New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

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Old 09 Nov 2003, 08:29 am   #1 (permalink)
sangfroid
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Default New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

Because I've been told that my '97 Camry LE 4 with 88,000 miles needs new
engine seals (a puff of white smoke on startup in the morning, sometimes --
no signs of sludge), and that it will cost $900 - $1200 to repair, I've
looked into replacing it instead. I've driven the Accord, Passat, and
Altima, but decided that the new car I would most enjoy driving until it
craps out (perhaps prematurely again) would be another Camry. So yesterday
I rented one and drove it 500 miles to see whether I'd really like it.

The driving experience is very similar to my current Camry. Some things
have been improved, some are worse. (I'm 5'7" and the radio and A/C
controls are a long reach for me.) But the big difference, and what will
keep me from buying a new Camry unless a solution can be found, is the
driver's seat. The front passenger seat and the back seat are all
comfortable. But the driver's seat has an adjustable lumbar support that
even at its minimum setting is sticking me in the back. An aftermarket
lamb's wool seat insert helped alleviate the pressure, but I was still
feeling it at the end of the day.

I've seen comments from other people that the driver's seat in the '97 - '01
Camry didn't have enough lower back support. (For me it's comfortable.) I
think Toyota heard the complaints but went to the opposite extreme.

Does anyone know what's inside the seat there? Is it an air bladder? If
so, what would happen if you let ALL the air out? Would the seatback
collapse inward? Can anyone suggest any other solution?

As of now, it looks like the dealer will be reaching into my wallet for
another $1200. For an engine that should have lasted a lot longer.





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Old 09 Nov 2003, 08:51 am   #2 (permalink)
Car Guy
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

Your problem with the white smoke is not uncommon for a car with your
mileage and year. A $1200 repair is well cheaper then another $20K for a
new car.

On the topic of seats, I can understand what you are saying. I too am 5'7",
and although I do no find any issues with reach or comfort behind the wheel,
I do admit the seats could offer more cushioning. My last car (1999 Ford
Taurus) had more cushioning. I will say that the seating position is better
on the Camry since when you adjust the height/lumbar settings, the position
is very nice.


"sangfroid" <sangfroid@comcastREMOVETHIS.net> wrote in message
news:nemdnWjku7nZ3DOi4p2dnA@comcast.com...
> Because I've been told that my '97 Camry LE 4 with 88,000 miles needs new
> engine seals (a puff of white smoke on startup in the morning,

sometimes --
> no signs of sludge), and that it will cost $900 - $1200 to repair, I've
> looked into replacing it instead. I've driven the Accord, Passat, and
> Altima, but decided that the new car I would most enjoy driving until it
> craps out (perhaps prematurely again) would be another Camry. So

yesterday
> I rented one and drove it 500 miles to see whether I'd really like it.
>
> The driving experience is very similar to my current Camry. Some things
> have been improved, some are worse. (I'm 5'7" and the radio and A/C
> controls are a long reach for me.) But the big difference, and what will
> keep me from buying a new Camry unless a solution can be found, is the
> driver's seat. The front passenger seat and the back seat are all
> comfortable. But the driver's seat has an adjustable lumbar support that
> even at its minimum setting is sticking me in the back. An aftermarket
> lamb's wool seat insert helped alleviate the pressure, but I was still
> feeling it at the end of the day.
>
> I've seen comments from other people that the driver's seat in the '97 -

'01
> Camry didn't have enough lower back support. (For me it's comfortable.)

I
> think Toyota heard the complaints but went to the opposite extreme.
>
> Does anyone know what's inside the seat there? Is it an air bladder? If
> so, what would happen if you let ALL the air out? Would the seatback
> collapse inward? Can anyone suggest any other solution?
>
> As of now, it looks like the dealer will be reaching into my wallet for
> another $1200. For an engine that should have lasted a lot longer.
>
>
>
>
>



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Old 09 Nov 2003, 09:44 am   #3 (permalink)
Platil
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

Those leaking valve stem seals IMO, are more of a nuisance, than a problem.
My car has no sludge, and has been smoking only on startup for almost 60 K
miles, with no loss of oil between 3k changes. If you can live with it, it
should be fine for a long time.

