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Discussion Starter #21
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.
Well, the lack of internal engine issues is a real feature. I can deal with the intake if I have to do that, but I'll be swearing at what idiots Toyota's engineers are the whole time :). One site I looked at had 3 hours listed for that job... is that realistic? Also, how long are the stock plugs really good for in this motor?
 

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Well, the lack of internal engine issues is a real feature. I can deal with the intake if I have to do that, but I'll be swearing at what idiots Toyota's engineers are the whole time :). One site I looked at had 3 hours listed for that job... is that realistic? Also, how long are the stock plugs really good for in this motor?
Denso Iridium can run for... a very long time. I won't blame Toyota on their transverse engine design, I am just not fond of it so that would be the main reason I prefer my 2AZ-FE. It may be possible to do spark plugs without removing the intake manifold but that will require a 1/4" ratchet and shoving your arm back there.
 

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Well, the lack of internal engine issues is a real feature. I can deal with the intake if I have to do that, but I'll be swearing at what idiots Toyota's engineers are the whole time :). One site I looked at had 3 hours listed for that job... is that realistic? Also, how long are the stock plugs really good for in this motor?
Took me five hours, but I wasn’t cranking it out. I stopped for breaks/lunch as it was a beautiful Spring day. The 3MZ-FE got thrown into a handful of models. Some you can take the wiper assembly/cowl off and gain access that way. In the SE the wiper cowl is spot welded on, so no such luck. Denso SK20R11s are good for 120K, and although I was nowhere near that, they aged out after 13 years. Gotta say they looked pretty good when I pulled them out!
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Considering Solara now... Coupe, not Convertible. If I'm reading correctly (can't seem to find a good chart) the Solara 2003+ has the 3.3L that the SE has? So, needs a timing belt at 90K, but no other major engine issues? Any better or worse on the plug changes for that car? Any other gotchas if I move in that direction?
 

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Considering Solara now... Coupe, not Convertible. If I'm reading correctly (can't seem to find a good chart) the Solara 2003+ has the 3.3L that the SE has? So, needs a timing belt at 90K, but no other major engine issues? Any better or worse on the plug changes for that car? Any other gotchas if I move in that direction?
1MZ, 3MZ, and 2GR will all be a pain to do spark plugs but it's not impossible. I have heard if you get a 1/4" ratchet and shove your arm back there that you can do them but... I rather not...
 

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I have a 3.0L 2004 Camry LE V6. The one thing I hate about it is the throttle lag, which makes the car feel very sluggish, and (obviously) the handling isn't that good. Maybe I'm spoiled by my faster 07 Lexus GS350.

Needless to say, the thing I like about the Camry is its practical, spacious and reliable. There were no known mechanical issues with the V6 Camry of this generation. Mine has 300,000km and runs very smooth and quiet. The 3.3L engine (I used to have one in an ES330) is noticeably more coarse sounding.

As for features - mine being the LE V6 model it has a few more things than the 4 cylinder: Sunroof, 15" alloys, ABS, power driver seat and engine immobilizer were some of the extras. I swapped in a black SE leather interior and it looks much better than the boring gray. Here's my video:


As for maintenance, its not difficult, just sometimes time consuming. Here's a few more of my videos to help you out:

Timing belt on the 3.0L (this was my 1999 Solara but it should be similar to the Gen 5 Camry 3/3.3L):

Valve cover gasket:

Spark plugs:

Thermostat:

Transmission fluid:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W5OK9XgbNw

Stabilizer bar bushings and end links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIPNmd-jA3A

Struts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktWo724x090

Enjoy!
 

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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.
Do you know if there is a way to stop the oil burning? My car is burning oil like crazy. But I get no purple or any color smoke so is it possible the its valves that need cleaning by some liquid?(im not sure what causes it and i ve heard valves not being clean or something). I dont see a leak on the ground either
 

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Do you know if there is a way to stop the oil burning? My car is burning oil like crazy. But I get no purple or any color smoke so is it possible the its valves that need cleaning by some liquid?(im not sure what causes it and i ve heard valves not being clean or something). I dont see a leak on the ground either
It burns it burns. You can try something but honestly it just needs a engine rebuild. It burns, it burns.
 

