2003 Camry Electrical Enigma

I recently bought a used 2003 Camry with 120K miles. Aside from my normal worries about buying a used car, this one has a couple of issues.

  1. Low idle speed. I know it could a dirty throttle body, but I would like to know if it could be an AC compressor issue instead. Any tests to be sure?
  2. Electrical Enigma - the auto locks work fine in the morning, BUT AFTER ABOUT 10 OR 11 AM the FOB, the door locks and turning the key in the door ONLY UNLOCKS THE DRIVER DOOR. I have to manually unlock everything else.

Any thoughts?

If the Idle is low when the AC is on, it could point to a dirty/defective Idle Air Contol valve. http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/moreinfo.php?pk=941646&cc=1418284

The IAC valve controls the engine idle speed depending on the load imposed on the engine at idle. So when the AC is on, and the compressor is imposing a load on the engine at idle, the IAC valve is suppost to bump the idle speed up to prevent the engine from idling too low, idling rough, or even stalling.

You might try cleaning the IAC valve along with the throttle body idle air bleed port to see if that fixes the problem. If not, then the IAC valve may need replacing.

As far as the door locks acting weird related to the temperature? That’s going to be a little tougher. You’ve got FRED’s invovled. (Frustrating Ridiculous Electronic Devices)


Why do you think the idle speed problem is related to the AC? Do you mean the idle speed only seems low when the AC kicks on? If so, that could be an assortment of various problems, including what you said, the AC compressor could be failing, or a problem with the gadget that is supposed to bump the idle speed when the AC is on. You could do some simple dubugging if you like. I presume the idle speed is ok when all the accessories, the AC, the lights, etc, are off, and the car is warmed up and just sitting in the driveway. Is the idle speed ok when the AC is off but the headlights are on bright? When the rear window heater is turned on? When you turn the steering wheel? At least on my Corolla, the idle speed is supposed to bump up a bit in all those cases. Does it?

On the door locks, probably the door panels will have to be removed by your local mechanic for a look-see. The lock actuators are likely either corroded from water that gets in the door when it is raining, or they are simply failing from old age. In any event, I expect they’ll need to be replaced. Nothing lasts forever.