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2001 Celica dies after fill-up

I just had the engine in my 2001 Toyota Celica replaced with a rebuild at 145,000 miles (the original engine was burning oil). It runs fine but now every time I fill the tank with gas and start the car it runs for about 15 seconds then dies. This goes on about four times then it runs fine. After the initial dying eposoide the car runs fine until i fill-up again (i usually fill-up when i have avout 1/4 tank left). Before the engine replacement I had no problem like this. The mechanic thought the problem was the fuel pump and replace it and the filter and inspected the tank for debris. I am still having the problem

This isn’t from engine replacement. It also sounds like your mechanic might be a little short on his knowledge of the evaporative emissions system. Your gas tank has tubes attached to it that capture gas fumes as your gas evaporates. It sends the fumes to a charcoal storage canister and at various moments the computer operates a “purge valve” to send the stored fumes into the engine to be burned.

Your issue is probably that you are ending up with liquid fuel in your evap lines - only fumes should be in there. There’s some kind of vent valve for the tank that should only allow fumes to go in. The most likely scenario is that you tend to overfill your gas tank (continuing to pump after the automatic pump shut-off). This is likely to force gas into the evap lines. Over time this can saturate the charcoal canister, and damage the vent valve. Thus, when the engine “purges” the fumes your car is getting liquid fuel rather than fumes - - basically flooding the engine.

Stop filling your tank for a while - go up to only about 3/4 tank or so and see what happens.

I agree with Cig…Sometimes the vacuum lines connected to an engine don’t get hooked up right after an overhaul…Perhaps tank vapors are not being purged properly and are allowed to flood the engine as you fill the tank…Have him carefully check the “Evap Sysyem” for proper operation…

Thanks for the comment. I will have that checked

The issue continues. My mechanic took the car to the Toyota dealer and their suggestion was to reset the compute (since they could not find anything wrong). Shortly after the check engine light came on (new since the engine swap). but the condition remains. I posted uploaded a video on you tube showing what happens after I fill the tank, but not overfill as has previously been suggested. After filling, the car starts but will not run at idle. after 3 starts at the pump I drove the car out of the way (it does run if you give it gas). Notice at the end of the video how the tach fluctuates from 500 rpm to 1500 rpm until settling at 750. From that point everything run as expected.
The new code is lean mixture (the first time this one has shown up, before all codes were of a general error nature)

Report the very specific code in its “P1234” format.

“before all codes were of a general error nature” You never mentioned any codes before and there are none that are just “general error” - they are all Pxxxx and they all mean something. If you have record of them, post them. Better yet, just go have the codes read again - write down the exact P numbers and post them.

Did you try not filling the tank all the way yet? By that I means going only to 3/4 tank or so?

Hey Cigroller,
You jumped on the evap. But there is no real reason for the evap to do this. At all. The amount of air provided to the evap for vapor burn is a tiny airflow. Even plugged it should not cause this specific issue, plus it should throw a code(maybe). If the dealer did not catch an emissions code why do you insist on it. After fuel fill the tank is positive pressure and the air from the evap is not a non start issue. After fill and some time it runs fine till a refill. I wonder if the temp sensor is really in range or the air sensor. A bad fuel mix at start may cause an issue until the system goes to control mode which leans the engine too much. Thus the 15 second start before die problem. Why only at fill up? But you cannot be fix a saturated carbon filter in three 15 second startups either.

The point about the evap is not that its plugged or leaking or anything else. It would be that its getting liquid fuel in it during refueling and then flooding on restart. I can’t think of anything else that makes any sense for a problem that only occurs after refueling. The point about filling it only part way was to make sure no more fuel got dumped down the lines. Temp sensors - vague “air sensor” (?) - yep, those can cause problems. But then it wouldn’t be connected to refueling.

See this recent thread, and what the OP said when s/he stopped filling all the way up:

I insist on a code because if the engine light is on then there are codes - and they’re not “general” or non-specific or anything else. They are very specific and without them this is shooting in the dark.

If you have another take on it, just put it out there. I don’t know why you’d address it to me.

I think you have either IAC or/and TPS issues. Look like you have to step on accel pedal to keep it idle (video). Connect to OBDII reader, you probably get P01XX. Whatever it is,replace it and remember to disconnect NEG from battery before working on the issue.


The mechanics were about ready to throw in the towel and send the car off to the dealership, where they have sophisticated diagnostics, unlike the last one who just reset the computer. As they were all standing around the car asking “have we missed anything” they noticed two wires next to the air intake box, related to the EMC, that looked a little taught. Both had the same connectors type (maile and female ends) but one looked a little strained. So they switched them and guess what all the error codes went away. I have since filled the tank and it starts like it should.

End of story.

Unfortunately I’m unable to access the EVAP system diagrams for your particular car, but I’ve attached my own, which is a Toyota product. I’m going to dig more deeply, but thought perhaps this document could stimulate ideas from yourself and/or others while I too look.