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Just remember this:
Either pay more now and worry less or pay more in the long run and worry more.

Something that I believe is forgotten about when taking your vehicle to the shop is that you are not just only paying just the mechanic to diagnosis or fix your car. You are paying for the tools, the special equipment, the heavy special equipment, the subscriptions, and their knowledge. Not everyone is gonna have a tire machine, AC machine, $10,000 Snap-On scan tool running Windows XP, air compressor, metal fabrication equipment, among many other things. "Most" people just think "I am paying that poor low paid mechanic".

For basic electrical diagnosis you need:
  • Multimeter (Fluke 87V)
  • Power Probe (Optional)
  • 3 foot wire with in-line fuse holder
  • 6 foot wire with in-line fuse holder
  • 12 foot or as long as you want wire with in-line fuse holder
These are the tools that my instructor required us to get (even though I was the only one with the Fluke) and these really are the basic electrical diagnosis tools you need. Just having these can get you through what could be a majority of your electrical needs.
 

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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.
I'd give ^^^ a try...I once was dealing with somewhat of a similar issue. And after replacing the battery, alternator, terminals, etc. and still "nada". The + cable didn't visually look like it needed replacement. Yet I still went ahead and replaced it...issue resolved.
 

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Never, ever jump start a vehicle unless you are certain that the battery was dead from something simple such as the lights left on. You can total a modern car that way.
 

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Loanofficer138, when it comes to electrical stuff in an automobile, I'm always in, over my head. If a few "Captain Obvious" attempts don't work for me, I take it to a pro.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Hey I wanted to let everyone know that after checking some of the main wiring coming off of the battery and then the main wiring going to the fuse box and disassembling a lot of it trying to figure it out I resorted to what might be at least one of the problems - the negative battery terminal. I haven't replaced it yet but I threw the whole car back together and it fired right up. There is a 0.19 amp drain on the battery. I'm not sure what that is but I will take it to as good of a mechanic as I can find when I have time. I didn't work on the car recently due to health issues that's why this thread sort of disappeared. I really appreciate your replies - yes, even the not-so-well-mannered gentleman who told me I fried my ECU. I still have a lot to learn about electrical. I didn't fry my ECU (that I know of) but lesson learned. I hope people keep in mind that no one starts out knowing everything. We learn along the way - and that includes mistakes. I made a mistake and luckily I don't have many negative consequences as a result. The car is not 100 percent but it is drivable. It still makes that warning buzzer sound but we will see if it still does that after I replace the terminal. If it does then the mechanic will have to take a look at it.

Anyways, party on.
 

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Electrical issues are one of the hardest to pin point, even if you have a garage full of the right tools. Bad cables, flaky connections, dead fuses/relays can exhibit odd results.

Case 1:

My son's 1997 Explorer was cutting out while driving and not starting some times, then the door locks would go Exorcist and lock/unlock in RAPID succession if you pressed a button in the car (like window or the lock function kind of thing). Different dash lights would come on. Found that the battery cables, positive and negative, were very corroded the last several inches leading to the battery. I had to cut them back and install a splice to permanently fix the condition. Door locks going nuts, that's an interesting side effect.

Case 2:

Daughter's 1997 CR-V would not start - no crank, completely dead cycle when trying. Then it would catch and go. Then not. Random, never a rhyme or reason. Got significantly worse after I had banged in/out lower ball joints. If we banged around the front end it would start sometimes. Wound up being the ground connection coming from the neutral safety switch (the NSS is bolted right next to the area where you bang the ball joints around - vibrations ran the wires up to the connection). The NSS ran the ground wire through a major wire cluster and split off a ground splice onto the top of a bracket near the rear of the engine. I could wiggle that large splice area and get continuity on the ground wire to cut in and out. Bypassed that ground setup and it worked perfectly. Deep inside the wrapped and taped splice area it was faulty.

Case 3:

Cig port/power port would not work. Fuses were good, wires looked fine. Turns out there is a wire type fuse link in the base of these ports - a thicker black wire that connects one of the plates on the base of all these power ports to the circuit. In a large runaway surge kind of thing that wire melts, breaking the connection between the plates to the circuit. The only way to even know this or diagnose it is to pull the port and check continuity at that small wire link.


