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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, this is my first post. I haven't owned a Toyota before but I am looking at 3rd generation Camry autos. I am considering 5th generation Accords and 3rd gen. Camrys only, pretty much.

Can anyone comment at all on how they are different? Or how you might perceive their differences, perhaps? Other than brand and designs! I mean, on reliability, performance and intangibles?

I have researched a bit on this generation of Camry and like to think I would know some basics of what to look for but I was hoping for other thoughts and suggestions. I am also wondering if there are some sites that give accurate info of what parts might cost and which parts are most often required to be replaced.

Also, does it matter if I seek a 4cyl. v.s. 6cyl. or is it mostly a question of fuel usage or economy?

I thought a 4 cylinder version would be less likely to have issues but just speculating.

I hope this type of post is okay here. I'm not sure if there is or was a more appropriate section.

If my post is okay here, then I hope I can receive some replies. I suspect these kinds of posts come up now and then so I am hoping some people aren't tired of answering these types of posts yet! :)

I really like the idea that the Camry's internals, at least the engine, is based on the Lexus ES300 and that it's a comfortable ride. I do like driving stick but I'm okay with auto if it's a Camry. I like some luxury once in a while. I doubt I'll find a DX anyway so a Camry LE in automatic is fine as long as the body and mechanics are sound.

I'm hoping to find a decent Camry for about $2000-ish Canadian dollars. I hope that's not asking for too much or that it will be really hard to find one around that price. I have seen some decent Camrys for around that if you count pictures but they were located a bit far away. I don't have a car yet to go looking so I either have to find a ride or go by bus. There's been little choice locally so any tips on this dilemma is also appreciated!

'Hope there are some future replies of eager posters willing to share their knowledge and experise (yeah, I know, I'm sucking up... :D) ).

Thanks for reading. :D
 

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As far as the honda vs toyota, it boils down to personal preference of the styling and interior layout. Both are great cars, but both will have their common problems with this or that.

I personally would go with the v6 if you can because even after i swapped my 4cyl for a v6 in my gen3 i still get over 300 miles to the tank in the city. and you wont feel like you are towing an anchor if you turn the A/C on =)

The 4 cylinder in somewhat easier to work on because it doesnt take up the ENTIRE engine bay like the v6 does. But if you are handy and have basic tools most all repairs can be done fairly cheap because of the wealth of info here and in the repair manuals and the relative inexpensive aftermarket parts available.

As far as buying a gen3 for that budget goes, you will find some that look like garbage but will run great until forever, or ones that look great but need a lot of work. either way, youre looking at high mileage cars which depending on how the previous owner cared for them might need normal wear and tear parts like struts, tires, tune-up parts, and front end suspension parts.

So basically if you are buying a 14-20 year old car, expect to be fixing this and that and include that in your budget. if you are unsure of how much it might cost to replace something, just call a repair shop and get an estimate.

oh and dont forget to take it for a long test drive! and if possible ask to bring it to a mechanic so they can look at it on a lift to give it a basic once over.
 

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Pros of Hondas:
1. Affordable
2. Some models have V-Tec which is a good power gain in higher rpms
3. motors are built to handle a higher range of RPM
4. Nice Body Styling
5. Roomy Interior
6. Easy to work on
7. Very well built suspension (Handles really nicely)
8. last 200,000 miles or more if properly maintained

Cons of Hondas:
1. Interference motor (If your timing belt breaks.. your looking at a $300-$400.00 head job
2. Louder cabin ( inside car ) than a camry
3. Rust Proned if not taken care of (Weatherize and Wash if you live in salt area)
4. Springs and Shocks are stiff and is rougher driving
5. Speakers go bad quickly

Pros of Camry
1. Affordable
2. Very Quiet Cabin (sitting inside car)
3. Smooth Ride
4. Nice size interior (Rear has a lot of leg room and center rear arm rest)
5. Very nice low end torque and acceleration
6. Non-Interference motor (Do not run the risk of having to spend lots of money to rebuild the head.. just replace belt and your done!)
7. Speaker Quality is very nice (stock)
8. Easy to work on
9. Last 200,000 miles or more if properly maintained

Cons of Camry:
1. Body styling is poor (in my opinion - Very boxy looking)
2. Weak connecting rod bolts ( Higher rpm range )
3. Balancer Shafts have been known to go bad
4. Rusts pretty bad if not taken care of


