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Toyota Camry: Problems & Solutions

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Comments

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Hey, that's a pretty good deal even if it doesn't include the parts. Dealer quotes are in the range of $1000 plus.
  • I hope that you all can give me some help. I currently own a 99 Camry with 117K miles. I was just going to trade it in for a new TCH, but when I started my car yesterday afternoon, I noticed a big plume of white smoke coming from the tail pipe. :cry: The mechanic that I use specializes in Toyotas said that it would most likely be the seals and maybe the rings. Now, to fetch a good price for the car, I should probably fix is, but then it means that I am spending more for a car that I was planning to. I would like to get an idea of how much it would cost to repair. If it is significant (the car's trade-in is only $4000), I would rather fix the other problems are are more minor as well.
    The engine gets really bad gas mileage when I use gas with lower than 91 octane. (20 mpg with 87 octane but about 29 mpg with 91 octane) Is this something wrong with the car or is this just how the car was built.
    The mechanism that enables the release of the fuel tank panel - Is it easy to replace and where can I find the replacement cheap?
    Other than that, I have loved this car since day 1 (bought it new). I had the problem starting but not maintaining the rpm to keep the engine running for a while and no one know how to fix it until I found the mechanic that I use now. He only charges me $150 for the idle control unit and it has only been changed once. It will probably be time soon. It seems to go out every 60K miles. Once I fix the seals issue, I would like to know how long people have had before needing additional repairs other than regular maintenance. I am just wondering whether it would be better to just keep the car once I fix it rather than buying the new TCH, great as it may be. Please help. :confuse:
  • bildowbildow Posts: 100
    Also have him drain the radiator and engine block of the old antifreeze and you have a great deal change the antifreeze every 2 to 2 1/2 years even with the new 5 year antifreeze to help keep your engine block and radiator clean. Here is something you can also do when you get your car back take it to the local $2.00 car wash and wash out the front of the air condition what looks like a radiator that is in front of your radiator with hot soapy water and then go from the engine side and wash out the radiator not getting the engine wet. You will find a lot of dust mud bugs and whatever that will flush out helping your air condition to run cooler and radiator to help the engine run cooler. Don't forget to change out the transmission fluid every 20k miles. :shades:
  • eg3941eg3941 Posts: 2
    Re: my concern about rear seat air conditioning vents on 2005 Camry LE, when I switch the airflow to the floor I do get cool air out of the rear seat vents BUT in a typical hot Texas summer day it is virtually useless so I have to switch back to regular front seat vents and try to direct the air to the rear seat which is also not very effective. Is there an e-mail address direct to Toyota where they respond to questions like this?
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 3,728
    4 cyl or V6? We have a '99 4 cyl auto with 120,000 miles; gets 30 mpg on any kind of gas on the highway. So far only oil changes for maintenace, but we have only owned it about 2 years. We've been very pleased with it.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • It's a 4 cyl auto and does get anywhere between 29-30 mpg on 91 octane. When I use 87 the mpg goes to about 20-23. I have had regular oil changes and maintenance. Changed the timing belt @ 90K. I have been very happy, but now I'm wondering whether I should retire it and buy a new one.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If the overall air ducting system is like my RX300 it really helps to close, or close slightly, those front (manual only, always open otherwise)air outlets near the left and right front windows.

    That will "baffle" the dash outlets airflow, "forcing" more of the cooled system airflow out of the rear high level air ducting.

    I have often considered adding booster fans inside the rear ducting to increase the rear airflow. Luckily we don't often have rear seat passengers plus do not have a lot of HOT weather here near Seattle.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    The 2002-06 Camry LE and SE, however, don't have "high level" rear air ducting.

    There are vent outlets under the front seats only, and I haven't yet checked to see if cooled air comes out of them.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    There cannot be such a mileage discrepancy between 87 and 91 octane for the 4-cylinder engine. In fact, there should be none.

    Are you comparing apples to apples: multiple fillups in the same kind of driving conditions? One way to check would be to take a long trip using regular going one way and premium coming back. Of course, this will only work if the traffic conditions are similar both ways and you're not going uphill one way and downhill back!
  • Yeah. It's similar driving conditions. About 80 CA freeways and 20% city. The reason why I am specific about CA freeways is that there are point where it is bumper to bumper but that is usually about 5 miles going home from work. But the mileage problems, I am really worried about the smoke coming from the tail pipe at start up. :sick: The mileage issue was notice about 1 year into owning the car when I started community about 45 miles one way to work and the premium gas was adding up. 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. When I did the math, it ended up costing me the same so for the convenience of not having to get to the gas station so often, I opted for 91. But this is not major issue. I need to consider whether I need to fix the smoke problem or buy a new car. If I can fix the smoke problem affordably, I would then see about fixing this gas issue. :confuse:

    Update: I contacted several mechanics today and they seem to think that it is the head gasket that needs to be replaced. If this is true, they quoted about $1200-$1300 to fix. This would be worth fixing, but does that sound right to the mechanically abled on this page.
  • 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: 4,722
    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: 4,722
    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: 4,722
    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: 5,095
    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.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
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