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Toyota Camry: Problems & Solutions



  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Thanks for the thoughts about someone possibly walking around with a spare key to our car. It certainly is possible, but we bought it from a broker who bought it from a Toyota had previously been a Hertz leased vehicle in another state. I think the likelyhood of someone who MAY have a remote for it actually finding this car is ...ah..."remote" sorry...couldn't resist the pun....but thanks for your concern, it is something I hadn't thought about prior to this. I guess one runs the risk of someone making a key for your car anytime you leave it anywhere for service, easy to copy keys...
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    No problem jbolt. It does sound like a very "remote" possibility that someone is out there searching for your car with the other remote.
  • Thanks for the info :-)
  • john339john339 Posts: 229
    many Toyota Camrys from 1997 - on have been experiencing oil sludge problem. Per Toyotas own count, this has literally affected thousands of owners of 1997-on Camry/Avalon/Sienna/Highlander models.

    Some Camrys have reportedly sludged with only 9000 miles on them. Since you have such low mileage its hard to believe it would acutally be affecting you yet. However, people have reported different symptoms including the engine losing power. But since your Camry restarted after a while, I doubt it is that. However, the sludge can apparently affect the PCV valve which in turn would cause other symptoms. One symptom has been a high rate of oil loss. What is your oil level?

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I had the valve stem seals replaced at 57K miles under the powertrain warranty, but no upper engine rebuild. The dealer also replaced the head gasket, because they discovered slight coolant seepage down the outside of the block. (I had noticed a slight loss of coolant from the overflow tank, but no more than occurred in other cars I have owned.) I was told by the dealer that my engine was "fairly clean" meaning no sludge.

    Greenhorn, I wouldn't worry about sludge, since the 4-cylinder in the 2002 Camry is a new design, completely different from the 4-cylinder used in 2001 and earlier models. But I have no idea what happened to your car. I'd just monitor it for future occurrences and try to keep track of the conditions (speed, rpms, temperature) if and when it happens again.
  • Thanks for your input, John and Delray. Actually, another strange thing I had with my 2001 (not 2002) Camry during the past few days was that after I drove it for 1 or more hours and stopped, I could feel some smell from inside the car, just like some burning leather. I never noticed this smell before or maybe because my regular use of this car is just for a half-hour work commute.

    I went to the dealer where I bought the car and described what happened. The manager had no comment on the power loss but recommended to have a transmission check-up next Monday. Their response to the smell was maybe there was some oil residue. I called another dealer and a guy told me to keep a close eye on it and if it happened again, they would give a check-up. Finally, I was able to make an appointment with a 3rd dealer for tomorrow afternoon and I will keep you folks updated.

    BTW, I did a 5000-mile maintenance in Jan. Per the dealer's sticker, I would need to have the second oil change around 9000, but when I told them I intended to do the 10,000 maintenance, they told me no need for an oil change till then. Actually, I was even more confused when I got a letter from the dealer in Feb. reminding me I would need the 7500 maintenance service.

    As for the oil level, I didn't get a chance to check today, but will have it checked tomorrow.

    Thanks again for your help.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    2000 Toyota Camry XLE V6

    30K summary

    Miles Covered: 29,927
    Running Cost : $3,062.24
    Running Cost per mile: 10.23 cents

    Gas consumed: 1274.64 Gallons
    Cost of Gas: $2,052.37
    Average Economy: 23.5 MPG
    Best: 30.2 MPG
    Worst: 16.8 MPG

    Maintenance Cost: $720.98
    Maintenance Cost per mile: 2.4 cents

    Gas Cost: $2052.37
    Gas Cost per mile: 6.85 cents

    Miscellaneous costs: 0.98 cents per mile

    (Still working on Total Cost of Ownership with depreciation and insurance)
  • I went to the dealer to have a check-up today. Their comment on the power loss was "no code for power loss" and their explanation for the burning smell was my long drive on the mountains. Their conclusion was nothing wrong with my Camry. I hope they are right.
  • longo32longo32 Posts: 81
    In looking through the posts and links to my question, "What were the best years of the Toyota Camry"
    I came across this 'review', written 5 years ago....
    "As part of its cost-reduction efforts, Toyota has greatly reduced the
    number of parts on the '97 Camry. The new front bumper, for
    instance, uses only 13 parts, compared with 20 for the old bumper.

    Integrated grille and bumper fascia into a single part.

    Front bumper system has fewer parts.

    Less-expensive tires on four-cylinder models.

    No chrome trim around windshield.

    On-glass radio antenna replaces mast antenna on LE and XLE.

