View Full Version : 97 Camry V6 Valve Clatter

01-21-2009, 12:39 PM
For a good 10 years you couldn't even hear that thing. I'd shock people at gas stations pulling up behind them. The last couple of years the top end is "tic, tic, ticking". The dealership claims it is no big deal and I haven't noticed any power loss or decrease in gas mileage. But it is relatively loud now.

I see some procedures in the service manual for adjusting the valves yet this is not anywhere in the recommending maintenance and the dealer says it doesn't need to be done.

Is this noise indicative of a need for pulling the head and rebuilding the head or would you suspect that a valve adjustment is order? This vintage of Camry had LOTS of problems with sludge.


01-21-2009, 01:37 PM
I'm assuming this car has solid (non-hydraulic) lifters.

Step 1 is simply checking the valve lash. Get a Haynes manual, a set of feeler gauges, and a new valve cover gasket set and have at it.

You might get a cheap mechanics stethoscope and go down the valve covers listening for any valves that are particularly loud. Then look for one or more that measure way out of spec. when you put the gauges on them.

If the valves are .001-.002 out of spec, I wouldn't mess with adjusting them, since you need to buy shims and some tools to install them. Frequently, Toyota doesn't specify an adjustment interval.

My Toyota mechanic buddy assures me that the 'sludge issue' with those engines was a simple function of people not changing the oil. Having said that, I sure would not consider pulling the heads unless/until it blows a head gasket or has some other strong indicator of the need to do so. If you have hydaulic lifters and things are gunked up, I'd just change the oil frequently (every 2K miles) for a while and see if you can't work some of the sludge out.

Just my .02 worth.

01-21-2009, 03:42 PM
I've always put Mobil 1 5w-30 in it and it has never gone 4,000.

Thanks for the advice, I think the clearances bear investigation. It has been an insanely good car as I haven't had to repair anything in twelve years. I'm counting on it hanging in there.

01-21-2009, 08:28 PM
I doubt you have a sludge problem. It seems like most old Camrys that suffer head problems get them as a result of coolent neglect or overheating.

I rebuilt two 4 cyl Camrys, both with 200K on the engines, and both engines showed virtually no wear and perfect compression after a new head gasket. I suspect your Camry has many miles left in it!