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Toyota Avalon 2005+ Transmission Questions



  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    - lakedog -

    P.S. I would recommend letting Toyota give it a shot first (like I said, they have a TSB) before looking into aftermarket fixes.
  • Just purchased an '06 Avalon Limited and love the car and its features, but have had a problem that is going to have to be fixed. When driving the vehicle up any incline and the vehicle is running in overdrive or in a higher gear and the RPMs drop to around 1400-1600 rpms I get a pretty incredible shudder vibration thruout the car. I can easily accelerate out of the vibration, but under a load and at low rpms at several different speeds (happens mostly at around 40mph) I experience this problem. I have no hesitation when accelerating and don't feel the transmission or engine has any other issues, but this is really frustrating for a brand new car. The dealership has indicated they will be happy to look into the problem, but I can't get it to them for about a week. Any ideas what might be happening?
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    You may want to check out this post and subsequent comments:

    smooth01, "Transmission problems with Lexus ES-300 ?" #1020, 15 Jan 2006 8:41 am

    Not sure if it is the same shudder that you are feeling. The Shudder-guard flush kit mentioned in the post was done by a Toyota dealer, so apparently "Toyota-approved", but it sounds like it is an aftermarket fix.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Vibration/Shuttering at low speed. I would put high suspect on the wheels or tires being out of balance or out of round. It is possible. Have them check that first. That should be easy enough to do. Start with the tires first and work inwards. In other words, wheels, rotors, etc. Usually at lower speeds it is the tires or wheels. At higher speeds it is the rotors or axle(CV joints).

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Is the level of additional fuel economy predicted by Sierra Research in Ca. if automotive companies were to adopt three recommended aspects of automatic transmission control. ASL, agressive shift logic (be quick to upshift), early torque converter lockup (not just in O/D, and shifting into neutral during coastdown once the engine RPM declines to idle and the brakes are applied.


    No going back to yesterday, sorry.
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 362
    Anyone know the TSB number for the ECM reflash?
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    All these ideas may improve gas mileage, but: shifting into neutral during coastdown once the engine RPM declines to idle and the brakes are applied..... dangerous, to say the least.

    Any time a vehicle is on the road and essentially coasting in neutral with automatic and no connection to the engine, there are dozens of potential problems. Can you imagine an automatic doing this in bad weather? A disconnect to neutral? Surely not..... (Manuals are different but this is apparently a suggestion for an automatic.)
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    In light of questions put to me in other forums about my internet findings into solutions for the hesitation issue, I felt some clarification is needed--as follows:

    I am NOT suggesting anyone immediately run down to the neighborhood automotive store to buy a performance enhancer, and yes, I am aware the device would probably void one's warranty. That's decidedly a no brainer.
    My ONLY reason for raising the point was to show how solutions are already out there. This is, after all, a "problems and solutions" forum.
    And yes, different makes/models of cars require different performance enhancing devices. That's why, when one buys one of these devices, it is necessary to specify which make/model one owns, so the appropriate device is purchased. They are make/model specific--look it up on the net.
    They come in all styles and shapes, with a variety of operating characteristics and user features. The simplest ones are straight replacement CPU chips, non adjustable nor programmable. Some factory chips are non removeable, so in these cases the performance enhancing device installs in line with the transmission CPU harness. For some units, what's changed stays that way until the new chip is replaced or the unit running in parallel is removed. High end units are dashboard mount, infinitely programmable, and are capable of providing a variety of different performance characteristics, even while in motion.
    No matter how one slices and dices this issue, it's not the deep, dark, unsolvable mystery that it's thought to be.
    That's all I'm trying to say.
  • Finally got our new '06 Limited back to the dealer with the issue of the vehicle 'stumbling' at low RPMs on inclines. The service department contacted Toyota about a possible fix and they were advised to flush the transmission fluid and make some ECM adjustments. Got the car back today and no more problem! It appears the car doesn't run at quite as low RPMs at the same speeds where I was having the problem. I am sure glad to have the problem resolved.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Then I guess I've been mistaken for all these years that I depress the clutch pedal when I apply thge brakes at low speed.....

