2002 Camry won't start

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by QueBert, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    Since the lights come on full brightness, the sunroof opens and the radio works I'm assuming it has to be the starter or the starter solenoid. I don't know a lot about cars but enough to figure this out. When I try to start the car there's no click, just the higher pitched soft buzz sound. Googling this I'm seeing to hit the starter with a metal object, I don't have access to the car right now but should I actually try this? Also my Googling must suck but I can't find a diagram of where the starter is. If anyone here could help me out that would be great. I'm about 110 miles from home and would like to not have to call AAA to get a toe. I know either the starter or the solenoid will need to be replaced but am hoping for a temporary fix that can get me back home for the time being.
     
  2. radioouman

    radioouman Diamond Member

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    I'll bet it is the solenoid, but I doubt that it is replaceable separately from the starter. A high pitched whine could be the starter motor turning with no load.
     
  3. CurseTheSky

    CurseTheSky Diamond Member

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    IIRC, the bendix in the starter can get stuck in the retracted position (not mated with the flywheel / flexplate), allowing the starter to spin and spin without actually cranking the engine. Hitting it with an object (rubber mallet may do the trick) can sometimes release the bendix and get it working again.

    It does sound like a starter / stuck bendix problem to me. In the worst case, you can buy a new starter and drop it in. It's usually two bolts and a couple of wires, so as long as you're comfortable working on your car, it shouldn't be a big project.
     
  4. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    thanks for the replies, I'm not a car dude, I mean if it's a couple bolts and a few wires I'm sure I can manage it. Now I just have to find a PDF or something showing me where it's at so I can go tap it with a wrench or something.

    @radioouman I know I said it's making a high pitched whine but I might be wrong the more I think about it. TI wonder if I'm saying that because a mechanic I spoke to brought it up a few times. Regardless it's not turning over at all.
     
  5. PricklyPete

    PricklyPete Lifer

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    If you look around where the flywheel meets the transmission, you should be able to find it...often times near the bottom of the block.
     
  6. alfa147x

    alfa147x Lifer

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    Ah that's why my starter on my 94 altima would work when hit
     
  7. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    Well I tried tapping the starter with a cordless screwdriver, was the heaviest thing I had in my trunk. Made no difference I turn the key and still nothing, there's not even a whine just my dash lights coming on and everything else that needs power working normally. I tested the windows, stereo & sun roof. I guess I need a new starter, thanks fdr the ideas though guys.
     
  8. kornphlake

    kornphlake Golden Member

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    You could try a jump start still, I've had a battery that is drained enough to power accessories but not turn over the engine. You can have your battery tested for free at most auto parts stores, I believe wal-mart even does it, all it takes is to remove the two cables from the terminals, lift the battery out of the vehicle and toss it in the back seat of your friends car for a ride downtown before you spend $60 minimum to have a mechanic tell you it's just the battery.
     
  9. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    I tried to get a jump and it did nothing, I'll get it tested tonight at Pep Boys, I'm pretty positive know that's not what it is. Even with an almost 100% dead battery the engine should still attempt to turn over and I should get the buzzing noise. But what do I have to lose?
     
  10. vshah

    vshah Lifer

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    if it's a manual you could push start to get yourself home?
     
  11. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    Automatic, don't think the push start method applies. Do they even make manual Carmys?
     
  12. CurseTheSky

    CurseTheSky Diamond Member

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    FYI, you can't just "tap" it, you really need to put some force into it... which can be difficult given the really limited space in some cars. Hit it as hard as you would if you were pounding a nail into a board. Not hard enough to break pieces off or dent it to all Hell, but you need to send a good enough shock through it to knock the bendix loose (or back on track, or however it works).

    If you have any form of transportation at all, you can try buying a rubber mallet (if clearance is good) or a mini sledge and a cheap pipe. Either hit the starter directly with the mallet or put the pipe up to the side of it (for extra clearance) and hit it with the sledge. Of course, you CAN potentially do damage to the starter, flywheel, engine block, etc. so it may just be worth your while to go grab another starter.

    Since you already located it, take a look at how it bolts in and what you'll have to deal with for wiring. Look up a guide online (this one doesn't say what year it's for, but maybe it applies to you) and see if it's something you're comfortable toying with or if you're better off bringing it to a shop. Expect to pay $150ish for a re-manufactured starter (more or less with core charge), and keep in mind that many shops love to take advantage of people who are stuck in their current situation, especially if you just payed to get it towed there.
     
