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Died while driving down freeway

Hi all. I have a 1992 Toyota MR2 and the other day I was driving home on the freeway. I started to hear this slight ticking noise from the engine compartment. I let off the gas and the noise stopped. I decided to pull over at the next exit but when I steeped on the gas again the engine died. No idiot lights on or gauges going wild that I remember seeing.

Now it won’t even attempt to start. When I tried to roll start it, (it’s a manual transmission) the wheels were locked up and actually tried rolling backward. When the car died on the freeway it just rolled to a stop so I know the tires worked fine when it died.

Does anyone have any idea what this might be? By the way, it’s a non-turbo, 2.2 liter.

Oh and the car has about 225,000 miles on it

Have you checked the timing belt?

Yeah, that’s the first place I’d look. Fortunately our (I have a 93) engines are non-interference, so you didn’t destroy anything if the t-belt snapped.

I am curious, though, about your roll-starting experience. Do you mean the wheels were locked up when the car was in neutral and/or the clutch was depressed?

Also, there are a lot of different meanings from questioners on here of the phrase “won’t attempt to start.” Do you mean that NOTHING happens when you turn the key? Or that you hear a clicking noise? Or the engine turns over but never actually starts?

Does the horn work?

All the lights, horn and radio work, but nothing happens when I turn the key. When I tried to roll start it, it would roll fine until I let the clutch out while in gear, then the wheels would grab and roll backward some but not turn the engine over.

I suspect your Tbelt broke and is now jammed, which is preventing the crankshaft from turning. That’s why the wheels seize when you try to push start it - they can’t turn the motor. It may also be jammed up top which would explain why absolutely nothing happens when you try to start it (though I suspect you’re missing the sound of a click as the starter extends - I never hear that in the MR2 either). Unless you can do it yourself, you’ll need to have it towed to a shop.

Thank you all so much. I was hoping it was a timing belt thing. I would hate to think that my motor just froze up or something crazy expensive like that

That’s still possible, but the 2.2 was fairly bulletproof (much to my chagrin, as if I can kill mine I can justify dropping something bigger in there :wink: )

Shadowfax read my mind.

I’ll bet even with the sparkplugs removed and the trans in neutral you’re unable to manually turn the engine over with a socket and wrench on the crankshaft bolt. That would be a pretty definitive test. Opening the front up would confirm (or not) that it was a jammed timing belt.

I think you’re going to luck out on this one. According to Gates this is not an interference engine, so if it is a jammed belt there should be no permanent damage. The belt on this does drive the water pump, however, so you’re going to want to change that too. That may even be what bound up, or what was ticking and broke the belt.

The timing belt also drives the water pump? Am I understanding that right?



And even if the pump was not the root cause of the problem it’d be prudent to change it anyway. The mechanic will be right there looking at it when he opens the cover to access the timing belt. Most of the cost of replacing a pump is labor, and 98% of the labor will be done anyway.