Toyota Camry: Problems & Solutions



  • yinkai1yinkai1 Member Posts: 2
    I got 99 camry 4 cylinder automatic transmission. Recently tried to replace transmission oil (not include differential oil). According to manual and repair book, it says transmission drain and fill capacity is 2.6 qt. But after adding 1.5 qt into transmission, the rod indicator shows it's already at the proper level (cold/high). How should I do? Add 1 more qt? Anyone had experience on this 99 Camry?
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    How did you check the dipstick ("rod indicator")?

    You should let the engine warm up, then run through all the gears with the engine running, car stopped, brakes on. Then put the car in Park on a level surface, firmly apply the parking brake, and keep the engine running.

    Pull the dipstick out (don't let your hair, necktie, or shirt sleeves get caught in moving parts), wipe off all fluid with a clean rag, then re-insert and pull out again. This way you'll get a much more accurate reading.

    Anytime I've drained it, I've always had to put in 2 1/2 quarts. But don't add more until you check the proper way! It's better to underfill than to add too much. (You can always add a little more later.)

    Also, recheck again after you've driven the car for at least 10 or 15 miles, using the same procedure.
  • yinkai1yinkai1 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the information. You know on Toyota's transmission dipstick, it has two oil levels: "cold" at tip and "hot" at higher point. Per your information above, it should be called check at "hot", right?

    Why "hot" oil level is higher than "Cold"? Suppose with engine/transmission running, transmission oil splash on the surface, less oil in the container (lower oil level). While cooling down to cold, oil on the surface comes back to container which will cause "cold" oil level higher, right? So in my mind, "cold" oil level should be higher than "hot". Please advise.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    "Why "hot" oil level is higher than "Cold"?"

    Because, like everything else in this universe, transmission fluid volume expands as the fluid is heated.
  • sanayaksanayak Member Posts: 1
    This has been happening intermittently since yday.
    Yday, I started up my Camry(heard a wierd engine noise) and when I tried putting it in reverse or drive, it would switch off.

    I got it towed to my house. This morning, I got it towed to a shop. and when he tried it, it did skip a start, but once it started(no wierd noise), it did go smoothly forward and backward. He is going to try reproducing it today

    What are typical problems associated with a timing belt wear-out? it has 106K miles on it and I suspect it is due for a timing belt replacment anyway. Any other major problems in the Engine that he should look for?(We had replaced the starter a few months back)
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    The typical problem with a timing belt that breaks is you can no longer drive your car until the belt is replaced - if you're lucky. If you were unlucky, you may also need a new engine. As Dirty Harry politely asked, "Do you feel lucky?"
  • bildowbildow Member Posts: 100
    You should change your timing belt every 90,000 on a camry and on the older camrys every 60,000 miles and when you change the timing belt make sure you change the water pump. This also means if the water pump isn't leaking it never fails as soon as you change the timing belt a few thousand miles later the water pump starts leaking and you have to go in again and replace it and it cost the same as replacing the timing belt. And some times the water pump leaks on the timing belt causing it to slip or come off the track and stops the car. Normally if the timing belt breaks it wont hurt the engine and some times it will put a piston through a valve blowing the engine. ;)
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    does anyone know of a timing belt, or know anyone having experienced, ever actually having one break..?? One would think that if 90,000 miles, let alone 60,000 miles, is a reasonable mileage point to change the timing belt out we would have seen a few posts of/about timing belt failures.

    And unless I'm sadly mistaken the water pump is always driven by the serpentine belt, while the timing belt is mostly fully encased and protected by by the front engine casing.

    Additionally the water pump failures are almost always due to an initial failure of the inner bearing seal and then if not addressed the bearing will fail within a relatively short period.

    There is always a "weep" hole/opening in the outer seal race such that the water level within the bearing housing isn't trapped and can readily drain away and thereby be quite noticeable to an observant owner.

