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iauto8, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 137
Experience:  15 year ASE Auto Technician. European import specialist.
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Toyota Camry LE: I recently replaced the cylinder head gasket

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I recently replaced the cylinder head gasket on my 2003 toyota camry (4cyl automatic, 2AZ-FE engine 125K miles). It had been burning coolant for a while and had loose head bolts that had stripped out of the engine block. During the overhaul, I tapped and installed NS300L head bolt inserts, replaced head bolts, had a professional shop overhaul cylinder head, replaced oil pump, water pump, timing chain kit, belt tensioner, VVT solenoid, gaskets and seals, thermostats/hoses and sparks plugs. I started the car up and and it ran like a brand new car for..... For about 5 miles. It then died on the street and would not start (no rough ride, engine just idled lower and lower until it shut itself off).

Car towed home. The starter would crank but no ignition and fuel pump wasn't priming. The check engine light came on and read the following codes: P0010 - Camshaft position "A" Actuator (VVT System), P0748 - Pressure Control Solenoid "A" Electrical (shift solenoid valve SL1), P0778 - Pressure Control Solenoid "B" Electrical (shift solenoid valve SL2), P02716 - Pressure Control Solenoid "D" Electrical (shift solenoid valve SLT). I replaced the fuel pump/filter and the car started right up sounding good. Problem solved..........drove 25 miles across town and it ran OK but a little rough at high RPMs. Died the same way.

Since then, car tends to start when its fully cooled. It will rev in Park but is computer limited at 2000 RPMs. Automatic door locks/remote entry cut out every time I try to start but do not turn over. Pulling EFI fuse resets them. Have to reset codes to get Open Circuit relay to send voltage to fuel pump (sometimes I even have to jumper the relay). Same 4 codes always appear along with the occasional P0300, P0301, P0302, and P0303 cylinder missfire codes when attempting to rev at high RPMs in neutral. The car will idle in neutral for a while until it gets hot and then it shuts itself off. It usually shuts off instantly in gear or runs really rough (jerky and horrible sounding with any throttle applied) at super slow speeds. I replaced the new VVT solenoid with old one and checked the crank and cam position sensors. Crank position sensor was way out of spec so it was replaced. Same symptoms remain. checked throttle body, and MAF sensors and resistances looked good. Throttle body measured 2.6 ohms -M to +M when range should be 3 to 100 ohms but rejected that as a major issue.

I then towed the car to a local Toyota dealership for diagnostic. They had all the same issues I had. They said it seems mechanically fine but that the ECU wasn't communicating with their diagnostics tools and was acting really odd. "It was as if it put up a firewall and wouldn't let them in"; their words not mine. They spent an entire day on it and were us frustrated as me and happy to see it go away. They said they were 90% certain that the ECU had gone bad, so I towed it home and bought a cheap used ECU on E-bay and installed it. Exact same symptoms, exact same four codes.

I have about 300 man hours and about $2000 dollars tied up in this fairly valueless car and am about ready to give up. At this point I am leaning more towards the transmission solenoids as the problem but just can't figure his one out. Before my overhaul the transmission would skip and jump a little but never gave me any real problems. I did jack the engine up and down a few times to remove the engine mount and get to the timing cover. But it ran fine with any transmission problems for several miles after the overhaul. I really do want to get it running but am at a loss. Sorry for the short essay but I figured more information was better than not enough. Any help would be greatly appreciated and correct help and answers will be rewarded.

Thank you for your time,
From the description you are giving. I'm 90% sure a ground strap was either left off or damaged during the head gasket replacement. I will see if I can find you pics or diagrams to locate the ground locations. If this has been checked or you are sure all grounds are o.k., let me know. I would then send your question to other Toyota techs and see if they have another idea. Chris........
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your input. I am pretty sure I only removed 2 ground straps during the head gasket repair. One over the left exhaust side of the head near engine shock mount (shown in green in the attachment) and the other from the driver side of the head near the cam sensor (EG shown in red). I will check my fuses and grounds tonight. Also, is there a common wire harness/ground path to search for that would throw the P0010, P0748, P0778 and P2716 codes. I forgot to mention that these codes come up every time with the key in the "ON" psoition. Don't even need to crank the starter.


Thanks Again,


Grounds I remember removing


I will check some wiring diagrams and see if I can connect those codes to a common ground or power supply. It may take some time to get back to you on that, but will be later today. Chris......
Here are test procedures for P0748 and P0778.

1. Check the EH ground located on the intake manifold side of the engine block. The ground is not easily visible. and you may need to be under the vehicle to see the ground on the engine.

2. Perform a voltage drop test at the engine control module to determine if the grounds are faulty. Place your volt meter negative terminal at the battery negative terminal and then place the positive probe at the engine control module. There should be no voltage present at any time on the ground wires. Check terminals 3,6 and 7 on the E10 connector. Check terminals 3,4 and 7 on the E9 connector. Check pin 22 on the E6 connector.

The common link to these codes is the fact that all these sensors or solenoids receive power and ground from the ecm. Most others receive at least power from another source. The more I look the more I believe there is a ecm ground problem. Keep at it you will find it. Chris.....
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you so much for looking into this. I have been very busy and will finally have some time to check for voltages tomorrow. One more question, what are the car conditions for running these checks? Should the ecu be unplugged with the car turned off? Should the car be turned to on with the ecu unplugged? Or should the ecu be plugged in and I splice into the lines with the key turned to on?

When checking the grounds @ the ecm make sure key is off and unplug the ecm to check grounds @ the connector. If you suspect a weak ground cable you can use a set of jumper cables to quickly add an addition ground path. Chris.....
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you so much. Your diagnosis was perfect. I measured a poor 90 ohm continuity to the EH ground point. I pulled the intake manifold off and discovered that I had started the ground screw but never threaded it all the way and torqued it. That was about a $600 mistake in the long run but the car runs beautifully now. This was my first time using Just Answers and I will definitely be back. Let me know if I can send you a few extra bucks through PayPal for your service. Just provide me with your PayPal ID or tell me what proper channel to go through.
Thanks again,
Johnathon, good job. I'm glad you got fixed. Being a mechanic myself for 20 years I know how how rewarding it feels when you get the tough one solved. I'm not sure of a channel to go through to get a bonus. You may try to contact Just Answer. Dont worry about too much much about it. I am truly just glad I could help. Chris......