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New Member - HELP!

Old 02-09-2011, 05:13 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2
Default New Member - HELP!

Hey guys,

I'm new to the forum. I have some questions that I need answered specifically about a 1994 Toyota Camry 2.2L I-4.

Here's some background on me: I have owned 3 SAABs so far and currently have a 1997 Saab 900 SE turbo with an extensive list of modifications. I bought it off a member of a Saab forum, and replaced the engine due to the fact that the piston went through the block!

So now I own a 194k mile SAAB that boosts 30psi and was last dynoed at 310WHP. It's a very fun car, but due to it having so many aftermarket parts, it is not very reliable haha.

Here's a pic:

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OKAY so enough about me, here's the questions I want to ask you guys.

I recently acquired a 1994 Camry 2.2 auto for free. My aunt is giving me the car due to it having a bad headgasket. She went in for an oil change and they told her that the car had coolant mixing with the oil and that the car is non-repairable.

She proceeded to get the oil change and then drove it for about 20 miles before it didn't want to start etc.

Now I am mechanically inclined and I would be willing to undertake this job by itself, but I would like to know it I can just drain oil/coolant then dismantle the engine, install new headgasket, maybe new timing belt, and but it all back together and have my self a working car?

The car has around 182k on it and has been reliable except for this issue at hand. I figure if I can put a few hundred into it then I may as well undertake this task.

So after the headgasket is blown, how long does it take in order for the engine internals(pistons, rods, crankshaft, valves) to be destroyed?? Is it salvageable?

EDIT: The car did not overheat my aunt tells me.

Thanks for the help!

Last edited by sleepnainteasy; 02-09-2011 at 05:20 PM.
Old 02-09-2011, 08:49 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: PTW
Posts: 11,738

Coolant in the oil is very hard on bearings.

Is there a reason the engine does not start? Suggest you start here first. Ask your aunt if the car was making strange noises (perhaps bearing knock) when she was driving back. Or if there were other unusual problems that might give hints as to if the engine has experienced damage.

And if she needed to or had someone add additional coolant, the coolant going into the crankcase.

Asking these questions may give you and idea of how long the head gasket was blown and how many miles were driven before find out.

I don't have an answer as to miles, hours, etc.

If you can get the engine running and it sounds OK, might have a good chance of getting by with a head gasket change. Don't run the engine any longer then required.

If there is noise or the engine is starting to freeze up and will not turn over, etc then best to forget it.

If based on the findings you decide to proceed, before spending money remove the head and take a look at the head for cracks and the cylinder walls for scoring.

The bottom end bearings are harder to get out due to the engine having balance shafts below and turned by the crank. But these parts can be removed with the engine still in the car.

Typically a blown head gasket occurs due to overheating (common) or hot rodding. It's very untypical for the gasket to blow in normal driving.

If Ok and moving ahead, given there was coolant in the oil suggest you have the head checked for cracks and excess warpage.

Some warpage is common but cracking is not, facing off the head will straighten this out and allow for a better seal with a new gasket. An auto machine shop can do this, their fees are typically fixed allowing you to can get a firm price up front.

If the head is cracked you can decide how much more you want to spend.
Old 02-09-2011, 10:31 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2

Thanks for the reply. I will ask these questions and see what she has to say. Believe me, my aunt does not go around hot rodding and she did say that the car was not overheating. Which is a good sign IMO.

The car is 18 years old and on the original gasket, so it could be that the gasket has deteriorated over the heat cycles it went through all these years. I know on SAABs head gaskets are a common problem because the boost thrown at the engine, but not so familiar with Toyotas.

Should I turn the engine over without the plugs in it before I try to start it? I know that hydrolocked motors will spit the water out of the spark plug sockets and then will sometimes start up after? Thanks again.
Old 02-10-2011, 07:43 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 965

I guess your car needs a lot of lovin'...that always happen to a used car, expect those problems... Good thing its not over heating.

Should I turn the engine over without the plugs in it before I try to start it?
I think its a bad idea, it would worsen the problem.
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