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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #21
Been driving for a few weeks, and all is good (though the ride and handling are fine, it clunks over some bumps). Today I sealed the trunk leak (a cracked joint where the quarter panel meets the rear panel in the rear radius of the trunk opening, from a rear impact sometime in the past) with some silicone caulk.

But, driving a car in the winter without AC means that sometimes you can't go anywhere safely for several minutes until the fogged windows clear (obviously, using fresh air). So, I decided to tackle the failed AC system: $350 of Denso parts from Rock Auto (condenser, dryer/receiver, compressor) and a bunch of labor this weekend.

Removed the grille, headlights and radiator top clamps. Also removed the battery and unbolted the cruise control module and laid it back on the engine. This gives enough room to tilt the radiator back to remove/replace the condenser without touching the cooling system (at least, it does on a 4 cylinder).

Unfortunately, this also involved 4 broken M6 bolts: grind flat, center punch, drill 1/8" hole, increased bit diameter until 1/4", installed heli coil, good as new.
 

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Your doing a great job. I'm impressed by your lack of fear in tackling these large projects. Following with great interest.
 

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Just make sure you put oil in your AC system. I've dealt with too many that think you just put R134A in it and call it good.
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #24
Thanks Beto0265!
By the way, here is a photo of the engine support that I'd meant to upload to post #17, but the new forum software doesn't allow us to edit. Here it is now:
287047

With the engine supported like that, you can easily drop the whole subframe to access the steering, the power steering pump, the engine mounts, the sway bar and much, much more.

Regarding the AC rebuild: Good point, Foxtherogue, I put the parts together and sealed everything up, but I'm leaving the system test and fill to a local shop. They'll put in the correct amount of lube based on what comes out when they evacuate it.

I could rent the equipment from the auto parts store and learn how to do it myself (lots of internet how-tos), but I figure this is one task that an experienced tech will do better than me.

Norm
 

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1995 LE
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Thanks Beto0265!
By the way, here is a photo of the engine support that I'd meant to upload to post #17, but the new forum software doesn't allow us to edit. Here it is now:
View attachment 287047
With the engine supported like that, you can easily drop the whole subframe to access the steering, the power steering pump, the engine mounts, the sway bar and much, much more.



Norm
Nice engine support!
W95c
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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810 Posts
Discussion Starter #26
Winter beater update: replaced the entire exhaust system today. Took a total of 2 hours.
When I'd worked on it last fall noticed it was pretty rusty, aftermarket carbon steel, or maybe aluminized steel. Wondered if it would last through one more winter. Now I know.

I ordered a new 409 stainless steel front pipe assembly (including flex pipe and 3-way cat) from Summit Racing ($280), a new 409 stainless mid pipe/resonator from USPW for $120, and a new 304 stainless muffler from the dealer ($100), and the 3 gaskets and the two nuts for the muffler. Ordered them Tue/Wed and all arrived by Saturday morning. :)


409 Sus isn't quite as long lasting as the OEM 304 (which lasts at least 10~15 northern winters), but 409 is still better than aluminized steel, which is slightly better than plain carbon steel (which, from experience, only lasts about 2 northern winters before rust perforation).
409 was all that I could find on the internets, and the prices were very friendly (almost the same as the aluminized steel, which amazed me).

Angle cutter to remove what was left of the rusted out exhaust the car had on it (which was moments away from a catastrophic failure, as it was rusted all of the way around the pipe in several places, after it started making noise last weekend!).

To remove the muffler, after separating it from the mid pipe, without trying to undo the 3 rubber mounting brackets (too rusty to try): lube the 3 holder rods, clamp a vice grip plier onto the front rod to give you something to lever against, and use a small crowbar to push the rubber off to the front. Then do the same at the rear to each of the two back there (pushing the muffler towards the front, off of them).

Before re-assembly, I lubed each of the rubber hangers with Fluid Film (it is lanolin based and good for rubber), and sprayed all of the surfaces blocked by the exhaust with Amsoil HD Metal Protectant (body wax in an aerosol can) to help reduce/postpone rust.

To install the whole system: hang the muffler first (make sure not to get the tailpipe hooked on the bumper cover), in reverse order of how the old one came off.
Then install the front pipe to the exhaust manifold (hook its hook into its rubber holder as you lift it up into place, with the gasket already resting on its manifold joining face - the pipe sticking out in the center will keep the gasket lined up).

Then install the mid pipe, line everything up and torque everything down (62Nm to the exhaust header, 43Nm at the other joints).

I tried an experiment and sprayed "cold galvanize" paint onto each of the welds (the place where stainless exhaust always starts rusting first) before assembly. Let's see if it does any good at all.

