88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

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Old 22 Mar 2005, 11:47 pm   #1 (permalink)
skeedn
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Default 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

í88 Camry All Trac 2.0 liter with 256,000 miles. Iíve had it 5 years.
Terrific car; cheap insurance and no car payment. I am trying to keep
it running until kids grow up and wife re-enters the workforce. I
recently returned from the local Toyota dealership with a $400 bill
after having only part of the work done that they wanted to do.
History: trouble started with a hole in the muffler. Muffler shop
replaced it but then the car was VERY sluggish. Had to coax it up to
speed which was not a good thing while trying to merge onto the
interstate highway everyday. Nearly became a hood ornament. Back to
muffler shop with diagnosis of plugged catalytic converter. (Engine
ran great with exhaust disconnected). This Camry has two cats (small
pre-cat? under hood after exhaust manifold and larger one just prior
to muffler). Muffler shop couldnít get pre-cat so they chipped it out
and installed larger "all-in-one" unit ahead of muffler. I heard
them revving the car to REALLY high RPM several times while working on
it. When I asked, they explained it was to clear out debris from cat
extraction. Back on the road and still no power! Muffler shop sent
car to another shop and said timing was off & belt had probably
jumped. I had to pay for the engine analysis and timing. After
thinking it through, I wondered if belt hadnít jumped from the high
revving. However, the car ran like a rally car and I was very happy
with the result... Until a few months later... engine missing and
needed new plugs, rotor, distributor cap. Then it was good to go
again... for a short while. I noticed engine would not drop to a low
idle and over time, got worse. Car failed emission test. The garage
offered to put it on their engine analyzer and try to get it to pass.
The next day, they said they "tweaked it" and it was ready.
However, within a month, or so, the "low" idle had risen to 2200 rpm
and would not come down. The engine still had power, but was also
missing. I checked plugs and they looked surprisingly worn for only
being a year old. Replaced plugs and the idle "dropped" to 1700
rpm. Engine still powerful but missed. Went to Toyota and they said
timing had been advanced so far that throttle positioning sensor had
shorted out & "dumping fuel" into engine. They changed TPS; set
throttle & retimed. Charges included $87 for TPS, $297.50 for labor
to read codes & do work, & $15 for hazardous waste. Total $410.
OUCH! Total could have been $635. They also wanted to do plug wires,
cap, & rotor for another $85 and clear fuel rails and clean throttle
body for another $140. When I asked what was involved in the
cleaning, they said, $80 labor and $50 for the cleaner. I declined.
Car idles at 800 now, but also is a much more sedate vehicle. Can you
give me your take on this? Is advancing the timing a trick to boost
performance (muffler shop?) or to pass emissions (garage with emission
test?) Why did it damage the TPS? Should I have said yes to fuel
rails & throttle body cleaning? I will replace wires, cap & rotor
myself (again). Any input is appreciated!
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Old 23 Mar 2005, 06:02 am   #2 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

Sorry to say you had some bad mechanics. Advancing the timing to far you
usualy hear engine nock , but it will make it run hotter. Yes a
stretched belt will retard timing. A good investment is a 20$ timing
light, it is DIY for checking. I cant say the problem but a new mechanic
might be best.

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Old 23 Mar 2005, 06:52 am   #3 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

Use factory parts for the ignition work you're going to do.

Whenever you've got an older car, and at the mercy of shops - can be a
problem.

If you can buy the factory parts online or at a discount and do your
own diagnostic and repair work, you can keep those cars running for a
long, long, time, but from long experience, I've found it tough to
trust most mechanics. Once mentioned to the manager in the parts
department at my local dealer how much higher their prices seemed, and
that I'd been buying parts online, even though I would like to support
them. After that, their prices were competitive or slightly better.

Yes advancing the timing could cause more power at risk of engine
damage, not sure how the TPS could be affected though.

Using the factory service manual, recently did remove and clean the
throttle body and adjust the TPS. Found several items (everything
mentioned in the manual) that needed adjustment. Had to buy an air
compressor first, but then was able to clear one of the vacuum lines to
the EGR modulator.

For injector cleaning I use Redline's complete fuel system cleaner with
each tankful of gas (measured amount as indicated - one bottle per
hundred gallons). Cleans injectors, valves and emission controls and
will also add power.

Even though they may cost more, I like to stay with genuine Toyota
parts. Generally they are much better quality and fit better. Removing
one of the catalytic converters may have compromised your emissions
tests.

