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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

First post here, but not new to Toyota. I also have a 97 Previa and an 08 Yaris, but never a Camry.
I just got this 93 Camry for my son and we will be working on the various issues together to get it into tip top shape.
Overall the car is in very good shape and drives nice with good power and fuel economy and it shifts great too.
It has never been in an accident and I got it from the second owner that had it for 24 years and it only has 149K miles.
It has new timing belt and serpintine belts and a new waterpump. It has a new distributor and wires and plugs.
Struts on all four wheels were done about 4 years ago and not many miles.

Now for the issues, and please give me any comments or reccomendations.

Under the car it looks like some seeping from the gear box area but it has not dripped while sitting overnight. Picture attached.

The oil cap and filler hole in the valve cover has black crud in it. Pictures attached.
I have ordered a new valvecover gasket and plug seals and I will thoroughly clean the cover and cap while I check valve clearence.

The bimetal vacuum port on the engine where the upper radiator hose attaches is broken. Is it OK to just bypass this and what are the down sides? Picture Attached.

The aircon is not functioning. Blower motor works. Previous owner said it slowly got less an less cold and the shop said they could not get R12 anymore and it would be expensive to convert to r134. I need to determine what is bad and what leaks. I have read a bit about the conversion or the other possibility of using a 75-80% charge of r409.

I will be replacing the strut rods for the hood. Rear tires have tread but are dated from 2009 and are starting to dry rot and crack. Fronts are Michelin and are 5 years old.

Also if there are any other known issues to this model or recommended mods, please let me know.

Thanks
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The black crud you see isn’t necessarily bad. You’ll know better when you get the valve cover off and can get a good look at the valve train.

Under the car it looks like some seeping from the gear box area but it has not dripped while sitting overnight. Picture attached.
Most likely this is motor oil from a leaking valve cover gasket. But it wouldn’t hurt to check the trans fluid level.

The bimetal vacuum port on the engine where the upper radiator hose attaches is broken. Is it OK to just bypass this and what are the down sides? Picture Attached.
That bimetal vacuum port is actually a TVV; Thermal Vacuum Valve. Its purpose is to prevent the EGR system from functioning until the engine warms up. It’s closed when the engine is cold, and opens when the engine is warmed up. If you just connect the two hoses, bypassing the valve, the EGR valve will operate when it shouldn’t (engine is cold). If you live where there is no emissions testing, you can just plug both lines.

The aircon is not functioning. Blower motor works. Previous owner said it slowly got less an less cold and the shop said they could not get R12 anymore and it would be expensive to convert to r134. I need to determine what is bad and what leaks. I have read a bit about the conversion or the other possibility of using a 75-80% charge of r409.
Most likely the condenser is leaking. It sits in front of the radiator, so it’s prone to catching rocks and leaking. Look for an oily spot on the front side. R12 can still be found, but it’s expensive! They can be converted to R134a, but it’s not a job for everyone. There are several special tools you have to buy, and it’s dangerous.
 

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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited by Moderator)
The black crud you see isn’t necessarily bad. You’ll know better when you get the valve cover off and can get a good look at the valve train.
It looked like a lot of build up to me. My plan is to clean it and then start changing the oil frequently with a full synthetic.

Most likely this is motor oil from a leaking valve cover gasket. But it wouldn’t hurt to check the trans fluid level.
I will have another look, but the top of the engine looks pretty dry. I will be checking the trans oil level and most likely changing it, as I don't know when it was last done.

That bimetal vacuum port is actually a TVV; Thermal Vacuum Valve. Its purpose is to prevent the EGR system from functioning until the engine warms up. It’s closed when the engine is cold, and opens when the engine is warmed up. If you just connect the two hoses, bypassing the valve, the EGR valve will operate when it shouldn’t (engine is cold). If you live where there is no emissions testing, you can just plug both lines.
No emissions testing in Florida where I am. I wasn't sure if it was for evaporative canister function or EGR. Either way I will probably plug it.

Most likely the condenser is leaking. It sits in front of the radiator, so it’s prone to catching rocks and leaking. Look for an oily spot on the front side. R12 can still be found, but it’s expensive! They can be converted to R134a, but it’s not a job for everyone. There are several special tools you have to buy, and it’s dangerous.
The only oily looking part from my initial visual inspection was the compressor.
 

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1995 Camry LE Wagon
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First rule of acquiring used car with mostly unknown maintenance history - change ALL fluids. Coolant, gear oil, engine oil/filter/air filter/PCV + ignition wires, plugs, distributor rotor, cap + clean all electrical ground connections and battery posts.

A/C will be an expensive pain - roll the windows down.
 

