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#4545144 - 10/16/17 01:04 PM Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues
PandaBear Offline


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 14215
Loc: Silicon Valley
Around 20 years and 150k miles. Inlaws' camry, one owner with lots of fender benders.

Based on what I see at least once a week it won't start on the first try (need to crank for a while). The car sits most of the time and during the week days were driven about 1 miles with 2 starts per day. Recently it is plugged into a battery tender Jr about once a week. So I suspect the battery is drained but not charged back fast enough.

The engine sounds pretty bad, so far it has avoided the famous V6 sludge but I do hear a lot of piston slaps or exhaust sound. My mother in law said she was always able to start it, but according to her "father in law can't because he was starting the it like a maniac". So far I suspects the fuel pump, alternator, battery, or starter. Once the car started it won't stall so I think the ignition side of things are OK.

Wife was thinking about getting them another new Camry, I said it is a waste to buy a new car to sit around like that, so I counter propose either a smaller used car like Hertz retired Yaris (around $9300 for 32k miles), or a $6k Nissan Leaf just for city driving duty (should still have 70 miles range, and with the way they drive it will be at least 20 years left before it gets below 10 miles range) to trade fuel and ignition issues with battery aging issue. The best scenario is still to "fix up" the camry so it will be reliable for another 10 years.

How much would I be looking at if I want to replace the original fuel pump, alternator, starter, ignition coil pack, wire, plugs? The car got a new sets of struts about 10 years ago so it is still riding OK. ATF was changed regularly, no sludge issue so far, and still pass smog.


Edited by PandaBear (10/16/17 01:08 PM)
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#4545150 - 10/16/17 01:12 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
exranger06 Offline


Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 3907
Loc: Guilford, CT
I would diagnose it properly and only fix what needs to be fixed instead of replacing all those parts unnecessarily. Maybe replace the plugs regardless if they haven't been done, but all the rest of those are run-to-failure parts.
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#4545162 - 10/16/17 01:31 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
Dorian Offline


Registered: 12/07/15
Posts: 300
Loc: Ohio
Sounds like a crank sensor. But it is hard to say!
My car doesn't always start the first try either. I have found that if I wait until the chiming stops, it always cranks right up. I think there is a lack of fuel pressure when just trying to fire it right up when cold. My idle air control valve is going bad as well, but it still runs great and I have no major reason to dump it yet. If the car runs well and it is cheap to fix, I would keep it. They are great cars.
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#4545179 - 10/16/17 01:48 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
NormanBuntz Online   content


Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2123
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
I wouldn't sink a lot of repair bucks into a 20 year old car. Your in laws seem like good candidates for a used, clean Buick.
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#4545193 - 10/16/17 02:03 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
Ethan1 Offline


Registered: 12/29/14
Posts: 1632
Loc: 'murica
Don't throw parts darts. It's usually cheaper to have it diagnosed.

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#4545201 - 10/16/17 02:18 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
LeakySeals Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 6568
Loc: Hudson, NH
Modern oils should solve most of the issues with the easily clogged PCV setup that lead to sludge. I say clean it up, fix whatever it needs, flip it. Kids still like them, will still get $2500 or more. Vs a trade, you will get $500, or they may not even take it as a trade.
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#4545262 - 10/16/17 04:07 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
JC1 Offline


Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 3003
Loc: Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Could be the idle air control valve (IAC) and throttle plate is all gunked up. Spray some throttle body cleaner on the plate And the opening to the IAC and see if that helps.

I had a 98 Sienna with the same motor and that was a common issue. Also check the PCV valve to see if its gunked up too.


Edited by JC1 (10/16/17 04:08 PM)
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#4545483 - 10/16/17 07:19 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15696
Loc: OH
Or, you could just let these older adults solve their own problems.
If my 91 YO mother can figure out how to properly maintain her fifteen year old Accord, I'd bet that your in-laws can do the same with their Toyota.
You seem like a smart guy, so you already know that if you touch this car, you'll then own any problems it might have through its few remaining years.
You know, the Camry ran great until Panda did...
Let your in-laws solve their own car problems.
Don't allow others to make you own their problems.
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#4545488 - 10/16/17 07:33 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
SubieRubyRoo Offline


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 1125
Loc: Winchester, Indiana
Fdcg... How true. My brother is a mechanic, and when people bring their cars in and say, 'well my (brother, dad, step brother, etc.) did (or said) it was this, and it's still bad.' his response: nobody F's you like family! Lol!

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#4545721 - 10/16/17 11:48 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
hpb Offline


Registered: 08/28/14
Posts: 1209
Loc: Tasmania, Australia
I have to agree with fdgc27 on this one...
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#4545743 - 10/17/17 01:00 AM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
Oro_O Offline


Registered: 09/20/14
Posts: 1351
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
The drivetrain in these cars is incredibly reliable and can be very long-lived. There's no fear of sludge if you use a good oil and change it a reasonable interval. A full synthetic high mileage oil in 10w-30 is great in that engine, and take it out at 5k because of the short trips. This will be a good long-term benefit to the car. We have the last version of this engine in a Lexus and it's a great engine. ours will turn 300k next year and it runs like new. The A540 transmission in these is nothing magical, but it is VERY reliable and since it has been serviced, it can really last. It's actually better than the U240E that replaced it ~'00.

