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Toyota Corolla Maintenance and Repair

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    does have more oxygen in it - engines run much more efficiently in cold air once they are warmed up than in hot air.

    But I am talking about cranking that goes on longer than it should in any modern car...longer than 15 year old cars I have owned...longer than CARBURETED cars I have owned.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    The discussions in the Owners Clubs can only be created by the host....oooh, the power! ;-) This is done to prevent long discussion lists with few messages. However, you can at any time suggest/ask me to create a new discussion. Just drop me an email.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • I went to the dealership today to have some work done (moulding around the front pillar came loose and has to be replaced). I had them check for the rotten eggs smell which I have been experiencing for a while now. When I picked up the car, this item was showing on the invoice, but no action was taken. When I asked why, I was told that they have heard about it from Toyota. The mechanic asked me what kind of gas I was using. I am using regular, 87 octane. I was told that I should be using premium, because Toyota recommends 87 octane and up. When I asked why I was not told that I had to use premium gas when I bought the car, he told me that they didn't know and that they just found that out from Toyota. This doesn't make any sense to me. Sounds like Toyota just found something out about their vehicles and is trying to cover it up. The mechanic also told me that every time he gets asked this question, he copies a page in the owners manual which talks about using 87- octane gas or better and gives it to person asking the question.
    Does this sound like a bit of misrepresentation from Toyota?
  • "Sulphur" is an understatement. What it really smells like is sewer gas. When I took a friend for a ride to show off our new car, and we stopped at a traffic light, he honestly thought we were parked near an open sewer.
    Searching for low-sulphur fuel, I emailed BP to ask if this is available in our area (Atlanta). They said that all the premium fuel in BP stations in our area is low-sulphur, but only the premium.
    Ugh! Fuel economy is one of the main advantages of a Corolla.
    If I test this out, by filling up with premium, can I later switch back to cheap gas? Or will this lead to knocking?
  • fgf001fgf001 Posts: 98
    Matrix - the dealer is yanking your chain. Think about it, the entire premise of a Corolla is Economy & longevity. The engine is designed for 87 octane NOT premium fuel. I would go straight to the service manager or Toyota with this one. What a load!!

    Corolla 03 - If you decide to fill up with premium fuel, a total waste of money, you can return to 87 octane at any time.

    I would think Toyota is aware of this and is working on a solution. Meanwhile any person telling me to run premium fuel in an economy car means I go elsewhere because I am dealing with someone that is woefully misinformed or just plain ignorant.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    I will second that enthusiastically!

    Many dealership staffpeople, even the mechanics, will say anything just to get you out of there. You should NEVER have to put premium in an economy car.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Just spoke with Toyota Canada. The person on the phone seemed to know right away what I was talking about. Her first response was - use premium gas. Then, when I said that the car was designed for 87 oct +, she changed the tune and said that the smell is there because of the content of sulphur in the gasoline and there was nothing wrong with the car. When I said that none of my cars (I drive a Nissan and used to drive a Honda) had this problem, they said that they couldn't speak for Nissan or Honda. They sent me back to the service. I phoned them and got the "get higher octane gas" story. Canada doesn't have regional reps (so I was told by Toyota Canada) and I can only deall either with Toyota or with the dealership. My car still stinks and I don't know what to do next....
  • I agree with you, nippononly, that it shouldn't take that long to start. Like I stated in a previous message, I have been told by the dealer that it is the type of gas being used, normal for the car to do it, etc. My 2003 corolla does the same as yours in that it will quick cranking if it doesn't turn over within a certain time. I feel that sooner or later toyota will have to produce a TSB to show what is causing this problem and how to fix it.
  • IleIle Posts: 14
    I was wondering about that S. smell also. What i have found out is that it takes as much as 23000 miles for it to go away, but eventually it will.
  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    Just a suggestion, but look at forums for Honda, Saab, and many other manufacturers and you'll find the same complaint. The biggest contributing factors are the newer emmissions standards and the higher sulphur content gasoline here in some areas of the US. For those comparing to their older cars, they don't have the same emissions requirements.

    Now take this the way that it is meant. I don't like that idea of my car smelling like rotten eggs any more than anyone else, and I hope they (all auto manufacturers) come up with a solution soon.

