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Sticky Gas Pedal Toyota Camry

2001 Camry 4 cylinder 86000 miles. I lubricated the springs, mechanism, and cables under the hood and under the dashboard.
Gas pedal is only sticky sometimes, usually when pulling away from a red light where the engine speed drops to idle for a couple minutes. Idle is smooth, no check engine light.
Any tricks or tips to fix it? Problem started maybe 2 weeks ago. We have had nice warm weather so I don’t think it’s weather related. All parts are clean and rust-free.
Thanks in advance as always.

You’ll want to clean the inside of the throttle body itself. Carbon build up in there can hang up the throttle plate. The best way to do that is to remove the throttle body from the car. You’ll want to have a new gasket handy. Use a cleaner that is labeled as a throttle body cleaner. You can also do it with the TB on the car, but won’t be able to be as thorough.

I would take the car straight to the Toyota dealership and have the throttle body completely disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and reassembled. I’d also have the throttle linkage by the gas pedal cleaned and lubricated.

However before you drive this car to the dealership, either call for a tow truck or practice shifting to neutral and coming to a stop so you are prepared to react if you lose control of the throttle. These symptoms are eerily similar to the symptoms one might get just prior to an “unintended acceleration” problem.

Thanks for the caution but my car is a couple generations older than the ones with the unintended accelleration issue. I will keep it in mind though. I have a physical steel cable connecting the pedal and throttle body, not the “drive by wire” system.

Make sure you use a Throttle Body safe cleaner if you decide to clean the throttle body yourself.

Ed B.

@mleich, your car might not be part of the “unintended acceleration” recall, but the symptoms you’re experiencing could lead to unintended acceleration regardless.

My mother’s 2002 Sienna wasn’t part of that recall either, but as soon as I noticed the throttle was sticking, I tried using some carburetor cleaner on the throttle assembly. It didn’t solve the problem. This isn’t the kind of issue you want to skimp on.

Had the same problem and cleaned the backside of the butter fly and the seat where it seals with throttle body cleaner. That took care of it for me.

It is a sticky throttle body but it is not in danger of runaway acceleration. Those are different issues.

You can clean it pretty effectively by removing the air duct from the filter to the throttle body, then have someone step on the gas pedal and hold it to the floor (engine off). You can clean the throttle bore and backsides of the throttle plate with a paper towel and throttle body cleaner. Get most of the gunk that way, then finish the areas around the throttle shaft with the spray.

Keith, I’m going to politely disagree. I did experience runaway acceleration with my 2000 Blazer due to a stuck butterfly valve in the throttle body. It happened when I floored the accelerator pedal to pass another car, it would not have occurred under normal driving conditions. Cleaning the throttle body butterfly valve and the throttle cable linkages fixed the problem.

Ed B.

@Keith, you might be right that Toyota’s unintended acceleration wasn’t an issue of sticky throttles, but, if a sticky throttle sticks in the open position, couldn’t that lead to unintended acceleration? If not, please explain your reasoning.

If the throttle sticks WOT (wide open throttle) it is not due to a sticky throttle plate (aka butterfly). It is due to a sticky linkage or cable and that will be on the outside of the throttle body. Being stuck at WOT is certainly possible.

The Toyota unintended acceleration issues were with the electronic throttles and the problem was in either the gas pedal, the pedal position sensor, the floor mats or the computer. There is some controversy over that and it is in the court system now. The only thing not suspected is the throttle body itself. I don’t think the 2001 Camry has the electronic throttle.

What the OP described is a classic symptom of a build up of gunk on the backside of the throttle plate and the throttle bore aft of the throttle plate. It is easy to clean out. The OP did not report any issues with the car stalling on occasion but that usually goes along with this on models with a separate idle position sensor built into the TPS (throttle position sensor). The gunk build up can prevent the IPS from sensing closed throttle so the computer does not take over and control the idle speed properly.

Chances are the root cause of the gunk build up is the EGR valve. I suspect that a check engine light for EGR stuck open is somewhere in his future, it may be awhile before it trips though.

Remove the throttle body to give it a proper cleaning. A carbon ridge can make the throttle sticky when closed. Remove all lubricants with a spray solvent containing alcohol. Lubricants just attract dirt and this mechanism is not designed to require lubrication.

I know the thread has been inactive a long time. I am having a sticky throttle. My 1994 Camry normally idles around 750 rpm. It was just around 2000-3000 rpm. I can lower the throttle from under the hood without any resistance. I can also raise the throttle too. Once I lower the throttle under the hood to the normal level, it does not stick at all. When I press the accelerator, the idle gets higher and higher up to the 2000-3000 rpm range until I lower it under the hood. Does this sound like a dirty throttle body?

If your Camry is similarly configured to my 92 Corolla with an actuating cable from the pedal to the top of the throttle body, yes it could be the throttle valve sticking in the throttle body. It could be the cable linkage is binding somewhere too. Follow that cable and put a little wd40 on any place it might be binding, worth a try. If you remove the air boot from the throttle body you should be able to see the actual throttle valve, and might can determine for yourself from that why it is sticking. You may be able to get away with spraying some throttle body cleaner on the throttle valve area and working the accel pedal back and forth to free the motion. Otherwise you’ll have to unbolt the throttle body fromhe intake manifold and clean the backside of the valve on the workbench. Best to replace the gasket when you re-install.

The throttle does not normally stick. It last happened more than a week ago. That was also the first and only other time experiencing this problem. I bet the car will be fine tomorrow. I can get the throttle body cleaner and follow the directions. Do you really think dirt is the problem?

No way to tell what’s causing the problem via the internet. I’m just guessing based on what I’ve seen on my own Toyota of similar vintage. I had to remove the throttle body one time to clean that area, not an unusual problem. Best bet is to use a shop to evaluate the situation. Then if you want to fix it yourself, at least you know you are working on the actual problem.

Note: If your car is configured with an idle air control gadget that works in conjunction w/the throttle valve, the problem could be w/that also. On my Toyota, it does have an idle air control gadget, but it works independent of the throttle valve. When I had a high idle speed problem, the throttle wasn’t sticking at all. It was the idle air control gadget that was faulty.