Toyota Camry Starting / Stalling Questions

debvdebv Member Posts: 4
My Camry was making "clicking" sounds when I tried to start it...turned over hard but would finally catch...I replaced the battery. After replacing the battery it started and I drove to Brewer which is about an hour's drive...took care of my app't. and when I came out the car wouldn't start... and was then told to replace the starter which I did...and it still won't start...not even with a jump...could it possibly be the alternator at this point ??


  • drjamesdrjames Member Posts: 274
    If a jump won't start it, then it's not the alternator. Is it still making that click but no start? If so, then the starter wasn't replaced and I'd go back and find out why? That click is the selenoid in the starter, but if the starter is open, then it won't start.
  • debvdebv Member Posts: 4
    No...the clicking has stopped also...the car is doing "nothing" at this point...the starter was replaced because I was standing right there as my son was removing the old one and installing the new one...I was thinking (maybe) where I had driven the car the 50+ miles IF the alternator was in fact bad, then the trip would have drained the battery...and is now in need of a "charge" rather than just a "boost"...??
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    How old is the battery? Do the interior lights work when you open the door? (I hope your son had the presence of mind to disconnect the negative battery cable before disconnecting the old starter's leads and reconnecting them to the new starter.) A stray voltage jump through the electrical system could very well have fried the alternator's AC-to-DC rectifier diodes rendering it just so much dead weight (figuratively and literally).
  • debvdebv Member Posts: 4
    the battery is just a bit over a year old...the interior lights do come on but the "buzzer" that usually goes when you open the door or leave the key in with the door open does NOT "buzz"...the interior lights and the lights on the gauges are about the only thing working...the radio doesn't work either...
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    Sounds like you need the services of a good auto-electric shop to diagnose your car's electrical system ills. The fact that even with a "jump" you still can't get your car to crank is ominous. It may just be the battery*, but, there are other things it could be, too.

    *Low electrolyte level or shorted cells comes to mind. If your son can remove cell caps to view the electrolyte level, he may be able to bring each cell's level up to just over the top of the plates with distilled water. Not all auto batteries still have removable cell caps, though. If the electrolyte level can be topped up as described, the battery would still need to be put on a battery charger overnight - AFTER DISCONNECTING THE NEGATIVE LEAD to the car, first. (The nominal 14 volt output of battery chargers can fry some voltage sensitive automotive electrical components.)
  • woofybobwoofybob Member Posts: 3
    There was rust on the vehicle that my son used to jump our car. He apparently says that he thought the red rust made him think it was the postive side when really both terminals were colored black and it was the cords that indicated the charge. He attached the negative cable to the positive terminal of the charged car and as soon as he did that sparks lit up on all terminals and something lit momentarily about a foot behind the battery of the Camry. He removed all the cables and redid them in the right order yet now the car won't attempt to start but the lights work fine. So did he just totally fry the electronics on the car or what do u think couldve happened? We won't know til Monday so I'm a little anxious/pissed.
    Thanks much
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    )) " soon as he did that sparks lit up on all terminals and something lit momentarily about a foot behind the battery of the Camry. ... So did he just totally fry the electronics on the car or what do u think couldve happened?" ((

    In addition to various circuit breakers and fuses, cars also contain "fusible links" - lengths of specialized cabling which pass current up to their calibrated ratings but will give up the ghost intentionally to save the rest of the electrics in the event of catastrophic electrical failure farther up the line or S-T-U-P-I-D-I-T-Y. (I'm sure he's really a bright guy, but confusion and/or negligence stepped into the situation and left him with egg on your face.) I suspect the valiant death of a fusible link in the line of duty was responsible for the momentary light show. If I'm right, don't worry - they're replaceable and not terribly expensive. Remember to request that the shop you take the car to also runs a load test on the car's alternator to verify its diode pack wasn't damaged by the power surge. Do NOT attempt to jerry-rig a replacement with standard similar gauge cabling - your car would have NO viable protection left in that circuit in the event of future trouble. An electrical fire could result. Give the kid a pass this time and take a diuretic.

