1991 Toyota Cressida Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1991 Toyota Cressida based on complaints from 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

Usually by 150,000 miles the AC system will need some attention, especially in climates where it is used often. Our technicians tell us that it is best to service the AC system every 2-3 years. This keeps the moisture in the system at a minimum which extends the life of the components.

Our technicians report that by 100,000 miles, the ignition key tends to wear out and should be replaced or it may not work as well in the door locks or ignition lock cylinder.

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.

If the vehicle will not crank over, the most common problem is the starter, which tend to fail at about 100,00-125,000 miles. Sometimes it is only the starter solenoid contacts, but often the complete starter (including solenoid) needs to be replaced.

At higher mileages, (125,000-150,000) the automatic transmission may not shift correctly. This can be caused by the throttle position sensor being out of adjustment or a shift solenoid needing to be replaced. Typically the transmission does not need to be completely overhauled.

The EGR System tends to get restricted or blocked with carbon after 100,000- 125,000 miles which will cause an emissions test failure for NOX. If the EGR system is equipped with an EGR temperature sensor it will trigger a Check Engine Light for improper EGR flow. The repair is to clean out the EGR passages and the EGR Temperature sensor. Our technicians tell this repair is pretty straight forward and takes about 1-1.5 hours. It is also wise to verify the EGR system components i.e. the Transducer, EGR Valve and VSV Solenoid at this time.

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.

The 1988-1992 Toyota Cressida is known to leak engine coolant and overheat due to a leaky heater control valve. Drivers will notice a decrease in heater performance, and increase in engine temperature. 

The purpose of this valve is to control the amount of heat that enters the cabin of the vehicle. If this valve has failed, it is recommended to use the OEM part for replacement.

Please note, the engine in the Cressida is prone to head gasket failure, so it is imperative that any coolant issues are addressed immediately to avoid costly repairs.

The 1988-1992 Toyota Cressida used an asbestos type head gasket which commonly fails. Symptoms of a blown head gasket include:

-Start and stall, or no start condition

-Rough idle if the engine starts

-White smoke from exhaust

-Loss of power

-Milky, white oil on dipstick 

If you experience these symptoms, do not attempt to restart the vehicle, and have the problem addressed immediately. 

The solution is to replace the head gasket with an updated metal head gasket, and flush the engine and coolant systems of contaminants. 

The 1988-1992 Toyota Cressida may lose power, fuel economy, and possibly have black smoke from the tail pipe due to a known issue with the knock sensor and/or knock sensor wiring harness. 

The knock sensor is mounted to the engine, and detects knocking and pinging conditions which may harm the engine. When the knock sensor malfunctions, engine performance is decreased and fuel consumption is increased causing 'rich' running conditions. The check engine light is associated with OBD Trouble Code 52.

There are two common fixes for this issue: Inspect/repair sensor wiring harness, and test/replace knock sensor.

Our technicians tell us that it is important to change the coolant with factory coolant and replace the thermostat every 60,000 miles. The will help protect the head gasket, otherwise the head gasket can deteriorate and be stressed to the point of failure.

Our technicians 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 early failure of the master cylinder or wheel cylinders.

The power steering pump may develop a leak requiring replacement of the pump.