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3rd & 4th Generation (19921996 & 19972001) Toyota Camry Discussion for years: 1992-1996 & 1997-2001 Topics of discussion range from fuel economy, safety, modifications, performance all involving America's favorite family car, the Toyota Camry.

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Old 02-26-2009, 02:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Hooked up Battery Backwards - No Spark

This is going to be Volume II of my troubleshooting exercise on this car. It is a 1994 Toyota Camry DX. This first post will be a bit long but I want to include all of the information I have on the problem. Thank you to those that choose to read this long winded diatribe and are willing to offer your assistance. If you miss something in the read, please ask. I am looking for help from anywhere I can get it at the moment. When my 8-year old daughter suggested last night that I try starting the car with the door closed instead of open I obliged her (still did not start )

Background:
The car ran fine but the battery would no longer hold a charge. I had a good 12V battery lying around and decided to use it. I thought that I checked the posts to ensure that they were in the correct location and I must have done so quite hastily and screwed up. The posts on the replacement battery were opposite of the posts on the correct battery. I installed the replacement battery with the cables hooked up to the wrong posts on the battery.

This caused a number of things to occur. The headlights came on and would not go off eve with the light switch in the off position. The dome light worked and the back light for the ignition worked. Everything else was dead. I also discovered that the 15A EFI fuse was blown. With the battery still hooked up (incorrectly unbeknownst to me) I attempted to replace this fuse only to have it keep blowing. I disconnected all of the EFI connections in the engine compartment and still blew the fuse. It was about this time that it occurred to me to check the battery and cables to ensure I had not done the unthinkable. OOOOPS!!!!! Once I discovered my error with the battery, I marched over to Wal-Mart and purchased the correct battery and installed it correctly. This corrected the problem with the lights staying on. Now the lights switch would turn the lights off. At this point I still only had power to the headlights, dome light, and the ignition switch backlight. I also replaced the 15A EFI fuse at this point with all of the EFI electrical connections re-installed and it no longer failed. At lest I got that straightened out.

I then checked the rest of the fuses and discovered that I had blown the 100A main fuse. I also discovered that I had a blown 15A fuse in the fuse block behind the ashtray. The location of this fuse was at the bottom right of the fuse block as you look at it from the driver's seat. The diagram on the back of the ashtray says that this is an empty location on the fuse block. Well it's not. There are clips in there to hold a fuse and it was blown. I replaced it and it did not blow again. May have blown when I installed the battery backwards, may have been blown before. Could be that there are no wires attached to the clips and it does nothing. Don't know. Point being, I have no idea what it goes to but I replaced it anyway.

I replaced the ALT - 100A fuse and everything came back to life. (Note: for someone who does not work on these vehicles - Toyota's in general and more specifically, these Camry's, it was not clear by looking at this fuse how it comes out. I thought is would just pull out as was suggested in a Haynes manual that I purchased a few hours into this project. It doesn't just pull out. I received a tip from a TN member that it is held in with a bolt on the bottom and it had to be accessed by removing the fuse block from the inner fender, remove the bottom cap to the fuse block, remove the holder for this fuse and an adjacent large fuse, then remove the two bolts holding the leads onto the bottom of the fuse - Hope this helps someone).

I then attempted to start the car. I did get it running but it was very hard to start. The car had been sitting since before Christmas so I attributed it to that. Prior to this fiasco, the car always started right away and ran very well. Once I got it started, it stalled a couple of times in the driveway but I managed to get it restarted. It finally seemed to have leveled off and I was able to gun the engine a few times and it was performing pretty well. I let it idle for a couple of minutes and then decided it was time for a check out/shake down cruise. I got in, backed down the driveway and the car stalled in the middle of the cul-de-sac. I restarted it, and it stalled a couple of more times. It stalled again at the street corner about 100 feet away. I managed to get it going yet again. These were all hard starts. It wouldn't just light off like it used to. I took off down the street, got about a 1/4 mile away from the house and it just died. Would not restart, pushed it home and back into the driveway.

