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Toyota Solara



  • ezguyezguy Posts: 2
    I installed a K&N air filter in my 2002 SLE and can't really feel any seat of the pants difference. Love the car though, incredible refinement and could easily have been marketed as a Lexus SC300! That JBL system really honks with solid pounding bass. Gripes are the spongy feeling brake feel. Feels like the car carries so much weight and momentum when stopping. Took a while to get used to it at first. Also some creaks on the passenger door on occasions. What's with the trunk release button placed by the glove compartment door! Steering feels awfully slow when attacking tight switchbacks but then this is more of a touring luxury coupe so I can live with it. Makes an excellent long distance cruiser with superb seats.
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Seems to me placing the trunk release button inside the locking glove box makes it so that the trunk is inaccessible to someone who only has the valet key.
  • webguysterwebguyster Posts: 434
    Pearl White is a lovely color, I know it had some probs bleeding through the plastic, in the bumpers, and is very difficult to correct.

    ezguy, that the way the Solaras are. They look nice, and drive nice when you do the test drive, but after you get used to the new car feel, the ride is almost like you are in a boat, with about as much control!?! Very front heavy, especially in rain and snow, with mucho momentum when stopping. Tech that moved my car into service bay told me the brakes feel soft, in an effort to have me replace, but they were just replaced the last vist. I then got the disc/disc, needs no maintenance, that probably how they are!?!
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    I've been doing some experiments lately with the type of gas I'm using with my Solara SE V-6. The Solara owners' manual states that Toyota recommends ethanol gasolines as long as the amount of ethanol blended with the regular gas does not exceed 10%. Fine, I said to myself. The dealer said that I should be sticking with premium, mostly because of improved gas mileage, better performance, smoother idling, and quicker startups. I kinda cringed on using premium, since I'm used to using ethanol. Ethanol has lower emissions that regular gas, and it cleans the engine while you drive.

    I was using premium at first, but then I switched to ethanol, and I've been using it for the past 4-5 tanks. Now I've noticed that the car "chugs and tugs" a bit when I slowly accelerate. There's no difference in RPMs. It also does that when I'm going around 45 mph. Now I thought this must be because the ethanol fuel cleaned the engine, and my fuel filter's getting clogged. So I call my dealer and asked for a price quote on a fuel filter change. They said the fuel filter on Solaras are lifetime, and don't need replacement. He asked me what kind of fuel I was using, and so I told him this whole story, and he said I should either go with regular, but premium's the best. He said that some engines really don't like ethanol, like the Toyota Supra.

    Any thoughts on this? I'm thinking about switching back to premium, and I know that according to past discussions here, the extra price of premium is warranted by the extra mileage I can get from the same amount of gas.

    I pamper my car, and I really think it's one of the best cars out there. Like ezguy said, it feels like a Lexus. In any case, your comments or experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • earlgrey_44earlgrey_44 Posts: 21
    Thanks for the K&N comment. Did you measure before-and-after mileage by any chance?
  • webguysterwebguyster Posts: 434
    Are you sue you just arent chugging, cuz of the winter blend gas? That's what I blamed my chugging on, after Shifty made mention of it in one of the threads. I do, however only use Shell, or Mobil premium, mostly Shell. A friend used to use cheap gas, and it clogged something in her car that cost several hundred dollars, and the car would not go over 25 mph. Not sure about Solara having a lifetime fuel filter, unless Toyota only expexts the life of the Solara to be about 60,000 miles. From my many wonderful experiences, that may be correct! LOL
  • loucopitsloucopits Posts: 103
    I've read many articles that firmly state that unless your owner's book specifies premium fuel, it will not do you any good. It will not improve mileage, give quicker starts, idle smoother or help in any way (except the oil company's profits). The guy who sold me my 2002 Solara proudly said that the Camry and Solara use regular fuel, vs the Lexus ES, GS and others that reqire premium.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Ok, but why would the ES300 need premium, when the Solara wouldn't? Both use the 3.0L V6, except that the ES has VVT-i which boosts the HP by 10.

    Webguyster: Winter fuel might be the problem, but I fueled with premium during winter and never had a problem. I might've just gotten a bad batch of gas?
  • chop420chop420 Posts: 7
    I contacted my local Toyota dealer and the service rep says he hadn't hear of the 3M film for the front hood. Anybody got a suggestion on the type of place to go to have it professionally installed and approximate cost?
  • ezguyezguy Posts: 2
    I've been using regular gas, 87 Octane since I got my SLE V6 and never experienced any problems. She runs great with lots of pep. All the 3-liter V6's including the ones with VVTi can run a minimum 87 Octane. But for maximum horsepower, premium is recommended. I've tried both grades of gas and couldn't distinguish any seat of the pants difference. Yes I did run two full tanks of premium for the ECU to adjust to the premium. I didn't check my mileage before and after with the K&N as I essentially put it in on the first day I got the car. There seems to be a light turbine-like whistle under full throttle which sounds pretty good. One annoying thing is the driver's seat base. The plastic end that kinda juts out on the bottom left. On a few occasions I've managed to snag the bottom of my dress pant leg (with the folded ends)when exiting the car especially when in a tighter spot. Almost tripped over a few times!! Anyone beside me had this happen to them or an I just the isolated case?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I'll throw something odd into this mix. Have any of you ever tried Cheveron gasoline? Let me tell you about why I ask and at first, you'll wonder what this has to do with cars but stick with me.

    Yammaha makes outboard 2 stroke motors. They are the only manufacturer that requires a fuel additive to keep their warranty alive. The additive they require is called Ring Free. This product prevents carbon build up on the pistons. Carbon build up leads to all kinds of problems, including a degradation in performance.

