Which to keep?

supton

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So it's been a couple weeks now. I've been diligent about not driving the new Camry at all, and splitting my meager driving time between the other two.

I used the '99 to move 900lb and then 1,250lb, and I think the second time I had the tongue weight wrong, as the car felt like it was being pushed around a lot when I hit 50mph. It also felt lacking in the hills, I would just drop to 2nd and leave it at 4k. Actually almost any incline needed that, but I did have another 250lb of weight in the car (wife wanted dirt on Mother's Day, it was easier to buy it bagged).

Following weekend I used the '11 and TBH as long as I was moving it shrugged off 1,250lb. Mind you, that's 250 over the '11's rating and 500 under the '99's rating. I did not feel pushed around, I would drop to 4th on hills and it would just rocket along. But wow, I was missing that torque convertor on the one start on an incline (no hill starts without smoking a clutch I bet) and backing it up was definitely more of a chore. 1,000lb really is about its limit, all due to that clutch (or tall gearing, which TBH is just fine--for an unloaded sedan).

Today I took the '11 to work and... I about fell asleep. Which is weird, as the car shakes at highway speeds and is really hard to drive smoothly, as tip-in is extreme, the clutch is vague, the rev-hang is excessive, 2nd synchro is crunchy as ever, and the steering... was inspired by a boat. No lumbar support and I just don't feel comfortable, keep moving around in the seat every few minutes. The engine is quite peppy and willing, it does not feel down on power at all. I wonder if I can find a power seat (that isn't wore out) and maybe a decent set of struts, try to make the most of it.
 
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The 1999 is by far my favorite body style for the Camry, ever, by a country mile. The 11 is probably a bit safer. If the MT is crunching into 2nd, and you’re not feeling the oats for shifting your own, I’d lean in towards the 99. Really, the chassis is solid enough to keep it rolling as long as you want.

@Nick1994 had the suggestion earlier to drive one, take the other off insurance and store it for your daughter. Not a bad way to go, especially if you aren’t sure. Or, list the 11 for 5k on Facebook and see what you get. Several 300k mile camrys around here listed over 5k.

I do love the simple looks of the 99.
 

Nick1994

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The 4th gen Camry’s make surprisingly halfway decent highway cars for being econo-boxes.

I still vote for the 2011, refreshed suspension and perhaps a fancier seat. Maybe an Avalon seat or Lexus ES350 seat fits?
 
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Having worked on the 99 gen Camry but V6 XLE, I'd say it is a very well designed car, I do like both 99 and 11 style wise and to be honest your mileage is the same, 99 has suspension work done so it will feel fresher (220k miles means struts are shot, they usually are worn by 150k or so miles), those auto tranny would last forever if you change the atf, engine likely similar, ignition coils probably worn about the same and about time due to miles, 11 paint condition isn't as good but the interior is newer and plastic less brittle due to 10 years younger.

The rest of the car is likely close enough between the 2. It would be easier to sell the older one now than later, so I'd sell the 99 first, fix the struts on the 11, or sell both cars and get something newer so you don't have to deal with them if you don't want to.
 

supton

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I'm going to keep an eye out for a new seat. Maybe I can find a power seat with heat, that'd be a nice upgrade to the '11. Maybe even in leather, wife hates leather but I'd be ok with it. I think there is an airbag in the seat so swapping may be difficult.
 

supton

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Been about a month. Starting to get the hang of this clutch again... jealous though, the wife says the automatic HVAC works great at not needing to ever be adjusted for temperature, and I sure do miss the electric seat. But more power than my '99 Camry, almost feels spirited. Found a patch of rust underneath that I need to sand and do something with; tried some naval jelly but didn't get far yet; it's really starting to go fast underneath, probably from the quasi-heated garage (it does not drop below freezing in winter).

Wife is starting to drop hints about selling the '99. It hasn't moved in two weeks. I meant to take it out for a spin last weekend but just didn't get to it. I should alternate driving the two work going forward--the company I work for has announced return to work plans and by fall I'm to be in-office 3 days a week--so I already started doing that, and should be doing 300-400 miles a week now going forward.

Not sure if the '11 needs springs or not, wife wanted a rain barrel (which go figure, did not fit in the car, so it got tie-strapped to the trunk) and at one point I had to get six cinder blocks. It seemed to sag quite a bit for only 200lb. Cushy ride means lightly springed I guess.
 
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