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Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
3/27/11 7:30 p.m.

so ive now got my wofes old camry as a DD. its got 240K on it, and automatic, 2.2 4 cyl, and a WORN OUT suspension. i did put new struts on it a few years ago....

damn thing just wont die. except for it being cranky on cold mornings (a few electrical gremlins and a bad IAC), and that its let her sit at wal mart a few times, theres nothing wrong with it. my dad was the rogonal owner, and its been properly maintained.

well, i should edit the nothing wrong with it. ive had more un with a swift kick to the nuts from a pissed off redhead. this thing sucks my will to live just driving it around town. i actually feel like im less of a man every time i even pick up the keys.

so after loosing my 2002 legacy 2.5GT to her, and selling my open track prepped s10 daily, im stuck with my two choices of 89 chevy fullsize long bed extended cab, or the camry for my daily. id rather drive the truck, but at 18MPG, it makes more sense to drive the camry.

so i want it to suck less.

heres my thoughts (and remember, no bidget, ive done no research, and its a freaking camry, so anything HAS to be a step in the right direction)

  1. replace ALL the bushings in the suspension. im thinking polyurethane of o can find them

  2. bigger sway bars (off of what?)

  3. lowering. it needs to come down a bit. tires are still in great shape, though, so ill be keeping the 14;s for now. and theyre michelens.
  4. some nifty 14" mags
  5. bigger stereo (stock tape deck just doenst cut it. needs at least a CD player)
  6. any other bidget handling mods?

after the chassis and comfort stuf, id like to get better gas milage and performance out of the old 4 cyl (and a 5 speed swap is NOT an option) i was thinking about a bigger throttle body, header, and exhaust system, but cant seem to find anything like that with a quick search of Ebay. any ideas?

lastly, any other avnue to make this thing suck less? if i succeed well enough, i WILL autocross and rallycross it. my main goal long term is to keep my sould and see this thing rack up 400K on the origonal motor, without a rebuild.

Michael

imirk
imirk Reader
3/27/11 7:34 p.m.
  1. detail it
  2. sell it
  3. ...
  4. Profit! (also known as buy a miata)
jhaas
jhaas Reader
3/27/11 7:37 p.m.
imirk wrote: 1. detail it 2. sell it 3. ... 4. Profit! (also known as buy a miata)

i agree, sell it and move on. dont pour $2000 into a POS that you dont like.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
3/27/11 8:17 p.m.

Keep it. Put some 15" wheels on it and some decent tires. Some Koni's. Get a stereo if that's your thing. Take the rest of the money you would have spent and buy a toy. MR2, Rolla, or some kinda datsun thing like a (ugh) Miata or a Silvia. Having something that starts and gets you where you want to go while pushing 30 MPG is not boring or soul sucking. Having your daily driver broken down constantly is soul sucking, even if it is "cool."

And, replace the O ring behind the oil pump ASAP, if it hasn't been done already. May as well do a timing belt while your there, as the work is the same.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
3/27/11 8:32 p.m.

Jump it over something. That ought to take the "boring" out of it at least one time.

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
3/27/11 8:53 p.m.

Without the 5-speed swap there is NO other option.

SELL IT!

ShadowSix
ShadowSix Reader
3/27/11 8:59 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote: ...or some kinda datsun thing like a (ugh) Miata...

Wait.
What?

I fully agree with the rest of the post though.

sanman
sanman New Reader
3/27/11 9:11 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: Jump it over something. That ought to take the "boring" out of it at least one time.

Them Duke boys are at it again!

HappyAndy
HappyAndy HalfDork
3/27/11 9:37 p.m.

A friend of mine has a similar camry, It had completly worn-out bushings in the front end and bad struts all around, I replaced the struts and front bushings and was shocked at the difference in ride quality. It didn't turn into a mini or SER but it was suprising. My friend, who is not a car guy noticed it too. So my point is that swithing it to performance oriented struts, bushings and springs (and 15" rims) might make it bearable. OTOH for my money, if I could only have one car, I would sell it and find a better starting point for a sporty car.

daytonaer
daytonaer Reader
3/27/11 9:49 p.m.
Dusterbd13 wrote: 1. replace ALL the bushings in the suspension. im thinking polyurethane of o can find them 2. bigger sway bars (off of what?) 3. lowering. it needs to come down a bit. tires are still in great shape, though, so ill be keeping the 14;s for now. and theyre michelens. 4. some nifty 14" mags 5. bigger stereo (stock tape deck just doenst cut it. needs at least a CD player) 6. any other bidget handling mods?

