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1978 Corolla Stalling/Starting

I have a couple issues with my 1978 KE30 corolla (1.2, manual trans) that I hope you can help me with.

1. It drives great, but when I put the car in neutral when coming to a stop it stalls. However, it will restart if I put it back in gear as long as I am still coasting more than 10/mph. Also, if I pull the choke out before I start braking it will not stall.

2. Sometimes the car will not start. When I turn the key it does nothing…no click, no attempted start, nothing at all. However, if I shift through the gears or wait a few hours it will then turn over. Any thoughts? All the lights work, the blower works etc. so it is not the battery and the starter was just replaced.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

  1. Vacuum leak, worn ignition parts, dirty idle circuit in the carburetor, or maladjusted carburetor.

  2. Faulty clutch safety switch or dirty electrical connections.

  1. Since it drives great, I’m going to guess that it isn’t a vacuum leak but rather simply a misadjusted idle.

  2. My guess is also possibly dirty connections, and perhaps a worn out relay. The relay will be in the relay box under the hood. Since the car is so vintage, be sure to check the ground strap(s) from the motor to the chassis too.

By the way, my first Toyota was a 1976 Corolla 2-door, blue (VERY blue) with a white vinyl covered top. It was truely a great little car, and I wish I still had it.

Thanks for the advice, I will check it out this weekend.

The first issue is probably the first sign of needing a carb rebuild. If you want my advice, I’d say look at getting a Weber aftermarket carb for this thing. I had a '74 Corolla until a couple of months ago and that stock carb was really difficult to get running right, especially with all the ancient emissions stuff on it. I ploped on a used Weber 32/36 carburetor on there and it runs like a dream. The thing’s a breeze to tune up and it really improved both acceleration and fuel mileage on it. Unfortunately, it also made it run well enough that I was able to sell it…

You have typical 78 Corolla starting problems. While it is true that you may have actually needed a new starter, the cause of the problem is the ground wire at the back of the rocker cover. Remove the end at the firewall and scrape the paint off the firewall and any other painted thing that may also be held there. You just need a better connection. Your battery will be able to get fully charged too after the ground is cleaned up a bit. I fixed three similar Corollas by doing that. The stalling might stop too, especially if you are using the A/C. Do check to see if you have ignition points. You probably don’t, but there could be a surprise. I know that the 79 is electronic ignition.