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Is200 Keeps Stalling


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First up: Lexus IS200 SE, auto, 1999 model, 70000 miles (38000 when purchased)

I'm having a load of really weird problems that i'm guessing are to do with transmission/torque converter and i'm guessing are all related. anyone got any ideas what might be up?

1. The car idle is very lumpy and frequently the car stalls. Happens both when in D or N. It's more likely to happen after having been travellingg at speed and then slowing down to either a standstill or a slow crawl (e.g. coming off motorway onto slip road and then stopping at lights). Occasionally happens when driving around town. Doesn't seem to happen when car is cold. Occasionally car nearly stalls (orange engine light comes on briefly) but then kicks itself back to life.

2. After braking from speed (e.g. on motorway slowing down for traffic or exiting motorway onto slip road) there's a sickly smell that wafts into the cabin. Happens regardless of whether i brake with the car in D or N.

3. The car occasionaly refuses to start first time - starter motor goes but engine doesn't fire. Almost always works second time. Seems to happen more when the weather is hot (i.e. the car has been sitting in the sun all day).

4. Occasionally when pulling away from standstill there's a strange grumbling noise from somewhere under the car (can't tell whether it's front or back) that sounds like a bag of nuts and bolts in a washing machine, although it's not loud more a deep rumbly noise. Seems to disappear after 5 seconds or so.

5. Gear changes seem to be a little jerkier than i remember.

The engine was serviced about 13000 miles ago and had all the plugs, fluids etc. changed or topped up as necessary and seems to be OK.

it's been doing this for a while but getting a lot worse recently. anyone got any ideas what could be up....

i know it probably will involve dealership attention but i really can't be without the car for any period of time (hence why it hasn't gone in before now) and i thought that any pointers i can get of you folks would help reduce the amount of time the dealership would need to be diagnosing the problem...

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i had the same sort of problems

Car was stalling as i was driving around corners or braking etc...

had a strong burning smell, car wouldnt lock at times, wouldnt start for a few trys.

i found that the battery bar had slid across the battery and was connecting it too the chassis! to short fuse it out causing it too stall and smoke.

just put it in properly and been ok scince.

double check as it might or might not be whats causing the problem.

as for the noises under the car when pulling away, i found this was caused by the exhaust downpipe, the gasket between the manifold and downpipe was a bit loose, instead of tighetning it i just ripped it out and put my aftermarket downpipe and backbox on. stopped that problem. but again just see if they are a bit loose and tighten them.

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A mate had the same symptons but at a different times, stalling and bad idle was the lambda probe.

the rattling underneath was the cat, i think falling appart inside. Although i thought it was the heat shield but a garage changed the whole cat.

Hope you get it sorted and keep us posted!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Update: Happy times are here again

After an afternoon with a couple of mates spent poking around the greasy end of the car it turned out that the throttle body was really grimey and the sensor nearby (I assume the air intake sensor) was caked in crud... A thorough clean and the idle problems and cutting out appears to have been resolved. The throttle response and jerky gearchage has also improved...

I still get the funny smell under braking (although it's not as bad) but the current thought is it might be to do with the oil breather system. I can do without the car for a couple of days so i'm dropping off at a mate's garage and he's going to take a look at it for me - see if there's any blockages anywhere in the system...

Oh, and the rattling just stopped. Whether there was some gravelly type crud stuck somewhere that subsequently fell out i don't know. It certainly didn't sound like gravel stuck somewhere but hey - touch wood it's been quiet for a couple of weeks now...

Thanks for everyone's advice - it proved very useful.

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to bring this topic up again. Is it hard to clean the throttle body and sensors. My car seems to idle higher than it used to, may be cos of dirty sensors?

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Oh, I thought you have to remove the throttle body to clean it. I cleaned it as far down as I could but I'm not to sure where the MAF sensor is. Could someone shed a little light on this.


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  • 1 month later...

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