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Thread: Automatic transmission shift issues

  1. #1
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    Automatic transmission shift issues

    Hey Guys,
    Today my van decided to stop shifting out of 1st until 4500+ rpms. I have done a search but can't find any posts talking about shifting issues but I was thinking it may have to do with the TPS? Not sure what to do. I am letting the engine cool down now to see if that makes a difference. I noticed the engine is running a bit hotter than usual but its been hot here the last few days. It was running fine and then I stopped at a stop light and that was it. Had to really rev it up to get it to shift after that. Thanks for any input.
    john
    edit: just went out again. At the beginning it was still a problem. 1st gear 4750 and 25 mph. 2nd 4750 and 50 mph. But then it started to act normal again. Only thing I did was turn o/d on and off a few times. Thoughts?
    Last edited by Cirrus; 05-14-2013 at 08:06 PM.

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    TPS doesn't interface with the transmission on these vans. Check the kick-down cable to make sure it's not binding or sticking.

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    Sounds like what was happening to me. Here's my thread and the solution: http://www.toyotavantech.com/forum/s...months-sitting

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    As usual TVT comes to the rescue again! I will pick up some cable lube and do the kick down cable and the climate control cables at the same time.
    thanks guys,
    John

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    Hi guys. I have been reading some great stuff in here. My 84 LE takes a looong time slow time to take off, meaning I have to wait a looong time to warm it up and and then raise the RPM's really high to barelly start a slow take off. It also takes a long time to shift to second after a vibration period, the tranny fluid is dark. Where is the kick-down cable located? I would like to check that.. Any thoughts anyone? Do you drain the tranny fluid just by removing the plug at the bottom? Thanks beforehand!

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    That doesn't sound quite like the problem that I had with the kick-down cable. That problem didn't cause the issue from take-off, rather the problem was with the up-shift to higher gears.

    Your issue sounds more like a worn out transmission, or at least degraded fluid. You can drain the fluid, using the plug, but since you're experiencing trouble, you should really drop the pan and inspect for metal shavings.

    Just for your information, though, the kick-down cable goes over the top of the throttle body linkage to the innards of the transmission.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    Quote Originally Posted by skibum View Post
    That doesn't sound quite like the problem that I had with the kick-down cable. That problem didn't cause the issue from take-off, rather the problem was with the up-shift to higher gears.

    Your issue sounds more like a worn out transmission, or at least degraded fluid. You can drain the fluid, using the plug, but since you're experiencing trouble, you should really drop the pan and inspect for metal shavings.

    Just for your information, though, the kick-down cable goes over the top of the throttle body linkage to the innards of the transmission.
    Thanks for the response and the attachment. I'm going o drop off the pan to check for shavings and change the fluid, which I hope is the problem. Again, thanks a ton.

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    Automatic transmission failure-

    I believe the transmission has gone out, It had a few jolts and then several minutes later problems shifting and eventually immobile. The catcher is that when its left running after immobile it stays immobile, yet if turned off and restarted it will run all the way through the gears until eventually slipping, only after restarting though. I was hoping maybe there could be something else going on? The transmission fluid and filter are new along with the rear main done less than a month ago. Any advice?

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    Re: Automatic transmission failure-

    Doesn't sound good. Check the fluid to make sure the level is correct (overfilling is just as bad as under). Take a whiff of the fluid on the dipstick and note the color. Fluid should be red and smell like ATF. If it's brown and smells burnt, then it's done. If it's red, and not serviced properly (over or under) then adjust level and try again. If that doesn't help, pull the pan and check the it and the filter for debris. Tilt the pan from side to side and watch the fluid under a bright light. If there's metal particles in the fluid they will glisten like a metal flake paint job (not good). Hopefully this helps. Tim

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    Transmission troubles!!!

