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Toyota Camry Transmission Questions (MY Prior to 2007)



  • cowdoniumcowdonium Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Camry le (v6) with a standard transmission. I don't exactly know how to describe this... basically when accelerating in first or second gear, after taking my foot completely off of the clutch, the car seems to jerk/rock. For example, if I’m shifting from 1st to 2nd gear, I’ll continue to accelerate as I ease off the clutch. After having my foot completely off the clutch, the car will seem to roughly accelerate, almost as if I had let off the clutch too quickly, but I haven’t. I also experience this when I’m in 1st or 2nd gear and am about at 2.5k rpm's and I take my foot off the gas (without engaging the clutch); I would think that the transmission would smoothly slow the car down but instead the car seems to jerk jerk jerk until the car’s rpm’s drop. Nothing violent, but it’s certainly noticeable. Is this normal? To provide a little more background, I bought the car used 1.5 yrs ago w/ 50k miles, it now has 84k miles on it. The car seems to not have this problem after a lengthy (150 miles or so) road trip. I don’t think the spark plugs have ever been changed. I change the oil regularly and have had the air filter replaced less than a year ago.

    Does the transmission need to be tuned up? DO the spark plugs need to be changed? I was at the dealership the other day and they suggested getting the timing belt/drive belts changed at 90K ($350). would replacing these belts remedy this issue?

    Thanks in advance!

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Changing the spark plugs might help (they're platinum-tipped and are supposed to be replaced at 60K mile intervals). There's no such thing as a manual transmission tuneup, but you may want to have the fluid level checked and topped up if it's low. You may also consider draining and refilling it (not absolutely necessary, but it's cheap to do and can't hurt). It's possible your clutch is going bad, but I'm not really sure (hard to diagnose over the internet).

    The timing belt has a 90K mile change interval, so you may want to just wait 6K more miles. At the same time, it's no more labor intensive to replace the drive belts. Changing these will have absolutely no effect on the jerkiness problem.
  • cowdoniumcowdonium Posts: 4
    210delray, thanks for the prompt reply! How difficult is it to change the spark plugs? I've looked under the hood and have noticed a plastic cover over the engine. is it as simple as removing this cover, and switching the spark plugs out (i've done this a thousand times on my riding lawnmower) or is there more to it, like needing special torque wrenches, etc?

    I failed to mention that i use 87 octane. I'm getting, on average, 27 mpg (that's city and interstate). I'll make sure the transmission fluid is topped off , although, i just had my oil changed and brake pads replaced at the dealership, so i would assume they've already filled any low fluids.

    Finally, what's the average life span for a clutch?

    Again, i've only noticed this "jerking" in 1st and 2nd gear, but i don't know what that means.

    Thanks again in advance for any help/suggestions anybody throws my way.

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I think the rear spark plugs on the V6 (toward the firewall) are rather difficult to change due to poor access. The engine cover is no problem. I have always had 4-cylinder Camrys, and these are easy to change the plugs. However, you do need a deep socket as well as a torque wrench (you don't want to risk overtightening the plugs). On the 4-cylinder 1997-2001 models, the proper torque is only 13 foot-pounds.

    Never assume the dealer has checked all the fluids, especially the manual transmission fluid, as typically you must remove a bolt and stick your finger inside to check the level.

    There's no such thing as an average life span for a clutch. You can fry one with just a few all-out tire-spinning acceleration runs, or a clutch can last well over 200K miles, as mine did on a 1980 Volvo.

    The 87 octane gas is not contributing to the jerkiness.
  • cowdoniumcowdonium Posts: 4
    are there any tell-tell signs that a clutch is going bad?
  • bhc1bhc1 Posts: 2
    I was about to fill up the power steering fluid in my 2003 Camry. But on the cap it says Power Steering - Use ATF with Dextron II or Dextron. But ATF is for the transmission. So I called a Toyota dealer and they said just use the regular power steering fluid. I can't imagine if Toyota made this error on the cap and nobody ever reported it. Any new Camry owners out there, please let me know what fluid you use for the power steering. Thanks.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 314
    Many cars use ATF in power steering. My 1989 Camry does.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    My question is did you need to add p/s fluid or did you drain the existing fluid?
  • bhc1bhc1 Posts: 2
    I just need to add the fluid to the max level. I'm wondering if new power steering systems nowadays use ATF instead of the regular power steering fluid. I just don't want to damage it by mixing in the wrong type of fluid.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 314
    Also read owner's manual for power steering fluid requirements.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    All of the Camrys I have owned (1997, 2004, and 2005) have called for Dexron II or Dexron III for use in their power steering systems. Yes, it is ATF. You don't have to fill it to the max level. There are two sets of "min" and "max" markings - one for a cold engine and one for a hot engine. The proper level should be about halfway between the appropriate "min" and "max" levels. Unless there's a leak, the fluid level should NOT go down.