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It looked like a lot of build up to me. My plan is to clean it and then start changing the oil frequently with a full synthetic.
Stop, and think three or fifty times about using synthetic.
I did on a 16 year old car, and quickly found that all the stories I had Poo-Pooed about synthetics causing leaks, were true, or, at least true in my case.

A/C system --- Hopefully condenser & Evap both OK, if so, should NOT be very expensive to switch over to R134a. Swapping from R22 to R134a used to be a common situation back in late 1990s when R22 stopped.

Have system emptied, or if already empty.....
(a) Open all connections, and replace OEM black O-rings with (literally) green O-rings that will stand up to R134a.
(b) Get screw-on R134a fittings for the high & low side valves. Pair of these valves still $10-$15 on fleabay (search: valves convert r22 to r134a)
(c) Replace "dryer", as you have the system vacuumed out.
(d) Have shop add R134a and correct amount of PAG (?) oil to system.
Given you don't have any holes in the Condenser or Evaporator, enjoy your new AC system... It will be a little less cold than the original R22, but still superior to opening the windows.
 

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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #6
I should see if I can find out if the previous owner used synthetic oil. He is agreeable to me contacting him with questions.
On the AC, mostly I am hoping I do not have a problem with the evaporator. I think everything else is fairly accessible. Wouldn't there be green O-rings at the connections to the evaporator?
 

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1995 Camry LE Wagon
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Wouldn't there be green O-rings at the connections to the evaporator?
They'll be the same as every other o-ring in the system.

I don't know how handy you are but you could save some money by using compressed air to source out leaks. That would save a wasted fill with new refrigerant.

You'll need to make a hose adapter with one end low side coupling and other end compressor connection. Then just use about 30-40 psi and a soap solution on connections to look for bubbles. Unfortunately you won't get access to engine side of condenser but you may be able to get to TX valve at evaporator.
 

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Another viewpoint on synthetic. I purchased (in 2001-ish) a Merc 300CD with 310,000 miles. Switched it to synthetic, and the only downsides I noticed was that the turbo spooled faster, the engine started better when cold, and I still had no oil leaks.
In other words, I had zero issues, even when I ran 0W-40 for the winter (I really, really had to have that car start.)

I should point out that, in Merc-speak, 300CD deciphers as: 3 litres, Coupé, Diesel.
 

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Also yes to no issues with synthetic - use 5w-30

But really, nothing wrong with syn blend or dino for better price.
 

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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #10
I think my biggest problem at this point is the oil leak. The oil gets on the exhaust just under where the trans and engine join.
I have looked carefully up higher at the distributor O-ring and valve cover and it seems dry up top.
I will need to do a clean and get the car lifted up determine where the oil is coming from.
IMG-1794.jpg
 

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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #12
It looks like from my research here that the common oil leak problems on the drivers side (left) are the valve cover gasket and the distributor o-ring.
I have seen head gasket mentioned but it does not look too common.
That leaves me with the rear main seal or oil pan gasket.
I am going to do a test to see if it mostly leaks when running or the same amount while off or running.

Any good tips on oil or additives to slow or stop the leak that won't screw something else up?
 

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2004 Toyota Camry, 2017 Toyota Camry, and many many more lol
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It looks like from my research here that the common oil leak problems on the drivers side (left) are the valve cover gasket and the distributor o-ring.
I have seen head gasket mentioned but it does not look too common.
That leaves me with the rear main seal or oil pan gasket.
I am going to do a test to see if it mostly leaks when running or the same amount while off or running.

Any good tips on oil or additives to slow or stop the leak that won't screw something else up?
Definitely conventional oil not synthetic as it is thicker so it won’t leak as bad and I use Lucas oil additive in all of my vehicles with no leaks once so ever may want to consider a zinc additive also as that would like zinc very well if you buy Castrol oil or the valvoline they both have a lot of zinc in them already that’s the only two brands I use in my vehicles which are all of them are old mostly but as a mechanic myself I highly recommend the zinc additive it will help with leaks also but use some of the Lucas for sure
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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????

the zinc additive is for lubrication of flat lifters on old style motors, not sure why you think it will help with leaking seals

Most oil makers sell a "high mileage" version of their oil with seal swelling agents in it which can sometimes coax more life out of old dried seals. Whether it is synthetic or dino shouldn't have anything to do with it (there was a belief when synth first came out that cars leaked more after using it, but that doesn't seem to be true anymore, maybe they improved their seal swelling agents in it or something). In any case, if using oil of the same viscosity, whether its synth or dino the viscosity of the base oil will be the same (they achieve the thickening by different means, though).
 