As far as seat comfort, I agree, but in a different way. The seats on my 03
Camry SE are much more narrow, especially at the end compared to my 94.
Also, they seem short in the seat area, and cause thigh discomfort on
extended trips. Guess in order to get that larger center console, something
had to give. It seems like you sit ON, not IN the seats of this newest
generation Camry.

"sangfroid" <sangfroid@comcastREMOVETHIS.net> wrote in message
news:nemdnWjku7nZ3DOi4p2dnA@comcast.com...
> Because I've been told that my '97 Camry LE 4 with 88,000 miles needs new
> engine seals (a puff of white smoke on startup in the morning,

sometimes --
> no signs of sludge), and that it will cost $900 - $1200 to repair, I've
> looked into replacing it instead. I've driven the Accord, Passat, and
> Altima, but decided that the new car I would most enjoy driving until it
> craps out (perhaps prematurely again) would be another Camry. So

yesterday
> I rented one and drove it 500 miles to see whether I'd really like it.
>
> The driving experience is very similar to my current Camry. Some things
> have been improved, some are worse. (I'm 5'7" and the radio and A/C
> controls are a long reach for me.) But the big difference, and what will
> keep me from buying a new Camry unless a solution can be found, is the
> driver's seat. The front passenger seat and the back seat are all
> comfortable. But the driver's seat has an adjustable lumbar support that
> even at its minimum setting is sticking me in the back. An aftermarket
> lamb's wool seat insert helped alleviate the pressure, but I was still
> feeling it at the end of the day.
>
> I've seen comments from other people that the driver's seat in the '97 -

'01
> Camry didn't have enough lower back support. (For me it's comfortable.)

I
> think Toyota heard the complaints but went to the opposite extreme.
>
> Does anyone know what's inside the seat there? Is it an air bladder? If
> so, what would happen if you let ALL the air out? Would the seatback
> collapse inward? Can anyone suggest any other solution?
>
> As of now, it looks like the dealer will be reaching into my wallet for
> another $1200. For an engine that should have lasted a lot longer.
>
>
>
>
>



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Old 09 Nov 2003, 11:00 am   #4 (permalink)
phil
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

You can buy allot of oil for $1200 (and that assumes it is even burning
enough oil to measure between changes). Maybe that psychological puff in
the morning is bothering you. I wouldn't spend $1200 due to a puff in the
morning.


"sangfroid" <sangfroid@comcastREMOVETHIS.net> wrote in message
news:nemdnWjku7nZ3DOi4p2dnA@comcast.com...
> Because I've been told that my '97 Camry LE 4 with 88,000 miles needs new
> engine seals (a puff of white smoke on startup in the morning,

sometimes --
> no signs of sludge), and that it will cost $900 - $1200 to repair, I've
> looked into replacing it instead. I've driven the Accord, Passat, and
> Altima, but decided that the new car I would most enjoy driving until it
> craps out (perhaps prematurely again) would be another Camry. So

yesterday
> I rented one and drove it 500 miles to see whether I'd really like it.
>
> The driving experience is very similar to my current Camry. Some things
> have been improved, some are worse. (I'm 5'7" and the radio and A/C
> controls are a long reach for me.) But the big difference, and what will
> keep me from buying a new Camry unless a solution can be found, is the
> driver's seat. The front passenger seat and the back seat are all
> comfortable. But the driver's seat has an adjustable lumbar support that
> even at its minimum setting is sticking me in the back. An aftermarket
> lamb's wool seat insert helped alleviate the pressure, but I was still
> feeling it at the end of the day.
>
> I've seen comments from other people that the driver's seat in the '97 -

'01
> Camry didn't have enough lower back support. (For me it's comfortable.)

