Toyota Camry Transmission Questions (MY Prior to 2007)

solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
I have a 2003 Solara SLEv6.


Some may say I am a bit cuckoo about maintenance.


At 15k I dropped the transmission pan drained the transaxle, cleaned the pan and filter, and replaced the gasket and fluid.


At 30k I simply drained the transmission pan and transaxle and replaced the fluid. I have repeated this process TWO more times since 30k, and I'm now at 44k.


Each time I do this, at first I view the fluid as it drains as having SOME red coloring to it. But when I then transfer the fluid from the pan to a container (to dispose of it) it looks QUITE BROWN!


I can't imagine that there's much residue in my pan that this is coming from, as the pan has not been used that much.


My question is....Do you think I'm over-doing it?


I HATE to see such a brown color in my fluid, so I am obsessed with changing it. If I had a more convenient place to do this, I would probably do it every 3k miles!


Each time I drain/fill it's only 4 quarts, which costs me all of $8 at WAL-MART.


I use CASTROL DEXTRON III. VERY CAREFUL as to which fluid you use. I had a BIG disagreement with the Toyota Parts Manager regarding this. He was certain that it was okay for me to put in Toyota Type IV fluid but before doing so I found a Lexus/Toyota TSB that warned NOT TO.


  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    3000-mile oil changes are probably not absolutely necessary, but I go no more than 4000 miles on my Camry, after the sludge controversy of a couple of years ago. I used to go 5000 miles on my former '97 Camry before the sludge issue came up.


    That's great for you that you can look over the mechanic's shoulder. I wouldn't mind doing the same. However, if I were the mechanic, I wouldn't like it.


    Checking with a torque wrench is a good idea. I never used one in the past except for specialized jobs like replacing seat belts or spark plugs, but we've got one at work now, so I do check my lugs now. I found that I was overtightening them.


    H-rated tires are perfectly adequate - they're good for 118 mph, and I'm almost certain the original Solara tires were not rated higher than H.


    I think you are overdoing it on the tranny fluid changes; a drain and refill every 30K miles should be enough, even if you can only get about half of it out.


    Where is the fuel filter located and where did you obtain the flare nut wrench? Also, I don't think the fuel filter needs to be changed anywhere near as frequently as you're doing it.


    The maintenance manual, IIRC, doesn't even mention changing the fuel filter at all under normal operating conditions. But on my lawn tractor, I'm supposed to do it every year...go figure.
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    I USED to be able to look over the mechanics shoulder, where I USED to live and bring my car. No more. I moved 2 years ago and need to find a LOCAL mechanic that I can trust.


    With the tranny fluid, I just HATE draining it out and seeing it on the brown side, so I will continue to do it perhaps every 10k.


    On my car the fuel filter is cylindrical in shape, perhaps about 6" long, 4" wide. It is located in front of the area where the battery is. I believe I had to take the battery out to access this area. This special wrench can be bought at SEARS. I would recommend buying a complete set of about 6 or 10. I'm not a mechanic, so I cannot tell you the real specifics, but I CAN tell you that certain nuts call for this type of wrench. You can cheat and use a plier, vice-grip, or other, but you risk damaging the nut AND not getting the job done right. These tools don't cost much more than the other box-end wrenches and will be required for several other tasks on an automobile.


    You've GOT TO have the RIGHT TOOLs.


    You're probably right about the manul not saying anything about changing the fuel filter. But I don't believe the manual says anything about changing the tranny fluid either. But that issue is sometimes controversial. I've actually heard some people say NEVER to change the tranny fluid. NEVER. Can you imagine? I can't.


    But as I said, I believe heavily in preventive maintenance and I enjoy tinkering. So for the $$$ it's going to cost to buy the parts it's still worth it to me because I have fun at the same time AND I learn something more about my car(s).


    Isn't there a saying that goes "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Thanks for the info on the fuel filter; I will likely replace mine somewhere down the road. I only have 12,000+ miles now on my Camry.


    You are absolutely right about having the right tools for the job; I've learned this in working on my cars, bicycles, and lawn mowers. Quicker, easier, and safer.


    I made a mistake in my earlier post. H rated tires are good for 130 mph, IIRC. T rated tires are rated for 118 mph, and S rated for 112 mph.


    You certainly don't need V rated tires on a Camry or Solara.
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    I do think you were "over-doing it"


    if you are serious about the transmission, I suggest you to have it "power flush" (which will suck out most of the fluid compare to just draining it from the pan which only drain about 1/3 of the actual fluid).


