Edmunds Answers



  • zaken1 03/03/12 2:53 pm PST

    The 1997 4runner was made with a choice of a 4 cylinder or a V-6 motor. The 4 cylinder motor has a timing chain instead of a belt, and has a distributor. The V-6 has a timing belt and no distributor. If you actually saw the timing belt; it sounds like you have the V-6. Both engines have a camshaft position sensor and a crankshaft position sensor.

    Fire and fuel come from different sources. If it is not getting fire; the crankshaft position sensor or ignition module has probably failed. If it is not getting fuel; the fuel pump, fuel pump relay, or the camshaft position sensor has probably failed.

    You can simplify this issue by buying a can of engine starting fluid; disconnecting the air duct from the throttle body, and spraying a 2 second burst of starting fluid into the throttle body air inlet. Then quickly slip the air duct back on, and try to start the motor. If it starts or fires briefly and then stalls; the problem is lack of fuel.

    If starting fluid does not have any noticeable effect; the problem is either lack of spark or lack of compression. The fact that the timing belt is still in place is no assurance that it has not jumped out of synch with the crankshaft. If the timing belt has jumped time; the compression will now be low in all cylinders (but it will be restored when a new timing belt is installed and the correct valve timing returns). Run a compression test on all cylinders. If the compression in all cylinders is less than 125 psi; the timing belt has jumped out of synch.

    You can test for spark by removing one of the ignition coils from the valve cover, leaving the coil's electrical connector attached; plugging the coil into a spare spark plug, laying the coil and plug on the valve cover so that the plug body touches the metal, and having someone crank the starter while you watch for sparks at the plug.


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