98 toyota camry 4 cyl

Car overheated. Had it towed. They had to put in a new water pump (changed the timing and driver belts as well), FIRST, before they could tell if the engine was ok. After a $570 bill, I was told the engine was bad. Cracked block, head? Got different answers. When pressed (asked for it in writing), then they could not tell me EXACTLY what was wrong. DID I NEED TO SPEND $570? TO TELL THE ENGINE WAS SHOT [OR IS IT]? GOT CONFLICTING ADVISE.
There are other ways to determine the condition of the engine, vs. yes, that’s the only way we can do it. Engine light code didn’t provide much help (they said). THANK YOU VERY MUCH!


7 thoughts on “98 toyota camry 4 cyl”

  1. Assuming that your Camry has the 4 cylinder engine it would have what is considered an interference engine according to the Interference guide 1983-2006: http://www.freeautomechanic.com/TimingBelts.pdf

    The timing belt should have been changed every 60,000 miles. If the belt breaks, it causes internal damage to the engine when the valves hit the pistons. In some cases the valves can be replaced and or the head assembly. At an extreme you would be looking at some cracked pistons and damaged cylinder walls. This can not be determined without taking the engine apart and examined. These are all mechanical parts of the engine and not electrical so it would not illuminate the check engine light.

    The timing belt also drives the water pump on this engine. If the engine was running fine but just got hot and still ran OK once it did, then maybe the timing belt got put on wrong. However you said it had to be towed and this may indicate that the engine wasn’t running to good and I am assuming the timing belt had broke (common)

  2. 4cyl. Further explanation to original question: The car overheated the day BEFORE I was scheduled to have the water pump and belts changed (for prevention/maintenance) with my usual place… but then this happened on the highway. Indicator was on HOT! I pulled over and immediately shut it off (told it’s the best thing to do). Highway patrol tried filling it with [antifreeze?], but it went right through to ground. SO, towed the car to the closest place. The Big ???— Was the car OK? They told me they had to fix the pump 1st BEFORE they could tell if it was ok. They were in that part of car, so they changed the belts (like I’d planned on doing anyway). Driver belts were still ok at tow (I saw them). Timing? I don’t know where it is/no one made any comment about it being broken. All I thought was wrong was the pump. After the work, they told me the engine was bad. Cracked block? head? I heard both. I saw the tech wrote something like that on his notes but later, when I asked for it in writing, they had a different story, saying it could have cost a lot more money to diagnosis the EXACT problem (& refused to put anything in writing).
    IS WHAT THEY DID, proper protocol? Isn’t there any other way of knowing engine condition instead of spending almost $600 on pump/belts?
    Could I get lucky–& it be something simple to fix with engine? Is it worth it? YES, the car is old and well, slightly incontinent (ha)…oil wise but I’m broke and would prefer keeping old car, & save $ for future car. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENTS!!!!

  3. The car ran fine until it overheated. If the temp went into the red and was shut off with in seconds from going into the red, there is a chance that no further damage was done. If the engine remained running for even 60 seconds, further damage may have occurred. You stated “Highway patrol tried filling it with [antifreeze?], but it went right through to ground.” So this would indicate a large leak in the system.

    The cooling system can not work without coolant(anti-freeze) so the first thing to do would be to perform a pressure test on the cooling system. It may have more than one leak and the only way to tell that would be to fix the most apparent leak first, fill it and then pressure test the system again. This is done because it is bad to try and run the engine without coolant. So if the water pump was the largest leak or the only leak, it would be a good idea to fix it before running the engine.

    Now I am assuming that the engine still runs just as good as when you shut it off on the highway and that when you did shut it off on the highway the engine was running(sounding) the same as normal and the only reason you turned the engine off was that you saw your gauge move into the RED. If this is not the case and the engine sounded and ran different and it was at that time you noticed it overheating, then the internal damage was already done.

    With that said. If the engine wasn’t running (by sound and performance) right when you took it in then the damage was already there and should have raised some flags to the head gasket being blown(most common) or head cracked. Simply topping off the coolant and looking for white smoke out the exhaust would have shown up quickly.

    If the engine ran fine when it was driven in, it should run fine when it leaves meaning that if it doesn’t now, they may have installed the timing belt wrong and caused the pistons to bend some valves when trying to start it up.

    So a BIG Question would be, was it running normally when you took it in? does it run now as smooth as it did? Was it running rough when you took it in? If it was, then they should have known that a water pump would not make it run on all 4 cylinders..

    You could still possibly fix the engine and if the water pump was leaking it would have had to be replaced anyway along with what ever else was wrong with it.

    If the water pump was bad and you agreed to fix it, then you got what you agreed on.

    Should the shop diagnose a problem when they where only asked to fix the water pump, NO. When you order a steak it isn’t there protocol to tell you that you should have the salad instead if this is the case.

    At the end of the day you just have to decide if you want to keep the car or replace it. So if your plans were to drive it till it breaks…. your there.

    Hope this helps a little, feel free to comment back and thanks for posting.

  4. “If it was, then they should have known that a water pump would not make it run on all 4 cylinders.” Not sure what you mean by that…can you explain pls. This sounds important.

    The above statement was made as if the engine did not run right when you took it in. If it wasn’t running right then they would have known that no water pump would fix the entire problem. Keep in mind, it is common that if one of these engines overheat and are driven for much of any length of time it can and would blow the head gasket. Now with that in mind, the engine would not show any signs of poor performance without any coolant to leak into the the cylinder from a blown head gasket at least until coolant was added.

    Sry, we don’t make phone calls as it would be difficult for everyone interested to read the comments that might help them with there car problems.

  5. Did they do the proper protocol… Again, I wasn’t there to hear what was said by either party to know if they did what you asked them to do and or what you agreed to pay them for. all in all, if you are not happy by all means find a different shop to go to.

    Is that how you would have approach the problem? I may have asked more questions in order to tell what needed to be addressed. Either way it won’t help us get your car back on the road and that is what is important at present.

    Did they harm my car by driving it without the coolant? If all they did was drive it in the shop from the parking lot, then NO. They did not harm the car.

    do you think the problem is a blown head gasket? I do not like to make guesses, rather I prefer to run tests that will prove what is wrong with the car. Removing the spark plugs and filling the coolant system before performing a pressure test on the cooling system should show if the head gasket is blown. If the cooling system holds pressure (assuming all other leaks like the water pump are fixed) then you would need to have a compression test performed (assuming the car isn’t running right on all 4 cylinders) to see if one of the vales might be bent. If the valve is bent, the head will have to be removed and inspected for damage.

    Here is the thing, if they drove the car in the shop and it ran fine driving it in but just had a leak and now it won’t run at all… If it holds pressure while testing the cooling system but doesn’t run not because of lost compression on a cylinder then and only then would the shop be to blame for not installing the timing belt properly that may have caused the damage.

    If the cooling system does not hold pressure and is leaking internally then the head gasket is most likely the problem and was most likely caused by the overheating issue and the rest of the cooling system could not be tested until the biggest leak is fixed. Now that the water pump leak is fixed you would need to go back a pressure test the cooling system again but no damage to the valves or pistons would have occurred unless the timing belt broke and if that happened it would not run at all and could not have been driven in the shop.

    So, if the head gasket is what needs to be repaired then I would have it fixed and continue driving it if you wish to keep the car. labor will be expensive compared to the parts. Get the quotes in writing up front before having the work done.

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