No power at higher altitudes

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Old 31 Jan 2005, 11:18 pm   #1 (permalink)
George
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Default No power at higher altitudes

I have a 96 Camry, 4 cylinder, that runs perfectly until I head into the
mountains. Then I cannot stay up with traffic even when the tranny
downshifts and the engine is really revving. I drove from Atlanta to Denver
and it drove great, 80+ on the highway for 20 hours straight, It drives
fine in Denver but as soon as I get to higher elevations it's like pulling a
heavy trailer even with only one person. I'm lucky if I can keep it above
45. Is there any adjustments possible for high altitude driving? I don't
know if it matters, but the engine never pings or gets hot, and this is
happening in the cold weather.
Thanks
George


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Old 31 Jan 2005, 11:38 pm   #2 (permalink)
Mark A
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

"George" <gpuzen@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:2eELd.9362$qJ3.8541@bignews1.bellsouth.net...
> I have a 96 Camry, 4 cylinder, that runs perfectly until I head into the
> mountains. Then I cannot stay up with traffic even when the tranny
> downshifts and the engine is really revving. I drove from Atlanta to

Denver
> and it drove great, 80+ on the highway for 20 hours straight, It drives
> fine in Denver but as soon as I get to higher elevations it's like pulling

a
> heavy trailer even with only one person. I'm lucky if I can keep it above
> 45. Is there any adjustments possible for high altitude driving? I

don't
> know if it matters, but the engine never pings or gets hot, and this is
> happening in the cold weather.
> Thanks
> George
>

There is definite loss in power (about 10%) when you get up to Denver (5000
ft). When you get into the mountains (8000 - 10000 ft) it is even worse. The
problem is really torque.

When you get into the mountains you need to turn off your overdrive switch
when going uphill. This prevents your transmission from switching into 4th
gear (or overdrive). In some cases, you also may need to downshift your
automatic transmission to "2, but be very careful that you shift back to "D"
when you reach the top of the hill or are going downhill.

If you are not familiar with the overdrive switch on you vehicle, check the
owners manual.

Also, I would use mid-grade gas in Colorado, because the octane rating for
gas is lower in high altitude locations (by design of the oil companies).
This usually works best for most cars with newer sophisticated ECU's, but
since you have a 96 model, it may not adjust as well.

Welcome to the Rockies.



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Old 01 Feb 2005, 06:40 am   #3 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

Im just guessing here but could the oxygen sensor be bad. You may also
be just needing a tune up and are actualy lacking normal power. The
timing belt stretches as it gets old. My camry was retarded 4 degrees
once reset it had alot more power and milage. Perhaps you need a tune
up alot of little things will add up to reduced power. A dragging brake,
retarded timing, old oils, dirty air filter. Get it checked out. Last
year I was getting 20 mpg I had a draging brake, retarded timing and bad
O2 sensor, old air filter. I then switched motor to 5-30, trans and
differential all to Mobil synthetic. all done I went to 28-29 mpg .

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Old 01 Feb 2005, 10:03 am   #4 (permalink)
Mark A
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

"m Ransley" <ransley@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:3854-41FF78B5-60@storefull-3134.bay.webtv.net...
> Im just guessing here but could the oxygen sensor be bad. You may also
> be just needing a tune up and are actualy lacking normal power. The
> timing belt stretches as it gets old. My camry was retarded 4 degrees
> once reset it had alot more power and milage. Perhaps you need a tune
> up alot of little things will add up to reduced power. A dragging brake,
> retarded timing, old oils, dirty air filter. Get it checked out. Last
> year I was getting 20 mpg I had a draging brake, retarded timing and bad
> O2 sensor, old air filter. I then switched motor to 5-30, trans and
> differential all to Mobil synthetic. all done I went to 28-29 mpg .
>

If the O2 sensor was bad the check engine light comes on. People who drive
in the Rockies the first time (7000 - 10000 ft) don't understand that you
need to downshift out of overdrive when going uphill on long grade. Happens
to all newbie's in the Rockies.


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Old 01 Feb 2005, 12:02 pm   #5 (permalink)
Philip
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

Mark A wrote:
> "m Ransley" <ransley@webtv.net> wrote in message
> news:3854-41FF78B5-60@storefull-3134.bay.webtv.net...
>> Im just guessing here but could the oxygen sensor be bad. You may
>> also
>> be just needing a tune up and are actualy lacking normal power. The
>> timing belt stretches as it gets old. My camry was retarded 4 degrees
>> once reset it had alot more power and milage. Perhaps you need a
>> tune
>> up alot of little things will add up to reduced power. A dragging
>> brake, retarded timing, old oils, dirty air filter. Get it checked
>> out. Last year I was getting 20 mpg I had a draging brake, retarded
>> timing and bad O2 sensor, old air filter. I then switched motor to
>> 5-30, trans and differential all to Mobil synthetic. all done I
>> went to 28-29 mpg .
>>

> If the O2 sensor was bad the check engine light comes on. People who
> drive in the Rockies the first time (7000 - 10000 ft) don't
> understand that you need to downshift out of overdrive when going
> uphill on long grade. Happens to all newbie's in the Rockies.


