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Toyota Service
Toyota Service, Toyota Expert
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 4608
Experience:  30+ Yrs of auto experience, Award Winning Svc. Manager; Just Answer Customer's Choice Award Winner
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I'm ***** *****. Have a 2009 Camry. Having all kinds of

Customer Question

Customer: Hi! I'm ***** *****. Have a 2009 Camry. Having all kinds of electrical "gremlin" issues. Very hard starting, strange electrical issues that make no sense. The other night, low beam headlights wouldn't work but high beam and fog lights worked. Dealer says it might be ecm or main wiring harness costing 4-5,000! Battery voltage always seems to be a little low and have replaced the battery about 2 years ago. I have been suspicious of the altenator and am wondering if low voltage or a bad ground wire could be causing isssues?
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Not a lot, my step daughter is driving it near Appelton, Wi. I'm in Nebraska and dont get a lot of specific details. I believe the biggest issue is hard starting. Engine turns over fine, but takes a long time to start.
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Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Toyota Service replied 10 months ago.

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. First, an ECM issue would have nothing to do with the low beam headlamps not turning on. If the engine is having a hard time starting, ie it cranks and cranks and cranks, and eventually starts, I would be suspecting the internal fuel line check valve that is located inside the fuel pump. When the check valve is faulty, it allows fuel to drain out of the fuel piping back into the tank. The extended cranking would be, in this case, the fuel being pumped back to the fuel injectors. This is characteristic of a bad check valve. The valve is not replaceable, it is inside the fuel pump assembly. If thsi car was in my shop, I would be recommending we do a fuel pressure test on the fuel rail. If the fuel pressure is zero 12 hours after the car is shut of, this would confirm the check valve hypothesis. Replacement of the fuel pump would be the recommendation.

Expert:  Toyota Service replied 10 months ago.

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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
While the check valve seems plausible for the starting issue, other issues showed up at the same time. Such as, the car alarm would randomly sound for no apparent reason. Dealer replaced the hood latch( I don't understand that one) and fixed that problem for a little while.(It is doing that again) The radio will spit the cds out when trying to change the radio station, radio will change stations randomly without any driver input to do so. When the low beam headlights failed to work, it also had extremely poor power. (Could only achieve 20mph with throttle on the floor) then suddenly had normal power.
Expert:  Toyota Service replied 10 months ago.

The hood latches are know to cause the alarm to sound, there was a technical service bulletin to replace the hood latch. The hood latch incorporates a switch in it to activate the alarm if someone pops the hood whilst the alarm is active.

You are on the right track with your alternator theory. If the alternator is not producing 10.5 volts DC, the computer in the car cannot make the necessary calculations to run the engine. I woudl replace the alternator.

Expert:  Toyota Service replied 10 months ago.

The alternator low voltage output issues would also cause the radio to do very strange things