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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 12-04-2009, 04:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Backwards battery

Alright,

Here's the situation.

The battery on my dad's camry was (allegedly) dead.

Car wouldn't start without a jump, wouldn't hold a charge at all.

So he bought a new battery.

...

Hooked it up backwards. There was a large spark and obviously no power anywhere.

The alternator fuse was blown (the big one).

I replaced that, but the car will still only run if jump started.

I don't know what/how to test different electrical components because I can't think of what it could possibly be.

Any ideas?

P.S. - There is now a NEW new battery, hooked up correctly of course.
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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burnt out the starter motor or blew the starter circuit fuse
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trentmeyer23 View Post
burnt out the starter motor or blew the starter circuit fuse
If she runs when jumped (as he states), it ain't the starter...

Chris -- when you say "jump started", do you mean jumper cables across the battery, or running a direct cable to the starter contacts?
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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jumper cables from my camry to the battery of the "dead" camry.
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Crash View Post
jumper cables from my camry to the battery of the "dead" camry.
Damn, that rules out an awful lot of potential problems. Without jumping, does she try to start at all? Might be worth trying measuring the voltage at the battery connectors (not on the posts, but the connectors) while you're trying to crank to see if there is a really lousy contact between the posts and the connectors (if there is, you'll see a major drop from the nominal ~12.6V battery voltage).
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Old 12-04-2009, 05:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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no without jumping not even interior lights come on. nothing happens at all. no clicking, no lights, nothing.

i'll do that as soon as i can get my hands on a volt meter!

What else could it be you think?
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Maybe you roasted the battery?
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You probably have to check many more fuses and links.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Crash View Post
Alright,

Here's the situation.

The battery on my dad's camry was (allegedly) dead.

Car wouldn't start without a jump, wouldn't hold a charge at all.

So he bought a new battery.

...

Hooked it up backwards. There was a large spark and obviously no power anywhere.

The alternator fuse was blown (the big one).

I replaced that, but the car will still only run if jump started.

I don't know what/how to test different electrical components because I can't think of what it could possibly be.

Any ideas?

P.S. - There is now a NEW new battery, hooked up correctly of course.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny_McCormic View Post
Maybe you roasted the battery?
No, we put another new one in after the other battery was incorrectly hooked up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGD View Post
You probably have to check many more fuses and links.
Which fuses/links would have been affected by this?
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGD View Post
You probably have to check many more fuses and links.
Color me clueless, but if jumping the rig at the battery lets 'er start, what could it be other than another duff (or discharged) battery or a really bad connection between the battery posts and the connectors? I mean, it's not like a jump is going to suddenly heal a fuse, link, or relay, right?
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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check to see if its grounded...maybe you broke a bolt
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Maybe there's something I don't know (besides almost everything) but it seems to me if you're connecting the jumper cables directly to the battery clamps then there isn't a problem with anything else other than the battery or the connection between the battery terminals and the clamps. Try redoing them and cleaning both posts and clamps with a battery brush, file or sandpaper. If however, you're connecting either cable to another part of the car (as I believe is recommended) then check for a fusible link in that battery cable. A fusible link is a bit of wire designed to open if too much current passes. It is often installed between the battery clamp and where ever the cable runs. It may be crimped into the wire and insulated or may be integrated into the clamp. Damn I type slow! 2 posts from when I started.

Last edited by Dave's; 12-04-2009 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hill8570 View Post
Color me clueless, but if jumping the rig at the battery lets 'er start, what could it be other than another duff (or discharged) battery or a really bad connection between the battery posts and the connectors? I mean, it's not like a jump is going to suddenly heal a fuse, link, or relay, right?
That sounds logical.

But like I said, this is essentially a brand new battery. I don't know why it would be dead already...

Maybe the alternator is bad?

How can I check the alternator?
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Maybe the + - connecters on the battary are unclean. Make sure there is no aggregate on the connecters or the battary itself. If there is clean it up then see how it goes.

didnt see this sry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave's View Post
Maybe there's something I don't know (besides almost everything) but it seems to me if you're connecting the jumper cables directly to the battery clamps then there isn't a problem with anything else other than the battery or the connection between the battery terminals and the clamps. Try redoing them and cleaning both posts and clamps with a battery brush, file or sandpaper. If however, you're connecting either cable to another part of the car (as I believe is recommended) then check for a fusible link in that battery cable. A fusible link is a bit of wire designed to open if too much current passes. It is often installed between the battery clamp and where ever the cable runs. It may be crimped into the wire and insulated or may be integrated into the clamp. Damn I type slow! 2 posts from when I started.
Clean the clamps!!!
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Last edited by firetridagger; 12-04-2009 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Crash View Post
That sounds logical.

But like I said, this is essentially a brand new battery. I don't know why it would be dead already...

Maybe the alternator is bad?

How can I check the alternator?
OK, I've been assuming that when the latest and greatest new battery was installed, there was a very small time lag between installation and attempting to crank. If cranking failed even immediately after installation of the battery, then a bad alternator is pretty much ruled out.

If there was a long (say, overnight) period between the battery installation and attempting to crank, then I could see how there might be a short or high-drain caused by hooking up the battery in reverse. If you put a multimeter directly on the posts of the new battery and you read a dead battery, that's the direction your start looking.

As with most of the posters, I'd call filthy inner surfaces of the battery clamps to be the most likely case, but I'd also assume that you wire-brushed or sanded the inside of the clamps before hooking up the battery...kind of standard practice. If not, pulling the clamps, cleaning off any corrosion (using water or water and baking soda), and diligently cleaning / sanding the inner surface of the clamps and the battery posts would be job one.
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