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Toyota RAV4 Transmission Troubles



  • Oh I feel so sorry for you. I saved money by having my transmission rebuilt. The transmission shop owner told me to get the ECM fixed before I drive it. However, two Toyota dealers says that without the error code they cannot replace the ECM. Since they are the only ones who can touch the ECM, I am SOL. Between tows, rental cars and transmission rebuild I am into this for over $4,000 and now am faced with the transmission at risk because the dealer will NOT replace the ECM, even though I offered to pay for it. The corporate office said they would NOT pay for any of the transmission repairs or the ECM. I will submit my transmission repair bill along with my story to the Class Action Lawsuit which stays open until 2014. That's the only chance I have to get my money back.
  • I read your post and was wondering how to go about getting a check on my 2002 RAV4's transmission. I was just told by a reputable transmission company that I needed a new transmission.
    My car started bucking and gasping for gas everytime I slowed and excellerated or came to a complete stop. I immediately took it to my mechanic who had the pan dropped and transmission checked. But to no avail; I was told it was shot & needed to be replaced.
    I have been checking online for any information about recalls on this make & model (RAV4 2002).
    Can you give me any help ?
  • I have an opportunity to purchase a 2002 RAV4 with 57,500 miles on it. The dealership has confirmed that the engine control module was reprogrammed in August 2007. According to the Carfax, the vehicle has been driven for more than 20,000 miles since that repair. Is this enough to ensure that I will not experience these transmission issues or is it possible that I could still experience them? Please let me know, as I am really interested in purchasing this vehicle. Thank you.
  • i have a 202 RAV 4 - how do I find out if it's still under warranty
  • 10 years or 150,000 miles. I had 10.4 years at 71,000 miles.
  • My 01 Rav4, 72000 miles is awesome, always has been. I took it to trade up to a Tacoma and when they test drove it, found a clunk when putting it in reverse. I was astonished. I had done the recall for the computer a couple years ago, asymptomatic. Why, the day I go to trade it in, do we find a problem....?

    So my question is, after consulting the and listening to the frequently asked questions from the toll-free line.... How long is it taking to get reimbursed? I haven't actually gotten it fixed yet, but is sounds like I have to fork out a lot of money!
  • Update: I traded my Rav4 in with the broken transmission back in May 2012, they gave me $9985 trade in for it toward a new Tacoma, I was/am overly satisfied!
  • Hi
    I am driving a 97/98 plate rav 4 for the last 6b months with no problems. But last night driving on the motorway, I started to hear a high pitched squeal from behind my dash which changed in pitch whenever I put or took my foot on the gas. I was thinking possible fan belt issue. However, about 20mins later, it popped out of 5th gear which was a bit scary on the motorway at 70mph!!

    Now, it won't stay in 5th gear but all the gears work fine and there is no apparent change in how it handles. The high pitched whine is still there also.

    Any ideas what this is

    Thanks in advance.
  • My 2007 RAV 4 sometimes Jumps out of Reverse when I hit the accelerator harder than normal. The transmission is an automatic and does not slip and changes gears fine otherwise. Any ideas. I don't want to have to rebuild it for one mechanical problem. Does anyone know what may be causing this?
  • We had a problem with our 2003 rav 4 transmission. It was the computer sending the wrong signal to the transmission. After the dealership told us the thing cost over $1000 and also said the transmission would have to be repaired. We called toyota. National. They said there was a bulletin about and that the dealere should know about it. the dealer suddenly remembered the bulletin after we said we called toyota. They replaced it for free because if it was less than 10 years old and had less than 150,000 miles. At that point the dealer couldn't find anything wrong with the transmission. It works like new now.
  • You were lucky. The dealerships act like cheating spouses - deny deny deny even at times when faced with the truth. I bought a new Toyota and traded in my bad one and got full blue book for it. Now they will have to deal with it. I will check online for recalls every 6 months from now on. I was only at 75,000 miles on a 2001 RAV. They wouldn't budge because I was over the 10 year limit by two months. If the RAV wasn't such a good car (usually), I would never deal with Toyota again.
  • grngogrngo Posts: 2
    Tim N - Automotive Scientific Inc.

    I just left feedback on eBay, but only 80 characters doesn't do it justice so I want to tell you my whole story and encourage you to share it with potential customers on your website or any other way you wish.

    I purchased a 2003 RAV4 in Houston in January of 2011 with the intention of shipping it to Costa Rica after driving it in Houston for 8 or 9 months. It had just under 90,000 miles on it when I purchased and ran great. The transmission was a little rough shifting on cold mornings, but I didn't give it much thought. In September 2011 I shipped the RAV to Costa Rica with 100,000 miles on it and drove it here from October until last Saturday (3/16/13) when the transmission started to act up at 103,000. Hard shifting, not shifting out of first, down shifting on hills even though I had already manually shifted to 2nd. My first thought was low fluid since I had driven it really hard in the hills here using second gear most of the time to climb and brake on the downhill. Well I went straight home and parked the car. Checked the fluid and it was clean and full.

