Last post on Sep 21, 2013 at 7:57 PM
You are in the Toyota Camry
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Toyota Camry, Fuel System, Fuel System, Sedan
#31 of 117 Sulfur Smell
Nov 28, 2005 (9:12 am)
My 1998 Camry (only 70k miles) has had a horrible sulfur smell whenever the engine has to kick into gear to pass or go up a hill. When the sunroof is open, it is unbearable. It comes through the vents when the roof is closed, so I get the smell no matter what.
I took it in to a dealership years ago (I bought it used and it was out of warranty) and was given the "service bulletin" regarding it and told that there was nothing I could do (recommended to change gas brands, which I have done with no success).
Most will say it is the catalytic converter, but I know this is a common problem with Toyotas (the service bulletin confirmed it) and the converter is "too efficient". A buddy bought a new Lexus SUV a few years ago and noticed the same issue. The Dealer replaced the converter with a "less efficient" one rather than take the SUV back.
My question is ... is there a solution to my problem? I don't mind replacing the converter if it resolves it but I'm not sure it will. My car was originally built for California and I know they have higher emission standards. I've had a shop adjust and replace other emission parts but no help.
I really like the Toyota -- any thoughts on how to fix??
#32 of 117 Re: Sulfur Smell [natek1]
Dec 03, 2005 (9:03 am)
Have you tried going to a muffler shop and have them put on a higg flo catalytic converter this allows the converter to pass the gases quicker and usually no smell. I have had the same problem here in California and replaced my converter and no more problems.
#33 of 117 Re: Sulfur Smell [natek1]
Jan 18, 2006 (8:46 pm)
Toyota has had this problem for years. My 2002 Camry has this same problem. There is a TSB (EG013-04)for 02-04 that includes a replacement cat and reflashing the PCM. The fix did not work on my car, and now Toyota is saying there's nothing they can do. I suggest you contact EPA in Ann Arbor Michigan and find out what they are doing about earlier model years. They are the ones that pressured Toyota to come up with a fix for the 02s. Toyota is reluctant because there's so many cars out there with the problem .
As far as using a different fuel, that will only have a limited effect. The entire country is going to low sulphur fuel soon so that might help if you are in an area that doesn't already have low sulphur fuel.
#35 of 117 99 Camry - blue emission during car start only
May 02, 2006 (5:39 am)
I just purchased a 99 used camry with 37000 miles on it (Evans, Georgia). When i start the car in the morning, I get a blue colored emission from tail pipe that lasts a 5 seconds after which it is colorless. What is this blue colored emission due to ?
The engine sounds smooth (no odd noises), drives very smooth.
#36 of 117 Re: 99 Camry - blue emission during car start only [venkyn]
May 02, 2006 (8:30 am)
Blue colored smoke is typically a little bit of oil that has seeped past the valve stems/seals and into the cylinder. When you start it, it burns the oil up and shoots it out your tailpipe. Would be surprised that you'd have that problem with only 37K miles, typically that occurs which much higher mileage vehicles.
#37 of 117 Re: 99 Camry - blue emission during car start only [venkyn]
May 02, 2006 (8:45 am)
Black smoke - overly rich fuel mixture
Blue smoke - burning motor oil
White "smoke" - normal exhaust system condensation being evaporated and blown out into the cold morning air where it instantly condenses back into a white vapor
Blue smoke, even confined to cold startup, is not a good sign on a car with such low accumulated miles. Your car was manufactured at a time (from about 1995 through 2002) when Toyota had some premature engine sludge problems with Camry 4 and 6 cylinder motors. Toyota recommended normal service oil changes a bit longer than the oils of the day would safely sustain for everyday driving. The company's since scaled back to 5,000 miles from the 7,500 mile oil and filter changes it once recommended. Toyota accepted responsibility and repaired or replaced engines as needed under a warranty extension if database service records or owners showed evidence of oil changes performed per owner's manual recommendations. Take your car to a Toyota dealership and request they check their service database to see if your car was serviced through Toyota dealers. You may be entitled to repairs. If the previous owner did his own service or had the car serviced through an independent shop, unless you can supply receipts for materials or service, you may be on your own. Good luck.
#38 of 117 Re: 99 Camry - blue emission during car start only [venkyn]
May 03, 2006 (5:41 am)
Both kiawah and ray_h1 have good advice. I'd add that you can have blue smoke on startup without sludge -- my '97 Camry did. Here's a recap from the Toyota Oil Sludge thread (closed) that I wrote in 2001:
At 57K miles (last summer), the car developed blue smoke on startup. The problem was diagnosed as worn valve stem seals, which were replaced by the local Toyota dealer. At the same time, the head gasket was replaced, because coolant "seepage" onto the outside of the engine block was discovered. All work was done under the terms of the 60K powertrain warranty. The oil and filter was changed at the same time.
I had receipts of most (not all) oil and filter purchases and a detailed handwritten maintenance log, so I got no flak from the dealer about negligence.
Before the work started, the dealer said he'd check for sludge, without me broaching the subject. Luckily my engine was determined to be "fairly clean."
I have also noted in this thread that Toyota with its 2001 models still has a severe service oil change interval of 5000 miles, but they also have a separate card warning of sludge build up if the needed maintenance is ignored.
Still, I'd have your car checked because although you can ignore valve stem seals for the time being, you can't ignore sludge! With such low miles on a relatively old car, it wouldn't surprise me that the oil wasn't changed often enough (in terms to time, obviously not mileage).
BTW, my car started smoking again on startup at 102K miles, but I didn't do anything about it and sold the car at 111K miles disclosing the problem.
#39 of 117 Re: 99 Camry - blue emission during car start only [venkyn]
May 03, 2006 (7:04 am)
You have already received some good advice, but I wanted to add that if it is engine sludge you may have other signs. Check your oil level to see if your car is consuming oil. If your oil level is dropping dramatically after adding oil and you do not see any visible signs of oil loss, it could be sludge. Sometimes the check engine light will come on, but at that point you could have some signficant engine damage. Also, sometimes you can actually tell it is sludged on the dip stick (thick chunky oil). The only way to tell for sure is to have the valve cover pulled.
#40 of 117 Re: 99 Camry - blue emission during car start only [scoti1]
May 09, 2006 (7:07 pm)
Thanks to all that have replied.
Is there a dramatic difference in oil consumption between
(a) valve stem seals leak
(b) engine oil sludge ?
If there is a valve stem leak, how much oil is typically consumed ? a quart every 3000 miles ?