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93 Camry Overheating Problem

04-30-2009, 10:35 AM
I am having a problem with my 93 Camry XLE with overheating. The coolant is full when I check some of the times. I can not see any coolant leaks and I do not have any heavy white exhaust coming from the tail pipe. When I drive a few miles down the road the temp gage spikes. The temp gage will start to fluctuate from normal to HOT to back to normal. I am not getting any heat out of the heater now (before I was getting heat when it was in the normal temp range). When I shut the car down the coolant can be heard bubbling into the overflow reservoir. I had to have a valve job done about 1 years ago do to an over heat problem and my daughter did not catch it before we had a blown head gasket. I had the head totally re-built and surfaced. Any suggestions?

Mike Gerber
04-30-2009, 11:33 AM
First, stop driving the car until this problem is corrected or you will replacing the head gasket again or have even worse problems. Then when the car is cold check the coolant level in the radiator and overflow tank and refill as necessary. Use a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. Then start the car and turn on the A/C and see if both electrical cooling fans come on (assuming this is the 4 cylinder 5SFE engine). If they do, at least you know both electrical fans work. Now shut the A/C and let the car idle. See if one of the fans comes on when the engine get's good and hot. During this time, watch the temperature gage on the dash to see if the car is overheating. Shut it off at the first sign of overheating. Also, while the car is idling, look around carefully under the hood at all coolant hoses and coolant ports and also the radiator for any signs of a leak. If you don't see any obvious signs of a leak I would then change the thermostat and it's gasket (actually an o-ring). It could be stuck in the closed position, causing the overheating. If a new thermostat doesn't solve the overheating, then you should take the car to a mechanic and have the cooling system pressure tested. Incidently the fact that you are not getting any heat now means the cooling system is low on coolant.

Just an FYI. When asking for help it is best to provide the current mileage and which engine the car has.


05-11-2009, 09:39 AM
Speaking of overheating, I have 1993 Lexus ES300 V6 with 70k miles- I think it is same as 93 Camry V6 - and it overheat only when A/C is "On" and coolant start to boil in a reseravor.
I have no problem as long as A/C is off and I have been driving it for over years. None of waterpump or themostat has been changed yet, however like I've said as long as A/C is off my car runs great!
I've ask this question to Lexus forum, but no one seems to know about this problem. Does any one here has any suggestions?

Mike Gerber
05-11-2009, 10:57 AM
I'm not sure whether your car has twin electric cooling fans or the hydraulic cooling fan. If it has twin electric cooling fans, make sure they are both coming on when the A/C is turned on. If they are, it could be that your radiator is partially clogged and can no longer handle the additional heat created by the A/C system. I'm thinking along those lines because your car is 16 years old and has low mileage. With a car this old and with that low mileage, some people have a tendancy to skip some of the maintenance. If your coolant hasn't been changed every 2-3 years, that can lead to a clogged radiator. What kind of maintenance has the car had during it's life? To varify a partically clogged radiator, the radiator must be removed from the car and flow tested at a radiator shop. Is this a job you feel comfortable doing yourself?


05-11-2009, 04:30 PM
Your car has the hydraulic fan. When your A/C is on and your experience an overheat, your rad fan should be at full speed and blowing hard. If it isn't that's your problem. I'll just add to Mike's comments in that you should check for anything that is blocking the front of the rad such as a plastic bag that may have got sucked up or something.

dave mc

05-11-2009, 05:36 PM
It's called a fan clutch and it could be not working properly.
The AC condenser is what you see behind the front grill. It is not the radiator.
The radiator is behind it.
Look in between the AC condenser and the radiator for anything clogging the radiator (dirt usually).

05-19-2009, 08:49 AM
...What kind of maintenance has the car had during it's life? To varify a partically clogged radiator, the radiator must be removed from the car and flow tested at a radiator shop. Is this a job you feel comfortable doing yourself?


Thanks for a response everyone. So far, I've only done a regular maintenance like oil change, trans oil change and coolant change. I'm aware that timing belt, water pump and thermostat need to be changed very soon but like everyone else, try to save some money by checking every possible alternative before I'll go into engine or possibly removing a radiator. It's just that my car is running "excellent" except this problem. I'll get to it soon and update my progress. Thanks.

05-19-2009, 01:50 PM
With the hydraulic fan, make sure the power steering fluid is up to the proper level (it uses the same fluid reservoir and pump as the P/S). Then as Mike Gerber suggested, test to see if the fan operates at all as the car warms up. The solenoid will increase the fan speed as the coolant temp increases...turning on the A/C will force it to full speed.

Next, borrow a cooling system pressure tester and test your system. Any loss of pressure means your system has a leak...look around for weeping coolant. Old radiators can develop tiny pinholes over time (like mine did a few weeks ago). I noticed a small cloud of steam coming from my radiator area where none should steam should be escaping at all.

The problem with no heat from the A/C could be due to the heater core valve is broken or the cable mechanism that operates it. The water pump has a bypass to allow coolant to circulate through the heater core even if the thermostat is still closed.

A good coolant system flush wouldn't hurt if it hasn't been changed in a long time. Today's coolants tout 5 years/150k miles but my experience says to change it sooner...2-3 years perhaps. Prestone makes a nice kit that you splice into the heater core line and attach a garden hose to back-circulate water through the system. Make sure the heater core valve is fully open.

Hope this helps!

06-12-2009, 09:21 PM
To all Es300 and Camry owners-- 1992 through 1995. The only way I ever found I could properly refill a 6 cyc that has the 2 rad. caps is the following. Otherwise the car will overheat badly. I jack the car as high as it will go, start the engine, take both caps off, start filling the rad. first, then move to the cap at the top of the engine and fill it. Keep refilling... you will lose a LOT of fluid. I use 2gal typically after the 9.5 qt it takes. After the thermostat opens, fill and cap the opening on the engine and keep filling the rad. During this process you will get massive amounts of air out. It can take 20 min or more. Let it coll and drive it and see what happens. You may need to do it again. Remember to only start this procedure with a cold engine. These engines have a really horrible air bubble in them. As the cap on the engine is higher, the natural thing to do is use that one for all the filling but it will not get the air out plus the top hose emptys at that cap, causing major coolant loss even if it is not on a jack. Basically both caps need to be at the same level or the rad cap even higher than the cap on the engine to, among other things, fill the top hose, which via poor design is even higher than the top cap. But that is just a portion of the problem. These engines just hold a TON of Air unless you jack them up to bleed them after a refill. You can lose your engine easily because the thing overheats extremely quickly. I've had steam come out when the gauge was at half way. I've had the needle go to red with little steaming. It's the air. Check this even before doing a thermo. check. It is easy and pretty quick.

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