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Toyota Avalon (Prior to 2005) Transmission Questions



  • Thanks for taking the time to give me your throughts. Have a great Xmas USAID42
  • I was told by my mechanic today that I need to have my transmission replaced. I just had the fluid changed and the car was not running very well and after further review, he said the tranny was going and going fast. I find this hard to believe so soon in a car at this mileage. Anyone out there how has heard of any problems with this? I own a 01 Avalon base model with 93K miles on it. He told me he thought I would be in the range for a 4000.00 cost for a new tranny. Comments welcome.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I hadn't heard anything previously about the Avalon transaxles but the RX300 series is developing a reputation for premature transaxle failures. While the owners manual has no recommedation for scheduled maintenance, drain and refill the ATF, Lexus is now (seemingly( recommending such procedures eevry 15,000 miles.

    The 2004 and later RX models use a DBW, e-throttle, to delay the onset of engine torque during downshift to allow the internal clutches to more firmly and fully seat and therey prevent an inordiante level of wear on the clutch surfaces.

    Some of us have begun to believe Lexus has instituted a secret warranty to cover at least some of the costs in order to keep steady or return, GOOD customers, in the "fold".
  • My mechanic told me by changing the fluid, the little "parts" were moving around inside the tranmission and causing these issues. I have been looking at the posts for the past half an hour and it doesn't look like Toyota has had any recalls on their trannys for the Avalon. I have "never" heard a tranny fail from an avalon this early in the process? was this a lemon tranny and bad luck?
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    I put 92k on a 1999 XL and the car drove like a new one when traded for an '03 XL. Toyota has issues, yes. You can read about them in this and other forums. Brake pads wear too soon, rotors are too thin, front struts are weak.. all kinds of stuff. But Avalon transmissions are built to run 200k+ if properly maintained. You must change the fluid at 30k max intervals. Mine gets a flush to get it all but that may be unnecessary, just my thing. My opinion... transmission failure in '04 and prior Avalons is very rare.
  • usaid98usaid98 Posts: 10
    Every car has the possibility of having a major element go bad. In my case it was the transmission. I purchase a 04 Toyota Avalon. At 5,800 miles it(Transmission went south). It was replace with a recondition/remanufacture transmission. At 9,000 it develop a leak. At 18,000 + it develop a second leak. At 19,300 it had the 3rd leak. They are now planning to put in a 3rd transmission. My answer was to sell the car. I still feel that the Avalon is a good car and I am buying a 06. Hope this helps answer your question.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Bad luck is bad luck. I am sorry you have had this misfortune. You did not mention how often you changed the tranny fluid and filter. Did you have this done??? Is this car driven in stop and go driving alot?? If so, did you turn the O/D off??? 93K sounds premature indeeed. I cannot see how you would buy another one.

    If you do buy another car with an auto tranny, develop a habit of not only taking it out of O/D when needed, but "back off" on the accelerator a little at its normal shift points to decrease the load on the tranny. This will make the shifts seamless and make it run much longer.

    I have an 02 XL with 77K on it, and I regularly tow a utility trailer, yesterday loaded with X-mas tree mulch for our Spring planting. The catepillar front loader must have put in about 1200 lbs worth of mulch. I drove home slowly, and put the tranny in D2 in town, and out of O/D on the state highway. I change the filter and tranny fluid about every 40K. I use slotted rotors in the front brakes and the back for the extra load and performance.

    Let us know what happens.

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I need to make a correction on the message above. I went to the local NAPA auto store in town, to check on their own data as to the 00-04 Avalon A/T change, and the assistant said every 30K. The service manual for my 02 says very little. My wife's 03 Honda Civic manual says A/T after the first 60K, then every 30K thereafter.

    A change includes a filter/kit(gasket) with the fluid change.

    Hope this helps someone.

  • My 1997 Avalon (87K miles)hesitates under hard acceleration until you ease up on the pedal. It idles okay and this problem is intermittent mostly when the engine is cold and warming up. "Check Engine Light" is off and there are no computer error codes according to local mechanic. I have just changed plugs and gas filter but it didn't help. Can anyone make any suggestions as to the cause/solution?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Does the CEL illuminate when you first start the car (to indicate the bulb is OK)? ;)

    FWIW: There's a lot of interesting information on although it might be a bit dated, i think the fundamentals of fuel injection scheduled by an ECU aren't drastically different in your car.

    Look under Technical Articles.

