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Discussion Starter #1
Per the title, I am looking at buying a Camry between '05 and '10 or perhaps an ES350 if I run across an exceptional deal. This car will be more of a family sedan that a sporting vehicle. But, I do prefer a stiffer suspension (I don't want to be driving Dad's Buick), alloy wheels, power seats. With that in mind I think I'm looking for an XLE or an SE, but correct me if I'm wrong about that suspension and feature wise.

I've read through the basics. I need a little "from the field" info on features and issues in this year range. If you want to write me a book, a sentence, or just point me at a thread, I'm good with any direction.

Engine wise, I see there was a change from 3.0 to 3.5L. As I said, this isn't a performance vehicle for me, but I don't like to be underpowered entering the highway, cruising, etc. Is the 3.0 adequate? Any 0-60 times to ballpark it? On that note, how is the 4-cyl?

Suspensions? Is the SE stiffer? What about the XLE vs. the LE?

Interior? Are there major differences besides leather and power seats in the various models? I know the interior changed... I don't care so much about appearance as functional items. Are there LE's with power (at least driver) seats?

Exterior? Just body styling changes between the 5th & 6th gen? Any optional kits on the different models?

Reliability/Problem areas? I know the overall reputation of Toyota is generally good, but are there specific problems to look for or expect in a car of this vintage that will probably have 80L - 120K miles? What should I be checking? What should I expect to repair soon after purchase? (I am mechanically familiar with engines, trannies, suspensions, etc, so have at the details if you like).

Thanks,
 

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I was looking for a more recent family car a few years ago and wanted something a little better than a Camry. Bought an 07 ES350 which I perceived as a Camry with a better interior. It was but with its own issues. The ES350 doesn't handle any better, has a noticeable amount of throttle lag, shifting lag and is pron to vibrations. Memory seats would have been nice. The nanny features with its bells are annoying also. It does alright as an interstate cruiser but is not a sports sedan as it is sometimes made out to be. I will not get another. I drove a 2019 as a loaner when they changed the airbag and it was no better.

With any car around the 80-100k range you can expect suspension work, O2 sensors and a trans flush but at least they went back to timing chains so no belt changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
With any car around the 80-100k range you can expect suspension work, O2 sensors and a trans flush but at least they went back to timing chains so no belt changes.
  • Reasonable DIY suspension, like struts & shocks, tie rods, etc? Any presses needed for the work or jobs like "drop the rear axle on a lift"?
  • If the tranny hasn't been flushed before, is that OK? I'm assuming it should still be red fluid (not browned)?
  • From a chart I just checked, it looks like the 3.0 is a belt and the 3.5 is a chain? So 2007+ for the chain? Are the belts easily changeable in car if I find an '05/06 that I like otherwise?
Go with the 2010 SE. That way you avoid possible head bolt or piston oil guzzler issues.
Probably stretching the budget for this... but perhaps I can find one. Are these common issues or can you get comfortable about a particular engine not having the issue? Serious tear down to replace the head bolts and (I assume) anything piston related? Or are these 4 hour jobs PM I can do in my spare time? What miles do they set in at?

Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ES350...I will not get another.
Thanks... that's the sort of hard hitting info I needed. I don't need a boulevard cruiser with lag issues.

SE = Sporty = Slightly stiffer suspension
XLE = Leather and other conveniences
LE = Basic
XLE has the same suspension as the XE? If I do struts, can I get to something reasonably stiffer with reasonably priced strut cartridge upgrade? I don't want to go lowered or sporting stiff on this one... I drove an SE in the past and it seemed well suited (i.e. comfortable on corners and bumps but not bouncy like the Buick).
 

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Pretty sure you are the forth or fifth person in the past 3 weeks thinking about buying a Camry. Look at these threads first. If you have any more questions after these threads I can see what I can do. Just not big into typing the pros and cons and years and generations and other information again for the forth time unless you really need me to do it again.
XLE has the same suspension as the XE? If I do struts, can I get to something reasonably stiffer with reasonably priced strut cartridge upgrade? I don't want to go lowered or sporting stiff on this one... I drove an SE in the past and it seemed well suited (i.e. comfortable on corners and bumps but not bouncy like the Buick).
LE = XLE suspenion
SE is gonna be a bit more stiffer, if you go to the Monroe website and compare their Quick-Sturts it will give you some specs.

For the Gen 6 Camry 2007 - 2011 I would say there are four, technically three, probably more trim levels
  • CE/Base
    • No power seats
    • No key fob
  • LE
    • Has power seats
    • Has key fob
  • SE
    • Probably the same as LE
    • Stiffer suspension
    • SE body kit
  • XLE
    • Probably the same as LE
    • Has extras, probably heated seats, bluetooth, other stuff
  • Hybrid
    • I do not know...
 