    (Leastways hold off on anything you have in mind 'til January 2nd if he's a minor so you can claim a child deduction for the entire 2007 calendar year...;))
  • woofybobwoofybob Member Posts: 3
    haha thanks
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Good luck - be sure to come back and let us know what happens.
  • woofybobwoofybob Member Posts: 3
  • bhold3bhold3 Member Posts: 1
    just changed the timing belt and water pump on 2000 camry. evrything back together fine but having trouble starting or it sounds rough at start up. once it is running no problems. any ideas
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    ok great, please report back on the status of that fuse.

    If you think that fuse is good and not blown, then I will need you to check some voltages with the voltmeter, I'll tell you what you'll need to check at that time.

    Actually if you think that fuse is good, if you either have a spare in the fuse box lid, or there is another fuse of the same 40A size, then swap it anyhow.
  • gingitgingit Member Posts: 9
    My car was running fine when I warmed it up and drove it home and parked it last night. Today I went out and NOTHING happened when I turned the key in the ignition - no clicks, no beginning to start sounds, nothing. Assumed it was the battery and called Triple-A for a jump, but when he jumped it, nothing happened at all. Then realized the headlights still worked, and the door bong goes off. However, it won't move out of Park. No mechanics available until Monday. Wondering what repairs I might be facing so I can decide if a local mechanic could handle it (cheaper) or I'm better going to the dealer if it might require some detective work.
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    It's still likely to be the battery. Some can fail quite suddenly -- I had that happen to my 1990 Mercury Sable. Worked fine for a trip to DC (200 mile round trip); next day -- nothing.

    There's a way to override the transmission gear lever to put the car in neutral if it has to be towed -- check your owner's manual.
  • gingitgingit Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for taking time to reply. You were partially right. The tow truck guy (shop owner) knew a trick to get the car out of Park to be able to tow it. The underlying problem, though, turned out to be an odd issue probably related to an incident back in 1994 (!) when an animal had gotten into my engine compartment one night and ate all the coatings off the wires, causing the computer to short out and fry. They did $2,000 worth of repairs back then, replacing the computer and repairing all the exposed wires. It appears they missed one bundle, which the current dealer didn't spot until they removed the after-market security system (which no longer worked anyway) and they saw the wire bundle that comes from the drivers side, through the fire wall, to connect with the fuse boxes that sit in the engine compartment area on the drivers side but towards the front of the compartment. There was an area on the wires about the size of a thumb that was exposed and oxidized to the color of "the Statue of Liberty" (dealer's description) which after all this time finally decided to melt and fuse together. And thus, my car wouldn't start. They cleaned out the damage, reconnected the healthy parts of the wires and wrapped them, and now everything works great. Probably didn't need to have the security system removed ($272) but at least they found the problem (total cost was $500). They did test the battery, and charged it all night to be sure, but they think the battery wasn't an issue. My car had been acting sluggish for a few minutes on start up, but I attributed that to the cold and need for a tune-up, but it seems to have resolved now with the wires fixed, so I guess I got that extra for my money. Now, if someone could just figure out why my radiator overflow tank keeps boiling over after I drive for more than an hour (despite new radiator, new thermostat, new caps, and removing and cleaning the new radiator) ...
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Thanks for responding. Electrical issues can be a bear to diagnose over the internet, and there's no way of being able to find your issue without hands-on inspection. Yes, copper wiring exposed to the elements turns green, just like the Statue of Liberty. Glad the electrical glitches have been fixed, for not too much money considering the extent of the damage.

    As for the overheating, I'm stumped. Does the temperature gauge on the dash show overheating, or does the overflow tank simply spill over (maybe overfilled in the first place)?
  • gingitgingit Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for your reply. Surprisingly, the overheating issue also appears to now be resolved since they repaired the melted/fused wiring bundle. The overflow tank would come to full boil only after I drove the car for over an hour, and most of the time there was no change in the temperature gauge until it was at full boil, and I had been careful about not overfilling. They had replaced the radiator, the overflow tank, the radiator caps, and the thermostat, and removed and cleaned out the radiator and reinstalled it, and nothing made any difference. But now that the other repair was done, I had the chance this weekend to drive the car in horrible Friday evening rush hour traffic for 2-1/2 hours, and NO boil over, and again a few hours later I drove home for about 90 minutes, and NO boil over. It appears somehow the wiring issue was causing the problem, although I have no idea how. Quite a serendipitous event, but for the $500, I'm not so unhappy now that I have resolved this boil over problem finally! Learn something new every day!
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    That's great -- maybe the two issues were interrelated.