    That's the reason your PINK fluid get BROWN because you are mixing that new 1/3 to the rest.


    My Camry has 110K miles and I only have the tranny flushed twice (1 drain ($70, replace gasket & filter), 1 power flush ($130) I can tell you the different.


    If you want a PINK looking fluid, Power Flush it. By the way, you don't have to do it every 15K or 30K. You know how you drive your car, I think 48K is about right
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    I don't think it's necessary to change the tranny fluid every 10k.


    The reason it's brown because when draining, you only drain out 1/3 of the fluid, so you are basiclly mixing the new PINK fluid into the BROWN fluid so it doesn't really matter how many miles you put on it will still be BROWN.


    I don't know how much time and money it costs to do a tranny drain. But next time, you might want to have it power flush by a toyota dealer. You will be surprised to see the different if you really want to get the PINK looking fluid back in your tranny. And you usually don't need to do it that often,. I think you can have it done every 36-48K miles.


    Same for the fuel filter. I was thinking about replacing mind too but after talking to 3 different dealers (2 I trusted told me it's not necessary since the filter supposed to last for the life time of the car unless the fuel I used has problem) I did some research from the Internet and made me believe it's not necessary.


    What I do instead is to use FUEL SYSTEM CLEANER about every 2000-3000 miles
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    Thanks for your input.


    I use TECHRON in my tank about every 12k. I understand it is THE BEST in it's class. Be careful not to buy a sister product that you'll see on the shelf that is packaged VERY similar in style/color, in fact made by the same manufacturer, but it only CONTAINS Techron, as opposed to the bottle I buy which IS Techron.
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    When the weather gets warm, I am going to try to IMPROVISE and do the power-flush myself WITHOUT the fancy shmansy equipment.


    I'm going to try to attach hoses to the transmission fluid tubes that run into the radiator part where it gets cooled. I'm going to put one into a pail on the ground, the other into a bucket that will contain about 15 quarts of fluid. I will then run the engine until it flows all the way thru. The only residual should be what's left in the radiator/cooler.


    What do you folks think about that idea?
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    ... to both the car and the environment.


    You'd be running the transmission for a short time with low or no fluid. I don't think that's a good idea.


    Also, what if the bucket tips over?


    Seems to me that you're just better off draining and refilling at more frequent intervals if you want cleaner fluid but don't want to spend the money on a flush.


    Personally, I wouldn't get a flush either.
  • gunga64gunga64 Member Posts: 271
    I have a local show on the radio once a week in Orlando. The guy states that if you have your trans flushed you can have big problems later on. The pressure could cause damage to the trans.

    I think he did state that this would happen if you never had the trans changed in the past. If you flush it at real high milege for the first time it could damage it say 70,000 I would think.
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    i never heard of it but sounds interesting. any more info? like why it may cause damage? and what's the suggestion? Should we just drain and refill (the old way) the fluid?

    I have a 01 Highlander and thinking about flushing the tranny too.
  • akasrpakasrp Member Posts: 170
    Hi All
    I have a 97 Camry LE (V6) with about 50K miles.
    I’m going to flush the radiator and (maybe) change ATF before my summer trip.
    Dealer changed ATF once before at ~30K. Wondering if I should change the ATF filter this time - or just the fluid - or - is it too soon to worry about the ATF period?

  • lmacmillmacmil Member Posts: 1,758
    I can't imagine needing fresh ATF after only 20K miles. I'll bet the owner's manual doesn't recommend the first change until at least 50K.
  • akasrpakasrp Member Posts: 170
    Thanks, Lee. Yeah, I just went and looked at the ATF again - still looks like new - I'm gonna flush the rad but not sweat the ATF.
    Appreciate the input!

  • jfoyjfoy Member Posts: 2
    I've got a 96 Camry Sedan. It still runs like new at 85K miles and the engine stays clean as a whistle with regular 3K oil changes, including OEM filter. The ATF is also clean with no smell, although it's in the lower range of the dipstick level and could probably be topped up by a pint, or more. Toyota specifies Dexron -II, but I can't find that, or any other ATF with a Toyota application at local parts stores. Has Toyota superceded that ATF with a different type, or do I have to go to the dealer for this stuff? An answer to this and any other tranny tips would be appreciated.

