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03 Toyota Highlander
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I've been an occasional lurker here and I need some help.

I drive a 1993 Camry(Gen 3) V6 LE auto.... Recently I've been having some issues I want to sort out and decide what I should do. Part of the problem is probably from the low care the last two owners put on the car(first only, some middle aged lady, and then my dad, I'm the third owner)

When I start my car and I drive off when the car is cold, I have really slow shifts.
For example, the car is in D and in first gear starting off from a light, the revs would go up to around 3k-3.5k ish like how you would drive it normally. I notice that first gear disengages(or whatever you call it when its shifting) and the engine is revving by itself. The revs hovers around that speed, sometimes it goes up by 1-200revs. A second later the next gear engages and it goes on fine. Once the car warms up though, it stops doing that and everything shifts fine and dandy like any auto should. I've asked two of my friends, the first response was "you need a new TQ converter." The second one was "you need a new TQ converter and a tranny rebuild/replacement" Now I'm worried. As the tranny rebuild/replace would cost 1.5k to 2k, I'm thinking would it not be better to just trade the car for something else?

Second problem is also tranny related. When the car is stationary, I move the shifter into whatever gear I want, however sometimes the car shudders when i move it into D or R. It doesn't happen all the time, just occasionally. Never had it happen on other auto cars before(we have a Caravan and a MB C class at home on top of the Camry)

Third. After some prolonged driving at higher speeds, I get a burning smell coming from the car which sometimes wafts into the interior. Smells really bad and gets me worried. I'm also thinking its coming from the tranny. I have no idea when the ATF was last changed either.

Fourth. Leaky trunk, or otherwise just really wet trunk and humid interior. I have LOTS of condensation inside the car, especially the trunk. The cardboard piece covering the jack and the spare are wet, parts of the carpet is wet. A few days ago I opened the trunk to get some of the bottles I'm returning for deposit money(I rarely use the trunk now as its wet all the time) and water just kept pouring from little access hole through the carpet thing used to change out taillight light bulbs on the middle plastic piece on the trunk lid.

Fifth. I have occasional knocking sounds coming from the car, though I'm not too worried about it. Used to come from the front, got it fixed when I got new struts(old shocks/struts were dead). Now its coming from the rear, no idea where though.

6th. I can hear metal resonating/rattling from under the car. Friend said its my heatshield, and I should get it welded or something.

7th, HUGE concern, I've experienced a drop in mileage from gas. I used to be able to drive 410ish kms on one tank, now I can barely reach 380kms.

8th, major brake chewing. The car goes through rotors like they are crackers. Warps them very easily. Friend suggested that dead shocks/struts were the culprit as weight was shifting around too much. Got that swapped out... still wondering as my brakes were a bit warped from before. Oh yeah, bad brakes. After driving a another friend's 93 4cyl and a 02 Celica, my brakes feels like shit.


Some history... at least after since I started driving the car. New shocks/struts on all 4 corners, new intake gasket, sparkplugs in oct 06. I've been doing oil changes at 4000kms. Any suggestions, anyone?
 

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1, (not sure)
2. Check engine mounts
3. (not sure)
4. Do you know where it's leaking from? Is it only from one side? Is it from the antenna hole? Watersplashing up into the trunk somehow?
5. Did you get new mounts with the shock/strut replacements? New springs?
6. Not sure. But did you look to see if there was anything hanging down. Did you try pulling on some parts to find out where that noise may be coming from?
7. not sure. tranny leak?
8. (not sure)


9/10 .... DAMn!...This car sounds like it's been abused and beat into more than Tryrese on his pregnant wife and had a worse history than cortney love and the train marks on her arm.
 

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03 Toyota Highlander
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1.
2. Dog bone mount has been replaced in July 06. Not sure about the other mounts.
3.
4. No clue. Hence wondering if anyone have any suggestions I can look into.
5. I'm not sure. Parents got it done before handing the car down to me(since they got the MB), I'm sure I didn't get new springs though.
6. Last time I went in for oil change, the car was on the lift and we poked around for loose parts, nothing was loose, so I'm completely clueless as to whats rattling.
7. No leaks on the ground after parking.
8.

Yes the car has been beaten to death. I complain to my dad about how he has mistreated the car, he blames it on me and I've only driven it around 6 months. The battery died last month and he blamed it on me also, and the battery is 3.5yrs old.
 

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'96 Camry XLE
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#1: Have you checked the tranny fluid level?

#2: As Ringin said above.

#3: What KIND of smell? Like something burnt, or like rotton eggs (sulfur)?

