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3vze cranks, but no start.

Old 12-24-2018, 03:07 PM
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3vze cranks, but no start.

Hello all,

I've been searching the forums across the web and the FSM for the last few days - after no definitive answer, I figured I'd post here for some ideas.

I have a 1992 Toyota Pickup, 4x4, manual, 3.0l V6. 186,000 miles.

I got the truck as a fixer-upper. I bought it in its current condition.

Currently, the truck will turn over but not start. Here is what I've tried so far.
- There is gas in the tank.
- I'm getting fuel to the cold start injector.
- The cold start injector passed the resistance check (per the FSM)
- The fuel pump runs when jumping the diagnostic terminals.
- I'm getting fuel to the cylinders - I can smell fuel coming from the cylinder hole if I remove the spark plug and crank the engine.
- The previous owner replaced the fuel pump and filter.
- I get spark when grounding a plug to the block and having a friend turn the engine over. (It sparks almost once per second when the engine is cranking.)
- I cleaned the distributor cap points and the rotor. No change.
- The distributor passed the resistance check (per the FSM)
- The ignition coil passed the resistance check (per the FSM)
- The VAM/MAF passed the resistance check (per the FSM)
- All vacuum hoses seem to be hooked up in the correct locations.
- All fuses seem to be working.
- I switched the EFI and starter relay in the box under the hood to rule out a faulty relay - no change.
- There are no engine codes.

I'm not exactly sure what to check next. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by ltgunkel; 12-24-2018 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 12-26-2018, 05:53 AM
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Welcome to the "3vze cranks, but dont start" club You are not alone.

Did you check the compression? Mine, according to the last mechanic, has 0 compression on one of the heads, meaning cylinders 2,4, and 6. Its not "opened" yet to see whats up, but maybe valves are bad.
To me its generally said, its either driven like there is no tomorrow without proper care for the engine in the past, or just the engine is ˟˟˟˟ (like many owners tend to say).

Either way, good luck, otherwise a mighty nice truck.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Dilomski View Post
Welcome to the "3vze cranks, but dont start" club You are not alone.

Did you check the compression? Mine, according to the last mechanic, has 0 compression on one of the heads, meaning cylinders 2,4, and 6. Its not "opened" yet to see whats up, but maybe valves are bad.
To me its generally said, its either driven like there is no tomorrow without proper care for the engine in the past, or just the engine is ˟˟˟˟ (like many owners tend to say).

Either way, good luck, otherwise a mighty nice truck.
Thanks! I'll check compression next and reply back with the results.
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Old 12-26-2018, 11:23 AM
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Crank/No Start

Since you purchased the truck in this condition, maybe the P/O took the dist. out for some reason, and then installed it back 180 degrees out.
You will have spark, fuel, and everything else needed, but all at the wrong time.
It's worth a look .
Good Luck.
Art.
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Old 12-26-2018, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ZARTT View Post
Since you purchased the truck in this condition, maybe the P/O took the dist. out for some reason, and then installed it back 180 degrees out.
You will have spark, fuel, and everything else needed, but all at the wrong time.
It's worth a look .
Good Luck.
Art.
Thanks! I'll check that out. Is there an easy way to check that? I don't have a timing light at the moment
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Old 12-26-2018, 01:12 PM
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Crank/no start

You really don't need a timing light to see if the dist is installed 180 degrees out.
Take out #1 spark plug. Rotate the engine by hand till you are 100% sure that the piston is at TDC on the compression stroke.
The timing mark on the crankshaft pulley (little cut or crease) should now be pointing to the TDC mark on the front engine cover.
The dist rotor should be pointing at, or very near the the post for the #1 spark plug wire.
If these conditions exist, then the distributor is properly installed.
Also if it is off by only one or two teeth on the gear, then the engine will attempt to start, with backfiring, and farting all over the place.
Are these your symptoms, or is it totally quiet?
Good Luck!
Art.
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Old 12-29-2018, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ZARTT View Post
You really don't need a timing light to see if the dist is installed 180 degrees out.
Take out #1 spark plug. Rotate the engine by hand till you are 100% sure that the piston is at TDC on the compression stroke.
The timing mark on the crankshaft pulley (little cut or crease) should now be pointing to the TDC mark on the front engine cover.
The dist rotor should be pointing at, or very near the the post for the #1 spark plug wire.
If these conditions exist, then the distributor is properly installed.
Also if it is off by only one or two teeth on the gear, then the engine will attempt to start, with backfiring, and farting all over the place.
Are these your symptoms, or is it totally quiet?
Good Luck!
Art.
Thanks for the great information. It's totally quiet when I try to start. If it's been sitting for a day or so, it'll fire once when I turn it over, then it's quiet when I crank from then on.

I tried to pull start it today - it would backfire out the exhaust constantly, but would not run. I did a Mcguyver-style check to make sure the dist wasn't installed 180 degrees off - I stuck a hose into the cylinder #1 spark plug hole with a balloon on the end. I pulled plug #1, connected it to wire #1, and grounded to the block. I then checked to see that it sparked when the balloon inflation indicated TDC of the compression stroke. It lined up fairly close (close enough to seemingly not be off by 180 degrees)

Last edited by ltgunkel; 12-29-2018 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 12-30-2018, 12:08 AM
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So, if I understand you correctly, you attempted to start it by popping the clutch while it was rolling.
To be accurate, backfiring is combustion blowing back up the intake path. (too advanced)
It sounds like you are getting combustion of sorts out of the exhaust, right? (too retarded)
If the condition out of the exhaust pipe is like a constant, or near constant popping, but never firing enough to keep the engine running, then the base timing could be off by one, two, or even three teeth on the dist gear.
Stick with the timing thing a little longer, and check the compression like Dilomski said also.
Good Luck.
Art
P.S. Do you know what the P/O did to the engine before you got it? (timing belt, head gaskets,etc.......)

Last edited by ZARTT; 12-30-2018 at 12:17 AM. Reason: Ask another question.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:23 PM
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Sounds like a timing problem. The way to be sure is to first verify the firing order and that each wire goes to its respective plug. Some Distributor caps will be numbered but some are not. Firing order is 1-2-3-4-5-6
Installing distributor 3vze
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:36 PM
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Thanks for the great help.

The issue has been solved! I pulled off the timing cover and found that both cam gears were out of sync with the marks. The upper idler pulley (#2, I believe) was completely blown out... ball bearings and pieces of metal falling out. The timing belt was pretty sloppy - it must have been jumping all over the place timing-wise. I replaced the upper idler pulley, reset the timing, and it fired right up.

Thanks again, folks.
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Old 01-12-2019, 11:33 PM
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Congrats! Sure it was a great feeling when she started up again!
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