Bad diode in the alternator can also cause major issues. When an alternator is rebuilt they do not typically tear down into it to replace the diode. If that goes, the alt does not charge the battery properly and you get electrical and starting issues. Poor connections between the alt and the battery can cause issues, failing relays can cause odd symptoms, you name it.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
So, today, driving along and parking with the car idling for awhile the idle started to drag down every now and again. I thought, "oh crap I read about this". Sure enough, ten to twenty seconds later, the temperature starts skyrocketing. Air in the lines? I thought I had bled most of that out but apparently not. I popped the hood turned, on the heater and saw coolant in the overflow boiling. Heater did not cool it down so the gauge got to around 3/4 of the way to red and I shut her off. I'm not sure if the fan came on though. I let it sit for over an hour and then returned to drive it. I don't hear any air pockets when driving and turning. So, now I think I got rid of the trapped air but have a fan problem?
 

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I thought, "oh crap I read about this".
What did you read?

I popped the hood turned on the heater and saw coolant in the overflow boiling.
Was the fan running at high speed? If you have a/c (and the a/c is working), turning on the a/c should trigger the radiator fan(s) to run.

Idle overheat could have a number of causes, from a malfunctioning thermostat, a water pump that's not really pumping (slipping on its drive belt, metal vanes rusted off, plastic ones crumbled), to a cooling system cap that's not holding pressure, to a clogged radiator, to a blown head gasket... though the latter usually happens at speed, not at idle.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
I read air in the lines will mess with your idle - or car wanting to die, which is what happened.

Now, I think the air is gone. But, either the fans aren't kicking on it something more serious. The water pump, radiator, hoses thermostat, etc. are all new. Everything new except radiator cap. It looks a little beat up honestly. Waterpump and thermostat are genuine Toyota.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Yeah I agree OleAvalon. I will have to diagnose it this weekend. That, along with my lower control arm bolt problem. One of the bolts refuses to go in after about half way. It is the bolt that is just aft of the one covered by one of the engine mounts. How important is the spacer that goes over one of the bolt holes for the control arm? There's no way I can install it on my new control arm (made by Detroit Axle) The bolt holes don't line up. The only way I could install it is to drill it out. I am 99 percent sure I got the right parts (according to their website). Anyways, one more hassle with this car. The factory service manual says to remove engine and transmission to replace lower control arms. What a joke. I didn't remove the engine but had to jack up engine and transmission one at a time and remove mounts to get to the bolts. I'm really hating my Camry. Unfortunately, I think the feeling is mutual.
 

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Your lower control arm -- process is totally different from the one in my 02 Avalon FSM, where you just remove the lower ball joint, then remove the arm. Nothing about engine / tranny mounts or removing the drive train. That's of course for the 3.0 V6 drive train.

You have placed the new arm over the old arm and confirmed that the new one is an exact match? The Avalon and the Camry control arms are the same part numbers on Rock Auto, for both the Camry 2.4 and 3.0 engines.

I see a "lower suspension arm bushing stopper" that goes on the thinner, flat-ended horizontal pin/pivot through the forward arm mount's bushing, a pin/pivot that takes 2 bolts. Is that what you're referring to?

It looks as though the stopper just fits over the flat-ended pin, no problem... as long as the arm is out of the car. You put it on the new arm before trying to re-mount the arm.

(There's a second bushing at the back, a vertical, thick bushing, with one bolt, that fits into a large hole at the arm's trailing mount... unless forward and trailing are the other way around. The FSM diagram forgot to include where the front of the car is.)
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Also, no, I looked at the control arms one over the other. They are exceptionally close but not the same. Where the two bolt holes are on the control arm (close to one another) they are slightly different in that the placement of the holes seems similar but the flange they are mounted on is not the same size. So the bolts still go in but because the part that the bolt holes are drilled into is shorter (where part 48657A fits over) I can not fit part 48657A on it and put the bolt through. In other words, deleting the part, in theory, based off of visual observation should be fine in terms of where the bolts go into. However, there is no way of installing part 48657A on the new arm unless I drill it out for reasons I described above.
 

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Control arm hitting the subframe is going to be noisy. However, since that would require a substantial upward swing of the nose of the car, you probably won't hear it. Adding a bushing or cushion there is kind of a manufacturer-created ghetto fix... but that kind of thing is fairly common, where a vehicle generation reveals a problem early in its run and band-aid fixes are applied at the factory.

Interestingly, Rock Auto carries many Detroit Axle parts for other vehicles, but doesn't stock Detroit Axle's Camry/Avalon control arms. Maybe RA ran into complaints about this issue in the past and opted not to offer the Detroit Axle part for this particular application. Or maybe something else about the Detroit Axle part makes it so that the arm-to-frame hit won't happen.
 
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