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Toyota Camry Engine Related Questions



  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Not sure if you intended it, but your post seems to suggest that sludging was Toyota's fault--that they had problem engines.
    That was not at all the case, nor is it why the SPA (Special Policy Announcement) came out in 2002. It was a public relations decision because of wrongful negative publicity, not an extended warranty for engine problems.
    The cause of sludged engines was found to be a direct result of lack of reasonable maintenance--specifically lack of or insufficient oil and filter changes.
    Many such occurrences were because owners had done no oil changes at all, and others had only done them sporadically--not frequently enough to avoid sludge development.
    The issue became a cause celebre for a few self anointed activists who blanketed the internet with anti Toyota rhetoric about it for several months.(They actually got banned from Edmunds and a couple of other car sites because of their disruptive tactics) The issue died as quickly as it began, a few years ago.
    In response to the bad publicity campaign by the vocal ones, Toyota decided to indemnify anyone with a sludge problem regardless of what cause was invoved--free repairs provided proof of only one oil change per year.
    It is now no longer an issue, but a few of the badly neglected vehicles are probably still around.
    Before buying any used vehicle(Toyota or otherwise), buyers should try to get a maintenance history, and/or get a thorough pre buy inspection before laying cash on the line.
    With the more recent advent of leased vehicles, more and more fairly new but neglected vehicles are showing up in the used car marketplace. So it's buyer beware.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Toyota only offers warranty coverage for sludge if the owner can prove that they provided prescribed maintenance, thereby it appears it is the engines inability to meet the maintenance conditions set by Toyota rather than owners not properly maintaining. Toyota implemented changes in the engine design and decreased the maintenance schedule (from 7500 miles under normal conditions to 5000 miles under all conditions) as a result of this problem.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Sorry Scoti1, but speculative inferences being made about sludge are completely at odds with reality. That's a fact.
    It is wrong to suggest the SPA was a 'warranty' of any sort. It was a special policy, clearly and publicly identified as such, issued as a goodwill gesture to show that Toyota stood behind its products. Nothing was ever said about warranty. That's a fact too.
    It is wrong to suggest that sludge was caused only by engine design, and completely ignore any influence of inadequate maintenance, and that inadequate maintenance was found to be by far the most prevailent cause of sludge.
    It is wrong to suggest Toyota made changes in engine design as a result of any problem, or to correct a problem with their engines.
    Toyota clearly stated that a minor change was made to the PCV system so that engines to provide 'greater tolerance to haphazard owner maintenance'. That's another fact.
    It is also true that Toyota publicly announced a reduced mileage interval to focus more attention on the need for regular oil changes, mainly because owners were exceeding the old mileage interval and causing damage to engines.
    All of the above is clearly documented in any number of public announcements by Toyota officials on this subject.
    Most folks would tend to accept statements by those making these public announcements over alarmist claims by anonymous posters dealing in rhetoric and spin, and who have obviously attempted to place blame where it doesn't belong.
    I would advise any newcomer to this issue to bear in mind that there are individuals around who are bent on painting a misleading picture of the sludge controversy.
    One can only wonder what the motive for doing that might be.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Another thing Toyota did was add the "maintenance required" warning light, which blinks on startup after 4500 miles since the last reset (hopefully when the oil was last changed) and then stays on continuously after 5000 miles. The Camry got the warning light starting with 2004 models.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    You're right, and I had forgotten that.
    It was another method Toyota adopted for oil change reminders. They wanted proper maintenance to be an "idiot proof" function, so tried to make it as "no brainer" as possible for owners.
    Here's a a typical sludge story FYI.
    The other day I took our new HL in for its first service, and the service manager showed me an '03 Sienna in the shop.
    It had 46000 miles on it and the engine was toast-completely siezed up. They were taking pictures of it when I was there.
    They had opened up both top and bottom ends of the engine. The entire centre section was packed with black jelly-like and well cooked crud. Valve train on each bank of cylinders was the same.
    The original oil filter was still on, and packed solid with crud. Oil pan had about 1/2 quart of black liquid (oil?) and was full of crud. There was no evidence of oil ever being changed since the van was new. Oil sump drain plug had the original factory crush washer on it.
    Service manager said it was like a few others they had seen over the years. People just didn't bother changing oil, then insisted there was something wrong with the engine and demanded warranty. Typical scenario, and really sums up the sludge fiasco.
    The service manager just shook his head and said he couldn't understand why some people never learn.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Regarding your sludge story, another thing I've heard (haven't verified it) is that Toyota uses a slightly longer oil filter during engine assembly at the factory, at least for 4-cylinder Camrys. The replacement Toyota filter is shorter.

    This way, if you cry "Sludge!" at 20K miles or more, the dealer can readily determine if the original factory filter is still on the car.

    Pretty clever, if true.
  • marc781marc781 Posts: 25
    Haefr post is close, yeah there could be dirt getting in. But MOSt of the dirt on the butterfly happens because the PCV valve vents into the plenum. So the butterfly is continually getting coated with PCV fumes, which are oily air from the inside of the engine. That's why it gets dirty.

    Your on the right track, maybe next time remove the throttle body (3 bolts and a couple coolant hoses - wait til engine is cool and plug these hoses). Then find the IAC valve and clean it really well too, alot of times it gets gummed up too. has camry manuals on line for download in adobe will tell you a lot more on how to do this relatively easy task
  • venkynvenkyn Posts: 6
    I just purchased a 99 used camry with 37000 miles on it (Evans, Georgia). When i start the car in the morning, I get a blue colored emission from tail pipe that lasts a 5 seconds after which it is colorless. What could be the problem ?