    Always consult the owner's manual or maintenance manual for the proper fluids. Don't believe the dealer without checking. What's "regular" power steering fluid supposed to mean, anyway?
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    "What's "regular" power steering fluid supposed to mean, anyway?"

    There is stuff sold called "power steering fluid" that is not ATF. It's essentially just very low viscosity mineral oil (10 weight or something). It's yellow like engine oil and not synthetic like ATF. Chrysler used to use it but not sure if they still do.
  • I have some leakage under the car. Looks like ATF since the dipstick is right near the tip when hot. The owners manual does not adress checking this fluid - wonder why? It's a strange dipstick, complete with a clip to hold it down sort of. Even the engine diagram in the manual does not highlight this as something to check. If I want to add fluid to be able to drive to the fixit guy, does it just pour down the dipstick tube like other cars?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Yes, you add ATF by pouring it down the dipstick tube. I believe in 2000 models, Dexron III was still the specified fluid, but you should check your owner's manual to be sure.
  • Hello all,
    A small/big problem. My second hand 200 Toyota Camry 4cyl/auto was working fine till a few months ago, when I suddenly started feeling the unease with which my gear changes when I increase the speed. Its not smooth at all and I can feel a jerk when I increase the speed. Clearly something is wrong. Since its 60K + I took it for a 60K servicing and the Midas guy ( I think ripped me off ) with 470 bucks worth of servicing. I guess everything was needed except the spark plug wire change that cost me arnd 200 bucks. The Transmission flush was done too, which I thought will take care of the gear changing problem. But its still there.
    Any idea what else could be wrong? I am gonna take the car to the Midas guy again, lets see what he says

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    See my reply in the Toyota Camry problems and solutions thread.
  • ceds01ceds01 Posts: 1
    > Hello Everyone, My sister recently brought her 02 Camry to the
    > Toyota of Redlands dealer to get her camry's 110K Mile Service Maint
    > Done, they did the Basic engine stuff Serp Belt etc.. and Drained
    > Filled the Transmission $500 bucks, thats what was Listed on the work order.
    > this was done a month ago, now there was a tapping shutter sound
    > comming from the tranny, she experienced slippage after 40 mph, she
    > brought the camry back to the dealer and they came back with an
    > estimate of $3K. WTF???!!! there was no tranny problem reported
    > durring the initial 110K mile service maint check. what went wrong
    > here.....
    OK, I checked last night and found 4 oil pan bolts were loose where a leak was discovered, I have pix(I just need to know how to show it),...and its down about a quart.......I tightened the loose bolts and I told my Sis to pickup a bottle of Genuine Toyota ATF-T IV oil and add it see what happens,...the Service Dept should have seen this leak a month ago if it existed then and listed it as an issue on the Work Order. Sabatoge????
    > Please Advise Me
    > CEDs01

    PS My Sister said the Service Done is irrelevent to what had happened....I see a letter to BBB.
  • you fixed the loose bolts and put more fluid in the trans. how does it perform now?? if it's normal, then that's fine. I always checked my pan bolts after doing a filter change in my 94 camrys and some wiggle loose. Even the oil pan that was problematic had loose screws and I had to keep retightening them. I'm not an expert in trans repair but I thought poor fluid and abuse kills them but if the fluid leaks it just shuts down (ie. slips and you don't move). I'm hoping that your car is fine now with the correct fluid amount. Also, it hasn't been long since the repair and you caught it. Let us know how it turned out.
  • yczycz Posts: 25
    You guys may laugh at me while ask this: should I switch to "N" when a car is
    not moving for an automatic transmission? Or stay on "D". I always leave on "D"
    while driving just for convenience. My first two cars were manual, so I had to
    on "N" while stopped. Driving an auto for many years now, just thought about
    why not switch to "N" when stop - may save on some gas (?). Does anyone
    have experience on switching "D" and "N" for auto-trans cars? If you do switch
    between "D" and "N", is there any harm to the auto-transmission?
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    There's absolutely no reason to switch out of D at a stop light. If you're waiting 2-3 for a train to go by, I put it in P just to be able to take my foot off the brake.
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