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1995 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I just bought a 98 Camry LE for my father-in-law to replace his 92. It has 121k miles and its the 4-cyl 5S-FE engine and auto trans.

It starts and drives OK, not as good as my wife's 01 with 160k, but alright. I planned on just doing regular maintenance like timing belt, water pump, plugs, fuel filter, etc. I checked for codes just for kicks, and it looks like someone cleared them as most of the system tests are flashing pending, not a good sign. I got the car in the garage and up on jack stands, drained the coolant from the radiator and took the alternator off. I was removing the airbox when I noticed oil in the flexible rubber intake tube. Oily film inside most of the tube, especially on the smaller hose coming straight out of the valve cover. The little box/compartment that is attached to the bottom of the hose had some dirty fluid in it also.

Anyway, I went ahead and removed the plug wires and plugs. First off, the valve cover gasket is obviously GONE because there's oil caked on the whole back of the engine. But my God the spark plug tubes had oil sitting in them, the spark plugs where soaked in oil. The plugs themselves look like hell, some black coating along with ashy deposit buildup and the electrodes are a dark grey color. I'll have to take pics later and post them up.

I haven't removed the PCV valve yet, but so far it looks like a bad PCV problem and/or headgasket at the worst. I plan on doing a leakdown test today to see what's going on.

Would a bad PCV cause that much oil past the throttle body (in the intake tube)?
 

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03 CAMRY XLE
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If the engine has 121k on it and the timing belt has not been changed, then it is possible that the timing belt has stretched a little, or even skipped a tooth. The factory service manual suggest TB and water pump replacement at about 90k.

You are right about the PCV valve being a problem. This could be the cause of the oil film in the air intake tube.

Among the other tasks which you have listed, you should also take a look at the hydraulic fluid. If it is dark, then you will want to flush and replace with new fluid ... try to get something with some beneficial additives. Doing this will prevent hydraulic seal leaks. If nothing else, drain the hydraulic fluid reservoir, next to the passenger fender, and add some new fluid. Do this periodically ... to avoid hydraulic fluid leaks.

The other problems which you mentioned ... oil in the spark plug tubes, valve cover seal ... are routine maintenance jobs. There are some plug tube seals that cause oil to leak into the space adjacent to the spark plugs. These are replaced when you do the valve cover gasket. Read up on the forum DIY links. ... There is usually some useful, if not important information.
Read here:
http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/1...irst-comprehensive-list-gen-3-4-info-diy.html

All things considered, you could still have a good engine when you get your repairs and maintenance completed.
 

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there can be much oil leaking out of a healthy engine, I'd just replace PCV valve, valve cover gasket, half moons (aluminum!) and use ultra grey to seal, and do a compression check. You can grab the spark plug tubes low (away from sealing area and threads) with pipe wrench or vise grips and really cinch them down, then a little bit of the ultra grey on the 4 top seals can help too.

Look for dreaded sludge with VC off, hopefully ur ok! Good luck!
 

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1995 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses guys! I hadn't thought about the timing belt being original, I suppose it's entirely possible as it seems most of the other maintenance items are original as well. I pulled the PCV valve off and it wasn't entirely stuck, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't working well. The grommet that it sits in broke apart when I removed the valve, it was super brittle so I'll have to replace that too.

Anyway, I did a leakdown test last night and got good results. Cyl 1 = 7%, Cyl 2 = 5%, Cyl 3 = 4%, Cyl 4 = 5%. So I don't have any leaky valves or bad piston rings thank God. I've had to do a headgasket job on a 95 Camry and wasn't really looking forward to all that labor.

I did snap some pics of the spark plugs and the head with the valve cover off:







So there is some sludge buildup, but not nearly as bad as some of the ones I've seen. I should be fine with leaving it as is and just running full synthetic in it. The valve cover gasket was so old it was completely brittle and obviously not sealing anything.
 

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This is a somewhat common problem. What you have is leaky spark plug tubes. Either the top seals are leaking, or the oil gets through on the bottom where the tube threads into the head.

You need to unscrew the tubes from the head, and re-seal the threads with some Toyota FIPG (pretty much same thing as RTV black) before screwing it back in. Replace the top seals (the ones under the nuts that hold the VC on) and this should be a thing of the past.

While you have the VC off, don't forget to re-seal the semi-circular plugs AND the distributor hole plug - that plug LOVES to leak off to the side and onto the transmission area.

As for the sludge, get back on decent OCI, or even switch to synthetic. It'll clean up nicely. I do 5k OCI on synthetic, and the oil is still fine at the end. I might do 7.5k this time around, will see.
 