Info From Experience:

I own three 3rd gen camry's and a 1996 Honda Accord EX. I love all my vehicles :)

Things to look forward to replacing on Hondas throughout its life time besides normal wear and tear items:

1. Gas Tank (they rust)
2. Transmission Differential Bearings (They go bad)

Things to look forward to replacing on a Camry besides normal wear and tear items:

1. Rear suspension arm bolts (Pretty Pricey at Toyota)
2. Possibly the Engine Balance Shafts (after 200,00 miles usually)

Thats really all that I can think of. Both vehicles are nice vehicles. Anyone who has anything to add please do so :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Wow, excellent replies so far! Much appreciated! rusty9, I'm so glad you compared between V6 and 4cyl. engines! To be honest, I love V6 engines but I wanted a neutral, objective opinion that was no way effected by anything I said! :D Kidding... I owned an Intrepid and an old '92 Maxima but that one only lasted a week! lol! The Maxima was in bad shape, though, rusting out and only 3 cylinders were working but it was a SE so leather, loaded... if it was in good condition, it probably would have been my best car to date but alas, it was in bad shape. I shouldn't have bought it but I was desperate and it was $200! lol!

I am just concerned about the fuel economy and reliability of the V6 models but that's encouraging what you're saying! Of course, I'm not saying I would only consider a V6 but I'm glad to learn they can be reliable. I read reviews in which the V6 models were given positive reviews but I've also read that repairs might be a bit more expensive. I'm going to try to find a V6 in good condition if at all possible. I acknowledge that the car is around 15 yrs old so I'll probably have to replace something down the line during the time I would own the car. I just hope to put off repairs for a bit. However, my priority is to get a car with the best condition I can find for the price I can afford. I think if is in half decent shape, the previous owner looked after it and if I rustproof, oil spray, change the oil etc., it will be some time before I have to replace parts or get something fixed. ????

Mister Perkins, I like your comparison chart!!! I don't mind the styling of the Camry. I thought the Accords are more boxy but I guess my perception is peculiar! lol! The older generation Accords are probably more boxy and the Camry doesn't seem to have as drastic styling changes with the 3rd/4th generation changes, maybe?

I like the point about the AC being on adding weight to the 4cyl. ride! Never thought of that! It's interesting. I really like the extra power the V6 has especially when you need it on the highway. Good points!

There were a few more concerns I had that I encourage feedback on...

1) Camry transmission - most are automatic - so I am wondering about the quality and reliability - I think rebuild transmissions cost at least a grand with these cards, same with Hondas.... so, since Honda Accords have manual transmission as an option (when shopping for 5th gen.), Camrys are mostly equipped with automatic.... so, there must be some tips or tricks to detect auto tranny issues or ensure there's none?

2) I read of a lot of suspension and struts/shocks issues with both Camrys and Accords of these years/generations - ball joints I know how to detect - turn the car and sometimes you can visually inspect or when driving when you turn sharply, you might hear some knocking or clicking sound
Are shocks/struts costly repairs for Camrys? Any way to inspect them when shopping?

I guess EGR/O2 sensor issues occur with most older cars, in particular, so I guess there's nothing to add with those?

I mostly find Camrys with the 4cyl. engines but I'm now encouraged to seek a V6 so I hope to find some candidates while I look!

Thanks for all the replies! Keep 'em coming! I hope for more! Nice comparsions with the Accords, too! I was mostly looking at Accords lately but I always include 'Toyota Camry' in my online searches! There's not a lot of 3rd gen. V6 Camrys in my area, unfortunately, but I sure hope to find one!
 

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transmissions last as long the previous owner wanted them to. i think there are some camry's pushing well over 200,000 miles on the original tranny and some that are worn out and slip like crazy after 60,000 miles. my current automatic has 240,490 miles and it still shifts smooth as butter.

you can do a simple bounce test for the shocks. go to each corner and push down as hard as you can. they should rebound and stop on the first way up. basic monroe struts are about $75US each, and the entire "quick-strut" with springs are about $200 a piece and you could install all 4 yourself in a day or two, may be cheaper than having a shop do it.

you can test front end bits by jacking up that side and wiggling the tire to check for any play. hands at 9 and 3 to check for tie rods and 12 and 6 for ball joints. or both for wheel bearings if you dont see any play in either parts.