    At that point I went to the Google and discovered the ECU issue with this model. It sounded right on, and while my logical mind can't quite comprehend a computer failure of this nature based on higher mileage, I decided it must the problem. Although the Check engine light hadn't come on before, it did come on when I moved the car about 300 feet just to park in a better location. I didn't even bother checking the code. I just instinctively knew based on all I read that it was the ECU failure. Then I went back to Google and began shopping for a replacement. I found $1200 new, $1050 new at discount parts outlets, $250 to $500 rebuilt. Then I found Automotive Scientific Inc at $129 free shipping and no core charge. I have to say I was skeptical since I sometimes believe we get what we pay for, but the feedback was good and I felt it was worth a shot. I didn't even bother to shop here in CR knowing there is no way I would beat this price, even with added shipping and duty.

    First, I ordered on Sunday. You called and emailed me Monday morning for my VIN to verify the correct unit was shipped. Next, you shipped immediately. Since I am in Costa Rica and use a freight forwarding company, there are added expenses and time. One big added expense is import duty which of course is based on value. Obviously the lower price drastically reduces the duty. I use Aero Postal / Aero Casillas for shipping from Florida to Costa Rica. I ordered from you Sunday 3/18. You shipped 3/19. UPS delivered to AeroCasilles in Miami 3/21. The unit arrived in San Jose 3/22 and I picked it up here in Ciudad Quesada this morning 3/23 at 10AM. Shipping, duty and taxes were $40. Total investment $170. My wife asked on the way home from picking up the part if I was sure that was the problem. My response, even if it isn't, its worth the cost to get it off the list of possible problems since a transmission shop would want to sell me one anyway at a much higher cost.

    Installation took less than one hour thanks to a YouTube video by one of your pricey competitors. ( ) By 11:30 I was test driving and by Noon I was convinced the project was a success.



    cc: Friends, Facebook, Costa Rica Living
  • tmmortmmor Posts: 1
    Hi everyone,
    So I just learned about the transmission problems with the select 2001-2003 models, a little late unfortunately. I took my car into Aamco to get it looked at b/c it wasn't shifting properly and they told me they needed to rebuild the transmission and remove damaged parts and replace the ECM, for an estimated $2700-3500. My car has 157K miles so it's past the enhanced warranty. I still called Toyota HQ to see if there was anyway they could help. I had never received any notification about the problem, they claimed to have sent it out July 2010 and I never go to dealerships b/c they're so expensive. They said no. I said I was willing to pay 50%, a compromise, since it's a defect in the system. They didn't care. My car had been jerking into reverse for awhile but I didn't think anything of it. When it started to rev up when I pushed on the gas and it took a while to shift and did so harshly, I decided to take it in. Has anyone had better luck with Toyota? Any suggestions? Is that price reasonable? I am a full-time student on loans so money is really tight and I know nothing about cars. Thanks!
  • grngogrngo Posts: 2
    If you didn't drive much after symptoms started the transmission may not be damaged. Good luck.
  • a friend of mine has a 2003 Rav4, her transmission went out 3 months past the 10 year limit, Toyota won't do anything to help. any suggestions on what she can do? Dealer quoted her $5k to repair
  • I got my ECU reprogrammed online at It cost me approximately $250. And I had to send the ECU to Puerto Rico. It came back in less than a week. I watched a video on You Tube that showed me how to remove it. It is located behind the glove compartment. Once I put in the reprogrammed ECU the car drove awesome thereafter. No more Check Engine light, jumping in reverse, clicking, etc. the best money I ever spent. The icing on the cake? I got reimbursed by Toyota for the $250 because I was right under the 150,000 miles by a couple hundred miles! I will never buy another Toyota after all this because they were so sneaky... It should have been a recall in the 1'st place.
  • donewithtoyodonewithtoyo Posts: 6
    edited September 2013
    After I spent 4 grand at a local transmission shop, it was still giving me trouble because there is an issue with the EGM computer I think is what I remember and the dealer swore that wasn't the problem. I tried everything and toyota was not helpful one bit. I only had 71,000 miles. I went to a local dealer and traded it in for a brand new RAV. I made sure I got no less than 80% value for my car off the sticker price. It was my weird way of forcing THEM to deal with their own mess, while I walk away with a new car. What else was there? I've done my part about warning other people. That's all I can do. However, my next car will be from another company, maybe Honda.
  • I have the same 2002 just started having tranny issues shifting in 1st &'s at the mechanic. In 6/08 Toyota did a "Perform Recall SSC601" on the ECM but no repair/replace was done. I am wondering if this qualifies as an original service date as specified in the settlement?
  • Well it finally happened to me. The transmission has been hanging then jerking for about 2 weeks on my Rav 4 2001. Put in the shop this morning and just go the sad news. The trans needs replacing (they do not rebuild) for about $2000, maybe more once they find an available trans in our area.

    Oh yeah. I wasn't surprised just still in sticker shock. Can't complain. The car has been WONDERFUL. I've spent practically no money on it the entire time i've had it - 6 yrs. It was my aunt's car before and she didn't spend money on it either except for oil change, tires, brakes, etc. just like me.

    I didn't know anything about these probs though until i began researching a couple of nites ago. How come we didn't receive anythng from Toyota on this?
  • I'm sorry. You didn't say how many miles you had on it. I'd just be interested in knowing that if you want to tell me. The RAV4 transmission is controlled by a thing they call the ECM, Electronic Control Module. According to my research, a faulty computer program is responsible for the transmission failures before their time is up. Supposedly, Toyota sent out a Recall notice but I never got one. I hope your repairs are only $2,000. After spending more than that, the same thing happened and Toyota said it's not the ECM. I am sticking to my story, "I think it was the ECM".
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