1995 80 Series Cruiser 1FZFE Auto, Cant get it running

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Jan 18, 2021
Hi All. I've been a member here for a while and I've read everything there possibly is to read about the problems I'm having with the 80.
But I still cant get it running. Its been 12 months now so I'm finally asking for help.
I've put the video with high quality audio on youtube to help diagnose this problem.

Its an Australian 1995 80 series no CAT and none of the emissions gear that's on the US models.
Its running really rough. To the point where it cannot be driven at all.

This started when we accidently hit a wave on a beach in a huge storm on Fraser Island 12 months ago.
The engine stopped and took 5 mins to get it running again. It ran rough for the week long holiday then broke down on the way home with a $600 tow the rest of the way.
I replaced the Ignition coil thinking that was the issue as I've had an old coil die when wet in another vehicle. This actually solved the problem kinda.
It was running ok, not well, for another 6 months. for the LAST 6 months however, the same problem has been returning on and off and now wont go away.
I've replaced many parts and inspected everything I can think of and nothing makes a difference.

Parts replaced
- Air filter
- VAF (Volumetric Air Flow meter)
- Spark Plugs
- Spark leads
- Distributor Cap (old cap had corroded internal terminals)
- Ignition coil (again. with a quality brand)
- Fuel Filter
- Fuel Pump

Other problems which may or may not be related.
- Strong petrol smell after driving (mostly near the rear)
- The odometer stopped working (always on 0)
- When the engine idle fluctuates, the fuel pump sound fluctuates in time with the engine
- Gutless / no power, cant get up large hills. (When it was running for a while between problems.) Also when idling in gear at an intersection ,
Engine wants to stop when accelerator is first pressed then increases power.
- When I pulled the spark plugs to replace them, Plugs 1,2,3 were black and dirty, Plugs 4,5 were white (like lean fuel) Plug 6 normal

Its been off the road for months now and we need to get it running.
I spoke with Toyota Mechanics and they suggested moisture in the distributer. However after following instructions and then replacing the cap all together.. no change in problem.

Also I've been advised to check the injectors however I'm looking for other ideas before I go and pull them out in case I'm missing something simple.
Oh also I've read on here about the ECU packing it in and I've also had another mate mention he has ECU capacitors swell in a 30 year old car of his which was causing all sorts of ghost problems.

Its odd that the problem goes away some times then returns.

Appreciate any help I can get.
hi Damien

It may have ingested a bit of salt water through the intake Id be removing the throttle body, IAC valve , tps etc and giving them all a good clean and check over. The hunting idle / stall could be the IAC plus if the IAC is staying open when driving would be affecting driveabililty / power.

also check your EFI main fuse / relay in the fuse box behind your main battery, it could have gotten salt water into it and it has contact points in them that need to be clean. If saltwater got in there and corroded the points it will cause issues. There is also a fuel pump resistor on the drivers side in the engine bay that may have gotten salt water into it. Also check all injector connections for corrosion

pretty much check and clean all the electrical connections. Download a copy of the workshop manual and with a multimeter you can check the tolerances of each component?

Cheers Rob Ill have a look at that today.
I haver a copy of the workshop manual and have been working from it with everything I've done so far.
Do you have O2 sensors?

It looks like OBD1 rig did you read the OBD live data?

Why did you replace the VAF sensor?

There is one O2 sensor that I know of. The bolts holding it in have corroded so then need to be cut off and replaced.
I have a new O2 sensor sitting here ready to go in .

OBD data gives me nothing now.
I was originally getting codes referencing the VAF which is why I replaced it.
Plus I was reading similar issues caused by a faulty VAF .

I had it rebuilt by a specialist, and when I sent the old one down, it turns out to be a Corolla VAF. Which I believe runs a little lean compared to the cruiser.
So they sent that one back with a rebuilt 80 series VAF. I was really hoping that would be the problem.
However after replacing it, nothing changed except the OBD codes went away.

Another thing, a friend mentioned the fuel pressure regulator, and I noticed if I remove the vac hose from it, the idle settles down into a normal rpm.

Also I forgot to mention, there has been some dodgy wiring by the previous owner. I've repaired or removed all of what I found.
The worst one was a live wire just dangling down the side of the engine bay connected to the positive and going no where. When I was testing for ignition spark issues at night with a water spray bottle, that live wire was arcing on the body. That could have also been the case when we hit that wave originally.
...when I sent the old one down, it turns out to be a Corolla VAF. Which I believe runs a little lean compared to the cruiser.
Wait what?
A Corolla VAF is plug and play to an 80 series?!
What years Corolla?
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Also I've been advised to check the injectors however I'm looking for other ideas before I go and pull them out in case I'm missing something simple.
After reading your issue and what you have replaced already, I started thinking it could be your fuel injectors before I got to this sentence. I'm don't have the knowledge of some great minds in this forum, so I'd definitely wait more experienced people to chime in before getting into pulling the injectors.
I am in the middle of an engine rebuilding process for my 97 FZJ (220k), and replaced my fuel injectors with rebuilt ones ($200 for 6). They were still stock and in pretty bad shape, so replacing them at this point may not be such a bad idea.

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