Havening Fun with a 1996 Toyota Corolla

First issue was a crank no start. This was due to a bad coil, and it wasted a week of my time due to not having any transport available.

A new coil was ordered, the old one was chucked out, and car started fine.

I suspect that the coil got swapped out while we were away.

  1. Car was not locked when we got back.
  2. There’s a couple of scratches on the old coil, almost as if somebody had issues with removing a stripped/stuck screw holding the coil to the distributor. I know I did not scratch it, so this is a highly suspicious thing.
  3. Car started fine, but started to misfire. We mistakenly attributed it to dirt in the fuel, and added injector cleaner to the fuel.

But anyway.

Testing a coil is easy. Specs said to use an ohmmeter, and measure if you get 11/15kOhm on the secondary (output) and 6 to 8kOhm on the primary. The primary dropped away, so it was an indication of a faulty coil. Strangely it did not pop a fuse.

Keep in mind specs (and testing methods) will differ from car to car. Newer cars have a coil per sparkplug, older cars have one coil and a distributor.


Second issue is : there seem to be a problem with the rear lights as these tend to blow the fuse.

A little logical thinking resolved the issue.

The problem was that there was an earth point in the boot. The car have a two bar (tow hitch?) fitted, and one of the wires going to said tow bar’s plug was a bit exposed and was touching the earth point, causing things to short out.

So that was resolved by use of insulation tape and redoing the connections so there were no naked cables anywhere.

While I was busy with that, I decided to redo all the earth points for the rear lights. They seem to be a bit brighter after cleaning and redoing the earth points.

I have checked, it is possible to get LED strips and use these instead of the standard incandescent light bulbs. A bit of experimentation will be needed, but this is a project for later.

The spark plug leads got replaced. The previous leads had extremely tight connections to the spark plugs, so you tend to pull out the innards of the spark plug leads when removing them.

The newer ones got better connections, they do grip, but not with a death grip.

Rotor arm will be replaced when I replace the distributor cap with a new one. And with that, the O-ring for the oil seal on the distributor shaft.

After that I decided to look at why the front parking lights was not working. The left parking light was blown (I got a new spare globe this morning) and the right one was not making proper contact. This led me to the faulty deduction that the cable supplying power got damaged somehow when the car survived a meeting with Mr Street Name Pole, courtesy of $Wife.

This got fixed after 6 years or so. Duh.

Indicator light covers got pulled and washed with soapy water, these were a bit dirty. And luck had it that one light stopped working when I started to clean the covers.

A physical inspection showed that the light was still good, but a continuity test with a multimeter proved otherwise. It is also possible to put strip LEDs in for the front indicators, this is also a project for later.

I’m still busy with the cabin fan, I have got a “new” 2nd hand fan from a scrapyard (they don’t stock these fans anymore) so will have to clean it and mount it.

But before that can happen, I have to clean out and remove the heater matrix, it is leaking water. But the removal is the issue, I think the AC and heater matrix is preventing me from removing some stuff.

I will see if I can start a Youtube series on this. All of the above are deferred maintenance which I actually are starting to do.

And about time too. Don’t want to be pulled off at a roadblock, officer check my car, schits himself and orders car to be impounded.

Going forward :

  1. Ventilation (cabin) fan and gubbins
  2. Rest of earth points and electrical system
  3. Locate fuel pump relay and put in an immobilizer switch
  4. Adjust rear brakes (drums)
  5. etcetcetcetc
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On my way to work I bought new piping for the fuel vent valve, a couple of new globes and pipe clamps. On my way back to home (same autoshop franchise, but different location) I stopped to get a gear lever boot rubber (original one is a bit tired of life), a switch, some insulated electrical cable, connectors and heat shrink wrap. And a 100A fuse for the Pajero (we put an 80A fuse in). Seems that the two franchise shops don’t always stock the same stuff.

And a knife. Realized I forgot to buy one to cut the pipe with.

A quicky shufty at the car got the left front parking light working. Yay. We’re getting there slowly but surely.

The pipe for the fuel tank vent was cracked badly, and the valve was very dirty outside. Washed the valve (on the outside) with a soft brush and soapy water, looks like new now.

The cracked pipe got replaced. This required me to remove the filter housing and air intake pipe going to the throttle body, just to make space in the engine compartment.

While that was off, I put new piping on the cold start valve (it works from the cooling system, valve is closed when cold (or open), making the fuel mixture a bit richer and increasing idle speed, when water warms up, the valve opens (or close), returning the fuel mixture to normal and idle speed goes to normal. Of course I flushed that component with clean water out, don’t want any dirt going into the coolant system.

The engine was still hot, so I could not connect the new pipes up, that will have to wait for tomorrow or whenever I get a chance for that.

Number plate light (two of 'em) - the contacts in the light bulb holder was dirty, and lights was not making proper contact. Spend a minute or two with a screwdriver cleaning the contacts, and checking that the lights do come on.

The switch and insulated wiring? I want to locate the fuel pump relay, and insert this switch in between the relay and the ignition switch, so it’ll act as immobilizer. Good for me, irritating for ne’er-do-wells wanting to blag the car.

Next up : I dunno what I’ll tackle next. Will see what I fancy.

Today I connected the throttle body to the cooling system.

On the head there is a manifold outlet, and two outlets which have been bridged. I removed the bridge, and put new coolant pipes going from this outlet manifold to the throttle body.

No leaks so far. Will see how it goes.

At the same time I rerouted the fuel pipe so it is more straight and out of the way, looks a bit neater now.

Left rear passenger door handle was a bit broken. Got a new door handle, fitted it. The only problem was getting the screws holding the handle loose, some barsteward idiot have inserted the one screw wrongly, and it broke the door handle molding where the screw goes into the handle.

Took a shufty at locating the fuel pump relay signal wire, but was not successful.

Work have a toner, will see if I can borrow it to locate that specific wire.

Replaced the distributor cap with a new unit, and had a little panic attack when the car did not start - somehow I mixed the ignition sequence up, but a little logical thinking resolved that.

A new oil seal was also fitted to the distributor body as the previous (original) seal was leaking oil (at least not into the distributor). I will have to monitor for leakage.

I mistakenly swapped cylinders 1 and 4. 1 start at the small end (furthest from the clutch) and no4 is at the big end (clutch side).

When I realized what I’ve done I fixed it. Luckily the distributor cap numbered which outlet is for which cylinder, so it was a doddle to fix.

Engine runs nicely now.

Still a lot to do. Need to remove the heater matrix and get the replacement cabin fan installed.

The boot lock mechanism was not doing its job, it keeps on opening.

I adjusted the boot latch (moved it a bit upwards) and it seemed to have done the trick.

Note to self : take picshers!

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