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Toyota Solara



  • 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.

  • canccanc Posts: 715
    Well it seems that the premium fuel has started to settle in and the car doesn't even jerk anymore. I had the chance to take a rather long trip again today and it didn't even do it once. I guess it was just bad fuel, and I won't go where I've been anymore.

    Webguyster: thanks for your comments, but let me clarify that it didn't go back and forth like a newbie on a manual. That's REALLY bad. My "tug" motion was noticeable, especially since this car is so smooth, but now the smoothness is back, and I hope it stays there.

    I'll try and keep staying away from bad gas for a while, and give you an update.
  • silversolarasilversolara Posts: 113
    Check out the Chrysler 300M TSB forum. Also, various complaints from the Honda Coupe forum. Yup, the change to environmentally-safe paints has had an impact on the industry across the board.
    I, for one, do NOT have a problem with trying to make this planet last long enough for my grandkids to enjoy (good grief - 100 more years, and there might not be any polar bears left?!?)
  • radracerradracer Posts: 96
    Do not put ethanol in your Solara. The only cars that should use it are ones made for it. There are a few out there, but the Solara is not one of them. Don't believe what BP says. All alcohol fuels (ethanol, methanol, etc) can damage your engine and deteriorate rubber/fuel lines.

    As for regular vs premium, I would use premium. It does give me better gas mileage (slightly) and power, and probably lower emissions, although I have no way of telling. Using regular is fine, but you'll be overworking the knock sensors, which are expensive to replace.
  • canccanc Posts: 715
    thanks radracer for the advice... I've stopped using ethanol and it seems the problem has gone away.
  • joe1srjoe1sr Posts: 1
    Hi! I am in Florida, ready to buy a new Solara SLE V6. My sister in Idaho found out that there is a $1200 rebate on new Solaras. That size rebate does not seem to be available here in Fl. Anyone know a Dealership that offers great prices and the rebates. Thanks. Joe1.
  • loucopitsloucopits Posts: 103
    Last month I was planning to buy a Solara. I noticed an ad in the Cincinnati, Ohio newspaper for a $1,000 rebate on new Solaras. The ad ran for at least 3 weeks. When I went to the dealership to buy a car, they protested that the ad was incorrect and they would not honor it, even though it had appeared for at least 3 weeks. I called Toyota to complain and they said they had no information on rebates. I also ordered the Consumer Reports stuff on Solara prices which said there was an additional $600 dealer incentive and a $397 dealer holdback. The local dealer denied both numbers. A call to Consumer Reports got me a refund for the report, and they said that rebates are regional programs and they had no way to provide accurate information. I guess all you can do is study the dealer ads and watch for a rebate in your area.
  • fastdriverfastdriver Posts: 2,273
    loucopits -

    Sounds like you should have called your state department of CONSUMER PROTECTION for false, misleading advertising! By not doing that, that's how they get away with this crap!

  • webguysterwebguyster Posts: 434
    I cancelled them a while back. For a no non-profit, consumer oriented magazine, IMO, always seem to be spinning everything, in a 1920's Bernay's spin doctor way!

    Seems like all is quiet on the Solara front, sludge fears waining.

