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PaulPR: Agreed - I recently replaced the plugs but held on to my original wires ('99 V6 185K) because the replacement after market wires weren't the same quality as 20+ year old OEM. lol.
 

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1997 Camry LE 5S-FE Automatic Kentucky built
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Discussion Starter #22
It is the park neutral switch. I had 12 volts going to the switch but no 12 volts coming out. I will do a write up on how to test that quickly with pictures for reference, remove the battery and get to the wiring harness for the PN switch by carefully slicing the tape off and finding the black with white striped wire (input from key) and the solid grey wire (output to starter relay) both are roughly 18 gauge. make sure 12 V is on the black/white wire when cranking and also the grey wire when cranking and in park/neutral. For now the fix is to bridge 2 wires in order to bypass the switch, which isn't recommended but it gets me to work then I'll hit pick and pull tmrw to grab a new switch and remove the jumper wire.
 

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I'm confused. Earlier you mentioned the starter relay is clicking. The only way for that to happen is if it's getting power to the control side of the relay...and that has to come through the neutral start switch.
You also mentioned the dash lights dim with the key in the start position. That symptom fit with an open circuit in the neutral start switch either.
 

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Completely agree with PaulPR. Lights dimming means there's some load which doesn't square with your open circuit at the PN switch. The PN switch also controls the dashboard lights for P-R-N-D-2-1 and the backup lights so you would know right away if it was bad. Finally, the shift lever being forced one way or other will affect the P and D safety interlock in the shift lever - not the PN switch.

Glad a simple jumper resolved your issue!
 

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1997 Camry LE 5S-FE Automatic Kentucky built
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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
There was A relay clicking on in JB #2, turns out it wasn't the starter relay but a different one in the same JB #2. The problem is the PN switch for certain. 12 V comes in on the black/white wire (signal from key) and once your in P or N it closes pins 5 and 6 (black/white wire and grey wire) in order for the 12 volts to be sent to the relay to energize the coil. I jumpered the grey wire to the black/white wire and she starts right up no hesitation.

I took the PN switch apart and mechanically it looks fine, I greased it a cpl months ago internally and everything worked fine until I forced it out of park. Yes, the only thing that could be damaged by forcing it out of gear is the interlock solenoid, I took all of that apart and greased everything I could, also greased the shifter detents and the internal spring for the interlock release button.

Honestly it makes no sense to me either on how the PN switch failed but that's exactly what it is and it is now remedied.

What's even crazier is when I had it in P or N and tried to start it the lights would dim and all that but if I had it in R, D, 1, or 2 it wouldn't even dim the lights. So something's up with that PN switch. It's just a bunch of metal slide bars that make contact with a wiper arm, seems like if it were going to fail it would be obvious. It must of failed when I forced it out of gear is all I can think of.

For research purposes I can bench test the PN switch after I swap it out.
 

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1997 Camry LE 5S-FE Automatic Kentucky built
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Discussion Starter #26
If anyone would like to test this theory just cut the grey wire coming from PN switch and try starting vehicle, will be same symptoms. Then solder grey wire back together for a factory finish.
 

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Sounds like the PN switch is damaged somehow and partially engages and so introduces a resistance (rather than a straight path) between B/W and Grey wires in the P and N positions. That then causes a voltage drop so the starter relay engages partially or chatters. That then causes a partial or incomplete closure of the starter solenoid and partial loading of the starter motor. Not enough to start the car but enough to load the battery.

Would like to hear of what you find after the PN switch is bench tested. Glad you've got it licked!
 

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1997 Camry LE 5S-FE Automatic Kentucky built
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Discussion Starter #28
I might of had the P/N switch unplugged the whole time lol. I just pulled my old one off and realized it was unplugged; the way the plug was sitting made it look plugged in from the angle I was viewing it at, and I guess I'm not on the ball lol. Cars gone for the day but when it gets back I'm going to test if that was the issue. Lol, I really hope it wasnt, but, I have my old switch off and apart and it looks exactly the same to the new switch. Also, since I plugged new one in the gear selector lights in dash work and I now have a check engine light on with the jumper wire installed and it's the p1780 P/N switch code. So I'm assuming I was a wee bit baked and missed the connector being plugged in (can't remember how or why I unplugged it, but it's possible).
 

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That makes sense. As noted previously, your observations didn't square with a broken P/N switch. Dashboard lights P-R-N-D-2-1 and the car going into R from P are controlled from the exact same wiper arm on the PN switch, so doesn't make sense that one was working and the other not.

Sounds like you need to remove the jumper and you'll be on your way ....
 

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1997 Camry LE 5S-FE Automatic Kentucky built
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Discussion Starter #30
She came back before she left town for the day and I quickly cut the jumper wire. The car starts with the new switch in and the jumper wire cut (problem solved). When I unplug the switch and then try and start it it's not the same as the problem I had. The led clock in dash dims but there are no clicking of any relays and I can't hear the fuel pump. So I guess it actually is my old P/N switch, only way to confirm is to reinstall my old one and try starting it. Here is a pic of the old switch internally via Imgur, it doesn't look any different than the other one.
 

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Your old switch copper contacts look like new and the switch appears to be in excellent working condition. You can follow the contact positions from left to right P-R-N-D-2-1. Top semi-circle controls dashboard lights. Middle semi-circle is the indication that the key is inserted. Third semi-circle is active only in P and N and that controls the starter solenoid. All copper contacts look fine.

Sounds like you accidentally bumped the connector while working on the car - this happens all the time and even more so these days when everything is packed closely together. Best!!
 

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1997 Camry LE 5S-FE Automatic Kentucky built
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Discussion Starter #32
I'll report back after I reinstall the old switch and see if it will start. If this switch is bad and it looks visually ok than I'd like there to be some sort of a record of it. That way if someone else runs into this issue they have some sort of info to work with. :)
 
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