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Matrix Transmission Problems



  • Badmice2

    Could you please tell me, what year and how many miles on your matrix?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Do you have the 1.8L engine or the 2.4? This problem seems to have only occurred with 2003-2004 1.8L 5-speed Matrixes. If you have the 2.4, you have the entire powertrain shared with the Camry, including the transmission and clutch. That powertrain is not reported to have the problems being discussed here.

    If you have the 1.8, I don't think you should worry. They changed the bearing in question for the 2005 models. Certainly the '09 Matrix should not suffer from this problem.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Nippononly,

    Thank you so much for your post. I do have the 1.8 and manual 5 spd, so I was concerned that it might still be a problem - some of the posts don't mention what year their cars were, anyway, I certainly appreciate your information - it puts my mind at ease.

  • hey Matrix 09....

    I have the 04 Matrix 5 speed. I was fortunate enough to have driving mine 149k before the tranny started to go. I've sent it into the shop. The parts mgr i spoke with said he wasnt aware of after market bearings for the matrix as stated on a different post. My car can still be driven and I can still shift with relative ease. But the rattling notice is killing me.
  • Hello, I had my second , yes, second Transmission go out in my 2003 Matrix XR 5 Speed 1.8L FWD , the first one @ 30k and the second at 120,000 (which toyota put both in for me brand new). However, I want to Convert my 5 Speed Transmission to an Automatic , and wanted to know if I could do this or not? Someone please let me know, so I don't have to spend another $2500 on a new transmission again.


    frustrated matrix owner!
  • By the way, I bought the Matrix Brand new and change the oil every 3k miles.

    thanks for any help.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    There's no question that replacing your manual with an automatic would cost as much as or more than replacing your manual again. Just buying the automatic transmission and having it installed would cost the $2500 or more.

    Having said that, I do wonder if it is technically feasible to do this. You would have to get the computer updated to handle the automatic transmission.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Why not trade it in or sell and get a car with an auto transmission? Wouldn't that be easier? There are tons to choose from right now.
  • it seems to me that Toyota gave you one of the trannys from the bad lot of bearings they received, in speaking with a transmission shop here in southern california they said that they use rebuild kits that are not toyota original parts and should hold up better. if you have another new transmission you might be able to find out when it was manufactured and if it was after 2005 you should be fine. (since none of the 2005 models have had this problem). if it was made before that then I would sell the car and if you really like the matrix then get an automatic. I have yet to replace my tranny since I have another reliable vehicle, but I'm going with a rebuilt one from the tranny shop, which comes with a one year warranty
  • I just noticed rough jerky, shifting with my 2005 Tyota Matrix 4 speed automatic yesterday for the first time. Checked transmission fluid level stick immediately, but I found full level and clean color. Today I searched the internet and I found your notes with Matrix transmission problems. I will have the car inspected tomorrow but I'm not sure if I should go to my Toyota dealer or my independent mechanic. My Matrix has 71K miles on it. Please advise ASAP!!!!!!!!!! :sick:
  • I just noticed rough jerky, shifting with my 2005 Tyota Matrix 4 speed automatic yesterday for the first time. Checked transmission fluid level stick immediately, but I found full level and clean color. Today I searched the internet and I found numerous notes with Matrix transmission problems. I will have the car inspected tomorrow but I'm not sure if I should go to my Toyota dealer or my independent mechanic. My Matrix has 71K miles on it. Please advise ASAP!!!!!!!!!! :sick:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The postings in this thread are related to problem MANUAL transmissions in 2003 and 2004 MY cars. I am not aware of any widely reported transmission problems among AUTOMATIC last-gen Matrixes like yours. So take heart and wait to see what the mechanic tells you. Good luck! :-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Hi All,
    I am thinking of getting a 2004 Matrix XRS manual with 55k miles. It is a great deal and I am buying it from a reputable repair shop. They claim it is in great shape and has many more miles in it. For comparison, I am currently driving a 1996 Civic I bought new. 55K too many miles to be purchasing a Matrix with? Sounds like there is a good chance of the transmission going soon? This is the 6 speed, anyone know of any other persistent problems with this make/model/year?

    Thanks so much in advance....
  • See my post #228. I would not buy it without a transmission warranty through at least 100,000 miles.
  • The XRS transmission doesn't seem to have the same problems that the the base and XR 5-speeds do. The main problem with the XRS seems to be the clutch failing VERY every 30,000 miles or so.

