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Hello, brand new member although I've read helpful hints on this board before. I have a 2003 Camry SE 2.4L 2AZFE Automatic. It just hit 251K miles. I have recently changed, at the same time, the alternator, serpentine belt, serpentine belt tensioner, water pump, radiator, radiator hoses, thermostat, transmission fluid ( 7 or 8 times in last year), terminal connectors to battery (only on positive) and cleaned the grounds going to the tranny, the battery tray and the strut tower.

About two months ago I cleaned the throttle body. This fixed the issue of the ECU having to learn to idle the car after disconnecting the battery. It was very dirty and slightly stuck when gas pedal not depressed. Cleaning it fixed that issue. However, somewhere around this time, perhaps at the same time, I started hearing a buzzing sound when turning the key to the on position. When turning the key to the left out of the run position then the buzzing will sound again. If it is relevant, once in a while pulling the key out of the ignition will cause the door alarm chime to go off - it is intermittent and not all the time.

I completed all of the above repairs/maintenance items (with the exception of the battery) and put the car into service. For a time, the buzzing stopped. Then, the buzzing started again. I noticed that there was a small ring of corrosion around the battery post (not the terminals). I thought that was a bad sign seeing how it was a sealed AGM Optima battery. The negative battery post was cracking the plastic housing on the battery. I had the battery tested at Autozone. It failed both tests. I thought the battery post itself separating from the housing was odd seeing how the last battery I replaced did the same thing on this car .

I replaced the battery with a flooded cell battery from Autozone. That very night I started the car and it was a ROUGH start and I thought holy ****. Anyways, I tried turning on the headlights and everything started dimming and warning lights came on...surprisingly the ABS light came on first. I turned the lights off and drove home for around 40 min. with the headlights off but flashers on. Barely made it home. The last 15 minutes the warning lights would come on as I slowed down, hit the brakes, let off the gas etc. When I got to the apartment complex, the warning lights were on permanently but car still ran.

Now that I was angry and confused, I took the alternator the next day and had it tested. It failed. This alternator had maybe 100 miles on it...from the stealership! It failed both tests that Autozone put it through. However, I also noticed that the main (40 amp) fuse was also blown. So far, none of the other fuses seem bad. All have been tested except for a few of the bigger J type ones. Relays click. However, I did an ohm test last night on the ignition fuses (15 and 10?) and they show variable ohm readings, with key out of ignition, of 350 to 500 ohms.

I have a new alternator but I don't want to put it on there if something is going to destroy it...like an electrical short. I'm at my wits end.

I just ordered a new ignition switch and ignition key cylinder. If that doesn't work...I don't know.

P.S. I have been hearing coolant swish around for the last few months when I brake or hit the gas. A/C still worked when this problem happened. What do you think?
 

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Was the buzzing anything like the rapid clicking of the starter you get when the battery is too low to turn the starter motor? That is a pretty harsh clacking. If it's a sweet soft buzzing, then I'm guessing a relay is having trouble... or, potentially it's arcing that you're hearing through the radio. The source of the arcing could be anywhere.

The dead main electricals (battery, alternator, main fuse) sounds like some sort of dead short. How to diagnose... no idea, except (while tracking things down) to use a high-amperage battery charger WITH OVERCURRENT or OVERHEAT protection -- a lot of the old style analog 2-10-50-amp chargers would click off with an internal thermal circuit breaker when too much was asked of them.

The key thing is to diagnose. But if you'd rather fire the parts cannon at it, then I'd try a new starter.

Alternatively, I'd look VERY closely at the main cables off the battery to see if the + cable's insulation has burned or rubbed through or the - cable is abraded against some live power source. Plus, at least in the Avalons of the same date, there's a primary distribution module just under the L-shaped fuse box in the engine compartment, along the fender on the driver's side. Something might have gotten fried in there.

(Really puzzled about the swishing -- unless your hood is off and this is a convertible with the top down, I don't see how there could be audible coolant swishing, unless you mean a swishing noise coming from the heater. Swishing at the gas tank, with the sound coming from the trunk or under the back seat, seems more likely.)
 

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Sounds like somebody jump started it or at least temporarily committed a polarity snafu with a wire ortwo...red to negative or vice versa.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Was the buzzing anything like the rapid clicking of the starter you get when the battery is too low to turn the starter motor? That is a pretty harsh clacking. If it's a sweet soft buzzing, then I'm guessing a relay is having trouble... or, potentially it's arcing that you're hearing through the radio. The source of the arcing could be anywhere.

