Power loss '91 3-FE (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jun 6, 2017
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Well, I tried to revive the thread below and nobody bit, so maybe a new one will grab a few bites ha. After searching and reading a bunch of threads I found this thread that describes my issue to a T.

Weird intermittent power loss

...but nobody ever posted a fix. I'm including the video from the above thread that captured it happening on film and is pretty much exactly what mine is doing.


230k '91 3FE

About three days ago I was driving down the highway on the way to work at about 70mph (~45*F outside) and it's like I sucked up a bird (airplane joke). Stumbling, losing power, returned to idle (where it idled fine) regardless of throttle position. Pulled over- thankfully there was a parking lot, left it running- idled fine, popped the hood, moved the throttle by hand and it would sort of get a rise in RPM, but not steady- kind of stumbling, hopped back in started driving after letting it idle for a few minutes, started driving fine the first 300 feet then started chugging and kind of surging regardless of throttle position...then VOILA! Came back to life normally, revving and all, and I drove the next 10-15 minutes at 60-70mph with no hiccups, surges, or issues whatsoever.

My initial thought was fuel, as I had filled up the night prior. I also checked oil the day before and added a quart (which is normal in the old girls life right now, sadly...I know the 3FE days are numbered).

Tonight, driving home from work, and it started doing the "bog/surging" deal again, CEL illuminated, but I popped it in neutral and revved it a few times and the issue went away immediately Then about 10 minutes later, I'm doing about 70 and it started again got a check engine light and the engine died. Like straight up died while doing 70mph in traffic, put on the hazards and pulled off to the side with it in neutral, as I'm coasting to a stop I try to start the engine again and it fires right up. Idled fine, revved fine, then put it in drive and drove the rest of the way home (10-15mins) without incident.

I'm about to make a 400mile drive to Atlanta and would really like to make it back home for the holiday (currently working in NC) without incident.

Anyone got any thoughts? I know TPS, fuel pump and filter, fuel sock etc were all mentioned in the above thread, but didn't seem to solve his issue...before I start shotgunning parts, figured I'd ask the collective mind. I'm sure none of those would hurt to be changed... but if someone chased a similar issue and fixed it I'd love to hear it.
 
Joined
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Takoma Park, MD
I’m in the same boat... been trying to track it down. Reading various threads have given me a couple leads. Replaced the battery cables, fusible link, battery is fully charged. I was having intermittent issues similar to what’s described in that link you shared. The truck sat for a few weeks because I didn’t trust driving it any distance. So, the battery died.

I came across this thread an seemed like a possible solution:

Fuel Pump Troubleshooting and Replacement

After recharging the battery, I started it up and quickly shut it down immediately after noticing fuel was dumping. It was flowing down the exhaust and puddling up underneath the truck where the drivers seat is. So, now I’ve got mo‘problems and gonna need mo’money to fix it.

Today was a nice day, so I started fiddling with the truck again. Unfortunately, it will not crank unless I put the transmission in neutral. The power to the starter isn’t enough to get a good crank even with a jump start. So, I haven’t been able to start it up. Looks like I’m tracking down electrical gremlins now. Checked the two connectors associated with the neutral safety switch mentioned here:


Post any additional information if you find anything and I’ll do the same.
 
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Joined
Dec 27, 2012
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Sonora, CA
Two weeks ago I noticed a very occasional loss of power. Eventually, it got worse. It turned out to be a spark plug wire that wasn't fully pressed home. I was proud and thankful and embarrassed all at once.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
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9,735
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New Jersey
About three days ago I was driving down the highway on the way to work at about 70mph (~45*F outside) and it's like I sucked up a bird (airplane joke). Stumbling, losing power, returned to idle (where it idled fine) regardless of throttle position. Pulled over- thankfully there was a parking lot, left it running- idled fine, popped the hood, moved the throttle by hand and it would sort of get a rise in RPM, but not steady- kind of stumbling, hopped back in started driving after letting it idle for a few minutes, started driving fine the first 300 feet then started chugging and kind of surging regardless of throttle position...then VOILA! Came back to life normally, revving and all, and I drove the next 10-15 minutes at 60-70mph with no hiccups, surges, or issues whatsoever.

