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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

My 2006 Camry is acting strange.

I first noticed the car would occasionally stall after starting, when cold.

Then, my programmable radio channels reset, and I noticed it seemed as thought the starter was taking a second longer to start the car.

I suspected the battery, and took it to Oreilly's. I had them test the battery, starter, and alternator in the car with the tester that hooks up to the battery leads.

The battery failed the test, and so did the starter, but the car started and ran. We did the test again, and this time the starter passed and the alternator failed, even thought the car ran. With the car running, the voltage slowly climbed from 12.2 V to 13.8 V, and when we tested it again, the alternator passed.

The battery was bulging, so I bought a new one.

I put the new battery in, and we tested everything again. This time the battery and starter passed, but the alternator failed.

I bought an alternator, put it in, and took it to Oreilly's to test again, inside the car. The new alternator failed! The voltage was about 12.3 V with the car running.

I suspected there may be nothing wrong with the original alternator, so I asked them to check it with the tester they have in the store. It tested fine!

Maybe I have a bad wiring harness?

Any ideas on what may be wrong?

Thanks
 

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First thing to check is your grounds, starting with the main one from the battery to wherever it leads to. Since you have a new battery, start at the bolt on the battery clamp. Take it apart and clean with a small stiff wire brush. Follow the ground cable take it off at the end and clean the mating surfaces.
 

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Voltage drop test across the terminals and cables. Definitely ensure high quality connection at the posts
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Since the old alternator tested fine in the machine inside the store, and the new alternator tested bad in my car, I convinced them to let me return the new alternator and get my money back.

With the old alternator in the car, and the new battery, the car would still stall at red lights.

I took it to a mechanic, and he said there was nothing wrong with it. The computer was learning where to set the idle with the new battery. He told me to just keep driving it around and it would get better.

I had never heard of such a thing, but it seems like he's right, as it hasn't stalled and seems to be running fine, now.

Is it true that the car could run poorly immediately after changing to a new battery, until the computer figures things out?
 

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Yes, but not because of the battery itself. It usually doesn't take more than a few moments, at idle, and a few blocks once driving, for the ECM to "figure things out" again. It is not unusual to have a brief rough idle upon first restarting and/or less than perfect shifts (different ECU) and similar for a brief period of time.

I had a GMC truck that got intermittent use that I would disconnect the battery on and, invariably, when I went to fire it up a few days to a few months later you could tell that the ECM was trying to get its bearings again. If I didn't disconnect the battery this would not occur (unless I forgot and allowed it to drain over a long period of time - if the battery went completely dead, the ECM "forgot" what it knew).
 

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On Gen 6 Camrys there is a somewhat rare, but documented issue where the electrical connector for the ABS module under the hood freaks out and all the electrical stuff gets posessed by a demon or something. Unplugging it and plugging it back in usually resolves the issue. There is no explanation for it. In 9 years of having the car in the family it has only happened twice.
 
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