91 Camry Temperature Problem

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Old 17 Feb 2006, 08:02 pm   #1 (permalink)
Steve
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Default 91 Camry Temperature Problem

Got my Camry in 1997 with about 76k miles on it, and for the most part,
it's run pretty well. However, about two or three years ago, I started
having problems with it not shifting into overdrive for a while after
starting it, and I finally figured out that the engine had to get to a
certain temp. It seemed new, because in the previous few years that we
had the car, shifting had never been a problem. I've read a bunch of
posts on this group regarding this feature of the Camry, so I know it's
always been there, but it just seems to have gotten markedly worse.
Even when I warm it up for 5-10 minutes on cold mornings, it still takes
a few miles of driving to shift, and that really sucks, because I live
right off a highway, and I have to get up to 55 right away no matter
where I go, and by the time it warms up enough, I'm into town where the
speed is 30 mph.

Then, the other morning, it did something really weird. I had managed
to get it warmed up enough, and as I was driving merrily along at about
55 mph, all of a sudden the temp gauge dropped, and the car dropped into
fourth gear like it was still cold. Now I know the car didn't just get
cold all of a sudden. In addition, the heater inside the car really
sucks - it just doesn't get very warm (I'm not sure if that is related
or not, but thought it was worth mentioning).

Does this sound like I have a bad thermostat or temp gauge somewhere?
In wrestling with the ubiquitous ignition coil problem recently, I've
replaced the plugs, cap and wires, MAF sensor (it was bad anyway), and
fuel filter, so I know those things are not the problem.

Thanks.

Steve
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Old 17 Feb 2006, 08:27 pm   #2 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: 91 Camry Temperature Problem

Replace the thermostat and use a genuine Toy one, I have a 91 and on
several aftermarket the gaskets leak since they are to small and it
always bypasses cold water, Have you ever flushed or changed the cooling
system, if you see any buildup on the coils looking inside the radiator
you should flush it now, as that build up can be in the heater core
also. Dont use more than 50% antifreeze. And if you do that , might as
well do the hoses. Coil on your model is an issue, do you live where
there is salt on roads, next is brake and fuel lines rusting out.

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Old 17 Feb 2006, 08:39 pm   #3 (permalink)
qslim
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Default Re: 91 Camry Temperature Problem

You're describing a classic temp sensor circuit problem. If there is an
open in the circuit, the computer thinks it's around -40F, downshifts, and
starts pouring fuel like you just started the engine. The temp sensor is
ususally the culprit when it comes to intermitent occurences like this
(about 60 bucks, screws right in).

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Old 17 Feb 2006, 10:08 pm   #4 (permalink)
johngdole@hotmail.com
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Default Re: 91 Camry Temperature Problem

Yes to both. You should check to make sure that the thermostat, after
all these years, didn't stick open and overcool the engine (plus that
your cooling system is in top shape by changing the hoses, coolant,
etc).

You also want to check to make sure that the engine coolant temperature
sensor, which is important to many other engine functions, is working
correctly.

Haynes manual does a good job tell you how to check. Or look on
www.autozone.com for their free repair guide on how to perform these
checks.

qslim wrote:
> You're describing a classic temp sensor circuit problem. If there is an
> open in the circuit, the computer thinks it's around -40F, downshifts, and
> starts pouring fuel like you just started the engine. The temp sensor is
> ususally the culprit when it comes to intermitent occurences like this
> (about 60 bucks, screws right in).


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Old 17 Feb 2006, 10:49 pm   #5 (permalink)
bauz
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Default Re: 91 Camry Temperature Problem

I have a 91 that also had a similar problem. Replacing the thermostat
solved the problem. I live in California and it usually doesn't get very
cold here, but the car sometimes downshifted when I was going downhill and
the load on the engine was minimal. I always took the slow warm-up for
granted, until I received an advice from this NG to replace the
thermostat. Since then no more downshifting.

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Old 22 Feb 2006, 08:36 pm   #6 (permalink)
Steve
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Default Re: 91 Camry Temperature Problem

bauz wrote:
> I have a 91 that also had a similar problem. Replacing the thermostat
> solved the problem. I live in California and it usually doesn't get very
> cold here, but the car sometimes downshifted when I was going downhill and
> the load on the engine was minimal. I always took the slow warm-up for
> granted, until I received an advice from this NG to replace the
> thermostat. Since then no more downshifting.
>


Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. The thermostat was definitely the culprit. I could see the difference the moment that I drove the car
after replacing it, because the temp gage started going up a lot faster, and didn't take forever like it used to do. The heater warmed up a lot
faster, too. I got the thermostat and gasket from the dealer, and they were about $22 all together.

However, this was no 10 minute job. The huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge problem was getting the @!*^&# nuts off that hold the thermostat on. I was able to
get the top one off without too much trouble, but the bottom one just would not come off. Because of where it is, the bottom nut is very hard to get
to, so it's not very easy to get the appropriate leverage on it. I tried about five different tools (which included a couple runs to the store), but
was finally able to get it off with a ratchet head and a pair of vice grip pliers (along with a bucket of elbow grease).

I also changed the oil and flushed out the cooling system and replaced the coolant. In the process, I somehow managed to break the top plastic part
of the coolant vacuum sensor (I think it was old a brittle), so I had to replace that for $56 (ouch!).

Now, I just have to replace the ignition coil (been having the problem with it stuttering and stopping in wet weather), and the car will be in fine
shape (at least on the inside).

Thanks for all the help.

Steve
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Old 23 Feb 2006, 07:02 am   #7 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: 91 Camry Temperature Problem

Try cleaning the coil first with alcohol on a rag and spray electronics
cleaner

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