    If an engine control module were mainly there to provide fine control of scheduling fuel/air, thus the fuel injectors to admit fuel consistent with air flow and engine speed (i think there are optimum values the ECU tries to hit measuring many sensors and adjusting injector on/off duty cycles to adjust fuel flow rate and timing), then I think it is also true these modules are programmed to play additional tricks when the vehicle is first starting and also when running with the engine at sub-optimal temperature.

    Being a complete novice at this stuff (i'm interested in reading more and learning more so again, take it for what it's worth), maybe the coolant temp sensor read by the ECU to tweak the schedule mainly formed by throttle, airflow, engine speed is at fault.

    You say when the engine warms up, you are fine. So I'm thinking, I'd perhaps look at the coolant sensor. If this part isn't too much, or if you can get one from a pull-it place and find it to remove and replace it, I'd give it a shot next.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    I think so but will chk. i have a 96.
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    No lack of power in our 2005 XL, that baby takes off like a rocket from any speed. "It's not your father's Oldsmobile" - what a sleeper!! :-)

    - Paul
  • gmessgmess Posts: 1
    The "check engine" light has been appearing in our '01 XLS for about 5000 miles. Upon calling the dealer, they said it was probably a loose gas cap. So for the last little while, the light would appear and then disappear. Upon taking car for 60K maintenance (we've never missed a recommended maintenance event) we asked that the "check engine" light be investigated. (Sure for about $83!). Indicated transmission problem. Tried swapping out the solenoid vale assembly - didn't fix it. Now, with 60,490 miles on the car we're faced with a $3300 transmission repair bill (dealer is "good-willing" the repair - we only have to pay 20%). Bottom line - in all the years of driving "lower quality" cars we've never had to replace a transmisstion. I find it incredible to have to make this repair on a perceived "high quality" Toyota Avalon.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Assuming you are not experiencing any mechanical difficulty (for 5,000 miles??) why do you think the check engine light isn't totally meaningless..??

    A faulty wire connection someplace.

    What were the fault codes??
  • aselvanaselvan Posts: 6
    Off late I have been noticing that the "Over Drive Off" turns on by itself. Can this happen automatically? As you know New Jersey roads are bumpy and I am not able to validate whether this happens only when I go over a rough patch of road.
    Other than affecting fuel consumption what other damage this could cause?


  • Coester,

    I bought a 2000 Avalon XLS which I purchased at 60,009. After driving 615 miles, my check engine light (CEL)came codes stored...but for some reason dealership check code #0773. It was not my gas cap!! Drove the car 1,948 miles, CEL came on with code #0773. Dealership replaced the transmission under my extra care warranty. Drove the car 15,908, CEL comes back on with code #0773..dealership replaced vehicle speed sensor. Now at 89,000 CEL is back on with code #0773 and code #0171 (air flow sensor). Extra care warranty is expired and now they want to replace
    Engine Control Module at the cost of $1283 (pts/labor) and the air flow sensor at $251 (pts/labor) its time for a transmission flushing for$169.95 for a total cost of $1705.95. After reading all the postings on the AT in Avalons, I wonder if cars owners could start a campaign to get Toyota to recall whatever is causing so many people to experience transmssion problems so early in the life of avalons or any other toyota products. Toyota boast such reliable cars. :lemons??:
  • netwonnetwon Posts: 53
    Just so you know here are the definitions of your check engine codes.

    P0773 Generic Shift Solenoid E Electrical
    P0171 Generic System Too Lean (Bank 1)

    Perhaps its time to talk to your dealer. There are many things that can case a System Too Lean. I'd look towards the O2 sensors or mass airflow sensor.

    Hope that helps,


    PS - Here is a link to a code look up data base just select Toyota and enter P before your codes p0171, etc.
  • dave128dave128 Posts: 14
    Original owner, 116K miles, AT fluid changed each 30K. Recently noticed a minor reddish leak under the engine and the dealer checked it and said the front transmission pump seal was leaking. Cost would be about $900 to replace that seal the the rear main one. I'm inclined to just use some Valvoline ATF Sealant and ride it out. Anyone else have this issue? Also, where's the AT fluid fill located at?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Take it to someone else. Overpriced. Way overpriced. Yes, the power steering uses same TypeIII fluid as the tranny in our model. Fluid resevoir on the passenger side of the engine bay nearer to the R wheel well. Black colored cap, easy to access. After repairs are made, changing the tranny fluid and the PS fluid(relatively easy to do) at the same time is a good idea in this car.