I
> think Toyota heard the complaints but went to the opposite extreme.
>
> Does anyone know what's inside the seat there? Is it an air bladder? If
> so, what would happen if you let ALL the air out? Would the seatback
> collapse inward? Can anyone suggest any other solution?
>
> As of now, it looks like the dealer will be reaching into my wallet for
> another $1200. For an engine that should have lasted a lot longer.
>
>
>
>
>



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Old 09 Nov 2003, 11:02 am   #5 (permalink)
Philip
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

In news:nemdnWjku7nZ3DOi4p2dnA@comcast.com,
sangfroid <sangfroid@comcastREMOVETHIS.net> being of bellicose mind
posted:
> Because I've been told that my '97 Camry LE 4 with 88,000 miles
> needs new engine seals (a puff of white smoke on startup in the
> morning, sometimes -- no signs of sludge), and that it will cost
> $900 - $1200 to repair, I've looked into replacing it instead.
>SNIP<
> As of now, it looks like the dealer will be reaching into my
> wallet for another $1200. For an engine that should have lasted a
> lot longer.


There is likely NO need to replace the "engine seals".... which
refers to the valve guide seals. The smoke symptoms you describe
happen to some engines a bit early and to ALL engines eventually. It
is NOT a threat to engine reliability. Now that you are aware of the
matter, keep a close eye on your oil for about a month to see just
how much (or really, how LITTLE) oil your Camry is consuming. I'll
bet you find the consumption is negligible.

Drive on with confidence.
--

~~Philip "Never let school interfere
with your education - Mark Twain"




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Old 09 Nov 2003, 01:00 pm   #6 (permalink)
Wolfgang
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

At $9-1200 I'd pass on the repair if it is just at start up and especially
if only sometimes. Try a slightly heavier weight oil if you are using 5w30.

As for the seats - I have an 03 SE and am quite happy with seats in it (the
charcoal fabric is a lint magnet is only complaint) --- radio controls can
be had on the steering wheel so you don't have to reach. Or get aftermarket
one with the remote fob.


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Old 09 Nov 2003, 09:18 pm   #7 (permalink)
sangfroid
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

Thanks for the comments.

I think I will go for the repair sooner rather than later because I'm
concerned about what it's doing to the exhaust system (yes, I know, the
catalytic converter would have to be replaced eventually anyway, but the
dealer says the smoking will accelerate the need for a new one) and for the
very low-tech reason that the car is starting to stink up my garage.

Oddly, with the seat insert yesterday that helped my lower back, my thighs
were getting sore. My thighs also got sore when I first got the '97 until I
had an auto upholsterer insert an extra pad of cushioning just below the
seat cushion fabric The extra cushioning raised up my legs relative to the
high front edge of the seat cushion. (There is no tilt adjustment on the
'97 LE seat cushion. It is permanently angled upward in a way that can cut
into your thighs.) The upholstery work, and tightening the hamstrings at
the gym, helped end the sore thigh problem.

Maybe I will test drive the Accord again, but it seemed to me that while
Honda softened the ride from earlier versions, it still had a harder ride
compared with what I'm used to. Zippier handling, yes, but with the
suburban and turnpike driving I do I seldom have the need for that. I have
heard many stories of Hondas easily exceeding 100,000 miles with no
problems. Too bad Honda isn't the one that favors soft rides and Toyota
better handling, rather than vice versa. I would love to rent an Accord and
push it for 500 miles like I did with the Camry, but no Honda dealer (at
least in the Philadelphia area) seems to rent them.

My '92 Camry LE 4 also unexpectedly crapped out in '97. At 60,000 miles,
the air vents were producing a really foul odor that smelled like the
exhaust of an old car. Except it would do it while all alone, not near any
other cars. After a few weeks of driving with the heat off, and three
mechanics, each of whom had a different suggestion, none of which worked, I
got rid of the car. I figured that was an isolated incident. Maybe it
wasn't. Even if this seal problem is normal, I would not have expected it
on a Toyota. (By the way, I never had any problems with the seats in the
'92.)


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Old 09 Nov 2003, 11:57 pm   #8 (permalink)
Art Begun
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

I would look hard at the Honda. A friend bought 2 used ones with tons
of mileage. Both rattle and ride better than my 2001 Avalon with 15k
miles. He bought the first one for his college bound kid but liked it
so much bought a second for himself.

The Mazda 6 is supposed to be pretty good too though I've never been
in one. My sister likes her older 626 but the backseat is horrible
(I've been there).

