Last post on Aug 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM
You are in the Toyota Camry
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Toyota Camry, Sedan
Feb 05, 2011 (8:12 pm)
I own a Camry 2002, 4 Cylinder LE Automatic with 140 K miles. I am the first owner (from MA).
The check engine light has been on and off by itself for the last 6 years(Around 70K miles it started)
My car is due for the inspection this month and the light is on again.
I am afraid this message will be a long one but I would like to give you the past history of the vehicle. Before the light started turning on, a Toyota dealer had to replace one of the cylinders at 49K miles at no charge since engine constantly needed to add oil and oil would turn black in every 2 K miles. It took them two weeks to do the job. I don`t know if this is contributing to engine light problem or not.
When the first time the light came on it was around around 70 K miles, 6 years ago. I took it to a Toyota dealer. They were not able to find the exact reason but said it is due to a small gas leak from the muffler near the engine most likely. Car was taking already contaminated air and that could be the reason for misreading.
Light turned on mostly at winter months and while driving distances more than 100 miles. And it disappeared by itself in a few months.
Last year the light turned on one month before the inspection. I still went to inspection and failed.
I took the car to my mechanic. He changed the oil and the air filter. Light turned off and I tried again and my car passed the inspection.
Now I have 140K miles and the light came on two months ago. My car is due for inspection this month. I haven`t taken the car to the test yet. My mechanic scanned and the code P0420 came out. It says "Catalyst system efficiency below threshold-bank 1,
Probable cause 1- AF sensor error 2-Fuel system fault 3-Faulty catalytic converter.
Mechanic says it could cost up to $2000 `s. He suggests replacing the first cat. converter with an original one from Toyota. If this doesn`t solve the problem then change the evaporator and the second converter.
I am wondering if the main cause is some kind of disfunction of the replaced Cylinder. Is it possible that the repaired cylinder has been functioning less than perfect and this has been leading to too heavy input into the catalyst system?
Finally is it worth repairing this car or Should I sell it for parts?(I also feel I will need a new muffler very soon)
Thank you for your patiance. Sincerely
#115 of 153 Re: Code P0420 [confused55]
Feb 05, 2011 (9:37 pm)
First I am not sure what you mean by "replaced Cylinder". You can't replace a cylinder. Did they maybe replace a piston and rings? Anyway it doesn't matter. You said before when it failed, you then had the oil and air filter changed (I am assumming you had the oil changed to) and then it passed! Always before an Emmision Inspection have the oil, oil filter and air filter changed! Try that first and see if the code goes out.
If the Code P0420 does not go out, you will need the 1st cat. con replaced by a Toyota Dealer, as per above posts, if a non Toyota Dealer says he can do it, Stay Away. It should cost no more than $1000.00. The cats are only rated to last for about 100,000 miles. I had to replace last year at $897.00
#116 of 153 Re: Code P0420 [mmoen]
Feb 06, 2011 (5:46 am)
Why would you not replace the air flow sensor first (before replacing the O2 sensor or cat), and clean that whole intake area.
#117 of 153 98 camry PD701 code
Feb 08, 2011 (5:11 pm)
PD701 transmission code?
#118 of 153 Re: 98 camry PD701 code [colliedug]
Feb 10, 2011 (5:17 am)
Sure it's not P0701?
#119 of 153 Alternative solution to catalytic converter replacement
Feb 16, 2011 (8:06 am)
i have a 2003 camry with about 138K miles on it and had a similar cycle with the check engine light on and off by itself for a few years. same symptoms with the winter months and driving long distances etc etc... inspection time was a stressful part of every year.
anyways, the car had recently gotten much louder so i worried something was wrong with my muffler too so i took it to toyota to get a diagnostic. the verdict was both front and rear catalytic converters needed to be replaced and it would cost about $1900 to fix. they also confirmed there was a hole in my muffler which was causing it to run loud.
thankfully i have a friend who used to work at a dealership so i asked him to take a look at my diagnostic before i got the repairs. he gave me a possible explanation and but warned me that it was a long shot. he said that the hole in my muffler could cause the rear catalytic converter to misread since some of the exhaust would be leaking out of the system improperly. The dealership was just seeing the error code and telling me to replace it without really thinking about the problem. And since one converter was failing (that was 8 yrs old), they could tell me the other would need replacing too since it is also 8 yrs old and probably on its way out. anyways i took his advice and replaced my entire exhaust system (cost about $800). check engine light went off and stayed off.
#121 of 153 Re: CEL on long trips [ugajustin]
Mar 14, 2011 (11:11 am)
I have had very similar issues with CEL coming on 3 times over the past 18 months on 3 of 3 trips from SC to Florida. Each time the light came on at Darien, Georgia. Thought CEL could be due to "long trip", but we have driven on many trips through other states and CEL has not come on. Took car to local shop to read (and clear) code. Mechanic suggested "bad gas," from the same station, but I know we did not stop at the same place twice. My uneducated theory was air pollution being picked up by the sensors. My kids hate that stretch of the drive because it smell so bad. Mechanic thought I was a moron!
#122 of 153 Re: CEL on long trips [amyt12]
Mar 14, 2011 (12:07 pm)
Crazy, we haven't had a problem in months until a recent trip to South Georgia. Maybe there is something to your theory, we did not add gas on the trip. The gnat-to-air-to-gas mix may have been out of spec and triggered the light.
#123 of 153 Re: Code P0420 [confused55]
Mar 15, 2011 (12:21 pm)
Your situation is exactly like mine, at 145k miles. I changed out the O2 sensors and the check engine light went out and I just passed inspection. I googled what the O2 sensors looked like, then found one in the front of the engine and the other just under the front end. It cost me $110 for one, and $125 for the other due to the longer cord to the connector-and I had to buy an 02 socket for $10. When the sensors are fouled, you get a bad reading of Catalytic Converter problems that don't exist-these sensors read Cat problems, but if they don't work they give you bad readings and the check engine light. We unhooked my battery to let the computer restart and it solved a low idle problem I had as well. I hope this helps!