  • bettesuebettesue Posts: 2
    Two questions:

    (1) At 63,000 miles I changed the transmission filter and fluid. Unfortunately, the check engine light and VSC lights came on with an error code of P2735, Pressure control solenoid Electrical (if I remember correctly). Toyota Dealer couldn't find anything wrong just using the scanner. Would have to charge to drop transmission pan to view - be prepared to replace a valve at a cost of $166 + 2 hours labor. Car runs great; no burning smell in fluid; proper fluid levels.

    (2) One neighbor, a former Toyota mechanic, recommended I buy the service manuals since I plan to keep my car for 200,000+ miles. Should have asked which one(s). Recommendations?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I have the speficif service manuals (toyota) for my 02. I usually buy them for every vehicle I own, as I also usually keep them for over 200K. The Avalon is a 2 volume set, although now I am sure it is avail on CD-ROM. I always find the service manauals handy, enabling me to either do it myself, or at least talk the talk to the service manageer or whoever. I remembe them being around $200 for the set. There is a Haynes manual but more generic. Not of them are totally comprehensive, but I always seem to get my money's worth from them. Some of the pages are dirty and greasy, indicating they were used well.

    I have change my ATF three times, twice with a filter. I only have an XL, but no error codes ever came on anywhere.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I would first try disconnecting and reconnect, reseat, the external electrical connector to those transaxle solenoids.
  • carabedcarabed Posts: 2
    My wife's 1999 Avalon XL has had all transmission servicing recommended by Toyota dealer and our dependable local mechanic. We replaced the transmission for the FIRST time at 69k miles with a Toyota rebuilt transmission. Ten months later at 79k a SECOND Toyota rebuilt transmission was installed because of rough, jarring shifts and unusual grinding. It did not work properly (same problems) and after 300 miles was replaced with a THIRD Toyota rebuilt tran. We've only had it one day but the problem still seems to be there The local dealer has been interacting with Toyota engineers to solve the problem but "Toyota transmission problems are so uncommon that they don't have a solution yet."
    Any suggestions on how we might get the company to really help fix this problem? Or, is this a lost cause?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,480
    Well you might try having the dealer install the next toyota rebuilt transmission. Being both out of warranty and having the work done by an independent mechanic weakens your link to factory assistance two-fold I think.

    Something isn't right here---either the installation is wrong, or the source of the "rebuilts" is dubious.

    If you can swing it, wipe the slate clean....ask for a rebuilt from Toyota (not yours rebuilt by a local subcontractor of the dealer) and have the dealer install it. That way, you get the unit's warranty and the dealer's labor warranty.

    They are either building it wrong or installing it wrong.

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  • carabedcarabed Posts: 2
    Thanks for the suggestion but I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. All of the rebuilt transmissions were Toyota rebuilts installed by the dealer and the second and third were under warranty. On the last one they got the Toyota company engineers involved. One possibility is that the company that rebuilds the transmissions may be installing an incorrect gasket, but we don't yet know whether that is true or not. Fessor.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,480
    Very bizarre set of circumstances, to be sure. I wonder if they can order you a brand new one?

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  • xomamanxomaman Posts: 3
    Hi All,

    I have 2002 Avalon with about 22,000 miles on it. I have owned it since it had about 3,000 miles, for about 3 years. I never beat on it or drive it in severe conditions.

    I have regularly changed the oil and checked the transmission fluid level. This time I checked the transmission fluid level I noticed it was brown. I don't remember seeing it dark before, and I know I have checked it. I know it is supposed to be red, unless Toyota uses some sort of dark OEM fluid.

    So I had the tranny flushed and replaced with new Dextron III fluid. The manual and dipstick says use Dextron II or III for this year.

    I was wondering if anyone knew what might have caused the dark fluid with such low miles. I know high mileage cars that have never had the transmission fluid changed could have this problem, but I have never seen it happen on such a low mileage car.

    The car runs like a top, has never had any shifting or transmission slipping. That's another thing that confuses me, but I never push the car either.

    Thanks -Xman
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your 2002 likely does not have DBW to "protect the drive train" so the ATF is overheating due to the transaxle's slow response in fully engaging the downshift clutches when you quickly go from a lift-throttle condition to one requiring a substantial level of acceleration.

    Some might advise you to install an auxillary ATF cooler and I would agree that it might help. My reluctance is based on the fact that my 2001 RX300 has the factory auxilary cooler and yet my ATF was BURNED (absolutely NO towing nor rough service) at only 40,000 miles. Then again the RX is much heavier....
  • xomamanxomaman Posts: 3
    Yeah, I thought about a tranny cooler, they are only about $50. What do you mean by DBW???
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