You might want to consider domestics. The reliability of the imports
has been going down while the domestics have been improving. I won't
say the domestics have caught up yet but the price differential for
the imports may not be worth it any more in my opinion.



"sangfroid" <sangfroid@comcastREMOVETHIS.net> wrote in message
news:uOSdnZHnJ73GaDOi4p2dnA@comcast.com...
> Thanks for the comments.
>
> I think I will go for the repair sooner rather than later because

I'm
> concerned about what it's doing to the exhaust system (yes, I know,

the
> catalytic converter would have to be replaced eventually anyway, but

the
> dealer says the smoking will accelerate the need for a new one) and

for the
> very low-tech reason that the car is starting to stink up my garage.
>
> Oddly, with the seat insert yesterday that helped my lower back, my

thighs
> were getting sore. My thighs also got sore when I first got the '97

until I
> had an auto upholsterer insert an extra pad of cushioning just below

the
> seat cushion fabric The extra cushioning raised up my legs relative

to the
> high front edge of the seat cushion. (There is no tilt adjustment

on the
> '97 LE seat cushion. It is permanently angled upward in a way that

can cut
> into your thighs.) The upholstery work, and tightening the

hamstrings at
> the gym, helped end the sore thigh problem.
>
> Maybe I will test drive the Accord again, but it seemed to me that

while
> Honda softened the ride from earlier versions, it still had a harder

ride
> compared with what I'm used to. Zippier handling, yes, but with the
> suburban and turnpike driving I do I seldom have the need for that.

I have
> heard many stories of Hondas easily exceeding 100,000 miles with no
> problems. Too bad Honda isn't the one that favors soft rides and

Toyota
> better handling, rather than vice versa. I would love to rent an

Accord and
> push it for 500 miles like I did with the Camry, but no Honda dealer

(at
> least in the Philadelphia area) seems to rent them.
>
> My '92 Camry LE 4 also unexpectedly crapped out in '97. At 60,000

miles,
> the air vents were producing a really foul odor that smelled like

the
> exhaust of an old car. Except it would do it while all alone, not

near any
> other cars. After a few weeks of driving with the heat off, and

three
> mechanics, each of whom had a different suggestion, none of which

worked, I
> got rid of the car. I figured that was an isolated incident. Maybe

it
> wasn't. Even if this seal problem is normal, I would not have

expected it
> on a Toyota. (By the way, I never had any problems with the seats

in the
> '92.)
>
>



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Old 10 Nov 2003, 12:06 am   #9 (permalink)
Chris Aseltine
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

"Art Begun" <begunaREMOVESPAM@mindspring.com> writes:

> You might want to consider domestics. The reliability of the imports
> has been going down while the domestics have been improving. I won't
> say the domestics have caught up yet but the price differential for
> the imports may not be worth it any more in my opinion.


How dare you.


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Old 10 Nov 2003, 08:43 am   #10 (permalink)
Daniel M. Dreifus
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Default Re: New Camry Driver's Seat Uncomfortable

"sangfroid" <sangfroid@comcastREMOVETHIS.net> wrote in message news:<nemdnWjku7nZ3DOi4p2dnA@comcast.com>...
> Because I've been told that my '97 Camry LE 4 with 88,000 miles needs new
> engine seals (a puff of white smoke on startup in the morning, sometimes --
> no signs of sludge), and that it will cost $900 - $1200 to repair

but decided that the new car I would most enjoy driving until it
> craps out (perhaps prematurely again) would be another Camry.
> As of now, it looks like the dealer will be reaching into my wallet for
> another $1200. For an engine that should have lasted a lot longer.


Your engine will last a lot longer.

Personally, I don't like to have dealer or other mechanics do anything
to my car, so we're approaching the problem from different directions.
Around the same mileage with a four cylinder Camry, I too began to
experience the puff of smoke on startup.
I was able to eliminate the smoke on startup, and now 30,000 miles
later it is still completely gone.
You need to be able to change the oil however.

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=Dr...gle.com&rnum=1

So if the only reason for changing cars is the smoke on startup, this
can resolve your problem for under $100, plus it may help your engine
keep on going somewhere past triple your current mileage (ie. 250,000
miles).
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