Given the installed base of these engines, the collective knowledge out there between Toyotanation and clublexus means any possible issue can be diagnosed quickly and helpfully; it's been seen before. If they don't mind the fender bender eye-sore, just fix this and it will be reliable. I doubt you need all those hard parts (starter, alternator, fuel pump) but rather some basic maintenance like throttle body service, clean the MAF sensor, check plug wire resistance and replace as needed, make sure there isn't a squirrel's nest in the airbox (it happens), etc. Dorian's comment about making sure they are pausing a second to let the fuel pressure build up is worth verifying with them. The pumps on these usually never have problems, nor do starters that much. If you do suspect the fuel pump, add MMO to the gas a few tanks and it will help lube it and the fuel system. PS pumps and alternators of course go about the regular intervals (could be anytime on it now, basically).

Plugs are annoying on these to change and why you should use iridium so you can then ignore them for 100k. The back bank/bank 1 is difficult to access and you have to remove the intake system. Hopefully they were done along with the timing belt ~100k and don't need replacement. I don't know what the stock plug was in '95, but if it was the same NGK iridium as later models, 150k is ACTUALLY not that far out of the service interval (120K) and they are frequently just fine at that mileage.

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#4545746 - 10/17/17 01:28 AM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
Oro_O Offline


Registered: 09/20/14
Posts: 1351
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Scratch what I said above about ohm'ing the wires. I was buying some parts for another vehicle at RockAuto just now and out of curiosity, I looked at the parts for this car in the catalog. This year appears to have the same or very similar COP units as later models. Also, the plugs are the same. You can use the Autolite 3923 Iridium in these; they are a little cheaper than NGK, have a great rebate on them making them officially "dirt" cheap, and they work great; I've had them in for 40k miles or more I think. Also, take the car to a store and have a free alternator test (or do it yourself if you are handy with a multimeter). Look for ac ripple voltage; a rectifier could be shorted closed and charging erratically and also draining down when off. The battery can be taken in and tested quickly, too.

The COP units are go/no go. If one is failing, you will get a code for it on that cylinder. If you do, pray it is an even numbered one (front bank) and not the hard-to access back bank. But in the mean time, don't worry about those wrt to the starting issue. What I like to do is buy a pair of wreck-take offs cheaply from Ebay and keep them in the spare tire well on my cars. Then if one fails, I can swap it right away and not be limping along until I sort it out. It is cheap insurance on a high-mileage car. On our car, the #2 cop failed ~250k and it took 2 minutes to read the code with the scanner, 5 minutes to swap it with #4 as a test, then maybe 3 more minutes to go to the trunk and get a spare and install it. Issue solved.

Quote:
Don't allow others to make you own their problems.


This is not unreasonable in general, but I disagree with it in this particular case because as parents get older, their problems DO become your problems. And I get the sense that is part of what is going on here and why I was trying to give extra info for the OP. It's an issue I'm experience nowadays, too.

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#4545870 - 10/17/17 07:06 AM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: JC1]
camrydriver111 Offline


Registered: 07/01/14
Posts: 1488
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JC1
Could be the idle air control valve (IAC) and throttle plate is all gunked up. Spray some throttle body cleaner on the plate And the opening to the IAC and see if that helps.


I had a bad IAC on the same car (97 Camry V6) and the car would start but it would stall right after. You had to keep your foot on the gas to keep it running. It only happened when the engine was hot.

I've also had bad plugs and that one was pretty easy to diagnose - misfire CEL.

If the timing belt and plugs are original at 150k miles you will need to replace them though.

They are good cars but I would get it diagnosed properly first and not throw parts at it.
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#4545886 - 10/17/17 07:38 AM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: PandaBear]
meep Offline


Registered: 02/20/07
Posts: 3552
Loc: Southeast
not likely fuel pump. more likely to be pressure regulator leaking down overnight.

agree with others - diagnose and go through it. I wouldn't buy them another car for that kind of use. This one has just been neglected. It can probably be revived.

-m
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#4546194 - 10/17/17 12:17 PM Re: Fix it / trade it: 97 Camry V6 XLE w/ start issues [Re: fdcg27]
PandaBear Offline


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 14215
Loc: Silicon Valley
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Or, you could just let these older adults solve their own problems.
If my 91 YO mother can figure out how to properly maintain her fifteen year old Accord, I'd bet that your in-laws can do the same with their Toyota.
You seem like a smart guy, so you already know that if you touch this car, you'll then own any problems it might have through its few remaining years.
You know, the Camry ran great until Panda did...
Let your in-laws solve their own car problems.
Don't allow others to make you own their problems.


Yes, except the older adults are helping us out by picking up and dropping off our kids to school. And it has been a few times they couldn't start the car and pickup or drop off late.

This morning I talked to my father in law about picking up the car and bring it to my mechanics to take a good look, and he said he is busy and it is "not a big deal". What he meant was that a warm start sometimes have problem and he had to wait like 15 mins to cool it back down to start again.

My gut feeling is this is likely a dirty IACV or MAF sensor instead of fuel pump. Can this also be a starter related symptom?
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"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah

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