#4: 3 areas to check. Trunk weather stripping (where my current car had a leak), tail light, there it goes through into the car (mainly the rubber gromet with wires), and the weld around the tail lights (my old camry after an accident repair).

#5: Also as Ringin said. Did you also have the strut MOUNTS changed?

#6: Yeah, heat shield prolly rusted out as your in BC. That MAY be Semi cheap at the dealer. I'd say to get a set of ramps, and drive the front onto it and look. The heat shield is likely the one durectly under the E-Brake.

#7: When did you last have a tuneup? ie, Plugs/wires/cap/rotor. Also, try using seafoam in through the brake booster line.

#8: Are you using shit brake pads? How are the pads being effected? Also, overtightening of the wheels car warp the rotors.
 

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'96 Camry XLE
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EvoFire said:
Yes the car has been beaten to death. I complain to my dad about how he has mistreated the car, he blames it on me and I've only driven it around 6 months. The battery died last month and he blamed it on me also, and the battery is 3.5yrs old.

My dad is the same way. He thinks 14k km between oil changes is too often, and nothing should EVER be replaced till the car is immobile. Yet, I drive the car and the SRS light goes on, and I am at fault.
 

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mixed bag 'o vehicles
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1. check fluid. see if its brown/burnt or red and its level. when the car is cold (at least on my car) the motor revs higher before shifting and even though im accelerating normal, so the shifts feel different.
2. again, check the tranny fluid level, color and smell.
3. the smell could be burning tranny fluid or oil if you have a leak somewhere.
4. pull out trunk carpet and see if there are any bad rubber seals in the areas you suspect.
5. knocking when only on bumps, only on turns, all the time? could coming from one of many rubber bushings. struts, sway bar...
6. could be a heat shield. crawl under the car and bang the exhaust to see where the rattle is coming from. if it is just a shield, you can probably remove it or reattach it.
7. is this a recent drop in mileage? gas mileage goes down when temperatures drop. i go from about 450 miles per tank to 380. happens every year to me.
8. do the brakes shimmy when you brake, or have a bad response/mushy pedal? two different problems here. how hard do you brake when you slow down?
 

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03 Toyota Highlander
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ASG14 said:
#1: Have you checked the tranny fluid level?

#2: As Ringin said above.

#3: What KIND of smell? Like something burnt, or like rotton eggs (sulfur)?

#4: 3 areas to check. Trunk weather stripping (where my current car had a leak), tail light, there it goes through into the car (mainly the rubber gromet with wires), and the weld around the tail lights (my old camry after an accident repair).

#5: Also as Ringin said. Did you also have the strut MOUNTS changed?

#6: Yeah, heat shield prolly rusted out as your in BC. That MAY be Semi cheap at the dealer. I'd say to get a set of ramps, and drive the front onto it and look. The heat shield is likely the one durectly under the E-Brake.

#7: When did you last have a tuneup? ie, Plugs/wires/cap/rotor. Also, try using seafoam in through the brake booster line.

#8: Are you using shit brake pads? How are the pads being effected? Also, overtightening of the wheels car warp the rotors.
1. Checked, the stick is black, it was hard to see, but it was at a good level.
2. I'll get it checked next time then.
3. Doesn't really smell like bad eggs, but just burnt.
4. I looked at the weather stripping, seems ok, outisde wet, inside dry. I'll check the taillights when its bright and not raining.(god damn rain)
5. I believe yes. i think the sway bar links were changed too.
6. Sorry but I have no clue where the heatshield or the E-brake is.
7. Tune-up, I suppose when the gasket and struts were replaced. Again I don't have much idea to what my parents did to the car prior to me having it.
About the Seafoam thing, how safe is it? Or more importantly, how hard is it to screw up? Being relatively new to this car thing, I'm worried I would screw myself out of a car before its completely dead.
8. I believe the brakes are all OEM as I bought the rotors with my dad from a Toyota dealer and watched the mechanics put it on.

My dad knows our mechanic from long ago, so he trusts him, however I'm kind of reserving judgment considering the possible state of the transmission is in right now. And yeah, sucks when ur parents blame it on you and you know exactly who's fault it is.
 