My initial thought was fuel, as I had filled up the night prior. I also checked oil the day before and added a quart (which is normal in the old girls life right now, sadly...I know the 3FE days are numbered).

Tonight, driving home from work, and it started doing the "bog/surging" deal again, CEL illuminated, but I popped it in neutral and revved it a few times and the issue went away immediately Then about 10 minutes later, I'm doing about 70 and it started again got a check engine light and the engine died. Like straight up died while doing 70mph in traffic, put on the hazards and pulled off to the side with it in neutral, as I'm coasting to a stop I try to start the engine again and it fires right up. Idled fine, revved fine, then put it in drive and drove the rest of the way home (10-15mins) without incident.

I'm about to make a 400mile drive to Atlanta and would really like to make it back home for the holiday (currently working in NC) without incident.

Anyone got any thoughts? I know TPS, fuel pump and filter, fuel sock etc were all mentioned in the above thread, but didn't seem to solve his issue...before I start shotgunning parts, figured I'd ask the collective mind. I'm sure none of those would hurt to be changed... but if someone chased a similar issue and fixed it I'd love to hear it.
This sounds like fuel starvation to me.
The pre-filter on the pump (fuel sock) is a 100K mile item, is easily changed, and would be the very first place I would look.
Symptoms of a clogged pre-filter would be normal running engine until the fuel in the tank warms enough to cause the plastic of the filter to collapse on itself when the engine is under load, and block the intake causing fuel starvation.

You also mentioned you threw a CE light. Did you read the code, or did the CEL just blink because the motor was stalling out?
 
Joined
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Bay Area, CA
The only thing I'd echo is to ask, is what the CEL code if any and start from there. I've been troubleshooting power loss on my 93' which has had similar issues, but doesn't appear to be the same. So far, I've replaced the EGR valve (not the Vacuum solenoid, yet), both 02 sensors and as of this coming Tuesday, both knock sensors. I'm down to 'probably' replacing both cats.

One thing I'd say, don't give up on your truck, it's old but reliable, once you get her all squared away. Yes my truck is 27 years old, but I realize I have to catch up with replacement parts of existing OEM's that have been in place since it was first shipped out. Keep your head up, we'll get through this!
 
Joined
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Eastern NC/Atlanta
Thanks for the replies guys, definitely won't be giving up on the truck. I wanted an 80 series for a VERY long time (since I was a teenager) and finally picked one up a few years ago from a member on here. I'm keeping the Great White Buff til the end of my days. It will eventually get a heart transplant and become a weekend fun rig, but it's mine til I'm gone.

Drove to Atlanta yesterday after a couple of REALLY long days at work (sorry for the post and ghost), and had a couple little hiccups along the way- first 150 miles/half a tank were uneventful, and then it showed up three different times, all spread out- same deal- a shuddering loss of power on the highway, pop it into neutral for a quick rev and it seemed to go away. I did get 16mpg for the ride...which was nice. Was driving 68/70 the whole way.

Just got home tonight with a fuel pump, fuel filter, the "sock" is seemingly hard to come by (and the holiday isn't making it easier), a cap and rotor. I'll be replacing those tomorrow (assuming the weather holds/quits raining), and will report back.

I did fill up with 93 (after filling up with 91 on Monday night- station was out of premium and I'm staying in the sticks), just to run a higher octane and see if there was any difference...didn't think it would, but figured I'd try just in case. Anyways, I'll post back after I throw all this in, I'm going to do fuel first, then the cap and rotor, to see if I can eliminate one or the other and post that up for the community.
 
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This sounds like fuel starvation to me.
The pre-filter on the pump (fuel sock) is a 100K mile item, is easily changed, and would be the very first place I would look.
Symptoms of a clogged pre-filter would be normal running engine until the fuel in the tank warms enough to cause the plastic of the filter to collapse on itself when the engine is under load, and block the intake causing fuel starvation.

