Diagnostic Questions

My tale is long and one of much woe, so I shall begin at the beginning.

I have a 1999 Toyota Corolla. 4 cylinders.

I was on the road about 2 hours from home when my check engine light came on flashing. It stopped flashing so I kept driving. Three more hours of driving at highway speeds and it only came back on once. I then took it into autozone and the code reader told me I had a Cylinder 3 Misfire. The guy told me to change my spark plugs and I would be fine. It was time for a spark plug change anyhow so I drove home and did it. After I changed the spark plugs the car did not start at all. It would cough and sputter and try to start but not actually start. Changed the spark plug wires and then the car stopped even coughing and sputtering. It just didn’t start. I then noticed that my fuel line that feeds directly into the engine was rotten right next to the engine and if I pushed it in I could get the car to try to start. (Try and fail, but at least try.) The fuel line is a molded piece of rubber that flares at each end. It was one of the flares that was rotten and didn’t seem to be sealing anymore. The hose is 7 mm inner diameter in the middle and about half an inch on the ends. I took some 3/8 in fuel line and used it to cover over one of the flares. The car tries to start now but wont. 3 of the four cylinders crank. I don’t understand how I could break my car on such a simple repair job.

I would check for fuel in the tank. If there isn’t any, I would have the fuel line replaced before starting the engine. If there is fuel, you may need a new fuel pump and fuel line.

You got me thinking that it’s not the fuel line you were working on or the tank would be empty and the engine would have caught on fire.

It sounds like the car has to go to a repair shop for further diagnosis. Take it to a better zone.

This fuel line is about 9 inches long and runs from the engine to a metal hose pipe. It runs into the right side of the engine. When the car didn’t start the area smelled faintly of gas. I assumed this means that there is both fuel in the tank and the thing is trying to pump fuel through that line.

I’m pretty sure that is is not the fuel line that you are working on but just a vacuum line. The fuel lines have swedged ends on them because the fuel is under about 70 psi. Assuming that you didn’t get the spark plug wires crossed up, I’d guess that you got the wrong plugs. Did you compare the new plugs to the old plugs? Did you keep the old plugs?

How many miles on this? Did you replace the distributor cap and the rotor? If you are approaching 200k miles on this car, they have a history with wearing out the center shaft busing in the distributor which means the whole distributor has to be replaced, although when this happens, the problem is usually intermittent for awhile.

Was one end of the hose connected to this