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03 Toyota Highlander
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ghettosled said:
1. check fluid. see if its brown/burnt or red and its level. when the car is cold (at least on my car) the motor revs higher before shifting and even though im accelerating normal, so the shifts feel different.
2. again, check the tranny fluid level, color and smell.
3. the smell could be burning tranny fluid or oil if you have a leak somewhere.
4. pull out trunk carpet and see if there are any bad rubber seals in the areas you suspect.
5. knocking when only on bumps, only on turns, all the time? could coming from one of many rubber bushings. struts, sway bar...
6. could be a heat shield. crawl under the car and bang the exhaust to see where the rattle is coming from. if it is just a shield, you can probably remove it or reattach it.
7. is this a recent drop in mileage? gas mileage goes down when temperatures drop. i go from about 450 miles per tank to 380. happens every year to me.
8. do the brakes shimmy when you brake, or have a bad response/mushy pedal? two different problems here. how hard do you brake when you slow down?
1. Its definitely brown last time I checked. no clue how I can check if its burnt, but it smells like shit. Just that 1 sec shifts just seems abnormal, and the car didn't do that until recently.
2.
3. Would a ATF flush do any good? I remember reading here or somewhere that a ATF flush on a Gen 3 Camry with a dying tranny will just put it to death.
4. rubber seals on the floor of the trunk? There are such things?
5. Knocking on uneven grounds.
6. Did that when the car was up on a lift.... the exhaust was on tight.
7. Yes its a recent drop. I didn't know mileage drops in cold weather. That's a pretty big drop though.
8. Right now, I'm sure the rotors are warped as it gives the "whump whump whump" sound when I brake. Response is not that great, however it still stops really quickly when I jam the pedal hard. I do have to do occasional hard stops because of idiots on the road. Having to go on the same roads where people don't know how to drive does not help.
 

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'96 Camry XLE
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EvoFire said:
3. Doesn't really smell like bad eggs, but just burnt.
4. I looked at the weather stripping, seems ok, outisde wet, inside dry. I'll check the taillights when its bright and not raining.(god damn rain)
5. I believe yes. i think the sway bar links were changed too.
6. Sorry but I have no clue where the heatshield or the E-brake is.
7. Tune-up, I suppose when the gasket and struts were replaced. Again I don't have much idea to what my parents did to the car prior to me having it.
About the Seafoam thing, how safe is it? Or more importantly, how hard is it to screw up? Being relatively new to this car thing, I'm worried I would screw myself out of a car before its completely dead.
8. I believe the brakes are all OEM as I bought the rotors with my dad from a Toyota dealer and watched the mechanics put it on.
3: I'd almost bet that the valve cover gasket is leaking. The valve cover is the top part of the engine, where you put the spark plugs in. See if there is a lot of oil in any certain spot above the exhause. Remmeber, there is TWO parts, the rear 3 cyl have a 2nd exhause manifold.

4: As I told one person a few weeks back, take a hose, or a bucket of water, and just dump it on the side of the trunk that is wet. Then look on the inside sheet metal for any water lines, from the water coming in, and trace it to the source.

5: May be the sway bar BUSHINGS. There is 2 you can easily see with the rim off. They may be brittle and cracking allowing the bar to wiggle freely.

6: By Ebrake, I mean Emergency Brake. And I just realized you likely have the FOOT one. Also known as a parking brake. One exhaust heat shield that tents to rust and rattle is under the car, just under there the E-Brake (or center storage unit) is. thats just for a reference point of where to look.

7: Seafoam is NOT at all hard. I;ve done 4 cars now. There is actually a DIY on this forum for it I think. You can't really screw it up to hurn anything.

8: Maybe the calipers are sticking slightly, causeing high heat, which would warp them.


I seafoamed my Nana's Rolla a couple months back, and this is the video when I restarted it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ASG14 said:
3: I'd almost bet that the valve cover gasket is leaking. The valve cover is the top part of the engine, where you put the spark plugs in. See if there is a lot of oil in any certain spot above the exhause. Remmeber, there is TWO parts, the rear 3 cyl have a 2nd exhause manifold.

4: As I told one person a few weeks back, take a hose, or a bucket of water, and just dump it on the side of the trunk that is wet. Then look on the inside sheet metal for any water lines, from the water coming in, and trace it to the source.

5: May be the sway bar BUSHINGS. There is 2 you can easily see with the rim off. They may be brittle and cracking allowing the bar to wiggle freely.

6: By Ebrake, I mean Emergency Brake. And I just realized you likely have the FOOT one. Also known as a parking brake. One exhaust heat shield that tents to rust and rattle is under the car, just under there the E-Brake (or center storage unit) is. thats just for a reference point of where to look.

7: Seafoam is NOT at all hard. I;ve done 4 cars now. There is actually a DIY on this forum for it I think. You can't really screw it up to hurn anything.

