Camry '04 white smoke

I have a 2004 Camry that I purchased used 8/2006 with 20,400 miles on it. It now has 83,000 miles on it. I’ve changed the oil and filter every 3,000 miles, and I’ve never had to add oil between changes. I’ve also replaced the antifreeze on time, using 5 yr/150,000 mile antifreeze. The only time I’ve had to add antifreeze was 4/23/13, to top off the overflow reservoir. Saturday I did my annual tune-up (plugs, air filter and fuel injector cleaner added to the gas). Plugs looked normal. Last week the car sat for several days, no issue on start-up. Yesterday afternoon I started the car after it sat for two days. A huge amount of white smoke came out of the exhaust. It ran fine. I mentioned this to my wife, she said that about two weeks ago she saw a lot of black smoke (she thinks black) when she started the car and that it ran rough for about the first 4 miles and then started running ok. Any idea as to what’s going on here? It has the 2AZFE engine, and I’ve read a TSB (TSB 1507) “It has been reported that stripped head bolt threads have been found on some of these engines during tear down. When the two rear head bolts lose their clamping ability they allow coolant to seep out at the rear of the cylinder head.” Could that be the problem?

Get thee Camry to a good independent mechanic. If a TSB was issued for any of my vehicles…I would want them checked out immediately.

I would get this car to a competent independent repair shop and explain this to them. It may be the tsb 1507 issue. That can be repaired but the longer you wait the more damage will be done.

If it is the TSB issue, is it really repairable? I’ve seen people saying it can’t be repaired while others say it can be using something akin to a helicoil (although not a helicoil). I’ve also seen it said that remanufactured engines for this vehicle are not available?

If you have antifreeze mixing with oil, you may be fighting an uphill battle because that creates a horrible sludge in your engine’s oil passages. Do you see anything other than oil on your dipstick?
If it mixed, it may look like curdled up milk consistency.
If all you see is clean oil, you may be okay. Like the other guys say: get it checked soon. That TSB is probably a free fix anyway.

Oil is clean, started it this evening after 24 hrs sitting, some white smoke, but nothing like yesterday. Will a compression test tell me anything? The car runs fine. Looks like no antifreeze missing since I refilled the reservoir 4/23, unless I overfilled it a little. Its up to the upper fill line.


The TSB you want to get is T-SB-0015-11, dated March 2, 2011.

It is 29 pages long. I am physically looking at it right now, because I paid to log onto TIS last year when I was considering buying a used Camry.

You will NOT find it posted anywhere on the Internet for free (at least not using Google).

If you want to look at, you’ll have to pay to log onto TIS, or get someone to show you their physical hardcopy of the TSB

Your block has 10 head bolt threaded holes. Toyota says the outer 4 may NOT be repaired. On youtube, there is a video of a guy repairing all 10 on his own personal vehicle.

FWIW, Toyota wants you to fix the block with Time Sert . . . again, NOT the outer 4

If you want to buy a used block, do NOT get one of these, as they are all affected by the TSB

2002-2006 Camry 2AZ-FE
2001-2007 Highlander 2AZ-FE
2004-2005 RAV4 2AZ-FE
2002-2006 Solara 2AZ-FE

As you can see, installing a used engine would be an ENORMOUS gamble, as it it may happen to that one, as well.

If you have extra time on your hands and if already not stumbled on this, go through the pages. The videos and everything else is listed there.

Before assuming it is the head bolt (gasket) problem, be sure to ask a good mechanic to assess the situation. They have various tests, for the most part inexpensive, they can do to prove/disprove head gasket involvement. They can also do a simple chemical test for exhaust gas getting into the coolant.

Other ideas.

It may be the head bolts have just loosened, and need to be retorqued.

It may have nothing to do with the coolant; maybe it was that the gas treatment you put into the gas tank causes this. Does the white smoke stop after driving a few tanks later?

I’ve only burned a 1/4 tank of gas since adding the techroline. I’ve never had this happen before using techroline,


I believe that engine uses an MLS head gasket. That is a pretty modern design, and the bolts are TTY torque to yield, which do not have to be periodically retorqued.

I clearly remember some engines in which retorquing the head bolts diminished the severity of coolant/oil loss. But those were all very old designs.

If the bolts are indeed loose, I would expect the worst.

FWIW . . . One of my colleagues used to work at at Toyota dealership and clearly remembers working on these bad engines. Here is what happened, according to him.

Customer complains of smoke, overheating, coolant loss, etc.
Mechanic sees coolant leaking from head gasket area
Mechanic removes valve cover and finds that head bolt(s) are loose and can’t be retorqued
Mechanic removes head and finds that threads in the block are stripped or just plain gone.

He says that he was NEVER able to simply retorque a “loose” head bolt. It was always stripped threads in the block.

Sorry about all the bad news but why are you replacing your sparkplugs every 9000 miles?

One place to look is behind the engine, on the intake passenger side. If you see signs of coolant leak and the foam underneath is soaked, then you have the stripped head bolt syndrome.

My mechanic can’t take the car 'til the weekend. In the meantime, I plan on pulling the plugs to look for antifreeze in the cylinder heads. I have a compression gauge that I can use, will that necessarily tell me if the haed gasket is leaking? I’m thinking its a tiny leak at this point, if that’s my problem.

A compression test won’t necessarily show a leaking head gasket. Instead you want to do a leak-down test.

A compression test is too dynamic where the pistons move up and down so rapidly that the proper compression is reached even if there’s a small leak in the head gasket.

A leak-down test is a static test where compressed air is introduced into the cylinders at a constant pressure so you can determine if any of the cylinders leak down from a leak, or if bubbles form in the coolant from a leak.


FYI, a “leak down” test is done by the mechanic sort of like you could check for a leak in a bicycle tire. For a tire, using a bicyle pump, the type with an attached pressure guage, you could pump the tire up, then monitor the guage pressure to see if the pressure drops (leaks down) over some time interval. If the pressure drops, you know you have a leak. The same thing can be done on an engine cylinder. The mechanic has to position the crankshaft to make sure both valves are closed for the cylinder being tested is the main difference.