    I still would agree with the previous poster though, and only buy it if it has a 100,000 mile warranty on the powertrain. And if the clutch fails, put a beefier aftermarket one in it.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    The problem transmission is the 5-speed manual, not the 6-speed. The 6-speed is straight out of the Celica GT-S, and I have never read an owner complaint about that transmission except the ones who skip-shifted it by mistake (the gates are close together) and consequently blew the engine.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • keilsekeilse Posts: 16
    100,000 + miles...I have experienced the loud noise and the chirping oin my 5-speed. We changed the gear oil and it helped for a while, and two days ago we cannot get her into gear and it's whining loudly. I want to know what needs to be replaced: the transfer case, or the manual transaxle. Either way, it's going to be EXPENSIVE. Once I remedy this problem, can I definitely expect to have it occur again?
  • What year is your Matrix? I'm assuming it's a FWD since it's a 5 speed and therefore you don't have a transfer case. So unfortunately you've just joined the long list of victims of Toyota. Your Tranny is shot. I recommend putting an overhauled tranny in. I purchased one from Anaheim Gear with a one year warranty for $1,000. they say there's only a few bearing manufacturers for most trannys and Toyota must have got a bad batch installed. I don't recommend a factory new Tranny unless you know for certain that it was made recently and does not fall into that bad batch of bearings. I spent about $200 for a new clutch and other misc. parts and did all the work myself, I figure $1200 isn't all that bad, but it was a big job, especially if you only have one car like I did, I ended up buying a second vehicle so I had something to drive while I worked on the Matrix.

    Good Luck getting her back to life
  • Add us to the list of failed transmissions. 2003 Matrix 5sp. 155,000km. Dealer where we bought the car, and have had serviced faithfully - including 2 transmission fluid changes - no help whatsoever. Quoted $4000 plus tax for new transmission, clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing, etc. Asked about any sort of 'Goodwill' program to help with parts and/or labour and the only response was "It's got 155,000 and it's out of warranty - sorry."

    Took the car to local transmission place and he removed the trans. and inspected. Found the output shaft bearing failed and parts of it were eaten up by a couple of the syncro's. Clutch only about 1/2 worn out. Quoted $2000 plus tax to rebuild with new syncro's and bearings and about $2500 plus tax to include clutch, etc...
    and also comes with an 18 month/unlimited mileage warranty after the rebuild.

    Also asked him to use Redline MT-90 trans. fluid when finished rebuilding.

    Never expected to be doing a transmission in a Toyota - especially before it would need a clutch. Most of my cars in the last 20 years have been standards and I've never even needed to do a clutch on one. Did an automatic transmission in a Bonneville last year at this time. That was not so unexpected.

    I'm disgusted to say it, but we had a Neon that ended up with 230,000km on it when we got rid of it, and it never needed a new clutch or transmission. Now if you want to talk about head gaskets...
  • keilsekeilse Posts: 16
    My car is a 2003. I think the clutch is ok, but everything inside the transfer case sounds like broken chunks of metal. So you recommend buying a rebuilt one? It's a big job to install yourself and requires some pretty specific tools no? Thanks so much for the response. I appreciate it!!
  • I was able to do the job with an engine hoist, a floor jack, a LARGE Breaker bar, a large torque wrench (for peace of mind) a beefy pry bar, a few jack stands a couple ratchet straps, some blocks of wood, and a basic metric socket set, including the 33mm socket for the axle nuts. (a pickle fork would have been helpful as well). I used the engine hoist to support the engine obviously, I had a buddy help me with the removal but I was alone on the install. I ended up putting two ratchet straps from the hoist to the engine and offset the hoist so that I could add a third strap and slowly ratcheted the tranny into position. I wouldn't recommend doing this if you're not mechanically inclined :)
  • neo9neo9 Posts: 3
    Hey all. I bought my Matrix around two years ago almost new (11k miles). Now it has around 43K miles and the last few months my transmission has been showing increasing symptoms of unwellness. At first, the clutch just felt a bit mushy, and to what extent this feeling was real vs. my paranoia I do not know. However, now it is hard to shift gears any time the engine is cold to the point where sometimes I have to double clutch to get it into first. Also, I have noticed a sound a bit like loose metal scraping around whenever I first start up the motor on a cold day. The sound is irregular and not real imposing. It goes away whenever I push the clutch in and returns when I let it back out. Both these symptoms for the most part disappear once the car is warmed up.

