Mysterious Starting Issues with 1990 Camry

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Old 30 Oct 2006, 05:22 pm   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mysterious Starting Issues with 1990 Camry

Back in June I purchased a used 1990 Camry in the Bay Area and ever
since I've been plagued by some issues that I can't seem to correct.
I'll detail them all here for you as I'm hoping to get some idea of a
solution before I once again take it into the shop for more diagnosis.

The first problems occurred the first day after purchasing. After
driving for about two hours, the car wouldn't start after I had stopped
the engine for about twenty minutes. I had driven it nearly two hours
the night before as well. Thinking that it had overheated we let it
sit for about 45 minutes but to no avail. We then thought it might
have been a blown fuse and switched around the fuses in both the engine
and driver's panel. The car started right up after that so we though
the problem was solved. We drove it another three hours and then
stopped to let the car rest. Once again it wouldn't start and we had
the battery checked out and was still holding a charge so it appeared
not to be the alternator. We speculated it might have been overheating
(although coolant and all fluid levels were fine) as it started up
after half an hour.

Throughout the upcoming week the car continued to have problems while
starting which we thought might have been due to the starter. We
tapped that several times with a hammer and it seemed to allow the car
start so we speculated it might have been the starter. The car
continued to run fine for about a week or so until for the first time
it stalled out completely while driving. Everything went including the
power steering and we let the car sit for a day or so and attempted all
previous measures to get it start but it wouldn't. We had it towed to
the shop where they said the problem was a broken timing belt. I
figured they were correct as the mileage was 121K and it could have
been the likely problem. However, I became very unhappy with their
diagnosis as they only did what they could to get the car to start.

In the following days, the starting problems continued to ensue as I'd
have to turn the key six or seven times before the car would start.
Other times, I had to resort to tapping the starter with the hammer
which would allow it to start. I decided to accept this as an issued
I'd have to deal with until the car started stalling out while driving
numerous times so it appeared not to be the starter and perhaps the
battery or alternator. Twice the car was able to be started with a
jump but other times, the battery was fine and holding the charge. So
it appeared the alternator was fine as well as the battery and all the
connections were tight.

The car can now barely be driven for ten minutes or less before it
stalls out (usually if left in neutral or idling just prior). It takes
a great effort to get the car up and running again as the battery is
usually fine but if one plays around with the gas pedal connection in
the engine it appears to start.

I've read up on the forum but haven't seen any issues similar to mine.
I speculate that it could be a problem with the air sensors or oxygen
levels or perhaps the fuel pump connection (nothing leaks however).
Any diagnosis or advice would help as I'd like to have some idea if the
problem is electrical or mechanical before I take it in for work.
Thanks...I wish I'd never bought this car but for $900 I think it was a
good deal and I think the engine is fine but there's just this tricky
issue that I can't solve.

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Old 30 Oct 2006, 07:55 pm   #2 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: Mysterious Starting Issues with 1990 Camry

When you say it didnt start , did it turn over, or did nothing happen at
all, no noise , nothing. If nothing its in the starter circuit and you
have to trace everything with a meter. If it cranked and since it dies
it could be the coil or ignition module, 90s have coils thart are known
to fail since oil leaks on them, they are inside the distributor.

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