Usually aftermarket muffler shops cut the pipes and weld in universal
replacements, so to get back to factory parts, you'd probably have to
replace everything again. Your call.

I could write a small book about problems I've had with muffler shops,
tire shops, transmission shops, and the like through the years. By
reading these groups, reading the manual, and learing to do my own work
the Toyotas can last virtually forever.

In my humble opinion, one of the greatest benefits, is that you can
take your time, go carefully, and clean and inspect as you go, whereas
most all mechanics can make more money if they work more quickly. Cars
do respond to TLC where small problems are detected and corrected
early.

Maybe, since you've already started substituting parts, and only need
the car a few more years, you can hobble by as you're going, just use
the right parts for the plugs and wires - they are especially sensitive
to aftermarket replacements.

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Old 23 Mar 2005, 07:35 pm   #4 (permalink)
skeedn
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Default Re: Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

"nospampls20021" wrote:
> Use factory parts for the ignition work you're going to do.
>
> Whenever you've got an older car, and at the mercy of shops -
> can be a
> problem.
>
> If you can buy the factory parts online or at a discount and
> do your
> own diagnostic and repair work, you can keep those cars
> running for a
> long, long, time, but from long experience, I've found it
> tough to
> trust most mechanics. Once mentioned to the manager in the
> parts
> department at my local dealer how much higher their prices
> seemed, and
> that I'd been buying parts online, even though I would like to
> support
> them. After that, their prices were competitive or slightly
> better.
>
> Yes advancing the timing could cause more power at risk of
> engine
> damage, not sure how the TPS could be affected though.
>
> Using the factory service manual, recently did remove and
> clean the
> throttle body and adjust the TPS. Found several items
> (everything
> mentioned in the manual) that needed adjustment. Had to buy an
> air
> compressor first, but then was able to clear one of the vacuum
> lines to
> the EGR modulator.
>
> For injector cleaning I use Redline's complete fuel system
> cleaner with
> each tankful of gas (measured amount as indicated - one bottle
> per
> hundred gallons). Cleans injectors, valves and emission
> controls and
> will also add power.
>
> Even though they may cost more, I like to stay with genuine
> Toyota
> parts. Generally they are much better quality and fit better.
> Removing
> one of the catalytic converters may have compromised your
> emissions
> tests.
>
> Usually aftermarket muffler shops cut the pipes and weld in
> universal
> replacements, so to get back to factory parts, you'd probably
> have to
> replace everything again. Your call.
>
> I could write a small book about problems I've had with
> muffler shops,
> tire shops, transmission shops, and the like through the
> years. By
> reading these groups, reading the manual, and learing to do my
> own work
> the Toyotas can last virtually forever.
>
> In my humble opinion, one of the greatest benefits, is that
> you can
> take your time, go carefully, and clean and inspect as you go,
> whereas
> most all mechanics can make more money if they work more
> quickly. Cars
> do respond to TLC where small problems are detected and
> corrected
> early.
>
> Maybe, since you've already started substituting parts, and
> only need
> the car a few more years, you can hobble by as you're going,
> just use
> the right parts for the plugs and wires - they are especially
> sensitive
> to aftermarket replacements.


Thanks for the good suggestions. I am finding out that aftermarket is
only cheaper in the short run. I never bought factory parts because
of the huge price differential. I will start looking online to see
prices. At least that way I can ask if the local dealer can get
closer to it??

I am not sure where the fuel rails are. I looked them up in a
Chiltonís but it wasnít listed. I assume the Redlineís cleaner would
get through the entire fuel system and clean them. I will look for
that at our parts stores.

I like the idea of doing my own work, just need more time to read and
find out what I can do. Too bad I hadnít found this forum before!

Thanks for your help!

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Old 23 Mar 2005, 07:57 pm   #5 (permalink)
skeedn
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Default Re: Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

"m Ransley" wrote:
> Sorry to say you had some bad mechanics. Advancing the timing
> to far you
> usualy hear engine nock , but it will make it run hotter. Yes
> a
> stretched belt will retard timing. A good investment is a 20$
> timing
> light, it is DIY for checking. I cant say the problem but a
> new mechanic
> might be best.


Iíll definitely be getting a timing light for the future. I also need
to find a local mechanic. I have just been using the specialized
shops as needed.
Re: the timing, the engine didnít knock, but once in awhile a small
pop like a backfire. Didnít mind it though since it was going VROOM!


