1997 Toyota Camry Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Toyota Camry as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The valve cover gaskets have a tendency to leak oil, especially the one near the firewall.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate with code P0770 and/or P0773 stored. This would indicate a fault with the 3-way lock-up solenoid which could be defective and may need replacement.

The proper repair for a leaking Steering Rack & Pinion is replacement with a new unit.

A loss of power on the freeway may due to an internally leaking fuel pulsation dampener. This commonly occurs on higher mileage vehicles.

At higher mileages, an anti-lock brake system wheel speed sensor may wear out and illuminate the ABS warning light. It is recommended to replace the sensor with a factory part and be sure to clean all rust and debris from the mounting area because the mounting distance is critical. Failure to do so may result in the new sensor setting false trouble codes. Be sure to check the condition and runout of the front wheel bearings on the 2WD and 4WD vehicles and the CV joints on the 4WD vehicles since worn wheel bearings and/or CV joints can cause the ABS trigger rings to rub against the ABS sensors and damage them.

The Evaporative system may have problems with the vapor canister releasing charcoal pellets that plug the vent valve. Typically a Code P0441, P0442 and P0446 will be set. The key code is the P0446 which is a vent valve electrical failure. The proper repair is to replace the entire canister with all the valves as a unit. This is located on top of the fuel tank and is expensive. Our Technicians tell us that for awhile Toyota was covering these problems, but this may have changed. It would not hurt to call the dealer if this problem occurs to see if Toyota is still helping with these repairs.

Debris can get into the idle air control valve. This will restrict the air flow into the engine, causing idle speed and/or stalling when cold. The valve can be cleaned or replaced to correct this concern.

The timing belt tensioners may make a rattling noise at a higher mileages. This is due to the adjustment being at its limit. Our technicians tell us that range of the adjuster may be lengthened by elongating the slot where the spring attaches by 2-3 mm to remedy this problem.

The Throttle Position Sensor can get out of adjustment due to wear in the throttle body or due to carbon build up. This will cause the idle timing to advance more than 30 degrees which will cause very high HC and NOx emissions. Conversely, the Throttle Position Sensors can wear out and not properly advance the timing which causes a lack of power and poor fuel economy.

A rough idle and even an emissions inspection failure for high HC and CO can be caused by improperly adjusted valves. Also, exhaust valves may become to tight which can lead to valve failures. Our technicians tell us that regular valve adjustment inspections are a must.

We recommend flushing the brake fluid every 60,000 miles because the fluid can become dirty and may cause problems in the brake system such as premature failure of the master cylinder or wheel cylinders.

Over the time the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system may become plugged with debris, the oxygen sensor may also be getting slow or 'lazy' around this time. When servicing or cleaning  the EGR system, it is a good idea to replace the oxygen sensor because it works in tandem with the EGR system.

Front brake rotors can wear causing a pulsation felt in the brake pedal. Our technicians tell us this condition is best corrected by replacement of the front rotors and brake pads.