    No front-seat assist handles.

    Doors now single-seal, instead of triple-seal.

    Fewer sensors for air bags.

    Less expensive knobs and switches on heating/ventilation system.

    Eliminated coupe and wagon models."

    Now, 5 years later ,the 'Camry Problem Posters' could add lot more to that long list of other things that obviously went South!
    Toyota insisted that all this was NOT Decontenting, but "re-engineering in a cost effective environment". Spin On Baby, but you just lost me as a new car buyer.
    I'll keep looking for a 92 to 96' gold Badged, Powder Blue XLE
  • john339john339 Posts: 229
    Did the dealer say where they thought the "burning smell" was coming from, the engine, the brakes, the transmission?

    I assume they checked the oil right?
  • John: per the service manager, the burning smell might come from some overheated then expanded (?) transmission fluid. Before I went to the dealer, I checked the oil level and saw it was over half to full. My last oil change was 3 months or over 3500 miles ago. Do you think this level is normal? I believe the reason they couldn't find any "code for power loss" was when my Camry lost the power, the check lights didn't flash. I also did the oil change yesterday and per their comments everything was OK. I still have some concerns about the 2 problems and I will call Toyota customer service for a record. Do you have any suggestion? Thanks for your concern again.
  • john339john339 Posts: 229
    It does not sound like your power loss problem is related to the Sludge issue I have been following. It sounds like your oil level is fine.
    Just remember to keep good records of your oil changes.

    If everything is running okay, I would just chalk it up as an anomaly and not worry about it. Yours is a 2002 Camry 4 cylinder right?

    Enjoy your car.
  • Thanks for your help and suggestions. My Camry is 2001 4 cylinder, instead of 2002 though I did try to get a 2002 last Sept. I have been really enjoying it except for the recent experiences. However, I can still feel a little bit of the burning smell at the moment when I turn off the engine, even after a 10-minute drive now (no smell during my drive). Based on your expertise, what do you think the smell is from? Thanks again.
  • papateepapatee Posts: 1
    After driving about 3 miles I stopped my 1997 v-6 xle camry and put the shift lever in the park position, but left the car idling. When I was ready to continue I couln't get the shift lever out of park. I turned off the ignition and restarted but it stayed locked. The only way was able to disengage the lever was to pop off the shift release cover and press the release button. Hasn't happended since. I have not completed the 1997 solenoid recall. What could have caused this??
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Before everyone gets excited about the sludge problem, I would visit the "Engine Sludge...." board. One of the posters, bobtheoilguy, Had the best post I have seen describing what he believes is the problem with these engines, (1997-2001). He seems to have a tremendous amount of experience with oil and Toyotas engines and appears to be legitimate. He offers detailed (some times too technical for me) information on exactly how and why this happens and more importantly how to prevent it and why Toyotas advice to change the oil now at 3000 miles should be followed. Very informative and I think after you read it, you feel more at ease by this "sludge" problem. Plus i think toyota is starting to ease up a little now they are starting to get negative press.

    I believe his post is in the last 40-60 messages on that board so you don't have to try and read that entire board.
  • tiger_wootiger_woo Posts: 10
    Toyota finally decided it is about time to do something on the engine sludge. A lot of people has been waiting for this good news. I still remember about 7 or 8 years ago when Intel refused to recall their faulty CPU until it became a marketing disaster. When will these big companies learn?

  • Today, I called my local Toyota dealer's customer relations manager and got a copy of a letter sent from Toyota to its dealers in Apr. 02, stating they have enhanced the terms of their SPA. Per the letter:

    "Effective immediately, Toyota announces a Customer Support Program which will cover the cost of repairs on 5S-FE amd 1MZ-FE engines necessary due to oil gelling for 8 years, unlimited miles. This action removes the one-year limit on coverage that was orignially announced in the SPA. In addition, Toyota will cover reasonable incidental expenses for customers like towing and rental car expense as outlined in our Toyota Transportation Assistance Program. Also, to help you insure the highest level of customer satisfaction, we will reimburse you for all parts, labor, fluids and incidental expenses associated with the repair of affected vehicles. We will also add the 2002 model year vehicles with 1MZ-FE engines to the list of eligible vehicles...."

    There is also a table attached for covered vehicles. The 2002 4 cylinder Camry and Solara are not listed. Per the manager, Toyota will honor its customers' efforts, as long as there's some proof of reasonable maintenance, regardless who actually provides the services. Hope this info can bring some relief to some Toyota owners.

