ES300 sputters and won't start

Dear Experts,
I have a 99 Lexus ES300. Fuel injection. About 110K miles on it now.
Lately when I go to start it, it just sputters. Based on experience, you think that it started,
and I take my hand off the key. Then the engine stalls.
So, I start it, when it is sputtering, I have to give it some gas. The RPMs go up. And then it idles ok.
It's like the old carbureted Fords I used to own.
Any ideas what is causing this symptom, and how to fix it?
Thanks a lot!
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Bill suggested cleaning the idle air control (IAC) valve and pintle but your Lexus does not have a pintle. If the engine idles OK once the car has started, the IAC is not a likely cause as it would idle poorly even when the engine is warmed up.
What is the maintenance and repair history on the vehicle? Specifically, how many miles since the spark plugs were replaced, and what type of plugs were installed? What is the condition of the engine air filter, and does the inside of the black plastic tubing leading from the air filter housing to the throttle body feel oily?
Is the car mostly used for city driving at lower speeds?
I have some other ideas, but first, try a bottle of Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner, following the instructions on the bottle exactly. Do not use more than one bottle unless the condition clears up partly. If the fuel injector clears up the problem completely or does not make any difference, do not use any more fuel injector cleaner.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
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Ray O wrote: (...)

That's not correct.
The symptoms outlined by the OP are classical indications of a dirty IAC valve. I had a 96 Camry that went in annually with the 'rough idle when cold' symptoms. The shop cleaned the IAC valve and sent the car back with a bill each time.
Then I replaced the IAC valve and the symptom never recurred in the few years I had the car afterword.
--Winston
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On Sep 18, 1:38 pm, condor snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

And I bet its over due on a basic tune up and has original plug wires. When is the last time you "read" and examined the plugs, I bet never.
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Any codes in the computer? Do the plugs look decent? If it were me, I'd clean the IAC valve (and I'd clean the throttle body while I was in there.... the throttle body isn't your problem but if you haven't cleaned it in 110K miles it needs cleaning), and I'd go look for vacuum leaks. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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condor snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

*Have* you checked the plugs? Or anything else actually?
--
(setq (chuck nil) car(chuck) )

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