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Older Camry Maintenance and Repair



  • Just in case someone needs to do this: kiawah is correct. the flasher is a black square box located amongst a bunch of wires in a white plastic reservoir behind the left kickpanel. once you have located the piece, use a flathead screwdriver to wedge into the center reservoir for leverage and feel around til you find a groove. the groove on the plastic flasher is on the bottom. pull it downwards and wiggle the piece til it comes out. replace with new flasher. i would also recommend disconnecting the negative terminal of your battery for safety purposes.
  • Hi guys, I have a 1998 Camry LE V6 coming up on 130k miles. I bought it with 60k miles on it abt 5yrs ago. It still runs great, and has received regular oil changes and had normal minor issues for an older car (rack and pinion replacement, and a false positive intermittent check engine light are the only notable things). I regularly get 28+ mpg on my regular commute (mixed hwy/city with more going and less stopping). I've been weighing the options of holding onto it vs getting rid of it before things break down, and have decided to take the time to do a thorough tune up and maintain it and see how long it will last. I feel confident doing the work, I have the proper tools, garage space, manuals, and in my previous cars I kept an old Chevy Corsica running past 200k miles, and rebuilt an old ford four-banger. I'm going to have time this summer and a backup car, so that won't be an issue.

    My question for you guys is while I have everything apart, what else should I do at the same time? On my to do list so far are:
    Oil and filter change
    Timing belt
    Water pump
    Tensioner and pulleys if needed
    Possibly oil seals
    Air filter
    Sparks and wires
    Belts and radiator hoses
    Flush/fill radiator

    While I've got it up, I'm checking brakes, inspect brake lines, get new tires put on the wheels, and I might get a second set of wheels with snow tires on them (in Colorado), not sure if I want to drop the cash for that though. The things I have not dorked with in the past are anything to do with suspension or tranny. I feel fine changing out the tranny fluid which I might do.

    Things I've never done before:
    Steering and suspension or anything tranny related. Is there anything I should be looking out for here? I am okay doing the work myself if I know what to look out for. Anything I missed on here or anything that would be weird on this car or pitfalls I might run into? Thanks!
  • Hi Everyone....yesterday my 97 Camry with 184,000 miles just completely died while sitting in traffic ....all lights came on. Could not get restarted. When trying to restart, engine cranks but no spark. It's not the battery as it will turn over several time. I had no problems prior to this and no indication while driving that anything was wrong. Kinda came out of nowhere. I had it towed as I was forced to get out of the traffic! Any ideas before I take it somewhere for diagnosis?

  • Can't belive no response, by now I'm sure the mechanic told you the timing belt broke.

    Just my guess, I hope you can follow up with the problem. I'm interested in learning more when folks get on here with some car problems.

    This is a good site to get good info if folks follow up with the solutions.

  • We have a 98 with 133,000 miles, it's been a great car.

    This past week it started overheating out of the blue early one a.m. Pulled over and stopped immediately and had it towed into a Toyota dealer.

    They're saying it needs a new water pump/timing belt - what we expected, at $845ish BUT also needs a heater core replacement $855 as well as a few other things that can wait, we were told these two repairs were necessary to get the car running again.

    Anyone have any info on the heater core replacement? We're not sure if it's time to look into a new Camry vs. putting more money into this one.
  • c5t4rc5t4r Posts: 13
    edited May 2012
    We have a '97 CaMry 4 cyl with 170K on it. Yes, assuming the car is otherwise sound, its worth fixing..

    What is the actual problem? I doubt you suffered a catastrophic failure of the pump and core at the same time. Is your carpet wet? Do you smell the sweet smell of antifreeze? If not, the core probably doesn't have to be changed to get back on the road.

    I would suggest getting a 2nd opinion on pricing for a car this old because, IMO, the dealer is best used when the car is under warranty and you don't want to void it. Just call around as both prices seem a bit high.

    The heater core on these models are among the easiest to change out. Don't let them tell you they have to tear the dash apart. The core sits behind a little panel on the drivers side near the accelerator. You'll have to pull the carpet back. For an experienced person its a 2-3 hr job at most. They will already have drained the coolant to do the water pump. $855 is way out of line. I paid $400 a couple years ago when I was traveling and time was an issue. I also helped my neighbor change out his garage in a couple hours. His cost was about $125 and a few beverages.

    Take a look at a haynes or chilton manual to get an idea of what they have to do. But again, I'd be getting another estimate or three.

    Let me also say the heater core can easily be bypassed temporarily under the hood by removing the hoses from the pipes that go to the core and joining them with a couple of hose clamps. This time of year that should not be a problem and will buy you some time to get an estimate elsewhere.
  • ledzepplinledzepplin Posts: 41
    Remember: The dealer is a stealer. If you aren't a diy price it around. These responders are right on the money. Try utube for some possible info.
  • steven76steven76 Posts: 1
    So I have a 95 Camry and I have a weird issue. I can not find any answer on google or these forums.

    Basically, my car will lock and unlock itself. I was under the impression that there may be a loose wire or something so I took the door apart and could not find anything (though I could have missed something). I removed the switches on both the driver and passenger door to see if the problem was there, but it did not help. I also took off the door on the driver side and could not see any problems in the circuitry.

    Some things I have noticed:
    Happens more often when it is damp, and fixes itself when it gets dryer.
    When I hit bumps in the road it is more likely to happen.
    Generally it does not do this when the car is not on (when the key is out), though it still happens, just not nearly as often (so I disconnect the battery many times when I park my car).
    It will either strictly want to lock, or strictly unlock (mostly unlocks, but sometimes it changes). It will fight me if I use the automatic lock switch. It will not fight me if I manually lock each door.

