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2GR FTW
2007 Toyota Camry SE
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1,543 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 97 Gen4 V6. It was parked outside for around 8 hours at under 5 degrees temperature, went as low as -5 too.

As soon as I got to the car, it took a bit more effort then normal to start, which is typical for starting in cold weather. The RPMs idle as it usually does when started in cold weather, around 1700-1900 rpm.

The weird thing was that the brakes felt "stiff". It felt as if I lost my brake booster and required more effort actually stop the car, so I had to press down harder and the brakes felt stiffer overall. I tried using E-Brake and that felt stiff as well.

A big difference I noticed was it felt as if I lost power steering too. The steering was a lot stiffer then normal and took more effort to make a whole turn. The steering wheel took a lot longer to turn back to normal position after a turn too.

My alpine HU's text also went super super slow, to the point where I couldn't read the text as it flashed across the screen because it just kinda faded in and out.

This was one of the few times I had the car parked outside in super cold weather for so long. Is this common? The car actually felt dangerous to drive, I had to put it in neutral at every light and kinda rev rpm's up a bit to see if the battery didn't have enough charge.

Is there anything I can do to solve my problems? Or is this typical for older cars starting in below zero weather. Maybe my batterys not holding a charge anymore? It's a Optima RedTop, but I think it's pretty old, around 3-4 years.
 

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Camry
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6,925 Posts
Could be your alternator dying, but you also have power steering issue. It sounds more like belts slipping because the belts are either stiff or there is ice on the pulleys. But the ice would melt soon after starting due to the heat from the engine I would imagine.

On the Gen 4 I4 Camry, the power steering and alternator run off the same belt IIRC...so that could be the reason for your power steering and power issues if the V6 is set up similarly.
 

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TN Pussy Man
Camry
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13,302 Posts
nothing wrong with what you are experiencing....everything just works slower- remember that almost all moving parts on your car are lubricated, and when it gets really cold, lubrication doesn't work as well and everything is stiffer

same for your lcd display on your headunit- normal

as for your brakes- it could not work as well, but usually it's not that noticeable on stock brake pads/rotors....on performance rotors, the cold makes them pretty useless until you've had a few stops

as for your battery....what makes you think that there's something wrong with it? did the battery light come on when stopped at a light?

and if you have any doubts about a battery, use a trickle charger on it before replacing it- a trickle charge can bring a battery back to life quite well
 

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Toyota-Lexus Fanatic
95 Camry LE
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805 Posts
In very cold weather, specially after being subjected to it for an extended time, you will see and feel the symptoms you described. Normal. The battery is the 1st to show sign of weakening. If your battery is about 80% life, it will fail. Hence, you need to keep tab of your battery's life so you can pre-empt the replacement before winter so you can avoid a dead battery. Good luck.
 

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2GR FTW
2007 Toyota Camry SE
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1,543 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ohh, that explains a lot. I felt it was the battery because maybe it wasn't supplying enough power to the brake booster or power steering. I'll try to bring it to a shop to have them recharge my battery. Thanks for all the help!
 

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145 Posts
I don't think anything is wrong with your battery. If it can turn your engine over, or turn on your lights without the engine on it is most likely fine. As long as you started your motor and you let it idle, the motor was charging your battery (for free!). Don't take it in to ask for a battery charge.
 

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98 Camry XLE V6
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3,116 Posts
all the lubricants get more viscose when cold so what you're experiencing is fine. also brake pads work well when heated to a certain temperature. all braking sucks under cold conditions, especially yours. Beginning to drive my car on a cold night i could stomp on my brakes and it wont even activate the abs, but once ive driven a bit and warmed them up its all good.

steering is hard because the fluid got thicker due to the coldness, but once you get everything warmed up you'll be fine! :)
 

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Premium Member
'96 Camry XLE
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11,246 Posts
Sounds normal. 1st time I pulled out of my driveway in my old '92 I4 Camry when it was under 0F, the steering was so stiff, I took out the power antenna in my driveway by a tree branch. :lol:

Another time pulling out of my driveway, I nearly ran into the steet with the brake pressed to the floor, then all of a didden it stoped inches before the road. I think there had been a glaze of ice ont he rotors and quickly wore off.
 

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Camry
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darksparkz said:
Ohh, that explains a lot. I felt it was the battery because maybe it wasn't supplying enough power to the brake booster or power steering. I'll try to bring it to a shop to have them recharge my battery. Thanks for all the help!
The brakes are powered by engine vacuum so it has nothing to do with anything electrical in your car (except for brake lights and that sort of thing)
 

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kor-ro-ra?
97 Corolla 1.8L 5spd
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3,288 Posts
Yup in cold weather my clutch and brake pedals come back very slow. My HU fades slowly, the shifter is stiff, and it revs up to 1500 instead of 2000. Its just the cold, you camry doesnt like it, nothing wrong with the car.
 

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That One Guy...
2001 Camry XLE
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922 Posts
The only thing I dont like about cold starts is my car takes a bit to actually fire, but always works on the first key turn which is nice.

Right when it fires though it seems like the whole car shutters for a moment, then it comes to life and jumps up the rpm's. I never actually looked at what it idles at during warm up though, but I'm assuming its around 1800rpms

That bothers me more then the sticky brakes and power sterring. Although surprisingly I haven't really had much trouble with either of these things. Maybe it's because my car constantly sits outside? Since I've owned it, it has pretty much sat outside on cold days, and I've never had troubles with it, even on the negative degree days.

All of those things sounds pretty common though. Fluids just arent gonna move as quickly when they are freezing. Or at least wanting to freeze up.

