1996 Camry 4 cyl stalls

Help!!! Lady in distress. My car sputters and stalls when at a stop light. After a short time it restarts and is ok until next time. Might be 3 miles or 3 days. Took to shop. Replaced battery shelf, bracket, battery cable ends and fuel filter. car was recently wrecked and repaired, battery shelf was loose. Still not solved. Then to dealership where vacuum switch and EGR valve replaced. Still not right. Has been put on computer, oil change is current, no evidence of leaks. Any ideas on this mystery?

It sounds like you need a new shop. Have they been able to reproduce this problem?

Has the “check engine” light been on? If so, did they pull any diagnostic codes from the computer? And if so, see if you can find out what the codes were (actual codes like P0123). If the light is on now, most major auto parts chains will read those codes for free - have it done and post them.

No lights have come on. Private shop ran diagnostics as did dealership. Nothing.Both drove it and of course could not duplicate the intermittent problem.

I may be asking the obvious. Has any of the shops cleaned the throttle body and the idle air control passage? Has anyone recommended replacement of the Idle Air Control, cost ~$450? The 5S-FE seems to need the idle air control passage cleaned up every so often.

Hope this helps.

I called the dealership and they said they did clean the mentioned. they did not think it was the idle air control but it might be the coolant temp sensor. What are your thoughts. I can’t afford to educate a Toyota dealership master mechanic through trial and error at my cost.

While there are other things which can cause this, well beyond my knowledge, it does happen to meet the parameters for intermittent sticky idle control. It is hard to describe the difference by the written word. I have had that enough that I can tell it when I am driving the car, but how to explain how to tell, there’s the rub.

I have seen them where they go bad, and stay bad. I have seen them where they go bad once in a while, and thus only fail once in a great while.

As much as labor is, I sure can’t recommend to have it replaced just to see if it will fix it.

While I agree that this is symptomatic of an IAC, sinec the car was recently wrecked and repaired I’d want to look for something physically damaged, like a kinked fuel line perhaps. An inertia switch comes to mind as a possibility also.

Has anyone checked the fuel pressure? Perhaps a kinked line would show up there as low pressure. Perhaps, even, sommething damaged by the inertia of the wreck.

The biggest hit was the driver rear quarter panel from the fuel door back. The battery shelf was the result of a hit to the driver front head light. The quarter panel was repaired without replacement or welding.

The engine “sputters and stalls” sounds like a fuel problem. The fuel input into the engine is being cut off for a few moments time. If only cars had fuel pressure gauges on the dash!
Switches and relays can become intermittent; so, try a couple of relay changes. The EFI relay powers the Circuit Opening Relay which powers the fuel pump. Several relays are the same type: EFI; ECM; A/C; Fan; Defogger; Tail lamps. Swap the EFI relay with A/C relay. Try that for a few days. If the stall problem persists, swap (or, change) the Circuit Opening Relay.
Most relays are in the box beside the battery. Read the underside of the lid. Swap the EFI relay, operate the car a few days, and results? Next, swap (replace) the Circuit Opening relay, and operate the car a few days for results. http://www.autozone.com/autozone/repairinfo/repairguide/repairGuideContent.jsp?fromSearchPage=true&pageId=0900c152801cce06&partName=Fuses+and+Relays&partId=0900c152801cce06

If the 1996 is like the 1998-9, it is probably possible to hear the fuel pump. The pump is in the gas tank under a cover under the back seat. Pulling up on the front of the back seat will pop the seat loose. Prop it up out of the way and turn off the radio and it will probably be possible to hear a whine from the fuel pump as it runs. If the problem is the relays that deliver electricity to the fuel pump, the whine should stop/stutter when they misbehave. Road noise will probably make the fuel pump inaudible when moving, but it will likely be possible to hear it when the car is stopped at a light – which is where it is misbehaving.

(While the fuel system would certainly account for the problem, I’m more inclined to suspect the ignition system or the engine electronics. The fuel pump doesn’t know that the vehicle is stopped at a light. The vehicle electronics do.)

Lady T., VT. Codger has some excellent ideas. The fuel pump may have moments of hesitation while the car is moving. You may (or, not) notice any hesitations; or, the car may jerk, sometimes?
Listen to the fuel pump for hesitation, while the car is moving. If it hesitates a few seconds before any jerking, or stalling, tell your mechanic.