1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?

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Old 02 Jan 2006, 08:29 pm   #1 (permalink)
vic
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Default 1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?

Hi, all...Sorry, this is going to be a long message!

I have a 1991 Camry 4 cyl DL, purchased new (8 miles on OD), and has a little
over 225,000 miles on the OD now.

Today I was going to go to work for a few hours and then go shopping for
essencials in New Jersey but could not even get it out of the co-op's garage. As
I was driving down from the 4th floor to the 3rd and getting ready to go down
the ramp to the 2nd floor level whenever I gave it the gas it started to stall
out badly. I have installed on the dash the following gauges: Voltage, amps, Oil
pressure, Tachometer and Vacuum. When I pressed on the gas the tach showed a
drop from 1,500 to around 500 and the vacuum pressure was being very erratic.
The Oil pressure was showing over 50psi, even when I drove the car to an
available parking spot on the 3rd floor and let the car idle up to regular
engine temps from a cold start. I had to maintain engine speed at over 1,000
rpm's by depressing the gas - otherwise the rpm's would drop to 500 and being to
stall/did stall. Had to start the car several times.

Decided that it would not be a good idea to take it out onto the road. I stopped
the car and checked the fluids. The oil stick was barely showing any oil. Now,
this was strange, I made a ski trip to Ludlow, VT from New York City with my
nephews a few years back and while I was going over the mountain pass to
Londonderry, VT where we were staying, the Engine oil idiot light lit up. The
oil pressure gauge showed "Zero pressure" We got down the pass into Londonderry
& stopped at a gas station. There was NO Oil showing on the oil stick. Got 4
quarts & drove to the Frogs Leap Inn in Londonderry (about a couple of miles)
when the light lit up again. Drove to the back of the inn were we were staying
at the pool house. I got out and saw to my horror a steady trail of oil on the
snow. This was the time I had installed the gauges. The idiots at the shop
installed the sensor on a tube connecting to the engine. The vibrations, of
course, caused a crack in the tube. I had this fixed at a local garage. My point
is that the car kept running, even when there was about a quart of oil left in
the pan!

I went back home and found 3 bottles of castrol 10w30 and put it into the
engine. I did not start the car at this time - walked to the local Strauss Auto
Store & got a case of oil & dry gas.

Got back to the car and checked for leaks under the car. There appeared to be a
wet spot, thin, about 6-8 inches long. This was below the area in the front of
the traversed engine where the belts are at. Hmm...

Started the car. went outside & open up the hood to give a listen (before
starting, I checked the radiator - ok, Oil stick was past full level). Began to
notice engine noise anomoly. It sounded that I was inside the car tapping the
gas pedal every second. The headlights would get brighter also at this fequency.
The car progressivly was sounding worst and vibrating more. I got in the car,
put it into drive (after engine reached operating temps) and move the car in and
out of the parking spot. Pressing the gas it was ok, except that when I had the
car parked again and raced the engine past 1,500 rpm's the vacuum gauge was not
exibiting steady progression/regression. It was jerking from 20 to zero, back up
to 10, more jerks/sticking. I turned off the engine.

Got out of the car and notice where I drove the car lines of dampness on the
concrete - exatly in line of the wet spot mentioned above. Put my fingers on the
stuff and noticed that it was not oily - more like water (water pump going bad?)

This is happening at a bad time (when is it ever a "good time") since My Wife
has just started Radiation treatments for her breast cancer she came down with
in 2005.

Wonder if I should try to drive it to the local mobile repair station (a few
blocks away) or call them for a tow...

Funny, I was parked next to a Late model Toyota Matrix. It's about the same size
as our 1991 Camry, but taller. I wonder if this is a sign...

Thanks for any thoughts on this topic...
Vic

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Old 02 Jan 2006, 10:24 pm   #2 (permalink)
Alex
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Default Re: 1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?

Before you drop $3000 or more on repairs, you have a car that is worth no
more than $3000 after the repairs. Does this make sense? What do you
think.


"vic" <vic_member@newsguy.com> wrote in message
news:dpcnik02vvu@drn.newsguy.com...
> Hi, all...Sorry, this is going to be a long message!
>
> I have a 1991 Camry 4 cyl DL, purchased new (8 miles on OD), and has a
> little
> over 225,000 miles on the OD now.
>



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Old 03 Jan 2006, 04:11 am   #3 (permalink)
justinm930
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Default Re: 1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?

just as a side note...you say both times you checked the oil dipstick and
there was nothing on it you first dumped 4qts then the second time 3.

I just thought you should know that just because the dipstick is dry
DOESN'T mean the car has no oil in it. if there is no oil on the
dipstick, add one qt then check the stick and then add if necessary.

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Old 03 Jan 2006, 07:24 am   #4 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: 1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?


