86 Camry 4 cyl. breathing problem

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Old 22 Sep 2004, 06:59 pm   #1 (permalink)
manspenn
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Default 86 Camry 4 cyl. breathing problem

My daughter is 2000 miles away in grad school and has this older Camry 4
cyl. , 5 speed, that started running badly, on 3 cylinders I guess, so she
took it to the local shop that people on campus said was good and honest to
have them look at it. They told her it has a breathing problem and would
cost $600-$1000 to fix it. They may have told her what they thought the
problems are but she doesn't know about cars so it would have been gibberish
to her. I have heard over the years that 4 cyl. Camrys from the late 80's
had problems in the intake system but I don't remember the details, and
looking through past posts I don't see anything that sounds like what the
problem may be.

The car is in better than average condition for the age at about 130k miles,
no rust or damage, new tires with about 10k on them, and has been very
reliable up to this problem. I'm thinking it might be better to fix the car
even as old as it is due to the overall condition rather than replace it
with an unknown used car.

I realize I'm being vague and that I haven't talked to the shop she took her
car to, but I'm thinking this may be a common problem with the car at the
mileage and that someone may have experience that I can learn from. I'd
like to have more background before I do talk to the shop. I worked on
foreign cars in the 60'c and 70's so I'll understand any advice anyone can
give me. Thanks for your help.


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Old 23 Sep 2004, 03:43 am   #2 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: 86 Camry 4 cyl. breathing problem


"manspenn" <jmsmith@epix.net> wrote in message
news:Ylo4d.6901$17.1441495@news1.epix.net...
> My daughter is 2000 miles away in grad school and has this older Camry 4
> cyl. , 5 speed, that started running badly, on 3 cylinders I guess, so

she
> took it to the local shop that people on campus said was good and honest

to
> have them look at it. They told her it has a breathing problem and would
> cost $600-$1000 to fix it. They may have told her what they thought the
> problems are but she doesn't know about cars so it would have been

gibberish
> to her. I have heard over the years that 4 cyl. Camrys from the late 80's
> had problems in the intake system but I don't remember the details, and
> looking through past posts I don't see anything that sounds like what the
> problem may be.



What they mean by 'breathing' in this context of running on 3 cylinders, is
bad blow-by or compression and exhaust gases leaking past the worn rings
into the crankcase, then up into the PCV system.

It maybe breathing badly, but unless that particular cylinder has almost no
compression, I wouldn't think it would cause the miss or 3 cyl running.

Ask the shop to do a compression test (measures the cylinder
ring-performance and valve sealing) on ALL 4 cyls. The bad one should be
under 70 or so psi to stop firing.

Jason


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Old 23 Sep 2004, 11:32 am   #3 (permalink)
Daniel M. Dreifus
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Default Re: 86 Camry 4 cyl. breathing problem

"manspenn" <jmsmith@epix.net> wrote in message news:<Ylo4d.6901$17.1441495@news1.epix.net>...
>
> I realize I'm being vague and that I haven't talked to the shop she took her
> car to, but I'm thinking this may be a common problem with the car at the
> mileage and that someone may have experience that I can learn from. I'd
> like to have more background before I do talk to the shop.


You need to talk to the shop first, then ask here.
There are no common "breathing" problems.
At that mileage and condition, that car should be good for a long time
with only standard maintenance requirements, timing belt, spark plugs,
filters, etc.
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Old 24 Sep 2004, 02:54 pm   #4 (permalink)
Louis Bybee
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Default Re: 86 Camry 4 cyl. breathing problem

"manspenn" <jmsmith@epix.net> wrote in message
news:Ylo4d.6901$17.1441495@news1.epix.net...
> My daughter is 2000 miles away in grad school and has this older Camry 4
> cyl. , 5 speed, that started running badly, on 3 cylinders I guess, so

she
> took it to the local shop that people on campus said was good and honest

to
> have them look at it. They told her it has a breathing problem and would
> cost $600-$1000 to fix it. They may have told her what they thought the
> problems are but she doesn't know about cars so it would have been

gibberish
> to her. I have heard over the years that 4 cyl. Camrys from the late 80's
> had problems in the intake system but I don't remember the details, and
> looking through past posts I don't see anything that sounds like what the
> problem may be.
>
> The car is in better than average condition for the age at about 130k

miles,
> no rust or damage, new tires with about 10k on them, and has been very
> reliable up to this problem. I'm thinking it might be better to fix the

car
> even as old as it is due to the overall condition rather than replace it
> with an unknown used car.
>
> I realize I'm being vague and that I haven't talked to the shop she took

her
> car to, but I'm thinking this may be a common problem with the car at the
> mileage and that someone may have experience that I can learn from. I'd
> like to have more background before I do talk to the shop. I worked on
> foreign cars in the 60'c and 70's so I'll understand any advice anyone can
> give me. Thanks for your help.
>
>

I have a 1986 Camry Factory Service Manual that I would sell for $50 shipped
to a Continental US location.

