I'm having an electrical problem in my 1998 toyota camry le with 205,000 miles on it.


Asked by Sep 12, 2010 at 03:53 PM about the 1998 Toyota Camry

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

There has never been a problem before and the car always ran perfectly. Went out last saturday to start the car and noticed the driver door was cracked open just barely and no power. It had rained that night. I pulled up a vehicle to get a jump, but only hooked onto the camry and not the other vehicle when there were sparks and moved the battery terminal barely and the alarm started going off, the wiper blades were on, and the starter was turning over with no key in the ignition. I had to unhook the battery cables because once it started doing that it wouldn't stop trying to turn over and it kept sparking. Thought maybe the alarm was tripping something so I had the alarm removed and replaced the battery terminals because they had melted. Then 2 days later it seemed fine no sparks and it wasn't trying to start on its own. So, I drove 300miles in 5 hours with 3 stops and then when I pulled into my destination and was about to stop the car just turned off on its own. I put it in park and got out and there was smoke from the engine and then the car was trying to turn over again with no key in ignition and there was a lot of smoke and smell of burnt plastic from alternator/starter area. It was burning and had to pour lots of water and unhook battery to keep from starting a fire and to stop it from trying to turn over. So towed it to a mechanic, but they can't figure it out. Thought maybe it was the switch, but took switch out and its fine. Mechanic says they've never seen that before-not in 25 years of working on cars. It makes no sense. Could it be reverse polarity even though it was never jumped? The batter terminals keep melting. This new mechanic replaced the terminals again. What could this possibly be??

8 Answers


i think that the car is just dieing it had a good long go. On the serious side, your wiring harness may be screwed up from the alarm having to be wired into it causing some wires to have been crossed, causing lots of things to go bad at the same time. the terminals melting is more then likely due to wires being crossed/old and shorting out somewhere causing resistance, which causes lots of heat. Fixing this car will likely be more trouble/time/money then it is honestly worth. I'm sorry i don't have better news.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I was afraid of that. This morning they said they checked all the electrical and it was fine. They think possibly the starter is going out. Could the starter going out cause resistance like that to the battery? And yes I'm definitely letting the car go. I would like to sell it for atleast a little money. Everything else in it works great and I've always taken care of it. Like I said I've never had anything go wrong or have a problem with the car before this.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Wires checked, electrical is fine, could it be the starter?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Had to replace a starter in a Toyota just last week because the solenoid was sticking in the closed position. Thought it was the relay so I pulled it out and the starter kept going. This was a dead give away that it was the starter because without the relay activation of the solenoid, there should be no starter movement.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Thank you. I will check that out!!!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Where did you get alternator I heard of the wrong alt do some crazy things I would get part number from dealer and cross over At like napa use old number for part number on reman part Wrong alt possible let me know

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Your shorting out somewhere Disconnect battery be carefull,battery can explode I sure you know,if not take it some who does do not put key in cyclinder Wear helmet when disconnect Are you sure you want to do this I would take it to a shop to disconnect Whatever it is pay them it's no worth getting hurt

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

You must have a hot lead sitting on the. Frame.you said working on alarm go through wiring Make sure nothing is rubbing where it should not be It has to be shorting some wear What other work has been done lately Let me know

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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