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I have a 2001 Toyota Camry and the O2 sensor near the front of the car is bad (this is confirmed by the code that the computer has returned).

Though I'm not particularly knowledgable about cars (though I'm learning as I go), I'm comfortable working on them given enough information on what exactly I need to do . In this case, I'd like to know the proper hardware and procedures for replacing the O2 sensor.

Specifically...

  • What O2 sensor do you recommend for replacing the bad unit?
  • It's my understanding that some sensors can be easily replaced; others may require a bit of soldering. I'd prefer the former, but I'm also open to the best suggestions you guys have.
  • I also understand that, after replacing the sensor, I should disconnect the battery to clear the computer, correct?

I'm looking to do this as cost effectively as possible.

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I doubt your sensor requires soldering. I would recommend always going with OEM parts, as they ensure the values the sensor sends are accurate. Next, verify which sensor it is as some cars have 4 and are divided into banks (sides). The code should say which side you are looking at. The sensor itself might need a special socket, but that is not necessarily the case for all cars. If you can do it properly with a wrench, then use that. I would recommend you allow the motor to cool, as they are usually located in the hottest part of the engine, and you will get burned. They have a connector, and plug into the exhaust or header. Ensure to use the anti-seize that will likely be packaged with your replacement part, and torque as instructed. A Haynes or Chilton manual should walk you through this easily, and many other easy to do procedures.

On a side note, it is not always the sensor that goes bad. Sensors read the mixture and efficiency of your combustion, and can trigger a code if you are running rich/lean.

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    Going with OEM is the best way. If you go aftermarket, that's when you may end up soldering. I do recommend the O2 sensor socket as it's easier/safer for the sensor than using a wrench. You may not care about the old sensor, but it'll help keep the new one from getting torn up during installation. – Brian Knoblauch Feb 21 '12 at 13:09
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Unplug the O2 connection from exhaust manifold Under hood in front between radiator and engine. Using a large crescent wrench or 5/8 socket loosen sensor at base like removing spark plug. Make sure to wear gloves and allow to cool...Using maf sensor or throttle body spray cleaner thoroughly clean in around sensor contact body shake and drip out excess and allow to dry. Next use clean wire brush and or sand paper to clean sensor to a near shine. Spray sensor contact side thoroughly again. Shake and drip out excess and allow to dry. Reinstall sensor and reset codes with obd scanner or by removing battery cables and reinstalling. Most cases this will improve sensor performance clearing check engine light even passing emissions tests. If all checks out you just saved a lot of cash...your welcome. Usually on 01-05 Camry the catalytic converters fail after 150k miles so look online and get ready to spend a couple hundred plus on a new one which will improve performance big time! I've replaced a few on these years models. Most shops gave estimates of 500 and up I charged 100 and they found new cats on Amazon for 150. Each instance customer thought motor or trans was failing due to loss of power.

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