    Recently had the throttle pressure cable replaced on a 1988 automatic 2 WD. Upon leaving the transmission shop I have had nothing but problems!! The mechanics there told the engine was under powered hence the shifting troubles!! I have since cleaned the egr, throttle body, replaced the tps, air intake hose, replaced quite a few of the sensors so the engine is running a lot better. Still having transmission issues tho. The transmission shop does not want to look at the vehicle again so here am I! Anyway, the transmission will run fine for a bit but after driving for 10 minutes it goes totally haywire. It doesnít wanna shift into reverse and makes a whining sound. I pumped out some transmission fluid and it looked horrible! I m skeptical that transmission shop changed the fluid or replaced the filter. As a general question what is the short cable connected to throttle pressure cable? Also the fluid seems way over full when cold and hot! I was thinking of dropping the pan and draining and replacing the filter and fluid to just be on the safe side. Is there a anything I should be known the look out for as well? The vehicle before the transmission goes haywire shifts into all gears as well. The problem only seems to get worse each time I drive it so it s been parked since I got it back.

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    Re: Transmission troubles!!!

    The transmission likely needs to be overhauled. Sometimes changing the fluid in a worn transmission can make an already worn transmission perform worse after the fluid change as the old dirty fluid with any contaminants make the clutch packs sticky enough so that there is no slipping because the old fluid then compensates for the worn clutch packs and removing the dirty fluid then reveals the wear because the new clean fluid does what its intended to clean cool and minimize friction and so the trans slips more consequently as a result. Since the pan must be dropped to replace a throttle cable a good portion of the fluid was replaced. Could be why the trans shop does not want to touch the transmission as they would have seen the wear based on the material on the pan magnets

    If reverse is gone then that's internal wear and no adjustment is going to fix the issue. The only band aid interim fix until you can replace the transmission would be to add the lucas transmission fluid treatment (basically thick molasses) but again this may only last days depending on how worn the unit is.

    On a side note it takes a few drain and refills to completely change the fluid in the transmission as you don't get the old fluid from the torque converter. There are places that can do a complete fluid exchange/replacement with a special machine but I would not do this on a worn transmission

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    Re: Transmission troubles!!!

    i bought the vehicle off a tow lot for 700$ so i dont know a lot about the vehicle in general, it seems to be a poorly maintained vehicle in general and the previous owner did a lot of wacky repairs which I am still cleaning up, the splice job he did on the electrical system is truly bizarre. I think the transmission might have been previously rebuilt at some point in the past and not properly maintained. When i got back to work on the van i noticed that external linkages were not properly connected whatsover so i squared that away. I m now getting 5 clicks on the arm so its fully shifting (PRND2L) When the van was grounded the external linkage arm was loose and could slide back and forth on the notch. I retightened the arm back and now i m getting all the gears fine. You are right about the dirty oil in the torque converter. The van is shifting better and running better in general. I am waiting to do the transmission overhaul until i finish the compression test and make sure it is worth it. i do think the guys at the transmission shop were right about the engine being underpowered. I am taking the van in this week to get more work done at another shop. This may sound bizarre but i think the fan clutch needs to be replaced and i think the injectors are leaking and i think this is the power problems that is preventing the engine to get to the right power to shift with the transmission. They explained it to me at the shop and I am a little convinced. if this doesn't make any sense please go ahead and tell me now! i m interested in the view point i read on line that changing the transmission fluid can be problematic in an older car but tranmission flushes are definitely to be avoided and that changing the fluid is not as nearly detrimental. Also as a general question if you re avoiding mixing fluids can the fluid that was left in the torque converter not really mix well with the newer fluid and dropping the pan and filter twice might be a better idea to eliminate as much older fluid as possible, and avoid problems with fluid mixing. i changed the thermostat and the water temp sensor today and performance increased quite a bit. i m trying to squeeze as much life out of the transmission as possible so I might change the fluid and filter again and work on getting more power out of the engine. It lacks a good bit of pick up.

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    Re: Transmission troubles!!!

    If a spill and fill doesn't help, try a machine flush.
    I used Castro transmax high mileage(I have less than 70k) and once I did a flush the issues haven't returned.
    Be aware this could also destroy the trans if it's already questionable

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    Re: Transmission troubles!!!

