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94 Camry - No Spark


landlocked
08-25-2006, 12:32 PM
I'm looking for suggestions on how to trouble-shoot a failure to start problem on my 94 Camry 4 cyl Japan non-California.

I pulled a spark plug wire and attempted to check for spark by cranking the engine and looking for the spark to jump from an inserted screwdriver and the engine hoist hook. I could see no spark.

I replaced the distributor cap and rotor but that did not help.

I pulled all four plugs (non-platinum) and found some oil-gas fouling on the upper threads but the electrodes were not too bad. I plan to replace the plugs anyhow but don't think that will solve my lack of spark problem.

A mechanic told me that the coil is located under the distributor cap and sometimes fails. But he advised me that it could be spendy and might not necessarily be the problem.

I'm looking for ways to isolate my problem and maybe save a 20 mile tow into town.

The car was running fine last night when we parked it.

The reason that I suspected the distributor cap is that in the past, heavy dew caused condensation in the cap which burned a short along the side.

Thanks

RIP
08-25-2006, 01:44 PM
You can check the resistance of the primary and secondary coil using an ohm meter. Open the "sticky" at the top of the Camry forum labeled "94....Camry Service and Repair Manuals". Open the 94 Camry file. Open the ignition system file. It's a pdf file so you'll need Adobe. The ignition system file tells you all about it and how to test it.

InstallTech
08-25-2006, 08:55 PM
On my 93, the ignition coil is *part* of the distributor. It costs about 40 bucks and is not a very hard job to pull off. I had some problems with my Camry a while back. That fixed 'em.

landlocked
08-26-2006, 01:58 PM
Thanks RIP,

I had downloaded the manual, but was not sure where to look.

I have been studying the instructions to see if have the necessary experience to attempt the repair. Some of it doesn't look that difficult.

What is the Diagnosis Check Wire? It looks like a jumper and maybe something that I could make myself? Any comments? It is a recommended piece of equipment found on page IG-25 of the manual.

RIP
08-26-2006, 06:03 PM
You already have a Diagnosis Check Wire. It's in your desk drawer and it's called a paper clip. It works just fine. Just make sure when you insert and remove it from the test plug the key is off. If that doesn't give you a warm fuzzy you could always make one from a 4 inch piece of 18 or 20 gauge wire. Just strip the insulation off each end, twist the braids together and you're ready. Probably looks a little daunting when you read through the procedure. When you're done you'll wonder why you hesitated. Just take your time, follow the directions and any cautions and you'll do fine.

landlocked
08-28-2006, 02:40 AM
Thanks RIP,

Ha! I guess I do have plenty of the 'test wires'.

My son came over and helped me to through the testing procedures for the spark. We made a trip to Sears and bought a Craftsman Mutimeter 81437.

I bought new plugs and hooked them into the high-tension wires and then tested them to ground. No Spark.

I tested the high tension (ignition wires) and found two of the four to have resistance over the max. I plan to replace all four but wasn't sure what brand is best (or which to avoid)? Do I need OEM's from the Dealer?

Checked power to ignition coil and it was OK.

Checked resistance of ignition coil and found Primary was OK, but secondary was too low. Plan to replace coil and wondered if I should stick with Dealer OEM or go for after market at a local parts store?

Checked resistance of pickup coil and it was OK.

Wondered about replacing the coil? Repair manual seems to indicate that it is best to remove the entire distributor first. Is that best or should I attempt to change it in place? Wondered about the seal packing? It might be a real nightmare to do that in place?

We did not check either the distributer air gap or igniter signal.

Appreciate the helpful suggestions.

RIP
08-28-2006, 01:41 PM
When it comes to electronic components I usually go with OEM parts. They cost a little more but, in the long run it's worth it. You might get a slightly better price on the internet somewhere. Aftermarket plug wires seem to work just fine. Make sure you get a name brand set. I've never changed a coil or distributor. Can't help there. Look the procedure and the car over closely and see what's best. Maybe somebody else can help you there. Try making a new thread and ask what the best route would be. Cheers.

Mike Gerber
08-28-2006, 01:50 PM
I changed out a coil on my nieces 91 Camry 3Sfe engine about 7 years ago. I took the distributor out, which I think is the easiest way, but that is your call. If you are going to try it with the distributor still in the car, be sure you have some type of locking screwdriver (both slotted and phillips) so you don't drop the screws while you are removing things or replacing them. I used an aftermarket Borg Warner coil I got at Pep Boys for $40. I'm sure they have gone up a bit since then. It is still working fine 7 years later. I would price the OEM and the aftermarket coils with a couple of phone calls and then make my decision.

Mike

RIP
08-28-2006, 01:56 PM
Spark plug wire brands? NKG or Borg would be great. There are others.

Mike - Did you get your new Camry yet?

landlocked
08-29-2006, 08:03 PM
Still have problems!!

I just finished installing a new coil, new ignition wires, new plugs, distributor cap and rotor.

I now have spark! But the engine will not fire...

Will the engine fire if I made a mistake and set #1 cyl at TDC on the exhaust stoke? I set #1 cyl at TDC and aligned the rotor to point in the general direction of that wire in the distributor. But I had to move the rotor some to get the distributor cutout alligned and am not positive that it still points correctly.

Any suggestions before I call for a pro to take over?

Thanks.

DFBonnett
08-29-2006, 08:32 PM
If it doesn't fire up, set the rotor 180 degrees opposite of where it is now and try again.

landlocked
08-29-2006, 10:36 PM
Thanks DFBonnett,

That is exactly what I was thinking, but being a newbie I wasn't sure that I might cause some damage. I was just waiting for encouragement, I guess.

I'll give it a shot..

THAT WAS IT.

The Camry is running again though not exactly like it did before. Maybe a little bit of roughness that I hope will smooth out.

Thanks everyone who offered some help.

Mike Gerber
08-30-2006, 02:43 PM
Spark plug wire brands? NKG or Borg would be great. There are others.

Mike - Did you get your new Camry yet?


We didn't get it yet, but this past Saturday we ordered a 2007 XLE in Titanium. We wanted the car exactly to our specifications. The dealer estimated the delivery time at 4-6 weeks. I would be happy if it came in that timeframe.

Mike

DFBonnett
08-30-2006, 03:21 PM
Thanks DFBonnett,

That is exactly what I was thinking, but being a newbie I wasn't sure that I might cause some damage. I was just waiting for encouragement, I guess.

I'll give it a shot..

THAT WAS IT.

The Camry is running again though not exactly like it did before. Maybe a little bit of roughness that I hope will smooth out.

Thanks everyone who offered some help.

Have you timed it correctly per the FSM?
Download the FSM here..
http://oregonstate.edu/~tongt/camry/index.html

Glad you got it running.

Brian R.
08-30-2006, 11:45 PM
There is a link to these FSMs in the sticky post at the top of this forum.

landlocked
09-03-2006, 04:25 PM
Before I begin, I want to say that I am not upset with any advice given... We all do our best to help each other.

Although I was able to get my Camry running by turning the rotor 180 deg, my car only ran a few minutes before breaking the distributor shaft. A closer inspection of the slot would have revealed that it was not centered on the shaft and could not be reversed. There was enough play to allow a loose fit needed for adjusting the timing. But as soon as the distributor was tightened down, it created a strain on the shaft that caused it to fail.

This is a real good example of a newbie gaining experience the hard way. I ordered a replacement distributor and will install it according to the manual.

Thanks again.

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