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1995 Toyota Camry - shudders while idling and keeps breaking down


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Lisa337
New User

Aug 23, 2013, 9:47 AM

Post #1 of 5 (1158 views)
1995 Toyota Camry - shudders while idling and keeps breaking down Sign In

INTRO: I've owned a 1995 Toyota Camry for about five years now. Ran great for about 4 years, but early 2013 started noticing a slight but noticeable vibration to it on the road. It's worsened over the months and I've had it towed three times so far this year in February, April, and July.

Everyone says the engine looks great (4-cylendar, 16-valve, 2.2 liter), excellent model, I service it about every 4 months. Under 130,000 miles on it. They can't figure out what's wrong with it and I am very leary it's going to break down again in the next few weeks.

PROBLEM: When I start up the car cold, it runs okay for about 4-5 minutes before I start feeling (and seeing) a significant vibration/shaking, most noticeable when idling at lights or in "Park". Been driving only locally since about Jan/Feb because I'm concerned about it'll break down on me.

HISTORY:

1) Feb. 2013: Doing errands, car would not start up after I hit third local shop. Ignition sounded good but would not catch. Towed to Firestone, which first thought it was the computer, but then ended up replacing distributor.

2) April 2013: Driving locally, shuddering while waiting at a red light got so bad the car cut off and I coasted it to the curb. Towed to my local garage. They replaced distributor put in by Firestone with a higher quality model (I was told).

2.a) A couple days later I took car back and asked them to reexamine it because the shaking problem was still there. They couldn't find anything wrong.

3) July 2013: Morning, car would not start. Ignition again sounded fine but would not catch. Towed to local garage again. On the advice of fam & friends, asked them check fuel line, fuel pump, fan belt, belts, and transmission. They wound up replacing both the computer and the distributor (for third time this year).

After each repair, I noticed within a day that the shuddering problem was still going on. This problem has been ongoing for 7-8 months, very gradually getting worse.

They keep fixing symptoms while the root cause problem remains. Any insight/or ideas anyone may have as to what is going on with my car would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks.

- Lisa


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 23, 2013, 11:55 AM

Post #2 of 5 (1142 views)
Re: 1995 Toyota Camry - shudders while idling and keeps breaking down Sign In

Lisa: When it quits and gets towed in does it just start for the techs? That would be a problem to nail and fix and know you've found something. The computer diagnostics on a 1995 can't help with a history stored so if it behaves when they try things it's tough.

Are you up to date on all the services listed in owner's manual? If not and you aren't giving up go for it. Problems may still exist but you have ruled out a lot.

Spark and fuel delivery AND on time is 99% of the game. Which one falls out you really need to catch in the act.

Let a tech really go thru it for things common and look for trouble spots. Guessing doesn't work so well and gets expensive plus so far isn't working!

T



Lisa337
New User

Aug 26, 2013, 10:21 AM

Post #3 of 5 (1110 views)
Re: 1995 Toyota Camry - shudders while idling and keeps breaking down Sign In

Hi Tom,

Saw your response Saturday but wasn't able to reply. Many thanks for responding.

If I understand your first question correctly, the car gave the techs at both Firestone and my local garage a bit of a time before they could pinpoint the computer. So I guess I'd say yes, when I have had the car towed in it is starting for the techs--but not right away. They've had to do some detective work first before getting it to behave.

I'll skim the owners manual to see what I find in terms of recommended maintenance and services I may have been neglecting. But for the most part, I bring the car in for regular maintenance 3-4 times a year since I've had it. So most areas of service should be up to snuff (I assume).

Talking with my Dad over the weekend, he's wonder if it could be my spark plugs have soot on them. Most of my driving is local and I can go on a tank of gas for nearly a month before I have to fill it again. This has been my driving habit for years with this car and he's wondering if carbon may have built up inside? Said he had a friend with a truck that kept breaking down. Turned out the soot build-up on the truck's spark plugs effected the performance of the pistons (?). Once the sparks were replaced, the truck ran fine again.

Dad also mentioned possibly getting all the engine mounts replaced.

I have to take my car in for inspection this week so I'll ask them to do like you recommended--go through the car, checking for common problems & trouble spots--and also ask them to check the spark plugs and engine mounts. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's something fairly simple (and inexpensive!) that they can fix and have her running smoothly again!

Good looking out, Tom! Really appreciate the excellent advice and your expert insight. I'm feeling better already :-)

Lisa


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 26, 2013, 11:08 AM

Post #4 of 5 (1108 views)
Re: 1995 Toyota Camry - shudders while idling and keeps breaking down Sign In

OK - Seems like it was behaving before they could pin something exact down so there's some room with an OBDI vehicle that's intermittent to get fooled.

Now that you said you can and do go a whole month before refueling I'll suggest if you are waiting to run below 1/4 tank you are probably stressing out the fuel pump which is cooled by the fuel and isn't thrilled about running low and especially out of gas. Tell your techs that history and habit. They would still like to catch it but might be running erratic fuel pressure to way too low such that it doesn't even run lousy then snap out of that.

You may get a suggestion to replace the fuel pump. Have had those that didn't run poorly but all or nothing - no info so left equipment on it and finally caught it in the act. Takes time and most shops might not want that or charge a fortune for just time waiting for it to fail.

Good luck. I hope you get the attention it deserves and can really know it's fixed and not just a guess,

T



Lisa337
New User

Aug 26, 2013, 1:19 PM

Post #5 of 5 (1103 views)
Re: 1995 Toyota Camry - shudders while idling and keeps breaking down Sign In

Did not know about the stress on the fuel pump by letting my fuel go low every month. I'll change my habit and I'll inform the tech at my shop about that history with my operation of the car.

I appreciate the info regarding how I might handle any suggestion to replace the fueld pump--and the luck! (I could use it.) Much obliged, Tom!

Lisa






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