    What is Ring Free? I've been told that it is also known as Techroline which is the additive Cheveron uses in all grades of its gas. I know also gas companies use various additives, but the one Cheveron uses seems to have a pretty dramatic effect on outboard engines. Any of you that have access to a Cheveron station may want to consider using it and letting the rest of us know if you experienced any improvement in performance.
  • loucopitsloucopits Posts: 103
    I put 87 octane in a Lexus ES300 and it ran just fine, but the dealer puts 93 octane in every one of their Lexus loaners - ES, IS, RX and GS.
  • curlyqcurlyq Posts: 54
    Go to for pricing and dealer locator service. At least two other companies also make kits for the Solara. Maybe if you do an internet search for 3M Scotchal you can find the other companies.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    ezguy: Glad to know your Solara's doing well on regular gas. The owner manual DOES state that it'll take 87 octane gas or higher, but to use 91 octane gas or higher for "improved performance". So what you say is really what the owner's manual says.

    Cliffy: We don't have Chevron gas in Canada. It might be marketed under a different name, but no Chevron gas bars here.

    Loucopits: That might be, but I would doubt it. There would be a performance boost better that 10 HP if they'd crank up the compression ratio. I think the 10 HP is just because of the VVT-i.

    So here's Part II: After I noticed the slight "bucking" from the car, I thought it could either be: A) the effects of ethanol (89 octane here) on this engine, or B) a bad batch of gas. I still had about 35-40% of gas left in my tank, so I decided to fill it up using premium. The better gas, I thought, would dilute the bad gas. Good plan, right? Well... I took my car for a 60 mile trip yesterday, and when I got to the 4th gear and cruise to 50 MPH (90 km/h), it started bucking significantly more. It's not to the point where I thought it'd stall, but definitely a rougher ride.

    So this, after all, doesn't sound like a gas problem at all, but something else. Being that I'm not a mechanic, I ignore what else could be wrong. Funny thing though: the car runs smoothly at any other speed, except when I get to 50 MPH on 4th gear and stay at that speed. It's like the transmission doesn't know if it should downshift to 3rd or stay in 4th, so it alternates every few seconds? This is weird, because I cruise on very flat roads.

    So guys, I have NO idea what else it could be here. Any ideas? I'll definitely bring it into the shop, but I'd appreciate your comments on this.

    Otherwise, the car is still turning heads and the engine is super smooth. Idle is so quiet I always think it's turned off.
  • bjrichbjrich Posts: 125
    I had the chance to drive a new ES300 and our new SLE V6 back to back yesterday. The are so very much the same and I think the SLE was just a shade better than the ES.. It made our choice re confirmed as being correct. The ES300 is really a nice car and has some appearance details that are really nice. The difference is Close to $10,000 more for the ES300. I certainly enjoyed the comparison. We do indeed love the Solara.
  • webguysterwebguyster Posts: 434
    You may have answered your own question. Your tranny may be bad, or if your lucky, a bad solenoid. Check all vacuem tubes and hoses, too, as I had a car, not the wonder Solara that stumped 2 garages, and a dealer, until a mechanic happened to put his hand near a plastic hose, whilae another started my car, and he felt the aur ruch out. This was a manuel tranny, however, and ti would do the jerk you back and forth thing, as if a newbee to manueals were driving.
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    when he drove a Solara SLE and an ES300 back to back and said they were comparable cars, but the Solara costs 10K less. I also have a 95 V6 Camry LE. I figured out that in 1995 dollars, both cars cost me the same money. Yet, the Solara has thousands of dollars worth of features that my Camry doesn't (leather seats, auto climate control, power driver's seat, JBL sound system, CD player, fog lights, autodimming mirror, alloy wheels, side air bags). This is an example of what Toyota is very good at - value engineering. With the Solara, Toyota has designed what is essentially a Lexus ES300 coupe for $10k less than an ES300. To do so, they had to cut a few corners - plastic wood instead of real wood, probably not as good a grade of leather, no pampering by the Lexus dealer, etc. Unfortunately, one of the cut corners appears to be the paint. The bad thing about the inferior paint is that some of the other things (like plastic wood) were compromises that we all knew we were making before we bought Solaras. The inferior paint is something we didn't find out about until later.
    The way I look at it is - would it be worth $10k to me to have real wood and less chips in the paint? Personally, I can live with the paint.
  • bjrichbjrich Posts: 125
    We are both now inspecting the paint just about every time we go out to the garage to drive the sle...I guess that is what it means to be paranoid.I rather think we could have been happy with the LE and the 4 cylinder also. We are really not very frivolous people. but do enjoy the extra touches. We just found out how nice the heated seats are a couple of days ago.... lordy,we are spoiled. When we bought the 97 Cl we thought and said this was such a nice car and would be out last. Now we are saying that about the SLE. WE shall see. If we are still kicking what 5 years will bring. I am taking my 01 Miata Crystal Blue Mica with me when I go... unless our grandson is old enough to have it... See ya, Bob.
  • bjrichbjrich Posts: 125
    We are both now inspecting the paint just about every time we go out to the garage to drive the sle...I guess that is what it means to be paranoid.I rather think we could have been happy with the LE and the 4 cylinder also. We are really not very frivfrivolousple but do enjoy the extra touches. We just found out how nice the heated seats are a couple of days ago.ago... lordy are spoiled.When we bought the 97 Cl we thought and said this was such a nice car and would be out last. Now we are saying that about the SLE. WE shall see if we are still kicking what 5 years will bring. I am taking my 01 Miata Crystal Blue Mica with me when I go...ugo... unlessand son is old enough to have See Bob.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273

    A car bra would help for those highway trips. They're not as bad as you might think. I use one for extended trips on my car.

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