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????

the zinc additive is for lubrication of flat lifters on old style motors, not sure why you think it will help with leaking seals

Most oil makers sell a "high mileage" version of their oil with seal swelling agents in it which can sometimes coax more life out of old dried seals. Whether it is synthetic or dino shouldn't have anything to do with it (there was a belief when synth first came out that cars leaked more after using it, but that doesn't seem to be true anymore, maybe they improved their seal swelling agents in it or something). In any case, if using oil of the same viscosity, whether its synth or dino the viscosity of the base oil will be the same (they achieve the thickening by different means, though).
I’m a professional mechanic and I have seen it help seals too and yes synthetic oil is thinner it’s like water when you pour it out we put that in my dads 04 Toyota Camry and instantly the valve cover started leaking we replaced it and the next change used conventional again and have had no more leaks since then and this is an old car so the zinc would be very beneficial to it and a good 10W-30 or 40 oil or even 20W-50 for summer
 

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I think you are going to be okay, you seem to be on your way to researching and checking all the basics with the car.

When you open the oil-filler on a car up and there is a lot of buildup and sludge, it almost always means that the oil in the car has not been changed often enough. This will not be a problem any more though as you will maintain the car according to the manufacturers suggestions at least right?

Personally I change my oil ever 2500 miles if I can, and I try to never let it go over 3000. This keeps the engines clean inside. My best running Camry is one with 200K on it, and it does not smoke or leak, and I attribute this to frequent oil changes and just following the manufacturers maintenance schedules on other things like plugs, plug-wires, fluids, belts, hoses etc....

Forty years ago I had a 63' Chevy Bel-Air I drag-raced and drove on the street, it had an engine I rebuilt. Oil was dirt-cheap then and I used to change it once every week or two !!! Whenever I took the valve covers off, which was frequently, it was always as clean as the day I put it together. At one point I quit racing it and just used it as daily transportation, 4:56 differential gears and all, and I quit changing the oil so often and I started to notice a slight amount of buildup under the valve covers. This and other observations let me know that whenever buying a car that looking under the oil-fill cap into the valve cover let me know if the car had regular oil changes as it should, also you could tell if it had any major problems that let coolant get into the engine oil via blown gaskets or cracked blocks or heads.

All you can do now is change the oil on time and clean any part of the engine you may have opened up for other work. In time the regular oil and filter changes will clean the engine out slowly.

As for the AC there is a lot to read out there on the NET about converting to a newer refrigerant. Usually the system has to be flushed, some parts replaced that do not flush well, then it can be charged with an available refrigerant. The problem is that the oil compatible with the discontinued refrigerant turns to sludge when it is mixed with the current AC system oils, and this screws up the pump and other components. There are things sold at auto-parts stores that claim to "convert" the system to the new refrigerant by just adding it to the system, but that sounds too good to be true. The bottom line is to do your research. I like AC a LOT since I became an old man. I have replaced pumps and fixed other AC problems over the years, and it is always nice to have a real reputable AC shop to back you up and help you out with dye-checks and to evacuate and add refrigerant for you as yo need it done while replacing parts. They have some expensive equipment that most home mechanics do not have. Personally I would do it right and do it once and be done with it forever. That Camry of mine with 200K on it has all it's original system except for a pump I replaced myself because it was noisy and I did not want it to break and fill the system with pieces of metal etc..

As far as your tires go the only ones to have are ones that are in good condition. I like to drive fast, especially around turns, so if I tire blows out it could kill me. So if I am going to do that sort of thing I make sure I have tires on I have bought new and know the history of. Kids do all sorts of crazy things in cars so they don't need old cracked tires helping them to get into more trouble.

Good luck!
 

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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #17
I assumed that since it was a 93 it had the R12, but on more careful inspection it looks to have been converted.
There was a sticker covered with 14 years of dust and dirt that said 'retrofit', and the caps for connecting gauges were the newer varity for 134. Pic attached.
I have a friend I contacted that will help me with this. We will put a charge on it and then see where the issues are.

On the oil leak, It did not drip at all (not running) while parked for 16 hours onto the cardboard I placed below.
I warmed up the engine and let it run for 15-20 minutes and it driped a little while running. The drip is coming from the hole in the plate covering the bottom portion of the bell housing. Pic attached, middle picture.
The third picture is most likely just oil blowing back but I will clean and monitor it.
The oil pan looks clean all the way around.

Nortonguy, I was a member of the San Diego Norton club many years ago although I only had an assortment of Italian bikes then. Now I just have several Guzzi's.
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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #18
I have another question, what is this round 7 pin connector that is up by the battery and left side headlight?
I can't see anything it plugs into and also I can't find a wiring diagram for this car. Could anyone link me to one?
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93 Camry DX 2.2L 5sp manual 149K
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Discussion Starter #20
This car never had cruise. I suppose the harness would still be there. The cable is not long enough to reach to the area of where the servo control on the throttle body would be.
 
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