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Considering Solara now... Coupe, not Convertible. If I'm reading correctly (can't seem to find a good chart) the Solara 2003+ has the 3.3L that the SE has? So, needs a timing belt at 90K, but no other major engine issues? Any better or worse on the plug changes for that car? Any other gotchas if I move in that direction?
I'll give you a rundown:

Gen 1 Solara (1999-2003) was based off 1997-2001 (4th Gen) Camry.
  • 2.2L I4 (5S-FE) offered from 99-01
  • 2.4L I4 (2AZ-FE) offered from 02-03
  • 3.0L V6 (1MZ-FE) offered from 99-03
Gen 2 Solara (2004-2008) was based off 2002-2006 (5th Gen) Camry.
  • 2.4L (2AZ-FE) offered from 04-08
  • 3.3L (3MZ-FE) offered from 04-08
The 2AZ-FE, as mentioned earlier, suffers from two distinct design flaws. The first is the head bolts stripping (pretty rare) but it was due to the head bolts being too short, and applied to the 2002-2006 Camry along with 2004-2005 Rav4. The second was excessive oil burning, and applied to the 2007-2009 Camry along with 2006-2008 Rav4. I don't know which of these two variants of the 2.4L engine was in the Solara.
 

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I'll give you a rundown:

Gen 1 Solara (1999-2003) was based off 1997-2001 (4th Gen) Camry.
  • 2.2L I4 (5S-FE) offered from 99-01
  • 2.4L I4 (2AZ-FE) offered from 02-03
  • 3.0L V6 (1MZ-FE) offered from 99-03
Gen 2 Solara (2004-2008) was based off 2002-2006 (5th Gen) Camry.
  • 2.4L (2AZ-FE) offered from 04-08
  • 3.3L (3MZ-FE) offered from 04-08
The 2AZ-FE, as mentioned earlier, suffers from two distinct design flaws. The first is the head bolts stripping (pretty rare) but it was due to the head bolts being too short, and applied to the 2002-2006 Camry along with 2004-2005 Rav4. The second was excessive oil burning, and applied to the 2007-2009 Camry along with 2006-2008 Rav4. I don't know which of these two variants of the 2.4L engine was in the Solara.
I would just go by Camry years so 02 - 06, 06 - 09.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Quick question: Does the 4-cyl 2AZ-FE in 2010 have the head bolt, piston squirter, or oil burning issues? If so, when do they come into play (roughly, assuming engine with good care)?
 

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Quick question: Does the 4-cyl 2AZ-FE in 2010 have the head bolt, piston squirter, or oil burning issues? If so, when do they come into play (roughly, assuming engine with good care)?
As Vangm25 mentioned, the 2010+ Camry came with the 2.5L 2AR engine which doesn't really have any particular design flaws. It's a very good engine that will run a very long time, and was used on the Camry until 2017 and the Rav4 until last year (2018).

The one thing to be aware of is that starting in 2010, Toyota put a new 6 speed automatic transmission in the Camry that is sealed (very difficult to change transmission fluid). There are many threads on here explaining the procedure. While these transmissions were generally reliable and problem-free, there were some reports of the torque converter failing around the 150K mark if the fluid was not changed. I would wager that most used 2010+ Camry you find on the market would have never had its trans fluid changed. If you can find a lower mileage one, I wouldn't worry about it and just make sure you change the fluid regularly under your ownership.

Also note that the 3.5L (V6) Camry had a sealed transmission starting in 2007. 4 cylinder didn't get it until 2010.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Thanks, reassuring. So it looks like if I can find a 2010 4 cyl or 2009 3.3 SE I'm good.

Just drove the 4 cyl SE 2010, 78K. Not bad, more power than expected. A few followup questions:

1) Brake pedal seemed low, slightly below the level of the accelerator. Normal? The cars I usually drive tend to have it a little higher than the gas pedal. Brakes have been done moderately recently and rotors show no wear, calipers look replaced. I foolishly didn't try to pump them to see if that brought it up at all.

