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Author Topic: Help Diagnose this Car Problem  (Read 1095 times)
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KC
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« on: December 05, 2004, 07:07:43 PM »

My wife drives a 97 Toyota Camry automatic.  Yesterday, she was driving down the highway and then all of the warning lights came on and then the car died.  She came to a stop and was able to restart the car and drive home.  I don't know if this is related, but three months ago, we spent $400 to have the dealer redo the wiring in the trunk because the back lights weren't working.  The car battery is a 5 year old Sears Die-Hard.  

Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance for the advice.
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dbt1949
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2004, 07:30:32 PM »

Computer?
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2004, 08:47:06 PM »

Check to make sure the flux capacitor isn't grounding out on the sub-space chassis.  

After that, it's a pretty broad field for me to take a stab at.  Wiring, computer, fuse...could be all or none of those as far as I know.
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Dr. Sugardaddy
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2004, 09:48:16 PM »

How many miles on the car?  Depending on the make/model/year, it MIGHT be that the timing belt has to be replaced (usually between 70,000 and 90,000 miles for the first time).  The only reason I  think it might not be this is that she was able to restart the car; usually the car won't start after this goes out (and you can do damage to the engine by trying to start it depending on the make of your car).

It MIGHT also be electrical, given the recent rewiring.  Maybe a key fuse burned out (although in my limited experience, burned out fuses don't stall the car at highway speeds).  Maybe a mechanic with limited competence created a short in the system.  

The only other thing I can think of is a problem with the fuel-injection system--maybe the mix of fuel/oxygen is fouled a by a clog or a loose line.

Unless she's got a lemon, this shouldn't be a computer problem...I've been driving the 97' model of this car with nary a hiccup (knock on wood).

My personal policy (and I'm not a mechanic or anything) is that anything that stalls a modern automobile WHILE IT IS IN MOTION, as opposed to when coming to a stop, I treat as a really big deal.  Get thee hence to a mechanic!
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Zekester
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2004, 03:00:23 PM »

When the car died, did you lose ALL lights?

Your problem is a little vague right now to try and diagnose.
Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to figure out problems is to have then happen enough to establish a pattern.

My advice is to keep driving it and keep note of when/where/why/how etc. when it happens again.

But don't plan any important trips with it in the meantime.
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happydog
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2004, 08:58:34 PM »

It could be they ignition switch (key). Did the lights go out after a second when it died (if she noticed)? Kind of like when you first turn on the key, sometimes all the lights come on, then some/most of them go out after a second. If the ignition switch lost connection on the "run" mode, but kept the ACC mode it could look that way. You could test this by jiggling the key just a little bit back and fourth while the car is running. Just do it in the driveway, not down the freeway  biggrin
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Speaker2Animals
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2004, 03:35:57 PM »

Looooong shot perhaps, but I'll toss out as I had a car which died suddenly while in motion a number of times & had this weird PITA problem:

There is a cut-off switch designed to, in case of accident, shut off the flow of gas thru the gas lines & thus thru the injectors. I forget the exact name of it, but in older days it was a simple mechanical/inertial switch, maybe tricked up & electronic now as w/ everything else. Simple concept: prevents those fires & explosions in a major wreck (Sorry, fans of C.H.I.P.S.: cars don't really blow up real good like that).

Anyway, I got backended once, though, fairly lightly, at a traffic light. Thought absolutely nothing of it, no visible damage, other than to my vocal cords as I yelled at the total idiot. Nothing worth insurance/police/reproting; drove off & for months thought that was that.

See where this is going, eh? Months later, the damn car would suddenly started cutting off now & again - the switch was sort of randomly triggering & of course no gas = no run. Lots of fun on a freeway, as happened a few times. Would then reset I gfuess & restart perfectly fine, but a couple weeks later retrigger. Damn vexing, even when I had it checked out to no avail. Until finally wouldn't restart once & post tow job finally "dots got connected" by some mechanic after lots of shrugging: "Oh, yeah, I did get backended 1/2 a year ago, why do you ask?"

As I said, longshot, but if you had some kind of fender bender at some point? (or those guys poking around in your wiring?).
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happydog
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2004, 08:04:01 PM »

Thats an idea Speaker, but I wouldn't really suspect it because the lights coming on doesn't really fit. And I believe they call that the rollover switch.
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