Do Camry's always shake, like the dealer who sold it to me says?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1995 Toyota Camry. When I bought the car, it had about 8,000
miles on it. The day after I bought it, I wanted my money back,
because the car SHAKES! The dealer refused. I called Toyota, and they
tell me it is one of the "characteristics" of the Camry. I also
contacted the Better Business Bureau, and they told me to put the car
in Neutral at every "red light." Guys, is there anything else I can
do? Help! -- Rose

TOM: Well, shaking in Drive while stopped at a light IS a
characteristic of the four-cylinder Camry, Rose. And there's no magic
solution that we know of. But we've passed your letter on to Toyota,
who we hope will take another shot at fixing this for you. Perhaps
they know something we don't.

RAY: But if I were your mechanic, before I wrote this off as an
"unfortunate characteristic," I'd want to be sure that nothing was
actually broken.

TOM: Right. If the shaking got considerably worse the day after you
bought it, then you might have a broken motor mount or a cylinder
that started to misfire. Those are not uncommon problems, and either
one would make the "normal" shaking a whole lot worse.

RAY: On the other hand, if you just didn't notice the shaking when
you test drove the car (in your state of euphoria comparing the '95
Camry with your, say, '82 Sentra), then Toyota may be right.

TOM: Still, there are some things they could try in an attempt to
make you happy. One is different motor mounts. There was a service bulletin on some
older Camrys that claimed you could solve this problem by installing
some updated motor mounts. I've tried that on several customers'
cars, and it simply changed the "shake setting" from "puree" down to
"blend." But it might be worth a try.

RAY: The other thing they can do is to try messing around with the
idle speed. Sometimes increasing or decreasing the idle speed by just
50 or 100 rpm can make the shaking substantially better. Or worse ...
so be careful!

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