2003 Toyota Camry XLE

WEASEL-88WEASEL-88 Member Posts: 998 ✭✭✭✭
edited September 2012 in General Discussion
If anyone knows anything about cars I could sure use your input. I have a 2003 Toyota Camry XLE with 160,00 miles on it--and runs fine by the way. About a month ago, I was driving Todds Road at night and I was flipping my brights on and my radio cuts out. A car passed so I turned them off and turned them on again and my car "stalls" or "died" and then came right back on and my engine kicked back in to my speed and rpm level. So, we figured out it was just a bad alternator and replaced it along with my battery. Now, we have gone through 3 alternators and it still cuts out with the lights. Taken it to Green's Toyota, AutoZone, Advanced Autoparts, etc. and they all said it is the alternator. Plus, I just got my third and newsest one on Wednesday. Today, it drove fine and this evening I hit the unlock button on my key fob and my car went nuts! Lights and alarm go off and my instrument panel was moving the needles up and down on the rpm meter, speed, gas, etc. Usually when it does that it is the battery going dead (which my battery is only a month old now). Is there a ground wire lose? Fuse blown? Bad connection from battery to alternator? Do I need to get another battery because of drainage? If you can help I would greatly appreciate it!


  • guntech59guntech59 Member Posts: 23,193 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    #1....check grounds.
  • dcs shootersdcs shooters Member Posts: 10,969
    edited November -1
    I went through three batteries before they gave me a good one for my 2000 Camry. I wasn't having all the problems you are, just losing radio, clock, and computer memory after it sat for a few days.
    You might have a body computer going bad or just a bad ground for it.
  • IAMAHUSKERIAMAHUSKER Member Posts: 2,479 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Not sure what Toyota calls them or if they even use them but, GM uses what they call splice packs. Had a bad one in my blazer, caused some weird stuff to happen and yes, it was a splice pack for grounds.
  • Big Sky RedneckBig Sky Redneck Member Posts: 19,758 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You need to get a good digital multimeter such as a Fluke or Snap-On. With this you will be able to check grounds.

    1st go from negative battery to the engine, anywhere on the engine that is metal will work. With the mter set on ohms you should get a reading of 0.0 to 0.3, that will show a direct ground. If you get a reading higher that 0.0-0.3 you have a bad ground.

    Now go from the negative battery cable to the body, same thing you should see.

    Next go from the body to the engine, you should still be seeing 0.0 - 0.3.

    A bad or fluctating ground between any of these three areas will cause erratic readings and cause the system to act screwy.

    The engine, the body and subframe are all mounted on rubber and needs ground wires/straps to tie them all together.

    Anywhere on the car to the battery should show a direct ground. I'm not 100% sure on a Toyota but the alt is grounded through the body of the alt to the engine which in turn uses ground wires/straps to ground to the body which in turn usesd the same to ground all other systems. Your battery is grounded to the engine and body, the body ground is either hooked right from the battery or from the engine. Check for ground from all areas.

    It sounds as if you do have a broken ground somewhere and the systems are sharing any available ground causing erratic signals.

    Electrical problems can be intimidating but once you understand the basics it is easy to trace. Grab a service manual for the car and find all the ground points and inspect all of therm. On the vehicles I work on one bad/missing/broken ground can throw the datalink out of whack and cause major issues. My vehicles are 100% computer controled and what appears to be a bad OBC causing mucho $$ to fix is usually a $0.05 connector.
  • randomnutrandomnut Member Posts: 884 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Follow Guntech and BSR's advice. You have a ground problem. If you keep showing battery and alternator problems, I would use jumper cables to ground the battery to frame and cab and see if the problem persists.
  • WEASEL-88WEASEL-88 Member Posts: 998 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    It's my next door neighbor's son car. He had the problem on his facebook page so I thought I would post here. Thanks for the help, will let them know this morning.
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