85 Camry Cold Start problem

Hoping somebody can enlighten me. My '85 Camry would not start this morning, about 6F in Upstate NY.
2SE gas FI AT 116K
first, no crank when key is turned, although lights, buzzer, and
solenoid all strong.
Jumped car with warm, charged battery- Same.
Tried moving shift lever-no change.
grabbed engine belt and rotated engine- engine then cranks when key is turned, but doesn't start. Turn key again- no crank.
rotated engine with fan belt-no crank. rotated engine with fan belt-engine cranks, tries to catch, much vibration like running on 1-2 cyls.
Walked to work, came home at 5PM expecting car to start in 25F temps. Same results. When it cranks, it cranks at the usual speed, but excessive vibration and feels like not all cylinders are firing.
I was given this car in 2001 by the original owners. They had replaced the head gasket, but whoever did it did not change the plugs and it ran like crap. I tuned it up, and I have driven it three times to Columbia, SC and back with no problems. I have changed all the fluids, I have replaced the battery a month ago because of the "no start" problem. The starter was replaced about two years ago with a generic rebuilt. Alternator is 2-3 years old. I'm not sure if the timing belt has ever been replaced, but I think it was.
Normally, the car works fine. Back in Jan, I had trouble starting it, but it started with a jump. Then the engine ran rough for about 10 minutes. Temps were also in the single digits then. After that, it's been fine. I replaced the battery, which was not that old, with a higher CCA unit. I believe it has 10W-40 in the crankcase, and I put in drygas regularly.
One thing I have noticed is that there is a hesitation of about half to one second between when I turn the key and when the engine starts to crank.
My only thought is that the rebuilt starter is crapping out, but it doesn't really explain the engine refusing to start when it does turn.
It started fine earlier this week, when it was 0F........
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Plague_Boy wrote:

=Rebuilt starters can cause problems. Try the Toyota remanufactured starter. There was also a problem with the straght cut teeth on the flywheel causing problems in those years where sometime the pinion on the starter wouldn't engage properly. Once the starter is working, for the no start condition, check the plug wire resistance, check ignition timing, to see if an old belt slipped a tooth. Also try the Toyota repair manual trouble shooting procedrues: http://oregonstate.edu/~tongt/camry/index.html
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crank.
At those temperaturtes the starting system is under stress. Make sure the battery is OK and the connections at the battery and the earth lead to the engine-block nd the battery lead at the starter. One quick way to gauge battery condition is to try a start with the headlights on. If the headlights dim to orange or go off, the battery or its connectins are cactus. I f the car has an interlock on the headlights during starting, try leaving the interior light on to act as an indicator of battery condition during starting attempts. It should remain reasonably bright. The other thing is the actual starter, In cold temperatures the solenoid can stick causing some of the symptoms you describe. A pull-down of the starter is needed in that case, or you could try tapping it with a heavy spanner or a hammer. This can dislodge the sticking solenoid for that starting attempt.
Jason
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Plague_Boy wrote:

<snip>
Thanks to those who replied. Car is now running, but I don't know why <g>.
Sat. I checked the compression, it seemed OK, checked the spark, about 1" blue spark from wires, gas on plugs. Removed plugs, let air out 1 hr, tried again, no joy.
Decided probably timing belt slipped, last changed in '91 at 52K. checked timing, timing OK (?!?). So....timing light failed to flash sometimes, hooked to various plug wires. Examined spark on plugs, mixed results. Spark seemed weak on some plugs, so I swapped out with previous set of Bosch Platinums I replaced with NGK in November. With 1 NGK and two Bosch plugs, and cyl #4 not plugged, engine showed signs of life. Cyl #4 produced strange noises and clouds of blue/white smoke out the plug hole when engine started running. After putting a Bosch in cyl #4, engine smoothed out. After several minutes, engine ran normally. Took it for a test run up to the market and the Chinese Take-out joint. All is normal, except a slight hesitation on acceleration that wasn't there before. I rotated the distributor when I was troubleshooting, I Matchmarked it but I may have changed it slightly.
My thought is maybe the NGK plugs got oil fouled. The spark definitely looked "wrong" on several of them, even switched to a wire that showed a good spark with a different NGK plug. OTOH, the spark looked weak with the Bosch plugs, so maybe the cap/rotor is worn enough to cause problems. Of course, the temperature changing from 6F to 45F may also have had something to do with it.
I don't know whether to be upset that I spent most of the weekend trying to troubleshoot this, or be glad I don't have to spend *next weekend* changing a timing belt/water pump in the snow......
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Plague_Boy wrote:

Given those symptoms, it would probably be a good idea to put in new Plugs/Plug wires/rotor/cap. You may also - coincidentally - have water in the gas, but start with the ignition.
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