2004 Camry Cold Starting Problem


For the last three months my car (50K miles) has had difficulty starting after it has set for several hours. Will try to crank it and the car turns over but won’t fire up. Will take three or four tries before it finally catches and starts. Once it finallly starts it runs fine. If I cut it off and try to start it up shortly after it has started, it starts up fine every time.

For some reason this hard start problem only appears when the car has been sitting for several hours.

Took it to the dealership (twice) - nothing came up on the diagnostic, problem didn’t occur for them. They replaced my battery and battery cables. Then took it to a mechanic - no error codes appeared for him. He cleaned the injectors just in case. Problem still there.

On my own I: (a) cleaned the throttle plate; and (b) replaced the spark plugs. Worked fine for three days after spark plugs replaced then problem returned.

Not sure what to do at this point. Purchased car brand new w/ 3 miles back in 2004 specifically because I believed that Camrys were reliable.

At this point, I am thinking about replacing the ECT sensor.

Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated.



The next time you go to start the engine, and you know this problem will occur, just turn the ignition switch to the run position for a couple of seconds and then turn it off. Repeat this a half dozen times or so, and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts right up, there’s a problem with the pulsator valve in the fuel pump. And it’s allowing the gas in the fuel rail(s) and fuel line to drain back into the tank as the vehicle sits for an extended period of time.