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Old 23 Mar 2005, 08:19 pm   #6 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

A backfire could be advanced timing, pre ignition. It will kill a motor
by overheating and eventualy nocking a hole in the piston. Timing belts
stretch as they get old, when my timing was retarded I had little power
and poor milage

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Old 25 Mar 2005, 08:11 am   #7 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

I am not sure where the fuel rails are. *I looked them up in a
Chiltonís but it wasnít listed. *I assume the Redlineís cleaner would
get through the entire fuel system and clean them.
------------------------
Your 2.0 liter only has one fuel rail - and it should never need
cleaning.
The fuel rail is just a tube that contains fuel under pressure as a
supply reservoir for the fuel injectors.
If you take a flash light, or shop light, and look at the back of your
engine, near the firewall, looking at a level below the valve cover,
you should see a ribbed aluminum length of fuel rail close to the
injectors that plug into the intake ports.
I suspect most folks fail to use the Redline long enough to get the
real benefits.
A single use generally will improve power, but the real benefit is in
continuing to use a small amount every time gasoline is added to the
fuel tank.
Used to measure carefully according to the marks on the side of the
bottle, but now, after adding so many times, just add what seems about
right.
If you take the time to read Redline's technical data section, you
discover that it can take around 10,000 miles to clean the intake
valves, but I like that, because it is not using harsh solvents, but
high temperature detergents, combined with synthetic upper cylinder
lubricants that are safe for continuous use.
They represent that the Redline CFSC (complete fuel system cleaner?)
also cleans emission control components. I recently considered
replacing the main oxygen sensor as preventative maintenance, but when
removing the exhaust pipe to replace the engine oil pan gasket, I could
see the secondary O2 sensor, and it still looked new - very clean. It
seems, as cars age, the O2 sensor can become coated with carbon
deposits, causing a "lazy" response time, but using an analog
voltmeter, the response on my primary O2 sensor was well within factory
specs, plus a recent state emission test showed zero O2 at 25 mph, and
reduced, very low emissions in every other category as well, including
CO and NOx, which supposedly rise with O2 sensor weakness, so after
much consideration, have left the O2 sensor in.
The Redline CFSC supposedly absorbs and removes water in the fuel tank
also.
Of course, it also cleans injector tips - and regular use then keeps
them clean.
This is where fouling can be most likely to occur - or not, some people
say this is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist and that all
name brand gasolines from major companies are already required to
include detergents that prevent injector fouling.
I suppose the Redline company is primarily oriented to racing
applications. They cite a paper that showed none of the gasolines
actually kept injectors clean despite industry claims. Seems that
gasoline is delivered in bulk and the proprietary additives that
differentiate brands are added later, so I would guess there's always
room for error.
Again from Redline's tech. data, if one injector spray pattern weakens,
the O2 sensor, taking an average reading at the exhaust manifold
richens the mixture overall, so keeping all the injectors clean
improves both mileage and power.
But one of my favorite parts is that the Redline fuel treatment cleans
the face of the intake valves.
As you may know, your Toyota derives a significant portion of its power
from the use of four valves per cylinder. When the intake charge meets
the heated valves, deposits can be left behind over time. This
effectively reduces the "breathing" ability of your engine - a prime
determinant of operating efficiency. This is why racers spend so much
time selecting camshafts, and the newer Toyota engines vary valve
timing to increase power.
Your engine has fixed valve timing, but you can maximize the cam you
have by keeping those valve faces free of deposits.
It does make a difference, far as I can tell.

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Old 26 Mar 2005, 09:58 pm   #8 (permalink)
skeedn
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Default Re: Re: Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems..

"m Ransley" wrote:
> A backfire could be advanced timing, pre ignition. It will
> kill a motor
> by overheating and eventualy nocking a hole in the piston.
> Timing belts
> stretch as they get old, when my timing was retarded I had
> little power
> and poor milage


Is a timing belt more likely to stretch while fairly new or when old?
I did have the timing belt replaced a few years ago...

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Old 26 Mar 2005, 10:02 pm   #9 (permalink)
skeedn
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Default Re: Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems...