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If you are a good wrencher and not afraid to pull the engine, I would go ahead and buy a 2A-FE engine, meaning any of the years 2005 - 2009. You can get those at a pretty reasonable price (especially if they do have an issue) and just pop in a rebuilt engine. I searched around and got my rebuilt for $1,800 delivered, no core charge. THis was a full rebuild so all new parts and fixes. For $1,800 (I did the labor myself) I essentially have a "new" 2009 Camry SE. Not withstanding normal wear and tear on suspension and the like, this should last me another decade with little concern. The 2AZ-FE is really easy to work on and works well, other than the issues they had with the head bolts and the piston design. If the transmission was cared for as well then everything else is pretty srtraight forward to work on. I could not find a tranny shop around me to deal with mine so when I had an issue I bought a tranny from a wrecker (rear collision) and that worked perfect. Every other system is not a big deal to wrench on and replace if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If you are a good wrencher and not afraid to pull the engine, I would go ahead and buy a 2A-FE engine, ...
Unfortunately I don't have the facilities/space to do that sort of thing anymore. I can do suspension, in car engine work, etc, but engine / tranny pulling is not in the cards space wise or time wise.
...
  • LE
    • Has power seats
    • Has key fob
Thanks for the thread pointers. I'll do some more reading.

I seem to see a lot of LE's advertised that have manual seats. I'm basing that on seeing the pump lever for seat height on the driver's seat. Possible? Or error of some sort?[/QUOTE]
 

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Unfortunately I don't have the facilities/space to do that sort of thing anymore. I can do suspension, in car engine work, etc, but engine / tranny pulling is not in the cards space wise or time wise.


Thanks for the thread pointers. I'll do some more reading.

I seem to see a lot of LE's advertised that have manual seats. I'm basing that on seeing the pump lever for seat height on the driver's seat. Possible? Or error of some sort?
[/QUOTE]
It's hard to say, as far as I know and research I did a while back the Base/CE's (probably 07 - 09) don't have power seats or key fob. If they did, they could've been optional. Honestly I don't see many Base/CE's except for mine. Mostly LE's, SE's, and XLE's.
 

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  • I love my 2005 SE, arguably the best riding Camry ever. SE is sport tuned suspension, has the 3.3L 3MZ-FE. Something about what Toyota did with the cam cost them a little more money to build but on this transverse six and with the counterweights, runs like a clock. Drive-by-wire throttle, so you may end up pushing the gas pedal down and waiting for something to happen before you get pushed back into your seat! Upsized 17" tires on alloy rims help improve the ride quality. This machine will not lean on corners for merging or getting off of highways.
  • Cons: It's got belts (3) and one is a timing belt on an interference engine. All can be accessed with work from above and through the RF wheel well. Plenty of YouTube videos out there to help you. The three spark plugs closest to the firewall are a bitch to get to and change. Has the lifetime transmission fluid (hah!) but easy to spill-and-fill, and does have a dipstick if you'd like to siphon and fill through there and not get your back dirty.
  • Pros: Plenty of room inside and in the trunk. Engine is a workhorse, I just met a lady who has the same one in her Sienna and just passed 376K! Great ride. Get 23 mpg combined out of it and I just passed 95K.
  • Synopsis: If you can find one with all the repair paperwork go for it. Or if you can get a deal and don't mind a little effort on your part, go for it. I'm getting close to the point that except for occasional fluid refreshes, I'll just be turning the key for about five years!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So just to verify on the 3.0/3.3 engine: Looks like Toyota has a 90K change interval, so any (3.0/3.3) car I buy should have had the belt done or I'll be doing it. Are there any good indicators (aside from receipts) that the belt has been done? Also, vis-a-vis the engine changes, does the 3.3 have the same piston / oil & headbolt issues as the 3.0? I took a look at some googled stuff on the plugs... so this is a pull-the-intake spark plug change?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
For belts in general, if they have the papers I hope they would've have changed it. If not, all you can really do is dig into it and check.
So, pull the belt cover itself and look for a new belt is the only option? Any external indications i.e. are any of the fasteners that get obviously pulled to do one that might be an indicator?
 

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So, pull the belt cover itself and look for a new belt is the only option? Any external indications i.e. are any of the fasteners that get obviously pulled to do one that might be an indicator?
Hard to say, you would have to search for timing belt threads for any 1MZ/3MZ. I prefer timing chains more.
 

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I have observed any the older models like 05 and 2010 models don't have much of a price difference. Ppl ask crazy money for older models and won't negotiate much. I have seen some used 2010 models around $5k with 120k range mileage from private parties.

Also a lot of people here have reported oil burning issue in the models from 02- 2008 (Confirm this with someone just dont take this as an expert or final advice).

Just a few tips
 

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I have observed any the older models like 05 and 2010 models don't have much of a price difference. Ppl ask crazy money for older models and won't negotiate much. I have seen some used 2010 models around $5k with 120k range mileage from private parties.

Also a lot of people here have reported oil burning issue in the models from 02- 2008 (Confirm this with someone just dont take this as an expert or final advice).

Just a few tips
I've talked about it before plenty and you all 2AZ's will eventually burn oil from old valve seals. 06 - 09 are the engines that burn oil. 02-06 have stripped head bolt coolant issues.
 

