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1990 Toyota Camry DX
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1990 Toyota Camry DX, 140,000 miles, 4 cylinder engine,
automatic transmission. I've owned it for the past 4 months. While the
car has always been kind of gutless, it's recently reached a crisis
state. When you come to a complete stop, the car literally crawls ahead
when you start up. Crossing an intersecting street can be dangerous.
When you get the car up to any decent speed, any acceleration requires
a downshift. Driving the car means most of the time with the
accelerator floored. Anyone have any thoughts as to what's wrong?

The symptoms:
No power at low engine speeds - no matter how far you depress the gas
pedal, it's like you are just barely pressing it. This continues until
about 1/2 engine speed, at which point the engine transitions to normal
power. In low gear you crawl until about 15 mph.
Gas mileage awful - 10 mpg. Normally 23 - 28.
Rough idle, though the idle has always been rough.
Engine speed does not increase smoothly - hesitation at about mid-rpm.

What I've done:
Replaced the O2 sensor
Replaced the sparkplugs - the old sparkplugs are even in color - light
white ashy covering as though the engine was running lean, but all 4
cylinders evenly so
Checked the ECU diagnostic codes - code readout is all 1's, i.e.
nothing wrong.

What I've observed:
No unusual exhaust emissions (no smoke, etc.)
The transmission seems to be shifting normally.
Removing the gas tank cap doesn't make a difference (I didn't expect it

Thanks for your help.

1,946 Posts
I had a similar problem with my '92 maybe. Car didn't really accelerate until reaching 25-30 mph. But the engine did rev normally (really high to reach that speed) and I can't tell if yours is or not from your discription. Mine was a shift solenoid.

2002 Camry
2,231 Posts
Get an engine compression check. From your description i believe your rings and/or valves or bad, OR you have a very restricted exhaust system caused by a damaged muffler or other restriction.
Haynes says your engine should have a minimum compression reading of 142 psi. 178 psi is normal - any less means its engine repair time.

1988 Toyota Camry
23 Posts
sounds like a similar problem my Cam had. wasnt until it failed emissions and needed a new Cat ($500 repair) that my problem went away.
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