Cold Start Problem

My 1999 4 cylinder Toyota Camry has developed a cold start problem.

If the car sits overnight it will start with no problem. The problem happens if the car its for several days.

The car will turn over but coughs sputters and dies. This will happen after several attempts to start. The “solution” I have come up with is to hold down the gas pedal. The car will start but revs quite high. (I don’t like doing that to a cold car.) Even after getting it started by this method it runs rough for maybe 30 seconds.

The dealership can’t find a problem. There are no codes in the computer and I can’t leave it for several nights to demonstrate the problem.

Has anyone experienced a similar situation or have any suggestions as to what the problem is and how to eliminate it?



It sounds like the engine is flooded when you try to start it.

When you step on the accelerator while starting the engine the computer goes into the flooded condition mode. The computer then cuts the fuel injector pulses in half in an effort to clear the flooded condition.

Since all cylinders are effected by this, it can’t be a leaking fuel injector. If it were, only one cylinder would be effected so the engine would start but run rough until that cylinder cleared out the excess fuel. However, if the fuel pressure regulator is leaking this will effect all the cylinders and cause a flooded condition.

The fuel pressure regulator is located on the fuel rail. It’s a small canister with a single vacuum hose attached. Run the engine for a minute and shut off. Remove the vacuum hose from the fuel pressure regulator, and if gas leaks out of this connection, the regulator is leaking and requires replacement.


Try to leave it at the shop for a few days and have them test spark, fuel pressure and engine compression while the engine is cold.