    This seems very similar to the problems that almost all car manufacturers had with brake pads when they first came out with the requirement to be organic in composition. For years almost all vehicles on the road had brake pads that wore out after as little as 5,000 miles. With time and work by the people making these catalytic converters, I hope they come up with a fix soon.

    Just a litte food for thought and some perspective.

    Ken
  • According to the Edmunds site, the EPA range for the Corolla S automatic is around 400 miles for city driving. Why is it that I struggle to get 300 miles in combination (city/hwy) driving? Tire pressure is at recommendations, engine is warm (eventually), I don't let the car "warmup" but I go easy until I see from the gauge that the engine is warm. What gives?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    myself regarding the long cranking start-up with the following thought: given that the engine revs up to 2000 rpm or more when it first fires, long cranking helps to build oil pressure before this rev-storm occurs on a dry engine!

    As far as mileage, I can't complain, because I am getting the fuel economy I was led to expect by the EPA sticker.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Go ask Toyota why only the Corolla and Matrix are letting this flammable, poisonous gas into their cars.
  • 23,000 miles?!?!
    Did you say twenty-three THOUSAND miles?!?!
  • Corolla 03,

    I just saw on thecomplaintstation.com that the smell can persist for the life of the car...
    This is to make you feel better ;-)

    The good news is that according to my personal experience, the worst smell is when heavy acceleration (up the hill, etc) is immediately followed by deceration (braking).

    This supports the theory that SO2 (normally produced from sulfur in fuel) is converted to H2S under reducing conditions during rich mixtures. So, one can try to avoid these conditions.
    Also, Toyota should be able to modify ECU to avoid these rich conditions. Alternatively, the converted could be redesigned to avoid accumulation of sulfur.
    This is a correctable problem. The issue is, is Toyota willing to spend money to please stinking car owners?
    It sounds like they want us to use gas with lower sulfur (like premium) instead.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    ...I've received only one request to create a specific discussion. I found this archived discussion in Maintenance & Repair that might be of interest.


    Rotten Egg smell exhaust

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • This link is a great resource.

    Especially post #8. It confirms my conclusions.
    Too bad the discussion is archived. I could never understand why selective discussions are closed on Edmunds.
    The above posts document that the issue is very alive.

    My additional thoughts on sulphur smell problem.
    Usually, the smelly cars have poorer milage than average (mine averages 26-28 in combined city/highway). Perheps the mixture is too rich in these cars. I would consider checking the O2 sensor or other emission components at the minimum.

    If the dealership people used their head and diagnostic equipment instead of giving away canned statements written by lawers, there would be a solution to this anoying problem.

    This was supposingly a common problem with first cat converters in 60s and 70s.
    C'mon, it is a 21st century now.

    BTW, I am also pissed with the oil industry refusing to remove sulfur from the fuel. North America has the highest sulphur lewels in the world. Do we always want to be first?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    in reference to that last remark, that I just came out of a week-long rental of a corolla LE that was brand spanking new - no break-in yet, in fact it only had 4 miles on the odo when I picked it up. After driving it about 800 miles this week, and only filling it up twice, I wound up averaging about 36 mpg in it. And it wasn't even broken in.

    Take the complaints about the mileage in Edmunds with a grain of salt...the many many corolla owners that are happy with their cars and their gas mileage are out there driving them and are not apt to come in here and wax prosaic about their wonderful mileage, so you will only hear the negative stories.

    No sulfur odors either, but I am in California where we use the really low-sulfur gas, and I think that makes the difference.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    gas has sulfur content of between 15 and 30 parts per million...as opposed to the other 49 states, where it hovers around 300...

    ...so it can be done, and is being done right this very minute...

    ...and in California we have some of the highest gas prices of the entire nation...I pay $1.85 for 87 octane at the gas station down the street...

