'00 Camry no power to take off

My niece’s 6 cyl. Camry with about 120,000 miles has no power when taking off from a stop. I listened to it run, and could hear the engine slowing down after a minute or two idling. She had it towed to the dealer where she bought it, and they told her her front left brake caliper was frozen. She authorized them to fix that(even though it didn’t sound like something that would cause the problem), picked it up, drove it ten miles, and experienced the same thing ( no power to get moving after a stop). She returned it to the dealer where they told her she needs a battery, positive battery terminal, timing belt, pvc, and they offered to put in a used transmission for her(not rebuilt). She has not experienced any clunks or slipping symptoms, so I advised her to have them do the timing belt first, to see if that fixes the problem. I think they are trying to take advantage of her. Any suggestions?

Of course they didn’t read any of the codes that could be trying to tell a story. It would be nice if someone at least tried to check them. The guesswork hasn’t even come to the throttle position sensor or the system that positions the throttle. Get to a place that can get the problem fixed first.

The thing that really throws me in that story is the offer to toss in a different transmission. That suggests to me that there isn’t a serious mechanic anywhere around there. I would get it to someone you can trust and explain the symptoms. If she thinks she has some claims against the dealer (which she probably doesn’t) she can have anything she does elsewhere documented and then go back to them.

Something is seriously wrong or missing from the post. There are a variety of possible cause of the symptoms you describe including a weak fuel pump, a plugged fuel filter, ignition system components overdue for a change, plugged air filter, and various sensors, and one of which could be the cause. Many of these will cause a code to be stored in the onboard diagnostic system, that could then be read by a technician.

While the other things (belt, caliper, and PCV valve) may have been in need of fixing, and a dragging caliper can, in fact, drain power to accelerate (these cars don’t have a lot of excess power), the tranny makes no sense.

I’d suggest a reliable indeoendent shop. I would not recommend proceeding with a tranny without some very specific diagnosis, and then only after reviewing other options.