  • marc781marc781 Posts: 25
    That mileage is really low. So i would say valve job needed but the mielage is too low. But it sounds like you might need to change your valve seals which is a much cheaper job.
    The camshaft(s) have to come out to do it. What they normally do is hook a fitting up to the spark plug hole and pump in air to hold the valves closed. (You can also stuff in nylon cord as an alternate method but use care.)
    The object is so that the valves dont fall inside the engine when you remove the spring and keepers to change the seals. And the valve seals themselves are relatively cheap but they are not easy to get to, so thats where a high labor cost comes in.
  • m0wm0w Posts: 1
    My Camry 1995 can't be started up after a heavy rain recently. Whenever I opened the doors or the trunk cover the alarm system would be triggered. Tried to jump start it and didn't work. Battery is new. Checked fuses and relays and they seem ok.

    I had a similar experience several years back. After a heavy rain my automatic windows could not be opened and my engine thermometer showed erroneous readings (reading high temp even though the engine ran at normal temp). All problems disappeared after a few days basking in strong sunshine without help from any mechanical shop.

    Could someone give some hints about possible causes for the above problems?

  • bouceitbouceit Posts: 1
    well if your alarm is activated, thats why the car wont start because most alarms have starter kills on them meaning it wont give any power to the starter till the alarm is deactivated. it sounds like moisture is leaking into the electrical system somewhere under the hood. check all wire connections and harnesses to make sure there is no bare wires anywhere and all harnesses are tightly locked in place.
  • tenkillertenkiller Posts: 5
    I have a 2002 camry 4cylinder. I was wondering if any one else has been having my problem. At 15000 miles it started to idle rough when stoping or backing. I have ran two tanks with techron fuel addative also have cleaned the butterfly below the air filter with carb cleaner. The dealers have been no help they say its normal. I don't think so I have had lots of 4 cylinders. and they didn't do it. I have had others camrys and didn't have that problem. If anyone knows what to do I would sure appreciate the answer. Thanks
  • kg007kg007 Posts: 1
    I have a 02 camry 4cy, 60000 mi, that I just bought and it does the exact same thing. Haven't had time to try and track it down. Idles fine when completely stopped, but just before stopping completely or backing slowly in reverse the idle changes and becomes rough. runs great otherwise. seemes to be connected to the speed sensor, or trans, as the problem starts and stops the instant the wheels move, or stop. also looking for some help. thanks
  • tenkillertenkiller Posts: 5
    Thanks for the feed back. I got my toyota new and it was fine until it had about 15000 miles. I started to notice the rough idle at times with a/c on. I have took it to both dealers in my area and they tell me its normal. I know they don't know or care. If you figure out the problem I would like to know. The car is great otherwise but the problem makes me want to trade it.
  • magoomagoo Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 camry wagon, 2.2 4cyl. The idle speed drops too low after sustained running before adjusting to the correct idle rpm. This condition is at its worst after a 30 minute highway run and then stopping at a traffic light. The motor trys to idle at 400 rpm on the verge of stalling. Later, it will adjust to on and off the gas driving and run fine. Is there a sensor or idle speed motor that may be getting lazy? Thanks a million for any input.
  • shoshanashoshana Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 4 cyl Camry SE. Lastnight we went to start the car and it wouldn't start. We had the car jumped and the car started. However, it died a few minutes later. We had it jumped again and and it ran for long enough to get us home. Once we arrived home we turned it off and tried to turn it on again - it is dead again. I read the previous posts about the ECU unit failing. Is the ECU unit different in the 4 Cyl. Vs. the V6? I am not the most knowledgable person about these things so I apologize if I sound stupid. I just don't want to end up spending a ton of money on this car if I don't absolutely need to do so. We plan to bring the car to the dealership later today. Anyone have any advice? Those of you who are having these problems, are you replacing the Camry and if so, with what type of car?

    We also have a 2004 Sienna XLE. Should we expect the same issue with it? If so, how do we go about preventing it?

    Thank you for your time and your help!!

    All the Best,
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    Don't jump to conclusions about major problems. Your battery is probably shot. No big deal if that is all it is.
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Posts: 934
    ...just changed my 02s battery...tire guy noticed corrosion on terminal and post on battery was in bad shape...anyway, it was four years old.
  • shoshanashoshana Posts: 2
    Yeah... the terminal and post was corroded badly on ours too. The dealer said to use Coke (who knew) to clean it. That worked but we still needed a jump. Is your 02 an SE as well? Did changing the battery seem to solve the problem for you?
  • bildowbildow Posts: 100
    You can go to your local parts store and buy felt rings that go over your terminals to keep down the corrosion they are red and green in color and they only cost a couple of dollars these work great keeping the battery clean. When your battery starts approaching about 3-4 years of use dump it. As the battery get older it dosen't hold a charge as well and I hear it causes more work for the alternator to keep charging the battery when it is weak possibly the alternator to have a shorter life. You can also buy a tool for about 3-4 dollars that cleans the battery post or you can use baking soda to clean cable who are really bad by putting the cables into the baking soda and letting them dry this will help until you can put in battery cables.
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