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1992 Acura Legend
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
97 Camry- engine "metal clinking" sound around drive belt area

I was considering a local 1997 Camry LE, (4-cyl, auto), with 146K for $3995, for a work car. Initially- I thought it was a nice car- minor scratches/chips. Interior is very good, driver door panel- fair to good. The engine bay looked like new- so it was obviously detailed. Anyway- when I started the car- it was making a "metal grinding/clinking" sound. The salesman said he thought it was the heat shield, but it sounded to me like it was coming from the drive belt area. There is a muffler/auto repair shop across the street- so the salesman drove it over to let them check it. I was on my lunch hour, so I had to go back to work. I phoned today and asked the salesman if they found out what the problem was and he said it was the timing belt and he was going to have it, as well as the water pump replaced. Would a "worn" timing belt cause this noise? I was thinking "no", but I am not familiar with the newer Camrys. Now I am leary of buying this car, because I am not sure what it is- so I am probably going to pass on it. I did not remember the radio button being so small on these cars, the last time I test drove one about a year ago. Unusual indeed. Any information on this engine noise appreciated.
 

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I would have thought waterpump making the noise and swapping the timing belt replacement as preventative. Kind of opposite what you said.
 

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Grenaded piston
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Tensioner / idler bearing for the timing belt.

Or the water pump (bearing going bad).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies. Is there any chance that engine damage could have occured? Also- how do I check for the common "sludge" problem on this engine? Any signs? Thanks again!!
 

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Grenaded piston
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93 Camry LE V6 said:
Is there any chance that engine damage could have occured?
I doubt it.

Also- how do I check for the common "sludge" problem on this engine? Any signs?
Remove the valve cover and take alook.

If you see any thick gooey brown stuff thats sludge.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the replies. I doubt that the seller will agree for me to remove the valve cover. I was hoping I could be able to look down in the oil fill area and tell from that. I guess not. I was telling my father about the car and he mentioned something that I was thinking of before. If the car was not maintained well enough by the owner to install a new timing belt (letting it go this car), then whos to say that other maintainence was performed as well? I know it is a risk with any car without records, but it makes sense. Also too- I noticed the car was back today, with a $400 price increase on the glass. I phoned the lot and he said it was quiet now. He said they did not replace the water pump, because it was "not needed" I would think they would have went ahead and changed it. ?? He said it cost him $192.00 for the replacement, so I am wondering why the price increased $400? My dad is trying to "talk" me out of the car- simply because of the delayed timing belt replacement, but it was 205K before the belt was changed in his Nissan truck that my uncle bought new in 1988- due to his neglect. Otherwise it was well maintained, because it has 260K on it now and still running fine. My main problem with this car is the sludge problem. If it was poorly maintained, it is likely it has this problem? Also- is the sludge problem a "eventual definite" or is it something that happens on random cars? I know the more oil changes- the less likely, but I have also heard that it still happens with regular oil changes.


88 LE said:
I doubt it.



Remove the valve cover and take alook.

If you see any thick gooey brown stuff thats sludge.
 

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I've owned 2 - 97 Camrys V6S and on 1 have had 280k KM on the od and didn't have any problems with the engines. I didn't notice any sludge with both of my engines.
I once had a Volkswagen Super Beatle and when you remove the oil filler cap, you can see the sludge deposits and it is really obvious. It looks like a brown foamy gooey junk. The way I see it...if you can't see it, don't worry about it! With respect to the timing belt, if it hasn't done any damage upto now and it is still not too late to change it after you buy it. You can always tell whether the car has been maintenanced by... checking the oil, check the tanny fluid, check the air filter, pull the spark plugs and check the condition. A cheap person would never spend money and change any of the above until the car dies!
I hope this helps.....just my 2 bits worth!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks. If I am not mistaken, the "sludge" is only a problem on the 4-cyl. models. The belt has been changed and he said it was quiet now, so it may be OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
94 Camry XLE or 98 LE ???

Well someone said it was also a problem on some of the 97+ 3.0 V6 models. I am also considering two low mile 99 Camry LE with 59K miles each.

I am also considering a 94' Camry XLE 4-cyl and I have found another 98' Camry LE. The 98' is $4888 and is in VGC. The 94' is $4000 (negotiable) and it also in VGC. I have owned a 93 and know they are great cars, but as far as reliability- are the 97+ typically more "trouble free" than the 92-96, or vise-versa, the same? I am also considering a 2000 Tacoma, as well as a few other cars, so any advice greatly appreciated. I sold my Lexus LS today, so I am looking for something now. Thanks again.
 
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