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Car Maintenance on my 92 Camry
Old 09-29-2007, 02:55 PM   #1
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Car Maintenance on my 92 Camry

For you car experts out there. I can use some advice.

I came back from Thailand last month. I have a question about what kind of maintenance I should do with a car that has been in storage for 9 months. I added fresh gas to the 1/8 of a tank. I drove it a few times including a 20 mile RT highway stretch at 60+mph and it went through AZ inspection with no problem but it has stalled a few times while I was waited for a red light to change. I am able start the car up right way. This happens after the car is warmed up and driven but once per ride so far. When I use the car, it does startup right away even though I may use it once a week. I always let it warm up until it gets down to about 1000 to 750.

The next time I leave on a oneway ticket (in less than 2 months) I may be away for an unknown amount of time (6 months to 2 years+). How will the car do, unused for that long a time?

Is it time to think about selling it? I probably would only get between $2k and $2.5k for it. Although I use my bicycle in Tucson to get around, I like the idea of having a car just in case. I am the original owner so I know it is in great shape for its age.

Thanks

MJ

I forgot to mention that it has a mere 109k on it
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Old 09-29-2007, 03:28 PM   #2
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This is just me, but personally I'd be inclined to sell the car rather than let sit up for 2 years, especially since you seem to get along pretty well without it. What I really want to know is how you get around Tucson on a bike without getting tangled up with the crazy drivers around there lol? I'll be in Tucson in a couple of weeks on business out at the base, and have been in town at least once each year for the last 5 years. Actually, already been there once this year, so this will be the second trip. Seriously though, I'd probably sell the car...I just don't like letting them sit around for so long. Just me.
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Old 09-29-2007, 03:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyb View Post
This is just me, but personally I'd be inclined to sell the car rather than let sit up for 2 years,
Well as they say I would like my cake and eat it too. I may be back as early as 6 months (no likely) but might be back in a year or so but you never know.

Quote:
What I really want to know is how you get around Tucson on a bike without getting tangled up with the crazy drivers around there lol?
With lots of luck!
I have lived most of my life in the Big Apple, so I am used to playing in traffic with the other kids.

MJ
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Old 09-29-2007, 04:05 PM   #4
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MJ,
It is hard to know for sure why the beasty is stalling out. It's very likley that a shop equiped to read the computer codes it is generating could tell you very quickly what is going on. If it is happening only at red lights, a work-around might be to slightly increase the idle speed (but this is not addressing the real problem).

Other things to do:
- Change the oil now.
- If you can get to the spark plugs, remove them and have a look. Consider taking a digital photo of them to share with a mechanic. Clean them up with a some fine sandpaper and put them back in (torque them approrpriately and >>be very careful not to cross thread them<< when putting them back. Don't forget to clean the tops where the boots attach.
- The fuel: It has almost certainly turned to varnish in some places. You've diluted it now, but there's still probably ucky stuff in there. Change out the fuel filter and (if it is clear or translucent) see if there are rust particles in it (or bang it and see what comes out of the "input" end). Rusty gas tanks are one common result of long-term storage, since the metal isn't being covered by fuel periodically. The rust specks can quickly clog a fuel filter. This is probably NOT the cause of your vehicle c
conking out, since it would be doing it at higher power settings, not at idle.

If you decide to store it:
-- Put it up on blocks if this is practical. You can remove the wheels/tires and put them somewhere out of the sun, too so that the rubber lasts a little longer.
-- Put cheap oil in the crankcase and run the engine briefly before putting her away. Remember to change out this oil and the filter before you resuscitate her.
-- Consider draining the fuel (give it to a friend to use in mowing the lawn, etc.) Disconnect the fuel line.
-- Remove the ignition wires, put a tablespoon of heavy motor oil into each cylinder through the spark plug hole, then turn the engine over for a few seconds. This coats the cylinders with oil and heps prevent rust of the rings.
-- I don't know a practical way to avoid rusting of the gas tank, rotting of the hoses and belts, having the seals dry out, etc.
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Old 09-29-2007, 05:35 PM   #5
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Everything that Sam said except I wouldn't worry about draining the fuel. Just put some stabilizer in the tank and that will be enough. Make sure you run the car for a while after you put the stabilizer in.
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Old 09-29-2007, 05:51 PM   #6
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aren't you supposed to top off the tank so there is less room for condensation and resultant water build-up?
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:40 PM   #7
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I've heard different theories on the full tank thing. I personally top off the tank for the reason you said.
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Old 09-29-2007, 07:06 PM   #8
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Still add the fuel stabilizer even if you top off the tank. Both are good ideas.

I've also heard that disconnecting the battery is a good idea.

Leave some mouse poison blocks in the trunk, engine compartment, passenger compartment and under the car. A car is a great shelter for mice, and insulation and seat cushions make great nests. Wires and hoses aren't very good food but they may chew on some before they figure it out.

Is there anyone who can come and drive it once a month or so? That would probably help quite a bit towards keeping the hoses and seals from hardening and cracking.

Call Click and Clack on Car Talk! They are usually both funny and helpful. I enjoy listening to them but haven't had anything interesting enough to ask them about.
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Old 09-30-2007, 02:36 AM   #9
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Ditto on most of the above. I wouldn't sell your car. It has already depreciated to the point whether you sold it now, or 5 years from now, you would get close to same price.
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