Camry Caper



I have a 2002 Toyota Camry 6 cylinder that has an occasional problem that is stumping the mechanics. My problem happens only on my commute and only after cresting one steep hill - a 3 minute at 30 MPH hill about 1 out of 12 times. In those cases (tank full or nearly empty) at the stop sign, just after cresting the hill, my car sputters and wants to shut down - only by revving the engine will the car go on. All is fine until the light (relatively flat) when the car sputters again. I hit the gas and then I can make it the next quarter mile to my driveway. When I put it in reverse to get into the garage the car dies. I can not restart the car immediately, but after 30 minutes I can pull in the garage. Never a problem the next day. The mechanics can not recreate the problem hence are reluctant to replace the fuel pump. I have been putting in premium gas, yet no improvement. Toyota mechanics diagnostic machines show no problem. One solution is to avoid that hill. But I am sure a real problem lurks. Any ideas?


Did they read any codes on the engine control module? If the engine idles poorly, at least one code should be set.


You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.


The diagnostic tests showed no codes. There were no problems found by mechanics.

Thanks for your thoughts


I forgot to mention that after a certain number of restarts and no problem, the ECM reset itself. You need to have it read shortly after the event occurs. Ask the shop how many cycles are needed to reset.


Now that is very interesting. I will look into the cycle issue. Next day after problem, after 1 or 2 starts I can certainly take the car in for the test.

Thanks for this idea/info.


I can not restart the car immediately, but after 30 minutes I can pull in the garage.

Try the old aerosol starting spray trick to see if it is a fuel only problem. When the problem occurs, momentarily disconnect the intake duct at the throttle body and spray in a small amount of the starter spray. If the engine then attempts to start or actually starts for a moment during cranking, you can look into fuel delivery issues more closely. Otherwise, I’d be inclined to start looking at ignition related causes.


My 2002 Camry is doing the exact same thing. Did you ever have a solution to this problem?