Be sure to use lots of anti-seize on all of the threads to make it easy to service anything years from now (maybe won't need the angle grinder next time).

No photos, too cramped.
Test drive: car is quiet again, and oddly feels slightly more powerful (my imagination most likely). Gonna take a few miles for all of the stickers and shipping tape to burn off the surfaces.

Norm "winter beater" Kerr
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #27
OK, here's one photo, of the rusted, aftermarket exhaust after removal. It looks like it was probably aluminized steel, no idea how long it had lasted, but when it went it went all at once (at the flex joint, fore/aft of the middle resonator and joint to the rear muffler)!
The thing that is frustrating about using inferior materials for an exhaust (meaning: anything OTHER than stainless steel), is the welds rust away first, failing the whole system while a lot of the rest of it was still capable of lasting longer. The tubes and mufflers themselves still have decent amount of metal in them, its the joins are all gone.

The problem comes in when trying to repair something like this, as the rusted away bits don't leave enough solid metal to repair to.

Sadly, even stainless steel welds rust first. They just take several times longer to do so.
aftermarket exhaust after removal.jpg
 

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Good progress man! Look forward to seeing more of your '93. I got a '94 going myself.

How is hte 3VZ running (mines a 1MZ)
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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810 Posts
Discussion Starter #29
The 3VZ is still in a thousand pieces. Its insides looked really good, and might have gone a little longer, but there was some erosion on one of the heads near the water passages, so its reputation of going about 200k miles between head gaskets seems about right (mine had 200k on it when I decided to rebuild it, "just in case").

After buying this winter car in October, then all of the work to get it ready to do daily, trouble free service kept me busy (and doing that work served as an excellent opportunity to learn several key steps for re-assembling the '93 "hero car"), and now ski season (I volunteer ski patrol at a local hill weekly, and take a few trips out west each season), I've not worked on the restoration much. Will re-start in April or May. The next step of that restoration project is re-assembly (all of the sub-systems are restored, and the body is done, and painted, and is just sitting, and waiting for me in the shop).
 

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Have you considered a 1MZ swap? WILL you consider it?
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #31
No. After reading around about the 3VZ and comparing what I learned to the 1MZ, I kind of became a 3VZ fanboy myself. Tons of torque, and tunable. I do have to admit the 1MZ is a much lighter engine, though.

Coworkers got all excited, trying to talk me into using the big displacement one from the Sienna, but I don't want to make a hot rod, which will introduce new issues to deal with. Restoring a car that I kept for 27 years because it was what I liked and worked well enough to not call for much has been a large enough project.

The stock SE suspension worked great, under all driving conditions, without harshness. One other factor was if the weight was changed a lot, that would all have to be re-developed (or negative consequences lived with).

It is funny reading the "3VZ vs. 1MZ" debates on MR2 forums. Pretty heated at times. Seemed like the 3VZ side comes out on top.

Norm "stuck in the past" Kerr
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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810 Posts
Discussion Starter #32
I just thought I'd try out this incredibly cheap ($35) strut tower brace:

Update: it DOES fit under the Gen 3 hood, and also clears the 4-cyl engine (have to check it on a 6 cylinder later this year when I put that engine back in).

A couple of small notes: the LH end's thread is reverse threaded (probably the original idea was you could spin it up to pre-load the towers, but the engine is in the way, so that doesn't actually work). So, you adjust the number of threads on each end to get the correct length, and then assemble it using the strut top nuts.

294554


Note that the top of the Gen 3 strut tower is not flat (see photo below, that "U" shaped cutout in the inboard reinforcement). So, it is a good idea to put a washer between the strut brace and the strut tower to fill that space so that when you torque down those nuts (80Nm) the strut brace won't be bent.

294555



294556


Driving impression: the same as before, only I make more race car noises with my lips now.
 

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98 camry
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I love reading these "fixer upper" posts. Sounds like you are getting it done. Kinda wish my camry had the mast antenna. The jerk who had the car before me installed a radio and now I have some kind of box taped on the right side of the windshield with hardly any stations coming in. Thank god for Spotify.
Keep up the great work! And love the pictures along with your post.
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #34
:)

This was definitely a car on its way to "the last trip to the vet" when I found it!
Feels good taking something like that and making it useful and dependable again.
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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810 Posts
Discussion Starter #35
OK, that's weird, I don't know why post #32 went all "photo bucket" on me. Here are those photos again (and, no, I did NOT use photo suck it, I posted them directly to our host, here).

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299846


And here is that step that needs a washer to level the mounting surface:
299847

the inboard of the 3 holes is about 1 or 1.5mm lower than the other two. A flat washer there would easily deal with that.

299848
 
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