I initially suspected a fuel problem. I checked the 15A EFI fuse and discovered that it was still good. I replaced the EFI relay and the Main Engine Replay hoping that might do it. No luck. I replaced the fuel filter. What came out of the old one did not look all that bad. Tried to start the car again with no luck. I removed and inspected the fuel pump. Everything looked good. I broke the banjo fitting loose on the top of the fuel filter and had my wife crank the engine. I am getting plenty of fuel. I then checked the fire to the #1 spark plug and it was dead. No spark no noting.

So at this point, I have fuel but no spark.

As suggested by on TN member, I pulled the Distributor cap to had my wife crank the engine to ensure the rotor is turning and that I had not popped the timing belt. The rotor turns so this is not the problem. I tried using the diagnostics from the Haynes manual but they are somewhat incomplete. I then pulled the ignition section of the Toyota Service Manual for this vehicle from a link I found on this site (thanks Toyota Nation) and ran the diagnostics checks that it specifies.

A quick run down of the results from that:

1 - CHECK FOR SPARK - FAILED - There is no spark.

2- CHECK CONNECTIONS TO THE IGNITION COILD, IGNITER, AND DISTRIBUTOR - INCOMPLETE - I have checked the connections to the ignition coil and distributor. Both look good. I have not checked the connection to the igniter. I will do so when I go back out to the car in a few minutes and report back the results. I really doubt this would be the problem but ....

3 - CHECK PLUG WIRE RESISTANCE - INCOMPLETE - TEST NOT PERFORMED - I did not check this. The car ran fine before and I have a difficult time believing that these suddenly went bad of that they would be damaged from my having hooked the battery up backwards. If someone thinks that I really should do this, I will but for now, I am assuming that the plug wires are good.

4 - CHECK POWER SUPPLY TO IGNITION COILD AND IGNITER - INCOMPLETE - I did check for 12V to the (+) side of the primary could and I am getting 12V there. I did not check for 12V to the igniter. Will do so when I go back out in a few minutes and report back the results.

5 - CHECK RESISTANCE OF IGNITION COIL - Did this. FAILED - The range for the primary coil is 0.36 ohms - 0.55 ohms when cold. I measured 0.9 ohms. The service manual says to replace the coil at this point. I have not done so yet.

Secondary coil resistance test passed and resistance was within range.

6 - CHECK RESISTANCE OF SIGNAL GENERATOR (PICK-UP COIL) - Did this. All readings were within range. PASSED

7 - CHECK AIR GAP OF DISTRIBUTOR - INCOMPLETE - TEST NOT PERFORMED - I did not perform this check. My problem is the result of me hooking u\that battery up backwards and I am not sure how that would be able to impact this gap. The vehicle ran perfectly before this battery fiasco. I will perform this test is someone thinks I should.

8 - CHECK IGT SIGNAL FROM ECM - NOT YET PERFORMED THIS TEST - This is where I am in the diagnostics. I just printed some additional material that I need to from the Toyota Service Manuals to perform this test. I will report back with results when I have them.

9 - TRY ANOTHER IGNITER - NOT YET PERFORMED THIS TEST


One last item. I did check to see if there were any codes using the paper clip to jump the connections on the diagnostic plug in the engine compartment. This test revealed a code 24 stored in the ECM. Since the battery was out prior to starting the engine, this must have occurred when I had the vehicle running. This code is the intake air temp sensor. The air filter box was installed and the plug connected when the vehicle was running. I have not yet attempted to diagnose this problem.

If you made it that this far through the read, I really appreciate it and look forward to any help I might receive. I just want to get this thing running and out of my driveway. The TN members I have corresponded with thus far have been very helpful and I am certain will continue to be.

For anyone interested this is a ink to the old thread about the headlights not shutting off:

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=287567

Last edited by TexanF250; 02-26-2009 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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From other posts on no start/no spark the coil always seems to be the culprit, especially when you get a bad OHM reading.
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A little follow-up.

I checked the connectionat the ignitor so all looks good there.

Checked power supply to the ignitor. Passed. No failure there. Value was within range.

Checked IGT Signal from the ECM - Value was within Range - Passed

Seems to be bringing me back to the coil. I have a couple of more tests to perform on the ECM Diagnostic Chart - Page EG1-345. I may go ahead and stop where I am and replace the coil since I shoukld have done this already per the diagnosis.