  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Dexron III has superseded Dexron II. At auto parts stores, normally Dexron III and Mercon (for Ford products) fluids are blended together. It's safe to use Dexron III/Mercon in your Toyota. (But don't use fluids labelled Mercon only, if you happen to find any.)
  • chevymalibuchevymalibu Member Posts: 129
    Okay, now I'm mad. I got a 2004 accord and they say use honda trans fluid or you'll ruin the trans.There's other things we don't like about the honda so I got a new 2005 camry LE. Love it but just read the manual and it states that I have to use toyota trans fluid like the honda or else suffer the consequences. Okay, so I go and buy 3 qts from toyota every 30K or so (I change mine frequent to avoid issues). But it used to be that you could use dexron III for trans fluid. did so on my 1994's and my mom's 1998 model camry. That bites. So much easier to go to auto zone and the like and get a name brand trans fluid. Just like oil. they say use toyota oil (give me a break). I use castrol in my cars and it's better than the toyota stuff any day. As for power steering fluid, it's dexron III (go figure).

    Has anyone used dexron III fluid instead of the toyota trans fluid???? thanks
  • ebtrrebtrr Member Posts: 6
    I am looking to add a transmission cooler to a 2002 Camry SE, 4 cyl. My understanding is that the additional cooler comes first, then the factory cooler in the radioator (to set the fluid at the correct temperature if the additional cooler gets it too cool) then back to the tranny.

    Trick is to find out which line from the tranny is out and which is in. The right one (as you face the engine) comes from lower on the tranny case and the left one from higher. Both enter the factory cooler at the same level. Anyone know which is which? Don't want to find out the hard way.

    any other tips on adding a transmission cooler?

  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I don't know the answers to your questions. However, I am curious as to why you would want to add a second cooler.
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    Me too, I don't understand why you want to add a transmission cooler in a 4 cyl. Camry.

    To my understanding, only high performance cars or trucks (do a lot of towing) will required a transmission cooler.
    I had a 4 cyl turbo (Conquest) and it had a transmission cooler but I don't recall which way go first nor did it go to the radiator at all)
  • ebtrrebtrr Member Posts: 6
    I will be towing a small trailer through the Rockies and Sierras for three weeks. I wan't to make sure that the transmission fluid does not overheat on long grades or in the Arizona and New Mexico deserts. "Small" is likely 1000 lbs or less gross trailer weight (although it can handle more), plus a full trunk and back seat.

    I understand is is not hard to do and can overall extend the life of the tranny.
  • cowdoniumcowdonium Member 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 Member Posts: 4,721
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 4,721
    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 Member Posts: 4
    are there any tell-tell signs that a clutch is going bad?
  • bhc1bhc1 Member 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 Member Posts: 321
    Many cars use ATF in power steering. My 1989 Camry does.
  • lmacmillmacmil Member Posts: 1,758
    My question is did you need to add p/s fluid or did you drain the existing fluid?
  • bhc1bhc1 Member 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 Member Posts: 321
    Also read owner's manual for power steering fluid requirements.
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    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 Member Posts: 1,758
    "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.
  • trekman49trekman49 Member Posts: 2
    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 Member Posts: 4,721
    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.
  • camry2000camry2000 Member Posts: 6
    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 Member Posts: 4,721
    See my reply in the Toyota Camry problems and solutions thread.
  • ceds01ceds01 Member 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.
  • chevymalibuchevymalibu Member Posts: 129
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 1,758
    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.
  • hongwhongw Member Posts: 1
    I have a 97' camry and did a regular maintainence recently. The merchanic told me that the tranmission oil is leaking (only about 3/4 left). The cost to fix it is $150, according to him.

    Last time I did the transsmission oil change at Jiffy Lub in May 2004 and do nothing since then. (I did not even check it!). Can anybody let me know would it be a really leaking problem? Could it be a normal thing for an old car like my 97's camry?

    Many thanks.
  • loucapriloucapri Member Posts: 214
    I have a 97 LE and I only have my transmission drained once and flushed once at 60K and 100K mile. Never have any leak or problem at all.

    Can you see oil under your transmission pan? Did you see oil from your driveway?
    The main reason for oil leak is usually from a bad gasket. Run your finger around the pan and see if find something.
  • chevymalibuchevymalibu Member Posts: 129
    how do you know it's leaking?? just by the low level?? did the jiffy place enough in?? do you see red fluid in your garage or where you park??? if so, is it leaking at the trans pan seal?? or on the trans itself??? for that you'll have to drive up a ramp or jack it up on jack stands for safety and look underneath. If it's a small leak, you can add stuff weekly and forget it. if it gets worse, fix it.
  • arshadtarshadt Member Posts: 1
    We had changed the transmission oil about 2-3 months ago. Just recent check showed that the oil was very dirty. We took it back to the place which had changed the oil. On inspection, they said that the problem is with the transmisssion and needs to be re-built. They agreed the oil should not have been that dirty that quick. Cost for rebuilding transmission estimate was $2000-2500. The car has about 100,000 miles. The engine has just started to sound a little louder.