    At least you were able to get someone competent to diagnose and fix your car properly, for not too much money as I said earlier.

    Good luck!
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Were the radiator cooling fans turning on when radiator got hot before? If not, probably related to your wiring bundle problem.
  • gingitgingit Member Posts: 9
    Interesting question about whether the cooling fans were turning on - I'm not sure, and no one ever asked me about that before. Something to keep in mind should I find myself trying to resolve a boil over issue in the future. Another thing I've learned during this experience!

    The car issues (wiring etc) were resolved by the local Toyota dealership mechanics, but I'm not sure how much competency to credit them with. They thought it was the after-market security system I had, even though I said it wasn't likely to be the issue. Since it didn't work any more anyway, I agreed to let them remove it (cost of $272) and it was just by coincidence that in doing so, they could see the bundle of wires that were melted/fused. They weren't looking for that initially. So, I paid unnecessarily for the security system to be removed, but it was worth it since they did end up identifying the wiring issue, and getting my car to start again, as well as incidentally resolving the boil over problem. All because some animal ate my car in 1994! Crazy. Thanks for everyone's comments and support.
  • tywitywi Member Posts: 10
    Just changed car battery and had the old battery out for about 10 minutes.When I connected the new battery and started the car the idle was only 200rpm and after running about 30 seconds car turned off.Checked all the connections every thing looked good started again and idle was still low.Ran car for about 15 minutes on road and the idle was back up to 600rpm.What do you think the problem could have been?
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    It should be okay now. When the battery is disconnected, the car's main computer has to "relearn" all of its settings.

    My '04 Camry's idle dropped after I changed the battery, but not as low as yours. After about 100 miles of driving, all was fine (except for initializing the sunroof -- that's a whole 'nother story!)
  • frankrom22frankrom22 Member Posts: 14
    :sick: I own a 2004 Camry LE. Purchased it brand new back in 2004 with 3 miles.

    Recently. about once every two weeks or so, the car refuses to start. Took it in to the dealership. They said it was my battery and battery cable so they replaced these items. Car worked fine for awhile then one morning I tried to start it again and it wouldn't start. Took it back to the dealer and they said it started fine for them and the diagnostic test didn't produce any problems.

    Drove the car another two weeks, went to start that morning and again nothing. The car turn over but it won't start (tried 6 times over a five hour period). Took it to a mechanic this time once it finally started on try number 7. Mechanic said same thing: started for him no diagnostic results and suggested that I get my fuel line cleaned. So I paid for that.

    Car started fine for awhile. Woke up Monday morning, guess what, car wouldn't start. Took seven tries and it finally started. Has been starting fine so far but I know that it is going to happen again. This two week intermittent starting is getting tiresome. Especially on a 2004 Camry.

    Really want to get this fixed since I really do like Camrys. I have only driven Camrys since 1998. Now I am faced with dumping this car and breaking my Camry trend.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • handymanbobhandymanbob Member Posts: 7
    For a while now periodically my 2001 Camry's key won't turn in the cylinder. Until now a light coat of penetrating oil has resolved the problem. Now the steering wheel isn't locking when you turn the car off and the key wont turn at all. Some how it would seem these items are related but for the life of me I cant work out how to get the cowling under the steering wheel off and only see one screw. Does anyone have any ideas on either how to get the cowling off or what the problem may be? :sick: :confuse:
  • gingitgingit Member Posts: 9
    I'm no mechanic, but all I know is that, although I haven't had many problems with my 1993 Camry wagon, most of the problems I have had turned out to be electrical/computer related. So I wouldn't assume it's a structural element that requires disassembling the steering wheel. Almost everything on Camry's is run by the computer, so you might want to have your mechanic checking wiring issues to see if the part of the computer/wiring that tells the column to lock is causing the problem. I had an animal eat the coatings of all my wires years ago, and they didn't discover all the damage until recently, and in the interim, I was plagued with all kinds of obscure problems that mechanics kept trying to fix by replacing parts, when it all turned out to be corroding wires hidden by my security system. So, that's one idea I can offer.
  • gingitgingit Member Posts: 9
    I'm no mechanic, but all I know is that, although I haven't had many problems with my 1993 Camry wagon, most of the problems I have had turned out to be electrical/computer related. So I wouldn't assume it's a structural element. Almost everything on Camrys is run by the computer, so you might want to have your mechanic checking wiring issues. I had an unknown animal eat the coatings off all my wires years ago, and they didn't discover all the damage until recently, and in the interim, I was plagued with all kinds of obscure problems that mechanics kept trying to fix by replacing parts, when it all turned out to be corroding wires hidden by my security system. So, that's one idea I can offer.
  • handymanbobhandymanbob Member Posts: 7
    Thanks but i dont have a security system and the wiring does seem intact and this is my only issue right now. It would seem that if the pin that locks the steering wheel isnt dropping into place it could interfer with the ignition switches ability to turn. I do pretty much need someones imput with at least some mechanical skills with regard to this car, but i appreciate your taking time to respond.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    You have to be more specific than 'it refuses to start'.