    So I very strongly suspect that back when rubber ribbed timing belts began to be used a conservative estimate was made as to there likely service life. Now here we are quite some years later, with the product likely having been dramatically improved over the intervening years, and the dealers are still telling use the "sky is falling".

    My 2001 AWD RX300 is now at 60,000 miles and maybe the timing belt will get changed out before 150,000 miles...maybe.
  • normhnormh Member Posts: 30
    I have a '99 LE and I want to add a factory CD player in the space below the AM/FM receiver. I was looking at for a used one and it asks whether it is a Matsushita brand or not . How can I tell (or how do I get the radio out). Help please. :confuse:
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I had a timing belt fail, and it was prematurely (well before the recommended service interval of 60K miles). This was in 1990 in my 1980 Volvo 240. Not fun - the engine instantly died. Luckily, we were on a main artery in Baltimore and I had my wife make a quick right onto a quiet side street while we still had forward momentum. Then we coasted the car into a parking space at the curb.

    The engine was of the non-interference type, so no harm done. But we had to find a phone (and phone book), call the nearest Volvo dealer (since we were from out of town), have the car towed, and wait for it to be serviced. The dealer sent a "chase car" so my wife, sons, and I could ride to the dealership without having to cram unbelted into the tow truck.

    About water pumps, are you saying when coolant starts to leak out of the weep hole, the inner bearing seal has failed and the water pump is about to go as well? I always wondered why there was a weep hole in the first place.

    I know what you mean about the bearing, because while we were on vacation at the beach about a decade ago, our 1990 Sable started making an awful grinding sound in the engine compartment, and I had a service station take a look. The diagnosis -- bad water pump.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    "...And unless I'm sadly mistaken the water pump is always driven by the serpentine belt, while the timing belt is mostly fully encased and protected by by the front engine casing..."

    "Always" is a long, Long, very LONG time. It really depends entirely on the engine design. Some engines have an exposed water pump (or at least the input shaft and pulley) which allow the serpentine belt to drive the pump just as you described. Others have the pump entirely enclosed behind the engine front cover and driven either by the timing belt or a seperate, internal, unexposed belt. On those designs it makes perfect sense to replace the waterpump prophylactically at the time the timing belt is replaced while everything is exposed. Labor charges are the major expense with a timing belt replacement ($40.00 - $60.00 for the belt, itself) - an extra $60.00 - $75.00 for a new water pump is an annoyance but not a deal buster. Murphy's law at work. (Murph was an optimist.)
  • icehengeicehenge Member Posts: 9
    The rear wheeling bearing is going out on my 1998 Camry.
    This weekend I removed the rear hub assembly to look at the
    condition of the bearing grease. I looked over the hub but
    couldn't figure out how to remove and replace the wheel
    bearings. The front wheel bearings seem to be serviceable
    so it would figure the rear bearings also are by design.

    Anyone have some general infomation on replacing the rear

  • coog77coog77 Member Posts: 1
    I had the rack and pinion replaced about 6 months ago and have since noticed a loose feeling in my steering that started barely noticable, but now is definitely there. I notice it more when turning to the left, but it happens going right as well. It is also more noticeable when driving on the freeway and making a slight turn. The feeling is as if there is a slip and that I have to turn the wheel further to get it to respond. I have had a steering diagnostic run and they(Firestone) could not find anything other than some under inflated tires. If anyone has a clue what to check next I would appreciate the advice.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Would you mind very much naming just one model in which a commonly available passenger car engine has a water pump driven by the timing belt or chain?

