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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The lady in my life bought a new 4 cylinder Camry in 1990 and has given
it good care since then, with it looking like new since a repaint.
Due to a broken cooling hose and overlooked instruments, it overheated
and seems to have a warped head, or at least a bad gasket. It stumbles
when cold below 2500 RPM, like it has a bad plug. Her mechanic tried
some sort of sealant, but it didn't work. (Due to condo rules, I can't
fix it myself.) It also has had a oil-smoky exhaust when first started
for years. The car has about 120K miles on it.

Buying a new car is no problem, but she wants to keep this one, so the
choice seems to be either repai r /replace the head or put a "low
mileage" Japanese junkyard engine in it.
Do you think that there's another 50K miles on the bearings?
(We're in the 60s / 70s and do 5 to 10 K miles a year, renting a car
for long trips.)

Thoughts?

Karl
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> The lady in my life bought a new 4 cylinder Camry in 1990 and has given
> it good care since then, with it looking like new since a repaint.
> Due to a broken cooling hose and overlooked instruments, it overheated
> and seems to have a warped head, or at least a bad gasket. It stumbles
> when cold below 2500 RPM, like it has a bad plug. Her mechanic tried
> some sort of sealant, but it didn't work. (Due to condo rules, I can't
> fix it myself.) It also has had a oil-smoky exhaust when first started
> for years. The car has about 120K miles on it.


No offense, but I don't consider a car with only 120k miles that has
overheated due to a broken hose, has smoky exhaust, and has already been
repainted to be "well cared for."

The hose broke because it wasn't inspected and replaced when it showed signs
of aging.

The oily smoke on startup is probably from leaking valve stem seals. The
valve stem seals are probably leaking because oil changes were neglected.

>
> Buying a new car is no problem, but she wants to keep this one, so the
> choice seems to be either repai r /replace the head or put a "low
> mileage" Japanese junkyard engine in it.
> Do you think that there's another 50K miles on the bearings?
> (We're in the 60s / 70s and do 5 to 10 K miles a year, renting a car
> for long trips.)
>
> Thoughts?
>
> Karl
>


You may get all sorts of wild and uninformed responses to your question on
the remaining life on the bearings (I'm assuming you are referring to
crankshaft and connecting rod bearings). A shop can hook up an oil pressure
gauge to get an idea if the bearings are worn, but the only way to tell for
sure if the bearings are OK is to remove the oil pan and inspect the
bearings. If there is a lot of babbit material (shiny metal particles) in
the engine oil, then the bearings are probably shot but the absence of
babbit in the oil does not mean they are good.

You mention that the car has a warped head or bad head gasket. Why do you
think this? Does the engine oil look like a milk shake? Is there engine
oil in the coolant reservoir? Are there leaks coming from the head gasket
area?

A professional, trustworthy shop can evaluate the overall condition of the
car (besides the cooling system and engine neglect, was the transaxle also
neglected?) and determine if the engine is work repairing or if it is better
to replace the engine or to look for another car.
--
Ray O
correct the return address punctuation to reply
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
[email protected] wrote:
>
> The lady in my life bought a new 4 cylinder Camry in 1990 and has given
> it good care since then, with it looking like new since a repaint.
> Due to a broken cooling hose and overlooked instruments, it overheated
> and seems to have a warped head, or at least a bad gasket. It stumbles
> when cold below 2500 RPM, like it has a bad plug. Her mechanic tried
> some sort of sealant, but it didn't work. (Due to condo rules, I can't
> fix it myself.) It also has had a oil-smoky exhaust when first started
> for years. The car has about 120K miles on it.


Severe over_heat can be a long term 'head' problem ...
=cartainly= not solved by a "goop" ?fix?.
*If* you see bubbles in the rad fill spout ...
means a gasket blo_by ... wont get any better,
will get worse.

'Stumble' mite be due to a leaky head gasket.

- worst case -
I'd advise to pop the head, obtain an dealer OEM replacement head ...
w/new valves & a 'flat' surface.
Not all the bad , from the dealer.

Having local mech do the 'work' can be chancy ...
besides, hes gotta 'sub' the head out for mach_shop 'surfacing' .

Most 4_cyl Cams 'smoke' upon start, simply the nature of the aging
beast.
Monitor the oil consumption for a while.
My 94 'smokes' randomly, 200k miles, no intent to part with it,
=or=
do a valve job.
Gets an =honest= 30++ mpg at 70++.


> Buying a new car is no problem, but she wants to keep this one, so the
> choice seems to be either repai r /replace the head or put a "low
> mileage" Japanese junkyard engine in it.


