After replacing thermostat, why is temp gauge needle registering car is "cold" when driving on highway?

drewme
10

Asked by drewme Mar 17, 2013 at 04:16 PM about the 2001 Toyota Camry LE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

2001 Camry LE (4spd manual) 240K miles- original owner:  car overheated -mechanic didn't find problem - said thermostat probably had gotten stuck.   Car now had slight burning smell, added coolant every now and then.  3 months later, car overheated had water pump, thermostat changed, and since they were replacing things in the area and it was time, had timing belt changed too.  Car temp gauge needle on highway stays on  "C" (cold), and driving off highway, needle goes to center of gauge. Car smelled and felt like running hot in city driving - took car back & was told I was smelling the result of when it overheated.  A week later, car over heated again, took car back and this time had to have motor oil pump changed & something to the head because they found shavings (??) , plus I told them thermostat was still not working right - please replace. They say it was replaced, I doubt it-gauge still behaves d same way.  Car coolant level kept dropping low - couldn't figure out why.  Took car back again, I asked for all hoses to be replaced (3 years ago replaced with new radiator and hoses changed).   Still had smell and had added coolant more frequently and adding motor oil.
Went to 3 different mechanics - nothing.  A couple of weeks later, a friend discovered - radiator cap threads were worn/stripped.  I think this was the crux of the problem all along, coolant had been leaking from there.  
However, thermostat needle still has never gone back to its normal position (in the middle of the gauge), car still has "overheating smell , needs oil almost every 200-500 miles (depending if it's highway or city driving),  I have added coolant (from low level in reservoir) twice within last month,  and new problem - when I turn on fan above low level, I hear a low rumble, and sound gets louder as I turn knob to higher level.     HELP!!!!
NOTE: Both times when car overheated had (drove car for 1 - 2 minutes), car was towed to mechanic.

3 Answers

drewme
10

Forgot to mention - no problems with car before. Regular oil changes, etc.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
tenspeed
69,715

From your description of the needle on the highway, I would say that you do not have a thermostat. It may have been taken out to mask the overheating problem. You have dumped enough money into this car. Take it to a new mechanic, don't tell about the past and see what they say about the mechanical state of the engine.

drewme
10

OMG!!!! I will do so. Thank you!

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

Camry
Looking for a Used Camry in your area?
CarGurus has 76,413 nationwide Camry listings starting at $800.
ZIP:

Search Toyota Camry Questions

Toyota Camry Experts

#1 Reelin68
Reelin68
Reputation 4,640
#2 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 2,770
#3 tenspeed
tenspeed
Reputation 2,020
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Honda Accord"
1,069 Great Deals out of 71,505 listings starting at $1,200
Used Toyota Corolla"
830 Great Deals out of 52,793 listings starting at $1,998
Used Nissan Altima"
962 Great Deals out of 70,545 listings starting at $700
Used Honda Civic"
756 Great Deals out of 58,654 listings starting at $995
Used Toyota Avalon"
218 Great Deals out of 14,284 listings starting at $1,350
Used Toyota RAV4"
623 Great Deals out of 36,811 listings starting at $1,000
Used Nissan Maxima"
353 Great Deals out of 18,319 listings starting at $1,499
Used Hyundai Sonata"
771 Great Deals out of 54,271 listings starting at $1,595
Used Toyota Highlander"
487 Great Deals out of 15,474 listings starting at $3,900
Used Honda CR-V"
641 Great Deals out of 49,869 listings starting at $1,944
Used Toyota Prius"
186 Great Deals out of 21,635 listings starting at $2,300
Used Toyota Tacoma"
527 Great Deals out of 21,860 listings starting at $1,900
Used Chevrolet Malibu"
892 Great Deals out of 62,986 listings starting at $1,000
Used Toyota 4Runner"
248 Great Deals out of 11,653 listings starting at $2,500

Used Cars For Sale

2015 Toyota Camry LE For Sale
11 Great Deals out of 5,812 listings starting at $15,987
2014 Toyota Camry LE For Sale
64 Great Deals out of 1,793 listings starting at $12,988
2013 Toyota Camry LE For Sale
16 Great Deals out of 815 listings starting at $11,119
2012 Toyota Camry LE For Sale
61 Great Deals out of 2,224 listings starting at $9,235
2011 Toyota Camry LE For Sale
56 Great Deals out of 1,261 listings starting at $6,855