Toyota Camry intermitant stall on accelleration


I have a 1991 Camry with 179k miles. It’s an old rustbucket, but it got me around for a couple of years (opted to drive it around town for job-related errands to save wear and tear on my SUV).

Recently, I’ve had problems with stalling. It starts and idles just fine, but I’ve had a problem with it stalling just as I accellerate up from idle. Punching the accellerator exacerbates the problem - usually resulting in a full-out engine kill, but sometimes I can very slowly coax the accellerator up to an rpm (I believe about 1500 to 2000)at which the stalling problem doesn’t occur.

I’ve never been one to trust my own judgement when it comes to diagnosing engine problems, so I took it to my mechanic. My intitial instinct was that it was fuel-system related, not electrical. The spark plugs had just been changed a couple of months prior, and the cables looked ok to me.

Although I had noticed that the problem was somewhat intermittant, meaning sometimes I could start it up and take off without exhibiting the problem, inevitably, I would find myself stalling at a stopsign somewhere in town and quite literally inching my way back home - quite often reving the engine and burning the clutch just trying to get it moving again.

So when I brought it into the mechanic, I described the problem as a frequent occurance - it was.

Murphy’s law at work - the mechanic could not replicate the problem - out of two times I brought it into the shop for the same problem.

After my step-son was unable to replicate the problem as well, it was beginning to look like a case of “insert new driver.” Then finally… finally it stalled on him too, and he was having the same difficulties keeping it going that I had. Great… affirmation! But now to solve the problem.

Do I dare try to bring it back down to my mechanic, just to have them tell me there is nothing wrong. I’m still a little bit miffed at them. I know it can be hard to troubleshoot an intermittant problem, but I honestly expected that they might do more than take it for a drive and say “there isn’t anything wrong with it.”

I don’t really need this car any more, but would like to get it fixed, so I can sell it and get it off my insurance. I won’t put a lot of money into the fix, but if it can be done for less than $200, I’m willing to do it. Even with the high miles, these Camry’s will run until the wheels fall off.

I did try replacing the spark plug cables, but it had no effect on the problem, so I did a little more research.

One possible cause for the stalling I have found may be a faulty throttle position sensor on the fuel injector. A second possible cause could be a vacuum leak in the fuel system.

Are these reasonable possibilities ?Would a dignostic check on my Camry help to determine either of these two problems?

Appreciate the feedback.


A good place to start is to see if the computer has found anything. You should have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code not just their translation into English and post it back here. It likely will have a format like P1234.


It’s a 1991 model. It has OBD1. Ergo, those places won’t read it. If you check the Chilton’s, it’ll show you how to get the codes. This could be the tps (throttle position sensor). Its voltage, or resistance, should rise and fall smoothly as the throttle is moved through its range. The crankshaft position sensor could become erratic when the sensor gets hot. Does happen.

#4 has vehicle specific repair guides for free. If the Camry is not there the Corolla would be. The procedure to get the codes read should be the same. It requires a paperclip!