Don't do anything. Don't spend a dime. Maybe get a satelite radio so you can distract yourself with music or talk radio. Maybe do some aero bits to bump the mpg.

Other than that, spend your money on something you enjoy. Mags/bushings/handling mods on your fun car, or a kart if you can't get another car. Just use it for what it is (a commuter car that will save you money so you can spend it on other cars).

If you are insistent on modifying it; raise the suspension, put mud flaps and rally lights on it, knobby tires, lots of stickers and cover it in mud. That would be cool.

Vigo
Vigo Dork
3/27/11 10:58 p.m.

I agree with not doing anything to it that you cant do for free.

2002maniac
2002maniac HalfDork
3/27/11 11:46 p.m.

Take advantage of the toyota resale value anomaly and sell it!

gamby
gamby SuperDork
3/28/11 12:13 a.m.

+1 for satellite radio. Best cure for commute misery.

Other than that--it gets you to work reliably and cheaply. You don't have to constantly be conscious of its lack of excitement. Excitement is for your weekend car.

I'm thrilled that I was able to turn into an "A to B" mentality in terms of beaters. Makes things a lot less expensive (even though I did put Koni/Tein suspension on my beater Civic sedan).

Luke
Luke SuperDork
3/28/11 5:04 a.m.

Rattle-can a jolly roger on the hood. Maybe something like this:

And then...

Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: Jump it over something.

In seriousness, I would do the absolute minimum to prepare it for rally-X, then just go have fun.

huge-O-chavez
huge-O-chavez SuperDork
3/28/11 5:08 a.m.

Do nothing with it... drive it every day, enjoy the cheap commuter. Fix the broken stuff.

Save $$$ for a fun car... Seriously, no matter what you do to that car, you'll hate it. You'd rather be spending your hard earned money on something that you'll like.

pres589
pres589 Dork
3/28/11 5:36 a.m.

Either detail & sell or basic repairs & daily drive the thing, saving money for something more enjoyable. Suspension bushings and new shocks (Koni, Bilstein, etc) would be smart with that kind of mileage. Get some 15's under that thing when your current tires are done. Otherwise I'd leave it all alone.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
3/28/11 7:44 a.m.

yeah, i cant justify getting rid of this thing. ive still got my other toy (12 second, street legal 70 duster that im doinbg autocross with now), so i dont NEED a toy. i just hate to drive the camry.

i think that ill go with y'alls suggestions though. CD player, suspension rebuild/general repair/maintenance, and see what i get from there. may suprise me enough that i dont hate it as much.

when the 14's wear out, ill probably go 16's as they are much easier to find used tires for.

any suggestions for performance/MPG boost stuff that will actually pay for itself in the next 150K?

thanks again for helping my thinking process. with the price of gas lately, i cant justify my 400 mile a week routine in my 1/2 ton.

Michael

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 Dork
3/28/11 7:53 a.m.

A 50 shot of NOS for when you need a little extra passing power.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
3/28/11 8:35 a.m.

What year is it? If it's got a log exhaust manifold, you can update to the later years tubular manifold with pretty minimal work, and it SHOULD give you a few ponies.

Throttle body won't do much. That motor barely breathes enough to necessitate the throttle body it has on it now. Intake and the later header to get you some sound, maybe a MPG or two.

I'd mainly stick with the handling stuff. Just remember, at their core, (depending on the year) they're pretty much an ugly 4-door Celica. They WILL handle, but will always be somewhat let down by the overboosted steering.

Decent shocks of your choice, poly bushings, Eibach Sportlines (not prokit, they suck bad), and decent swaybars, and you should be ready to rock. When you go with 16s, grab some 2000-2005 Celica GTS rims. They're cheap, and look nice.

