200k+ toyota camry has palsey

#1

My Camry, an auto with the origional transmission has a wiggly steering wheel when at a light. The steering wheel seems to do this shakey thing only when in gear (it is an automatic)and only at stopping points. I had work done on it for this befoe, and it, in addition to the palsey, had grinding sounds like the air conditioning compressor was dieing. It was diagnoised as a problem with the timing belt, which got replaced and the noise and shaking went away for a couple of weeks. The shaking has been gradually increasing. When at a light I can put the transmission into neutral or park… and the shaking stops… at least till I get rear ended. Could this be something to do with the synchronization of the transmission to the drive shaft (I’m using words I have no business using…) I also had the motor mounts replaced this year, and it solved a more extreem case of this, but the shaking then would only happen when accelerating. Now it only happens at idle in drive. I think the mechanic is going to recommend replacing the car…

#2

First thing that comes to mind by your description is the motor mounts. I wonder if the mechanic replaced some, but not all, of the mounts.

Second is that your engine probably shouldn’t be vibrating that much. A tune-up (plugs, wires, maybe coils) would be the first thing to do. However I’m also a huge proponent of cleaning your injectors as well- if they haven’t been removed & cleaned in the 200k miles they are probably not spraying very well. (I am not talking about dumping “fuel injector cleaner” into the tank, instead a mechanic will remove the injectors from the car and clean them on a flow bench). If the car is worth dumping some money into, then try these things.

#3

Have you had the transmission serviced recently, or ever? service=fluid and filter change. Sounds like an issue in the torque converter. This is the thing that lets you sit at a light in gear and also is the thing transfers power from the engine to the transmission. Sounds like it is sticking or failing. Fluid change MAY help, but it also might need a replacement. You list the model and mileage, but not the engine and year.

#4

I’ve had the transmission serviced, but not so recently. Just had a big tune up done, with distributor, wires plugs fuel filter, air filter, timing belt, water pump etc…

But I didn’t do anything with the trannie… being so high millage I was worried this might be the problem… Thanks for your suggestions. I’m going to the car talk recommended mechanic in my neighborhood to further the discussion.