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Toyota Camry electrical system problem

I have a 2001 toyota camry sitting in garage for a couple of years. Recently, I put in a new battery and tried to start the car. The headlight would turn on, and engine would start, however, none of the electrical system is working. No radio, no AC, no power window, nothing else, not even the LCD odometer, and the RPM stays at zero. The shifting gear is locked, but once I unlock with manual override, I can drive the car (power steering still work) around. However, I won’t take the risk to drive to repair shop, as car may die since the alternator is not charging the battery, and there is no signaling lights, no break lights, etc.

Any advice? Some quick online search suggested that it could be alternator, could be ignition switch, or could be fuse? How I can pin-point the problem?



There are basically two branches of electrical power; engine and chassis. Sounds like your car has no chassis power. First check the chassis ground wire. It will most likely be by the battery negative going to the fender sheet metal. They commonly rust and develop bad connection. If ok, check supply side to fuse box. Could be main fuse or fusible link.

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Agree with Turbo. Clean up all the ground connections and maybe check fuses. Connections can get bad just sitting.

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Thanks TwinTurbo and Bing,

I checked the battery negative and fender sheet metal with multi-meter, the connection is good. So this can be ruled out.

Also checked the connection between Alternator output and battery positive, it is open (>1M ohm). Does this mean the fusible link or the the main fuse is the problem? Not sure what exactly the “fusible link” is, is it the big fuse box next to battery? How about the main fuse? Is it the fuse with “ALT” label (100A)?

It seems that the alternator fuse has blown, did you take a close look at it? The alternator fuse will blow if the battery is connected backwards or jumper cables are connected backwards.


Thank you guys! Yes, close examination showed the alternator fuse is blown. Got it out (a little bit tricky but with help from youtube) finally. Will see whether this fixes the problem after getting a new one from autozone.

That fuse typically blows when you have a direct short to ground

Keep that in mind, before you replace it

I have no idea what else you did before you parked the car for years, while it was sitting, or while you replaced the battery. I wouldn’t want you to replace the fuse, only to have it blow again, right away