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I've got a 2007 Camry. Bought it brand new from the dealer, have only ever had it (regularly) serviced at the dealer.

I was on my way home from a meeting today, and I was driving down a road. The radio went off, and all of the sudden, all of the lights on the dash lit up: check engine, parking break, etc. I didn't have any turn signals, the power windows/locks didn't work, etc.

Since I already had the vehicle on, I drove it right to the the dealer, who got it right in. Once I turned the engine off at the dealer, the car wouldn't start, and everything was dead in the water.

First they checked the battery, which was fine (I had it replaced in January...by the dealer!). Then they thought the issue could be the starter or possibly how the after market remote starter (which was installed by the dealer) was interacting with the starter. That wasn't the problem. So this afternoon, they said that they ran every diagnostic possible on it, and they think that the problem is the engine harness. They said that the entire engine harness had to go, and that there probably is a sensor involved here as well. The total price of the estimated fix is $2800, which is a pretty large amount to risk, especially given that:

  1. I've got no guarantee that replacing the engine harness would do the job, and
  2. I've lost my faith in the dealer's competence. We're talking about 4 different dealers in 4 major U.S. cities that I've worked with for maintenance, so I don't think that going to a different one would solve the problem.

My question: What are some possible reasons that my car would have suddenly just died it did?

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The dealership stated that the vehicle's battery was good. Did you attempt to jump start the vehicle at all? and if so, did it crank over? A starter issue / remote starter issue really doesn't make much sense to me since the vehicle was running at the time of fault. IF they really would like to point to the wiring harness. I would like to know where it is damaged and how it was damamged. Since they were the only ones to put their hands on the vehicle then I believe that would imply that someone did not secure the wiring properly and it was melted / broken / damaged in whatver way. –  cinelli Nov 20 '13 at 3:41
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1 Answer

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Unless the harness is damaged, the problem is most likely to be amongst the engine ECU, immobiliser transponder, or instrument panel control module. Prelimanary checks should be fuses, relays, and connecting plugs correctly fitted. Don't be too hard on the techs involved as a fault of this type can be a long and drawn out affair, but could be simply a fuse or relay replacement. The engine ECU powers the actuators on the vehicle, so you need to check things like: fuel pump runs when ignition key is turned to the run position, power to injectors, power to ignition coils, brake lights working. These checks will show that the ECU is or is'nt working.

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