There are TWO things the ECU looks for from the O2 sensor. (1) is the
heating element open? and (2) is there an oscillating signal coming from the
O2 sensor. It takes a complete failure of either for the ECU to set a code
and kick ON the Check Engine light.
--
-Philip

In spite of wars, pestilence, Great Floods, volcanoes,
and celestial collisions, the Earth and Mankind persist.



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Old 02 Feb 2005, 07:49 pm   #6 (permalink)
George
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

The car just had a tuneup, new timing belt, fuel filter, air filter, spark
plugs, oil and filter, before leaving Atlanta. I got an average of 30 mpg
on the trip out there at speeds mostly around 80mph. It sounds like what
I'm experiencing is normal for a 4 cylinder in the mountains from what other
have said I'm just a rookine driving in the mountains.

"> Im just guessing here but could the oxygen sensor be bad. You may also
> be just needing a tune up and are actualy lacking normal power. The
> timing belt stretches as it gets old. My camry was retarded 4 degrees
> once reset it had alot more power and milage. Perhaps you need a tune
> up alot of little things will add up to reduced power. A dragging brake,
> retarded timing, old oils, dirty air filter. Get it checked out. Last
> year I was getting 20 mpg I had a draging brake, retarded timing and bad
> O2 sensor, old air filter. I then switched motor to 5-30, trans and
> differential all to Mobil synthetic. all done I went to 28-29 mpg .
>



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Old 02 Feb 2005, 08:07 pm   #7 (permalink)
Mark A
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

"George" <gpuzen@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
news:smfMd.23634$t67.14404@bignews5.bellsouth.net. ..
> The car just had a tuneup, new timing belt, fuel filter, air filter, spark
> plugs, oil and filter, before leaving Atlanta. I got an average of 30

mpg
> on the trip out there at speeds mostly around 80mph. It sounds like what
> I'm experiencing is normal for a 4 cylinder in the mountains from what

other
> have said I'm just a rookine driving in the mountains.
>

You are correct sir. And if your car is full with passengers, you are going
to have work extremely hard driving the 96 Camry with only 125 hp in the
mountains. A new 2005 Camry with 4 cylinders has 160 hp. (Not to mention the
V6 and V8 vehicles you will see in the mountains.)


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Old 02 Feb 2005, 11:57 pm   #8 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes


"Mark A" <nobody@nowhere.com> wrote in message
news:k-OdnWKDmvBBG5zfRVn-qg@comcast.com...
> "George" <gpuzen@bellsouth.net> wrote in message
> news:smfMd.23634$t67.14404@bignews5.bellsouth.net. ..
> > The car just had a tuneup, new timing belt, fuel filter, air filter,

spark
> > plugs, oil and filter, before leaving Atlanta. I got an average of 30

> mpg
> > on the trip out there at speeds mostly around 80mph. It sounds like

what
> > I'm experiencing is normal for a 4 cylinder in the mountains from what

> other
> > have said I'm just a rookine driving in the mountains.
> >

> You are correct sir. And if your car is full with passengers, you are

going
> to have work extremely hard driving the 96 Camry with only 125 hp in the
> mountains. A new 2005 Camry with 4 cylinders has 160 hp. (Not to mention

the
> V6 and V8 vehicles you will see in the mountains.)


The new Camry 4 cyl is 145hp I thought?

Jason


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Old 03 Feb 2005, 12:52 am   #9 (permalink)
Mark A
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

"Jason James" <vellicet@bigpond.com> wrote in message
news:36dsl4F50s7ucU1@individual.net...
>
> The new Camry 4 cyl is 145hp I thought?
>
> Jason
>

2005's are 160 hp

http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/2005/camry/specs.html


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Old 03 Feb 2005, 09:22 am   #10 (permalink)
Mitch
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Default Re: No power at higher altitudes

George wrote:
> I have a 96 Camry, 4 cylinder, that runs perfectly until I head into the
> mountains. Then I cannot stay up with traffic even when the tranny
> downshifts and the engine is really revving. I drove from Atlanta to Denver
> and it drove great, 80+ on the highway for 20 hours straight, It drives
> fine in Denver but as soon as I get to higher elevations it's like pulling a
> heavy trailer even with only one person. I'm lucky if I can keep it above
> 45. Is there any adjustments possible for high altitude driving? I don't
> know if it matters, but the engine never pings or gets hot, and this is
> happening in the cold weather.
> Thanks
> George
>
>

Just acquired a 95 in NY and got great mileage (35-40) on the drive out
to Denver but the closer I got the worse it got. I'm only getting 28mpg
on my commute to work. Not really that bad for this big a car with
automatic but disappointing after a Saturn (twin cam, 5sp) that got
35-40mpg with a lot more performance. OTOH the Camry is a far more
comfortable and quiet ride. The Camry is a bit heavy and long geared
which works okay on the flats but requires some extra downshifts as soon
as it hits the hills. It could be worse, I used to drive an old VW Bus,
2nd gear and about 35mph up Floyd Hill and still never got much more
than 20mpg.

Mitch
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