Last post on Oct 31, 2012 at 8:23 AM
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Toyota Camry, Sedan
#1 of 150 2001 4Cyl Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter
Nov 11, 2007 (5:36 pm)
Hi Folks, Can anyone help me? I have a 2001 Toyota Camry LE, 4 Cyl with 125K miles and I'm going on my fifth (that's right 5) catalytic converter. I bought the car used from a dealer and a short time later the Check Engine Light came on (42K mi.). The dealer said it was the catalytic converter and replaced it under warranty. About 1 year later, same thing (different dealer)(62K mi.). About 2 years later same thing only this time not covered under warranty and many other parts including sensors were noted. I took it to my mechanic who told me 2 Oxygen Sensors and 2 Cat Converters were bad. The sensors were probably bad all along and they would make the cat converters go bad over time. I spent the $2K+ and thought it would be fine. 6 Months later, same thing. My mechanic replaced the converter under warranty. 6 Months later same thing light came on. My mechanic says it's the cat converter again. Only now he not so sure given the number of times I've been through this. Here is my question: Could this be the oil gel problem? Note: Oil is changed regularly. No blue smoke or oil consumption evidence. My mechanic ruled this out based on his knowledge of the vehicle. If not oil gel, what else could it be? (My next step is calling the Car Guys.)
#2 of 150 Re: 2001 4Cyl Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter [chet01588]
Nov 11, 2007 (7:01 pm)
Seems like you're burning a mixture in your cylinders that the cat converters don't like. You'd think the replacing the oxygen sensors would tell the computer to change the mixture, but perhaps either that isn't happening or some other sensor is bad.
Are you loosing coolant (like caused from a blown headgasket)? or perhaps is something off in the timing?
#3 of 150 Re: 2001 4Cyl Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter [chet01588]
Nov 15, 2007 (10:40 am)
Sorry I do not have an answer for you but I do have a question. I have a 2002 LE with 150,000 miles and the check engine light has been on for 4 or 5 months. I took it to the dealer last week and he is claiming that I need a new catalytic converter and possibly one or two sensors. Cost for the catalytic convertor installed is $850.00 and each sensor is $250.00, does this sound right?
What is the downside of doing nothing? I would like to drive this car as long as possible but spending $1350.00 when the car is running like a charm seems crazy.
#4 of 150 Re: 2001 4Cyl Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter [zoom500]
Nov 15, 2007 (12:50 pm)
Many if not most states, will not pass your vehicle for state inspection if the check engine light is on. Perhaps where you live it is different, but you should be aware of that protential exposure.
Secondly, you may have caused more damage already, due to not taking action at the first sign of a problem. For instance, you could have had one faulty sensor originally, and because you drove it for another 5 months you actually then damaged the catalytic converter beyond repair. The sensors tell the engine computer how well and complete it is burning the mixture, and it lets the computer adjust the mixture and timings correctly. If your engine is now running lean, you could end up burning the valves in the engine and then you are in for some big buxx. Running to rich, ruin the converter. Hard to know how many miles you put on in 5 months, and how much fuel was put thru the engine.
If it was me, I'd clear the error codes and then after the error code sets again take it to an autoparts chain where they will read the codes for you. I personally have a reader as they are now relatively cheap, but many of the chains (pep boys, autozone, etc) will read it for you for free. That code (search on the internet if you don't have the service manuals) will suggest the first failing component, which very well might be the first in line Oxygen sensor.
I don't know the cost of a sensor for your car, but they typically run around 50-100 bucks, plus installation which is usually pretty easy. I would not delay getting this problem identified and resolved, and you may find it doesn't need all of the parts suggested.
#5 of 150 Re: 2001 4Cyl Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter [zoom500]
Nov 15, 2007 (7:53 pm)
The prices sound about right for a dealer. From my experience go with the dealer installed opart and get the longest possible warranty. My mechanic did some research about using after market parts for the catalytic converters and they typically don't last as long. In my case, as Kiawa pointed out, the mixture seems to be "destroying" the after market cat converters.
Make sure you have a dealer you can trust and if they suggest replacing the O2 sensors then you should as they will cause the cat converters to fail if they are not fuunctioning properly. (The sensors are used by the computer to adjust the fuel mixture.) If you're not sure the dealer is being straight, take it to your local mechanic for 2nd opinion. If he is reputable he will charge you a nominal fee to diagnose, $50 or so, and it may be worth it for the piece of mind.
Best of luck.
PS - Thanks for the input Kiawa. The mechanic did check the things you suggested and was not able to find a problem. The cat converter will be replaced under warranty (again) and I will see what happens in 6 months. After that I will get the dealer replacement. Even at $2K for a fully warranteed repair it is still cheaper than buying a new car.
#6 of 150 of 5 2001 4Cyl Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter by chet01588
Mar 30, 2008 (6:38 pm)
I replaced my cat converter at 107,000 miles Oct. 2006 on my 2003 Camry. That was after a year of an off and on check engine light. It cost me right around $250.00 which was mostly labor charges at the dealership. I've since found an excellent Toyo mechanic that happens to be a Master Toyota mechanic that does all my work for a third of the cost.
#7 of 150 my cat converter
Jul 05, 2008 (11:42 am)
i took my 2002 camry to the dealer for the check engine light and was told i needed a new cat converter. the price was high so i called a different place. the person told me it could be $200 or $800 depending on which one it is. is there more than one cat converter on a toyota camry or is he shooting me load of crap?
#8 of 150 Re: my cat converter [sratliff]
Jul 06, 2008 (6:13 pm)
There's almost certainly a difference between the 4-cylinder and the V6. There's also a possibility that cars sold under California's emission standards may have different cats.
#9 of 150 Re: of 5 2001 4Cyl Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter by chet01588 [sunporch]
Jul 31, 2008 (10:01 pm)
I have a 2001 corolla w. over 112k miles. I was just told by my dealer ( in NJ) that I need replace my cat converter for my car w. $23K after they diagnosed my check engine light. Why the cost you paid and the one I was told is 10 times different?
I went to autopartswarehouse.com searching the cat converter for my car. The highest parts price is about $400, and the lowest is around $70. I know those are after market parts, but who can tell me the difference? ( I searched the online, there is no official toyota parts price online.)
I paid 100 bucks to my dealer for my check engine light diagnosis, do I need pay another 50 bucks to another mechanic for a 2nd opinion?
On April 2007, that dealer just changed the 222204-15010 meter sub-assy, INTA for my car since the check engine' light was on. Is the present problem can be related to the previous one?
What should I do next? The light has been on since July 10, 2008, should I still drive to the place 100 miles away from my house?
#10 of 150 Faulty Catalytic Converter??
Nov 28, 2008 (12:02 am)
I have a 2006 Camry LE V6 with about 90k miles. It drives fine BUT for this problem. When ever I accelerate, it vibrates. The harder the acceleration, the harder you notice the vibration. If i am maintaining same speed irrespective of how fast, it rolls just fine. if i accelerate slow, you might not notice the rattle. I have had my check in engine light on for some weeks now. I have been to the dealership about this vibration and they say its the catalytic converter. I am wondering, can this really be the cause of the vibration on acceleration? I am thinking after reading posts here, that something should have made it go bad. However, these guys are not telling me anything thing like that. They just told me I need to change the front and the rear and slam me a bill of $1900 to get both cat converters replaced. I really want to be sure this is the cause of my problem. any suggestions to the cause of this vibration? Thanks folks.