1999 Toyota camry too low

toyota
camry

#1

My daughter drives a stock 1999 Toyota Camry, that we bought used. She has had it for a couple of years. Soon she will be moving in to a new apartment complex. There are speed bumps in the roads around the buildings. Her car bottoms out at even slow speed, less than 5 mph. Even a complete stop with a crawl will scrape the under carriage. None of her friend’s cars do that.

Is there any way to raise it to ease or eliminate the scraping?


#2

Either the speed bumps are unusually high or something is hanging unusually low on her Camry. I suspect the exhaust pipe is what is making contact. I have a 2000 Camry with the V6 and is seems the exhaust hangs down a bit lower than the rest of the underbody of the car. On the road I’ve noticed that a lot of Camry’s of that era also look like the exhaust pipe hangs low.

I don’t know if there is a fix, but have the exhaust pipe checked to be sure it is properly secured. It is possible that the pipe can be damaged if it drags too hard on the speed bump. Perhaps she can find a way to avoid the tallest of the bumps and still get to her apartment.


#3

I don’t know if there is a fix

Bailing wire? (Only because the exhaust system is too hot for duct tape.)

Seriously, if you’re certain the ride height is stock (remember it was purchased used), a speed bump shouldn’t scrape the undercarriage.

The next time it’s on a lift, have the mech look for “fresh” rust from where the contact is being made.


#4

Yeah, our 99 Camry drags also for a few weeks in Spring when the annual frost heave festival hits our neighborhood. There don’t seem to be a lot of options for raising the car.

The two ways that I am vaguely aware of would be to install spring shims in the coil springs of the McPherson struts or to tinker with the tire size. Installing tires with a slightly greater diameter will raise the car at the cost of throwing your speedometer and odometer readings off a little. And there is a limit to how big an oversize you can use without the tires touching the wheel well on sharp turns. I’d be concerned about the safety aspects of either bigger tires or strut shims – which is why I haven’t pursued raising our Camry a little.

Maybe others around here have more experience or other ideas.


#5

Check the ride height. The factory manual should have a spec in it. It could be tired springs and or shocks/struts. Does it ride OK without “porpoising”?

It could just be high speed bumps. Try going over them at an angle so that one wheel at a time goes over the bump. I had to do this with a lowered Miata. I had to slow enough so the suspension did not compress and scrap the bottom. Ridiculous PITA, of course I would dump the clutch a scream up to the next Speed Hill.


#6

Have her try going over them at a angle.
Do it so one front tire goes over bump before other front tire hits bump.