1998 Lexus ES300 Stalling

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HELP! I have a 98' Lexus ES300 w/ 80k miles. The car sporadically (once a week) stalls at idle (stop at traffic light) after driving highway RPM's however the car doesnt shut off.

Key Observations:
1. My check engine light hasnt been initiated.
2. The acceleration and performance has degraded. Engine runs rough.
3. During stalling, the headlights dim then brighten dim then brighten...
4. During stalling, I smell a bad odor...possibly bad gas...something from the exhaust.
5. Stalling creates noise such as: pushing gas pedal then releasing gas pedal pushing the gas pedal then releasing the gas pedal...
6. If I turn the car off and wait for 15+ minutes, the car will start without any problems or stalling.
7. If I turn the car off and wait between 1-3 minutes, the car struggles to start and sometimes cuts off.
8. Switching gears while stalling didnt make a difference.
9. Car has stalled in rainy warm and rainy cold conditions. Also in dry warm and dry cold conditions. Interestingly, the majority of the stalling occurs subsequent to washing the car or rainy days.
10. Car has stalled with high, moderate and low levels of gas.
11. The stalling mostly occurs in the evenings, after sitting for 4 or more hours.
12. Drive between 65-80 mph on highway.


Troubleshooting Attempts:
1. Applied Fuel Injector Cleaner and Complete Fuel Injector Cleaner (Valvoline)
2. New Air Filter
3. Throttle Body Clean-Up (after this service the stalling stopped for about a month)
4. Toyota Dealer removed EGR valve for a week or so, to see if the problem still occured. * Car didnt stall at all during this period. Lexus Dealer reconnected the EGR valve and car stalled that same evening. (Dealer washed car also)
5. I am up to date with all maint. except for a tune up. (Uncertain if previous owner tuned the car up at 60k miles)
6. Asked Dealer if fuel filter needed replaced and they stated "Lexus/Toyota filters are Life-time filters...no need to replace them." ?????
7. Changed gas stations. (now using BP and Shell)

Considering:
1. Clean EGR valve
2. Clean Idle Air Control Valve
3. Tune-Up
4. Replace Fuel Filter
5. Inspect Ignition Coil

As you can see I am reluctant on replacing emissions components b/c the cost clearly outweights the benefits; unless I am 85-100% certain that it will solve the problem.

Any suggestions? Your help will be greatly appreciated.

posted by  theinfamious

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