P.S. the only time ive heard of the balance shafts on the 4cyl going bad is when they werent re-installed correctly.
 

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Just putting in my comments on the balance shafts:

Mine caused my engine to blow at ~170k. After calling engine rebuilders, they pretty much all said rebuilt 4 cylinders for this car come WITHOUT balance shafts because they are so prone to blowing the engine.

The worst part is, it's never your fault that it blows. But it's still you of course who has to pay almost $2000 for a new engine.
 

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Mom's camry - new trans at 99k, new engine at 172k

Dads 94 accord - 278kmiles, and counting.

both regular driving, both well maintained.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey, just learned something here I didn't know! I had no idea of the balance shafts issue. So, I should ask if they were replaced or if there were ever a problem with them?

One reason I really really want a vehicle with flawless or near flawless exterior (if that's even possible with a car this old) is that it will be easier to accept major repairs like a rebuild tranny or new engine. Not that I would want to have this repair but if I can find a vehicle with under 200,000 miles, it could be my car for a while.

Here, we use kms but the conversion would mean the avg. seems to be about 180,000 to 190,000 miles on most cars I find (the ones I would consider based on exterior condition based on pics online). Sometimes, it's less but then the car is getting more pricey and I'd have to save up considerably more.

There's a city about 100km or so nearby with a bunch of JDM shops and lots of aftermarket parts including engine or trannys so there's always an option to salvage a vehicle if it's worth it. Hence, I want a vehicle that's been rustproofed and taken care of. The market might be better for Hondas but I'm not sure about that.

I didn't know about the balance shaft issue. I hope that wouldn't be too major a problem. I know how to check the shocks, ball joints and to some degree, the tranny, if one takes the car for a test drive. I like a quiet ride but I'm not favorable to either Accord or Camry yet. I haven't owned either yet, unfortunately. But, I like things about both. I believe I like a more quiet ride but that could be due to always having an exhaust problem with my cars! lol!

I owned a Civic and a Saturn SL1 which had continuous muffler issues and that was not fun. ;-) I hate having to buy older cars! ;) This time, I'd like to choose a car in decent shape (especially underneath and exterior wise!).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One JDM shop:
1MZ DOHC 3.0L V6 engine to fit -94 to '97 Camrys but I need a V6 Camry, right?
Price is $650 U.S. here.

3VZ DOHC Engine only Toyota Camry & Lexus 3.0 Liter V6 92-93: $550

3S Engine only Toyota Camry 2.0 Liter 92-96 is $450.

5S Engine only for Toyota Camry 2.2 92-96 is $750.*

3SGE DOHC Engine only Toyota Camry & Celica 4CYl is $490 but not sure of the Camry yrs/generation it's for... ???

Just wondering what the recommended engines are for 4cyl and V6 versions (LE?)?

I assume DOHC 2.2 for 4cyl. and the above 3.0L ones for 92-96?

I'm just not sure which one you'd pick for a 3rd gen. Camry for a 4cyl. (which one is DOHC?)...

I'm just looking into replacement costs in case I''d have to. Is that a good strategy? It seems like a decent cost for engines, though. Although, it's not VTEC or something like that so seems cheaper than Honda. I guess they range from about $500 to $700? But, labor is expensive? Maybe another $500?
 

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Hi Good Thread. My .02.

Accord-Honda has had auto tranny issues for many years, including the ones you're interested
in, Plus, they tend to whine on acceleration, which I guess is normal. Also Honda's road
noise suppression was not the best during those years, so if you do a lot of highway
driving it may be an annoyance. Other than that, it's a decent, car, though like
mentioned earlier make sure that the timing belt is fine. One other thing, Honda's 2.2
liter 4cylinders also uses balance shafts


Camry-Very Good car all around. Roomy, especially the wagon, pretty nice cars. Better choice of
Options. The various trim models did change over the years, also by 96 if not 95 Toyota
downgraded HP figures due to changes in the engines for better emissions and they
went to a distributorless ignition system. Also, even though it will run on regular, it is
suggested that the V-6 use Premium. It still is a fine engine to go with, if I were you, I'd
search out the V-6. If you check fueleconomy.gov,even in Canada, you'll see the
economy of the V-6 is not that far off from the 4 cylinder especially the 95-96 models.