    When I got my TownAce the tranny had never been serviced and shifting wasnít really rough but never had been serviced. I had the transmission dropped, seals replaced, trans oil and filter replaced, torque converter pulled out and tipped upside down to drain out as much of the old oil as possible since thereís no drain plug and then everything put back together then it was filled and drained 3 times. My mechanic at the time didnít have the machine that recirculates and flushes the oil so thatís how he did it. The old oil was so dirty it looked like dark oil, luckily the transmission wasnít destroyed from the neglect, but the miles were very low at the time and the PO wasnít hard on the van. About 30k-35k or something miles later I had it flushed again with the machine, it was still a little dark but not that bad and no shifting issues after either transmission service. Currently running with 145k baby miles.

    How many miles on your van and does it have a tow hitch for too?

    JDM

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    So, assuming the throttle cable is good, and pulling and retracting as it should, what else should be checked if an automatic transmission isn't shifting right away?
    My Van's been sitting since 2005, and this is the reason it was parked and left to die by the original owner.
    I've been reading the factory repair manual for my '85 (A44DE I believe), and am a little overwhelmed.
    It shifts right into reverse very nicely, you have the second of delay and then you can feel it lurch into reverse as it should. But going into forward is another story, I had to rev up to about 2000 rpm before it 'caught' and took off.
    I changed the transmission fluid and strainer before trying it- the fluid wasn't burnt or dark, and the strainer was clear. No glistening metallic particles in the fluid and very little junk on the magnets.
    Following the advice of some on the facebook group, I've drained the fluid again and refilled, this time with a jug of Lucas stop slip and the dexron III. Fluid is at the right level. I lifted the rear end up and let it run in forward and reverse to let the oil circulate properly. I'm doing all the brakes now before trying to take it on the road again, but looking forward: what else could it be? I know the repair manual says the forward clutch might be worn. Anyone else have this problem?
    The manual details a hydraulic test that can be done by hooking a gauge up, I think that's within my abilities but.. The sections on rebuilding the transmission are intimidating, and while I'm mechanically inclined I think that's beyond me.

    Rather than pay over a thousand to have this one rebuilt, I found a used one a couple hours away (east coast has slim pickings) for $250- all whole, all lines still attached. I'm thinking it might be more cost-efficient to just replace it then have this one rebuilt, but I'm skeptical because of the clean fluid and magnet, could the damage really be that catastrophic? Or is there an easy answer I'm unaware off.
    Of course, as I'm learning, there isn't much regarding the internals of an automatic transmission that's 'easy'.
    Thank you all for the information already in this thread

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    As I've mentioned before, I'm not a transmission guy, so anything I say would be speculation. With that in mind, if the fluid is clean with no foreign material blocking the strainer, then it sounds to me like a pressure issue. Maybe something secondary like a failing pump or perhaps a stuck valve inside the valve body. The fact that it goes into reverse with no issue may also be a clue for somebody with automatic transmission knowledge.

    I currently have a transmission with a shifting/downshifting issue and I decided to finally get my feet wet. With no training I removed the valve body from one of my "used-up" automatic transmissions and have been slowly and carefully going through it. I bought a kit with gaskets and check balls. So far I've got everything disassembled and cleaned, but haven't started assembling yet. THERE ARE A LOT OF PARTS! Once I get done with that I had planned on swapping that valve body with the one that has the shifting problem. Sadly though that van got rear-ended and totaled last month, so my priorities have shifted.

    If nobody with transmission knowledge posts here, I would recommend calling transmission shops. Since most car repair shops send out their transmissions for rebuilding, my advice would be to call around to 2 or 3 auto repair places and ask them who they recommend for transmission repair. Then I'd call the transmission shop and start out by telling them how "so & so" at Joe's auto repair speaks highly of them. That's usually a great ice breaker plus they will know that you're connected. This will make them more willing to hear your story and give advice without immediately jumping into the "you need a rebuild" approach. Good luck and let us know how things work out. Tim

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    I was thinking the same thing about the fluid pressure, it feels like it needs that extra 1000rpm to build enough umpfh to shift itself into Drive. I'm going to try that test with the gauge that's detailed in the repair manual. Figure the more knowledge I have the better negotiating position I have with potential repair shops.
    Which rebuild kit are you using Tim? I see Rockauto has one by Transtec (810000051 -#T572002EC) which they say fits both 84-85 and 86-89 automatics (and Previas too!) If I do end up buying this extra transmission from the salvage yard I'll have an extra to play around with. So sorry to hear about your van getting rear ended.
    I'm going to start calling some shops and getting some references and advice. Thanks for the tip!

