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Toyota Camry: Problems & Solutions



  • toyoman1toyoman1 Posts: 52
    Thanks for all the great tips! I am going to have my buddy start on it next thursday. He said it should be done in around 4 or 5 hours. He said he would also drain the old coolant and do all new, so thats a plus. When I wash the radiator fins do I do any of the engine. I remember my dad did his 96 camry engine once and then it wouldnt start. He dried around the plug wires and it fired right up... Ill give it a try. :)
  • toyoman1toyoman1 Posts: 52
    Not really I had my camry head gasket changed for around 450 at a local oil change shop. Dont know which engine the 99 has but mine is the 5SFE 2.2L 4 banger.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,721
    95 Camry 4 cyl. is the same as the '99 model.

    Is the smoke white or blue? I believe you (smile1017) said white, which usually means coolant getting into the engine oil, which in turn could very well be head gasket failure. Are you losing engine coolant? You cannot put off replacing the head gasket.

    However, blue smoke on startup is generally caused in the Camry 4-cylinder by worn valve stem seals. It can be put off for a while, until it gets worse. I don't think it'll affect the emissions test if it just happens when you first start the engine in the morning.

    You said, I switched a couple of time to 87 and I notice a huge difference in the mileage because I was going to the pump more often. When I asked the mechanic, he just said that it was a typical occurence in cars built in the 90s and early 2000s.

    The mechanic is flat out wrong, certainly for the 4-cylinder Camry, which has always been designed to run on 87 octane. The key words in your statement are "switching a couple of times." Unless you ran with multiple tankfuls of 87 for a lengthy stretch of time, you're not going to get the real story.

    But I'm not going to keep arguing about gas mileage -- like our receptionist at work who swears she gets 28 mpg out of her '03 Tahoe V8 on her short commute to the office! ;)

    Geez, if the truck really did that well, GM wouldn't have worry about hybrids or displacement on demand!
  • How have you made out? I had my battery replaced a year ago and so far no further issues, although the car still idles very shaky. I am hoping that it's not the +$2K repair that is referenced further down. I am now just over 80K in mileage, so I would not be eligible for that warranty. I feel Toyota should honor that if it is in fact that issue because I brought it to them when all of this was happening and they stated that they could not pinpoint a problem. Should I address this with the dealership now as opposed to waiting for it to worsen? How has your situation turned out? Thanks.
  • That MPG difference is FLAT wrong. Can't be!!!

    If you indeed see WHITE smoke and you are losing coolant. It really could be head gasket and price quoted sounds about right. Make a few more calls and see if you can get a better price. I don't think $450 can replace head gasket -- maybe like Jeffy lube, charge you but never really do the work. :mad:
  • toyoman1toyoman1 Posts: 52
    I had my head gasket replaced at Oil Express Lube... before I started doing stuff myself and getting into my car. I watched the guy do the work from the waiting room actually. He took that engine head off or whatever and replaced a rubber ring that was really big. He installed it back in the covering with a mallet I guess and put it back together... I got new plugs and plug wires the same day and it all did take awhile but it was really around $450, unless I am talking about something completely different. :P
  • toyoman1toyoman1 Posts: 52
    Yeah this is a really really old post about my driver door handle breaking. Just an update I did fix it with a new handle bought off of ebay. It was a peice of cake and took only about 30 mins. KEEP IT REAL and HAPPY MOTORING :shades:
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,721
    It may have been the valve cover gasket that was replaced - in which case only the valve cover is removed, not the cylinder head.

    I can't imagine an Oil Express Lube handling a head gasket replacement -- too big a job.

    How long did the job take, since you were watching it? If about an hour or so, it would have been the valve cover gasket.
  • Thanks for the input. I called a few other places and the dealer. The average quote was about $1500. I guess the $1200 was right. My husband took the car in this morning and they will call us back to let us know what is wrong. Hopefully it's just the cooling system and not the head gasket. They only quoted about $700 if its for the seals on the valve stems which is about $300 less than the dealer. Hopefully that works.

    With regard to the mpg, I will try again when I get the car back. Last night it was at 1/4 tank and was time to go to the gas station. I will try it for a month (4 tanks) or so and I will get back with the result.

