1. Autos

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Questions and Answers

Toyota Camry Engine Condensation

Q. Hi Vince, I have a 1983 Toyota Camry, 2-SE engine, automatic transmission, 249,000 miles, fuel injected. A year ago, I had the head rebuilt which included the installation of a new head gasket. Yesterday the oil light came on while traveling to work. The quantity of oil (oil level) is good, oil and filter changed by myself about every 4,000 miles.

Toyota Camry Engine Condensation

The oil pressure sending unit is good and dry, oil pressure sensor wiring looks okay. Lately, I've been using quite a bit of water (50/50). When I got from work, I checked the oil and observed a large amount of steam shooting out of the dip stick tube. I also noticed that a lot of steam came out after removing the oil fill cap.

After letting the engine cool, I notice a latex type condensate on the inside of the oil fill cap and at the very top of the dip stick (coolest points for condensation to occur). It is obvious that I have an internal coolant leak.

Do you know what is taking place to cause the latex condensate to form? It seems to dissolve, return to fluid, and then re-condense with each outing. Could the oil pressure sending unit be plugged with this latex type condensation and just now cause the oil light to come on?

Could the oil pump be plugged somehow and actually have low oil pressure? Any cause and effect suggestions would be greatly accepted? Also, any suggestions for a possible "low cost" solution would be most welcomed. I'm a first timer to your site as of this week, but you can bet your bookmark is moving up to my homepage.

Thank you for your help,


Depending on where you live, some of this milky white condensation can be normal. Usually what this indicates is a problem in the PCV system. The PVC system provides fresh air flow through the crankcase and remove moisture and blowby gases. So the first thing I would do is check all the PCV hoses and put in a new PCV valve.

If there is coolant getting into the crankcase, then you either have a blown head gasket, cracked cylinder head or cracked cylinder block. What you can do is let it sit over night and drain the oil before starting it. Since the coolant is heavier than oil, if there is coolant in the oil it will drain out first.

If there is coolant in the oil, you will need to determine where it is coming from. The most probable places would be the head gasket or cylinder head. I haven't seen too many cracked blocks.

I would also put a mechanical oil pressure gauge on it, just to be sure of what the actual oil pressure is. The condensation may be unrelated and the engine could just be plain worn out.

Additional Information provided courtesy of ALLDATA

Back to Index
© 2003 Vincent T. Ciulla

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.