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Ask Chris (aka-Moose) Your Own Question
Chris (aka-Moose)
Chris (aka-Moose), Auto Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 947
Experience:  16 years of experience
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96 camry intermittently has no spark. Put new doil on, swapped

Customer Question

96 camry intermittently has no spark. Put new doil on, swapped out ignition module... thinking distributor pickup. pickup tests 175 ohms... no codes thrown
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Skyvisions replied 2 years ago.
4 Cylinder or V6 engine? When it is in the no start condition and there is no spark did you check to see if the yellow check engine light is on with the key in the on position?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
2200 4cyl. It has only not started once.... I did not note the check engine light when trying to start it.The car started just fine a few days later when I swapped out the ignition module... however, it also then started just fine with the old ignition module... so the module was not the issue. The usual problem is a sudden and complete loss of all power as if the engine were turned off then back on nearly instantaneously. Only a few times has it been more than momentary... like that one time starting it.
Expert:  Skyvisions replied 2 years ago.
I am not sure how you want me to proceed here. You are dealing with an impossible situation that's only happened a couple of times and is very intermittent. For me to give you a definitive answer as to what's going on is probably unrealistic. If you want some general ideas of additional things to look at and check I can do that but that would be about it unless you can get the car to stay in the no start or no spark condition for a reasonable amount of time. Also if it has only done this a few times while driving how do you know for certain that it is losing spark?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It has done it a lot of times, but is just intermittent. I only know about the loss of spark due to the one instance where it would not start for some time. At that point, I disconnect a plug wire and cranked with no spark. Additionally, because the loss of power is so instantaneous and complete, and then just as quickly completely gone, that seemed to match up with a loss of spark rather than fuel.

I agree that it is a pain... like all intermittent problems and may be insoluble until a complete failure. But, I thought I'd gamble that someone more Toyota savvy might have run across this before.

of course, it may be an unusual problem and the most experienced techs might not have run across it.

Expert:  Skyvisions replied 2 years ago.
96 was a transitional year for the ignition systems depending on your production date and emission specifications. Do you have the vehicle identification number available? Is your ignition coil mounted inside the distributor? Do you have a code reader that you can plug into the diagnostic port behind the coin box so that when the problem occurs you can immediately checking for codes?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Coil is separate. I do have a code reader. Can they be left hooked up while the car is driving?

Expert:  Skyvisions replied 2 years ago.
Yes the code reader can be hooked up while driving. Most code readers also have the ability to read live data. If you can get the problem to occur make a note of any codes that would be set at the time that it occurs and if the check engine light stays on or comes on or even flickers. Any information about the event would be extremely helpful. For example if you have a tachometer does the tachometer go to zero instantly then snap back? If it stays in a prolonged no start condition and you have no spark make a note of whether or not the check engine light is illuminated with the key in the on position.