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Here is my new-to-me 1985 Toyota Camry 2-SE engine, automatic transmission.

The body is in great shape, and interior is clean and original.

The engine does run, but has milkshake in the oil, and smokes from the back passenger-side of the engine block when running. It doesn't seem to want to idle. I picked up a Chilton's manual for it, but the manual is 85-96 so the diagrams aren't specific to any particular engine.

I'd love to hear any tips/tricks for tuneups for this car, as well as anything to look out for.
 

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3s-gte in a Camry?!?
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8,236 Posts
but has milkshake in the oil
Uh, if it ran for any length of time with coolant in the oil, you'll need a full engine rebuild...

-Charlie
 

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Kanmuri
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247 Posts
I agree with the rebuild and welcome to TN. I'm in the PNW as well with a 1985 M/T. I can help you source parts and possibly help you work on it if you're fairly local.

As for tuning the vehicle up, coil, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fluids, and check your brakes.

Dont buy iridiums or platinums, coppers are perfect. Buy an NGK or Denso Coil. NGK plugs, and just be conscious about the brands of fluids you use.

Lets see a picture!

-- If you ever want to get rid of it, i'll be your first buyer!
 

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"milkshake" is not necessarily a death-rattle, but may be a factor of how it's driven. IF you make short hops around town you get this. If you're like me and drive 82-ish miles each way on a freeway commute, the engine has enough time time to boil off moisture in the oil.
 

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Senior TN Member
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OP, does your coolant level drop over time?

A couple CC of normal condensation in crankcase is fine and won't cause milkshake.

But when you're talking about liters of coolant in oil, that's milkshake and time for new engine.

Do compression test on engine first and post numbers here. Then we'll have more information to determine next step.
 

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Kanmuri
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OP, does your coolant level drop over time?

A couple CC of normal condensation in crankcase is fine and won't cause milkshake.

But when you're talking about liters of coolant in oil, that's milkshake and time for new engine.

Do compression test on engine first and post numbers here. Then we'll have more information to determine next step.
I can attest to this as I drove my 2002 Chevrolet Blazer with a intake mani leak, which burned the coolant as well as stored some in the crankcase.

I changed oil with super cheap stuff every 3k and no issues.. finally was running through coolant fast enough to throw a new gasket in it. Then the radiator needed replacing.. ended up giving it to my ex-girlfriend to run into the ground.
 

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Looks just like my Gen1.

If it won't idle though, I would seriously consider doing a compression check assuming your engine timing is set right.

I would drain and refill oil. Note on the condition of the oil. Repeat show distant is a killer for any car.

I would also do the coolant. Drain and refill with proper Toyota red concentrated.


How much miles is on the car? What was the reason why the car was being sold? Check the inside of the car if you recently bought the car from an auction etc. The last Gen1 I checked out had a receipt for 'headgasket fixer' in the center console. Radiator was new ish as well. Started the car and that sucker had a OIL lamp indicator a good 1 minute before it turned off and it idled low throughout.
 
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