Toyota Camry, 1992, V4, won't start in cold

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hi all!

i wish to make clear that i have very little knowledge of things mechanical, and so i will present as much info as i can. i'm not sure how much of it is relevant to my problem. i am capable of changing my oil and filter. i generally avoid touching anything else.

my 1992 camry (V4) was bumped from the front about 6 months ago- the hood is bent up a bit, but it has been fine running since then.

for the past two weeks, every morning i have needed to hold the key in the starting position for about 30 seconds and pump the gas pedal for it to start. this is only necessary in the mornings, after being outside in the bitter chicago cold all night. once it starts in the morning, it gives me no trouble starting up for the rest of the day.

i didn't drive the car at all yesterday, and this morning it wouldn't start despite my efforts. i opened the hood and noticed that the coolant level was low. (the coolant has now been filled- still doesnt' start).

engine oil looks a bit on the low side, but ok. transmission fluid also looks ok.

i have also found that one spark plug is missing a rubber washer that is present on the 3 others.

i'm a recently graduated person, and this means i'm poor. the frustration of not being able to go to work this morning was frustrating. i teach special education classes- kids in the public school systems. i like my job very much.

i thank you in advance for any advice you may offer!

-aamir :ticking:

posted by  aamir9

why don't you run a fuel injector cleaner(might help)i've found that one of the best one is Techron i'm not to familier with cold weather and what problems it might cause, i live in phoenix

posted by  carlos

so in the past two days i've gone from a person who scared of things automotive because he is extremely ignorant of them, to a person to who is interested by things automotive (probably because i am now slightly less ignorant of them).

so, the situation with my 92 Toyota, v4, automatic, 175,000 miles:

still hasn't started, and feel like the battery is getting drained from trying to so often. can't move it into the garage (out of snowy cold) until this weekend-- when i will have enough manpower to push it up the driveway.

i've removed the spark plug wires and spark plugs. after a about 2 hours of knee-strain i was finally able to fish out a half-disintegrated-looking rubber washer.

it has been six months since the spark plugs were tampered with by an overzealous uncle.

right now i'm tryting to figure out whether spending 40-60 bucks on a spark-plug wire set will be worth a try.

i have been told that the low-level of coolant in the reservoir (which has now been filled), is not a problem.

carlos- thanks for the suggstion. i'd be willing to try a fuel injector cleaner, but i'm not sure if it will do anything if my car does even start.

i'll keep posting, since this is the only forum that seems to be read. as usual all suggestions are appreciated.

-aamir :ticking:

posted by  aamir9

maybe it wont start because its a v4 and that is non existant. (inline 4 guy!)

posted by  Low Impedance

spark plug wires were purchased. i have repair manuals and internet guides and an uncle who seems to think he knows more than he knows... we'll see how it turns out.

Low Impedance:

my lack of car knowledge is on display. :doh:


posted by  aamir9

I don't understand, did you change the spark plugs yet? (since you found that the washer was burnt off or whatever). It seems like a relatively obvious problem you could work on first, especially since they're inexpensive and relatively easy to fix. Here's some causes of a car not starting in cold weather according to the Hayne's manual for your vehicle:

Engine Hard to start when cold

1 Battery discharged or low

2 Malfunctioning fuel system

3 Faulty cold start injector

4 Injector(s) leaking

5 Distributor rotor carbon tracked

6 Faulty coolant temperature sensor

I have no specific instructions on how to check out those problems because... um... I don't know how. :oops:

posted by  JaneiR36

actually toyota tried to make a V4 at one point but it didn't make much power so they dropped the idea

posted by  carlos

my car started yesterday. if it runs for a week the feeling of triumph will have been worth it.

so i removed three 1-year old spark plugs and eventually returned them to the engine, and replaced the fourth (which must have been 5-10 years old). i bought new spark plug wires and installed them. thats all. problem solved.

now, on to the clicking sound i hear whenever i turn...

-aamir :thumbs:

posted by  aamir9

I believe you're supposed to replace all your spark plugs at once. They're really not expensive! If you can drop 70 for spark plug wires I'm pretty sure you could space an extra 10 for all the spark plugs. I hope this works out for you regardless, though.

posted by  JaneiR36

hah! I've been running my mouth on the other forums :laughing:

The car is good and hasn't had any problems recently (other than the ones I've been ignoring). It'll be undergoing a 700 mile journey within the next week and Mom insisted on doing a bunch of repairs before I leave for my new job out of state (including changing two tires even when the thread wasn't completely gone... the wheels cannot be aligned because of some other repairs that need to be done meaning the new tires are just going to wear right out, anyway :banghead: ). She's paid, so it's okay. She's asking me to paint the car a little later because it looks fugly, but I'll be saving my money instead.

posted by  JaneiR36

I own a 91 Toyota Camry and mine does the same thing. I looked up a used car manual to see if my car was a good used car to buy. Well they said that the used Camry is great but for some reason the coil when it gets cold will prevent it from starting right away. I will keep trying until it will starts. Sometimes it will take me five minutes to get it started but it will start. So I would suggest is to keep trying for a couple of minutes. It will finally start. I was going to tell the person that posted a reply to your ad that said their is no such thing for a Camry to be a v4. i hate to tell them that the Camry is a standard v4. The v6 is optional but more expensive. They were a little rarier in the early 90's. Mine is a v6 and most are not. I hope that helped you in some way.

posted by  macavelliz

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