The dead main electricals (battery, alternator, main fuse) sounds like some sort of dead short. How to diagnose... no idea, except (while tracking things down) to use a high-amperage battery charger WITH OVERCURRENT or OVERHEAT protection -- a lot of the old style analog 2-10-50-amp chargers would click off with an internal thermal circuit breaker when too much was asked of them.

The key thing is to diagnose. But if you'd rather fire the parts cannon at it, then I'd try a new starter.

Alternatively, I'd look VERY closely at the main cables off the battery to see if the + cable's insulation has burned or rubbed through or the - cable is abraded against some live power source. Plus, at least in the Avalons of the same date, there's a primary distribution module just under the L-shaped fuse box in the engine compartment, along the fender on the driver's side. Something might have gotten fried in there.

(Really puzzled about the swishing -- unless your hood is off and this is a convertible with the top down, I don't see how there could be audible coolant swishing, unless you mean a swishing noise coming from the heater. Swishing at the gas tank, with the sound coming from the trunk or under the back seat, seems more likely.)
Thank you for responding so quickly. The buzzing is not like any clicking sound from the starter (at least to my knowledge). I'll check the relays by powering them and then checking for continuity. Last time I just powered them and made sure they clicked.

The dead electricals do sound like a short which is what concerns me and why I haven't installed the new alternator. I have a probe but haven't found anything yet - I just got the probe last night though and still learning how to use it and put it through its paces.

I will take a look at the positive cables coming right off the battery tomorrow. So far the grounds are good. I've checked the one on the transmission, the strut tower and the one on the battery tray. I am interested in taking a look at the primary distribution module under the fuse box. I think I know what you mean.

As the other comment said, the swishing is probably due to air in the lines and/or problems with the heater core. The swishing I'm hearing is in front of me not behind so it is not the gas in the gas tank.

Thanks for the input. Any more is appreciated.
 

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Sounds like somebody jump started it or at least temporarily committed a polarity snafu with a wire ortwo...red to negative or vice versa.
I did use my car to jump start my fiance's. Amazingly, her alternator was bad (not her battery). But, we ended up replacing the battery too just for insurance. Her car is a Honda so we hardly ever do anything to it besides regular maintenance. I used my car to jump hers right before I decided to do the maintenance on my car. Coincidence? Maybe.

All the work was performed by me. I don't think I did a polarity snafu. I was and still am cautious when installing batteries.
 

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Not that this is necessarily the case for your situation, but I once bought a wrong battery for my car where the polarity was reversed (positive was negative, negative was positive). This was a long time ago, when I was still a kid and a noob. Anyway, it totally F'd up my car. It blew up a bunch of fuses and more. Ended up costing a bunch of money at the mechanic, and all for a simple noob DIY mistake. My car was certainly never the same after, even after the fixes at the mechanic.

Regarding the coolant swishing around, maybe there are air pockets in your cooling system? Did you burp the air out of your system when you did all the cooling system changes (radiator, water pump etc)? Like shown here (except use Toyota coolant and not the coolant they mention)

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not that this is necessarily the case for your situation, but I once bought a wrong battery for my car where the polarity was reversed (positive was negative, negative was positive). This was a long time ago, when I was still a kid and a noob. Anyway, it totally F'd up my car. It blew up a bunch of fuses and more. Ended up costing a bunch of money at the mechanic, and all for a simple noob DIY mistake. My car was certainly never the same after, even after the fixes at the mechanic.

Regarding the coolant swishing around, maybe there are air pockets in your cooling system? Did you burp the air out of your system when you did all the cooling system changes (radiator, water pump etc)? Like shown here (except use Toyota coolant and not the coolant they mention)

No, I didn't bleed it good and proper. I will though. Thanks.
 

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Check the tsb for your vehicle. There's a plethora of information for you if you so choose to search by it. I found it using my online public library database but here's some food for thought.
Screenshot_20190918-011511.png
Screenshot_20190918-011518.png
 

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Check the dates on the batteries. Make sure they're not old. AutoZone and every place sometimes sell old batteries that weren't maintained. Sometimes I swear they refurbish them or have a third party do it. Bar code scanners are amazing..

The buzzing could be your throttle body. But most definitely is something causing electrical interference, suggesting an open or grounded circuit. You'll likely not solve this issue without a multi meter. And I'd reckon based off then list of things you said failed, that there may be a problem with your cars ECU as it regulates charging amperage. Or does on other cars.

