Toyota Echo Intermittent Stalling

My beloved 2000 Toyota Echo has started to stall intermittently. It has worked with no problems for the past 100k miles that I’ve owned it (purchased used with 40k already.) What happens is that while driving I hear a little click, everything shuts down for a second or so, the red idiot light lights up for a few seconds then clears. It’s never lasted more than a few seconds and everything goes right back to normal. And it’s only happened maybe a dozen times in the last three months. But it makes me nervous since I have to travel over major bridges and through tunnels regularly where I live.

The stalls usually seemed to occur after the engine has heated up, but I just had an exception this morning. Since I noticed the fan never goes on after long trips anymore, I just had the thermostat replaced but that didn’t fix.

Any thoughts?

I would look for a bad relay or a bad connection, ground or positive and check both ends of each wire.  Yea, that is a lot of work (lot of wires) and a mechanic with some experience can choose which wires to check first, but it still may be a lot of work.  

If you can give us some more information like is there a CEL, we might be able to give you better direction.

Thanks Joseph. BTW, I’m not much of a car guy…I didn’t know what CEL was until I looked it up. I’ll buy a reader and post the info soon. Cheers from rainy California…-Mike

Don’t buy a reader for this one problem, unless you really have the desire to own one. Hit your local big box parts store (autozone, o’reilly’s, etc) and ask to borrow theirs. They’ll have a relatively top line one for customer use, if you hand over your drivers license while you use it. Save the $40 or so for the cheap one, and don’t spend the $300+ for the great one.

Thanks Chaissos- might give that a shot. I was looking for an excuse to buy a ScanGuage II for real time MPG (and figure out what’s up with my stalling problem,) but maybe I should keep my money in my pocket for now, might need it for the repair after all.

If you’re in CA I’m pretty sure that the auto parts stores can’t do code reading. There’s some law about it or something.

Not positive if this is related but when you say that the radiator fans don’t turn on, do you mean “never”?
Try turning the AC on and see if the fans turn on. There are relays and a thermostat associated with those fans. They really should periodically turn on, unless you live in a really cold climate. They should turn on with the AC/defrost on, though.

It may not be at all related to your stalling problem but when an engine is not getting its proper cooling by those fans, stalling could eventually become moot.

So, I did go out and get a ScanGauge II. No codes when I first ran it. Then I tried to clean the mass airflow sensor with contact cleaner. Ooops, after that I got two codes pointing to failures at the mass airflow sensor I had just cleaned po100 and po110. The check engine light went on and the car stalled a couple of times just leaving the block.

Fortunately it was only a minor problem. Dummy me, I didn’t push the connector all the way in. Hoping there’s a chance the mass airflow cleaning worked. I’ve only driven a little bit since, but no funny business from my Echo thus far. Hope to report one way or the other after my drive down to Monterey this week.

Thanks all!