    ...so be careful what you wish for, but your point is well taken...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • I also picked up MY 2003 Corolla ironically with also 4 miles on the odometer. Funny enough, I also averaged 34-36 MPG on it for a while. Low and behold, the sulfur smell developed and my MPG has dropped to almost 26 MPG. True, Nippononly, Many Corolla owners get Great gas mileage and have no problems, but there are some that have problems like myself with the car. The car's exhaust(inside) is covered in black crap,does smell like rotten eggs and does get poor gas mileage.(Just a Fact).I have owned 5 Toyota's in the last 10 years.The sulfur smell is not normal! (I have NEVER had this smell in any Toyota) Maybe why this is called an "open" forum, so ALL of us can tell their experiences(Look in other forums for Toyota "plants")ie: damage control .. Not just sing the praises of a car.. I would love to report a fantastic experience as I have had several friends buy Toyota's based on my recommendations. I just not have not had a good experience from it and will not recommend the 2003 Corolla to any friends.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    Archiving takes place when there has been no activity within the discussion for 45 days. Also, an archived discussion can always be reopened. I will talk to the M&R host about activating this discussion.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • The gas in US is so cheap that i would not mind paying couple of cents more to have cleaner air. Besides, gas should be more expensive to discourage selling deadly SUVs, to conserve resorces and to minimase cash handouts to the nations in the countries in the Midwest.


    Acctually, if we had low sulfur fuel (like Japan), we could have lean-burning engines and engines with direct gasoline injection (1zz-fe engine was originally designed to be direct injected, but the design had to be scrapped).

    These are more efficient and the gas savings could offset the increased cost of fuel. These new engine designs cannot work with high sulfur fuel.


    Sulfur also poisons cat converters and increases emissions, and is responsible for increased engine (rings) wear in cold conditions (warm-up). Not mentioning the acid rain.


    Keeping sulfur in fuel is a loose-loose proposition with only oil industry benefiting from it (cheap manufacturing).


    BTW, the below link is to an article which assumes deacreasing sulfur levels in US fuel (table 1).

    http://www.bst.com.au/resources/sulphur%20special%20report.pdf

    Maybe the Toyota engeneers assumed that by the time 2003 corolla hits the US streets, the sulfur would be lower.

    I guess a wrong assumption, based on the frequency of the complains.


    BTW, premium gas tends to have lower sulfur.

    So this is why Toyota recommends it hoping to buy some time and not having to fix the problem of smell.

  • The European paper

    http://www.aeat-env.com/Sulphur_Review/Downloads/sr-CLEPA1.doc

    confirms that the H2S ("rotten egg" smell) is emitted under rich conditions and high converter temperature.

    Again, this might be the link between the smell and poor fuel economy. The smelly cars may have too rich mixture. This should be checked for easily. The most obvious suspects would be O2 sensor, exhaust leak, misfiring, engine temp sensor, etc.


    This also explains why Corollas have so many problems with H2S. The converter is placed near exhaust manifold for higher temperature for lower emissions (remember, 1zz-fe is ULEV certified). This is apparantly the condition facilitating H2S production.


    Now, the question is why consumers have to do this research instead of Toyota doing its own homework?

  • Check my posts in

    Corolla & Matrix Owners: Problems & Solutions

    Your Corolla maight be running too rich. The soot on the pipe seems to confirm it.

    Check the codes and emission results.

    http://www.grubinski.com/grubinski/56.pdf

    has some good discussion on some of the issues with rich mixtures.
  • Also, checked the spark plugs to see if it is fouled by carbon, indicative of rich conditions.
    Some other person on Corollaland complained some time ago how come his 2003 corolla's engine was covered with carbon at 44,000. Well, this might be an answer.
  • My 2003 Corolla has 3975 miles on it and has had problems with MPG for the last 2500-3000 miles.. Thanks for the info!
  • I have 2001 LE Corolla with 12000 miles on it. I have only averaged 25 MPG.with almost all city driving. When I bought the car this is the mileage I expected to get. Consumers reports when they reviewed the "01" back then said this is what you should expect to get. But I must agree with you I have heard about so many problems with the "03" that I am glad I got my "01" when I did. I have not had one simple thing to complain about so far. Not even the gas mileage !!!!!!
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    This discussion in M&R has been resurrected:


    Rotten Egg smell

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • abwndabwnd Posts: 7
    1993 Corolla - Temp gauge at idle is normal. heat coming out is excellent. As soon as I start driving or if I don't warm up the car the temp guage barely registers and very little warm air comes out. I suspect the thermostat.. Where the heck is it. Any good engine diagram websites?
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