    These all lead me to believe it is an electrical problem, yet I can not find the issue. I'd prefer not to take it to a mechanic and try to fix it myself (I'm an engineering student and would love to learn to fix problems like this on my own).

    Thank you to anyone that can help me.
  • c5t4rc5t4r Posts: 13
    edited July 2012
    I have a '97 Camry with 170K+ miles on it. Driving home from work today the CEL came on. I went straight to an O'Reilly Auto and had the code pulled. The result was a P1133. There were no other codes.

    Initial quotes for the sensor were in the $120 range for both the upstream and downstream sensors ($220 total). I then realized, my car has a California emission. The price jumped to over $200 for the front one alone.

    I've done some searching around, and found some much better prices for aftermarket sensors (in the $70 range) at places like RockAuto.

    My question is, is it recommended to replace both sensors at the same time? What are your thoughts on the aftermarket sensors? What's the harm in letting it go like this for a couple of weeks - driving about 20 miles a day? I figure it'll take at least a week to get the parts.

    The front sensor seems easy enough, the rear seems like it might be a bit challenging. Any thoughts or recommendations / tips are appreciated.
  • 92 Camry LE 4 Cylinder.

    When I turn off my car. My side light + tail lights do Not turn off.

    I have to unplug a Battery cable (every time I park) so the battery does not drain.

    I took it to a Mechanic, he charged $240 to change the WHOLE switch and it still has same issue. Unfortunately the Mechanic is 300 miles away, I was visiting my parents.

    Someone told me it may be the RELAY. I took my car to O'Riley Auto parts to buy the Relay and the employee could Not find the Relay location for sidelight & tail lights inside my car. He could not even find it in the Manual.

    Do you know Exactly WHERE the Relay for (side light & tail lights) is located?

    Pls. advise.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,855
    The tail lights and side lights should not need a relay, so I don't think that's a good diagnosis. The directional signals do use one (called a "flasher" which you may have heard of) but I can't recall if your flasher (hazard lights) also work the side lights or not, or if this relay is even the issue. You could also have a bad ground connection in the wiring harness going to, or from, the multi-function switch you replaced.

    The flasher relay is located as relay "C" in # 6 relay box way up under the glove box (behind the glove box).

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  • 92 Camry LE 4 Cylinder.

    When I turn off my car. The side light + tail lights Do Not turn off.

    I have to constantly unplug a Battery cable (every time I park) so the battery does not drain.
    see photos here
    A mechanic charged $240 to change the WHOLE switch and it still has same issue. Unfortunately the Mechanic is 300 miles away, I was visiting my parents.

    Someone told me it may be the RELAY. Two different Auto parts stores employees could Not find the location of the Relay for sidelight & tail lights. One, could not even find it in Camry Manual.

    Do you know Exactly WHERE the Relay for (side light & tail lights) is located?

    Pls. see photos here

    Pls. advise.
    Thank you in advance.
  • After a long search and talking to various mechanics including an electrical engineer, I was told that my car Does not have a Relay for parking lights (running lights).

    Furthermore, I also unplugged the Switch and the problem is still there.

    So basically I have a short somewhere a long the parking lights (front and back) wires.

    I wish I knew how to find the electric short.

    I've been told that it is a very difficult thing to find.

    Only experienced mechanics can do it.

    I was trying to eliminate this but i guess my last choice is Toyota Dealer.

    They are so expensive and I cannot afford it.

    Any suggestions pls. ?
  • My Camry 2000 LE has acting strange starting from past 6 months. While driving or from the beginning mileage needle went to zero and total mile LCD display went off. If it happen, transmission did not shift automatically until engine revolution is nearly 4K revolution. If it is running normal, transmission will shift automatically at 2.1K engine revolution.

    Mechanic has changed the speed sensor and it does not fix. Mechanic now wants to change ECM or instrument cluster gauge. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

  • I drive a 2005 Camry. Has approximately 138k miles on it. I drive round trip 5 days a week about 50 miles. In the past 4 months, when I'm driving on the road or highway and I reach a speed of about 40-45 mph, it seems as if the engine sounds louder and the rpms are struggling to shift it to gear so that the car accelerates.

    It will accelerate but sounds like the sound a motorcycle would make right before you shift gears. On the highway at about 70 it's not as loud. I get regular oil changes. Just got new tires/brakes in August. I haven't had any issues with this car! I love it, I really do take care of it. Thanks!
  • My camry 4cyl started doing the same thing about 1 yr ago. What happens most often is when

    I am trying to accelerate onto a freeway and it appears that the tranny gets stuck in 2nd or 3rd, while making a terrible whining sound. Pumping the accelerator sometimes helps but it is dangerous because you have to slow down and try to keep a constant speed. I hope it is not
    serious because I have no intention of replacing the tranny anytime soon. 90k miles.
  • The engine was leaking coolant on the back side of the engine near the fire wall and dripping on the exhaust. It left a puddle on my garage floor. However, when I took it to my mechanic to get it repaired, they could not find a leak. They drove it around, put 22 lbs of pressure on it over night and it held.

    Have you ever heard of anything like this before. FYI, it is a five speed manual, import from Japan. We bought the car brand new in 03 and have put 294,000 miles on it. It still runs great, does not burn oil. Everything is original except for oil, brake fluid, brakes and rotors. Yes, the coolant is what was in it when we purchased it and it still tests out good.
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