1992 Toyota Cressida Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1992 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

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 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.

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.

The anti-lock brake system (ABS) may function erratically or illuminate the warning light due a damaged wheel speed sensor. A wheel bearing and/or CV joint with excessive runout can cause the ABS trigger rings to rub against the ABS sensors and damage them.

The AC Expansion Valve may develop a very slow leak or allow too much refrigerant flow which reduces cooling. Our technicians tell us that Toyota makes an updated expansion valve to resolve these problems if and when they occur.

At higher mileages (125,000+) the mass air flow sensors may cause the vehicle to idle rough, run rich and even stall. Our technicians recommended to replace the mass air flow sensor with a factory unit because the aftermarket units have very mixed results.

At higher mileages (125,000+) the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor may intermittently stop working, especially when the vehicle is fully warmed up. This can cause the engine to stall unexpectedly.

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.

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.

Typically the AC compressor is worn out by about 150,000 miles in warm and/or humid climates. It is recommended to replace the complete compressor including a new clutch and rpm sensor, and to replace the receiver/dryer as well.

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.

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.

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.