    At the moment I am guessing a bad throw-out bearing but I wonder what the apparent temperature sensitivity implies. This is a 2005 Matrix with only 43K on it. I've been scanning this forum and it seems for the most part these tranny problems are only supposed to occur in '03 and '04 models. Is my car proof Toyota hasn't rectified the problem?
  • neo9neo9 Posts: 3
    Any automatic transmission is supposed to shift on its own. That is what the word 'automatic' implies. Normally, if you are climbing a hill or trying to accelerate rapidly, the car will downshift into a lower gear in order to give you more torque. You do not need to shift out of drive in order for this to happen. The purpose of the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st gear settings are to give you more control over when the car shifts. For instance, automatics often won't automatically downshift to provide engine braking when you are descending a steep grade. This is why you have to sometimes put it into 2nd manually. Unless the car is downshifting into 2nd at times when it should not, such as when you are driving at constant speed on a flat stretch of highway, it doesn't sound like you have a problem.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    From the symptoms you are listing I would say your first guess was right: bad throw-out bearing. That kind of sucks at 43K though. Sorry to hear it. :-(

    I wonder if they will cover it for free under the powertrain warranty - after all, it is not the same thing as a worn clutch. They really should cover it.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • I was very excited about my search for buying a used Matrix, 2007, 2008 model and was not sure on getting a manual or automatic transmission. After reading the forums, I am discouraged about buying a matrix all together.

    I need advice: What transmission should I get? Is Automatic better than the Manual in the later models? I pay cash for cars, so I have been saving for a long time for this vehicle....should I even consider a Matrix anymore? I want something to last for a LONG time like my current car, which is a Toyota Camry that is 19 years old.

    Thank you
  • My Matrix is parked in my driveway until I find out what is happening with that transmission issue. I am happy I found that forum, it helps me understand what happened to me today. Since french is my first language, excuse the mistakes please...

    For a few days, I was hearing that distant grinding sound from the motor and I finally stopped to a small neighborhood garage to have it test driven by a mechanics. His diagnostic was very clear: transmission bearing failure. He called me an hour later telling me transmission had to be opened and bearing replaced for about $1200.

    So I decided to take the car to the dealer where I bought it and have always have it serviced to know how much they would charge me. And to tell them I was quite surprised with such an important failure at 170,000km.

    When I told the service manager what my problem was, he looked at me with the same surprised expression I would have expected from him if I had told my car was able to fly. As if it was the first time he heard of such a problem on a Matrix. Coincidence, a mechanic entered the client area from the garage, saw his face and asked what was happening. He had to tell him I had a problem with my transmission bearing. «Oh, I'm not surprised, we have changed quite a few of them».

    Isn't that funny? It looks like they don't give the mechanic the same training they give the front desk people!

    And the training they give them doesn't look very good either, because when I asked if it would be better to install a used transmission instead of fixing mine, he answer me that a used one would be likely to break again pretty soon...

    So Toyota people seem to have humoristic aptitudes. And according to what I just read on tha forum, I guess I will receive that kind of answer to the mail I sent to this afternoon: «We have received quite many complains about that bearing failure on 2004 manual Matrix, but we maintain our point: there is no reported problem with that transmission.»
    I'm really looking forward to reading their real answer...
  • neo9neo9 Posts: 3
    Yea that was the diagnosis of Pep Boys when I brought it to them. They actually recommended I essentially run the bearing into the ground if I can't get the warranty to cover it. My power train warranty goes to 60K, claims to cover the clutch casing but not to cover the clutch lining. It says nothing about the throw-out bearing. My pessimistic prediction is that the dealership will try to tell me the throwout bearing is another wear-&-tear item, (I know it can go for some of the same reasons a clutch disk can) and isn't covered under warranty. I am wondering if referring them to this forum, and in general pitching the case that people buy Toyotas for their reliability, might make them reconsider their verdict. We'll see.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    If I were you I would push that angle to the max. I don't consider a throw-out bearing to be a "wear item" in the same way a clutch lining is, that's for sure. If the dealer won't go to bat for you, you can contact the regional rep for Toyota independently and try to get satisfaction that way.

    Good luck!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • njs1972njs1972 Posts: 1
    I purchased my Matrix last year. The manufacturer's warranty expired January 09, and TADA the following week my transmission was hemorrhaging fluid. Apparently yes I need a new bearing and there is some give in the axle. A sweet mechanic replaced the seals hoping that would solve the problem. WRONG! I purchased this vehicle for the fact I have trusted in Toyotas, and now this. I am a single girl and barely making ends meet as the state of CA has robbed me blind. I have tried every road possible to get this resolved and people look at me like I am stuck on stupid. My Matrix currently sits in front of my house.
    If any of you find any sort of recourse for this.. please let me know. I am tired of mooching off others to get places.
    Ironic they replace the bolts in the windows but obviously there are issues with the tranmissions (which they deny when I emailed Toyota). :mad:
  • Anaheim Gear in Anaheim, CA sold me a rebuilt tranny with a one year warranty for $1000 out the door after core charge. so far I've put 3k miles on it and is seems to be fine. they also list the trannys on E-bay too. I replaced mine myself, not sure how much it will cost to have someone else do it, it's kind of a big job.

    Good luck!
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