I have a Toyota Camry with a vibration problem We...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a Toyota Camry with a vibration problem. We have four-cylinder automatic Camrys. I have a '92, my friend has a '93, another friend has a '94, and my daughter has a '91. They all have one trait in common; the car vibrates when stopped for a red light. Is there anything we can do?

RAY: Well, you can take all four of these four-cylinder Camry's to your Toyota dealer, and see if he'll let you trade them in for three V6 Camrys. Then you guys can draw straws to see which one of you is going to hoof it.

TOM: Unfortunately, there's not much you can do. Four cylinder engines, by definition, vibrate more than six cylinder engines. In a four cylinder engine, you get four explosions for every two turns of the crankshaft. In a six cylinder engine, you get six explosions, which means less space between explosions, and therefore, less vibration.

RAY: You don't notice the rougher nature of the four cylinder engine when it's in Park or Neutral, because the engine is essentially isolated from the rest of the car. It's "suspended" in the engine compartment. But when you shift to Drive (and impose a "load" on the engine), you allow those vibrations to get telegraphed throughout the entire drive train, and that's why you feel it in the rest of the car.

TOM: And while the Toyota four cylinder engine is pretty good as far as vibration goes, they didn't do a very good job isolating the vibrations from the rest of the car.

RAY: We thought Toyota, in its infinite wisdom, would have solved this problem by now, since it's been happening as long as we can remember--and you personally have it documented back to 1991. The only thing we can suggest it to try adjusting the idle up or down by 50 to 100 rpm. Sometimes a slight change in idle speed will decrease the amount of shaking.

TOM: But it IS annoying to spend $16,000 on a car, and have to deal with this. I guess we'll just have to keep printing letters like yours, Frank, until we embarrass Toyota into fixing it. We'll let you know when we hear from them.

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