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1999 Toyota Camry LE 6-cylinder missing on piston No. 3

I live in Staten Island NY. In Feb-2010, I bought a used Toyota Camry LE, 6 cylinder, from a Staten Island used car dealer, for use on Staten Island.

In early Dec-2013, I got over-sold a big tune up including new battery, power steering unit & valve covers. Chemicals put through system to clean the engine. $1951.95. Ten miles later the check engine light came on. I ignored it until Feb-2014 when NY inspection was due.

New Mechanic No. 2 said (1) I had California pollution controls and (2) I had a bad front oxygen analyzer (there are two.) The part cost $695 plus labor. Around $800 total.

In August-2014 I had brake fluid added, and for the first time, A/C coolant for A/C. Shortly afterward the car overheated while I was running the A/C while parked. Mechanic No. 2 said the thermostat failed, ruining the water pump and squirted water all over timing system, which needed replaced costing $1,147.60. Ten miles later the check engine light came on again and the car ran raggedly.

Mechanic No. 2 said car was missing on three cylinders and I needed new spark plugs, coils (there are 3) and wire harness costing $71786. Ten miles later the check engine light came on. Mechanic No 2 says I am missing on piston No. 3 and the problem is probably that the fuel injectors are clogged. They put chemicals in the engine to clear the injectors, but still missing on Piston No. 3

Mechanic No. 2 says he does not have a machine to clean the fuel injectors. He says some WalMart in New Jersey has fuel injection cleaner and it only costs $35. I am reluctant to drive to New Jersey with a car I may need to tow back to Staten Island.

Does cleaning fuel injectors with a machine seem like a plausible “cure.” Do you know of any such mechanics on Staten Island? At this point I’ve spent about $4,617.31 on a car with just under 116,000 miles on it and a Blue Book Value of maybe $4,200.

Can this car be saved?

Staten Island, NY

You should have gone back to the first shop as soon as the light came on odds are something they did caused the check engine light to come on. The fact your car has CA emissions should make no difference in the ability to diagnose and fix the car. For $695 did they replace the catalytic converter or the oxygen sensors. I don’t have a lot of faith in your mechanics, if you had all 3 coils fail the car would not run, plus he is recommending you go to wal-mart to get chemicals to fix your car.

If I was in you position I would find a new mechanic in your area, you have spent a fair amount on this car and I think some of it may have been unnecessary. As long as you don’t have a filed head gasket I think the car can be fixed for a reasonable price. I would also stay away from large chains like Pep Boys and Sears. Your best bet is with a good independent or dealer.


Check “Mechanic Files” above and find a new mechanic. Do not go from mechanic to mechanic. The first guy should have fixed it when it coded after his work. You had new plugs put in and don’t need them again. The thermostat will not ruin the water pump. The water pump can squirt fluid all over the timing belt. Run from these guys. They don’t seem to know what they are talking about. Lots of holes in these diagnosis’.

First check to see if #3 is getting injector Pulse.Is it making good contact through electrical plug?Does the injector sound like the others using the stethoscope? Make resistance measurements,compare to specs. Replace injector or all 3 on that side.Not sure about harness details,did they just plug a harness in from another car or was it new, misfire could be a harness detail.