"nospampls20021" wrote:
> I am not sure where the fuel rails are. *I looked them up in a
> Chiltonís but it wasnít listed. *I assume the Redlineís
> cleaner would
> get through the entire fuel system and clean them.
> ------------------------
> Your 2.0 liter only has one fuel rail - and it should never
> need
> cleaning.
> The fuel rail is just a tube that contains fuel under pressure
> as a
> supply reservoir for the fuel injectors.
> If you take a flash light, or shop light, and look at the back
> of your
> engine, near the firewall, looking at a level below the valve
> cover,
> you should see a ribbed aluminum length of fuel rail close to
> the
> injectors that plug into the intake ports.
> I suspect most folks fail to use the Redline long enough to
> get the
> real benefits.
> A single use generally will improve power, but the real
> benefit is in
> continuing to use a small amount every time gasoline is added
> to the
> fuel tank.
> Used to measure carefully according to the marks on the side
> of the
> bottle, but now, after adding so many times, just add what
> seems about
> right.
> If you take the time to read Redline's technical data section,
> you
> discover that it can take around 10,000 miles to clean the
> intake
> valves, but I like that, because it is not using harsh
> solvents, but
> high temperature detergents, combined with synthetic upper
> cylinder
> lubricants that are safe for continuous use.
> They represent that the Redline CFSC (complete fuel system
> cleaner?)
> also cleans emission control components. I recently considered
> replacing the main oxygen sensor as preventative maintenance,
> but when
> removing the exhaust pipe to replace the engine oil pan
> gasket, I could
> see the secondary O2 sensor, and it still looked new - very
> clean. It
> seems, as cars age, the O2 sensor can become coated with
> carbon
> deposits, causing a "lazy" response time, but using an analog
> voltmeter, the response on my primary O2 sensor was well
> within factory
> specs, plus a recent state emission test showed zero O2 at 25
> mph, and
> reduced, very low emissions in every other category as well,
> including
> CO and NOx, which supposedly rise with O2 sensor weakness, so
> after
> much consideration, have left the O2 sensor in.
> The Redline CFSC supposedly absorbs and removes water in the
> fuel tank
> also.
> Of course, it also cleans injector tips - and regular use then
> keeps
> them clean.
> This is where fouling can be most likely to occur - or not,
> some people
> say this is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist and
> that all
> name brand gasolines from major companies are already required
> to
> include detergents that prevent injector fouling.
> I suppose the Redline company is primarily oriented to racing
> applications. They cite a paper that showed none of the
> gasolines
> actually kept injectors clean despite industry claims. Seems
> that
> gasoline is delivered in bulk and the proprietary additives
> that
> differentiate brands are added later, so I would guess there's
> always
> room for error.
> Again from Redline's tech. data, if one injector spray pattern
> weakens,
> the O2 sensor, taking an average reading at the exhaust
> manifold
> richens the mixture overall, so keeping all the injectors
> clean
> improves both mileage and power.
> But one of my favorite parts is that the Redline fuel
> treatment cleans
> the face of the intake valves.
> As you may know, your Toyota derives a significant portion of
> its power
> from the use of four valves per cylinder. When the intake
> charge meets
> the heated valves, deposits can be left behind over time. This
> effectively reduces the "breathing" ability of your engine - a
> prime
> determinant of operating efficiency. This is why racers spend
> so much
> time selecting camshafts, and the newer Toyota engines vary
> valve
> timing to increase power.
> Your engine has fixed valve timing, but you can maximize the
> cam you
> have by keeping those valve faces free of deposits.
> It does make a difference, far as I can tell.


Thanks for the interesting info. re: the fuel rail and your experience
with Redline. Iím glad I didnít spend the extra money at the
dealership. Iíll bet I can buy a lot of Redline for what they wanted
to charge!

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Old 27 Mar 2005, 07:40 am   #10 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: 88 Camry Catalytic Converter & Idling Problems..

Is a timing belt more likely to stretch while fairly new or when old?
---------
Should not be a major problem for you if the belt is tensioned
correctly when installed.
The load on the belts is relatively light.
If they loosened excessively, the relatively small teeth in the
underside of the belt would allow the teeth in the driven sprockets to
"jump" and alter valve timing which is very rare.
You may lose a few degrees of iginition timing over 60 - 90,000 miles,
but that is restored when the belt is replaced.
If you adjust the ignition timing for a worn belt, then you would have
to change it back when installing a new belt.
Actually, oddly, the belt may stretch more when new. This is why it is
important to place a load on the belt when installing. The tensioning
spring just holds the tensioner pulley in place. You need to apply lots
of pressure to the belt by levering against that pulley, then release
the tension and allow the spring to hold it in place only, while
tightening. This removes any initial stretch.

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