Octane issue

I have a 1999 Camry, 3.0 litre V6. The owner’s manual calls for regular unleaded gasoline, 87 octane. I simply cannot use 87 without the engine pinging horendously no matter what the brand of gasoline. I have to use 89 octane to get by. Question: Can the computer be reprogramed to change the timing, or is there another fix? I would very much like to use regular gas.

George Janzen


No, it cannot be reprogrammed. Some possible fixes:

Have the EGR Valve cleaned or replaced, whichever is appropriate. If it is stuck, it causes higher than normal combustion chamber temperatures, and this leads to pinging.

If the spark plugs have not been changed for 25-30K, change them.

Make sure that the cooling system is operating properly. If the engine is running hotter than it is supposed to, this can lead to pinging.

I agree, you have some sort of engine problem. My '96 ES300 (same engine as the Camry) has used regular since new with no problem. Drop by a parts store (Autozone, for example) for a free scan, see if you get any codes.

Lots of carbon build-up on valves and pistons does this, as well. A good intake flush with Seafoam may help.

Thanks for the suggestions. I will follow up on the EGR valve issue right away. I failed to mention that I purchased this one owner car when it had but 15K miles on it. It has pinged from day one. However it is due for new spark plugs now. I’m running Bosh B4418 plugs in it. Should I be using a cooler plug?


You need to use the exact plugs specified by Toyota. What brand and type are specified? I doubt it’s Bosch. For some reason Japanese cars can be very sensitive to plugs.

I agree with texases. The factory plug for Toyotas are NGK. Using them eliminates a lot of problems.

Thanks a million!! Will change to NGK plugs immediatly!


NKG and DENSO are OEM plugs for Camry. I have a 2000 V6 which is running fine on DENSO 20TR11 plugs. No pings. Change out the Bosch plugs and run 87 and see what results.

The engine may have a knock sensor that isn’t working.