This paper proposes T-CROM (Time-delayed Collaborative ROuting and MAC) protocol, that allows collaboration between network and MAC layers in order to extend the lifetime of MANETs in a resources-limited environment. T-CROM increases the probability of preventing energy-poor nodes from joining routes by using a time delay function that is inversely proportional to the residual battery capacity of intermediate nodes, making a delay in the route request (RREQ) packets transmission. The route along which the first-arrived RREQ packet traveled has the smallest time delay, and thus the destination node identifies the route with the maximum residual battery capacity. This protocol leads to a high probability of avoiding energy-poor nodes and promotes energy-rich nodes to join routes in the route establishment phase. In addition, T-CROM controls the congestion between neighbors and reduces the energy dissipation by providing an energy-efficient backoff time by considering both the residual battery capacity of the host itself and the total number of neighbor nodes. The energy-rich node with few neighbors has a short backoff time, and the energy-poor node with many neighbors gets assigned a large backoff time. Thus, T-CROM controls the channel access priority of each node in order to prohibit the energy-poor nodes from contending with the energy-rich nodes. T-CROM fairly distributes the energy consumption of each node, and thus extends the network lifetime collaboratively. Simulation results show that T-CROM reduces the number of total collisions, extends the network lifetime, decreases the energy consumption, and increases the packet delivery ratio, compared with AOMDV with IEEE 802.11 DCF and BLAM, a battery-aware energy efficient MAC protocol.