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Per the title, I am looking at buying a Camry between '05 and '10 or perhaps an ES350 if I run across an exceptional deal. This car will be more of a family sedan that a sporting vehicle. But, I do prefer a stiffer suspension (I don't want to be driving Dad's Buick), alloy wheels, power seats. With that in mind I think I'm looking for an XLE or an SE, but correct me if I'm wrong about that suspension and feature wise.

I've read through the basics. I need a little "from the field" info on features and issues in this year range. If you want to write me a book, a sentence, or just point me at a thread, I'm good with any direction.

Engine wise, I see there was a change from 3.0 to 3.5L. As I said, this isn't a performance vehicle for me, but I don't like to be underpowered entering the highway, cruising, etc. Is the 3.0 adequate? Any 0-60 times to ballpark it? On that note, how is the 4-cyl?
The 3.0L had roughly 190hp (I think 220ish in the 2005/06 SE that had the 3.3L). It was more than enough power. I think the 0-60 times for it were in the 8-8.5 range. The 3.5 is a monster of an engine by comparison and will likely feel a lot faster off the line. Don't underestimate the 4 cylinder engine in the 2007-10 years. It's likely adequate for your needs if you don't need something really zippy. Like others, I'd stay with the 2010-11 year with that engine though considering the issues that impacted that engine over time.

Suspensions? Is the SE stiffer? What about the XLE vs. the LE?
Best to test drive various models to see what you like. No Camry is sporty from the factory during those years, not even the SE. That said, the SE is slightly firmer in terms of ride quality. There shouldn't be a difference between the LE and XLE models.

Interior? Are there major differences besides leather and power seats in the various models? I know the interior changed... I don't care so much about appearance as functional items. Are there LE's with power (at least driver) seats?
I don't think that leather was an option in any LE during these years, so if you find it, it likely was added by a shop that contracted with a dealer or was installed after initial purchase.

XLE's leather is likely about the same quality as the leather in an SE (when equipped). I think most of them came with a power driver's seat. XLEs of some years had the option of a power passenger seat, but it was limited in functions.

Exterior? Just body styling changes between the 5th & 6th gen? Any optional kits on the different models?
The change between the 2002-06 Camry and 2007-11 Camry is pretty substantial. SEs from 2007-11 had nice (but mild) factory body kits that came standard). I don't think that a factory kit was available for the 2002-06 models.

Reliability/Problem areas? I know the overall reputation of Toyota is generally good, but are there specific problems to look for or expect in a car of this vintage that will probably have 80L - 120K miles? What should I be checking? What should I expect to repair soon after purchase? (I am mechanically familiar with engines, trannies, suspensions, etc, so have at the details if you like).
Others have commented on this, so I'll just state the obvious. You are looking at used cars that are between 10-15 years old. The care and maintenance of the individual cars will likely be more important than 'problem areas'. Yes, 2007-09 Camrys with the 4-banger had oil consumption issues, but if you consider that Toyota sold more than 400,000 of these cars in most years, failure rates for most issues are minimal for most issues. Any car of this age should undergo a detailed inspection from a qualified mechanic before purchase. Examples with detailed service histories are preferable over ones that come without.

It's also important to keep in mind that with any car this age, there are a billion small components that might fail due to age and mileage that have nothing to do with the overall reliability of the car. Electronics sometimes fail when they are 10-15 years old. Airbag sensors, ABS sensors, oxygen sensors, and so on. Although Toyotas are much more reliable than most others, these parts do fail.

If it were up to me, I'd look into a 2010-11 SE, XLE, or Hybrid (The Hybrid is often overlooked, has around 200hp, and has instant torque- the only sacrifice you make is a bit of trunk space). The body style still looks modern, the reliability is pretty good, and there are a billion of them on the road, so most mechanics are familiar with how to repair them. Bonus: used parts are widely available and cheap.

Thanks,
[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah... I'm leaning towards 2010 at the point. My year perspective is a bit distorted due to hanging with another that I am comfortable buy older because of familiarity. I realized today that even 2010 is ten years old, so maybe I need to step it up to that level. I don't need engine issues... looking for reliable and maintenance only if I get a choice. You're right about the price difference... people ask way too much for the older ones with high miles. I'll see what I can dig out.
 

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So just to verify on the 3.0/3.3 engine: Looks like Toyota has a 90K change interval, so any (3.0/3.3) car I buy should have had the belt done or I'll be doing it. Are there any good indicators (aside from receipts) that the belt has been done? Also, vis-a-vis the engine changes, does the 3.3 have the same piston / oil & headbolt issues as the 3.0? I took a look at some googled stuff on the plugs... so this is a pull-the-intake spark plug change?
The 3.3L has no oil/sludge/headbolt issues. In the Camry SE the intake will have to come off unfortunately. If the timing belt was done at a shop they may have put a date/mileage sticker on one of the timing belt covers.
 
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