I don't know if there's any junkyard options for the swaybars. If there are, you're looking at Celicas of the same vintage, or a solara if your car is that new. Otherwise, i think Suspension Techniques actually makes bars for most camrys.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
3/28/11 8:36 a.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: A 50 shot of NOS for when you need a little extra passing power.

The motor will hold far more than that. The trans.... probably not.

Bench Racer (BowtieBandit)
Bench Racer (BowtieBandit) Reader
3/28/11 8:42 a.m.

I'm a firm believer in a boring DD, as it makes the toy car seem so much more fun. If you hate it so much, tint the windows so you won't be seen in it, although I wouldn't mind a campy. Atleast it's a midsize and you have more room.

KATYB
KATYB New Reader
3/28/11 9:04 a.m.

im sorry did someone say the 5s-fe will hold more than 50 of nitrous? i disagree. the block and crank yes. heck the pistons too. butthe rods in those motors are a joke. i had it happen in mine and we had multiples come into our dealership with stretched rods that cause interferance also have seen so many with bent rods its not even funny.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
3/28/11 9:19 a.m.
KATYB wrote: im sorry did someone say the 5s-fe will hold more than 50 of nitrous? i disagree. the block and crank yes. heck the pistons too. butthe rods in those motors are a joke. i had it happen in mine and we had multiples come into our dealership with stretched rods that cause interferance also have seen so many with bent rods its not even funny.

The rods will hold just fine. They aren't the weak point. The con-rod bolts are the weak point. Interesting that you've seen stretched rods... usually when the bottom ends fail, they just completely grenade because the bolts let go.

And yes. It will hold more than a 50shot. Far more. Years ago there were a couple MR2 guys running 135 shot progressive on their cars, and it held. I've run a 100shot on my 253k mile motor a few times, and it's NOT had an easy life, was turbo'd for 80k of that.

Now that people are actually taking the time to tune these motors, there's a few of them making over 300whp on stock motor with a pretty basic turbo setup w/ eManage.

On this car, i'd be far more worried about the limits of the transmission than the motor, since that'll be what goes first. For that reason, i wouldn't even suggest spraying this thing.

KATYB
KATYB New Reader
3/28/11 9:28 a.m.

yep measured and verified as stretched. im pretty sure ive still got a bunch of short blocks sitting in my garage that i stole due to the whole sludge issues.... ive got a bunch of 1mz's also.. however not the worst rods ive ever seen. the 1.8 v6 mazda rods that your could twist with a screw driver those were fun.... only mazda ive ever seen with weak rods. the rod stretching comes from over revving. seems about 8k they stretch very easily.

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
3/28/11 9:31 a.m.

You're in luck, I once owned a '98 Camry CE. In it's defense, it had a 5 speed, and the CE was the lightest one available, so it wasn't awful.

Forum support back in the day consisted of Camryman.org, but the site went down a while back and Toyota Nation was where the user base shifted to:

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=103

Judging from the 4th post down, you already found it, so that's good news.

This would be my plan:

F&R Swaybars - First thing I'd do it so add swaybars (F&R). Whiteline used to sell them, although they were tough to get in the US. At the time (2001), I had to jump on a Group Buy on the Camry Forum to get them from Australia. Now that Whiteline is mainstream in the US, it'll be easier to get them.

Evaluate what you want to do next after the swaybars. When the struts are gone, replace them with something better. KYB GR-2s and Tokicos were the two giants back in the day, I went with the GR-2s and regretted it. They weren't a good mix with the Eibach Pro-Kit springs, much too harsh up front. Over 50K or so they degraded significantly.

If I had to do it again, I'd probably go with a very minimal lowering (Tein had an almost stock height spring that would be a good candidate) and the best set of struts I could buy. Tokico blues fit that bill back in the day. This will also make the car easier to re-sell if you have to (people who want a Camry want it stock). Those mods will be pretty transparent to your average person.

Being a 5spd, I installed the TRD Quickshifter. When I sold it, I also had an OBX strut tower brace, and I had upgraded the pads (had good luck with Hawk HPS pads). Mine came with the 14" wheels stock, so I added some 15" steel wheels and tires from Tirerack when it needed new tires.

Bang for the buck, the swaybars made the biggest difference, so I'd start there.

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