97 Camry timing issue

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Old 07-13-18, 10:32 AM
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97 Camry timing issue

Hey everybody,

I had a massive oil leak in my Camry. It got so bad that I was putting in about 2 quarts just to drive 50 miles!!!! I watched some youtube videos and was about 99% sure it was the seals in the oil pump. I'm a bit strapped for cash atm, so I decided to do it myself although the most experience I've had working on cars was changing the spark plugs.

Good news is, I was right about the oil pump seals. The car always had a minor leak that is likely from elsewhere, so there's still an inconsequential leak of a few drops on the cardboard after driving it 50 or so miles, but it's no longer bleeding like a dying animal.

The bad news is, I didn't take the timing belt as serious as I should and I think I messed up the timing for the car. I spent half a day taking off the belt, making adjustments and putting it back on and nothing seems to fix the issue for me and I can't find any videos on Youtube for when things go wrong. They both assumed everything went right.

What made it particularly hard to try to line anything up is that the camshaft was "fighting" me when I'd try to adjust it. It seems to like being in certain positions, and while it's hard to turn it clockwise from them all of the sudden it will "snap" and quickly rotate about 25-30 degrees. When I would get it lined up, I'd have to hold it there with the socket wrench in one hand while trying to loop the new timing belt through everything. I'm not sure if this issue is indicative of a larger problem itself, but after buttoning it all up I was able to drive the car.


Now that it's all put back together I was able to drive on the expressway and even get it up to 80mph and it seems pretty good. There are some issues though.

1. The car doesn't seem to start "right". It pretty much fires up right away, but I can't really explain what's wrong with it. It just doesn't sound like a "smooth" start.

2. The car seems to idle a bit rougher than it used to. This may just be in my head since there is an exhaust problem and the car was already pretty loud for a Camry for the last year or so.

3. When getting it between around 1500-2000 RPM, it just doesn't feel right and seems a bit shaky. Above 2000 it actually seems fine, and other than the possible sluggish idle I mentioned in 2 it doesn't seem too bad below 1500 RPM.


I'm extremely strapped for cash and was hoping that I could get another 2-3 years out of this car. I need to get new tires/breaks and replace the cracked windshield before the winter though if I don't get a new used car, but I'm afraid to put any additional money into it right now. I just know I can't go another winter of white knuckle driving because I didn't take care of the issues while the weather was good. I don't have a cell phone either, so you can imagine how stressful it was driving to work and back with all of these issues.

I'm wondering if anybody here feels that this problem will get worse over time or not. If this is my "new normal", I can live with it until I get a new car. I'm just deathly afraid of it dying in the middle of the expressway when it's 10 degrees outside.


Thank you for reading this. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!
 
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Old 07-13-18, 01:37 PM
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would probably recheck your timing belt alignment if you need to redo it you want all the slack on the tensioner side and when you tighten the tensioner in some cases the cam or crank will turn a little so you may have to install the belt not aligned so when tension is applied it will actually turn and be in time.
before putting all back together turn the crank over two revolutions to tdc and recheck the cam and crank marks if its not in alignment remove belt off cam and fix it and then turn the engine over 2 revolutions again to tdc until it is, then finish putting back together.
 
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Old 07-13-18, 02:24 PM
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Yeah. I've seen that answer posted before.

My question is it alright to leave it like it is with the symptoms the way they are.

I'm not going to be personally opening it up again because it's too advanced for me.


As I said in the post, the cam shaft is not turning smoothly, which is making it harder to align than it probably should be.
 
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Old 07-13-18, 02:47 PM
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I wouldn't want to leave it that way and expect it to last 2-3 more years if the timing is off would probably see about fixing it either by yourself or at a shop it may seem complicated but you would probably be a little quicker at this time around if you do decide to give it a try.
 
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Old 07-13-18, 03:31 PM
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I could get to it in about 2 hours. I wouldn't even need a video to follow this time.

The problem is that the camshaft doesn't turn smooth and fights me the entire way. Either it won't stay where I put it and turns back on its own, or when I turn it far enough it flys about 25-30 degrees clockwise.

I already took off the timing belt half a dozen times or more and tried putting it on again, but since I really have no idea what I'm doing and because of that camshaft issue I'm not going to figure it out on my own.

Do my symptoms I mentioned sound like the timing is off? Hell... I can't even say for sure that I didn't get it right or not. There isn't any knocking or loud noises or anything. As I said, I did manage to get it up to 80mph and sustain that on the highway. On the way back I had to fight rush hour and it seemed pretty okay. I may just be hypersensitive about all the other problems this car already had.

Called around and everybody wants two weeks of my pay to do this. That's not really an option for me at the moment.
 
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Old 07-14-18, 03:39 AM
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rough idle and hard start could be a symptom of it being off a tooth really wont know until you check the marks.
 
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Old 07-14-18, 03:53 AM
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thanks for the info so far...

Do you have any thoughts on the camshaft fighting me? It makes it almost impossible to try lining anything up. I haven't been able to find any information online about this happening.

Do you think I just need to try adjusting something, or is my engine possibly jacked up?
 
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Old 07-15-18, 11:10 AM
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The camshaft is "fighting you" because, as you turn it, it is trying to open valves .. those valves have springs on them trying to close the valves.

Get everything lined up and it should be good-to-go
 
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Old 07-15-18, 03:27 PM
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I've tried replying twice now and the website keeps denying it saying my token expired then deletes my post. Just a quick one here to say thanks.
 
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