Fix for Temperature Issue with 1996 Toyota Tacoma

A friend offered to sell me her 1996 Toyota Tacoma pickup, 5 speed manual transmission with camper shell for $1500!! It has about 120k miles. It is in good condition, not pristine. She’s done routine maintenance, the clutch has been replaced but doesn’t have a mechanic because she hasn’t had any problems. It runs well and more important to me has a cold air conditioner which is lacking on my 1984 Volvo wagon.

The reason she is selling it so cheap is the 1996 has an annoying quirk. We live in Tucson, Arizona where temperatures can get well over 100 degrees in the summer. She told me that if you drive the truck for more than half an hour in the summer and then stop the engine, the truck won’t start again until it has cooled off - usually a 30-45 minute wait. She said that this problem is only in the 1996 model.

I need reliable transportation. The thought of being stuck somewhere running an errand, especially during the summer, waiting for the truck cool off could be a deal breaker unless there is a reasonably priced solution to fix this problem. I would be willing to pay for the needed repair since she’s offering me such a good price on the truck. (The driver’s side door also doesn’t open, I’d have to crawl over the passenger side to get in.) Is anyone familiar with this problem and even better know how to fix it? Thanks for any suggestions. EvelynD

Buy it! Fast! Or see if she’ll deliver to New Hampshire!

Seriously, an Arizona Tacoma with 120K on the clock that’s been well maintained is worth $1500 easy. The eccentricity is not unique to '96 Tacomas; and it’s very likely a simple fix. Something has become heat sensitive, perhaps the starter solenoid.

I should tell you that I’ve had two Toyota pickups, a '79 and an '89. The '79 I ran until it rotted out (almost 11 years) and the '89 I got 338,000 miles out of (it got crashed). Neither ever had major powertrain problems. The '79 never had the engine opened, the '89 needed a timing chain at 200,000 miles.

The problem could be with vapor lock when the engine is shut off when very hot. Vapor lock occurs when the gas in the fuel rail begins to boil. This then prevents the engine from starting until it cools back down. And yes. Vapor lock can occur on a fuel injected engine.

The fuel pump has a check valve. This check valve performs two functions. It prevents the gas from running back into the gas tank from the fuel rail/line, and it also holds the residual fuel pressure. The residual fuel pressure is the period of time in which it takes for the fuel pressure to bleed off after the fuel pump shuts off. If it takes a long period of time like 15-20 minutes then you won’t see vapor lock. But if the residual fuel pressure drops to zero as soon as the fuel pump shuts off, you could see vapor lock.


Follow the advice from @thesamemountainbike - buy it!

Then, since you mentioned you don’t have a mechanic, I suggest that you look at the top of THIS page for “Mechanics Files” to find recommended mechanics in Tucson. I had good experience with a shop on East Pima (not sure it’s good form here to name the company), but I found the owner to be quite good at what he does, and treats customers with above average respect. I’d feel confident relying on him to solve a problem like yours, though it may take some time. He struck me as the kind of guy who knows how to troubleshoot puzzling issues, just based on his thoughtful approach. @Tester probably has it nailed, and the shop I mentioned I’m sure would be familiar with what Tester described.

I lived in Tucson only a short time, so haven’t continued to do business there. But I WAS there long enough to know about those hyper hot days…I remember 100+ in April, several days in a row. Yikes!

I’ll bet he could fix your door as well, that should be easier.

+2 for @thesamemountainbike. The problem can be easily pinpointed by a good, independent mechanic. It could be a vapor lock or an ignition component problem. Both available engines use an ignition control module and an ignition coil. Either one can be breaking down under the heat load but are easily replaced. The fuel pump is a little more expensive but can be replaced without too much difficulty if it’s a vapor lock problem as @Tester suggested.

Man, I wish I had a shot at this one. I miss my Toyota pickup.

i had that same problem on my 95 and it was the thermostat was stuck almost close i remove it and changed it out it worked find and another thing is the clutch fan have it checked out mite needs replacing