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Toyota Camry: Problems & Solutions

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  • whaneywhaney Posts: 3
    I have an '88 Camry LE 4 cylinder with the following problem:

    (1) In the summer (especially humid days after a/c has been running), the car won't start after having been driven for say, 30 minutes or longer.
    (2) Interior lights, radio, everything else is fine.
    (3) After about 1 1/2 hours of being parked, the starter will once again start just fine.
    (4) I've had the starter, battery, alternator replaced. No joy.
    (5) In the late fall/winter, starter is never a problem.

    Any Ideas?
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I need to clarify, is cranking and won't turn over, or the starter clicks and does nothing?
  • whaneywhaney Posts: 3
    Car does NOT crank. Starter just clicks and does nothing.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Most likely the brushes in the starter is worn. Replacing the brushes will be the cheaper alternative than buying a new or remanufacturered starter.

    Don't ask me how to replace them, as I've never had the need to learn how to replace them.
  • When are the 2003 Camrys coming out? :) Thanks, Have a great weekend! :-)
    Sunshine60105!
  • At 650 miles on my NEW 2002 Camry LE 6, I noticed a 'thunk' sound from the rear just about a split second after stopping the car while in reverse. Subsequent to that, I found the same noise when I accelerated quickly from a full stop.

    First the dealership said it might be rear bumper mounts and lubed then... when that did not work they said it was a normal noise from the brakes!!! I didn't spend all that money for a car that 'thunks'!... Anyone else have a similar situation?
  • I have a 02/XLE also. I was also getting a rattle from the passenger side. I discovered that if no one was sitting on the passenger seat I would hear a rattle if I drove over a slightly bumpy road. If I held the seat back the noise would disappear. I had the dealership fix it a few days ago. The jury is out. So maybe it's the seat.
    I still need to troubleshoot another faint buzz/rattle within the dash area. Anyone else getting a buzz/rattle in the dash?
  • I have a '90 DX, purchased used w/ 55,000 miles in '97. Currently have 96,000 miles on it. Good car, overall.

    My transmission (like others w/ Generation 2 on this board) will not shift into overdrive till engine is warm. I know some have said that this is normal, to help the engine warm up faster. I think that is bunk from toyota. My car did not do this until it had about 78,000 miles on it.

    Any guesses as to how long before a rebuild?

    I'm not really worried. Just curious if anyone has had to rebuild/buy new transmission yet after failure while experiencing this symptom.
  • I replaced my front struts about 3 months ago (not as bad a job as I have heard). BTW- noticed immediate, positive difference in everyday driving- those things were really worn. I had an alignment done afterwards.

    Anyway, about a month ago, I started having very "jittery" steering. 2 weeks ago, car began to make loud clunk when turning wheels a lot, such as turning into a parking space or a tight turn onto a street. After a "clunk", the steering will pull to whichever side I just turned to.

    eg: If I turn left onto a street and it "clunks", when I straighten out the steering wheel will want to turn left badly... until I turn right hard enough to make it "clunk" again, then it pulls right.

    Any similar experiences? Any ideas as to which components are the likely culprits?

    I've read that these vehicles often have issues w/ lower control arm bushings, and the whole lower control arm is replaced. Would this problem cause this symptom? Any guesses?

    All info appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • The steering also feels loose. Lots of play, especially when I hit a bump. Bumps often make the steering wheel try to turn.

    I was thinking tie rods maybe? Control arms? I am no mechanic :)

    It is a '90 Camry DX, 3SFE 4 cyl, automatic.

