Saturday, October 17, 2015

How to read Diagnostic Codes on an Australian Delivered 98' Toyota Camry

The Story

Recently I've been having some trouble with my newest car.  When cold it would have trouble idling and warming up.  While driving there would be hiccups every now and then, jerking the car around.  The worst though was cutting out at lights and not starting straight away.

While these problems are bad, it wasn't a major problem because the engine light would come on during these times which means the car knows what's up!  Easy I thought, I'll just do a quick google search to figure out how to read the cars diagnostic codes and then I'll know exactly what to replace.  Poor foolish me.

The car in question is a  Australian delivered 1998 Toyota Camry Wagon, the base model, 5-speed manual and the 4 cylinder 5SFE engine.  Had I lived in America the car would have had an OBDII port which with the proper bluetooth tool off ebay would have told me everything about the car.  Mine doesn't have one because Toyota Australia decided to neuter our cars in the hope people would go to the dealer if there was a problem.  Some quick googling pointed towards a diagnostic connector under the hood telling me to connect pins TE1 or TE2 to E1 and then the car would reveal it's secrets.  There was a problem though.

When I looked in the diagnostic connector there were no terminals in the spots marked TE1 and TE2.  Grrr...!  Thankfully though paying attention to a random page on the internet and running an experiment has showed me how to read codes on the Australia models.

How to read the Diagnostic Codes

  • Under the hood, near the firewall and on the passenger side (Right Hand Drive cars in Australia ;) ) there is a black plug marked Diagnostic.
  • Open this and locate the TC and E1 terminals.
  • With the car off. Use a plain paper clip or similar to bridge these terminals.
  • Now sit in the drivers seat, close the door, turn the lights off (interior and exterior), fans off, etc...
  • Now under the tacho is the check engine light.  This will flash in a sequence so get ready.
  • Turn the car to ignition, and count the flashes of the check engine light.  If it just continually flashes with no pauses then your car is fine (but I doubt it is otherwise you wouldn't be here!).
  • Write down all the flashes.
  • Now go here: to figure out how to interpret them and what the codes mean (mine ended up being 22 which was a coolant temperature sensor).

Clearing Diagnostic Codes

When googling I couldn't get a clear answer on how to do this and the first few things that were suggested didn't work, but I did find the way.  Once you believe you have fixed the problem, you should clear the codes by:
  • Under the hood, on the far passenger side up against the wheel arch is a long fuse box.
  • In this fuse box locate the 15A EFI fuse.
  • With the car off, pull this fuse out for a minimum of 30 seconds (I did 60 seconds just to be sure).
  • Put the fuse back in and check the codes again (you should see a continually flashing light about 2 per second).
  • If there is still a readable code, try clearing again and leaving the fuse out longer.


  1. Update! There is a 'hidden' OBDII port on this model in Australia.

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