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Starting Problems

1290 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DFBonnett
Its just starting to get cold here in Maine and my '92 Camry is starting to have problems catching. It will turn over but not catch one day and then will start up fine the next day. The only thing i can think of is the cold but I'm not sure. I think I may have read something in one of the other posts sometime ago but didn't know it it meant cold (the car hasn't been started in a few hours) or temperature cold. Can anyone help?
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OK so just an update with some more information about the problem because the previous post was a little vague. Things are a little weird so bear with me. It was roughly 27 degrees when it would not start the first time, but the next I went out and it started up (with a slight sputter at the beginning) when it was 25 degrees. After it started it ran perfectly fine. The next day it was a little warmer but still in the high 20's and it wouldn't start. I proceeded to check the spark and although it was weak there was still a spark. I thought maybe the fuel pump wasn't working so I jumped the appropriate terminals in the diagnostics panel and listened for the pump to engage and it did so that works fine. I then heated the hood compartment with a salamander heater (big jet heater) and it started to sputter a little when I cranked it. Finally after cranking for a while and lightly pumping the pedal I got it to about 500 rev and let the key back to on with my foot still on the gas and she climbed up to just over idle and spat some grey smoke out the back. Not really sure whats up. Ask for more information and I'll give you the best of my knowledge.
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Engine, miles, past history, MIL?

We'll try to help.
5sfw, 183 k, don't know much about the past history other than what i have replaced. Replaced the distributor condensor to get it started when I first purchased it about 3 months ago. Also replaced struts and had to seal the distributor cap because moisture kept getting into the cap when it rained but I haven't had problems since. I have also recently found out the longer it sits the harder it is to start. So I have been starting it regularly and haven't had much of a problem over the last couple days, but this was after I got her going again by using the salamander heater. I am somewhat baffled right now, as is my father who is an Aircraft Maintenance Tech. I guess we'll see
have u tried cleaning out the throttle body and the idle air control (iac)?
The problem certainly sounds like ignition. Do you have any history on the plugs, cap, rotor, and wires?
plugs are relatively new, and I checked nearly everything in the rotor when it wasn't starting before because I was blowing a fuse that led to it (ended up being that condensor) so everything ohmed out correctly. One of the plug wires wasn't fitting correctly but I took care of that. And the cap is as I mentioned above, I just sealed it up with some lps3 kind of stuff (waxy sealant for the moisture)
How old are the wires? They don't last forever.
they were replaced in 03 or 04, maybe more recent than that. There is also a leak in the spark plug tub seals i think cause i can see some oil in the spark plug well.
tell a little more about not starting - does it sometimes sound like it kicks up higher, then falls back to normal cranking speed? that would indicate a lack of fuel issue. where did you get the ignition coil (condenser) from-new or used? did you replace the ignitor module as well (they have a history of taking each other out in toyotas, gm's, hondas, etc). have you tried adding an alternative fuel (brake cleaner, propane) as you crank? also, remember that <i>spark</i> is <b>not</b> the required factor in a running motor. combustion is. I have seen lots of cases where there is a weak spark, but not enough to light off the cylinders.

(this next paragraph is why you don't drink and diagnose, folks)

just read your second post thoroughly, and now I feel dumb. you have an enleanment problem. I'm pretty sure the '92 has a cold start fuel injector. You can find it on the intake manifold in the center facing the front of the car. it is a two pin Bosch style connector, it is only active on cranking, is a simple circuit from [crank position on ign switch] to [two pin coolant temp sensor on back of motor] to [cold start injector] to ground. the coolant temp sensor (there are 3) has either brown or black plastic on it (forget which) and heavier gauge wires (~16ga) running to it. You should start by disconnecting the connector from the injector and putting a 12v light across it. try starting in the cold (below 53 degrees) and it should light up. if it does, it's working and something else is wrong. if not, that's your problem.
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It doesn't change pitch when I am cranking, and I tried some ether and it didn't do a thing. The condensor was new and we ohmed out the ignitor about a month ago and it was fine. As far as the cold start fuel injector I think that might only be equiped on 6 cylinder models because I found nothing about it on the 4 cyl in my haynes manual (although it did talk about one on the 6 cyl models only). We are kind of at a loss as before
Now I know it is heat related because I couldn't start it for the life of me and towed it to a large storage area, after a day of warming from the freezing temperatures she started right up no problems at all......... baffled because I can't figure whats up in the cold and it has no problem in the comfortable heat
I wonder if you could have enough condensation in the fuel system to freeze up a fuel line or the fuel filter. You might want to try some Dry Gas and a new fuel filter if that has not been changed.
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