Mechanics

SLOW ACCELERATION - ROUGH IDLE AND BURNIN

1998 Toyota Camry

Shakes or Wobbles problem
1998 Toyota Camry 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 120000 miles

Yesterday after leaving work, it seemed like my cars acceleration was different. It felt like gas was not getting to the engine in a constant flow in that there was a lag, no lag, lag, no lag in very short intervals and it felt like the car might die. No dash light came on, except that my airbag light has been on for a year or so. When I came to a stop, the car idled rough and so I put the car in neutral and that seemed to minimize the situation.
The rest of the way home it felt like the car was just going to stop running, though it didn't, and then there was a weird chemical/burning smell. Also, lately, the car seems to be going through oil. Something that has never been a problem. There is no evidence of oil my driveway. I checked it last night and it is pretty low. Any ideas on what the issue might be?
Thanks a lot.
Concerned.
Avatar
Skrubssub
October 8, 2010.



Hi skrubssub,

Thank you for the donation.

Symptom indicates the engine is misfiring and I would suggest getting the spark plugs, wires and other related parts checked.

The airbag light would not affect the engine performance.

Check the coolant in radiator. Leakage of coolant would result in a sweet smell if the coolant splashes onto the exhaust.

The smell could also be due to oil dropping onto the exhaust.

As to the missing oil, if no leakages are found, it means oil is getting into the cylinders and being burnt off. Such condition would normally result in the exhaust emitting some grey smoke.

KHLow2008
Oct 8, 2010.
I am taking the car in now. I will have those items checked. I'll let you know how it goes.
Thanks again

Tiny
Skrubssub
Oct 8, 2010.
You're welcome.

Hope it is nothing serious.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Have a nice day.

KHLow2008
Oct 8, 2010.
Hello again,
One thing I remembered as I was taking my car to the mechanic, was that about 4 or 5 months ago, my daughter borrowed my car for a couple of days. She brought it back and said " you know more about cars than me, is this smell normal?&Quot; I said no and checked under the hood. When I checked the oil, it was pretty much empty. I had never had a problem with my oil disappearing and had the oil, and other fluids replaced at a local fast server oil change place a couple months prior. I added 4 quarts of oil before it was full again and the smell went away. Today the car appears to be a couple quarts low.
I told the person at the shop that it seemed to be misfiring and maybe just spark plugs and wires were an issue but also told her about the oil issue. I said that the car is old and that I am not necessarily interested in completely fixing the car, I just don't want it to die on me while driving. She said I understand, but I am concerned that you may have ruined the engine.
If that is the case, that the lack of oil several months ago and the situation now, indicate that I need to rebuild the engine or something, can you tell me if this is something that is required or can I do something in the meantime, to keep the car going for another 6 months when I might be able to justify a new or slightly used car purchase?
I know that without looking at the car, you can't give me a definitive response, I am just hoping that there is an option other than the engine is dying and could die at any time now. Something just to hold me over and buy me some time.
Any ideas?
Thanks again. Still keep your fingers crossed. Maybe it is just the plugs and wires. There is no smoke at this point.
Thanks again

Tiny
Skrubssub
Oct 8, 2010.
If there are no abnormal noises from the engine, then you can continue to use it as long as you keep monitoring the oil level and topping up whenever necessary.

Ask at the parts outlets for any type of additives such sea foam etc that might help to reduce the oil consumption and maybe buy you some additional life for the engine.

KHLow2008
Oct 8, 2010.
Thanks again,
I just got off the phone with the mechanic. They removed one of the spark plugs and the car continued to run. They don't believe the oil has anything to do with the issues and they are going to do a compression test. They mentioned the coil pack and that the car may need a tuneup.

Still, I will look into the additive you suggested. I appreciate your help.

Tiny
Skrubssub
Oct 8, 2010.
The misfiring would not affect the oil. It could be a bad spark plug, its wire or compression.

Since you do not have coolant losses or overheating issues, I believe it should not be a major problem.

KHLow2008
Oct 8, 2010.
Thanks for the info. I will update this issue, once the problem is fixed, just so it is online. I am so glad this is not a major issue. Not quite ready to get a new car ; -)

Thanks

Tiny
Skrubssub
Oct 8, 2010.
Well, I just heard that the (or one) coil pack, all spark plugs and the wires needs replacing.

With diagnosis - $548.73. Seriously?
A friend and I replaced the water pump in my T& C last month, do you think I could handle the coil pack, etc? I know that spark plugs come pre-gapped but I have a gap gauge (from high school auto shop). The wires don't seem like they would be difficult. I have replace in a different car before.

Prices: coil pack 171.99
Install 42.69

Spark plugs
9.99/each
install 11.00 each

Wires: 121.99
install 42.69

Diag: 85.37

Thanks

Tiny
Skrubssub
Oct 8, 2010.
Parts replacement is not too difficult so you should be able to do it yourself.

Book time for coil replacement is 1.3 hour so the installation and wires are plugs are related so the total price is a little steep.

However you still have to pay them the diagnostic fees.

KHLow2008
Oct 9, 2010.