"vic" <vic_member@newsguy.com> wrote in message
news:dpcnik02vvu@drn.newsguy.com...
> Hi, all...Sorry, this is going to be a long message!
>
> I have a 1991 Camry 4 cyl DL, purchased new (8 miles on OD), and has a

little
> over 225,000 miles on the OD now.


Its easy to think bad things have happened, when in actual fact you may have
a couple of small faults

> Today I was going to go to work for a few hours and then go shopping for
> essencials in New Jersey but could not even get it out of the co-op's

garage. As
> I was driving down from the 4th floor to the 3rd and getting ready to go

down
> the ramp to the 2nd floor level whenever I gave it the gas it started to

stall
> out badly. I have installed on the dash the following gauges: Voltage,

amps, Oil
> pressure, Tachometer and Vacuum. When I pressed on the gas the tach showed

a
> drop from 1,500 to around 500 and the vacuum pressure was being very

erratic.

If the ignition is tossing in the towel when you apply throttle,..the revs
will go down and vaccuum will also dive. The real culprit maybe a stuffed
coil, leads or dizzy cap. The same thing could happen if fuel delivery is
marginal thru a blocked fuel-filter, crap around the pump pick-up etc/


> The Oil pressure was showing over 50psi, even when I drove the car to an
> available parking spot on the 3rd floor and let the car idle up to regular
> engine temps from a cold start. I had to maintain engine speed at over

1,000
> rpm's by depressing the gas - otherwise the rpm's would drop to 500 and

being to
> stall/did stall. Had to start the car several times.


You have a fault in the ignition or fuel system,...I'd wager nothing more.

> Decided that it would not be a good idea to take it out onto the road. I

stopped
> the car and checked the fluids. The oil stick was barely showing any oil.


Not relevant to the poor runnng.

Now,
> this was strange, I made a ski trip to Ludlow, VT from New York City with

my
> nephews a few years back and while I was going over the mountain pass to
> Londonderry, VT where we were staying, the Engine oil idiot light lit up.

The
> oil pressure gauge showed "Zero pressure" We got down the pass into

Londonderry
> & stopped at a gas station. There was NO Oil showing on the oil stick. Got

4
> quarts & drove to the Frogs Leap Inn in Londonderry (about a couple of

miles)
> when the light lit up again. Drove to the back of the inn were we were

staying
> at the pool house. I got out and saw to my horror a steady trail of oil on

the
> snow. This was the time I had installed the gauges. The idiots at the shop
> installed the sensor on a tube connecting to the engine. The vibrations,

of
> course, caused a crack in the tube. I had this fixed at a local garage. My

point
> is that the car kept running, even when there was about a quart of oil

left in
> the pan!


That's right. Provided the oil-pump has some oil left to pump, the engine is
relatively safe as long as you aren't cornering hard causing oil to run to
one side of the sump.

In addition, provided at no time the engine was under load with the
oil-pressure at zero, the engine will have no damage. If it did suffer this,
then there maybe some permanent bearing-journal damage which will show up as
a noisy engine with sustained low oil-pressure.


> I went back home and found 3 bottles of castrol 10w30 and put it into the
> engine. I did not start the car at this time - walked to the local Strauss

Auto
> Store & got a case of oil & dry gas.
>
> Got back to the car and checked for leaks under the car. There appeared to

be a
> wet spot, thin, about 6-8 inches long. This was below the area in the

front of
> the traversed engine where the belts are at. Hmm...


Sounds like a seal has failed on the oil-pump drive, or the sump gasket is
stuffed.


> Started the car. went outside & open up the hood to give a listen (before
> starting, I checked the radiator - ok, Oil stick was past full level).

Began to
> notice engine noise anomoly. It sounded that I was inside the car tapping

the
> gas pedal every second. The headlights would get brighter also at this

fequency.
> The car progressivly was sounding worst and vibrating more. I got in the

car,
> put it into drive (after engine reached operating temps) and move the car

in and
> out of the parking spot. Pressing the gas it was ok, except that when I

had the
> car parked again and raced the engine past 1,500 rpm's the vacuum gauge

was not
> exibiting steady progression/regression. It was jerking from 20 to zero,

back up
> to 10, more jerks/sticking. I turned off the engine.


Difficult to say what's going on here. However, provided the engine is
reasonabley quiet and the automatic trans is OK, it maywell be a simple
problem tied up with idle-control and the transmission control cctry.