    When you turn the key, does the starter motor engage and then engine start cranking over?

    If no, then battery, starter, solenoid, key switch, anti-theft/keyfob, battery cables are the likely candidates. (switch keys to see if the symptom changes).

    If yes and the engine cranks but it doesn't start running by itself and idling, could be any number of problems and would want to know more symptoms.
  • handymanbobhandymanbob Member Posts: 7
    ok let me be more specific....the key wont even turn as far as to accessory, in fact the key doesnt turn at all. I have switched keys to no avail. Before the key refused to turn the car started first time every time and ran fine with no issues. Please see my orginal post, as I have no refuses to start issues.

    Seems like it needs an ignition switch but I am clueless about how to get the plastic housing off to get to it or how to replace it. Can anyone FYI me on how to replace the ignition switch?
  • stlpike07stlpike07 Member Posts: 229
    To me, it sounds like the ignition locked up. That happened to me about 7 years ago when I had a 1992 camry. I put the key in and it wouldn't turn at all.

    I had my car towed to a locksmith. They "re-machined" the ignition and everything was fine from then on.

    Good luck.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666

    Sorry, my response was to frankrom22,

    I've not had to have the steering column apart, so I'm not sure I can help you. I do have a set of manuals, but I'm out of town for 2 weeks and can't even look it up for you at this point.
  • rsantan1rsantan1 Member Posts: 11
    My 1999 Sienna had a similar issue. Would not start sometimes. Turned the key a few times and it would start. The problem would go away for weeks. Spoke to my Toyota Service advisor. They could not duplicate the problem. He thought it could be the starter but said it was not cheap to replace and was my call. I decided to have the starter replaced as my wife and kids usually are in the van. Anyway that was a few years ago. Problem has not occurred since I had the starter replaced.
  • handymanbobhandymanbob Member Posts: 7
    I need to know where to find information or if anyone knows how to change the ignition switch in a 2001 Toyota Camry. Does anyone know if the appropriate Haynes manual contains detailed instructions or not or where I can find detailed instructions. I have never had the dash of an import apart before.

    Thanks a lot
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I'd recommend getting the factory service manual rather than Haynes -- it should be much more detailed. You may want to try eBay.

    Kiawah is very good though, so if you can possibly wait for him to return from vacation, I'm sure he'll be able to find the answer.
  • handymanbobhandymanbob Member Posts: 7
    Dayummmmm it's 130.00 on ebay and the part is over 100, not sure a factory manual is a good idea for my pockets.

    As far as Kiawah is concerned I wish I could wait. I am also out of state from home and am due back at home...900 miles away by next Thursday.

