CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

1985 Toyota Pickup stalls in neutral

My 1985 Toyota Pickup (manual shift) is stalling out when I put the truck in neutral or don’t shift quickly enough. The battery light comes on after stalling followed by the oil light. After stalling, it does start back up and repeats the same problem. If I keep my foot on the gas and the truck in gear, it runs. I’m new to DIY repairs, and bought this truck for the purpose of learning more. I know the basics, am mechanically inclined, have a repair manual, and am a quick learner.

Thanks for any help!

It’s 27 years old…It has a smog carburetor…From what you are saying, it might also have a vacuum leak, a fairly large one, which will destroy the idle fuel mixture…So check all the vacuum lines first, including the brake booster if it has one…

Then try and find the idle mixture adjustment screw…This can be tricky, because from the factory, that adjustment screw is “sealed”, hidden away making adjustment difficult…These carbs were rather complex, not the place for a entry-level repair attempt…But if you manual shows the location of the idle mixture screw, then carefully proceed with the adjustment…Sometimes, removing the screw, blasting out the passage with carb-cleaner and reinstalling the screw will restore your idle…But on these carbs, if you don’t know what you are doing then don’t do it…

The idle speed screw is easy to get to. So is the choke adjustment. I’d adjust the idle speed first to see if it is out of whack and will get the truck to maintain idle before jumping into the idle mixture.If it does it only when cold, the choke may be out of adjustment. A good look at all the vacuum lines is a good call. Even a small vacuum line broken can cause stalling issues.

The other two lights are supposed to go on when the engine stalls. The battery light because the alternator stops turning, and therefore charging, then the oil pressure, because that will drop to zero soon after the engine stops.

Thank you. The good news is that I am no longer experiencing this problem (at least not this morning). The bad news is that I didn’t do a thing. I checked all my vacuum lines and they look good (a little bulging around a couple connections, but nothing major).

If they look that bad, replace them. Vacuum line is really cheap in bulk. Just remember to replace them like spark plug wires, one a time so you don’t cross them or hook them up wrong.