Toyota Nation Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum, but definitely not new to Camrys. My family has bought three Camrys new, and has put a lot of miles on them. My Camry is a 1989 with almost 300k miles. It's far from pristine at this point, but it's generally mechanically sound. It runs fine, passes smog (in California), and gets about 25 mpg in mixed driving.

The one major problem it does have is starting. For the last few months, the car won't start on the first crank (or often even the second or third turn of the key). Every time I try to start the car, it sounds like it's going to start. I can hear the starter turning even when the car doesn't start. And the starter is less than two years old; so I don't think the starter is the problem.

It always starts eventually, but not easily. It's quite a noisy procedure; and I'm growing weary of having everyone around look at me while the car tries to start.

So, any thoughts on what else might cause this sort of starting problem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,115 Posts
Assuming that cap rotor wires & plugs are in good condition and it happens after sitting overnight (cold) check the cold start injector time switch/ and or coolant thermosensor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response. Yes, the cap, rotor, and wires should be ok. They were replaced last year; but I'll check them again.

It's definitely true that the problem is worst when cold. It it terrible the first time in the morning. After driving it, sometimes it starts on the first crank and often on the second. But if I let it sit for a while, it usually takes at least three tries to start.

So what and where are the cold start injector time switch and coolant thermosensor? And how do I check them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
You might want to try to look inside the distributor and especially the cap and rotor to see if there is oil inside prohibiting good contact....these distributors are notorious for oil seepage due to the o-ring at the base of the distributor failing.
Wipe the inside of the cap clean with alcohol especially the metal contact areas where it meets the rotor. Do the same for the metal tip of the rotor. Maybe even sand them clean with sandpaper....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,115 Posts
Begin with cold start injector time switch
in "blue box"

With engine cold, unplug the connector and measure resistance between two terminals inside.
it must be 30 ..35 ohms
your connector looks differently but should be the same color (brown)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the clearly labeled photo.

I tried to unplug the cold start injector time switch, but it wouldn't budge. I assume it's supposed to unclip, perhaps with a bit of pressure on the right spot. But the only part of it that conceivably unclips is on the bottom, so I can't see it well. I tried feeling for something to push in or out to release it, but couldn't find any?

Did you mean I should unscrew the nut at the end?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,115 Posts
On the connector there is a large plastic tab that you should pull out (not to press on it) until it will touch the small horisontal limit bar. (use a tool similar to the dental pick) thn while holding that tab like that pull the connector off
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, that didn't go so well. I couldn't see the tab you mentioned, but I felt around gently with a small pry tool. In my first light exploratory tug, I broke the horizontal limit bar off.

Now it's a little easier to see the underside of the switch, but I still don't see a tab to pull out, and the switch won't come loose. I may resort to unscrewing the whole thing, and then separate the switch afterward.
 

·
3s-gte in a Camry?!?
'89 Camry Alltrac
Joined
·
8,935 Posts
Well, that didn't go so well. I couldn't see the tab you mentioned, but I felt around gently with a small pry tool. In my first light exploratory tug, I broke the horizontal limit bar off.

Now it's a little easier to see the underside of the switch, but I still don't see a tab to pull out, and the switch won't come loose. I may resort to unscrewing the whole thing, and then separate the switch afterward.
It should be fairly clear how you need to push or pull on the tab to separate the plug. I have been successful with every plug in the car with just my fingers or with the help of a small flat blade screwdriver. Essentially, you need to release the tab and then wiggle the connector until it comes loose.

You will not be able to unscrew the sensor/switch with the harness attached as it will spin too many times. Also, the switch goes directly into the coolant stream and you will need to refill the engine unless you keep it plugged somehow.

I recently had this switch break (completely in half) which caused the same symptoms you are describing.

-Charlie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Charlie,

Thanks for the comment. I'm sure the switch should unclip easily. Every other part I have meddled with on the car has unplugged easily. I even unplugged the neighboring electrical sensors, just to check how easily they come off.

I think that the tab was missing even before I broke the horizontal limit bar. My guess is that the tab broke the last time this part was serviced, probably by my mechanic ten years ago, and no one noticed until now.

As concerns unscrewing the whole unit: Yes, I figured as much. I imagined that coolant would leak out, which is unpleasant but perhaps necessary. I figure that it'll be hard to turn with the wiring in place, but I don't know what else to do.

I'm going to go to a junkyard tomorrow and see how the switch is supposed to unplug on a car that I don't care about. Plus, I may need a new switch.

When your switch broke, was it hard to remove the remaining bit?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,115 Posts
You should use 22 mm deep socket, 12 point to remove it; get the part with connector and bring the ohmmeter with you to check the part what you will be removing. Someone may have glued the broken connector to the sensor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Doctor J,

Right you are. It appears that a mechanic noticed that the tab was broken and the connector wouldn't stay on the sensor - so he affixed it. The connector is really stuck on there.

Now that I've cleaned the connector off, I notice that there appears to be some sort of glue-like substance around some of the connection (looks like gasket sealer).

I went to a junkyard and easily unplugged this connector on six or seven different camrys. There were two different types of connectors; both came apart easily. I checked all the switches for resistance, and almost all were bad. Most showed no resistance. Some had too much resistance. And one or two tested good.

I tried to take one of those good ones, but it turns out my socket wasn't deep enough. But now I know what I'm up against.

I have to get my connector off in order to even test my sensor, but I'm afraid I'll break the connector. I suppose I could plan for it to break, and have a spare connector to splice in; but I prefer to avoid extra wiring tasks if I can.

Anyhow, thanks for your help. You put your finger right on my starting problem. It most probably is the cold start time switch. And if it isn't that, it might be the cold start injector itself. But it's probably one of the two.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top