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Question about 2002 Toyota Camry

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This morning engine turns over normally but will not fire/ignite - was working ok yesterday

Posted by letins40 on

  • letins40 Mar 28, 2009

    lack of spark seems like the only reasonable problem since the day before all systems were go.
    looking at what is "visible" under the hood, I can not see the coil, distributor or spark plugs.
    how can these items be accessed to check the spark?


  • letins40 Mar 29, 2009

    the engine is 4 cylinder. must the top covering be removed to see all parts?

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Ginko

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Check the spark plugs and eventually replace them.

Check the air intake and air filter, air intake temperature sensor should be tested by a mechanic, as this can cause cold start problems.

Check if there is fuel pressure, and if fuel is circulating regularly. A tool to measure fuel pressure can be purchased at any part shop for about $30.

If fuel pressure is not regular, then check fuel pump, fuel lines , and fuel filter.

Distribution problems can also cause the car not starting at cold, check distributor rotor or coil pack, check wires to spark plugs. Try to understand if one or more cilinder is misfiring (engine rough) , in that case check distribution.

Electronic injection problems can arise because of a fault on the vacuum system, or a faulty sensor (O2 MAF) in case, do a code reading scan on the car ECU (computer module) using an ODBII code reader.
This will return error codes that can help in addressing fuel injection problem.
Also test and clean injectors.

If the problem is none of the above, check ignition and ac system, if car is not cranking, or if there is no power to sparks at all , it can be a faulty ignition (cylinder, ignition switch coil) or a problem with a locked alarm system.

As first thing replace sparks and check if they are burnt irregularly , or if one spark plug is dirtier then the others, that will mean the car is misfiring. If one spark plug is covered with oil, then one or more cylinder have problems( ring).

Replace air filter.

Replace fuel filter.

Possibly scan computer.

Try to understand if fuel is getting into cylinders and if engine has no spark, or is misfiring.

Check all wiring from ignition , coil and wiring connected to sparks.

Posted on Mar 29, 2009

  • Ginko
    Ginko Apr 01, 2009

    The fact that car was working 12 hours ago does mean nothing. Car faults do not warn you before coming.

    The fact that you assumed that the problem can fixed at user level, by plugging or unplugging a wire, does not necessarily mean that the problem is repairable at user level.

    Usually it is not like that.

    In the best case the problem is the anti theft system, in that case try using the key fob to unlock, if it does not work you call the car dealer and arrange key fob re-programming.

    Also ignition problems can cause the same, and they do not warn you before failing.

    To test ignition and ignition switch you need to take apart the steering column and use a tester, that is not a job that can be done by everybody.

    Accessing the Ignition coil is easier, on a Camry you need to remove the cover on top of the cylinder heads by undoing two bolts.

    To test ignition coil there is need to read the impedance on coil using an ohmeter.

    After accessing the coil the tester must read betwen 130 and 210 ohms.

    Here is the coil Ignition Coil 1992-1993 Toyota Camry



    Here is procedure to replace the coil

    If you are not able to identify head cover coils and parts, that means that you should not attempt doing it by yourself.

    Get the service manual for your engine , and do not remove any part without following detailed instructions. See: Toyota Automotive Repair Manuals - A Do It Youself (DIY) Manual.

    Apart ignition and Anti theft related problems , there are many more problems that can prevent car from starting.

    Many problems can be spotted by connecting a code reader to car computer module, here is a basic code reader: OBD I and II Actron code readers or Code Buddy CAN OBD II Code Reader.

    Also fuel pressure and vacuum must be tested, a line can get clogged or pump can fail without warning you. Here is the tool Lisle 20300 VACUUM GAGE/FUEL PUMP TEST.

    Fuel injection can also be responsible, here a complete test kit: Fuel Injection and Fuel Pump Tools : Tool Aid.

    Finally, compression should be tested to reveal engine internal problem, here is the kit.Motion Pro Compression Test Tool

    The alternative is going to a qualified mechanic and have all the steps above performed by a competent person with the tools already in there.

    Note : from description looks like ignition/distribution problem the most common Alarm and ignition coil, that is the reason why I started with those parts.

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Hi letins40,
    This is a common issue in most of the Toyota Cars.There might be millions of reasons for the engine to crank and won't turn on. I cannot specify a certain reason.However, i am offering you a solution that would help you to diagnose the issue.
So you go out one morning and your engine will turn over but it won't start... What could be wrong? Now that you know how an engine works, you can understand the basic things that can keep an engine from running. Three fundamental things can happen: a bad fuel mix, lack of compression or lack of spark. Beyond that, thousands of minor things can create problems, but these are the "big three." Based on the simple engine we have been discussing, here is a quick rundown on how these problems affect your engine:

Bad fuel mix - A bad fuel mix can occur in several ways:

  • You are out of gas, so the engine is getting air but no fuel.
  • The air intake might be clogged, so there is fuel but not enough air.
  • The fuel system might be supplying too much or too little fuel to the mix, meaning that combustion does not occur properly.
  • There might be an impurity in the fuel (like water in your gas tank) that makes the fuel not burn.
Lack of compression - If the charge of air and fuel cannot be compressed properly, the combustion process will not work like it should. Lack of compression might occur for these reasons:
  • Your piston rings are worn (allowing air/fuel to leak past the piston during compression).
  • The intake or exhaust valves are not sealing properly, again allowing a leak during compression.
  • There is a hole in the cylinder.
The most common "hole" in a cylinder occurs where the top of the cylinder (holding the valves and spark plug and also known as the cylinder head) attaches to the cylinder itself. Generally, the cylinder and the cylinder head bolt together with a thin gasket pressed between them to ensure a good seal. If the gasket breaks down, small holes develop between the cylinder and the cylinder head, and these holes cause leaks.

Lack of spark - The spark might be nonexistent or weak for a number of reasons:
  • If your spark plug or the wire leading to it is worn out, the spark will be weak.
  • If the wire is cut or missing, or if the system that sends a spark down the wire is not working properly, there will be no spark.
  • If the spark occurs either too early or too late in the cycle (i.e. if the  is off), the fuel will not ignite at the right time, and this can cause all sorts of problems.



Posted on Mar 28, 2009

  • Anonymous Mar 28, 2009



        If the spark occurs either too early or too late in the cycle (i.e. if the ignition timinng  is off), the fuel will not ignite at the right time, and this can cause all sorts of problems.
    Many other things can go wrong. For example:


        If the battery is dead, you cannot turn over the engine to start it.

        If the bearings  that allow the crankshaft to turn freely are worn out, the crankshaft cannot turn so the engine cannot run.

        If the valves do not open and close at the right time or at all, air cannot get in and exhaust cannot get out, so the engine cannot run.

        If someone sticks a potato up your tailpipe, exhaust cannot exit the cylinder so the engine will not run.

        If you run out of oil, the piston cannot move up and down freely in the cylinder, and the engine will seize.
    In a properly running engine, all of these factors are within tolerance.

    Thanks for using Fixya,



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To check the spark from the spark plugs. They are in the cylinder head. Three of them are in the front cylinder and are easier to spot, the other three are under the intake near the firewall.

Posted on Mar 28, 2009

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