    I can't remember encountering even one in more than 55 years of driving and DIY experience. And I am certain sure that no current model Lexus or Toyota is so configured.
  • bildowbildow Member Posts: 100
    on my 90 camry and 86 cressida when I replaced the rack I didn't put in the new rubber part that goes around rack and it needs to be cleaned my steering wheel was loose I had to replace the rubber part that holds the rack in place and I also cleaned with brake cleaner the area around where the rack ties down keeping the rack in place.
  • bildowbildow Member Posts: 100
    my 2000 lexus 400 and 98 camry used the timing belt to drive the water pump.
  • smileycoonsmileycoon Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1992 Toyota Camry that stopped working one day when I was driving it. I have checked everything and the only thing I could find was that the distributor was not getting fire. How do I fix this problem?
  • typesixtypesix Member Posts: 321
    My former 1989 4 cyl Camry had water pump driven by timing belt.
  • hed111_100hed111_100 Member Posts: 7
    We have a 1995 Camry V-6 with about 78K miles and now the Rack and pinion is leaking. We are going to replace it for about $800. Does anyone think this is too early for this to happen?
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    "Would you mind very much naming just one model in which a commonly available passenger car engine has a water pump driven by the timing belt or chain?"

    Not at all. Honda has used timing belt-driven waterpumps for some time on Accord I4 and V6 motors. Whether that's still true since MY 2003 I can't say. The new Hyundai "Mu" series 2.7L V6 engine with CVVT used in the just introduced 2006.5 Optima also uses the camshaft timing belt to drive the waterpump. My '03 Sonata with the older "Delta" 2.7L V6 has the water pump inaccessibly mounted behind the engine front covers, but the input shaft and pully protrudes and is driven conventionally by the serpentine accessory belt. In any case, all of these engines will require some serious time and aggravation for an owner to replace the waterpump due to its unconventional location.
  • icehengeicehenge Member Posts: 9
    To remove the stereo you need to first remove the
    trim panel around the stereo, climate control, and ash tray. Use a small eye glass screw driver to pry back the trim at a given point, then slowly work your way around the whole trim. Be careful as the plastic chips easily. The lower part of the trim panel near the ash tray area is pretty difficult to unbuckel. With the trim panel pulled back (not removed as I prefer) you have to unbolt 4 bolts and the stereo will come out.

  • bildowbildow Member Posts: 100
    I learned from a toyota person you should have changed the power steering fluid. I always change my fluid every 25,000 miles using mobil one transmission fluid or you can use good old dexron 3 type trans fluid. I bought a small pump at pep boys or any auto store and I pump out the power steering pump of the fluid and refill it run the engine for about 5 minutes and drain it again I do this 3-4 time using about 2 quarts of trans fluid this way I get all the old fluid out of the system and this helps keep you rack and power steering pump in good shape I normally get around 300-400,000 miles out of mine just by changing out the fluid. This is one area of the car most people never check is the power steering fluid and it costa lot of money to change the rack. :)
  • jb_turnerjb_turner Member Posts: 702
    Go to a mechanic and they can make it work.
  • rhiguita06rhiguita06 Member Posts: 1
    How do I know if my 1993 Camry LE 4 cyl. uses refrigerant 134a or R12? The A/C sometimes blows cold air and sometimes hot air, is this because it needs refrigerant? How do I check if it needs refrigerant?
  • bildowbildow Member Posts: 100
    You can check your freon level out in front of the condenser is a silver round cylinder called a dryer for the air system with the engine running and the air on there is a little clear glass on top of the cylinder after about 10 minutes of running the sight glass should be clear if you see a lot of bubbles the freon is low take your car to a independent air conditioning repair they can guide you on this. Also go to the $2.00 car wash and wash down your condenser out in front of the radiator and also wash the radiator from in front of the engine DO NOT WASH THE ENGINE THIS CAUSE PROBLEMS. Washing both will help your car to run cooler in the summer heat and allow the air conditioner to cool the car better big time.
  • slagfyshslagfysh Member Posts: 7
    After visiting 3 Toyota dealerships and getting no help, I finally found an independent garage that diagnosed the problem immediately and fixed it. Turns out the problem was the timing belt. The mechanic who replaced the belt had gotten it too tight. Loosening the tension a bit solved the problem.
  • travler1travler1 Member Posts: 1
    I have noticed that when in 5th gear if I take my foot off the gas then step on the gas again I can feel the shift stick jump like it is trying to jump out of gear. It is a very slight movement but I have never had this happen before. Any one else have this problem?
  • normhnormh Member Posts: 30
    Thanks for that. Do you know if I can just add a factory cd player/changer in the space where the storage tray is? It looks like there is controls for one on the head unit.

