24th Apr 2006, 16:49

Glad yours has been reliable. My parents bought a first year Camry (1983) and it was pretty much reliable except for one horrible incident. I was driving the car back from college and was on the highway doing 65. The car suddenly decided to "power down" and I had no control over steering or any other electric function. Luckily no one was on the highway and I was able to coast to the side, but it could have turned out much worse.

Never had that happen on any car I have owned, foreign or domestic.

9th May 2006, 08:51

Hard to say what caused the power down as you describe it. Could have been a fuel pump, or the ECU. Some times strange things happen when you are dealing with a lot of electronics and sensors. My automatic locked up in low gear and would not shift to 2nd and 3rd. Had transmission rebuilt, changed the Neutral safety switch which didn't fix the problem. Checked out the transmission computer still couldn't find the problem. Changed the TPS, and selector display also. Then sent the transmission computer to a guy in Florida for testing and it was OK. When I put the computer back in it started to shift normal. Very puzzling problem with no real answer. If that ever happens, pull the transmission computer and disconnect it and then you can shift the automatic manually.

9th May 2006, 13:38

Sounds like you had an Igniter possibly go bad. They can be intermittent or just go completely which of course shuts down the car. You never stated what caused the power down? In spite of that, the 85 Camry 4 banger is a great little car. I would never own an American car again after owning several Japanese cars. Far better quality in them and longevity on the engines. Not to mention gas mileage.

2nd Nov 2006, 22:51

There's a small (10 gauge) white wire that connects to the positive battery terminal, under the fusible link holder. If that wire is damaged or corroded, the car will lose all electrical power. That happened to me. It took me a while to figure it out, after replacing the ignition switch didn't fix it. The wire was so corroded that when I sliced open the insulation, it literally crumbled into dust. I repaired it with wire and a ring connector I had on hand, and no more problems.

The shop manual indicates that this wire supplies the starter and ignition circuits, but it must also pick up a relay that controls most other electrical systems. The headlights and flashers still worked, but nothing else did - not even the clock.

5th May 2007, 09:50

Yes, it could be an igniter problem. Had that happen to me while driving through the desert. Car would just shut down and then I could immediately restart it, and this happened several times over several hours, then it finally wouldn't start again. Had it towed to a Toyota dealership and they located the problem. It turned out to be the Igniter. Cost $214.00 for the Igniter and I was on my way in about an hour. They said that they had problems with them and that they improved the Igniter to stand up against heat better. When it got hot the circuit would separate and break the electrical circuit inside of it and it would go dead causing the shutdown.

23rd Aug 2007, 21:59

I bought a 1985 Toyota Camry a couple months back, and it has been very dependable. When I bought the car. it had 128,000 miles on the odometer. I've only put about 2,000 miles on it since I've had it.

The motor does not smoke or knock, and it runs great.

Perfect interior and no cracks on the dash, and the body is perfect too.

I bought it for $700.00 because the previous owner said it had a bad CV axle, which I had repaired. I went to Barry's U-Pull It and bought one for about $20.00, used, but in very good shape.

The only problem I've had is the fuel pump died a couple days ago. I bought a new one with the filter screen. I've had not put it on yet, but plan to in a day or so. I've heard on some cars you can access the fuel pump under the back seat, but I also heard you had to take the fuel tank off on most cars. I really would like to know which way it is before I start working on the car? Some helpful tips would be nice.

22nd Apr 2008, 07:28

If any one is trying to fault find a fuel pump problem on a 4 cylinder, carburettor model, Camry - don't immediately think you have a pump that has failed.

The pump power feed is from the alternator (so that if the engine stops running, so does the fuel pump- neat solution) directly.

A lot of pumps have been changed needlessly. Check the power feed from the alternator- the pump only runs when the alternator turns, not just if the ignition switch is on.

The colours change too much to able to specify which ones to look at, and the alternators are different too.

10th May 2008, 21:10

I purchased a 1985 Toyota Camry two weeks ago. It has ~82,000 miles. Everything works fine except that the car starting shutting itself off two days ago. It will start right back up. At first it would shut itself off when braking hard. Then it would shut itself off when I let off the gas. Now it shuts itself off while driving - but it always starts right back up. I stopped for gas and checked the oil which was very very low (barely got the end wet). I added a quart of oil and now it runs fine. Any ideas on this as I find this bizarre. The oil idiot light never came on.

5th Mar 2009, 21:10

I have had a 1985 Camry hatchback for the last 15 years. I love this car. Reliability has been amazing. Nothing serious has ever gone wrong with it. I maintain it well, changing the oil every 5000 miles with synthetic. I changed the trans fluid and filter at 100k miles, replaced the timing and other belts and hoses as routine maintenance. I replaced a suspension link and ball joint years ago, along with brake calipers, master cylinder, exhaust, and tires. But that's it. Never had a breakdown. And the above items are really just routine maintenance items. I wish there was a new Camry hatchback. The rear seats fold totally flat to give a huge cargo area when needed. It gives me 33 mpg on the highway.

Did I mention that I love this car?

18th Apr 2010, 09:34

I have loved the Camry since 1985, I had a 1978 Corolla at the time (which was a fantastic car that went through 3 generations of new drivers and reached 329,000 miles before it was ruined by a flood at the Russian river. I always wondered how far it would have gone) but always thought the 5 door Camry was "top of the line"! I got a 2000 Camry, which I absolutely loved and sold it to get a 2006 Civic (I wonder...)

Well, I just purchased an OCT 1984 5 door Camry Automatic.

151,000 original miles, runs and shifts fantastic (knock on wood). Just flushed radiator and tranny, changed oil, passed smog easily, got it from the original owner and cannot believe how straight the body is. I think it has to do with the "real metal" they used in this era. The only thing funky is the black faded bumpers. Any idea how to shine or restore them? I will be changing the timing belt next week.

Looks like a slight leak of something. I will have to investigate, but I think it is the power steering fluid.

Any advice of what I should do, look out for and maintain?

Steering is a bit spongy. Thanks for any advice in advance!

20th Oct 2010, 16:41

I am extremely pleased with my 85 Camry with 190,000 miles... I bought my mother a newer Corolla, but can't seem to part with the old Camry. I recently did regular maintenance items (trans fluid /coolant flush/ tune up etc). It's never needed more than simple stuff!

My only concern is it never needed a head gasket yet. It does seem to be leaking oil from the outside only. It has been for at least a couple years. Never mixing the oil & water though. I've been waiting for it to go.

The other thing that acted differently with it, was the transmission shifted strangely from 2nd to 3rd for ALL of 6 years since she's had it. It actually slips up slightly under a load while shifting. But NEVER got worse. It's VERY strong. It just took me a while to stop worrying about it..

If any one has any comments about either of these two things, it would be great..

It's truly a great car. We love everything about it!

13th Aug 2014, 02:23

Remove the fuel, lower the tank to access the fuel pump.

15th Aug 2014, 18:44

I have real metal on my car. It's called aluminum; very light weight.