Rergardless besides the Timing Belt, make sure to ask, if the oil, crankshaft, camshaft, and rear main seals have been checked and/or changed. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Good Thread. My .02.

Accord-Honda has had auto tranny issues for many years, including the ones you're interested
in, Plus, they tend to whine on acceleration, which I guess is normal. Also Honda's road
noise suppression was not the best during those years, so if you do a lot of highway
driving it may be an annoyance. Other than that, it's a decent, car, though like
mentioned earlier make sure that the timing belt is fine. One other thing, Honda's 2.2
liter 4cylinders also uses balance shafts


Camry-Very Good car all around. Roomy, especially the wagon, pretty nice cars. Better choice of
Options. The various trim models did change over the years, also by 96 if not 95 Toyota
downgraded HP figures due to changes in the engines for better emissions and they
went to a distributorless ignition system. Also, even though it will run on regular, it is
suggested that the V-6 use Premium. It still is a fine engine to go with, if I were you, I'd
search out the V-6. If you check fueleconomy.gov,even in Canada, you'll see the
economy of the V-6 is not that far off from the 4 cylinder especially the 95-96 models.


Rergardless besides the Timing Belt, make sure to ask, if the oil, crankshaft, camshaft, and rear main seals have been checked and/or changed. Good luck
Thanks! I like the way you assessed the Accord and Camry here. The V6 option looks good, indeed. I'm glad I joined here! I received a lot of input and advice and welcome more! :D The only negative is it's hard to find a V6 in my area. :( Harder still, to find one in decent shape. At least, for the 3rd gen. at a price I can afford including decent condition. I don't think I can afford a lot of aftermarket thrills so it would mostly be maintenance. It's nice to know the engine options aren't too expensive if I need a new one. So, I am going to look hard for a car in good condition especially regarding rust.

I hope I can find a V6 since I know I'll appreciate the extra power. I won't rule out the Honda but I'll be looking harder for a Camry V6! If I go for I4, it would be a compromise but I am sure they're good too. I like your advice, though! :)
 

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Cam A Roo
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92 Camry - 215,000 miles Transmission shifts as good as the day purchased (Put new Main and Rod Bearings
93 Camry - 5spd Manual, Changed clutch once since purchased 250,000 miles
95 Camry - 167,000 miles New motor , Original transmission still shifts great
96 Accord - 155,000 miles New Differential Bearings (5spd manual) Changed clutch once since purchased
 

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Thanks! I like the way you assessed the Accord and Camry here. The V6 option looks good, indeed. I'm glad I joined here! I received a lot of input and advice and welcome more! :D The only negative is it's hard to find a V6 in my area. :( Harder still, to find one in decent shape. At least, for the 3rd gen. at a price I can afford including decent condition. I don't think I can afford a lot of aftermarket thrills so it would mostly be maintenance. It's nice to know the engine options aren't too expensive if I need a new one. So, I am going to look hard for a car in good condition especially regarding rust.

I hope I can find a V6 since I know I'll appreciate the extra power. I won't rule out the Honda but I'll be looking harder for a Camry V6! If I go for I4, it would be a compromise but I am sure they're good too. I like your advice, though! :)

You're very welcome. A couple more things, Honda has had problems with rust in the Accord, once it starts it spreads quickly and is hard to stop. If you're looking at the Wagon for the Camry I would highly suggest the V-6, since the wagon heavier than the sedan, by a nice margin. For example the 94 Wagon is 200 pounds heavier than the sedan and both models weigh over 3000 pds.
 

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1994 Camry.........276,xxx miles....EVERYTHING works...windows, CRUISE (I capped that for a reason...EVERY freaking Honda besides 2 I have ever owned....the damn cruise never worked...and I LIKE my cruise!!), AC will freeze me right out of the car even in 115* weather (very common where I live), I pull over 400 mile per full tank of gas (85% highway, 15% city roughly, I am a V6 BTW, auto...cuz I am WAY to lazy to shift) Need I really say more here?

