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Mysterious behaviour 2002 Camry 5S-FE


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Hi people,

This is the car I moaned about some time ago, as it always smelled as though it was overheating, was losing water, and was down on power.

New radiator, hoses, PCV been sorted, and, MOSTLY, it's fine. Water loss has stopped, and temp still never rises above normal.

It has been regularly serviced, and passed the VTNZ Roadworthy Test,(WoF in NZ), and they said it was in great shape, apart from a broken seatbelt buckle, which has been replaced.

Lately though, it's been unwilling to run on 4 cylinders from a cold start, but always goes first turn of the key.

If I start it in the morning, leave it idling, check the mailbox, then it's generally running on all four. If it's having a bad day, then it won't be happy about reversing up the drive, and can take 10 minutes before it comes right.

No Engine Check Light coming up, and I just drove it 800km to my sister's wedding.

Great fuel economy, plenty of grunt for passing and hills, but on a very light throttle, such as going down a hill that's not steep enough to coast, then it starts to miss badly. If I accelerate slightly, all good. If I back right off, all good.

Will happily cruise at 110 - 120 km/h, but even warmed up, there is still a very occasional miss sitting at idle in Drive at traffic lights, and if I park up in Neutral, it occasionally misses a beat.

I admit that I wound it out to the redline the other day, and it was off like a rocket, but this missing has me a bit confused.

I suspect it's an ignition issue, as it stinks my carport out with raw petrol fumes while it's running on three cylinders. No distributor, unlike my '97 version, all separate coils.

No obvious sparks arcing with the bonnet open in the dark.

Wondering if perhaps the airflow meter thing is on the way out? (Hence the weird behaviour on a light throttle).

Car is probably worth $2 - 3K, with all the other work that's been done on it now, but at nearly 250,000 km on it, is it worth getting into a bunch of diagnostics by replacing things piece by piece?

Or do I condemn it to the role of beach car to tow the boat along 60 km of sand?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Cheers, Andy


2002 Camry Wagon.png

Edited by HOTPIG175
Crap spelling! Sorry.
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