1992 Toyota Camry Intermitent failure to start

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Engine Mechanical problem
1992 Toyota Camry 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 210000 miles

Sometimes after non-use for days, or even hours, engine cranks but will not start. New battery, new distributer and igniter, new EFI relay, new COR relay, no trouble codes. Mechanic says of the one occasion when he had the no-start condition in the shop that there was no spark? With the help of some good soul on an internet forum, I learned that I can eventually get car started by flipining key on and off rapidly several times then turning to it "start". This can often take several tries over time. When the car does start, the operation is strong and immediate.

Thanks for any suggestions. RCW

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 AT 4:08 PM

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When it wont start, does the check engine light work? I have seen when it does not work, and wont start, it's a capacitor on the ECM circuitboard. This was put up by a Toyota poster:
whenever the CEL doest turns ON, the possible problems are either (1) the bulb is busted, (2) EFI relay or fuse are dead or have no power input, or (3) Problem on ECM.

First, go to the "diagnosis" box under your hood. Under the lid was the diagram. Using a jumper wire, jump the TE1 to E1 port. Go to driver seat and turn on the the key. This should light up the CEL and give a code if theres a problem. If u got the code, check it from manual or inform me and i'll give u the meaning of the code and we'll work further from there. If theres no problem, it should blink for every 1 to 2 sec. On this case or if the light doesnt comes up, we should go to the next step.

Without the CEL, please spare some time to check the bulb, if its busted, replace. If not, lets move again to next step.

With the help of another person, please ask him to turn on the key for you. Before that, locate the EFI relay under the hood. It should be somewhere near the battery side inside a black box. At the cover was the diagram. Right below the relay was the 15amps EFI fuse.

Then ask a friend to turn on the switch, with you touching the relay, you should feel/hear a clicking sound as the key switched to ON. If not, the relay might be dead or theres some electrical/wiring issues. If so, then u know that the relay is working.

Now, with a light tester, and key switched on, remove the relay and do a light test on each port. There should be two port that will light up. One coming from the battery, and other coming from the ECM. As well, light test the fuse. If only one or no port lights up during the test, send a mail again and i'll give a separate instruction to solve the electrical/wiring issues. If all required lights comes out, then we'll move to next step.

Locate the ECM, it should be right underneath the dashboard at center. Right behind the ashtray and cigarette lighter, u will find a box there with three ports I guess. Do a visual check if all wires connected to the ports are connected and dont have any disconnection or sort of. If theres any disconnected line, try to connect it and test if it will solve the problem. If theres none, pull out the ports and remove the box. If I remember correctly, u just need to remove a 10mm bolt at the right side of the box. U can access it by pulling down the carpet at the edge of the plastic console and it will give access to your wrench to remove the bolt.

Once you got the box with you, you have two options.
1st, (recommended), bring the box to a quaified mechanic to do a scan on the box. They will then tell you whats the problem and further details on repair/replacement.
2nd, (depends on how confident you are in terms of electronic components.) You can remove the top cover of the box. 4 screws on each corner. Removing the cover will give u a view of all the electronic components. As I have experienced (but im not too good on this electronic components), there is one capacitor inside with IGN marked on the board that are responsible for the ignition which are possibly blown. Replacement of this capacitor will solve all the problems u have. Electronic experts says its better to replace all capacitors at one time. This will depend on your budget and confidence to the technician. And still, u got the option to replace the whole ECM.

After the repair, u can put back the ECM and test. If you are equipped with air bags, remove the negative line on your battery. Theres a tendency that electronic surge will trigger your air bags. Another expensive stuff. LOL.

Again, if anything in between the series of test and u found any abnormalities, tell me and i'll provide you with further instruction. Hope u will solve the problem. Cheers!

. There it is! I solved my problem with the replacement of IGN capacitor. Spend about $9.5 (500 Pesos) for the part and labor. I did a manual check on the ECM and found the capacitor burned and with black marks around the board. Sent the board to an electronic shop (lucky that this is not his first time to handle such case and got spare of the capacitor. He says its not a common capacitor that u can see on appliances.) With not enough capacitor to replace all (its almost 5pm by that time), preferred to just replace the defective part. Hope the ECM can stands longer. Well, at least I got an idea where to look at when this reoccurs.

Hope this can help your future guest! Your ECM is on the right side behind the dash next to a/c unit.

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Friday, July 10th, 2009 AT 9:10 AM

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