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Toyota Camry: Problems & Solutions



  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    The oxygen sensor (technical term is called the lambda sensor) in a nutshell, reads the air-fuel ratio of the exhaust gasses. If it is off from lambda 1, 14.6:1 tells the ECU to compensate to get it back to 14.6:1 as much as possible.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    indicates a lean mixture has been indicated due to an abnormally rich correction factor being applied to correct a condition on the right cylinder bank of your engine, thats all , (not a specific part ). The part they probably replaced on your Toyota would be the air flow sensor.
  • jtan3jtan3 Posts: 6
    Hi Paul

    Are you telling me the mechanic is fixing the wrong sensor??? What about P0136?
    Where can I find more information on those codes? I am afraid the dealer service center is not fixing my actual problem. That may be explained why I have sensors problem in two months.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    PO136:Oxygen Sensor Circuit
    PO171:Lean Mixture
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Not at all.your mechanic has taken the codes from your computer and I assume tested the indicated parts and recommended the faulty ones be replaced. On Toyotas the P0136 indicates an open or short in a specific part , the oxygen sensor. P0171 indicates a condition , as before the only two sensors shown on this code among other things are the air flow sensor and the a/f sensor. There is a test for each of the above and I assume that is why it was replaced . With a set of factory manuals and a digital multimeter you could test the defective parts yourself if you retained them .The ecu would remain with the dealer as it was a warranty issue. The codes are in the factory manuals and also books at a local book store. Incidently the codes you were given are generic and apply to all OBD2 vehicles.
  • jtan3jtan3 Posts: 6
    Thanks very much to both of you 8u6hfd and Paul.
  • djsg143djsg143 Posts: 20
    I have a 2000 camry with 46k on it and have replaced the brake pads at 36k (resurfaced the rotors also). Nowadays when braking rather quickly (light changes on a 50 mph road) the steering wheel shakes like all hell. The stopping distance is excellent though and am wondering two things that I hope all you informed camry owners can help me with:

    1) Is is just the abs doing its thing in conjuction with these aftermarket pads?

    2) will my rotors warp?

    I ask the second question because there are times that I have very little braking force at low speeds, then the brakes "grab" and the car lurches slightly forward. I have learned to live with this, but would like to know if this is in fact a problem. Thanks

    Also thank you for this site ( This is by far the most informative site for autos. Everything else is propaganda and influenced marketing. For example Consumer Reports is a very sketchy magazine, so is Car and Driver.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Get a new set of front rotors and pads (OEM if possible), have your calipers checked for a stuck piston/s and torque your wheel nuts to the specified value after putting wheels on (every time). Your ABS system has nothing to do with this problem as it is just bad (warped) rotors.The ABS only activates when there is a wheel speed variation on the application of the brakes. The lurching when stopping at slow speeds also indicates bad rotors but could also be the rear rotors or drums depending on what you have . The shaking steering wheel indicates the front end is the problem area at high speed
  • Hi. I've recently had to replace head gasket on my '97 Camry 4cyl with 52K miles. After the replacement, which Toyota refused to cover, the engine has a rough idle with revving of about 200RPM. At red light (brakes + transmission in D), car would feel like it's about to stall at the bottom of the rev.

    So my mechanic reset the computer and turned up the idle speed, which helped but the revving is still there, more slightly though. Once the car gets going, there are no problems and everything feels like before. For PM, I asked my mechanic to replace the timing belt and all the external belts. Unfortunately, he also replaced my spark plugs with non-platinum type.

    Can anybody help me out, please? Where should I ask him to check? Could it be a problem with the spark plugs?
  • We purchased a Camry 2002 XLE with the AM/FM/CD player with the CD changer. We like the car a lot with one exception.

    Since the car was new, we have experienced the radio (AM section only) intermittenly having the sound become distorted, with reduced sensitivity. Strong, local stations (all stations) gradually (over a period of a minute or two) become distorted to the point of becoming unintelligible. The condition lasts for about ten minutes, and usually occurs soon after the car is started.

    Problem is, the dealer cannot replicate this problem. Car has been in for warranty service several times; once we left it for two days. They replaced the radio but it did not fix the problem. I said at the outset that it sounded like an antenna problem to me. However, they seem unwilling to do anything more until we can bring it in with the radio malfunctioning. They claim to have verified that there is no break in the antenna wiring. But as I said, the problem is intermittent.

    Believe me, we have tried. But the radio seems to operate OK when at the dealer.

    Anyone have any suggestions as what is wrong / what to do?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Have the mechanic replace the plugs (labor free as he did not replace with recommended plugs) and pay only the diff in plug cost, which is plenty by the way.
  • rtrudelrtrudel Posts: 1
    Just wondering if anyone has encountered a transmission failure due to differential fluid leaking into transmission? Back a month ago I had leaks from the transmission fixed and this was first time I had seen any kind of problem with the car. Car has 33372 miles. While on highway and going about 60 mph, I felt a drop in RPM followed by some noise. Immediately left highway and proceeded to dealership as I was not too far away. I could tell that if I lifted my foot off the gas that any noise would dissipate.

    This has left me with doubts on car. This is my third Camry since 1994. The other two were leases and had no trouble. This one is outright purchase. Wondering if I should make effort to obtain extended warranty insurance?
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    On a Camry auto transmission the differential fluid and tranny fluid are both the ATF and probably mix at some point as well. So, I think you need to be more specific on the question
  • I took delivery of 2002 Camry SE 4-cyl. three weeks ago. It has noise at base of A pillars near dash that sounds like a wire banging around in the pillar. Dealer says it's noise emanating from the axle and traveling up to the dash. I say he's nuts. It's coming from the strut mounts -- clicks and cracks at that point when fender is bounced. I'm not going to let them replace the axles until they convince me that I'm wrong. Sometimes common sense is more valuable than an SAE designation.
  • I have a similar rattle in my 02 SE 4-cyl. Dealer wants to replace axle, but I KNOW the noise is coming from the strut mounts. With engine off and hood up, bouncing on the fender makes loud click on top of strut. I'm an accountant, but, c'mon, this ain't rocket science. Will let you know if I can convince dealer to test my idea first.
  • wainwain Posts: 479
    michael jay

    use a spray bottle or water hose on the outside parts to try to eliminate than as a source of the noise
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    But then again some technicians aren't rocket scientists either.....
  • ralpiralpi Posts: 26
    '02 XLE/4 has rattle that is coming from passenger side, toward the rear (I have not been able to isolate it). Dealer originally ordered front upper strut mounts (told they were "upgraded" ones), but after leaving car they concluded it was only some lose rear suspension bolts, which they tightened. Unforunately, this was not the problem at all. Will be bringing back to dealer soon, but I do not think it is a front suspension noise. Seems to be coming more from middle/rear of car (exhaust?).
  • I have some experience with the problem you describe "transmission jerks or hesitates when I am going along at 40 or more MPH". Have been to the dealer, had the transmission recalibrated (whatever that is), with no improvement. My dealer says the same as yours - normal for the car. There is no recourse or solution available to you. You are stuck, as I am, with an unwanted defect that may be considered part of the intended design. There are lots of us with the same problem. Very annoying. This is my last Camry.
  • 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?
  • 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! :-)
  • 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!
  • 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.....
  • 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
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