    The question is :

    A) Has anyone experienced a similiar problem with 1998 (or close) Toyota or Camery Transmission?.

    B) Is the cost quote reasonable ?

    C) Is a rebuilt transmission the right way to go ?

    D) How long do the Toyota Camery really last? 200,000 miles + ?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • haefrhaefr Member Posts: 600
    Earlier Toyota automatic transmissions were spec'd for common Dexron III ATF. But current Toyota automatics are spec'd for Toyota's own "T-IV" ATF. The two are not interchangeable - they have totally different friction modifier chemistry which affects both shift quality and the working life of the friction facing materials. Check your owner's manual for which ATF you're supposed to use as service fill. If your car calls for T-IV, and if Dexron III was used, and given the car's mileage, that may have just been enough to take what's left of the friction facing materials over the top. Did you have the work performed by a Toyota stealership or an independent shop? If the latter, I have a sinking feeling their techs poured Dexron III in. (It's rare to come across an independent shop go to the expense of stocking the manufacturers' proprietary ATFs) $2,000.00 and up is the going rate for an automatic transmission rebuild. (Stealerships are sometimes getting closer to $3,000.00 - but less if the old unit is rebuildable.)
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    I had a 1997 Camry 4-cylinder automatic. The specified fluid was Dexron III. The 1997 was the first year of a redesign for the car. I would highly doubt that Toyota switched to the Toyota-proprietary Type IV fluid the very next model year (1998).

    If I had to guess, the change was probably made as of the 2002 model year, when the car was redesigned again and a 5-speed automatic replaced the 4-speed in V6 models. In 2005, the 4-cylinder models also got the 5-speed. (My 2004 Camry with the 4-cylinder, 4-speed auto required the new-type fluid.)

    Have you ever had the transmission fluid replaced before? If not, and the repair shop just did a drain and refill, about half of the dirty old oil will still have been left in your tranny.

    I'd go to another shop for a second opinion. A bum transmission doesn't necessarily make the engine noiser, unless the tranny isn't upshifting properly (that is you are running in third gear when it should be in fourth).

    You may simply need to have the fluid drained and refilled a couple of times or flushed to get all of the old fluid out. (I'm not a big fan of flushing.)

    There are no hard and fast guidelines for how long a car will last. A lot depends on how well it's cared for. However, the weakest link in today's cars' drivetrains appears to be the automatic transmission.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    I changed the ATF in my 2001 AWD RX300's transaxle at ~40,000 miles, 4 qts out, dirty and smelled burnt, 4 new qts in purchased from Lexus. Within a week new ATF was dirty.

    Discovered, here on the internet, that the transaxle holds five qts and the only way to drain that fifth qt is to remove the second drain plug in the differential case. The second time I dropped the sump pan and cleaned out about 1/8" of what looked like ground up pencil lead, non-magnetic, I assume wear from the clutches' frictional surface.

    Another 10,000 miles and my ATF is still pink and no burnt odor.
  • lopinladieslopinladies Member Posts: 1
    I was hoping that 200,000 was the life expectancy of my 98 Camry, but I've just blown an engine at 150,000. Another engine will cost from $1300 to $1700 just for the engine plus labor, so my mechanic is not advising me to repair. He said the transmission will probably be next. I sure was expecting more :(
  • haefrhaefr Member Posts: 600
    You may have gotten one of Toyota's infamous "sludge monster" engines. (Ask your mechnic if sludge was present on his inspection.) Toyota did a warranty extension for owners of those cars, but I'm not sure whether it went beyond 100,000 miles. I believe at the time your car was new, Toyota was recommending 7,500 mile oil changes (which turned out to be part of the problem). The company has scaled that back by 2,500 miles in addition to internal engine changes to facilitate oil return to the sump during operation. In short, ya' got robbed, but there's likely little that can be done about it now except on your nickel.
  • scoti1scoti1 Member Posts: 676
    The sludge policy is for 8 years from the date of original purchase and unlimited miles, so a 1998 Camry should still be covered, regardless of mileage. There is a requirement for the owner to show proof of "reasonable" maintenance in order to get the free repair under the policy.
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