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New Corolla fuel-filler pipe available

The engine malfunction light came on in my 2004 Toyota Corolla CE.

  • The beginning of morning rush hour, cars on the highway traveling to and from downtown

Q: The engine malfunction light came on in my 2004 Toyota Corolla CE.

A dealership service adviser said the gas cap had to be replaced, as it was not sealing properly because the filler neck had developed rust and the emission system was detecting a leak.

(My 1998 Toyota Sienna van has absolutely no rust around the filler neck.)

Newer Corolla models are developing rust in this spot even more quickly than my ’04, the adviser said.

All I can do about it is to keep the filler neck dry, he added.

Since the only time that the neck is exposed is when I fill up with gasoline, I fail to see how the rust is developing.

The charge for the visit (gas cap and labour) came to $98, plus GST.

To me, this sounds like a defect that needs correcting. I don’t think I should be charged for this band-aid solution. What are your thoughts?

A: Technician Tom Zekveld replies:

Toyota has issued a technical service bulletin for this concern.

A TSB is not a recall but rather a manufacturer’s advisory to guide technicians on the appropriate repair procedure for a specific problem.

In this case, the TSB indicates that for certain evaporative emission diagnostic trouble codes, the tech should test the fuel cap and inspect the fuel filler pipe.

A new, improved pipe is available if needed.

It’s premature to have corrosion develop on the fuel filler pipe of a three- or four-year-old vehicle.

Talk to your dealership about your concern; I trust they followed the recommended procedures.

The basic warranty on a 2004 Corolla is three years or 60,000 km, whichever comes first. Powertrain protection is five years or 100,000 km; corrosion-perforation coverage is five years or unlimited km.

If your car is out of warranty, perhaps you can obtain a goodwill adjustment.

Q: My 1997 Jaguar Vanden Plas has a sporadic braking-and-stalling problem.

The condition surfaced after the sedan sat in a parking garage for a couple of weeks.

As I wound down several floors of the garage, every time I applied the brakes to make a turn, the engine died. It restarted immediately.

The next time I used the Jag, it was fine. But, after it had sat outside overnight in rain, the engine died eight times in a row when I applied the brakes.

What could cause this?

A: Technician David Gerson replies:

Basically, there are two issues here: the car doesn’t idle at times; hard starting in damp conditions.

Assuming that the spark plugs are good, have the ignition coil tubes checked and replaced, since when they get wet, the plugs do not fire.

Make sure that the ignition system is properly serviced, including having the battery tested.

As for the stalling, have the throttle body cleaned and serviced. This is an often-overlooked procedure that can lead to expensive misdiagnosis.

When the throttle plate and bypass ports become contaminated over time, the idle circuit in particular tends to fail, and intermittent stalling is the end result. A clean fuel filter is, of course, a must as well.

If it is a computer or sensor-related problem, the “service soon” light will usually illuminate. However, a scan test of the live data would be wise.

On-board diagnostics are not always that sophisticated, and a partially failing sensor or switch may not trigger a fault code.


Service Centre technicians Tom Zekveld and David Gerson are independent

garage operators. Tony Prochilo and Peter Lokun are automotive instructors at Centennial College, Scarborough. Email your mechanical questions to wheels@thestar.ca.

State make, model, year, engine and

kilometres, as well as your name and address.

Letters may be edited.

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