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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?
In 06, there were two V6 engines: a 3.0L 1MZ for the LE/XLE V6, and a 3.3L 3MZ for the SE V6.

In 07, they were both replaced by the chain driven 3.5L, with the sealed transmission.

There aren't really any major issues with the 3.5L engines, even going back to 2007. Some early models had premature water pump failure. Keep in mind that all 3.5L Camrys have the sealed transmission, and there were some reports of issues on 07-08 models. The major change for 2010 was for the 4 cylinder, not much changed on the V6.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
Oh, maybe I've gotten this wrong. Summary: Chain, no issues 4 cyl is 2010+. Chain, no issues 3.5L, 2007+ Correct?

It the sealed transmission really a problem, or just a ROYAL PITA to change fluid? Otherwise there aren't any mechanical issues? I assume Toyota says you never have to change fluid because it's sealed?

Should I research the '07/'08 transmission issues? A stumbling block for those 3.5L cars perhaps?
 

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You've got the engines right. 2010+ 2.5L or 2007+ 3.5L.

The sealed transmission isn't any less reliable than any of Toyota's older transmissions, but yeah, it's a royal PITA to change the fluid. If you plan on keeping the car past 150K, changing transmission fluid is important (no fluid is lifetime, they all wear down eventually). But if you're someone who's going to dump the car before 100-150K, don't even bother with the transmission fluid. But it's an easy way to extend your car's lifespan to 250K+.

Toyota says you never have to change the fluid because most people who buy new cars won't keep them to 150K. All most new car buyers care about is minimizing the cost of maintenance over the few years that they actually own the car. Any problems down the road is the next owner's problem.

The 07-08 transmission issues seem to be mostly caused by an inaccurate fill amount from the factory. Some of the 07-08 3.5L engines also came with defective water pumps. In other words, poor quality control, not necessarily poor design. I wouldn't shy away from a well maintained 07-08 V6, especially if it drives fine, since the defective water pump would have likely been replaced by now and if the transmission drives smooth it's likely the transmission was filled properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Thanks again to all, moving ahead with the search.

One question on a completely different path: Broken driver's visor - I read about the issues, extended warranty, etc. My question is this: Are they ever broken such that they can't be repaired i.e. something is wrong with the car body? I don't mind buying a new visor, but the car I just looked at is missing it (I'm assuming the prev owner just pulled rather than repaired it). I don't know anything about how they mount - Does the mounting area go bad? Is there anything I should make sure is there so that it's definitely repairable? Or is it just a couple screws that hold it and repair is always simple?
 

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Thanks again to all, moving ahead with the search.

One question on a completely different path: Broken driver's visor - I read about the issues, extended warranty, etc. My question is this: Are they ever broken such that they can't be repaired i.e. something is wrong with the car body? I don't mind buying a new visor, but the car I just looked at is missing it (I'm assuming the prev owner just pulled rather than repaired it). I don't know anything about how they mount - Does the mounting area go bad? Is there anything I should make sure is there so that it's definitely repairable? Or is it just a couple screws that hold it and repair is always simple?
The plastic in the visor likes to break making the visor not stay up. Buy and replace for less than $60. It is just clipped into the body.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Still out there hunting for "the" car. SO, opening up my horizons, maybe.

What about the Hybrid Camry? Different engine gas, I assume that the std 4 cyl? Are there interesting gotchas and unique maint / repair issues I don't want to deal with? Aging battery issues, etc? Fill me in, I'm ignorant on these.
 

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Still out there hunting for "the" car. SO, opening up my horizons, maybe.

What about the Hybrid Camry? Different engine gas, I assume that the std 4 cyl? Are there interesting gotchas and unique maint / repair issues I don't want to deal with? Aging battery issues, etc? Fill me in, I'm ignorant on these.
Toyota's Hybrid system is the best out there on the market. That being said, there are a sizable number of batteries that start to fail around the 10 year mark. For those who swap cars every 5-10 years after buying new, they don't care. But for us that buy used, unless the price of the car reflected room for a potential battery replacement soon, I'd be reluctant. The quality of refurbished batteries is all over the place as well, and price varies. I'm not an expert on the price/reliability of battery replacements, so maybe someone can chime in here.

The 2007-2011 Camry Hybrid used the same oil burning 2.4L that was found on the 2007-2009 normal gas Camry. Therefore it also suffers from excessive oil consumption.

The good thing is that the e-CVT is very reliable and rarely presents issues.
 

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I was looking for something economical and was interested in ES350 but didnt want to use premium with subpar gas mileage. ES330 takes regular but didnt want to worry about belts and not knowing when it needed to be changed especially on the 3.3L which I believe is Interference engine. 02-06 camry 4 cylinder is timing chain so I was ok with that.

If I had the patience and $, I would wait to find a nice V6 07-11 Camry. They take regular, timing chain, great on gas mileage for a V6 and I hear great things about their power when you need to get on it. That is the perfect combo. Too bad you will pay an extra tag for that if you find someone foolish enough to let one go.
 

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if i am playing with 6-8k these cars come to my mind.
ES350(2008+). 2007 had some transmission issues per lexus forums.
Acura RL (2005-2008 only) Very underrated car.
LS430 if don't live in midwest
 

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I think the 07 ES350 transmission issues were the same as 07 Camry V6. Some reports of the transmission flaring, although I think it may have been because the transmissions were underfilled from the factory rather than any actual design improvements being implemented on 08+ models.

Agree that the RL is an underrated car. It doesn't have the same frequency of transmission issues that plagued other Hondas either. I think it shares a stronger transmission with the Ridgeline.
 

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I think the 07 ES350 transmission issues were the same as 07 Camry V6. Some reports of the transmission flaring, although I think it may have been because the transmissions were underfilled from the factory rather than any actual design improvements being implemented on 08+ models.

Agree that the RL is an underrated car. It doesn't have the same frequency of transmission issues that plagued other Hondas either. I think it shares a stronger transmission with the Ridgeline.
I had an RL.my dad lost control i don't how but it went in a water pond. car was filled with water. still missed that car. They are hard to find in good condition but if you can score one they are best value for money. Never gave me any trouble other than door handle blowing a fuse and starter going out.
 

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