Cold start issue 96 Camry 4cyl

Hi all:
I am having a starting issue with my 96 camry ( base LE, 4cyl, auto ). I live in northern wisconsin so we've had quite a range of
weather already this winter from 30 above to 10 below F.
The isse is this - some days ( doesn't seem to matter what the temp is ), the car will start up no problem, but it will idle very low...like it's not kicking into the "high" idle normally associated with starting up cold. The car runs fine, but when it's really cold and this happens it idles kind of rough until it warms up.
I searched the archives and found references to a "cold start timer" and also an "auxiliary air valve" that may be the culprit.
Other than this issee, the car runs and drives fine - 110k miles and it's been one of the best cars I've ever owned.
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I don't see a question in your post, but assuming that you want to know what is causing the symptoms you are describing, forget the cold start timer because your car does not have one.
First, check the basics: make sure the air filter is not clogged and that there are no gaps, holes, or cracks in the air filter housing or the black plastic tube that leads to the throttle body on top of the engine. Make sure all of the vacuum lines are connected and that there are no vacuum leaks. If it has been over 60,000 miles since the spark plugs and ignition wires were changed, they should be replaced with OEM ignition parts.
The most likely cause is that the idle air control ("IAC") valve is gummed up and needs cleaning. Page EG1-212 at this link: http://www.turboninjas.com/camry/eg1.pdf explains how to remove the IAC valve. You may be able to sneak the IAC out without removing the throttle body. If you do remove the throttle body, you will need a new throttle body gasket. Once you get the IAC out, spray it with carburetor cleaner to get the gum out. I wouldn't bother with all of the electrical tests - a gummed IAC will cause the symptoms you're describing.
If the link doesn't work, go to http://oregonstate.edu/~tongt/camry/index.html , click on the Gen 3 Camry link, and then click on the link for the 5S-FE engine.
Good luck!
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Ray O
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Yes Ray, my question was what might be causing the symtoms. Thanks for all the good information, I will try all your suggestions out in order.
The plugs and wires have not been replaced since I've owned the car. I asked my local mechanic about that last time I had it in for service and he didn't seem to think they needed replacing, but they never have been. I've owned it since it had about 34,000 miles on it, so I'm guessing they were not replaced before then. I did have the timing belt and associated parts replaced at about 80, but that's really the only major maintenance I've ever had to do.
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You're welcome!
It is pretty unlikely that the spark plugs and ignition wires were replace prior to 34,000 miles, so they are probably original. It is probably worth getting them replaced, although I doubt if it will clear up the difficult idling condition.
Give the IAC cleaning a shot, and let us know how you make out.
Good luck!
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On Dec 18, 7:30 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Possibly the coil if the weather is dampish......but on all my toys, the original coil lasted to around 210 - 220K See a Haynes or Chilton for testing procedure for the coil
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wrote:

I don't think a bad coil would allow the engine to start but not go to high idle.
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On Dec 20, 4:26 pm, "Ray O" <rokigawaATtristarassociatesDOTcom> wrote:

I think it "depends." On my Corolla, at first, it started easily enough, but then ran roughly, going up to high revs, too, until the engine got warm enough to force out all the moisture. Eventually, and I am talking about 40 - 60 days, it got very hard to start, but once started, did run roughly until it dried out.
On my Tercel, it was hard to start from the beginning and than ran roughly until it dried out. I replaced the coil on it fairly quickly, so have no long term comments....
At any rate, it DOES seem early for a TOY coil failure, though./
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wrote:

I see your point. The OP mentioned poor idle characteristics but that the car starts and "runs fine." I interpreted "runs fine" to mean that the car accelerates and cruises normally. I would imagine that a bad coil would cause hard start and poor acceleration, not just poor idling. Since the only adverse symptom seems to be intermittent poor idling, and since a gummed up IAC is the most common cause of poor idling, I suggested the IAC. Toyotas are made very consistently, so one-of-a kind problems are pretty rare. That cosistency means that when a problem appears in a Toyota, it will tend to appear in other Toyotas under the same conditions, making the IAC a good bet. I may or may not be right, which is why I asked the OP to post his results.
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