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87 Toyota pickup start/idle problems

My old, dear truck seems to have an issue starting, then idling in extreme cold or after a big downpour in the hot summers. I do plug it in in winter, it has heat pads for the battery, transmission, and engine block. It has a carburetor and has gone through a few starters. I changed the fuel filter, but suspect the fuel pump or carburetor is the problem. Any ideas?

If you think it is a fuel delivery problem try spraying a small amount of starter fluid into the intake and see if that gets the egnine fired up. If that works then you have proved your theory. If that doesn’t help then you most likely have an ignition problem. Make sure the plugwires aren’t arcing to ground. A common problem from what you describe when the trouble happens.

The connection to downpours/hot summers makes me think of ignition system issues - like distributor cap, plug wires or something not sealing out moisture.

Pardon my ignorance, but when you say “into the intake,” I assume you mean directly into the carburetor by taking the air filter top off? I used to do that during our -30F spells to get it to start. Would this mean we’ve discovered something? Also, how would I know if plugwires aren’t arcing to ground? Thanks for your time!

Wow, that is interesting. So many people acting like I was nutz to see a connection with extreme weather changes. But I can almost predict when it will happen. Is the sealing issue common? Any way to search for moisture or, for that matter, improve the seal - sealant, or gasket? Thanks for you wisdom and insight.

To the above, yes, spray starter fluid into the carb. If this gets it to run, even if briefly then that’s good evidence of a fuel supply problem.

As for the ignition components, if they are letting moisture in then you normally have to replace them - bad insulation or boots on wires / crack in the distributor cap (even if you can’t see it) - things of that nature. You can verify that kind of issue with a mister spray bottle of water. On a day when the truck is running well mist the distributor cap & wires with water. If you can get the engine to stumble that way then you can be pretty sure that you should replace whatever just got wet.

Most appreciated…and it totally makes sense. Now I just need to understand the fuel delivery system and get my hands on the fuel pump. Unfortunately, nobody up here(Fairbanks, AK) likes to work on carbs, but I do have a spare 87 Toyota pickup out back. Wonder if I can trade our carbs, hmmmmm…

You can pick up a $20 repair manual at an auto parts store. Alternatively, Autozone’s website has a bunch of free online Repair Info - you just have to register an email address then plug in the truck’s info. Either of these things should give you good info on the fuel system & how to test it.

After 24 years, it’s time to rebuild the carburetor. Even in Fairbanks, somebody knows how to do it…Or just mail-order in a rebuilt one. I bet there is an AutoZone store in Fairbanks, and a McDonald’s too…Just walk up to the counter and say "I’d like a rebuilt carb for my '87 toy pick-up, 22r engine…See what happens next…