Very Hard Starting Problem

My 1999 Camry with 90000 miles is almost impossible to start. I have had the air and fuel filters, timing belt, all the other belts and the battery changed. No joy.

The engine turns over but "coughs out quickly. To overcome the problem the engine must be "caught: before it stalls, reved to approximately 3000 rpm the put into gear. Once running the car behaves very well. No check enginge light appears once the engine is running normally.

Help please!



Somehow I suspect a fuel pump check valve.

Have you had the throttle body cleaned out with emphasis on the Idle Air Control valve and passages? It sounds like the pintle is sticking in the warm running position when you are trying to get it to idle cold.

Hope that is it.

So you had the timing belt changed but say nothing about adjusting the valves?

Toyota specifies the valve gaps should be checked at 60,000 miles, timing belt at 90,000.

The valves will wear toward closing the gap, getting quieter. Can not evaluate by ear. When the valves get too tight the engine will be hard to start. If driven too long the valves will not be able to close and will burn. Major repair cost.

Check the igniter, they can be intermittent at first…hope it’s not tho, they’re expensive.Have you checked for spark ? Mike


You were correct. The valve was replaced. The problem has disappeared.

Thanks much