    Thanks for the suggestions though
  • rsantan1rsantan1 Member Posts: 11
    I have Haynes manuals for both my toyota's. They are very good and have pictures. If you do not want to purchase one then go to the Library and make copies of the section you need.
  • handymanbobhandymanbob Member Posts: 7
    Do they contain detailed information about how to change an ignition switch? I am kinda stuck in a small town here so the library is tiny with no manuals at all. Came here to visit my parents grave and have to be home to be in court for a child custody hearing with my ex and back to work. Crappy time for all this to happen.
  • mollasmollas Member Posts: 1
    my 1988 camry's engine (with 130K miles) goes off whenever I sopped (at a traffic light for example) in the first 25 to 30 minutes of driving. Once I drove it for 30 minutes or more, the problem disappears. This happens whenever there is rain before I start the car. Otherwise, it starts and runs very well in winter or summer.

    what could be the problem? thanks, Mollas
  • handymanbobhandymanbob Member Posts: 7
    RSANTAN----What year manuals do you have and do they cover changing an ignition switch at all?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    How about new ignition (spark plug) wires? Have you ever done that?
  • pdnotespdnotes Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 Camry 4 cyl. and am having intermittent starting problems. My dad checked the battery and the starter, both are fine. When it happens, it will not even turn over - no click or anything. If you repeatedly turn the key (sometimes 30-40 times), it will start. We had the same problem with a Nissan several years ago, and an ignition switch solved it. Could this also be the issue with my Camry? Another strange note - this seems to only happen when it's hot outside.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    I don't know if you still need the instructions, but I'm back in town and just sent them to your carspace email address. Check upper right hand corner...."you have mail".
  • yezyez Member Posts: 1
    Please help. We have the same exact switch assembly problem and symptoms as stated in #41 (2002 Camry) and are trying to replace the switch. Can't get it out... Can you send directions?

    Never took some doing, but we got the new switch assembly installed.
  • ace3queenace3queen Member Posts: 1
    My husband recently replaced the starter in our 1992 Toyota Camry. He's taken it apart twice to make sure he put it together correctly. However, the car will not start unless he places it in the Neutral position. Before the starter went out, he could start it in drive. Can someone offer some insight to this problem. Thanks! :confuse:
  • steeler70ssteeler70s Member Posts: 1
    My camry is giving me such a headache right now, when I start it up and let my foot off the gas pedal it starts to rough idle and sometimes it even dies, this also happens when I tried to drive it around the block at my house. I have changed the spark plugs but still am having idling problems.
  • humanabstracthumanabstract Member Posts: 1
    My '95 Camry with the 2.2L engine does not start properly when cold. I have to hold the gas down slightly or the engine shuts off. When the engine has run for about thirty or forty seconds it will idle as normal. I am wondering if anyone knows whether the '95 2.2L Camry has a sensor which tells the cold start injector to enrich the fuel when the coolant temperature is low (ie. when the car is cold). If anyone can help me with this question or has dealt with this type of situation before, please, please help me!

    Thank you!
  • john9362john9362 Member Posts: 2
    i have similar problem what they did is replace the idle control valve and did some cleaning to i dont know what. I had it done 2x in 2 years interval. Probably they didnt do ti right the first time.

    everthing is ok now.
  • presto2presto2 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 that is acting the same way. Was your problem ever resolved?
  • ravirajraviraj Member Posts: 2
    I am having intermittent starting problems with my 1996 toyota Camry.
    It has happend 3 times till now. First it happened 2 months back. I turned the keys and nothing happend. I
    turned it 3-4 times but nothing it didn't even click or anything. I tried few more times it clicked once but didn't
    start. My interior light and headlights were working. I went to office in friend's car. In the evening I tried to
    start the car again. Turned the keys 3-4 times after trying for few times finally it started. I had the problem for 2
    days. I used to start the car by turning key again and again. After 2 days the problem disappeared. But then it
    showed up again 2nd time a month back. At that time also it did last for one or two days and then went away. Today,
    after a month, same thing happend again, this is third time. In the morning car did not start. I tried to turn the
    key 3-4 time. It clicked once(made that start up noise) but didn't start. I did not take it to work. In the evening
    when I tried to start it, it started after 3-4 attempts. Once it started I took it to the mechanic and explained
    him the problem. He was about to close the workshop, so he didn't take a look at the car. Based on my description
    of problem he said it might be a problem with the starter.

    What could be the issue? Thanks!
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Could be the starter, or the keylock/switch circuit. To conclusively prove, when you have a failing condition (it won't start), someone needs to check with a voltmeter whether the starter is getting the right voltages telling it to start (in which case the problem is in the starter itself), or it doesn't have the right voltages (in which case the problem is upstream in the switch circuit).
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