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Old 05-19-2017, 02:28 PM
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Default Need help with 2 questions

Hi All, we have a 1996 Camry LE which has been sitting for about 6 months while I was out of town. Anyway, I had to change the valve cover gasket because it leaked in one spot which spit out oil onto the heat shield in front, which after time smoked a lot. I had to have it smogged and they wouldn't do it with the oil smoking. So, I finally get back and change the gasket, and clean up the oil mess. Got it smogged but still have a couple of problems I could use advice on.

1) The tranny wasn't shifting right (in fact the transmission wouldn't even engage) so I checked and sure enough, the fluid was low. I put some in and the car drives now but it slips once and awhile. I checked the fluid again the next day and it showed it was still low so I added some more fluid. However, after adding a small amount of fluid, it is nearly impossible to check the level(right away) because the tranny fluid has coated the inside of the filler tube, which gets on the tranny dipstick, and you can't tell the level. So I have to wait at least another day to give the fluid inside the tube to settle down into the tranny before I check again. Is there any way or shortcut to read these dipsticks without having to wait a day? I won't drive the car until I know it has enough fluid, but then I also don't want to overfill it. So, I check it every 24 hours. Is there a faster/better way?

2) As I said, the car was sitting about 6 months due to the oil leak. However, outside of the oil leak, the car ran PERFECT! Now, aside from the transmission fluid level issue, there is a problem with the power steering. When we first start the car, it is VERY difficult to turn the steering wheel in either direction. After warming up and driving around the block a few times, the car turns OK. We checked the fluid reservoir and although it was low, it was still above the "MINIMUM" mark. I'm stumped on this one. Anyone have any ideas?

Let me say thanks in advance for all help and advice received!
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:57 PM
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How are you checking the trans fluid?

Ideally the fluid should be hot. Then engage the emergency brake and start engine. Move the gear selector from Park to Low and back to Park again a few times. With trans in Park, check fluid engine running.

A trick to reading the dipstick is hold the stick in such a way the light reflects off the fluid. The level line will have a clean edge across the surface of the stick.

For the power steering. Change the fluid in the system. This can be done by sucking out the fluid from the reservoir and refilling with new. Drive the car or start engine to circulate the fluid then change it again. Keep changing until the fluid is clear.

The trans and PS system should use the same fluid.
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