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Camry 2005 Engine? Transmision?

2005 Camry 2AZ-FE engine
The engine started a little intermittent knocking a few months back. Then started running extremely rough. Shop replaces spark plug wires, engine smoothed out, knocking went away. Knocking came back a few months later.
I was driving on a longer trip, we were 2 hours in. Out of nowhere all power lost to the wheel and engine red-lined (cruise was on). Turned cruise off, engine to idle.
While rolling, shift to N the back to D. Gave gas, engine red-lined, still no power to wheels.

Pulled over, stopped the car, put in R, P, D, N, and so on…no power. Every time I shift I could fell the transmission engage. In R & D at idle, I could feel it slowly creeping. I give it gas, and the creeping stopped and gravity rolled it down hill.

Killed the engine to MAYBE “reset”…something? Engine wouldn’t start. I could hear the started running as if it were detached from the block.

Started ~ 1 year old
Personally checked after event (on the “side of the road”):
Oil level: OK
Transmission fluid: OK
Crank shaft: friend could only get it (belt pulley) to turn a few degrees by hand/wrench.

Shop diagnosis:
Needs new engine, timing belt broke or got out of time. Can’t diagnose anything else (transmission) until engine running.


  1. I kind of believe it could be the timing belt issue. Could that be the cause of no power to the wheels?
    Or would it more likely be the transmission?

  2. Anyone have any other thoughts?

Thank you in advance. If I wasn’t clear, I will be more than happy to explain in more detail, if possible.

The 4-cyl engine in the 2005 Camry uses a timing chain. Only the V6 uses a timing belt. Check the receipt you got for diagnosis and see if they mention a belt or chain. If they say belt, you might want a second opinion.

I think a second opinion is needed here but it sounds like it will have to be towed . This sounds more like a transmission problem . You will need to decide if this 14 year old vehicle is worth the amount of money it will take to fix it.

Thank you, jtsanders. I probably misspoke. He very well might have told me chain. I don’t have a diagnosis receipt. They “looked at it”, then we talked over the phone.

I am with you, price is what I am trying to consider. In my mind, if it IS just the engine, then it might very well be worth it to fix it, but if it’s both…I don’t think so.

I don’t expect it to be, but could it be just the transmission?

I am no expert but I know sometimes there can be these weird corks that show up in strange ways.

Thanks for your input.

How many miles on the car and what is the condition other than it doesn’t run? Part of the fix or sell decision is how much it costs to replace this Camry when it runs.

i was leaning trans till you said you shut off motor and now it wont even crank normally. you can look at motor and see serp belt move the alternator pulley or p/s pump while a 2nd person cranks motor. if the belt will not move than the motor is not turning over. yes a running motor is required to trouble shoot a trans issue.
if you lose your trans while running down the highway than yes you will over rev the motor. which you did initially. motor will idle fine

If I had to venture a guess, I think your crankshaft broke near the back, close to the flexplate.

torque convertor will try to hold flexplate in position. engine idled fine. you shut it off and now starter spins or trys to spin the flexplate. if you can remove inspection cover for trans and rotate flexplate with motor off than there you go. or, the flexplate broke

It doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be offset.
It’s best explanation I came come up with that explains all of the symptoms.
You have a better one? Let’s hear it…

I just talked to the mechanic, and he said they have compression on the cylinders when he tried to turn it over. I didn’t remember that when I talked to him yesterday.

That’s good. Normal compression means chain is ok. And trans end of motor/flex plate are probably ok. Maybe the failure to start is a side issue. Motor rev’ing with no motion though is not good

Erik , if you don’t have time to go to the shop see if they will email you what they have done so far , what they plan as the next steps and just what kinds of charges you now have and can expect.

After that post them here because that info will let some of the excellent mechanics here give better opinions.

If the timing chain completely broke the engine wouldn’t run at all. It wouldn’t start, it wouldn’t red-line, nor would it idle. It just wouldn’t run. It the timing chain slipped some positions it might still run somewhat. Timing chain problems are unusual on cars like this, but it could happen, especially if the routine oil & filter changes weren’t kept up to date or if the engine ever run low on oil. Your comments above make me think there’s a problem with the transmission, but the shop is right that until the engine is running correctly its gonna be hard to diagnose any transmission problems. It’s sometimes possible to look into the hole where the oil is poured in to see the camshafts or other related parts. If those are moving as the crankshaft is hand-rotated that would be consistent with either no timing chain problem, or a timing chain that had skipped a few cogs. It can be difficult to turn the crankshaft using a socket wrench on the crankshaft pulley if the spark plugs are installed, so removing the spark plugs and trying that again is a possibility. Be aware however that turning the crankshaft could cause expensive to repair damage if the camshaft isn’t in proper time due to a timing chain problem.

This problem description has me scratching my head… I dont think I understand the “Red Line” events correctly. Are you saying it is as though you went into neutral out of nowhere? It almost seems like the transmissions clutches are slipping under any kind of normal load. At idle it allows the vehicle to creep but applying any power and the creep stops and again acts like the trans is in neutral again by rolling backward.

It should be a simple affair to determine the health of the engine… The timing belt or chain will have absolutely nothing to do with the vehicle not having power to the wheels. In fact if it is running to even try to put the vehicle in D or R and or creep the timing system of the engine seems intact as it is running normally. What it is not doing is moving normally. I am leaning heavily toward a transmission issue…in the torque convertor or the clutches of the trans gears… If I had to choose between the two based on the problem description I would have to go with the T convertor. There are many little checks that could be performed to suss it out better, but I doubt it has anything to do with the engine in this case.

While being unusual it is possible to damage an engine by racing it during a transmission failure.
A clear diagnostic report from the repair shop might clear this up.

I also suspect a broken flex plate. To be sure you (or your mechanic) need to separate the engine from the transmission and take a look. I know this is going to be expensive so you will have to decide if this is cost effective or if you wish to buy a newer car. If you are the curious type, you can do the job personally.

Let us know what you decided to do, especially if you find the solution.

My apologize for not getting back to here. Thank you guys for your input. Because of you, several thousand (over 3k) dollars were save! Why…Because it was the flex plate!!! I recomended that to the machanic and he check just to make sure and BINGO! A potentially $4k fix, turned into a $700 fix.

Again, THANK YOU guys for everything!!! …and I am sorry I didn’t post sooner.