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    I got the Transtar #57002ECF / K46900F It's just a basic kit (no clutches or heavy parts). It only has gaskets, seals, o-rings, check balls, some plastic parts, and some snap rings. The kit calls out OHK, A42DL, A43DE & DL, A44. There are some minor differences between those transmissions, so the kit gives optional extra gaskets/parts, so there is extra stuff I won't need. The valve body gaskets come in a plastic bags and each bag is labeled "use for A44" or A43 or whatever. So out of 3 or 4 bags of VB gaskets I'll only be opening/using 1. My cost on that kit was $75. Tim

    BTW, one of my customers is a sales person for Transtar, so I deal with him and I'm probably getting a good deal. Tim

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    If nobody with transmission knowledge posts here, I would recommend calling transmission shops. Since most car repair shops send out their transmissions for rebuilding, my advice would be to call around to 2 or 3 auto repair places and ask them who they recommend for transmission repair. Then I'd call the transmission shop and start out by telling them how "so & so" at Joe's auto repair speaks highly of them. That's usually a great ice breaker plus they will know that you're connected. This will make them more willing to hear your story and give advice without immediately jumping into the "you need a rebuild" approach. Good luck and let us know how things work out. Tim
    Hey Tim, I'm happy to report I got my Van on the road last night for the first time in 16 years.
    I ended up making the trip to a salvage yard on Long Island and picked up a used transmission for $250, condition unknown, had been in inventory for many years. After that I took your advice and asked the owner of the shop where I get my Previa inspected if he had a recommendation for a transmission guy, he highly recommended me someone who used to have a shop but now works out of his garage, mentioned he likes the older Toyotas. After talking to the guy, he seemed pretty knowledgeable so I brought him the salvage yard transmission about a month ago to go over. When I pulled up I noticed a Highlander and a Sienna in the driveway- a good sign I came to the right place . After tearing down the transmission he found a couple of the forward clutches had signs of wear, and had me bring the transmission out of my Van to tear down, to see what was wrong with it and maybe use the best parts out of both.

    WELL, the transmission from the van (the one that would go right into reverse but wouldn't take off in forward) was nearly useless, all the forward clutch plates were shot, burnt and worn down. Nearly every valve on the valve body was stuck as well. I saved some spare parts from it, an extra oil pan, torque converter, bellhousing, tail with the mount, overdrive solenoid, and neutral start switch, but the rest wasn't worth scrap. The transmission guy suspected it had a bad leak, was run with low fluid for a long time, burned up all the forward clutches, and then maybe the owner had the leak fixed and fluid changed or flushed as a last ditch effort before parking it (that would explain why the fluid wasn't full of metallic particles).

    As for the Salvage yard transmission, the rebuild went great, the torque converter he had sent out to be cut open and redone inside, and the extension housing bushing that came with the kit (I believe he uses Transtech) was the wrong size by a couple thousands of an inch, so he had one made by a local machine shop that fit perfectly. I got it back a couple days ago and just finished putting it in last night. It's not inspected registered or insured yet so I haven't gotten it to overdrive yet but just from cruising around the neighborhood it seems to shift smoothly Just an interesting side note, the salvage yard transmission was from an '84 and mine is an '85. Evidently the speedometer gear in the '84 vans had 20 teeth and then they changed it to 21 teeth at some point in August of 1984. The transmission guy was able to swap out the gear connected to the tail shaft so I have the correct 21 tooth gear in my 1984 transmission. Thanks for your advice!

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    Re: Automatic transmission shift issues


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