Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Toyota Hilux breaking down inconsistently

I have a 1997 Toyota Hilux (unleaded, not diesel) and I’m looking for input as she keeps breaking down but no one is able to figure out the problem. While in gear and driving, the gas stops engaging and the speed slowly drops. The car stutters while slowing down but then if I switch gears or rev the engine it will stop. After some time this continues to happen more frequently (at all speeds) until the car eventually stops and dies. Try to restart and the engine will turn over but not start. After sitting for a night or so, though, she starts up and runs just fine. Thus no mechanics have been able to solve the issue!

Could be a fuel problem as the exhaust pipe makes a banging sound when this happens, but it could also be electrical. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!

I’m going with fuel pressure. Next time it dies, squirt starter fluid in the intake. If it starts it more than likely a bad fuel pump.

If this has a separate fuel filter it may be clogged, replace it and see if there is any improvement

Take off the fuel cap and see if it still does it. If it works fine with the cap off, your tank isn’t venting properly.

I think shadowfax is in the right track. The gas cap may not be venting properly (allowing air to be sucked into the gas tank as gas is burned and the gas level drops). The resulting vacuum will starve the engine of gas. Then alllowing it to sit overnight lets air seep back into the tank.

If removing the gas cap solves the problem, just replace the cap with a new one.

Thank you all! The fuel filter is brand new and the whole fuel line was cleared out prior to the issue happening. Will try taking off the gas cap next time it happens. Any other suggestions are welcome!

What engine?
The 2.4L is a distributor based system, with the coil located under the distributor cap. The coils on these can become subject to heat soaking as they age. Carry a spare spark plug with you and the next time it fails, check to see if you have spark. I’ll bet you don’t. NOTE: I use leather work gloves when doing these type of tests. My never-zapped fingers appreciate it.

The starting fluid test for fuel loss is a good one too… but, as you should with all volatile chemicals, be careful… and carry some eye protection with you to wear when doing the test.

Thank you all for your insight! Turns out it was the fuel pump. No fuel coming through the line whenever we broke down. Replaced that and we were good to go!

Thanks for the follow up. We enjoy hearing about successful fixes.

Thanks @mwallen for the feedback. BTW…I owned a '74 Toyota Hilux but sold it because it kept breaking down consistently.