  13. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    Hummm, it very well didn't work when I hit it because I wasn't hitting hard enough. Most stuff I found on the web said to "tap" it and not hit too hard so I was a little worried. Since it's already not working I suppose I should give it one more go and hit it harder. I don't have access to a rubber mallet, but the black n decker screw driver is pretty heavy where the battery is. And with the wires the way they are I don't see how I could even fit a mallet in there, unless it was real small.

    thanks for telling me I need to whack it and not tap it, I'm off to give it one final try.
     
  14. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    wacking didn't do anything, got a tow back home and a neighbor came to look at it, he tightened the positive battery cable and it started right up. Had a lot of acid on it so we took the battery out and soaked the terminal in water & baking soda. Put the battery back in, wouldn't start, didn't even turn over. Tried to jump it, nothing, checked the voltage on the connectors and it's good. All the fuses are good. Banged the starter a few more times, still nothing. Guess it's a bad starter, so weird how it started right after the first thing he did. *SIIGH* I hate cars lol
     
  15. CurseTheSky

    CurseTheSky Diamond Member

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    Sounds like a bad starter. The tow home probably knocked the bendix back into place, and when it retracted after the initial start, it got stuck again.

    Considering it's 8 years old, you could always replace the starter for the heck of it and write it off as preventative maintenance (in case that's not the problem). That's not to say a re-manufactured starter won't do the same thing a year from now, but eh, whatever makes you feel better about spending $150. :p
     
  16. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    I figured the tow did something, was hoping I could knock it back into working condition again but no dice. The bright side is a Starter isn't all that expensive and looks like a job even a car noob like me could do in a few hours tops.
     
  17. needcamryhelp

    needcamryhelp Junior Member

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    Hey Quebert. I'm having the same problem as this. Did you end up figuring out what the problem was? Was it indeed the starter?
     
  18. nboy22

    nboy22 Diamond Member

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    about a year ago I had to replace the starter in my '02 Dodge Stratus. It kept blowing fuses and I kept replacing the fuses until one morning it just wouldn't start, no noise coming from the engine bay at all. I ended up replacing the starter and it fired right up. It took a while to get to it because of all the shrouding and if I remember correctly I had to take some pipes apart too.

    1. If your lights and electronics are working, and you hear no cranking when turning the key, first try a jump start for safety.
    2. Check your fuses/relays. If your starter is blowing a fuse that means it is on its way out, but you can get by for quite a few months sometimes (like I did) with just replacing the fuse when it blows. Just be ready for that one day when it isn't going to start.
    3. If all else fails, replace your starter.
     
  19. needcamryhelp

    needcamryhelp Junior Member

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    Thanks for the info. I tried jump starting, it didn't work. Checked all the relevant interior and exterior fuses too and they all seem to be fine (one solid metal fuse said 25mA though although the guide said 30mA). It was a doozie but I was able to pull out the starter and tried to fire it up by connecting it to a friend's battery but that didn't work either. Gonna take it to a car parts shop tomorrow and see if they can test it out. If it still doesn't work, looks like I'm gonna have to invest in a new starter indeed.
     
  20. nboy22

    nboy22 Diamond Member

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    No problem, sounds like a good plan of action. It sounds like it should be the starter to me.
     
  21. QueBert

    QueBert Lifer

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    Yeah, I replaced the starter it took me about 45 minutes and I'd never done it before. So if I could do it, anyone could. I looked up a video on Youtube, I was surprised at how easy it was.
     
    #21 QueBert, Dec 12, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  22. Ketchup

    Ketchup Lifer

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    YouTube is the bomb on car repair! I am amazed how my dad managed it with a book when I was a kid (of course, he knows more about cars than I do.) We replaced the spark plugs on my Mazda 6 watching a YouTube video.

    Tip for Quebert: you probably did hear a high pitched sound you had mentioned in post #1. That would be the electric fuel pump starting up. It starts at ignition, whether or not the engine starts.
     
  23. nboy22

    nboy22 Diamond Member

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    On my Stratus it was an absolute bitch. I couldn't even see when I was plugging the electrical wires back in for the new starter and my arm was near shoulder deep in the engine. I had to take engine mounts off and all sorts of crap.

    Now I own a corolla so when that one goes I am hoping it will be easier to replace, but I still have 8 years before I even have to worry about that!
     
  24. needcamryhelp

    needcamryhelp Junior Member

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    Yup I just replaced it too, it ended up not being that bad. The new starter was a little tough to insert into the engine but after some lube spray and a crushed middle finger I was able to jam it in.


    Yeah the replacement is kinda straightforward but they really don't make that starter easy to get too. It's so deep and cramped down there that it's so hard to finagle it out and in.
     
  25. nboy22

    nboy22 Diamond Member

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    So you're up and running now?