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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I have the opportunity to purchase a 1997 Camry 4 cyl, 92K miles, clean for about $3500. The car has been well cared for, I know the owner.

I believe that Toyotas are supposed to be good cars, however, I am reading a bunch of stuff about the valve stem/gelling issues with these particular engines. It just so happens that this car has the blue exhaust when first starting, but does not use oil according to the owner.

I drive 100 miles a day and currently I own a 1997 Passat diesel which gets 44 mpg. The Toyota gets 30 mpg so that is also a downgrade. The Passat has 262K and might last another 100K, but there are things wrong with it (no A/C, broken door locks, etc.).

Any advice and opinions are greatly appreciated as I try to make up my mind about this Camry. (I am hoping that the US will have passenger diesels available from Honda or Toyota)

I also notice when I go over bumps, the front struts make some "klanking" noises. Does that mean that new struts are needed?

Thank you.
 

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98 Camry XLE V6
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3,116 Posts
The car should last for a long time. I think perhaps the valve seals maybe cracked or something of the sort to cause blue smoke. THe clunking should be the struts that went out as they do around 85K or so.

Overall toyotas are trouble free cars and its never hard to find a place to get it repaired fast. Cost of repairs is cheaper than most other vehicles too. Not to mention its a safe car.
 

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cyman73 said:
Hello all,
I have the opportunity to purchase a 1997 Camry 4 cyl, 92K miles, clean for about $3500. The car has been well cared for, I know the owner.

I believe that Toyotas are supposed to be good cars, however, I am reading a bunch of stuff about the valve stem/gelling issues with these particular engines. It just so happens that this car has the blue exhaust when first starting, but does not use oil according to the owner.

I drive 100 miles a day and currently I own a 1997 Passat diesel which gets 44 mpg. The Toyota gets 30 mpg so that is also a downgrade. The Passat has 262K and might last another 100K, but there are things wrong with it (no A/C, broken door locks, etc.).

Any advice and opinions are greatly appreciated as I try to make up my mind about this Camry. (I am hoping that the US will have passenger diesels available from Honda or Toyota)

I also notice when I go over bumps, the front struts make some "klanking" noises. Does that mean that new struts are needed?

Thank you.
I got my 99 camry at 92K miles also. It has been incredibly reliable. I say go for it you can. Get that blue smoke checked out and see what can be done. Otherwise a great deal. Should last for 200K more.
 

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Moving Forward
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3,144 Posts
IF you are worried about the geling or sludge issue you can easily remove the valve cover to see if there are any signs of sludge in the cylinder head. IF there is I say walk away from it because it has not been maintained well. If you can not do it yourself then take it somewhere and ahve them pull the valve cover.
It is very possible that the valve stem seals are worn on it. THis will cause the blue smoke on start up. IF they are worn it is hard to say how much longer you can drive with them like that. TO replace you can do it two different ways. One you can pull the cylinder head and do a complete valve job. THe other you can pull jsut the cams and run rope of some sort into the cylinder, this will hold the valves in place while you remove the springs and retainers and all other pieces. Replace the seals and put it all back together.
 

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Gen 4 XLE v6
02 Toy Solara V6 MT
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Its seems good for the price. The thump is your struts, i'd suggest you to replace your strut mounts when you replace your struts as well. As far as gelling issues, provided the dude before you took care of the car, it will be fine (bottomline: 5sfe's are cheap, prob cost 750 at junkyards for under 20K miles on then, install is another 300-400, so if things go bad...for another $1000 you could have a low milage camry!!!).
 

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I have the exact car ,'97 2.2L, with 110K miles on it. My struts are well over due, they make the same clunking noise mainly when it's cold out. I plan on doing them in a couple of weeks. I get an occasional startup blue belch but nothing regular.

I have had the car since it was new, and have had almost zero problems with it.
 
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