Was the alternator the stealership replaced a Value/discount part? If so its remanufactured. First time I ever needed a new alternator the shop (not dealership) but in a defective unit. Faulty voltage regulator. Luckily I called quick and described it like "is it normal for my lights to be getting brighter while accelerating? Voltage turned out to be increasing with rpm and the shop apologized, put a new one in and I didn't have anymore be issues. I was 17 then, never worked on cars before or went to college. And I got lucky the problem was immediately apparent and not intermittent/weeks later.

Always go to battery ground as your negative when hooking up your battery or to jump someone else's. The battery can arc, spark and cause damage or even explode. It's not unheard of anyway. YouTube is a great resource but too. Ebscohost /auto data repair public library 😁
 

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[QUOTE="loanofficer138, post: 14122384, . However, I did an ohm test last night on the ignition fuses (15 and 10?) and they show variable ohm readings, with key out of ignition, of 350 to 500 ohms.

I have a new alternator but I don't want to put it on there if something is going to destroy it...like an electrical short. I'm at my wits end.

P.S. I have been hearing coolant swish around for the last few months when I brake or hit the gas. A/C still worked when this problem happened. What do you think?
[/QUOTE]

Not trying to sound like a complete and utter d bag right now because I respect your interest in fixing your car but as I reread your post there's just so much wrong.

You've far exceeded your capacity for fixing the problem. You have money to throw parts at it that won't help and they repeatedly fail. So you fail. Bring it somewhere or continue the cat and mouse game your playing with yourself.

I have no doubt in my mind your fried your cars computer. You ONLY check continuity/resistance on an open circuit. NO POWER CONNECTED!!!
Fuses should read 1 or less checking across the two contacts.500 or 5000 your testing a live circuit , probably killed you ECU, your multi meter and lucky u didn't get zapped. It only takes but a few milliamps to stop a heart. Your alternator has the capability to power 100amps, the equivalent of 100,000 milliamps mA..

Read the instructions the meter came with. Then consider taking HVAC at a tech college. You'll learn mechanics, low voltage electrical, refrigeration, and all about physics and the principle of energy and thermodynamics. Then go and probe around on circuits.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well Tundra maybe I have exceeded my ability. And yes I should have disconnected the battery when doing the ohm test. I did that test with a probe with a breaker. Maybe I did do damage to the ECU perhaps not. However, I did that test yesterday. So, it certainly wasnt the cause of my problem.

But, thank you for the comment.
 

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While not, perhaps, a paragon of civility, tundrawolf does raise an interesting, modern automotive diagnostic issue: trends in automotive electronic design.

That trend is to digitize and modularize every functional nook and cranny of vehicles. The result is a proliferation of microprocessor-controlled amplifiers and control units, all of them replacing simple mechanical devices that in the bad old days could be reverse-engineered easily. Today, the modules are black boxes that are increasingly resistant to diagnosis without expensive (and extensive) diagnostic equipment. Many of them interact with each other, confusing the diagnostics.

loanofficer, you might be better off finding a shop that has proven skills in automotive electrical diagnosis. There's a youTuber I follow who regularly astonishes me with his ability to attack strange problems in logical ways -- and with his investments. He has at least $10,000 in diagnostic units and automotive repair info subscriptions... and it's clear that he needs all of it to get to the bottom of a number of things.

The video I'm linking below has NOTHING to do with your problem. I'm pointing you to it so you can see the kinds of diagnostic equipment and thinking that Eric has to do in order to find the cause of a "money light" (check engine light) problem on an engine. You'll see:
  • 3 kinds of diagnostic equipment, total about $3,000
  • steps he takes (he checks for TSB, technical service bulletin, looks up OBD2 diagnostic code setting criteria -- why the CEL came on -- looks at physical components, searches the Internet for a known good oscilloscope pattern, knows what has to be unplugged to get a clean diagnosis and more).

Not many shops are as savvy as Eric is, but they are out there. If you can find one, you'll be closer to finding what's gone wrong with your Camry.
 

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I just took a quick look at the 03 Camry ESM, the 40A MAIN fuse under the hood feeds the headlights (relays and fuses), so not likely where the problem started. (but I don't understand how you had lights if the fuse was blown)
The fact that you just replaced the battery when all hell broke loose, would make it suspect #1 for me to investigate and go back to Autozone. Before you hook up the "new" (rebuilt?) alternator, Install a good known charged battery start the car to see where you are at.
You measured the 10 & 15A IGN fuses 350-500 Ohm, while in the circuit, you mentioned the key was out so the circuit was not powered, but that does not matter !!. you don't know what you are measuring downstream.
REMOVE the fuse and measure it. I doubt that you will still find 350-500 Ohm.
HTH
JerryR
 
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