    I appreciate everyone's help. Thanks. :shades:

    P.S. better than spending 30K on a new car. New Ducati here I come. ;)
  • Just an update:

    It was oil leaking into the engine causing a little bit of overheating. They are going to refinish the cylinder head and replace all the seals and the head gasket. Talked to the mechanic and he said that the engine other than the 117K miles on it should be good as new. He is also going to replace the idle control for me. Grand total $1393. :( I won't get the car back until early next week. He has to send the cylinder out to be refinished because there were some minor "dings" in it.

    With regard to the fuel door, it was fixed with an easily replaced spring part for $5 at the dealer. I know I could have probably gotten it for cheaper, but for 5 bucks? Just popped the old one off with a screwdriver and snapped the new one into place.

    Since the ending price tag was not too much of a shock based on the various calls i made, I guess I have to be content. At least no sludge like some other have. :)

    I will get back with the mpg issue, but this new mechanic did suggest that when I originally put the 87 in, I may have been in the breaking in period. I'm not too sure, I don't really remember so I will test it again when I get the car back.

    Thanks to everyone for their input.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,721
    Well, good to hear all is (relatively) well.

    As long as you keep to a regular oil change schedule, you won't have sludge problems. Plus you've gone 117K miles already, so it won't rear its head.
  • We have a '99, 4cyl Camry. On 2 trips up the east coast from Florida we averaged 41 and 42 mpg on the highway. I keep the car maintained, use cruise control and limit my speed to 60mph. It's less stressful (for me) to drive 60mph compared to 80mph. Most cars pass me. Considering the great amount of construction on highway 95, 60 mph or as little as 50 mph is the allowed upper speed limit. Try it! Your budget will love it.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Posts: 1,134
    I don't doubt you're achieving the fuel economy you claim. I'm amazed, though, that faster drivers aren't trying to run you into a ditch. Seems over the past five years, the speed demons who feel it's some inalienable right to flaunt posted speed limits, take aim on compliant motorists - even when they're minding their own business in the right lane.
  • toyoman1toyoman1 Posts: 52
    I checked the papers from the glove box because it was bothering me. LOL 210 Delray was right it was my Valve Cover Gasket. It only took about 3 hours
  • I doubt that too. The highest I have gotten my 99 camry is about 33 mpg and that was because I was driving with the rigs from where I live (45 east of LA) to El Paso in March when it's not too hot and the rigs are going 70. I don't like going much above 75 and people (mostly other rigs) were trying to run me over. You may want to double check that or rethink your driving strategy due to safety.

    How many miles do you have on your car?
  • smile1017:

    The 99 Camry has 69,000 miles. We bought it new.
    Safety: I've driven 55 years, had 1 speeding ticket, caused no accidents that I'm aware of, and have been been in 2 very minor accidents caused by someone else. I have driven cars, trucks and a school bus. I do stay in the right lane, mind my own business and do not get excited when given the finger.
  • For a Camry 4-cylinder, do not waste money on 91, regular 87 is the one to use. For a V6, I heard someone claim it gets 5 or so more horsepower by using 91 but I don't feel any difference -- HP or MPG-wise.

    When you check you MPG later, try this:
    1. Fill up.
    2. Reset the trip meter. (A or B, either one. I use A to calculate MPG, and B to remind me oil change.)
    3. Next time fill up, let the pump turn off by itself and obtain a receipt.
    4. Write down the number of miles shown on the trip meter.
    5. Miles divide by the gallons on your receipt. This is your MPG.
    6. Repeat 2 - 5 to get your next MPG.

    Simple but I know too many people calculate their mpg the wrong way. :)

    Good luck with your repair.
  • I have been calculating my MPG the way you mentioned above for years. That is not the problem, but I think the new mechanic is right. I may have been testing the difference during the break in period, which may have cause different mileage feedback due to other reasons that just the gas.

    Just got a call regarding the repairs. They're going smoothly and will have a good chance of getting the car back tomorrow. I have been driving my husband's Tundra for the past three days - what a gas guzzler!!
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    As we move to a new era of more specific topics, this general P&S discussion will be made read-only. Some of the more recent posts are in the process of being moved to other discussions on the Toyota Camry group. My apologies for any confusion or frustration.

    If there is not a discussion available that fits your question, please create a new discussion. You find that function from the main Camry page linked above.
This discussion has been closed.