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1997 2.4L Timing Retards during Acceleration

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by bobbyisking, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Apr 18, 2019 at 2:16 PM

    bobbyisking [OP] New Member

    Apr 18, 2019
    First Name:
    1997 Tacoma 2.4L
    I have been searching and reading dozens of posts since a year ago. I am having issueswith my 97 Tacoma 2.4L automatic. Whether the truck just started up in the morning or been driven for 30 minutes, after I come to a stop, there is a 50/50 chance that the engine will lag and barely/not pickup speed for a few seconds. There is a dead spot. I don't have an rpm gauge but i'm assuming it is from 1500-3000 rpm. At other times, the truck will accelerate normally and feel quite strong. With my obd2 live data reading, when the engine lags, the timing retards from 15ish down to 0, and sometimes even less. When it doesn't lag, the timing stays consistent. It originally started two years ago when I bought the truck, and would happen once in a while, which didn't bother me much. But once it started happening very often, it affects the driving a lot where I cannot turn into a fast moving interstate with a chance of the truck not accelerating normally.

    I have already replaced the distributor twice, knock sensor, coolant temp sensor, tps, maf, fuel filter, spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor, and ECU. A few days ago, I dropped the truck off at a local mechanic for diagnostic. Fuel pressure is good. He said that with his experience with these trucks, he's pretty certain the timing is off of one tooth. Just this morning, I removed the valve cover and placed the crank pulley at TDC. The intake cam sprocket looks to be correct pointing up. Also, the one and two dots on rear gears line up perfectly. Distributor is lined up correctly. Engine idles fine. Timing does read 25 degrees at idle without jumping the terminals. I am at a complete lost here. I feel I can't keep throwing money at this truck anymore unless it is certain to fix the issue.

    Gas mileage was 17mpg two years ago. Now I'm getting 14/15mpg. No check engine light.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  2. Oct 4, 2019 at 10:32 PM

    Colorado_Toy_Mech. New Member

    Oct 4, 2019
    96 Tacoma 500000+ 15 4dr shortbed Taco
    Hello, this is my first time writing to a forum. I'm a 20 year ASE mechanic ( not technician ) lol. I've seen your problem twice in my years. The problem may be you're bottom timing pulley. If you're pulley has not been torqued properly , the torsional vibration of the crankshaft will cause the pulley to move back and forth enough, to allow the woodruff key to cut a groove inside the pulley. When you accelerate, the crankshaft advances , but the timing gear doesn't for a few degrees. The longer you drive it, the worse it gets. Soon it just won't start. And since this isn't a problem that's supposed to occur, it won't set a cel. You can verify by taking cover off camshaft and turn the cam back and forth a very small amount , if the accessory belt doesn't move with the cam movement, it will be the lower pulley.
    DrZ, Steves104x4 and 0xDEADBEEF like this.

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