8: Maybe the calipers are sticking slightly, causeing high heat, which would warp them.


I seafoamed my Nana's Rolla a couple months back, and this is the video when I restarted it.

3. Got the valve gasket done together with the struts. It was leaking before, not anymore. Don't know about the exhaust, got to check it out. Can you show me a pic as to where to look? I'm clueless once again.
4. That I'll have to wait till the trunk and the weather dries I guess. Its raining 24/7 here.
5. Remove rear wheel.... tomorrow... Take over the garage lol.
6. Yeah I have the foot brake and yeah I know what E-brake is. And no it was not rusted last time we checked. Check again next time I guess. Doesn't take long for 4000k to be over with.
7. Seafoam the car. Raid the local auto store for Seafoam.
8. Had the brakes checked due to another problem, shouldn't be sticking. But just in case, how do I check if they are sticking?
 

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ghettosled said:
1. check fluid. see if its brown/burnt or red and its level. when the car is cold (at least on my car) the motor revs higher before shifting and even though im accelerating normal, so the shifts feel different.
i really don't think the original poster is talking about just a higher shift point.

OP. your transmission is slipping from 1st to 2nd gear when the automatic transmission fluid is cold.

it has nothing to do with engine temperature, although there is a natural relation between the 2.

slipping from 1st to 2nd also has nothing to do with the torque converter.

if your transmission fluid is black it means that it hasn't been changed rencently or often enough. this has lead to deterioration of the lubrication properties of your transmission fluid and consequently it has damanged your bands/clutch packs.

you can try servicing the transmission. have the fluid and filter replaced and see how it goes. this should only cost around $80-$100 at an automatic transmission specialist place.

if the problem persists, the transmission is damaged. cosidering the age of the car, i'd suggest getting a 2nd hand transmission instead of spending 1.5k rebuilding yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unco said:
i really don't think the original poster is talking about just a higher shift point.

OP. your transmission is slipping from 1st to 2nd gear when the automatic transmission fluid is cold.

it has nothing to do with engine temperature, although there is a natural relation between the 2.

slipping from 1st to 2nd also has nothing to do with the torque converter.

if your transmission fluid is black it means that it hasn't been changed rencently or often enough. this has lead to deterioration of the lubrication properties of your transmission fluid and consequently it has damanged your bands/clutch packs.

you can try servicing the transmission. have the fluid and filter replaced and see how it goes. this should only cost around $80-$100 at an automatic transmission specialist place.

if the problem persists, the transmission is damaged. cosidering the age of the car, i'd suggest getting a 2nd hand transmission instead of spending 1.5k rebuilding yours.
Yeah, exactly what you said, but it does it from 2-3 shifts too.
 

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EvoFire said:
Yeah, exactly what you said, but it does it from 2-3 shifts too.
there are bands and clutch packs for all gears, not just 1st and 2nd. i was just not going to specify every single detail about the symptoms of a damaged auto transmission.

the message of my entire post remains whether it's slipping from 1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd, neutral to reverse, whatever.
 

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mixed bag 'o vehicles
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its sounding like you need to change the trans fluid. yes, in some cases its bad to do so, but in those cases the trans was about to go out anyway. youre only making it worse by not changing it. since the fluid is black, its not lubricating and probably is the cause of the transmission shifting problems when cold.
 

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'96 Camry XLE
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Hope this is of at least a LITTLE help to you.

Picture of my broken torque strut (engine mount, dogbone mount) Located on Pass side, connecting engine to strut tower.



Check for leaking oil here. Basically, above the exhaust. Blue line is the rear 3 Cyl, and the exhaust is under it. Will be hard to see. ALSO, check the oil filter for leaks. That is behind the front exhause manifold (red line).




Sway Bar Bushings/mounts.




Heat Shields

 

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^good pics!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the pics. I will check it ASAP, need to get the tools to get the car up though.

Propably get the tranny flushed this week then.
 

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'96 Camry XLE
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Let me know if you need any other pics, as my car is always in pieces.


ghettosled said:
^good pics!

haha, thanks. I got too many damn pics. :ugh3: Car never together, so I am a good pic person. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I realized you don't have the intake on ur car. I THINK you have the same engine as me, thought minus the big black thing between the engine and the windshield, which I take is the intake.
 

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'96 Camry XLE
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I have a 1MZ-FE (94+). The 92/93 was a 3VZ. Looks similiar though. I was doing some custom work so had a lot off. the aitbox and intake as you stated are the most Noticeable. :)
 
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