2002 camry

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  #1  
Old 01-11-12, 03:03 PM
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2002 camry - Head Gasket???

2002 Camry XLE 2.4L 170K

Before today car ran sweet, however this AM the wife pulled up in the driveway said the car was smoking and check engine light just came on. Went outside saw a little what appeared to be condensation around the car, looked under the hood didn't see/hear much (little steam/smoke from the around/beneath the manifold), nothing to be terribly concerned about. Drove it around a short block, nothing notable. Told her to drive it to work and she latter called saying she pulled in and car smoked up the parking lot. Went to get it a couple hrs later, drove it, and almost immediately heat gauge starting going up, car began smoking/steaming out the rear end (while driving) and only after one or two miles temp pegged. I stopped it let it cooled down and put a couple liters of water in the radiator. Initially tried while car was idling but the radiator was spewing water back out so I stopped the engine and put about a liter of water (all I had available) in it. Walked back to my car and to go get a new thermostat which I replaced. Replaced one gallon of water and one gallon of antifreeze. Tried to restart, and it ran really rough, difficult to start and would not continue running for any period of time.

It doesn't sound good, any ideas.
 

Last edited by kennn; 01-11-12 at 03:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-11-12, 04:15 PM
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Maybe head gasket, although that 2.4L Camry engine is a solid motor (wife has an '01, about same mileage as yours). From your description you've found no external coolant leaks, i.e hoses, radiator, etc? The fact that it is difficult to start and then runs rough would tend to point to a head gasket. I would start by pulling spark plugs to see if there is any evidence of coolant in the cylinders. One thing to watch for is one or more plugs where the porcelain on the center electrode looks like brand new - clean & white - this is often sign of coolant getting into cylinder; it essentially steam-cleans the spark plug. Also check the dipstick if you haven't already; if the head gasket blows into an oil passage you'll have "peanut butter" in the crankcase.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 05:59 PM
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I did check the dip stick, I didn't notice anything unusual. Seen it once before it looked like a malted milkshake. I will check the plugs as well.

I looked for plugs, are they on the back of the motor above the manifold.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 07:08 PM
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you do have internal leak. oil looking like milkshake is the number one sign of coolant getting into the oil and then it's being wipped up into emulsion by moving parts.
no, plugs are dead smack in the center of the valve cover. you may have plastic cosmetic cover, covering plugs and wires. usually, couple easy bolts to remove it, then you should find ignition packs and spark plugs deep inside plug wells.
now that you smoked out the exhaust pipe, sounds like coolant got into exhaust. you'll kill cat by not fixing it instantly.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 08:37 PM
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To be clear, there was no indication of water (or milk shake) on the oil dip stick I was referring to seeing it several years ago in anoter car, not this car.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 05:55 AM
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I had to think about the spark plug question; wife's '01 has them clearly visible center of valve cover. Don't remember what an '02 would look like, but uk is probably right about a plastic cover.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 06:43 AM
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I recall the plastic cover. I sure he's right.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 06:37 PM
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