***************

Still Running - Appreciate the comment. Being new to the forum, I do not have the background of having read a bunch of these type posts. I was hoping someone would chime in like you did with an observation as to what the cause often turns out to be in cases like this - No Start/No Spark.

Will report back with results after the coil is installed.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I stopped by the auto parts store this evening to pick up the coil. Checked resistance on the new coil while at the counter and it reads out of range as well. It read 0.9 ohms just like the one I curently have in the car. Parts person pulled two more higher end units and they were also out of range. They both read 0.7 ohms which is still out of range. Range cold is 0.36 ohms to 0.55 ohms.

Any thoughts??? I went ahead and purchased the coil and will install it to see if it makes any difference.


The parts person was not able to locate an ignitor in their system. Is this a dealer only part???

If it turns out that I need an new ECM, what is the best route to go? If I buy used, how do I ensure I am getting the correct one??
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Have you try using a different meter to test the coil to see what it reads?

Don't forget to test the pickup coils in the distributor too.

N.E.O.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexanF250 View Post
If it turns out that I need an new ECM, what is the best route to go?
These people will test, fix and lifetime warrant yours for about $160. Best place anywhere. Testing only may be less $$.

http://avproecm.com/index.htm
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Just to clarify coil resistance - from my FSM.

Primary - Cold = .36 - .55 OHMs
Hot = .45 - .65 OHMs

Secondary - Cold = 9.0 - 15.4K OHMs
Hot = 11.4 - 18.1K OHMs

As NEO said verify your multimeter range settings and decimal point.

The ignitor is just a switch controlled by the ECU that sends power to coil and cuts off power to coil to produce secondary voltage. Not seen many of these go bad from posts.

Note Edit above for secondary ohm measurement to K ohms.
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Old 02-27-2009, 08:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have not tried a different meter to check the coil resistance on the one in the car although I was using a new meter that they pulled out of the packaging to check the primary coil resistance at the auto parts store.

I checked the pick-up coils in the distributor also. They passed (see item 6 in the original post)

Appreciate the link to the ECM folks. Hope I do not have to use it.

The ranges you listed above are consistent with what I found in the Toyota Service Manuals and are the range values I was using when testing.

I am using the correct scales but it never hurts to being that up. I have been triple checking these reading in case there is some sort of internittent problem.

Appreciate the comment on the failure rate of the ignitor. I recognize that they do not normally fail however, most folks don't get the battery hooked up backwards either. There does not seem to be a test for the ignitor other than eliminating all other sources of problems. I am just wondering where I will be able to get one if all else fails. The auot parts store did not list one.
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Have you checked any fusible links that may be involved?
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexanF250 View Post
I stopped by the auto parts store this evening to pick up the coil. Checked resistance on the new coil while at the counter and it reads out of range as well. It read 0.9 ohms just like the one I curently have in the car. Parts person pulled two more higher end units and they were also out of range. They both read 0.7 ohms which is still out of range. Range cold is 0.36 ohms to 0.55 ohms.

Any thoughts??? I went ahead and purchased the coil and will install it to see if it makes any difference.
Unless it's just coincidence, I have a hard time believing that your coil is the cause of the no-spark problem -- it's just a high-voltage transformer, and isn't going to be damaged by polarity. And a slightly high out-of-range resistance is, at worst, going to give you a not-so-hot spark, not a missing spark.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Problem solved. It was the coil.

I replaced the coil, put it back together, and had my 8-year old daughter operate the key so I could check for spark. It started right away on three cylinders. Hooked the plug wire back up and restarted on all 4-cylinders and runs perfect like it did before this fiasco. Glad I got this done. I really needed a win today.

Thank you very much to all that took time to read the initial post and offered their advice and suggestions. I would also like to thank the other members of the site that took the time to provide the resolution to thier similar no start/no spark threads. They were very helpful when I was doing searches on the problem, Nothing was more frustrating than finding a similar problem only to have the person no post the eventual resolution to the problem. There were a number of those. And lastly, thanks very much to whoever it is that posted the Toyota Service Manual online for this car. It was tremendously helpful and useful once I understood how it was laid out. I am glad I bought that LASERJET printer last year. Would have taken forever to print out some of that stuff on the old DeskJet.

Last edited by TexanF250; 02-27-2009 at 11:58 PM.
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