My 1992 Toyota corolla Asian model naturally aspirated 1.3 liter engine car won't start until 5th crank. Between every 3 second crank I will have to give 8 second rest. At 5th crank the engine starts without fail. Tail pipe produces lots of white smoke at that moment.

After about a minute no white smoke and the car runs without any hesitation. What I tested was, I checked the two tubes (air/vacuum) connected at spark distributor/ignitor body, only one has negative pressure and another tube has no pressure at all. Removing or plunging these tubes in any positions at any moment shows no difference at all at starting behavior or running behavior of the engine.

I'm keen that this area is what causing the trouble because the starting behavior shows slight difference after the distributor/ignitor unit changed many months ago, but now the condition appear worsened.

I want to have some understanding about the problem before taking it to a foremen to avoid being conned.


3 Answers 3


The white smoke sounds like antifreeze burning. I would suspect the cylinder head gasket. After cranking five times you have emptied the cylinder(s) of antifreeze and then the engine can operate normally. It is hard to crank because you are attempting to compress a liquid.

When you stop the engine the cylinders refill with antifreeze and the process restarts again. In a 25 year old car I imagine this has been going on for some time.

  • Sorry for not including the essential detail. The car is in Malaysia. This Asian model use no antifreeze. I will edit the question to include this. Could it be engine oil leaking into combustion chamber? But I don't see engine oil level drops until its next change after 5000km run. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 9:00
  • 2
    No antifreeze? As in water in the cooling system? What if somebody drives it to a location where temperatures can be cold and the cooling system freezes? How does the system prevent corrosion in the cooling system, because the corrosion inhibitors are in the antifreeze which the car apparently does not have?
    – juhist
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 13:15
  • Yeah... No antifreeze. This car is not made for freezing point environment. It has no heater unit, just an air-conditioning. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 15:27
  • For the record... are you saying this is an air cooled vehicle?
    – cory
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 16:17
  • Antifreeze is also referred to as coolant. It also keeps the engine from overheating as well.
    – Old_Fossil
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 16:43

The "white" smoke may actually be gray-blue, which indicates motor oil burning. Look at the smoke carefully, in good sunlight. You may have low compression due to a leaking valve or slipping piston rings. Or, the valve guide seals may be leaking, which is not much of an issue.


The problem disappear after changing the distributor. According to the foreman, the faulty distributor somehow not firing high voltage properly during cranking because system supply voltage drop below 10 volt.

Good distributor unit generates and distributes high voltage properly even with much lower supply voltage.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .