Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

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Old 02 Mar 2012, 07:35 pm   #1 (permalink)
c_shah
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Default Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

I have 2000 Camry driven around 85000 miles. Once or twice a week car
won't start on first key turn. but starts after second or third key
turn. The problems seems to happen only on cold starts.

Took to my mechanic, he told me battery is good (it is two years
old).. alternator is fine....

He tole me it could be starter but when he tested it stater appeared
to be fine...

any ideas...?
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Old 02 Mar 2012, 07:41 pm   #2 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

c_shah wrote:
> I have 2000 Camry driven around 85000 miles. Once or twice a week car
> won't start on first key turn. but starts after second or third key
> turn. The problems seems to happen only on cold starts.
>
> Took to my mechanic, he told me battery is good (it is two years
> old).. alternator is fine....
>
> He tole me it could be starter but when he tested it stater appeared
> to be fine...


Does it 'turn over' and not start or does it
remain silent when you turn the key?

--Winston
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Old 03 Mar 2012, 11:52 am   #3 (permalink)
c_shah
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

Car remains silent when turn the key
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Old 03 Mar 2012, 04:04 pm   #4 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

c_shah wrote:
> Car remains silent when turn the key


Here are some ideas in order of decreasing likelihood
and increasing complexity. Always check the easy stuff
first!

Connection to the battery

Get into some old clothes that you don't care about.
Wear protective goggles and gloves.

1) Write down all of your radio station presets and the
security code to your radio, if equipped.
2) Disconnect the battery (Disconnect negative terminal first Always!)
3) Clean the battery connectors to shiny metal with a wire brush.
Use a special 'battery brush' to get inside the connector.
4) Clean the battery posts using the other end of your battery brush.
5) Connect your battery (Connect positive terminal first Always!)
6) Start the car and reset your radio security code and presets.

Wash your work clothes separately. Where you have brushed
your clothing against battery acid, you will see a hole.
Do not wear your best clothes for this stuff!

Park/Neutral Switch

1) Referring to your downloaded shop manual, bypass the
'park/neutral' switch. Does the car always start
with the switch bypassed? Suspect this switch.

Ignition Fuse, something else.

1) Download the shop manual for your car from the TIS
Toyota Information System http://www.techinfo.toyota.com
It will cost you $15 for two days access. That will be the
smartest $15 you ever spend.

2) Use your multimeter to eliminate each component as a suspect
using a binary search method (fancy language for dividing the
system in half and let the system tell you which way to head.)

A) For example: Referring to your schematic, unplug the 'start
relay' and connect your multimeter to pin 1 of the relay
socket and your black probe to a metal object on the frame
(or a better ground if you can find it).

Watch the multimeter display and turn your key
to the 'start' position. You will NOT hear the engine
crank, but you should see about 12 V appear on pin 1 of that
relay.

i) If you *do* see 12 V in the 'start' position and the
car still does not crank when you put the relay back,
you can assume that everything from that relay to
the battery is probably OK. The 'start' relay and
its socket are still suspects, though. Resume testing
from the relay onwards. These components will include
the 'start' relay itself and it's socket, the wiring that
connects the 'ground' side of the relay coil to ground
and all the wires and connectors associated with these paths.


ii) If you *don't* see 12 V in the 'start' position and
the car still does not crank after you put the relay
back, you can assume that the problem is either the
'start' relay, it's socket or an intermittent connection
from the battery to the relay. These components include
the ignition switch, the main power fuse, the ignition
fuse, their sockets, the park/neutral switch on your
transmission, and all the wires and connections between
these parts.

B) Write down all your readings and the locations of the parts
that you test.

C) Refer to the schematic and test each component in succession
until you determine which one is blocking current in this path.

Easy, huh?

--Winston
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Old 04 Mar 2012, 04:32 pm   #5 (permalink)
Gordon
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn



"Winston" wrote in message news:jiu4hu018l6@news6.newsguy.com...

c_shah wrote:
> Car remains silent when turn the key


Here are some ideas in order of decreasing likelihood
and increasing complexity. Always check the easy stuff
first!

Connection to the battery

Get into some old clothes that you don't care about.
Wear protective goggles and gloves.

1) Write down all of your radio station presets and the
security code to your radio, if equipped.
2) Disconnect the battery (Disconnect negative terminal first Always!)
3) Clean the battery connectors to shiny metal with a wire brush.
Use a special 'battery brush' to get inside the connector.
4) Clean the battery posts using the other end of your battery brush.
5) Connect your battery (Connect positive terminal first Always!)
6) Start the car and reset your radio security code and presets.

Wash your work clothes separately. Where you have brushed
your clothing against battery acid, you will see a hole.
Do not wear your best clothes for this stuff!

Park/Neutral Switch

1) Referring to your downloaded shop manual, bypass the
'park/neutral' switch. Does the car always start
with the switch bypassed? Suspect this switch.

Ignition Fuse, something else.

1) Download the shop manual for your car from the TIS
Toyota Information System http://www.techinfo.toyota.com
It will cost you $15 for two days access. That will be the
smartest $15 you ever spend.

2) Use your multimeter to eliminate each component as a suspect
using a binary search method (fancy language for dividing the
system in half and let the system tell you which way to head.)

A) For example: Referring to your schematic, unplug the 'start
relay' and connect your multimeter to pin 1 of the relay
socket and your black probe to a metal object on the frame
(or a better ground if you can find it).

Watch the multimeter display and turn your key
to the 'start' position. You will NOT hear the engine
crank, but you should see about 12 V appear on pin 1 of that
relay.

i) If you *do* see 12 V in the 'start' position and the
car still does not crank when you put the relay back,
you can assume that everything from that relay to
the battery is probably OK. The 'start' relay and
its socket are still suspects, though. Resume testing
from the relay onwards. These components will include
the 'start' relay itself and it's socket, the wiring that
connects the 'ground' side of the relay coil to ground
and all the wires and connectors associated with these paths.


ii) If you *don't* see 12 V in the 'start' position and
the car still does not crank after you put the relay
back, you can assume that the problem is either the
'start' relay, it's socket or an intermittent connection
from the battery to the relay. These components include
the ignition switch, the main power fuse, the ignition
fuse, their sockets, the park/neutral switch on your
transmission, and all the wires and connections between
these parts.

B) Write down all your readings and the locations of the parts
that you test.

C) Refer to the schematic and test each component in succession
until you determine which one is blocking current in this path.

Easy, huh?

--Winston

my auto electrician called the OP's symptoms "voltage drupe" and connected
the wire going to the starter solenoid to a relay on the battery and the
relay to the starter solenoid ie battery directly to the starter solenoid.

Gordon W

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Old 04 Mar 2012, 05:34 pm   #6 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

Gordon wrote:
>
>
> "Winston" wrote in message news:jiu4hu018l6@news6.newsguy.com...


(...)

>> ii) If you *don't* see 12 V in the 'start' position and
>> the car still does not crank after you put the relay
>> back, you can assume that the problem is either the
>> 'start' relay,


Well, not *necessarily* the start relay...

> ...it's socket or an intermittent connection
> from the battery to the relay. These components include
> the ignition switch, the main power fuse, the ignition
> fuse, their sockets, the park/neutral switch on your
> transmission, and all the wires and connections between
> these parts.
>
> B) Write down all your readings and the locations of the parts
> that you test.
>
> C) Refer to the schematic and test each component in succession
> until you determine which one is blocking current in this path.
>
> Easy, huh?
>
> --Winston
>
> my auto electrician called the OP's symptoms "voltage drupe" and connected the wire going to the starter solenoid to a
> relay on the battery and the relay to the starter solenoid ie battery directly to the starter solenoid.


As a troubleshooting gambit or as a repair?

Let's say for the sake of argument that the problem
turns out to be a worn-out, intermittent park/neutral switch.
(Happened on my Camry wagon once).

Do we really get closer to fixing the car by jumpering
around the broken part?

--Winston<-- Ooooo Ooooo, I *know* this one!
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Old 07 Mar 2012, 03:41 am   #7 (permalink)
micky
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

On Fri, 2 Mar 2012 17:35:31 -0800 (PST), c_shah
<shah.chirag@netzero.net> wrote:

>I have 2000 Camry driven around 85000 miles. Once or twice a week car
>won't start on first key turn. but starts after second or third key
>turn. The problems seems to happen only on cold starts.
>
>Took to my mechanic, he told me battery is good


If the car starts a fwe minutes later, it's not the battery.... unless
there is an intermittent "short" in the battery. I had that once, but
only when the car was hot. When it cooled off 15 minutes later, it
started right up. This went on for days, causing a problem for 5 or 10
warm starts, before I figured out it was the battery and got a new
one. I didnt' carry a meter with me in those days, but I do now and
if I suspected the battery, I'd test it. Should be 12.6 volts when
the car isn't running. I'm guessing my bad battery was under 11.

>(it is two years
>old).. alternator is fine....


If the battery is fully charged, the alternator is probably fine, but
even if it weren't, that wouldn't prevent the car from starting. The
purpose of the alternator, wrt starting the car, is to recharge the
battery. It doesn't play any direct role in starting the car.
>
>He tole me it could be starter but when he tested it stater appeared
>to be fine...


Most kinds of tests on something with an intermittent problem are
going to be inconclusive.

At least in this case he said "appeared" to be fine. One needs to do
the testing when the car won't start. If this happened every cold
morning, you could leave the car at the shop, so he could find it
broken in the morning and test it. Did he suggest this? Click and
Clack routinely suggest this for problems like yours.

Of course, yours starts okay 3 or 4 time a week, so leaving it there
might be a lot of trouble with no results, so it would help if you
learned to do testing and you can do it only when the car won't
start.

When that is the case, and you havent' yet cleaned the battery
terminals, you might have someone try to start it while you feel each
battery terminal. If there is a bad connection but not a totally bad
connection, that terminal will get hot. That's the really dirty one.

(I don't think this is your prolbme now, biecause it starts a few
minutes later, but it's not a bad idea to use baking soda to
neutralize any acid that gets on top of the battery. They say to make
a paste with wrarm water, but I just spoon on the powder, on and near
the terminals and any place iwhere the top of the battery looks dirty,
and then slowly our warm water over it, until it stops bulbbling. Then
some more water to wash everything off the top of the battery. This
year for the first time in 45 years, I got some baking soda in one of
the open battery cells. Very bad. I guess I've always done this
before when the caps were all on

I suspect it is the ignition switch or the starter relay, or
conceivably the winding of the starter solenoid (I just got a toyota.
I presume they have starter solenoids) If you can find the starter
relay and have someone else try to start the car while you put your
fintgers on the relay, you should probably feel a click. If you do,
that means the ignitioin switch is good. If you don't, maybe it just
means it clicks too quietly to feel it. If when your standing by
the open hood, you hear a click from the starter motor area, it means
everything is good up to the solenoid......oops, emergency phone call.
Got to go.

I see that Winston goes into the electrical testing quite thorougly.

>any ideas...?


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Old 07 Mar 2012, 08:39 am   #8 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

micky wrote:
> On Fri, 2 Mar 2012 17:35:31 -0800 (PST), c_shah
> <shah.chirag@netzero.net> wrote:
>
>> I have 2000 Camry driven around 85000 miles. Once or twice a week car
>> won't start on first key turn. but starts after second or third key
>> turn. The problems seems to happen only on cold starts.
>>
>> Took to my mechanic, he told me battery is good

>
> If the car starts a fwe minutes later, it's not the battery.... unless
> there is an intermittent "short" in the battery. I had that once, but
> only when the car was hot. When it cooled off 15 minutes later, it
> started right up. This went on for days, causing a problem for 5 or 10
> warm starts, before I figured out it was the battery and got a new
> one. I didnt' carry a meter with me in those days, but I do now and
> if I suspected the battery, I'd test it. Should be 12.6 volts when
> the car isn't running. I'm guessing my bad battery was under 11.



Those symptoms are also consistent with dirty
battery connections. Cleaning the posts and
wire lugs is quick and easy if one works safely.
This includes wearing disposable clothing and
eye protection *and* nitrile gloves.

At these current levels, it doesn't take much
corrosion to cause the symptoms of a failed
battery. Cleaning connections should be done before
practically *any* other step in the troubleshooting
process.


>> (it is two years
>> old).. alternator is fine....

>
> If the battery is fully charged, the alternator is probably fine, but
> even if it weren't, that wouldn't prevent the car from starting. The
> purpose of the alternator, wrt starting the car, is to recharge the
> battery. It doesn't play any direct role in starting the car.
>>
>> He tole me it could be starter but when he tested it stater appeared
>> to be fine...

>
> Most kinds of tests on something with an intermittent problem are
> going to be inconclusive.
>
> At least in this case he said "appeared" to be fine. One needs to do
> the testing when the car won't start. If this happened every cold
> morning, you could leave the car at the shop, so he could find it
> broken in the morning and test it. Did he suggest this? Click and
> Clack routinely suggest this for problems like yours.
>
> Of course, yours starts okay 3 or 4 time a week, so leaving it there
> might be a lot of trouble with no results, so it would help if you
> learned to do testing and you can do it only when the car won't
> start.
>
> When that is the case, and you havent' yet cleaned the battery
> terminals, you might have someone try to start it while you feel each
> battery terminal. If there is a bad connection but not a totally bad
> connection, that terminal will get hot. That's the really dirty one.


It'd be much wiser to just clean the posts and lugs.
It costs pennies and minutes to do so.

Clean connections can prevent problems in the future, too.


> (I don't think this is your prolbme now, biecause it starts a few
> minutes later, but it's not a bad idea to use baking soda to
> neutralize any acid that gets on top of the battery.


That might have been relatively harmless advice back in the days
when batteries were designed to be maintained. Batteries actually
had a raised rim around each cap opening that tended to prevent junk
from falling into the cells:
http://acarbattery.com/wp-content/up...teryWater2.jpg

Modern batteries don't have that feature and will funnel crap into
the cells. That soda slurry on the top of the battery will
get flushed into into it and ruin the battery sooner or later, I guarantee.
http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TFH..._CARBAT_03.JPG


> They say to make
> a paste with wrarm water, but I just spoon on the powder, on and near
> the terminals and any place iwhere the top of the battery looks dirty,
> and then slowly our warm water over it, until it stops bulbbling. Then
> some more water to wash everything off the top of the battery. This
> year for the first time in 45 years, I got some baking soda in one of
> the open battery cells. Very bad. I guess I've always done this
> before when the caps were all on


Yup. Just flush the closed top of the battery with lots of deionized
water whilst cleaning with a disposable 'parts brush' instead.

*Soda has no business anywhere near a car battery.*


> I suspect it is the ignition switch or the starter relay, or
> conceivably the winding of the starter solenoid (I just got a toyota.
> I presume they have starter solenoids) If you can find the starter
> relay and have someone else try to start the car while you put your
> fintgers on the relay, you should probably feel a click. If you do,
> that means the ignitioin switch is good. If you don't, maybe it just
> means it clicks too quietly to feel it.


Use your multimeter instead. Perfectly competent multimeters are
available for very little money and will give you the straight
information.


--Winston
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 12:19 pm   #9 (permalink)
micky
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

On Wed, 07 Mar 2012 06:39:59 -0800, Winston <Winston@Bigbrother.net>
wrote:

>micky wrote:
>> On Fri, 2 Mar 2012 17:35:31 -0800 (PST), c_shah
>> <shah.chirag@netzero.net> wrote:
>>
>>> I have 2000 Camry driven around 85000 miles. Once or twice a week car
>>> won't start on first key turn. but starts after second or third key
>>> turn. The problems seems to happen only on cold starts.
>>>
>>> Took to my mechanic, he told me battery is good

>>
>> If the car starts a fwe minutes later, it's not the battery.... unless
>> there is an intermittent "short" in the battery. I had that once, but
>> only when the car was hot. When it cooled off 15 minutes later, it
>> started right up. This went on for days, causing a problem for 5 or 10
>> warm starts, before I figured out it was the battery and got a new
>> one. I didnt' carry a meter with me in those days, but I do now and
>> if I suspected the battery, I'd test it. Should be 12.6 volts when
>> the car isn't running. I'm guessing my bad battery was under 11.

>
>
>Those symptoms are also consistent with dirty
>battery connections. Cleaning the posts and


Good point. (Wasn't the cause in that case, however.)

>wire lugs is quick and easy if one works safely.
>This includes wearing disposable clothing and
>eye protection *and* nitrile gloves.


I passed by this the first time, but by the time I got to the end, got
tired of your not just alternate advice but actual criticism, so I'll
say that gloves and goggles are nice, but I've been doing this for 45+
years, not every day but on my own cars as most do, and I've never
gotten even a brown mark on my hands, and even if I had, it would be
replaced by fresh skin in a few days. Unless one is a hand model, I
see no need for gloves.

I've never gotten anything near my eyes, probably because I don't use
a brush like you suggest below. And I've never gotten a spot on my
clothing, maybe because I don't use a brush. Without the brush,
everything just stays on the battery or dribbles down the side,
doesn't fly anywhere.

I did once, when filling a new empty motorcycle battery, splatter a
few drops of battery strength sulfuric acid on my old pants, and that
made little holes in them. But that's not at all the same as adding
water to a battery. And I don't use disposable clothing, which costs
money. I use old clothing, which just gets a little older if it gets
stains or holes. (Maybe that's what you meant by disposable, but it
sounded like you meant to throw it away after use, rather than just
wash it.)
>
>At these current levels, it doesn't take much
>corrosion to cause the symptoms of a failed
>battery. Cleaning connections should be done before
>practically *any* other step in the troubleshooting
>process.
>
>
>>> (it is two years
>>> old).. alternator is fine....

>>
>> If the battery is fully charged, the alternator is probably fine, but
>> even if it weren't, that wouldn't prevent the car from starting. The
>> purpose of the alternator, wrt starting the car, is to recharge the
>> battery. It doesn't play any direct role in starting the car.
>>>
>>> He tole me it could be starter but when he tested it stater appeared
>>> to be fine...

>>
>> Most kinds of tests on something with an intermittent problem are
>> going to be inconclusive.
>>
>> At least in this case he said "appeared" to be fine. One needs to do
>> the testing when the car won't start. If this happened every cold
>> morning, you could leave the car at the shop, so he could find it
>> broken in the morning and test it. Did he suggest this? Click and
>> Clack routinely suggest this for problems like yours.
>>
>> Of course, yours starts okay 3 or 4 time a week, so leaving it there
>> might be a lot of trouble with no results, so it would help if you
>> learned to do testing and you can do it only when the car won't
>> start.
>>
>> When that is the case, and you havent' yet cleaned the battery
>> terminals, you might have someone try to start it while you feel each
>> battery terminal. If there is a bad connection but not a totally bad
>> connection, that terminal will get hot. That's the really dirty one.

>
>It'd be much wiser to just clean the posts and lugs.


It depends. Not when you're taking someone to catch his train, and
you're dressed in a suit and tie and don't even want to rummage in the
trunk for tools unless it's necessary And don't want to take the
time to do both if only onepost is dirty. In this case the car had
already started fine and run fine for about 6 miles, so there was no
need to have my friend try to start the car. One post was still hot
when I touched it.

Anyhow, people should know about more techniques than just standard
maintenance.

>It costs pennies and minutes to do so.



>Clean connections can prevent problems in the future, too.


Of course. But there comes a time in many people's lives when they
are lax on maintenance.

>> (I don't think this is your prolbme now, biecause it starts a few
>> minutes later, but it's not a bad idea to use baking soda to
>> neutralize any acid that gets on top of the battery.

>
>That might have been relatively harmless advice back in the days


It was *good* advice then. And maybe still is.

>when batteries were designed to be maintained. Batteries actually
>had a raised rim around each cap opening that tended to prevent junk
>from falling into the cells:
>http://acarbattery.com/wp-content/up...teryWater2.jpg
>
>Modern batteries don't have that feature and will funnel crap into


Oh, thanks. Good to know. That accounts for why I never made this
mistake before. Next time I won't wash unless the caps are in.

>the cells. That soda slurry on the top of the battery will
>get flushed into into it and ruin the battery sooner or later, I guarantee.
>http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TFH..._CARBAT_03.JPG
>
>
>> They say to make
>> a paste with wrarm water, but I just spoon on the powder, on and near
>> the terminals and any place iwhere the top of the battery looks dirty,
>> and then slowly our warm water over it, until it stops bulbbling. Then
>> some more water to wash everything off the top of the battery. This
>> year for the first time in 45 years, I got some baking soda in one of
>> the open battery cells. Very bad.


BTW, this was with the battery that was about to be scrapped, so it
didn't actually cost anyone anything. I had been checking the water
level, and two cells needed water.

>> I guess I've always done this
>> before when the caps were all on

>
>Yup. Just flush the closed top of the battery with lots of deionized
>water whilst cleaning with a disposable 'parts brush' instead.


This sounds a lot harder, slower, and likely to be less effective.
Deionized water may well flush away everything that has been loosened,
but it won't neutralize whatever doesn't get flushed away. And the
flushing leaves a lot of water in the battery tray, which will then be
acidic without the baking soda to neutralize it.

Also, I don't think deionized water is needed for flushing. The
small amount of minerals in most or all tap water won't be enough to
cause current leakage. To refill the battery, I use distilled.

>*Soda has no business anywhere near a car battery.*


And to tell the truth, I'd be more likely to accept this advice if you
did't give such pristine advice at the top and the bottom. Although I
also think you are in the minority here.

>
>> I suspect it is the ignition switch or the starter relay, or
>> conceivably the winding of the starter solenoid (I just got a toyota.
>> I presume they have starter solenoids) If you can find the starter
>> relay and have someone else try to start the car while you put your
>> fintgers on the relay, you should probably feel a click. If you do,
>> that means the ignitioin switch is good. If you don't, maybe it just
>> means it clicks too quietly to feel it.

>
>Use your multimeter instead.


Well, you keep assuming everyone has the tools and has them with him.
I carry a meter, a battery brush., a set of wrenches, and more, but I
assure you, most don't and won't, regardless of how cheap they are.
And people aren't always driving their own car. Or they're riding
with someone else who has no tools at all.

Diagnosis is often the hard part and there is more than one way to
diagnose.

I don't object to the advice you give but I do object to your use of
"much wiser", "might have been relatively harmless", and "instead",
all of which clearly imply that my advice was wrong, even though it
wasn't.

>Perfectly competent multimeters are
>available for very little money and will give you the straight
>information.
>
>
>--Winston


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Old 08 Mar 2012, 06:48 pm   #10 (permalink)
Winston
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Default Re: Camry ocassionaly won't start at first key turn

micky wrote:
> On Wed, 07 Mar 2012 06:39:59 -0800, Winston<Winston@Bigbrother.net>
> wrote:
>
>> micky wrote:
>>> On Fri, 2 Mar 2012 17:35:31 -0800 (PST), c_shah
>>> <shah.chirag@netzero.net> wrote:
>>>
>>>> I have 2000 Camry driven around 85000 miles. Once or twice a week car
>>>> won't start on first key turn. but starts after second or third key
>>>> turn. The problems seems to happen only on cold starts.
>>>>
>>>> Took to my mechanic, he told me battery is good
>>>
>>> If the car starts a fwe minutes later, it's not the battery.... unless
>>> there is an intermittent "short" in the battery. I had that once, but
>>> only when the car was hot. When it cooled off 15 minutes later, it
>>> started right up. This went on for days, causing a problem for 5 or 10
>>> warm starts, before I figured out it was the battery and got a new
>>> one. I didnt' carry a meter with me in those days, but I do now and
>>> if I suspected the battery, I'd test it. Should be 12.6 volts when
>>> the car isn't running. I'm guessing my bad battery was under 11.

>>
>>
>> Those symptoms are also consistent with dirty
>> battery connections. Cleaning the posts and

>
> Good point. (Wasn't the cause in that case, however.)
>
>> wire lugs is quick and easy if one works safely.
>> This includes wearing disposable clothing and
>> eye protection *and* nitrile gloves.

>
> I passed by this the first time, but by the time I got to the end, got
> tired of your not just alternate advice but actual criticism,


'Sorry you took my words as criticism, Micky.
I phrased my answer for folks who will stumble across our
USENET conversation via web browser. Many of them won't
be aware of some of the safety aspects of this stuff.

crit·i·cism/ˈkritəˌsizəm/
Noun:

The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes: "he ignored the
criticisms of his friends".

I think you are a fine fellow and I approve of you to
the greatest degree possible. I myself have made my
share of unfortunate misstatements and am always happy
to learn new information which will make me safer.

If I'd known that the 'soda on your battery' was so inadvisable
back in my callow youth, I'd have saved the price of a replacement
when I really couldn't afford it.
I just hope to save others from making the same mistake.

> so I'll
> say that gloves and goggles are nice, but I've been doing this for 45+
> years, not every day but on my own cars as most do, and I've never
> gotten even a brown mark on my hands, and even if I had, it would be
> replaced by fresh skin in a few days. Unless one is a hand model, I
> see no need for gloves.


Both you and I go gloveless often. Our hands show it, too.
I'm concerned about folks for whom this is new info and
wouldn't necessarily know to rinse an acid splash off
of their hands when they experience that 'burning feeling'.

I've worked without protective gear and lived to regret it.
(Ask me about splashing gasoline in my eyes. It was
extremely stupid, scary and not at all fun.)

> I've never gotten anything near my eyes, probably because I don't use
> a brush like you suggest below. And I've never gotten a spot on my
> clothing, maybe because I don't use a brush. Without the brush,
> everything just stays on the battery or dribbles down the side,
> doesn't fly anywhere.
>
> I did once, when filling a new empty motorcycle battery, splatter a
> few drops of battery strength sulfuric acid on my old pants, and that
> made little holes in them.


But no 'spots' yes?

> But that's not at all the same as adding
> water to a battery.


The hazard is still there, or else you would not
be concerned about the acid present on top of
the battery, yes?

> And I don't use disposable clothing, which costs
> money. I use old clothing, which just gets a little older if it gets
> stains or holes. (Maybe that's what you meant by disposable, but it
> sounded like you meant to throw it away after use, rather than just
> wash it.)


Nup. As you say, old 'work' clothes are much preferred for
auto work because of the staining and holes that regularly
occur. And, they are paid for.

>> At these current levels, it doesn't take much
>> corrosion to cause the symptoms of a failed
>> battery. Cleaning connections should be done before
>> practically *any* other step in the troubleshooting
>> process.
>>
>>
>>>> (it is two years
>>>> old).. alternator is fine....
>>>
>>> If the battery is fully charged, the alternator is probably fine, but
>>> even if it weren't, that wouldn't prevent the car from starting. The
>>> purpose of the alternator, wrt starting the car, is to recharge the
>>> battery. It doesn't play any direct role in starting the car.
>>>>
>>>> He tole me it could be starter but when he tested it stater appeared
>>>> to be fine...
>>>
>>> Most kinds of tests on something with an intermittent problem are
>>> going to be inconclusive.
>>>
>>> At least in this case he said "appeared" to be fine. One needs to do
>>> the testing when the car won't start. If this happened every cold
>>> morning, you could leave the car at the shop, so he could find it
>>> broken in the morning and test it. Did he suggest this? Click and
>>> Clack routinely suggest this for problems like yours.
>>>
>>> Of course, yours starts okay 3 or 4 time a week, so leaving it there
>>> might be a lot of trouble with no results, so it would help if you
>>> learned to do testing and you can do it only when the car won't
>>> start.
>>>
>>> When that is the case, and you havent' yet cleaned the battery
>>> terminals, you might have someone try to start it while you feel each
>>> battery terminal. If there is a bad connection but not a totally bad
>>> connection, that terminal will get hot. That's the really dirty one.

>>
>> It'd be much wiser to just clean the posts and lugs.

>
> It depends. Not when you're taking someone to catch his train, and
> you're dressed in a suit and tie and don't even want to rummage in the
> trunk for tools unless it's necessary And don't want to take the
> time to do both if only onepost is dirty.


That sounds a little contrived, Micky.

I don't recommend changing the oil whilst transporting
a lady in labor, either.

> In this case the car had
> already started fine and run fine for about 6 miles, so there was no
> need to have my friend try to start the car. One post was still hot
> when I touched it.
>
> Anyhow, people should know about more techniques than just standard
> maintenance.
>
>> It costs pennies and minutes to do so.

>
>
>> Clean connections can prevent problems in the future, too.

>
> Of course. But there comes a time in many people's lives when they
> are lax on maintenance.


Well, yes. I'm just pointing out that 'a stitch in time saves nine',
so to speak.


>>> (I don't think this is your prolbme now, biecause it starts a few
>>> minutes later, but it's not a bad idea to use baking soda to
>>> neutralize any acid that gets on top of the battery.

>>
>> That might have been relatively harmless advice back in the days

>
> It was *good* advice then.


I disagree. It is risky to the continued good functioning
of the battery. Even a tap water rinse on the closed battery will
tend to neutralize the acid on the top without risking
much of anything.

And maybe still is.

It's the guy who thinks he is doing preventive maintenance
with soda on his battery that gets to buy a new battery as
a result. There is something ironic in that.

