1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start

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2 months 3 weeks ago - 2 months 3 weeks ago #202080 by the_fella
My car has been having an issue where it randomly has no power and won't start. It's like there's no battery in the car. This happens at random. Sometimes it won't start, then I come out and try again later and it has power and starts like normal. But when the car does start, it doesn't die. It keeps running like normal.

I had the battery and alternator tested at AutoZone. Both tested good, which is unsurprising because they're not that old.

The cable ends are free of corrosion and are tight on the posts.
Last edit: 2 months 3 weeks ago by the_fella.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #202084 by DaCoder
Replied by DaCoder on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
Could be an ignition switch?

If you jiggle the key around when it has no power, does it ever return?

-current car : 1994 Honda Accord LX, 4-door, blue.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #202087 by the_fella
Replied by the_fella on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
I've never tried to jiggle it, tbh. I initially thought ignition switch as well. I replaced it. It didn't make a difference, though I guess it's possible the one I got from the junkyard was also bad. I just replaced the switch, not the ignition lock cylinder, because as far as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with the lock cylinder.

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #202125 by the_fella
Replied by the_fella on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start


Could this be causing this issue? It's the negative battery cable as it runs into a ground point.
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Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by the_fella.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #202126 by nightflyr
Replied by nightflyr on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
That insulation has been melted.
If it has not been in contact with a hot part of the engine it is due to high resistance.
I would start to look for voltage drop(s) in your main power cables.
Also look at all power cable jackets for swelling ( internal corrosion )
Might also check all chassis, frame and block grounds

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2 months 2 weeks ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #202139 by the_fella
Replied by the_fella on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
Thank you so much for your reply! It really gives me a lot to investigate!

This part of the wire doesn't contact engine parts. It runs under the plastic "base" that the battery sits on (and possibly under the air filter housing, if memory serves). I was thinking it might have gotten pinched by something along the way. This cable originates at the negative battery cable, and the other end grounds onto the transmission. I took the ground end off and inspected it. Everything was free of corrosion and looked ok to me, but I'm just some schmuck on the internet. Lol. I did hit it with a wire brush for good measure, though. Why would only one spot on the insulation melt? Wouldn't all of it melt? But again, I'm just some schmuck on the internet.

When you say to look for voltage drops in the main power cables, is this the battery cables? And how exactly do I go about doing this? And what will this tell me? I do have and know how to use a multimeter.

I'm not sure how to check frame, block, and chassis grounds. Tbh, Idk where these are located on this car. I'm normally pretty good with cars, but electrical stuff may as well be wizardry.
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by the_fella.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #202143 by nightflyr
Replied by nightflyr on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
Why would only one spot on the insulation melt? Wouldn't all of it melt?
Could be a point of high resistance.. high resistance = high heat.

When you say to look for voltage drops in the main power cables, is this the battery cables? And how exactly do I go about doing this? And what will this tell me? I do have and know how to use a multimeter.

this should give you the basics:




I'm not sure how to check frame, block, and chassis grounds. Tbh, Idk where these are located on this car. I'm normally pretty good with cars, but electrical stuff may as well be wizardry.

The negative battery cable should be attached to the frame of the vehicle, also a ground jumper or strap to the engine block and possibly another to the body connecting all 3 together.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #202148 by the_fella
Replied by the_fella on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
Excellent! Thank you so much! I really appreciate your responses.

If memory serves, the negative battery cable makes a Y. One end connects to the post on the battery. Another connects to the body, and the other is the one in the picture above that bolts to the transmission.

Do you think this could be causing the issue I'm having? It's really the only lead I have so far, though.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #202149 by nightflyr
Replied by nightflyr on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
It is possible, but that is only a guess with out testing the connections.
Looking at the symptom of no power to any of the electrical system.
I would suspect either a main relay or main power issue.
If you can repeat the no power condition, I would test a few things to be certain there is no power going to the electrical system.
Example:
When you have this issue occur try turning on your head lights, interior light, horn, try your door locks or power windows or radio.
If nothing works at all, your not getting battery voltage into or out of the fuse box.
That would be the best time to test.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #202154 by the_fella
Replied by the_fella on topic 1998 Toyota Camry random no power no start
Yes. This is what happens when the issue occurs. Nothing has power. It's like the battery isn't even in the car. There doesn't seem to be anything I can do to trigger the condition, though, except needing to be somewhere. Lol. Right now, the car is starting like normal.

I'll do these tests sometime within the next few days and let you know what I find.

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