Dealer OEM replacemnt heads aughta be available ... inquire.

Unless she has lo_end bbg problems ...
500 miles per qt of oil ( rings ) ... '1000' isnt all that bad.
?why? a junkyard engine.
Nah. A crap shoot.


> Do you think that there's another 50K miles on the bearings?
> (We're in the 60s / 70s and do 5 to 10 K miles a year, renting a car
> for long trips.)


Start worrying at '300k' miles ...
the 90s I_4 was a Japanese built engine ... extra gooder_er.

Me??
I use the Camry for the 'trips' , put the cost_avoidance into
a repair kitty.


Ed
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Call the wrecking yard and get your highest quote. Youre not really
thinking for spending $3000 or more to fix a car is that is not worth $3000
after the repairs are done.

<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> The lady in my life bought a new 4 cylinder Camry in 1990 and has given
> it good care since then, with it looking like new since a repaint.
> Due to a broken cooling hose and overlooked instruments, it overheated
> and seems to have a warped head, or at least a bad gasket. It stumbles
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess I included too little info in my original messsage: Here's
more.

The car came to San Diego after ten years in Texas where it sat outside
during her working / shopping hours, it's been garaged most of the
time since it got here. It was in a garage or shade when at home in
Texas most of the time.

Successful son selected good mechanic for her, who has done the
maintenance. He calls when work is due. The only work I have done, due
to limits mentioned earlier, has been to change an alternator and
similiar simple/clean/quiet tasks.
Son recommends that she get a new car; he would probably pay for it and
other successful son would chip in, as would I.
I have shown her tapes of car crash testing of old vs new cars. That is
not so impressive easy from someone who drives a firty year old car.
Mechanic has told her to get a new car, but that may have been at the
urging of son(s).

Car was repainted due to minor scrapes on fenders. Car is metalic and I
didn't trust paint matching in a few years if only RF and RR panels
done.

I had a (low mileage from Japanese junkyard) engine & tranny put in my
Corolla / Prizm for $2000, with 5k (IIRC) warrantee.

The water hose was a heater hose under / behind engine. Perhaps it
wasn't checked.

I was considering Plastigage to check bearings, as I am not familiar
with these engines nor do I know anyone here who I would trust.

When I've cheked it, the oil has looked good.

With that added info, any other guidance to offer?

Karl
 
G

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>I guess I included too little info in my original messsage: Here's
> more.
>
> The car came to San Diego after ten years in Texas where it sat outside
> during her working / shopping hours, it's been garaged most of the
> time since it got here. It was in a garage or shade when at home in
> Texas most of the time.
>
> Successful son selected good mechanic for her, who has done the
> maintenance. He calls when work is due. The only work I have done, due
> to limits mentioned earlier, has been to change an alternator and
> similiar simple/clean/quiet tasks.
> Son recommends that she get a new car; he would probably pay for it and
> other successful son would chip in, as would I.
> I have shown her tapes of car crash testing of old vs new cars. That is
> not so impressive easy from someone who drives a firty year old car.
> Mechanic has told her to get a new car, but that may have been at the
> urging of son(s).
>
> Car was repainted due to minor scrapes on fenders. Car is metalic and I
> didn't trust paint matching in a few years if only RF and RR panels
> done.
>
> I had a (low mileage from Japanese junkyard) engine & tranny put in my
> Corolla / Prizm for $2000, with 5k (IIRC) warrantee.
>
> The water hose was a heater hose under / behind engine. Perhaps it
> wasn't checked.
>
> I was considering Plastigage to check bearings, as I am not familiar
> with these engines nor do I know anyone here who I would trust.
>
> When I've cheked it, the oil has looked good.
>
> With that added info, any other guidance to offer?
>
> Karl
>

I would be hesitant to advise anyone to spend more than $1,000 on a 16 year
old car unless it is a collector car unless there is not way the owner can
afford a replacement vehicle. Since the owner has people who care a lot
about her safety and are willing to put their money where their mouths are,
I would recommend a newer, safer vehicle.

Plastigage is the correct way to check the bearings but of course, that
requires dropping the pan and bearing caps. Assuming that you are not
getting lower end knocking, then before dropping the oil pan I would just
hook up an oil pressure gauge in the oil sender port and check oil pressure
at idle. If oil pressure is sufficient and there is no babbit material in
the oil, then the bearings are probably OK.

You didn't mention whether the car is a 4 or 6 cylinder, but if it is a V6,
repairing both heads will be expensive.
--
Ray O
correct the return address punctuation to reply
 
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