  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    You actually have a manual transmission in a new Camry?!?

    Well, there might not be anyone else who posts here with one.

    If the movement is "very slight," I wouldn't worry about it.
  • icehengeicehenge Member Posts: 9
    Yes as far as i understand thats possible to install a factory secondary cd player under the tape deck.
    I got a price quote from the dealer, the add on cd player was something like $250... The toyota cd players are also on eBay but they seem to usually go for $60+. I wanted to buy a used Toyota player but opted to install a non toyota head unit in the end.

  • icehengeicehenge Member Posts: 9
    Can I have a suggestion of where to buy mechanical parts for my '98 Camry?
    Of course the dealer is an option anyone else have a favorite parts website they order there Toyota goods from?
  • bkamalibkamali Member Posts: 4
    Hi All,
    I have a Camry 97 V6-XLE. Its right signal lights sometimes go fast and sometimes normal. The lamps are Ok. Does anybody have any such experience and is there any way to fix it?
    Thanks and regards.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Normally when a turn signal is blinking fast, it is a symptom of more current being drawn thru the circuit than is normal. Most of the time that I've seen, there is a bad bulb that has a filament that is flopping around and touching the second filament in the bulb. This reduces the resistance, causing more current to flow, which causes the blinker to cycle faster.

    Look VERY closely at any bulb that has 2 filaments in it.
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Actually in the '97 Camry (and I assume the similar '98 and '99 models), the problem is in the front park/turn light bulb contacts. You need to remove the front bulb, gently clean the contacts on both bulb and socket (use a pencil eraser on the latter), and reinstall the bulb. You can put in a new bulb just to be sure.

    This happened repeatedly on my '97 Camry, but only on the LEFT side, for some reason.
  • boscojijiboscojiji Member Posts: 4
    Is anyone experiencing an issue on your toyota camry where pressing the gas pedal is needed to start your car in the morning but then after that all other starts for the rest of the day is fine?? Do you think the mixing of Ethanol in the gas a factor??

    Please advise.
    Thank You.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    In general, hard starting is related to poor ignition, air, and/or fuel delivery. You really need to have an expert put your car under diagnostics to track the problem down rather than futilely start throwing parts at it in hopes of scoring a bullseye.

    My 2003 Soanta's V6 starts and runs just dandy on 10% gasahol (which is fortunate since that's all I can buy where I live). I doubt Hyundai knows anything not already known by Toyota. At least from 1996 (the earliest year I still have an owner's manual for), all cars sold in the U.S. (including Alaska) were designed to operate properly on 10% ethanol blends.
  • 2k1trd2k1trd Member Posts: 301
    It's nothing to do with the fuel.Have your air/idle valve replaced,it's very common.The valve gets stuck in the closed position preventing more air for high idle at cold starts.You will have to get the part from Toyota.
  • kingofhills200kingofhills200 Member Posts: 1
    I have 97 Camry LE, 4 Cylinder. Recently, Toyota Service Tech finds that there is an engine oil leak in the front axial and will cost 2K to repair it. I let it go thinking all I have to do is adding more engine oil regularly.

    Soon after that, "check engine" light come on for different problems. This time, it is "engine gasket" and will cost 500 to fix it.

    I don't know much about car. I am wondering how serious it is for this engine gasket problem? The car appears to be running fine but this amber check engine light worries me. Any advice?