My last Legend....87 Legend, 2.5L v6 auto...both rear windows had quit working years back, cruise worked all of 4 times before the stupid vacuum thingy that controlled it went out, 376 miles to a tank of gas (same driving and style), master window switches LOVE to go out as well as the main relay (simple fixes if you can solder and understand that tinfoil can be your friend, but still a annoyance)....ALB loved to crap out also (anti lock braking stuff)

91 Acura Legend...my god the cruise never stopped working!!! my favorite thing on that car besides the climate control...which would drop to 60*....where MOST vehicles in the day were 65*...it did make a difference. aforementioned relay/master window switch issues...LOOOOOOOOOOVED eating up headgaskets.....I finally gave up...the cure now?? replace the engine with a 3.5L RL engine

My all time favorite....my hotrodded 88 Civic...the ONLY car I never had one single issue with....it just always ran...and nothing ever seemed to break on it....could be the fact I went to a b16a motor with turbo and manged to keep my AC and the cruise

I have had a TON of cars...NONE had even held a match to how freaking reliable this camry has been....while mine looks like the single worst car on this site...she is a trooper and REFUSES to quit....in fact at the oil shop today, I got asked what I have had to do to the car and I answered simple enough...."nothing, it just goes like its supposed to" exactly what I was looking for
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Hey, thanks for more feedback! I don't really want a a wagon! :) I'd like a 4-dr sedan if possible. Seems to be more, anyway. I suggest two main problems: One, the price. The more I can save up, the better the condition will probably be. There might be exceptions but from many online pictures, this seems to be the case, generally. The second problem is I am now convinced to try for a V6! However, most Camrys for sale in my budget are 4-cyl. There are some V6 models around but trying to find one with mileage under 200,000 miles, no rust and in my budget.... help! :D

Here's something funny: recently, I had to take two taxi rides. Ironically, one car was a Honda Accord (2000) and one was a Toyota Camry (2001). They were newer than what I can afford but it was interesting. The Camry feels more roomy or larger. Smoother ride but I liked both cars. The Accord driver said the automatic trannys are poor. He had to get work done on it and it may be on the way to getting a bit wonky again. He thinks Camry trannys would be less problematic.

I was under the impression that the Hondas may have troubles with the power windows. That's what I read recently, anyway.

Still no preference although I'd probably choose the Camry if I can find a V6 in my budget in decent shape. I notice a few Accords and Camrys in really GOOD shape but they're about $3000. I am mostly looking up to $2000 but I guess you get what you pay for. :( I suppose both the Accords and Camrys can be over 200,000 miles and still be good cars. Right? :confused: ;)
 

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Hey, thanks for more feedback! I don't really want a a wagon! :) I'd like a 4-dr sedan if possible. Seems to be more, anyway. I suggest two main problems: One, the price. The more I can save up, the better the condition will probably be. There might be exceptions but from many online pictures, this seems to be the case, generally. The second problem is I am now convinced to try for a V6! However, most Camrys for sale in my budget are 4-cyl. There are some V6 models around but trying to find one with mileage under 200,000 miles, no rust and in my budget.... help! :D

Here's something funny: recently, I had to take two taxi rides. Ironically, one car was a Honda Accord (2000) and one was a Toyota Camry (2001). They were newer than what I can afford but it was interesting. The Camry feels more roomy or larger. Smoother ride but I liked both cars. The Accord driver said the automatic trannys are poor. He had to get work done on it and it may be on the way to getting a bit wonky again. He thinks Camry trannys would be less problematic.

I was under the impression that the Hondas may have troubles with the power windows. That's what I read recently, anyway.

Still no preference although I'd probably choose the Camry if I can find a V6 in my budget in decent shape. I notice a few Accords and Camrys in really GOOD shape but they're about $3000. I am mostly looking up to $2000 but I guess you get what you pay for. :( I suppose both the Accords and Camrys can be over 200,000 miles and still be good cars. Right? :confused: ;)

You're welcome again. Good luck trying to find one under 200,000 miles for $2000. You're probably not interested in the pre 92 Camry:) If it were me, even though I like Honda, I'd go with the Toyota. As has been mentioned Honda had problems with their auto trannys, so that would have to be taken into consideration. There was a link that stated what can happen when a car accrues a lot of mileage. If it was well maintained then a 200,000 mile car could be a good deal, then again, you'd need to ask why the owner would then be selling the car if he/she has had it that long with that much mileage. This has been an interesting thread.
 
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