Timeormoney Reader
Dec. 19, 2013 11:22 a.m.

Through some vagaries of fate and extended family, I was offered a "free" 2003 Camry. Expecting the worst but realizing that almost any 2003 Camry was gonna be better than my current 2004 Ford Exploder, I bought the ticket and took the ride to south florida.
Sometimes you just win, I mean everything goes right...2003 Camry 53,000 miles XLE with every option except NAV and adjustable pedals. It has the single option I really wanted and didn't dare even ask about, the BBS wheels.I drove it 600 miles home and after some seafoam in the gas tank, its smooth as ...well ... a toyota.
The big question is .... now what? My only real fear is "sludging". After sludge wtfpwn'd GRM's toyota; I worry that my standard "drop a can of seafoam in the oil for 500 miles do a change" BMW service plan is not enough. Is there something better?
I thought that this car would be boring and appliance like, but the damn thing has a front factory strut bar a half decent suspension and did I mention the BBS wheels? I have actually fallen pretty hard for this car and want to treat it right.

yamaha PowerDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:25 a.m.

damn, you're making me start to hate bbs wheels.......time to trade my RA's for some OZ's.

spitfirebill UberDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:33 a.m.

Good score. Unless the thing was short hopped a lot or just never had the oil changed, I wouldn't be too worried. I'm not sure I would do the Seafoam in oil treatment, because it could make it worse if sludge is present. If really worried, remove the oil pan or valve cover and take a lookabout. I would do some close interval oil changes and then go to synthetic on a reasonable interval.

ProDarwin UltraDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:40 a.m.

4 cyl or V6?

Those Camrys may be a little dull, but they are excellent cars. An XLE w/ 50k on it for free is truly a great score. My sludge treatment would be a flush like you recommended (or ATF), then just run synthetic with reasonable change intervals.

914Driver MegaDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.
Timeormoney wrote: My only real fear is "sludging"....

I had an old F-100 once that had more sludging than oil ! Replaced what I could with 50/50 light oil and kerosene; I was going to cure it or kill it.

I don't think I'd do that to a low mileage Camry. Just drive it and flush things out often.

Free cars always dirde better don't they?


turboswede UltimaDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.

150 shot

jstein77 SuperDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.

Just don't rev it past 5K or try to take a corner with it.

1988RedT2 PowerDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:46 a.m.

Isn't that kind of like getting a free dose of the clap?

mtn UltimaDork
Dec. 19, 2013 11:53 a.m.

Run it til it dies, or you pass it off on another relative.

turboswede UltimaDork
Dec. 19, 2013 12:06 p.m.

oh and shotgun?

amg_rx7 Dork
Dec. 19, 2013 12:15 p.m.

Sell it and buy a Miata

Kenny_McCormic UltraDork
Dec. 19, 2013 12:21 p.m.

Run synthetic oil in it, service the trans, cooling system, and power steering, enjoy having transportation that just works whenever you need it.

Nashco UberDork
Dec. 19, 2013 12:39 p.m.

I heard those engines are hard to find in good order, maybe part it out?


sanman Reader
Dec. 19, 2013 12:41 p.m.

I currently drive the 2003 Camry v6 that has been in the family for years. I change the oil religiously at 3000 miles and have yet to see an issue. Granted the car only has 89k on it.

turboswede UltimaDork
Dec. 19, 2013 12:45 p.m.
Nashco wrote: I heard those engines are hard to find in good order, maybe part it out? Bryce

I reiterate: Shotgun?!

johndej New Reader
Dec. 19, 2013 12:51 p.m.

golf clap, tells us about your new microwave next !

kidding aside this sounds like you've got a great low miles car that should just click off the miles with minimal issues

z31maniac UltimaDork
Dec. 19, 2013 1:11 p.m.

Flip it, but something more interesting?

Bobzilla PowerDork
Dec. 19, 2013 1:14 p.m.


DaveEstey UltraDork
Dec. 19, 2013 2:23 p.m.

I have a 97 Avalon with the ill-fated 3.0 V6.

It has 219,000 miles.


Dec. 19, 2013 2:27 p.m.

drive it... enjoy it... and let all the haters hate... you won't have a car payment for the next 10 years.... you can deposit it instead into a toy car fund...

Timeormoney Reader
Dec. 19, 2013 2:28 p.m.

And this is why I truly love the GRM board. Its got the V6 with all of ~190 HP out of 3.0 liters with a redline that is so low I had to look twice to make sure I was reading the gauge correctly. Its truly a white appliance that should let me work on fun stuff instead of the daily drivel. I will follow the advice and just do my normal BMW thing of keep the interval changes short until you basically are changing out "clean" oil then goto 5k on synthetic.
I was sorely tempted to do the clean it flip it, get something interesting...but I have interesting sitting in the garage right now and it needs to be the one flipped for something less interesting but made of more obtanium parts. A 1987 M6 is a fabulous car but lots of little E36 M3 will drive you bonkers and it needs to be the one that goes to a new home.
And the BBS rims on the Toyota rock.

SilverFleet SuperDork
Dec. 19, 2013 2:31 p.m.
oldeskewltoy wrote: drive it... enjoy it... and let all the haters hate... you won't have a car payment for the next 10 years.... you can deposit it instead into a toy car fund...

This right here. I'd let a Camry leech off my soul if it were a free one with the right options.

Grtechguy UltimaDork
Dec. 19, 2013 2:50 p.m.

it's got to be better than that soul-sucking corolla I rented last year.

Beige on beige with plastic interior.

Storz Dork
Dec. 19, 2013 3:22 p.m.


Brett_Murphy UltraDork
Dec. 19, 2013 4:20 p.m.

Drive it until you get sick of it or it dies. Maybe tweak the suspension a bit to make it a bit more fun to get around it.

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