  • bildowbildow Member Posts: 100
    I recommend that you take your car to an independent toyota repair garage. If you have a head gasket out you must have over heated the engine and to replace the front O ring on the trans any toyota garage should be able to fix that problem for just a few hundred dollars or less. Have some one check your oil to see if you have any water in the oil from the blown head gasket if that is the gasket you are talking about. Any good toyota shop can check things out and save you money.
  • terrygutterrygut Member Posts: 7
    I experience a really tough transition from deceleration to acceleration on my manual 2005 Camry. I try to pass it smoothly but it jerks, even shocks sometimes. It's worse when AC is on. I believe that it happens since the emission control system cuts a gas supply too sharp. Does anybody know how it could be adjusted? Thanks.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    Take your car to a dealership's service department for inspection and resolution - it should be a warranty item since the car's under two years in service. Drive a demo to verify the problem really is a "problem" vs. normal for other camrys with that engine/transmission combination. Could be your driving technique, too, if you routinely run the engine revs up to stay in the power band through the lower gears - not unusual with oversquare, DOHC I4s.
  • terrygutterrygut Member Posts: 7
    I've been at my dealership with this problem twice. They do agree that this car is not the best one in this matter (we have also tested another one which is much better). However, they don't want to change any setting in the emission control system, although they let me know that it's technically possible. It seems that I need to do it by myself.

    I'm always with the manual transmission, I4s. This car is really different from others.
  • jazzkattsjazzkatts Member Posts: 2
    When I turn my ac on the idle drops down to 5oo rpm. I think it will kill so I turn off the ac. When I am on interstate it works ok. Also when I turn it on and give it gas, there is a terrible screach-sounds like belt(s) lose?
  • chittychitty Member Posts: 5
    I have a 07' SE V6 and the trunk support broke. It seems to made of recycled cardboard and is about 1/8" thick. It could not handle the weight of a 80# bag of softner salt. Toyota said they would not replace it. The piece of crap cost $96.00. You think they would have used plastic or laminated particle board or even masonite board. Toyota so far does not impress me with their warranty. I am starting to miss Honda.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    I understand your aggravation at Toyota's refusal to cover a replacement support under warranty but it isn't the end of the world. I wonder how much trouble would be involved in buying the same thickness (or moving up to 1/4") of Masonite at a home improvement center and having it custom cut to the same shape as the broken support. Once the pattern's traced onto the Masonite piece from the broken piece, I doubt a cabinet shop would charge much to make the finished cut with its shop jigsaw if you're uncomfortable attempting it by hand. You can bet it wouldn't be anywhere near $96.00

    (Note to self - do not attempt to transport bodies for burial in rural New Jersey in new Toyota Camry trunks.

    -Tony Soprano)
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    Yep, the compressor belt's stretched and it needs to be re-adjusted or replaced. (If the belt's new, it just needs to be re-adjusted - a new belt will stretch slightly after initial use.) The engine idle speed drop when turning on the A/C will be a little more complicated. The engine computer's supposed to get a signal at A/C compressor engagement at idle speed to increase engine idle speed by a couple hundred RPM automatically to compensate for the compressor's drag on the engine. On older carbureted cars something, perhaps as simple as a solonoid "kicker" working against carberetor linkage, would need to be adjusted or replaced.
  • just1guyjust1guy Member Posts: 19
    Good post and excellent answer . I'll cut some plywood for my trunk as soon as the car is delivered .
    But it is hard to believe that the support is that flimsy.
    I transported many bags of sand and cement in many different cars and that never happened to me .
  • hgmoosehgmoose Member Posts: 1
    hello everyone, my driver's side window does not power down. Can anyone tell me if i need to replace the window motor or regulator. The other windows are functioning properly.
  • teamharveyteamharvey Member Posts: 2
    What size bolts are needed to use as jacking screws ? Or is there a better way to get the drum off.

    Thanks a ton,
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Since I no longer have my '97 Camry (which would be the same as the 2000 model), I can't tell you the size. I just found the right ones by trial-and-error using my ever-expanding collection of miscellaneous bolts, washers, and other fasteners. This is the best way to get the drums off, especially if you can use 2 bolts at a time (for both holes).
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