You also mentioned you threw a CE light. Did you read the code, or did the CEL just blink because the motor was stalling out?

And I like your thought process, and it sounds very much like where I'm coming from. I'm striking out on the sock though- I'm going to call ACC on Friday and see if they happen to be open/have one. The local dealerships don't have one/can't get one til early next week from out of state...which is a bummer- I'll be driving back to NC on Sunday. But I'll definitely be curious to see what it looks like tomorrow when I pull it out. I'll post pics of the whole assembly.
 
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Okay... update time now that the holiday past and I've got a hot second after work to post.

No dice on the sock. It's been discontinued by Mr. T. So I found a *supposed* aftermarket replacement that is still en route. Replaced the fuel pump and fuel filter on Friday and the truck seemed to run and drive fine. So, using the old sock with a new pump and filter I prepared to drive back to NC on Sunday morning. Packed up, said my goodbyes and hit the road feeling pretty good about life.

That lasted 4 miles down the road.

The truck started shuddering and lost all power, eventually dying in a parking lot. Got it started again but it wasn't smooth and felt sluggish, and limped home. Good news was, I had a cap and rotor on hand. So I went and got plugs and wires as well because...why not? It felt more like an ignition issue than a fuel issue at that point. Pulled my plugs and they looked pretty rough- not gas/oil soaked, just old and crusty and worn down. Definitely not helping anything, so I was hoping maybe it was just that simple.

Replaced the plugs, as well as the cap and rotor. Didn't have a multimeter- otherwise I would've checked the ignition coil.

Fired up and felt like new...Great! It was time again for trial by fire- a 7.5 hour drive home through pouring rain.

The drive turned into 9.5 hours because of the weather and horrendous traffic from a now super late start on the last day of a holiday weekend. BUT...the truck performed flawlessly. No stutters, no loss of power, everything seemed fine (save for my fuel sending unit is now reading fine until its down to a 1/3 and sticks there...going to investigate when the sock gets here and I pull that out again).

The next morning (Monday), got up to drive to work and the truck died on the way to work. 70mph and it just shut down, then- new twist- wouldn't start back up. It would crank and fire then immediately die. Did this for probably 5-6 starts, where it cranked and fired up fine then immediately died before starting up and being suddenly being fine for the remaining 7 or so mile drive before dying again as I turned into the parking lot at work, where I just coasted in. Started and idled fine a couple times through the day when I was on break.

So, the sock should be here sometime this week hopefully...but if that doesn't fix it, maybe ignition coil? It's been 2 days and 6 drives since then, but every now and then it will suddenly "miss" while driving. Like, it's as if I abruptly let off the gas then just as fast reapplied pedal. Hard to describe, but I'm super babying it now trying not to play the no start game again- it's getting cold out ha...thoughts? Sorry for the novel! Thanks in advance!
 
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Your symptoms aren't exactly the same, but a couple weeks ago while I was wheeling, I had a misfire and reduced power while on a trail. Made it back to the camp sites, and it cranked but didn't start. Didn't start with FP jumped to B+. Had already ordered a new circuit opening relay, and I put that in, but it didn't start still. Turns out it was a dead fuel pump. New Denso fuel pump and sock, and it started right up. Soon after, I changed my fuel pressure regulator and filter because they seemed to be the originals with 260k miles, and I'd heard that a bad FPR can kill your fuel pump. Might be some things to look into.
 
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You need to do some basic diagnostics here.
You stated, "It felt more like an ignition issue than a fuel issue", but you did not verify spark or fuel.
In order to proceed down any logical path, you need to verify what you're missing during the no-start condition.
You can crack the banjo bolt on the cold start injector when the problem arises, and you should get fuel spraying out during starter cranking. That will verify fuel getting to the fuel rail.
If no fuel, then we proceed down that path.
If no spark then we proceed down a different path.
 
