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Toyota pickup 22re 2x4 - truck idles great but dies when in gear w/clutch depressed

I’ve done a bunch of work on mid 90’s pickups but I’ve never experienced a problem like this. It’s a friend’s truck and I haven’t spent a lot of time with it (i.e. looking under the hood, etc.) but the problem goes something like this:

  1. Turn on the truck (idles just fine)
  2. Depress the clutch
  3. Put the the truck into 1st gear (or any other gear for that matter)
  4. As soon as the truck is in gear the engine will stall out (with the clutch still fully depressed)

Other items of note:

  • Before the truck started stalling out it was becoming more and more challenging to shift into 1st, 2nd, etc. Also, the trany grinds excessively when going into reverse. I am thinking something is up with the clutch (dragging, broken pressure plate spring, bad throwout or pilot bearing, etc.)
  • The stalling problem developed over time. At first the truck just started loosing power while driving, then it started stalling. Now it can’t even shift into gear without stalling out.

I’ve tried looking online for answers and have found damn new everything: a blown vacuum line, bad ECU, clogged catalytic converter, fouled or leaking injectors, malfunctioning sensor somewhere, faulty fuel pressure regulator, clogged air filter,…you name it, someone’s thought of it. I am just hoping to narrow the list some.

Thanks all,


Can you feel the truck try to move forward (or backward) before the engine stalls? That could be the clutch master cylinder or slave leaking. But in short order all the fluid would be lost and clutch function too. The truck could have two separate problems…The clutch issue AND an engine performance problem unrelated to the clutch…

I agree with Caddyman about the hydraulic clutch master cylinder and slave cylinder. There is probably a leak in either that lets the pressure to slowly release the clutch as you keep your foot on the pedal. On this truck, replacing both the master cylinder and the slave are easy tasks, and not expensive. You should replace both together as my experience has shown that when one is going, the other is not far behind.

No motion out of the truck as far as I know when it is in gear and clutch is depressed. Engine just dies. I’ll check out the master/slave cylinder though. Sounds like an idea worth investigating. Any idea on the loss of power though? Like I said, it idles just fine and the engine only have 170k on it.

Will it stall with just your foot on the clutch?..or do you have to put it gear? it dificut to put in gear?

First question: no
Second question: yes
Third question: yes

Your friend’s truck has two seperate problems.

  1. the clutch is not fully releasing. The clutch release system is hydraulic, and I suspect your friend is losing fluid. A new master amnd slave cylinder set may be in order.

  2. the losing power while driving and then eventually stalling is probably due to lack of maintenance (when was the last tuneup?) or possibly a failing fuel pump. My money ios on the tuneup.

I had an '89 for 383,000 miles. That’s a bulletproof engine, but it has to be maintained.

Post back once you’ve had a chance to look at your friend’s truck.