Mechanics

CAR STARTS BUT LACKS POWER UNDER LOAD (DIES WHEN SHIFT INTO GEAR)

1989 Toyota Corolla

Details that may help: car is an automatic sedan model, engine was replaced entirely due to seizure last year with a used motor.

The Story: Usually my car has a few issues day to day; recently the battery and brake lights on the dash would come on for a while and turn off periodically. Also in wet weather the car took a little more to start and sometimes when backing out of the driveway would stall. A few days ago I went to start my car and it wouldn't even turn over or any lights at all. Upon some investigation I pieced together that a bear had climbed on the hood overnight causing the positive terminal to short out on the inside of the hood and welding the two together. After prying the battery off the hood we noticed the battery had melted from the negative terminal so I discarded that battery. After putting a new battery in it started first try and drove down the hill we live on. However when I turned and tried to come up the hill (not very steep) the car went less than 10kmph with the gas floored. When I took my foot off the pedal the car promptly died. It then had to be jumped to get it off the road and since then has started but as soon as you try to drive it on any grade whatsoever loses power and dies.
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Aimz
September 29, 2011.



Wow! I don't think I would live there. As far as the problem, has the check engine light come on? Have you checked fuel pressure?

The check engine has not come on. I have not checked the fuel pressure.I believed it had to be battery/alternator/electrical related due to the history as well as need for being jumped.

Tiny
Aimz
Sep 29, 2011.
I tend to agree with you. Was there any damage to the battery terminal or cable itself? Also, have you checked wiring to the power distribution block?

I am not actually doing the troubleshooting myself just the research here but my friend who is a mechanic checked all the battery output and the fuses directly on the positive terminal and they are all working fine. The only damage from the bear was a great burn on the hood and slight melting of the rubber sheath around the negative battery cable but the copper inside is still intact and looks well

Tiny
Aimz
Sep 29, 2011.
Since the new battery needed jumped, there has to be a bad connection at some point.

I was going under the assumption that something caused an excessive draw of power from the battery leaving it dead as a result. Does this make sense or is it more likely directly due to a battery issue as you mentioned above?

Tiny
Aimz
Sep 29, 2011.
It takes a lot to kill a new battery, but if you have a bad enough draw, it could happen. Check to see if there is a draw.

So update: bought a used alternator from an auto wrecker put it in and did not solve the problem

new symptom: while the car was running before we tried to drive it there was a spark occurring on the distributor cap where on of the wires went into it.
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Tiny
Aimz
Sep 29, 2011.
Update: put in a used alternator. Did not change.
When car was jumped and running one of the distributor cap wires was arcing.
Took the cap off and there was oil inside it!

Wondering if an old condenser could be causing issues?

When car is running put foot on brake, shift into gear and floor gas the engine runs at half power sounds struggling a bit when take foot off gas engine dies.

Tiny
Aimz
Sep 30, 2011.

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