2) The steering seems a little vague to me. I'm used to driving cars with a fairly tight rack these days but it seemed like it needed a lot of wheel input to turn. It didn't seem like play, just a low ratio. Again, 78K miles if that matters from a wear viewpoint. I plan to drive another Camry ASAP to compare, but it this somewhat expected?

3) After cruising on the highway flats at 65mph, a slight incline caused a tranny downshift to maintain speed. I'm guessing the 6 speed is in an overdrive mode an shifts to get into a reasonable gear? The 4 cyl is not so lacking in power that it needs a downshift to get any power at all?
 

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Thanks, reassuring. So it looks like if I can find a 2010 4 cyl or 2009 3.3 SE I'm good.

Just drove the 4 cyl SE 2010, 78K. Not bad, more power than expected. A few followup questions:

1) Brake pedal seemed low, slightly below the level of the accelerator. Normal? The cars I usually drive tend to have it a little higher than the gas pedal. Brakes have been done moderately recently and rotors show no wear, calipers look replaced. I foolishly didn't try to pump them to see if that brought it up at all.

2) The steering seems a little vague to me. I'm used to driving cars with a fairly tight rack these days but it seemed like it needed a lot of wheel input to turn. It didn't seem like play, just a low ratio. Again, 78K miles if that matters from a wear viewpoint. I plan to drive another Camry ASAP to compare, but it this somewhat expected?

3) After cruising on the highway flats at 65mph, a slight incline caused a tranny downshift to maintain speed. I'm guessing the 6 speed is in an overdrive mode an shifts to get into a reasonable gear? The 4 cyl is not so lacking in power that it needs a downshift to get any power at all?
  1. Hard to say about the brake pedal, could just use new pads and rotors
  2. The best way I can describe my 08 Camry's steering... numb but it's not THAT bad. There was a GM sedan... maybe a 05+ Malibu wagon? They weren't cars I drove often but I think I had to move it in the shop and the steering... was worse than my Camry. You sorta just grow used to it (I literally drive with my thumb while my hand sits on my thigh).
  3. Just blame the ECU/Transmission. Not much you can do there other than drive it in S mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
So you'd say that the brake pedal was a little low then? Rotors were barely worn, at least the rear calipers appeared new, so I think the brakes were done. Owner says within the last 10K. Kicking myself for forgetting to pump them through. Is this any sort of a common/known Camry issue or just "got a brake issue"?
 

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I think the brakes just kinda suck on Camrys, tbh. A lot of people have asked about them in the past and Camry brakes just aren't the best. I know both my 2001 Camrys have pretty mushy brake performance, especially compared to the other cars I've driven. My friend's 2014 ES350 also had somewhat poor brakes too. Depending on how "low" the brakes actually are, I might say it is normal.
 

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So you'd say that the brake pedal was a little low then? Rotors were barely worn, at least the rear calipers appeared new, so I think the brakes were done. Owner says within the last 10K. Kicking myself for forgetting to pump them through. Is this any sort of a common/known Camry issue or just "got a brake issue"?
I think the brakes just kinda suck on Camrys, tbh. A lot of people have asked about them in the past and Camry brakes just aren't the best. I know both my 2001 Camrys have pretty mushy brake performance, especially compared to the other cars I've driven. My friend's 2014 ES350 also had somewhat poor brakes too. Depending on how "low" the brakes actually are, I might say it is normal.
The Gen 6 Camry brakes are fine compared to the Gen 5 which I have heard is just "squishy". I found that when I still had the Wagner ThermoQuiet's the brake pedal felt a lot better upon pushing it. After those caused me issues and I got the PowerStop Z23's the brake pedal felt "squishy" but I believe part of that is because the Z23's are Carbon Fiber Ceramic and the ThermoQuiets are just Ceramic. I've not driven many Gen 5's but from what I remember it is much different compared to the Gen 6. Otherwise there is no real issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
OK, one more engine question... I just went back through the threads here but I think I might have missed one detail. Is the 2010+ 3.5L a chain engine, and does that version of the 3.5 have any of the other internal issues? So if I want a V6 with a chain and no major potential issues, that's the one to find?
 

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