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1995 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #6
This is a somewhat common problem. What you have is leaky spark plug tubes. Either the top seals are leaking, or the oil gets through on the bottom where the tube threads into the head.

You need to unscrew the tubes from the head, and re-seal the threads with some Toyota FIPG (pretty much same thing as RTV black) before screwing it back in. Replace the top seals (the ones under the nuts that hold the VC on) and this should be a thing of the past.
Yes that's for sure what's wrong with mine, it looks like oil was pouring into the tubes. I'll make sure to reseal them before putting the VC back on.

While you have the VC off, don't forget to re-seal the semi-circular plugs AND the distributor hole plug - that plug LOVES to leak off to the side and onto the transmission area.
I actually had to do this on my wife's 01 Camry, I replaced the VC gasket and couldn't figure out why it was still leaking oil onto the trans. It was especially confusing because I knew there was no distributor to leak oil around until someone pointed out that the hole in the head where it would be is still there, just capped. No more leaks there now! This one is leaking bad, all kinds of oil/grease buildup around that area and where the coil packs sit.

As for the sludge, get back on decent OCI, or even switch to synthetic. It'll clean up nicely. I do 5k OCI on synthetic, and the oil is still fine at the end. I might do 7.5k this time around, will see.
Sounds good! I'll probably do 3k OCI's for the first 15k miles or so and then move up to 5k or so with a good synthetic. That sludge is nasty!

I also pulled the throttle body off last night, its pretty caked with carbon but not the worst I've seen. Inside the intake looks pretty oily too, but not too thick. I opened up a 7A-FE on a Celica one time that must have had 1/4" of gunk built up throughout the intake.
 

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1995 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #8
you may want to be sure the egr is clear too but be careful in the tube connection to the block!
Good call! I believe the EGR pipe itself just unscrews from the head just like a compression fitting right? I feel like I've done one before on a 2.2L...

Anyway, I managed to get the timing belt off, crank pulley and sprocket, cam sprocket, water pump assembly/housing, and the tensioner and idle pulley. I removed the oil pump and changed the shaft seal and gasket too. The whole back side of the engine is literally caked with oil, especially in the power steering pump area... thinking about buying a few cans of brake cleaner and just going at it.

And for the PCV valve, it was somewhat stuck you could hear it move a little when you shake it but not as much as it should. Would a bad PCV cause the crud to build up on the spark plugs? Or are they just too old?
 

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'00 4 Cyl. Auto Camry LE
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Those plugs look to be in the same condition as the ones I pulled off the '00 Camry here w/ 130,000 miles on them - obviously worn/overdue, but no oil present, a really good sign.

Edit: If the wires have been firing through oil, highly recommend a new set of NGK Wires (about $30), really smoothed out idle / acceleration after replacing here,

The throttle body on the Camry here & intake was also coated w/ carbon buildup, took awhile to clean up, FYI.

Hope your repair goes fast and easy!
 

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Looks like it was a sludged up monster and someone tried to clean it, and ended up deciding to get rid of it.

If the valve cover wasn't sealing and maybe some other seals not doing their jobs, then the blowby is going through the "fresh air hose" and into the intake air duct. So it's a good idea to change out the PCV valve and grommet.

So seal everything up properly, check the oil pan gasket as well. And stick a Mityvac (Autozone free loaner with refundable deposit, but may be missing the adapters) with the proper adapter to the oil dipstick tube. When you run the engine you should see a slight vacuum and not pressure. But if you have lots of blowby you'll have pressure in there.

Or without a Mityvac, put a piece of tissue paper and see if vacuum holds it against the dipstick tube, or pressure blows it away from the tube.

I'd recommend NGK Iridium-IX plugs, and yeah new wire set too. Check rockauto.com and the 5% discount code in the sticky section.
 

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Plug #1 has an ash deposit which the valve stem oil seal is leaking.
Does the car smoke for few seconds after start up?
Synthetic oil is not a good choice for an engine with questionable valve seals.
On my 87 Camry the PO flushed the engine oil system with ATF before selling the car to me:)
 

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1995 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #12
Just finished getting everything back together, the whole timing belt job, etc. The cam and crank seals were both shot, the half moon seals were leaking, the distributor plug was leaking, the valve cover gasket and tube seals were non-existant, pcv grommet was brittle like plastic, etc. Obviously very little maintenance was done on this poor Camry.