Also, is it true that you should leave your heater off until the car has gone through its warm up. I heard it's pretty hard on the engine and electrical to just blast the A/C in hopes that it will get warmer more quickly. I always just leave mine off... maybe a little on the front defrost if it fogs. I only have to wait a good 5 minutes and I can turn it on and have nice hot air already. I know of people that just blast there A/C and just leave it sit for 10 minutes and its still just getting warm when you get in. So in my experience it pays to be patient for the heat. What do you guys think?
 

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Official TN user
95 Camry V6 LE
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1,053 Posts
^I do the same thing, I wait for the car to reach normal operating temperature before turning on the heat. However I'm not sure if blasting the heat when you first start it is hard on the engine or not. I heard it is but I'm not totally sure.
 

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2GR FTW
2007 Toyota Camry SE
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1,543 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, I think I'll just make sure the antifreeze level is good and same for fluid levels. I'll probably consider adding some anti-freeze fuel stuff, like the iso-heat stuff.
 

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Registered
1998 Camry CE
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2,072 Posts
Darksparkz your gas station should have blended the fuel with winter temps in mind already.
Gas line antifreeze should not be added unless you got frozen gas.

For the slow cranking when you start your engine, try a synthetic oil for winter (I am using 0W30 Esso XD3 in my 98 and 0W40 in the 00) My dad's CRV is using syn 5W20

Starting is much easier.
Battery performance (measured as CCA) is exponentially lower at 0 deg Fahrenheit then 15 deg F. But if the car starts after 3 to 5 seconds of cranking, even if it sounds weak, you should be OK. Crank times more than 5 sec, check spark plugs, electrical connections, and then load test battery. If all that is ok, then check cylinder compression.

For summer my 98 uses 15W40 with no problems.
 

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2GR FTW
2007 Toyota Camry SE
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1,543 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Ohhh, I remember hearing about gas stations add it during the winter time, which is a factor for why prices drop because they use less actual gasoline per gallon.

I'm using Mobil 1 synthetic 5W-30 already for winter time, and swap to 10W in summer.

But sure, thanks a lot!
 

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39 Posts
Hello !

Can it actually be true that there are folks driving now-a-days that really think a weak battery could affect the power steering and the brake booster ? I can see ABS acting up if the batterry is low or weak , but gimme a break .

How on earth do these folks locate the place to insert the petrol nozzle ?

Maybe it is time to revert to the Amish mode of transportation .

Hay goes in the front and you know what comes out the rear . Then about all you need to know to is how to make it go and turn and stop . The only reason the thing won't go or turn or stop is because your Horse is sick or your mule is mad at you ...

Good Luck in the your future ramblings. Maybe they will finally perfect the aerocar that runs only on auto-guided roadways . The only thing you need to know then is how to call for your aerocar to pick you up . Or maybe it will be National Walk-ways ala Robert Heinlein ? You just step on the moving walkway and wait for your stopping off place .

Ken : )
 

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Lex Zues!
95 Camry
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4,900 Posts
kentarver said:
Hello !

Can it actually be true that there are folks driving now-a-days that really think a weak battery could affect the power steering and the brake booster ? I can see ABS acting up if the batterry is low or weak , but gimme a break .

How on earth do these folks locate the place to insert the petrol nozzle ?

Maybe it is time to revert to the Amish mode of transportation .

Hay goes in the front and you know what comes out the rear . Then about all you need to know to is how to make it go and turn and stop . The only reason the thing won't go or turn or stop is because your Horse is sick or your mule is mad at you ...

Good Luck in the your future ramblings. Maybe they will finally perfect the aerocar that runs only on auto-guided roadways . The only thing you need to know then is how to call for your aerocar to pick you up . Or maybe it will be National Walk-ways ala Robert Heinlein ? You just step on the moving walkway and wait for your stopping off place .

Ken : )

wtf

:weed:
 

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2GR FTW
2007 Toyota Camry SE
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1,543 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
kentarver said:
Hello !

Can it actually be true that there are folks driving now-a-days that really think a weak battery could affect the power steering and the brake booster ? I can see ABS acting up if the batterry is low or weak , but gimme a break .

How on earth do these folks locate the place to insert the petrol nozzle ?

Maybe it is time to revert to the Amish mode of transportation .

Hay goes in the front and you know what comes out the rear . Then about all you need to know to is how to make it go and turn and stop . The only reason the thing won't go or turn or stop is because your Horse is sick or your mule is mad at you ...

Good Luck in the your future ramblings. Maybe they will finally perfect the aerocar that runs only on auto-guided roadways . The only thing you need to know then is how to call for your aerocar to pick you up . Or maybe it will be National Walk-ways ala Robert Heinlein ? You just step on the moving walkway and wait for your stopping off place .

Ken : )
Uhhh, I was just asking, just an uninformed gen4 owner here.
 

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Another thing to consider is how long has it been since you actually changed out your brake fluid, power steering fluid, and antifreeze? The brake and PS fluids can get contaminated and, as has already been stated, all lubricants slow down when cold. When I was in the Air Force in Anchorage, Alaska, I used synthetics in my transmission, engine, and differential. It made a world of difference but I still let it idle for a couple of minutes before I took off.

Now, let's talk about that Amish mode of transportation. Anyone make a turbo kit for this? :lol: Great comments - so true! Love the sarcasm.;)
 

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mixed bag 'o vehicles
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2,862 Posts
its -1 F and my car is doing about the same as everyone elses here, but my windshield squirters arent working today. and theres even some deicer mixed in. made my commute slightly challenging on the highway when i cant see where im going.

on my wifes liberty, the power steering pump is noisy for the first 10 seconds when its this cold out. i love the cold weather, but this is a little too cold for me.
 
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