> Got out of the car and notice where I drove the car lines of dampness on

the
> concrete - exatly in line of the wet spot mentioned above. Put my fingers

on the
> stuff and noticed that it was not oily - more like water (water pump going

bad?)
>
> This is happening at a bad time (when is it ever a "good time") since My

Wife
> has just started Radiation treatments for her breast cancer she came down

with
> in 2005.
>
> Wonder if I should try to drive it to the local mobile repair station (a

few
> blocks away) or call them for a tow...
>
> Funny, I was parked next to a Late model Toyota Matrix. It's about the

same size
> as our 1991 Camry, but taller. I wonder if this is a sign...
>
> Thanks for any thoughts on this topic...
> Vic


The whole thing could be no more than a couple of hundred to repair as there
is no evidence of catastrophic failure. Ask an honest mechanic to give you a
quote.

Jason


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Old 03 Jan 2006, 10:24 am   #5 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: 1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?

91 coils are known to short from distributor O ring leaking oil shorting
out coil till warmed and dry, Warming up motor and letting sit for one
hr can dry it, But an easy thing to try is remove distributor cap and
clean coil with alcohol and rag and behind with electronics cleaner. You
may have ruined bearings and that is your nock, a compression test might
give some idea to motor life but it could be electrical even plug wires
shorted. Does oil level rise after 5 to 30 minutes , on old GM v8 the
head return oil ports could clog from never changing oil enough making
oil pool in the head reading the dipstick empty on immediate cheking
after turn off. Look for some minor issues first. I have a 91 4 camry,
coil getting oil on it and shorting, and bad plug wires have been my
main issues. If it still gets a bearing knock well then you know, Many
things even a vacume leak cause a vac gauge to jump around. There are
Vacume patterns for you to study, patterns the gauge displays, I read
them 20 years ago but if I remember there are maybe 10 distinct patterns
that relate to specific problems. Good luck

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Old 03 Jan 2006, 09:18 pm   #6 (permalink)
vic
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Default Re: 1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?

I wish to thank you all for you posts!

I wish to state a couple of caveats before listing what the local Mobile Gas
Repair shop said/did to the car:

- It was not possible to get the car to my usual garage. They are very good at
what they do. One time found a problem and fixed it that I kept mentioning to
the service department at where I bought the Camry and they either did not find
the fault or thought my complaint was too "esoteric". Other repair jobs my
regular garage explained to me that was not necessary at that particular time. A
great staff.

- My current financial situation precludes me from pursuing buying/leasing
option at this time (even though about 2 years ago I was planning a target
purchasing date for around now fot a new "Toy"). My wife was diagnosed with
breast cancer in March of last year and is currently receiving radiation
treatments after chemo. Our medical plan at work, in addition to paying part of
the cost of the plan per month, has high co/pays ($25/visit, $250 out of
hospital fee, $500/overnight stay at hospital & Anesthesia not covered). In
September she fell at home from the effects of the chemo and her bone-thinning
medication for epilepsy, which her doctor has been trying to get her off it for
the past 10 years. She broke both bones attached to her right ankle. The surgeon
told me after the surgery it was one of the worst fractures he's seen in a
while). Since Hospitals/HMO's don't like to keep patients had to pay $500 for
overnight after emergency and am expecting another $500 bill when she went back
in for the surgery. Extra expenses of parking garages, outside meals, increased
fuel usage for car (just when the price at the pump hits all time highs in this
country) has added to the huge drain in funds that was allocated towards a new
car/paying off ccards. Other cost intruded as well...Dental bills (root canals,
post & crowns, etc) & pet bills for our 3 cats at home (we have no children)- 2
of which, alas, passed away a week and a half of each other, just right before
Christmas.

Ok, so it was (hopefully) better to try to repair the car than going the
buy/lease/higher auto insurance route at this time. Here's da list:

- water pump
- timing belt (has not been changed in a "long" time - dry rot mentioned)
- power steering pump (should have thought of this on last visit to expressway
lube and was told they needed to add brake fluid)
- entire distributer assembly replacement
- valve cover gasket
- oil pressure switch (one of 3 areas of oil leakage on/around engine - they
tried 3 oil pressure sender switch but none sends correct pressure info to gauge
- Manager (a 1980's Supra owner/lover & rebuilder) will try another source)
- fuel filter
- rotor
- front cover seal kit
- high pressure hose
- cap, wires & plugs
- right side axle
- struts (could have put this off but wife was starting to feel like she was in
a cement mixer - she's going though enought crap right now!)
- tuneup/oil/antifreeze done (noticed that after getting car idle after warm-up
is now around 800rpm's in stead of the 500rpm's before this repair - this
hopefully will allow a/c usage w/o worry of stall)
- and, of course, LABOR!!! (gave me a break on some of this due to all that was
being done!)

All above warrantied for 12 months/12000miles - since some of these items are
first time replace/repaired Supra manager said it should be good for another
200,000 miles (?!?)

Once again, thanks all...
Vic

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Old 03 Jan 2006, 10:09 pm   #7 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: 1991 4 cyl DL Camry - End of the Road at over 225,000 miles?

Yea things you should do, but you just need it running first, it it isnt
trashed

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