Help Please!

Barbie has lost her convertible.

Hope you love the irony, but yesterday on my way to pick up my new brake pads and rotors, my car stopped.

It’s a 1999 Toyota Celica GT 2.2L, about 190000 miles and I just replaced the transmission not too long ago. Here’s what happened, I was sitting a light, the light turned green, and I pushed the gas and the car stalled. I put it in park, tried to turn it on, and it won’t start, but is still turning over, making an awful whining noise. Not the transmission. Battery is good, windows, stereo, etc still work. Terminals are good. Everything is still connected, I just changed my oil about 1000 miles ago, still has oil. Has transmission fluid, actually has all it’s fluids, no leaks. No check engine light or any other lights. She did not overheat, if anything was colder than usual, No water in my motor, everything LOOKS good, and I take good care of my car, so I’m really baffled. I just spent my savings on the transmission, I’m not a mechanic, I’m just learning to do things on my own, and I appreciate any help I can get.

Thank you!

When an engine makes a whining noise when trying to start it, it could be an indication of a jumped/broken timing belt.


"yesterday on my way to pick up my new brake pads and rotors, my car stopped."

Well, one good thing, you no longer need new brake pads … lol …

Ok, seriously, what’s up with this car? hmmm … It’s cranking ok, but makes a whining noise during the cranking process? That could be normal. Just the teeth of the starter motor hitting the flywheel teeth., You just don’t normally hear it when the engine catches and runs. So I’m discounting that noise as a cause for concern.

Are you sure there’s enough gasoline in the tank? Maybe you simply ran out of gas. Double check on that. Even if the gauge says there’s gas, put some more in. Maybe the gas gauge is broken. That’s where I’d start.

If that’s not the problem, there’s a list of things a mechanic would check. For a car to start all these things have to work

  1. Good spark
  2. Proper spark timing
  3. Proper fuel pressure
  4. Injectors pulsing
  5. Good compression.

Where you start, well that’s sort of an art. Checking for spark is usually the most simple of the five so most mechanics would probably start there.

Time for a timing belt? From what I see not an interference engine, so no following big buck repairs.
edit(0 posts when responding tester is a faster typer, not meaning to be redundant)

Check for spark. My wife’s Celica stalled out when the crank sensor died. Same as your’s, just cranked. Took a bit of diagnostics, but turned into a relatively cheap fix.

I don’t usually go below 1/4 tank of gas… :slight_smile: It has almost a full tank. I hope it’s not the timing belt, I tried to replace that and the water pump about a year or so ago, and there’s a bolt seized onto the timing belt cover that makes it impossible to replace those parts.

not impossible, just difficult…

there's a bolt seized onto the timing belt cover that makes it impossible to replace those parts

Who’s that famous fictional mystery detective who is always saying “nothing is impossible!”? Well, whoever he is, he’s right. That bolt can be removed. It might need a little forceful persuasion is all.

Sometimes the bolts involved with the motor mount area can indeed be very stubborn, and easily rounded off while attempting to remove them. But in worse case a machine shop could get it undone and a new bolt installed.

So you’ve gone 190K on the original timing belt? hmm… that makes the timing belt a prime suspect. Don’t crank the engine until you know that the timing belt is still ok. Mechanics can often look inside the timing cover where you put the oil to make that determination, nothing needs to be removed, so it’s an inexpensive test. A compression check would discover a bad timing belt, but since you already know that might be the problem, a compression check isn’t the best way to check for a bad timing belt, as doing the test could damage the engine.

Seized bolts only delay things. They must eventually be dealt with, and now may be the time. On oldr cars, a seized bolt can usually be loosened with a good dousing of penerating oil. Heat is usually the next try, but not recommended near plastic parts. As a last resort, the head can be snapped off, then the hole redrilled and tapped for a heli-coil or thread insert.

Hey @Wesw; We all thought that you won the lottery and you are now just trading in your new 2 month old Jeep …just because it needs an oil change.

Glad to see you back with us again.

I too think the OPs problem is the timing belt. There are many ways to break these loose, you just have to figure out which one is best for your situation.



If it’s cranking way faster than normal, my guess is the timing belt snapped

hey there Yosemite! yeah, I hit the big time. I m living large in Tahiti…, where the women don t wear no tops… :slight_smile:

good to see your voice. I may have worn my welcome out already tho.

I sure hope badwolf gets lucky on this one…

It’s cranking the same, just instead of firing up it’s whining. I can’t take it apart until Sunday, so we’ll see then. It’s impossible for ME to get it off, and with little more than $100 to use to fix it right now I’m stuck. But that’s good to know, because if it is the timing belt then I know I need to take it somewhere.

Also, the belt seems to have been replaced before I bought it (about 90000 miles ago, I had replaced the alternator and was going for the water pump when I reached the bolt, two weeks and every tool and method that I could find didn’t get it off after I had my dad, uncle, and brother all give it a try I gave up). Timing belt doesn’t appear to be loose, cracked, or out of place from where I can reach it. I’m surprised I’m having this much trouble with the car to be honest. Do they usually start falling apart like this?

At 16 years and almost 200,000 miles, anything can break. Have you checked for spark yet?

I’m with Tester and db4690. When my timing chain went I was just sitting at a stop light and it just stalled. Abnormal sound while cranking kinda points to that. I got by with $150 for parts and a tow.

Not yet. I’m not entirely sure how to do that, I can check the spark plugs to make sure they’re not bad. Replacing parts and fluids is about my limit. Can’t do anything until sunday, I work at 5am every day except Sunday. This is stressful though and I do wish I knew what the problem was. When the transmission went out I knew that one right away. At first this seemed like an anything goes type of problem, but it’s getting narrowed down thanks to the help of these posts, as far as where to begin looking that is.

you should be able to get a mechanic to diagnose your problem for the 100 bucks you have to spare right now, then you can decide from there.

often times finding the problem is the hardest part of repairing vehicles, for cowboys like me anyway…

Except that I live in a small town and I tried the mechanic for installing my transmission, the lowest he would go was $3500 for parts and labor. I bought the transmission for $900 and had it installed for another $900, and when I got my car back the interior was flooded and my floor mats were moldy. He left the windows rolled down the one time we had rain. The only other mechanic that I went to here told me that my rear CV boots were broken, a $1200 repair for something that didn’t exist (and if it did wouldn’t be that expensive)… that was not a great conversation, I’ll admit I don’t know much, but I know what I know… I’m a single blonde girl with a convertible in california. Maybe if I find a mechanic that won’t screw me over I’ll marry him. :slight_smile:

Iunderstand living in a small town. Mine is 20,000 but when I had a transmission problem with my Olds, I towed it 50 miles to a shop in Minneapolis that I trusted. I didn’t trust anyone in town besides maybe the dealer to open up a transmission. I’ve never hesitated to tow to get it where I wanted. So if you can’t use the guys in town, just tow it out of there.