    My latest paint story...
    After having my black hood refinished, with Sherwin Williams, and having to have it wet sanded for a 3rd time to get rid of the swirl marks, I was inspecting the hood, paint quaility, worksmanship, etc, I noticed a few imperfections. The body shop advisor said that the tech noticed quite a few small chips on my hood, and managed to wet sand most out. He said they cant warranty the quality of the paint from wear and tear, and I reminded him that the hood was painted only 30 days ago, and that having only driven a couple hundred miles, suburban driving, shouldn't the paint hold up a little better, especially soft, un-cured paint? It's not like I drive behind gravel trucks or something!?! So, my conclusion, is that like the sludge mystery, the paint is a few variables, like paint quailty, and the shape of the car. Unless the new Sherwin Williams paint is bad too. As far as a bra for the car, I would be too concerned that debris would gather under the bra, and make the front end worse. Maybe 2003 will have better paint, or a smaller hood!?!
  • mimi919mimi919 Posts: 85
    I had my Solara SLE 2 weeks today and have about 1100 miles on it and for the first time I had it on the open road yesterday for a 140 mile round trip drive and I noticed a slight vibration in the car as well as a slight shimmy in the steering wheel and it also appears to have a slight bouncing or shaking feel at slower speeds and I was wondering if this was normal on the almost feels like the beginning of a radial tire seperating or a tire in need of high speed balancing.
    2nd have this checked out would I take the car back to the dealer or Bridgestone/Firestone tire store?
  • loucopitsloucopits Posts: 103
    I just took a 350 mile trip in a new Solara SE (4-cyl). Since the suggested max speed for the first 1,000 miles is just 55 mph it was a leisurely drive on mostly interstate highways, cruise control usually on, only one person in the car and no use of the air conditioning. I was amazed to find the gas mileage was 36+ mpg. I took care to top off the tank before leaving and again at the end of the trip, so I'm very sure of the 36 mpg. Fuel was BP, no ethanol, 87 octane regular.
  • webguysterwebguyster Posts: 434
    Steering wheel shaking at certain speeds, tire balance, but Solaras seem to have various front end issues. Shimmy, do you have a convertable?

    The dealer...yeah got to the dealer. The should fix it FREE! I found that with my dealer, there balancing machine was not the best, and I wanted my weight on the inside of the wheel, so as not to put ugly weights on the iutside. The dealer put the weights on the outside. I asked them about it, and they took them off. Thats it, just took them off. No weights on any tires. I ended up at Sears of all places, got my wheels balanced, the way I wanted, and they actually did a great job. I did get the grill about thats not the preferred way to do it, but it seems they put 'em the right spots. I would not go there for anything else, but a balancing.
  • mimi919mimi919 Posts: 85
    Thanks for your reply....I didn't buy the convertible but on nice days I kind of wished I had.
    I made an appointment for next friday to have the dealer look at my car and hopefully he will be able to correct the shimmy problem as well as the problem I am having with my climate control as I can lower the temp. setting but to raise the temp. setting I have to turn the dial about 20 times for it to work but hopefully they will correct this so I can just go on enjoying my new Solara.
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    My Solara is my first car with automatic climate control. I've noticed that if the outside temperature is cool (say 65) and I set the thermostat to 72, the auto control turns on the air conditioner (and maybe the heat at the same time). Is auto climate control supposed to work this way? Not clear to me why the air conditioning is needed if the outside air is cooler than the thermostat setting. The only thing I can think of is that the air conditioning AND heat are coming on at the same time to lower the humidity in the car. Any opinions?
  • webguysterwebguyster Posts: 434
    Removes moisture in the air, as well as lubricates parts in a/c compressor, etc. That is 1 reason I chose the SE over the SLE. I like the analog way!
  • ludergirlludergirl Posts: 4
    If you want to protect the paint on your hood and don't want to get a car bra, look into getting a 3m ClearShield put on. It's sealed on so nothing will get stuck underneath, and you can hardly see it unless you really look, and you won't have all those ugly specks on the front of your hood. I had one put on my car and it was around $150- about the same as a leather car bra. Plus, most places will give you a warranty on it. It's really nice!
  • 000007000007 Posts: 1
    Does the Solara convertable have seatbelts for 5 people? The Edmunds description doesn't say so, but I think the consumer reports version does say so. I'm looking for a convertable that will hold a family of 5.
    Thanks in advance for the info.
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    Are you saying that my auto climate control is working as designed and there's nothing wrong with my climate control?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Correct. Your climate control will normally have the AC compressor running.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The convertible only comes with two seatbelts for the back seat. I sold one about 2 year ago where the guy had to have a third one for infrequent trips with all three of his very small daughters. I sent the car to a conversion van shop and they installed a lap belt in the middle of the back. It is pretty crowded, but it works for occasional use for small kids.
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