Life Cycle of a Junkyard 1994 Toyota Camry XLE
You’ve read the auction-to-crusher story of the ’94 Camry and the ’91 Civic and you want to see more of the gory details of how the Camry got picked clean by junkyard shoppers? You’ve come to the right place! The complete set of photos of this car’s 11 weeks at U-Pull-&-Pay Denver is available at the bottom of this post, with the images labeled and in chronological order. We’ll hit the high points now, but you’ll need to check out the gallery to get the complete story. To view the Junkyard Life Cycle of its companion, the 1991 Honda Civic Si, go here.
Although this 18-year-old sedan had 266,542 miles on the clock by the time it fell into the clutches of U-Pull-&-Pay, it still looked pretty solid. The body had a few dents and dings and the interior was a little frayed around the edges, but our Camry looked to be in better shape than most midsize sedans with half its mileage.
Your typical Camry doesn’t get junked until something expensive— that is, more expensive than the cost of getting another beater to drive— goes wrong with it. Once it doesn’t make economic sense to keep one alive, these cars have no coolness value whatsoever to make anyone get irrationally attached to them.
While its Civic Si neighbor got swarmed by ravenous hordes of part-seekers right away, the Camry underwent a steady, gradual pulling of parts during its 11 weeks on the U-Pull-&-Pay Denver yard.
There’s not much interest in restoring 1990s Camrys (yet), so I figured that interior and mechanical parts would go away while body parts remained.
By the second week, the air cleaner had been popped off and various relays and small electronic bits had been snatched from under the hood.
Meanwhile, prybar-and-wire-cutter-wielding Toyota parts shoppers had been at work inside. It appears that someone wanted the radio bezel but not the radio.
By Week 3, the remaining wheels were gone, but the rest of the exterior parts hadn’t been touched.
I can’t figure out what the person who partially dismantled the front cylinder head was pursuing. Cam bearing caps?
By the fourth week, the passenger-side door panel, armrest, and window controls had departed.
It appears that someone tore apart the center brake light in order to take a single (pocket-sized) light-bulb socket and harness connector. The entire assembly costs only $5.99, but you see this sort of thing all the time in self-service yards.
Door-latch hardware on older cars tend to break or wear out, even on Camrys, and someone grabbed this front passenger door outside handle during the car’s fifth week on the yard.
It’s pretty rare that someone buys a complete Camry engine in the junkyard (either they rarely break or the cars aren’t worth enough for engine swaps), but this one is giving up quite a few minor engine-compartment pieces.
Somebody thought about pulling the left front fender, then gave up on the idea after removing a few bolts.
Also during the fifth week, the center console and shifter bezel were attacked with great ferocity. Someone grabbed the parking-brake lever (which is weird, since those things rarely break).
Backyard mechanics chasing electrical gremlins often stuff relays, timers, flashers, diodes, and other small underhood gizmos into their pockets, in the (usually vain) hope that swapping them will fix their cars’ problems.
By the sixth week, much of the Camry’s interior had been removed or at least torn up.
Computer boxes, particularly engine control modules, are common targets for junkyard shoppers looking at post-1990 cars. Japanese cars don’t have quite the ECM failure rates of their German counterparts, so you’re a lot more likely to see this stuff linger for a while in a Toyota than in, say, a BMW.
After the seventh or eighth week, not much changed on this car. A few more interior trim goodies went away, including the steering-column covers.
By Week 10, the Camry looks much the same as it did when it hit the yard. Perhaps a few dozen parts have been removed during its stay.
With the end near, the Camry doesn’t have much left to offer to parts shoppers.
Next stop, The Crusher!
The engine and major wiring harnesses are removed via precision forklift.
The car is delivered to the eager jaws of The Crusher.
And now it’s no longer a car.
Perhaps its steel will be reborn as a 2014 Camry.
Here’s the video of this car’s final few minutes of life, in case you didn’t watch it in the original post.