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Mysterious Camry problem

I have a 1994 Toyota Camry (automatic). I’ve had it since 2004 and loved it. It never gives me much trouble, except for the past few months, starting in September of last year with a distributor problem, then brakes, then the hood latch, etc.

Yesterday I drove maybe a mile down the road to the pharmacy, and when I got out, the engine wouldn’t turn over. I got jumped and the car started again, but wouldn’t continue running. I got it towed to Sears Auto, but the current problem (which seems to be completely puzzling the mechanics there) is that they can get the car to start, but it fails again whenever the gear is shifted.

My grandfather thinks it could be a transmission sensor problem, but the guys at Sears can’t seem to figure anything out. Any ideas?

Check the find a mechanic files on this site for your zip code and have the car towed out of Sears immediately. That’s the last place I’d take a car.

For awhile I worked at Sears and they couldn’t even balance a tire I bought there correctly. Even with an employee discount Sears was a bad deal for me.

I’ve got an account at Sears, which is why I take my car there for anything I need. They know me by now, and have always done a wonderful job. The car will be taken to the Toyota dealer shortly if the engine technician can’t find anything, but until then, we’re all still stuck on what the problem is.

There are 2 switches I think. 1 so it will not start unless it is in park and break is pushed and #2 most cars have a switch that lets you start it in neutral.
Sorry to say I do not know where they are.

Any engine needs fuel, air, and ignition (at the right time, and in the right amount). A basic check for each of these is the first thing a mechanic needs to do.
The problem, now, is that the engine starts, but won’t take a load. The amount of fuel injected is the first suspect. This can be checked easily enough with a fuel pressure test gauge, before and AFTER the fuel filter is changed. Fuel pressure test only at idle is an INADEQUATE test. Fuel pressure has to be checked with a load on the engine, such as putting the transmission into gear, and at higher loads/rpms.
It’s a mistake to ASSUME that a mechanic has performed such and such tests. Know.

You could have a problem with the throttle position sensor (TPS). It could be due to a dirty throttle body not allowing the throttle plate to completely close.

There are specific Camry forums at

I would post there.