It's in great shape, and would allow you to understand/repair vehicle
issues.

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond


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Old 25 Sep 2004, 10:22 am   #5 (permalink)
Edmechanic
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Default Re: 86 Camry 4 cyl. breathing problem

"manspenn" <jmsmith@epix.net> wrote in message news:<Ylo4d.6901$17.1441495@news1.epix.net>...
> My daughter is 2000 miles away in grad school and has this older Camry 4
> cyl. , 5 speed, that started running badly, on 3 cylinders I guess, so she
> took it to the local shop that people on campus said was good and honest to
> have them look at it. They told her it has a breathing problem and would
> cost $600-$1000 to fix it. They may have told her what they thought the
> problems are but she doesn't know about cars so it would have been gibberish
> to her. I have heard over the years that 4 cyl. Camrys from the late 80's
> had problems in the intake system but I don't remember the details, and
> looking through past posts I don't see anything that sounds like what the
> problem may be.
>
> The car is in better than average condition for the age at about 130k miles,
> no rust or damage, new tires with about 10k on them, and has been very
> reliable up to this problem. I'm thinking it might be better to fix the car
> even as old as it is due to the overall condition rather than replace it
> with an unknown used car.
>
> I realize I'm being vague and that I haven't talked to the shop she took her
> car to, but I'm thinking this may be a common problem with the car at the
> mileage and that someone may have experience that I can learn from. I'd
> like to have more background before I do talk to the shop. I worked on
> foreign cars in the 60'c and 70's so I'll understand any advice anyone can
> give me. Thanks for your help.


Well in my experience very few things block air flow into engine
except carbon around throttle or idle air bypass. But that only
affects car at idle. Much more likely is an air leak in air induction
system which leans out mixture so much that it causes missing. Or it
could be engine compression. Based on 600 to 1000 dollars it sounds
like a cylinder head job, so maybe cylinder head gasket is leaking and
needs to be replaced. If you don't trust mechanic have compression
test done somewhere else. Also take out sparkplugs and look at ends.
Bright white insulators usually mean lean mixtures. Oily ends mean
oil leak. Black fluffy ends rich mixture. And brown or tannish ends
perfect mixture. A greenish tinge means antifreeze, which is probably
a bad head gasket.
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Old 25 Sep 2004, 08:58 pm   #6 (permalink)
Mark A
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Default Re: 86 Camry 4 cyl. breathing problem

"manspenn" <jmsmith@epix.net> wrote in message
news:Ylo4d.6901$17.1441495@news1.epix.net...
> My daughter is 2000 miles away in grad school and has this older Camry 4
> cyl. , 5 speed, that started running badly, on 3 cylinders I guess, so

she
> took it to the local shop that people on campus said was good and honest

to
> have them look at it. They told her it has a breathing problem and would
> cost $600-$1000 to fix it. They may have told her what they thought the
> problems are but she doesn't know about cars so it would have been

gibberish
> to her. I have heard over the years that 4 cyl. Camrys from the late 80's
> had problems in the intake system but I don't remember the details, and
> looking through past posts I don't see anything that sounds like what the
> problem may be.
>
> The car is in better than average condition for the age at about 130k

miles,
> no rust or damage, new tires with about 10k on them, and has been very
> reliable up to this problem. I'm thinking it might be better to fix the

car
> even as old as it is due to the overall condition rather than replace it
> with an unknown used car.
>
> I realize I'm being vague and that I haven't talked to the shop she took

her
> car to, but I'm thinking this may be a common problem with the car at the
> mileage and that someone may have experience that I can learn from. I'd
> like to have more background before I do talk to the shop. I worked on
> foreign cars in the 60'c and 70's so I'll understand any advice anyone can
> give me. Thanks for your help.
>

Long distance phone calls are about 5 cents per minute these days. Why don't
you call the shop and speak to them yourself?


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