>> when batteries were designed to be maintained. Batteries actually
>> had a raised rim around each cap opening that tended to prevent junk
>>from falling into the cells:
>> http://acarbattery.com/wp-content/up...teryWater2.jpg
>>
>> Modern batteries don't have that feature and will funnel crap into

>
> Oh, thanks. Good to know. That accounts for why I never made this
> mistake before. Next time I won't wash unless the caps are in.
>
>> the cells. That soda slurry on the top of the battery will
>> get flushed into into it and ruin the battery sooner or later, I guarantee.
>> http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TFH..._CARBAT_03.JPG
>>
>>
>>> They say to make
>>> a paste with wrarm water, but I just spoon on the powder, on and near
>>> the terminals and any place iwhere the top of the battery looks dirty,
>>> and then slowly our warm water over it, until it stops bulbbling. Then
>>> some more water to wash everything off the top of the battery. This
>>> year for the first time in 45 years, I got some baking soda in one of
>>> the open battery cells. Very bad.

>
> BTW, this was with the battery that was about to be scrapped, so it
> didn't actually cost anyone anything. I had been checking the water
> level, and two cells needed water.


I regularly put deionized water in 'maintenance free'
car batteries. They pay me back with much longer life.
Ain't nothing wrong with that, for sure.

>>> I guess I've always done this
>>> before when the caps were all on

>>
>> Yup. Just flush the closed top of the battery with lots of deionized
>> water whilst cleaning with a disposable 'parts brush' instead.

>
> This sounds a lot harder, slower, and likely to be less effective.
> Deionized water may well flush away everything that has been loosened,
> but it won't neutralize whatever doesn't get flushed away.


'Course it will tend to neutralize the acid. Battery acid has
a ph below 2.0 (Some sources put it far lower than that.)
D.I. water is up around 5 to 7 ph. Even tap water ranges from
ph 6 to 8.5. A rinse with D.I. water or the garden hose will
push the ph of the top of the battery towards basic.
That is the definition of the term 'neutralization'.

> And the
> flushing leaves a lot of water in the battery tray, which will then be
> acidic without the baking soda to neutralize it.


Nonsense. Properly done, the rinse water will be acceptably
neutral and will drain and dry long before it becomes a
problem, especially with the temperatures and airflow under the hood.

> Also, I don't think deionized water is needed for flushing. The
> small amount of minerals in most or all tap water won't be enough to
> cause current leakage.


I agree. If the battery is closed, tap water is
a perfectly fine rinse.

> To refill the battery, I use distilled.


Me, too.


>> *Soda has no business anywhere near a car battery.*

>
> And to tell the truth, I'd be more likely to accept this advice if you
> did't give such pristine advice at the top and the bottom. Although I
> also think you are in the minority here.


pris·tine/ˈprisˌtēn/
Adjective:

In its original condition; unspoiled.
Clean and fresh as if new; spotless.

Thank you, Micky!


>>> I suspect it is the ignition switch or the starter relay, or
>>> conceivably the winding of the starter solenoid (I just got a toyota.
>>> I presume they have starter solenoids) If you can find the starter
>>> relay and have someone else try to start the car while you put your
>>> fintgers on the relay, you should probably feel a click. If you do,
>>> that means the ignitioin switch is good. If you don't, maybe it just
>>> means it clicks too quietly to feel it.

>>
>> Use your multimeter instead.

>
> Well, you keep assuming everyone has the tools and has them with him.
> I carry a meter, a battery brush., a set of wrenches, and more, but I
> assure you, most don't and won't, regardless of how cheap they are.
> And people aren't always driving their own car. Or they're riding
> with someone else who has no tools at all.


That's another contrived 'corner condition', Micky.
Anyone suffering electrical problems in a car can afford
to use sufficiently decent test gear, even if it is borrowed.

> Diagnosis is often the hard part and there is more than one way to
> diagnose.
>
> I don't object to the advice you give but I do object to your use of
> "much wiser", "might have been relatively harmless", and "instead",
> all of which clearly imply that my advice was wrong, even though it
> wasn't.


Putting a soda slurry on top of a car battery
never was a particularly good idea in the past and
is economically risky, now. It is bad advice, for
reasons I've mentioned.


--Winston
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