    Again, any info. is appreciated.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    How could they refuse to pay for that Head Gasket fix? It certainly seems that you fall within the specified 5yr/60K powertrain warranty... a head gasket failure at 52K is NOT normal. FIGHT THIS!
    ~alpha
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    This is normal. My 92 Camry has always done this, when cold it will not shift into overdrive until at least 45 mph and does so reluctantly until engine is warm. transmission has 147,000 miles on it now. Changed fluid every 30,000, screen changed only twice,at 25,000 and 142,000 drain and fill in between and Amsoil synthetic ATF since 25,000.
  • I recently purchased a 2002 XLE with package #8 which included aluminum alloy wheels. When I inspected the spare tire, and much to my dismay, I found it to be mounted on a black steel rim. In that I personally believe that Camry owners with vehicles equipped with aluminum alloy wheels will not use their full size spare for other than emergency use thereby excluding use in normal tire rotation, it would seem to me that Toyota might just as well inset a compact spare on models equipped with package #8. However, my observation seemingly conflicts with the owners manual and to Toyota's own reasoning of inserting a steel rim for use as a spare. Page 261 states in part "A wheel of a different size or TYPE may adversely affect handling, wheel and bearing life, brake cooling", etc., etc. Please let me have your thoughts.
  • Glad to hear you have 147,000 miles and same issue- it gives me much hope for my car. I feel better.

    However, maybe you misread my post- my car has NOT ALWAYS done this. Therefore, it can't be normal for my car, by definition of the word. Perhaps, it was supposed to always do it and did not start till nearly 80,000 miles. I highly doubt it though.

    No other vehicle I've owned has done this. My friends toyota truck did not do it, and his friends '91 Camry did not do it.

    To say (as some have) that it is normal simply because everyone on this topic has experienced it, is illogical- the title of this topic is "Camry Problems". People would not be looking here in the first place if they thought it was "normal". Sort of like saying someone who has engine knock on a GM truck would decide it is normal after looking at the GM engine knock discussion.

    Not trying to pick on anyone. It just amazes me what some people will make themselves believe solely b/c Camrys are supposed to be reliable.

    My Camry has been very reliable, IMO. However, not as reliable as my '93 Chevy Cavalier was- a car which is rated horrible for reliability in CR and most other places. No matter what the ratings say, my Cavalier's suspension did not sound like you were in a wooden pirate ship w/ all the creaking and groaning. My Camry does. Cavalier never used a drop of oil. Camry has started using around a quart every oil change. Cavalier still blew cold air at 100,000. Camry a/c stopped at 72,000 (in middle of desert, no less!) And, I had more miles on the Cavalier than I do on the Camry now- and both were purchased used, around 50,000 miles.

    Does that mean ratings are bad sources of info? No. It means cars are cars. All will have problems, all will die, some before others. Often, despite statistics to the contrary.
  • So many people seem to defend their vehicles reliability based more on what magazines say, instead of their own experiences.

    I feel Camrys are very reliable. But if someone asked me about mine, I'd tell them the truth.

    My Camry problem description:

    It uses a little oil. High and low (pressure) a/c lines developed holes around 70 k. Steering and suspension noises are not confidence inspiring after 80 k (my passenger side strut was busted when I changed the fronts, helped ride a lot, but scary noises are still present- afraid I need to replace lower control arms). Both CV half shafts failed and were replaced b/w 70-80 k. Had a horrible grinding noise when braking that appeared at odd times (once every couple months), w/ no relation to temp., humidity, etc. No mechanic could figure it out- rotors fine, pads fine, wheel bearings ok, etc. Never resolved- hasn't happened in over 2 years- but not forgotten. Transmission as described before- though others say it hasn't caused problems so I am hopeful. Coolant leak- once, no big deal.

    I would say, "It has never stranded me once. I feel it is reliable."

    I would not say "Well, Consumer Reports or JD Powers or whoever says it is one of the most reliable cars, so I can recommend it based on them."
  • Thanks again for replying.

    I really "feel" the transmission will keep going a long time- especially since yours has always done it and is at 147 k.

