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Starting problems with 1998 Toyota Camry LE V6

Hi folks,

I have a 1998 Camry Le V6 which recently exhibited problems with starting. i.e on a cold morning turning the key in the ignition results in nothing (just all indicators on dashbaord lighting up) but no click, no engine crank nothing. I used to be able to jump start it from another card but yesterday that didn’t work either. Had suspect the 3 year old Sears Diehard battery, a trip to autozone and a load test on the battery resulted in the diganosis “battery is borderline and should be replaced soon”. Subsequent trip to sears for a 2nd opinion results in “battery is fine, must be some electrical problem”. When car won’t start measuring the DC voltage on across battery terminals displays 12.5 volts. An hour later when the same car magically starts using the key, voltage across batter with engine running measures over 14 v. I’d say alternator ok, battery appears ok. Internet discussions mention problems with stuck/dirty IAC valves in 1998 camry but they also mention if this is the case then flooring gas pedal when starting the car should bypass the dirty IAC temporarily allowing car to start, this is not the case for me. Flooring the gas doesn’t help when engine won’t crank. Not sure whether to go swap out the battery to reduce a variable or go to a dealer for an IAC valve replacement which is probably big bucks :slight_smile: Any advice appreciated.

The next time it won’t start, try shifting the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts after doing this, there’s a problem with the Park/Neutral Safety Switch.


Another possibility is that this might have the common Toyota starter contact problem (they wear down, eventually resulting in no start, even though all the electrics function fine). If you’re handy, you can remover the starter, remove the solenoid, replace the contacts ($30 or less), and put it all back together. Here’s a site describing the work:

(seems like this problem crops up about once a month on these boards…)

Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll be sure to try it. Another bit of detail: A week before the first time I had this problem I had installed a new viper car alarm and suspected that perhaps it was draining the battery… The installer at Bestbuy took the time to test any drain for an hour but could find nothing with the alarm enabled. He even suggested that if it happened again he’d temporarily disconnect the alarm and if needed swap out the circuit board for the alarm. Not sure whether to go back and try that route. Methinks disabling the alarm would reduce the variable down to battery or electrical issue…

  • Ravi

I would make the alarm system my top suspect. Have it disabled/removed and see if the problem goes away.
I believe you are saying that the starter will not turn the crankshaft over. There is no way whatsoever that the IAC would play a role in the starter not working. Don’t waste your money there. (An IAC problem would be that the starter turns, but the engine doesn’t want to run and stalls at idle.)

Yes the starter doesn’t allow the engine to crank. In fact no clicking sounds nothing. I’ll take your advice and focus on the alarm instead of IAC for now. Thanks for the response.

Thanks for the suggestion on starter contacts. Sadly I’m not handy hence will take this suggestion over to a mechanic and have him implement. Sounds logical to suspect starter (or alarm) as opposed to my idea of focusing on the IAC.

Has anyone determine the cause and solution for this problem. I have the same issue. It will not crank, but battery is good. I turn the key and nothing happens. I don’t recall a click, but wasn’t really listeing for it. The problem is intermitant. This happened 3 times in the last week to me, all on 30 degree mornings. In the afternoon, the car started up, no problem. I did not try to flood it or to start in neutral, like I saw on other posts. The car, otherwise, runs great. My mechanic wants to replace the starter, though he isn’t sure it is the problem. It is starting every time for him, even early on a cold morning. It has 150+k miles. I don’t think replacing the starter is throwing good money after bad, but want to know what to try if that fails.