't because broken timing chain/belt can equal blown motor. Good things don't usually come when this happens, trust me.

Also, it may be a blown headgasket

EDIT: ... or fuel pump. happened to me TWICE before.

Ok, if it's a broken belt would I be able to see this by looking at the engine? i.e. would this be clearly visible and if so how? Same question for a blown headgasket?
#24
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
Ok, if it's a broken belt would I be able to see this by looking at the engine? i.e. would this be clearly visible and if so how? Same question for a blown headgasket?

A blown gasket would give off smoke and/or a horrible smell. A broken belt can be determined visually but it matters whether you have a timing cover or not. I think toyotas do so I dunno.
#25
Quote by \m/Angus\m/
They could possibly still turnover, but I dunno without actually hearing/seeing it. Don't turn it over too much or the battery will eventually die. Try giving it a little gas when you try to start it and see if that works.

The starter motor turnover sounds exactly the same as it does normally, and I have tried giving it gas a couple of times so I don't think any of that's going to work. (In response to the above statement) if it is possible for the engine to properly turn over with a dirty spark plug then it may well be that. Is there any way I might be able to tell if the spark plug's dirty without removing it a checking it? (because I have no idea where it is)

Quote by \m/Angus\m/
A blown gasket would give off smoke and/or a horrible smell. A broken belt can be determined visually but it matters whether you have a timing cover or not. I think toyotas do so I dunno.

Ok, well, there's no smoke or steam or anything like that coming from the engine and there aren't any bad smells at all, so it probably isn't a blown gasket then. Would I be able to hear if the belt is broken? Common sense tells me I could, but obviously I don't know for certain.
Last edited by AVA_Plus44_182 at Mar 13, 2009,
#26
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
Ok, if it's a broken belt would I be able to see this by looking at the engine? i.e. would this be clearly visible and if so how? Same question for a blown headgasket?



The chain is something your mechanic would have to check out. On the other side of that though, a timing chain failing is very rare... they are made to last. It DOES happen with timing BELTS over a period of time, thats why it is recommended to have your belt changed about 80-100,000km. Givin its an 88 toyota I would guess it is a chain.

The headgasket... could be lots of things... you might see coolant or oil leaking on the head in places, may smoke, bubbles in the rad, etc... and the car probably would have been overheating before it died completely
"When sh*t becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes."
#27
Quote by MetalManiac_86
The chain is something your mechanic would have to check out. On the other side of that though, a timing chain failing is very rare... they are made to last. It DOES happen with timing BELTS over a period of time, thats why it is recommended to have your belt changed about 80-100,000km. Givin its an 88 toyota I would guess it is a chain.

The headgasket... could be lots of things... you might see coolant or oil leaking on the head in places, may smoke, bubbles in the rad, etc... and the car probably would have been overheating before it died completely

Yea, there doesn't appear to be anything unusual about the engine at the moment, no unusual sounds, smells, or anything that looks out of the ordinary, any fluid in any abnormal places or anything like that. I know I'm not a mechanic but judged from the information given I doubt it's the headgasket.

The car has done around 230,000km in total, I don't think the timing belt/chain has ever been changed and I'm fairly certain it hasn't been changed in the last 6-8 years so it might be that I guess. But you reckon it's a chain, not a belt? Can the chains wear and break after awhile as well?
#28
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
The starter motor turnover sounds exactly the same as it does normally, and I have tried giving it gas a couple of times so I don't think any of that's going to work. (In response to the above statement) if it is possible for the engine to properly turn over with a dirty spark plug then it may well be that. Is there any way I might be able to tell if the spark plug's dirty without removing it a checking it? (because I have no idea where it is)


Ok, well, there's no smoke or steam or anything like that coming from the engine and there aren't any bad smells at all, so it probably isn't a blown gasket then. Would I be able to hear if the belt is broken? Common sense tells me I could, but obviously I don't know for certain.


If it was broken it would most likely turn over noticeably faster... due to no compression
"When sh*t becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes."
#29
Quote by MetalManiac_86
If it was broken it would most likely turn over noticeably faster... due to no compression

Yea, that's a good point. Would I be able to hear that when the engine is starting, like, would I be able to hear the turnovers going at a much faster rate?
#30
Quote by AVA_Plus44_182
Yea, that's a good point. Would I be able to hear that when the engine is starting, like, would I be able to hear the turnovers going at a much faster rate?



If it just jumped its timing a bit you may not notice a difference in the way it turns over, but if its plain old broke its gonna sound like its turning over quicker than normal.
Like I said though... its definitely possible, but its not the first thing I would necessarily assume. Look up the car and see if you can find if it is a belt or not... I don't think it is.

I'm no professional either, just a "weekend warrior" kind of guy.. grew up around cars and toys with engines haha. It looks like you're gonna have to get it checked out by a mechanic anyway dude
"When sh*t becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes."
#31
Could also be a bad solenoid, bad altenator....if you have a blown headgasket you'll smell the richness of the gasoline.
#32
Quote by MetalManiac_86
If it just jumped its timing a bit you may not notice a difference in the way it turns over, but if its plain old broke its gonna sound like its turning over quicker than normal.
Like I said though... its definitely possible, but its not the first thing I would necessarily assume. Look up the car and see if you can find if it is a belt or not... I don't think it is.

I'm no professional either, just a "weekend warrior" kind of guy.. grew up around cars and toys with engines haha. It looks like you're gonna have to get it checked out by a mechanic anyway dude

I'm looking the car up and it looks like toyoa only use timing chains on their interference engines, which includes all their diesels, and they use belts on all their cars that have non-interference engines. 1.8L 1S-iLU is the type of engine my car has; I'm trying to find out if it's an interference engine or not so I can find out for certain, but it's hard to find the information I'm looking for.