    Any ideas on the suspension/steering? (#952 and #953)
  • when engine is cold it cranks, but will not start unless distributor is advanced. timing is right. when engine is warm, it starts normal but will not accelerate normally. never had any problems with this car. has anybody had this problem??
    dealer was not able to fix it!!!! help????
  • Does anyone have information about the transmission "clucking" problems that happens in the morning shifting out of park and at 40mph when I decellerate/accellerate. Is toyota working on this major issue? Thanks in advance...2002 SE V6 owner.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    I checked the individual shop manuals on a 1985 Toyota Celica , 1991 Lexus LS400 , 1994 4Runner and a 2002 Camry and all these Toyota automatics without exception , prevent ( their word is prohibit ) up shifting to overdrive with engine coolant temps below 140 to 158 deg F for emission reasons . It would appear your car is shifting as per design at the present time and is in that respect " normal ". Toyota is subject to the same emission laws as all other manufacturers and this method of complying for faster warmup is common to many vehicles with ECT's and has been for many years . I would look at delayed warmup possibly due to the thermostat ?.
  • As I said, my car did not do this for the 1st 20,000 plus miles I owned it, so in that respect it is certainly not normal.

    I am glad the shop manual says this is the way it is designed, gives me confidence that it won't die.

    I believe you when you say that other manufacturers use this engine warm-up method also. But in my experience no other car I've driven, nor my friends toyota's, do this. Perhaps, they do, but their shift into overdrive is not as "clunky", and therefore not noticeable. I say this b/c when it does finally shift into overdrive, it jerks pretty hard. That's the only reason I ever noticed it anyway.

    I never said I had delayed warm-up. My car warms all the way to operating temp. in about 1 minute after placed under load (driving).

    I do notice that it will not warm-up for sometimes 10 minutes or longer if I just let it idle (such as in in winter). I assumed this was normal since the owners manual says not to let it warm-up for more than a 30 secs- it says to just drive it soon after starting (or something to that effect). I always thought that was odd, my wifes buick would warm up in 2-3 mins while idling under exact same conditions. And I was taught to let an engine warm-up before driving it. But it never worried me b/c of what manual says, just strange.

    I replaced the thermostat a while back anyway(good preventative measure at this age and mileage). Old one was working fine, and I noticed no change in warm-up/operating temp.

    On the topic, this was the first car I changed the thermostat on where it was located off the lower (instead of upper) radiator hose. Is this a toyota thing, a foreign make thing, or maybe just a FWD/electric fan thing? I can't remember if I ever changed one on FWD before, that's why I ask.
  • BTW- Are those manuals from vehicles you owned? Did you buy them from Toyota dealer? I was just thinking, that must be expensive.

    I bought a Chilton's for my car (used it for struts)- but it would be handy to have one from Toyota :)
  • Thanks for the information. I think my Camry problem is more mechanically involved than that. The morning problem goes away but the 40mph problem is there all the time. To me it feels like a problem where the drive shaft inserts into the transmission as if there is an extreme amount of play or looseness. If you let off the gas for a second and the idle goes down and go to accellerate again the transmission like catches the drive shaft (cluck)which you feel throughout the car. This transition should be smooth during accelleration not like it's catching. Thanks again...U.S. Army PA.
  • Your problem definitely sounds likes something wrong w/ your transmission- especially a brand new car. There should be no hard "clunking" in an automatic transmission at any speed, temp., shift point, etc. Older, high mileage ones eventually will, but it is never good thing.

    You said it was a 2002 right? Have you taken it to the dealer? They should fix it under warranty!

    Don't let them give you the "could not duplicate problem" BS. Make the service manager take a ride w/ you so you can show them the problem.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    I know that I have seen this (when cold does not shift into overdrive) either in my owner's manual or service manual (the two book set) in writing, which is why I said this is normal operation. If I can remember to look I wil note the language. I did not state that this was normal because my 92 has done it since I can remember but because I did see it in writing somewhere in these manuals.

    And. some engines do have knocks which the manufacturer says are normal. So, who defines normal, manufacturer or what the owner perceives as should be normal?
  • Thanks, I will have the service manager drive the car this evening. Do you anything about the ECU?
  • I believe if you read ALL my posts carefully, you'll see that what I've said ALL along is that MY transmission in MY car is NOT normal.