Joined
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Eastern NC/Atlanta
You need to do some basic diagnostics here.
You stated, "It felt more like an ignition issue than a fuel issue", but you did not verify spark or fuel.
In order to proceed down any logical path, you need to verify what you're missing during the no-start condition.
You can crack the banjo bolt on the cold start injector when the problem arises, and you should get fuel spraying out during starter cranking. That will verify fuel getting to the fuel rail.
If no fuel, then we proceed down that path.
If no spark then we proceed down a different path.

As luck would have it- I had the no start issue again tonight- LUCKILY at a gas station after I filled up and not on the side of the highway/shoulder in the dark. Before I shut down, I could kind of "feel" that the idle wasn't as smooth as it should be and even watched it for a minute before I turned the truck off. I know that's not super helpful. It didn't really have a miss, but just not smooth. But also...I'm watching and listening and feeling every minute detail right now because I'm paranoid it's going to do this.

Anyways, cracked the cold start injector and it's getting fuel to the rail. I tried to enlist the help of a couple of people...but the two people I tried were super sketched out about cranking my car while I held a spark plug and wouldn't do it. So I took a video of the no start sequence, sadly I missed the start- it started on the next try after this one. I did pump the accelerator while starting it and it "caught" and revved fine. Could be coincidence but figured I'd mention it. I'll try and post the video, but it's not very exciting/informative.

Edit- video:

 
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Mini update on the continuing saga...

Replaced the ignition coil after it finally arrived and the problem persisted. Checked and rechecked continuity on the igniter and coil. Checked the air gap on the distributor.

So quick recap of parts to this point:
-Fuel pump
-Fuel sock
-Fuel filter
-New plugs
-Wres
-Cap
-Rotor
-Ignition coil

And then...the other night it did the same deal (loss of power/cut out/chug and die while at highway speeds) but this time it latched two codes (threw a CEL while it was happening but then the CEL went out as soon as it fired back up.

Code 24 (Intake Air Temperature Sensor- Air Flow Meter) and 32 (Also air flow meter, short/open between a couple of the pins-don't have the FSM in front of me). The only thing I DIDN'T have in my "emergency tool bag" was a multimeter...mine was at work. So, I searched high and low and found that Mr. T has discontinued the AFM for the 3FE and none were to be had locally and time being of the essence (leaving my job in NC and headed back home to Atlanta towing my toolbox on Thursday AM) I was stressing as the truck has gotten progressively worse.

I'll link the thread later but a '93 V6 (3VZ-FE 3.0) AFM is a direct replacement. After being unable to source a 88-92 LC AFM, I got lucky and sourced a Camry one from O'reilly. $110+$35 core charge.

Hate me for not going through the FSM and t/s'ing this one but time is in super short supply and the symptoms line up...so, I installed it this morning (truck died three times on the way to get it-27miles) threw it on and it feels WAY better. I know the 3VZ-FE is a 3.0 and there is a rich/lean adjustment to be made on the new AFM due to motor difference difference, but this feels like a vast improvement in driveability. I'll report back if it fixes it....and if it doesn't it ha.

Back to work!
 
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Hi, Was it this part no..22250-62020-camry ? Thanks, Mike

I don't have the Toyota part in front of me, but here's the thread that led me there! Sorry- in the middle of packing ha.

 
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Just figured I'd update this thread for the future 3FE folk that run into this issue. The AFM off of the '93 Camry out of the thread posted above was my fix. Fixed the intermittent issue of cutting out and the weird power loss/stumble/lack of throttle input. Been a couple weeks and it hasn't come back. I will post again if it does resurface, but I'm pretty sure this was the fix.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions!

-Zach
 
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Louisiana
Just figured I'd update this thread for the future 3FE folk that run into this issue. The AFM off of the '93 Camry out of the thread posted above was my fix. Fixed the intermittent issue of cutting out and the weird power loss/stumble/lack of throttle input. Been a couple weeks and it hasn't come back. I will post again if it does resurface, but I'm pretty sure this was the fix.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions!

-Zach
What is the AFM I'm having the same issues with the 4.5
 

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