Two months ago I inhereted my mother’s '87 Camry and took the car cross-country. Off and on, the car struggled to pick up a steady idle when starting. Giving it gas made the idle even rougher, though eventually, withouth pushing on the pedal and waiting a few minutes, the idle stablized. I had diagnostics run by a mechanic and he couldn’t pinpoint anything wrong. Since then, the problem comes and goes, but I also notice the car struggling at certain moments to gain speed. I’m wondering if it is the ignition coil? It’s a good car and I want to solve this riddle. Please help!
As a standard response what maintenance has been performed on the car?
Everything was up to speed before I left on this trip. I’ve changed the oil twice since.
Not much to go on. I just did a check on rockauto.com and it appears this engine is equipped with an EGR valve. This could produce the issues you suggest. It’s only one possible origin for such a condition, but one that would produce the trashed idle and other symptoms if it’s operating at inappropriate times.
If you know what it looks like, it’s relatively easy to check. You merely get the car in a stable state and apply vacuum to the diaphragm (draw on it). It should trash your idle. If the vacuum source has a cracked hose or whatever switching mechanism is defective, it could be applying vacuum at inappropriate times. I’m not acquainted with this engine, but it may employ a coolant temp switch. That’s a vacuum switch that uses coolant temperature to move a valve and divert manifold or ported vacuum depending on application.