Everything is freshly resealed including the spark plug tubes... unthreaded them with a pipe wrench, cleaned the threads and resealed with copper RTV. Also resealed the half moons and distributor plug with the copper. New fel-pro VC gasket, new pcv grommet, Timken viton cam and crank seals, victor-reinz oil pump seal and o-ring/gasket, water pump gaskets and o-rings, steel throttle body gasket and IACV gasket, etc.

I also replaced some of the vacuum lines with silicone hoses and relocated the EGR vacuum switch to side of the intake manifold for easier access. The EGR valve and tube were somewhat caked up with carbon, but not too bad. Throttle body was similar, just the usual amount of carbon buildup. The flexible intake tub was shot though, it had big cracks all over it causing a giant vacuum leak, luckily I had already ordered a new Dorman one.

I put in new Denso platinum TT plugs (not sure why, at the time it seemed like a good idea). They come gapped at 0.040", is that fine for this engine? It runs loads better than it used to, even with the crappy aftermarket wires that are on there. I still need to change them out for a set of NGK wires.

After the engine work I refilled it with some Rotella T5 for now with a Purolator filter, probably gonna change it after a few hundred miles if that. Didn't notice any smoke at startup whatsoever. I drained and refilled both the transmission and differential case... both fluids were black... I'm guessing that's bad? The magnets in the pan weren't too bad at all, not visible metal shavings or anything just the usual sludge type stuff.
 

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Good job! You just did about $1500 worth of repairs on your car and it probably cost you less than $250 and a few days of your spare time.

Yes, black transmission fluid is no good. If you just did drain and fill, you may want to repeat the same with the transmission fluid when you change the oil, as the pan only holds about a third of all transmission fluid. By changing it again, you'll have replaced more of the old ATF with fresh one. No need to touch the differential fluid again - that one drains all in one shot.
 

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'00 4 Cyl. Auto Camry LE
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If you just did drain and fill, you may want to repeat the same with the transmission fluid when you change the oil, as the pan only holds about a third of all transmission fluid.
+1

Given the amount of rehab work already done, and if equipped, you may also want to do a full Power Steering flush w/ new ATF - using the DYI here,

if the trans/diff fluid was black, doubtful the PS fluid has ever been changed either..
 

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1995 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #15
Yes, black transmission fluid is no good. If you just did drain and fill, you may want to repeat the same with the transmission fluid when you change the oil, as the pan only holds about a third of all transmission fluid. By changing it again, you'll have replaced more of the old ATF with fresh one. No need to touch the differential fluid again - that one drains all in one shot.
Yeah I kinda figured there was alot more than 2-3 quarts in the trans. I'll have to drive it a little and then do another drain and fill. Should be easier from now on though since I already changed the filter I won't have to drop the pan again.


+1

Given the amount of rehab work already done, and if equipped, you may also want to do a full Power Steering flush w/ new ATF - using the DYI here,

if the trans/diff fluid was black, doubtful the PS fluid has ever been changed either..
Thanks, I didn't know there was an actual service interval on the PS fluid. If so then I should probably get on that on my wife's Camry, it's sitting a little over 160k now.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
So another question, when I first start the car on a cold start it will have this weird rattle sound for maybe 3 seconds and then won't happen again until its fully cold. Any ideas off the top of your head?

Also when I rev it around 3k rpm or more (didn't try going far above that) it kind of sounds like slight knocking from the engine. I can hear it when standing near the engine bay and reving it directly with the throttle body, not very loud but enough to hear. I'll try grabbing a video tomorrow of it.

EDIT: Here's the video I took of a cold start + running for a minute or so:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t2ffl93uj3f7no5/VID_20140724_073811_952.mp4

You can hear the weird noise when I first start it for 2 seconds or less, then it warms up a little and sounds totally normal at idle. Towards the middle/end of the video I rev it some and you can somewhat hear the deeper noise I'm talking about. Not sure if that's normal or not, doesn't exactly sound like rod knock or if it is it's really light right now.
 

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1995 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #17
Another update, I ran some Motorflush (made by Gunk) through the engine. Directions say to pour in the bottle and let it idle for 5 minutes. Did that and then drained the oil. The oil came out black and it only had 5 miles or so on it. Refilled with more T5 and changed the filter, noise is still there. It doesn't sound deep or loud like a rod knock, it sounds like its coming from inside the valve cover but no like lifter tick. All cam cap bolts are torqued to 14 ft-lbs. Could it be related to the interlocking cam gears, not sure what they're called they have teeth, the intake drives the exhaust cam with it. Could they be bad or sludge up or something and causing the noise? It doesn't sound loud at idle only 2k rpms and up.
 
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