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Adjust Low Idle

I have a 1991 Toyota pickup 2wd 22RE 4cyl. 5-speed. The engine idles fine, but idles low. Sounds at some times like it might die when coming to a stop at a sign or a light. Wondering if this is an adjustment needing made, or if what the order is of things that need checked / cleaned out.

Thank you very much for any help.

I would do a tune-up if it hasn’t had one in the last year or two. If that doesn’t fix it, try adjusting the ignition timing a little. Get a sharpie, a glove, and a 12mm wrench. Locate the bolt directly to the right of the distributor cap (it goes through and adjustment ear). The distributor is on the front driver’s side of the motor. Mark where it is set with a sharpie so you will know exactly where you started. With the engine running, loosen the bolt, but not all the way, just enough to turn the distributor with your gloved hand. (Whatever you do, DON’T PULL THE DISTRIBUTOR FROM THE HEAD) Turn it a little each way and listen to the engine. You won’t need to turn it very far at all. When you get it to a spot where it idles better, tighten the bolt, then take it for a test drive to see how it runs. Go up a hill to see if it ‘pings’ under load. Listen to the engine when you shut it off to make sure it doesn’t ‘diesel.’ Dieseling or pinging are signs that you have it in the wrong spot. Note: a timing light helps to get it exact, but for backwoods purposes, you can use your ears to listen.

I believe that is a fuel injected engine, the fuel filter is a pain but should have been replaced at 50k, catch up on regular maintenance as prescribed in the manual and tell us how it goes from there.

Thanks guys. I am going through what I can figure. Funny thing, the battery was low on amps. Replacing it helped with the idle. I had set to idle adjuster screw to make it idle faster. After replacing the battery, I’ve moved it back to the original position. It seems to idle a little fast now… so I think I will get a timing light. It has recently had plugs. My dad took very good care of it. But I may soon give it some seafoam and then replace the plugs again. And make sure I get Denso plugs. Thanks very much for the help!


Did you have the charging system checked when you replaced the battery?

The engine actually operates off of the battery and the alternator keeps the battery charged. If the alternator is putting out too low a voltage at idle, the battery could have been only partially charged, and at idle the voltage felt by the ignition system could have been too low for a strong spark. The alternator could have been putting out sufficient voltage at higher RPMs and the symptoms apparent only at idle.

Oh, by the way, Waterboy’s suggestion to change the fuel filter is a good one. It’s a bear to get to, up under the right rear wheelwell, but if it’s never beend changed it should be. The 22RE is throttle body injected and it needs good pressure.

I think the fuel filter is on the passenger side of the motor, under the intake. You can probably get to it through the front wheel well there on the passenger side.

You might find some improvement by cleaning the idle air control and the throttle plate.

They must have moved it from where mine was on my '89.

I have a '91 ForeRunner with a V6 engine. I don’t know if your engine has the same “feature”, but my throttle body has an idle speed adjustment screw. It threads directly into the throttle body and doesn’t look like a stop for the throttle, but is more probably an air bleed adjustment.

Look around your throttle body. A Haynes manual will help.