    I guess Toyota's SPA might become a MBA case for its studying some other MBA lessons. Anyway, I still feel Toyota's local services still have a lot to improve, at least from defensive to cooperative.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,360
    There have been a bunch of posts deleted concerning the ludicrous assertion that forums are closed on Toyota's "orders" or because of Edmunds being "paid off".

    Please get real, guys. I'm making these decisions myself based on a very common sense
    interpretation of the Town Hall Member Agreement. Certainly spreading false rumors undermines community enjoyment and confidence and is worthy of immediate deletion. Such assertions very very mean-spirited, and I am disappointed to see them.


    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Those assertions were absurd.
  • pilot13pilot13 Posts: 283
    However, discretion prevents use of a more appropriate phrase to describe those assertions.
    The good news is that anyone with half a brain knows it, knows who's behind them, and why they were made.
    No question, you did the right thing Shifty!
  • No question but that the sludge argument was out of hand and deserved to be closed.

    On the other hand, deleting postings that suggest there was some nefarious reason behind it, while leaving the postings that RESPOND to those, leaves a rather strange history in this discussion.

    There are now a bunch of posts remaining that respond to postings that aren't there.

    Seems to me if you'd left all the postings up in this forum, people would have been able to tell pretty quickly who was making sense and who was posturing or rambling.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,360
    Yes, that is true sam, I don't underestimate the intelligence of our visitors, but the number of disruptive posts need to be deleted because they discourage others from entering the board, take up everyone's time, certainly take up space as trash posts, and generally "stunt" the forum. Also it attracts others who revel in conspiracy fantasies for some reason, which compounds the problem even more.

    But I will review the posts and make more deletions as necessary, thanks for mentioning it.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • Yes, you deleting those posts was helpful because they were very distracting because people come to this forum regarding their concerns or are checking to see if the car or truck that they want to buy is trouble free and people that visit this forum and post false statments only scare the potental car or truck buyer and are informed with false information.... Anyhow, thank you. I myself was getting scared of the posts that these people were posting... I am buying a 2002 Camry and I've had a Camry for 8 years, it's a 1994 XLE and I am all set to purchase a 2002 and when I read those posts it startled me... Anyhow, thank you, you make it a joy to visit this forum... :-)
  • In the new 2002 Camry XLE that I expect to see rolling into the dealership this month, I am asking them to install a remote starter mechanism.

    Does anyone have experience (good or bad) with these? Is there a choice of unit that I should be asking for? Since this car has the transponder key, they've told me I need to sacrifice a key to go with the unit. I assume that is true (?).

    In particular has anyone had any problems with these units down the road that I should be aware of in advance -- anything to ask for to try to make it trouble-free in cold weather? The point of having the unit is to start the car from my house in subzero temperatures and have it be warm before we get in.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,360
    If you don't get any responses, I know for sure that somewhere in the "Aftermarket and Accessories" Board here in Town Hall I've seen this item mentioned. So you might check there. You can get there by going to the upper left of this page to the "Select a Topic" window.


    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I wonder if people heard of advertising? Maintaining a site like this requires a chunk of money. By renting advertising space, it reduces the amount of money Edmunds has to shell out for maintenance.

    Pick up a magazine, lo and behold, more ads. Watch TV, more ads. Look at some buses, ads....

    I guess this means Tire Rack paid off Edmunds right?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,360
    People sometimes look for any reason for their troubles except themselves. Human nature, I guess. No need to concoct elaborate conspiracy theories to figure out why some folks got kicked off the board. Rude and disruptive behavior plain and simple. Visitors come here to get useful information about their Camry, delivered in a friendly and helpful place, and that's what Edmunds intends to give them. This is not a stage for a one man show or an unsupervised Chat Room.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Quiet valves in a non hydraulic valve train can indicate alls well OR the gap has closed up leading to a burnt valve ( valve is held partially open when it should be closed ) This is the reason for the adjustment check. Toyotas generally do not change their gaps to a great degree , but almost every engine that has this type of valve train including motorcycles have the valve adjustment check recomendation .
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Reinforced by the United States' culture of suing everyone for their troubles, even if it's their own fault.

    Here's a joke I heard at a US Defense symposium, told by a lawyer for the USMC:

    What's black & tan and looks good on a lawyer?

    A doberman pinscher
  • How come nobody is talking in here? Hmmmmmmmmm. Ok! Came in here to see if anybody had anything to say about the Camrys but nothing has been said in a day.... I'm all set to get a 2002 Camry, just wanted to see if there was anybody that had anything to say about the 2002..... I'll be back tomorrow!
    Bye! :)
This discussion has been closed.