    I am not saying YOUR transmission is not normal. I am glad (as I said previously) that the symptom I described is stated to be normal by Toyota. I never said I did not believe you. I never said I did not believe Toyota that this is the way they are supposed to operate (after someone stated this is in the shop manual, Paul29, I think- before that it was just hearsay from a dealer).

    But MY transmission CAN'T be normal since it did not ALWAYS do this- began around 78,000 miles... like I said in my first post!

    Normal implies ordinary- when something is out of the ordinary it is said to be ABNORMAL. My transmission would be abnormal because it began behaving out of the ordinary for itself around 78,000 miles!

    If you read post# 961 you'll see that I say perhaps it started shifting harder after 78,000 miles, and I only noticed it then. Either way, it has not been "normal" since that time.
  • I suppose you were referring to my comments about GM's engine knock problem?

    Again, go carefully read my post... I said "GM truck owner's engines".

    I didn't say "some engines". You said that.

    Yes, engine knocking on cold start can be a normal noise. Often, the valve lifters are dry and will "knock" till the oil pump gets enough oil up there- this would be normal (though still not a great thing- thinner usually oil helps).

    GM's problem which I alluded to, has been documented several times as piston slap. Piston slap is "not normal". It is bad, it causes premature wear. If you read any of the posts over there, you'll see that it generally only happens in 1 or 2 cylinders. If normal, why not all 8 cylinders?

    But since GM is the manufacturer, and they are telling owners it is normal, I guess you would side with GM. You stated...

    "And. some engines do have knocks which the manufacturer says are normal. So, who defines normal, manufacturer or what the owner perceives as should be normal?"

    So even though many owners w/ knocking engines have vehicles that burn a quart of oil in less than 3000 miles (on a brand new truck!!), I guess it is normal cause GM says so.

    BTW- If I had said any knocking in any engine, then you would have a point. But I didn't, I alluded to GM's current problem. I don't mind arguing, but please, don't put words in my mouth.

    And I sincerely apologize for not believing the transmission thing was normal, till Paul29 said it was in the toyota shop manuals (and you later said that, armtdm). You were right.

    I have a mistrust of dealer's words (especially Toyota and Ford, since my worst treatment was at these places). And I think other people had said their Toyota dealer told them this was normal, hence my disbelief.
  • Not really.

    ECU is the ignition module, correct?

    I don't see how it could have anything to do w/ your transmission problem- but I could easily be wrong. Is that what you're wondering, anyway?

    Hopefully someone else who knows vastly more than I do will answer.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    The ECU isn't the ignition module. The ignition module is a separate item. Actually since Toyota did away from distributors (where it had one central coil, or ignition module), Toyota uses a coil on plug design, which elimates the distributor. The ECU controls the coil.

    The ECU is the main central computer, it controls and monitors various sensors within the engine and to some degree, the transmission. There may be a separate ECU for the transmission, as it was the case in previous Camrys, which according to your profile (1990 Camry), this is the case. You can run a diagnostic on the ECU computer, though since getting rid of my old 1988 Camry...I can't remember the procedure. I think it's covered in the Haynes manual though, or definitely in the Toyota shop manual.

    If the dealership doesn't work out, you can always try a transmission shop. Toyota dealerships aren't always the greatest place to go. For the age of your car, you're better off taking it to a shop which its staff are specialized in tranny repair, and it will be much cheaper than the dealership.

    from fort bragg.....
    Hooah!
  • Thanks for the information on the electronic control unit (ECU). Anyway, I took my Camry in today and they say the clunking is normal. Toyota needs to recall these transmissions to be successful with the Camry and I hope consumers read this before they purchase one. This is my last Toyota! I bought the car not to experience things like this. I'll be shopping around for something else the next 6-8 months. Beautiful car but it has to go. Any suggestions? Thanks...Army P.A. Ft. Bragg, NC
This discussion has been closed.