    Why would it be unsafe for an automatic to do exactly that??
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    think there is an increasing number of drivers out there that have never experienced manual shifting and things like clutches. Of course, you are not mistaken because as you are slowing with the clutch depressed you can also positioning the shifter to a lower gear appropriate for acceleration from that speed. However, if that the ability to accelerate promptly from a coastdown mode is 'safe', then the automatic equipped car will be less so - it is a lot quicker to release a clutch pedal than it is deal with these serpentine gates on many automatics and get the auto shifter back into drive.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    My answer would be the same as post #1129 from *captain2* based on current technology.
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    fin and wwest - would even go a step further and tell you that folks that were trained on and can drive a manually shifted car reasonably well will generally be better drivers than those who have or can not. The reasons: driver attentiveness and a better understanding of vehicle dynamics relative to gear selections as it would apply to vehicle capabilities and road conditions. The MT driver will certainly understand why, for example, that you don't want to downshift to 2nd gear at 50-60 mph on a slippery road. And then you have all these new 'safety' control systems more easily intregated into AT equipped cars that seem to make many people think that the car now is immune from their 'dumbfootedness'.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Thought I enter into this discussion, as interesting as it is, with all the complaints about the auto tranny. My 02 has the 4 speed auto, and has the usual shortcomings of an A/T with gear hunting on long grades or heavy loads and inability to stay in the taller gear when accelerating from a slow down, as from a light. Never the less, with regualr fluid and filter changes, I find no major problems with its general ability to be in the right gear at the right time. Do take it out of O/D a bit when hauling or city/slow type of traffic situations. Good unit otherwise. Wondering if the increase in gears, now 5, later 6 doesn't make things just that much more complicated.

    Other car is a M/T BMW.

  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    don't know the acutal statistics but ATs certainly the vast majority of auto sales - and, one of the biggest complaints about them - comparative fuel efficiency - is becoming largely a non issue. Why - because now we are getting things like the 'intelligent' trannys in the Avalon and many other cars that want to hold onto the highest gear possible, all in the interest of being able to say, for example, that the Av is the most economical large sedan out there. The more speeds, the more likely that the engine can be held in its economical 'sweet spot'. Operationally, however, not likely to make a bunch of difference. But, the era of $1200.00 transmission rebuilds is certainly a thing of the past!
  • I have an '06 Touring Edition Avalon. I am having that same problem with my car and shifting. I live in the caribbean so they say it is the terrain. I don't undrestand that because other less expensive cars dont shift so hard or are reporting this problem. I have to take it back to the dealer so they can do another check i will have them check the transmission fluid and see if that problem stops.
  • The problem is not your transmission. I discovered the hard way. below is part of a post I sent to Motrotrend .com. try this as a fix I almost guarantee results. Please report to Toyota.....IT IS NOT YOUR PARTICULAR PRODUCT OR THE TERRAIN Let ME KNOW HOW YOU MAKE OUT a temperamental and persnickety accelerator pedal can make driving this machine an extremely unpleasant experience. I didn't a have a clue what was causing my problem. when the engine was cold and especially if the temperature was cold, acceleration and transmission shifting was effortless and smooth as glass, but after driving several miles and the car warms up and (in a sporadic fashion) depressing the pedal would cause migraine inducing hesitation. The engine would over rev to 6k RPMs and floored would not reach 45 MPH. I thought it was the computer but turns out it was not that after all. After a several month long harangue Toyota sent a Field Technical Specialist to test drive with me, He was able to duplicate the problem from observing the angle of my foot while driving. This started me on a quest to figure out what was causing the problem. I discovered that the vinyl pedal has tip at the bottom that would become flexible after it warms up, as a toe driver my foot would touch the tip at times and send the drive by wire into a frenzy. I tested this on two other vehicles with the exact same issue. Seems a $20 piece of plastic was causing all this unpleasentness. I adjusted my foot to place the greatest pressure high on the pedal and the problem went away. Any comments would be appreciated
  • look at meesage 1149 I'm not sure it responded to your post
  • mem4mem4 Posts: 52
    I don't know what type of pedal you have but my '06 Limited has a hard rubber surface supported by a stiff frame from top to bottom. I have no idea where your soft vinyl pedal idea is coming from. The pedal is also hinged at the top so it really doesn't matter where you press on it, it will move, unless you are really pushing on the floor while only slightly touching the pedal.
  • I also have this problem, in the old days we would call this transmission slipping. My toyota dealer says we have to live with it although this is surely a design deficiency. A car of this quality/money shouldn't have a problem like this
  • jdre86jdre86 Posts: 30
    What are you talking about? My Avalon's pedal is hard as a rock and not at all flexible. The transmission hesitation issue has absolutely nothing to do with the pedal.
  • I have a 2006 avalon xls and have not had this problem but checked my accelerator pedal and it is very ridged and supported well tried to bend or flex the bottom of the pedal but couldn't. I just can't see how this would be the problem unless you have a defective pedal or it has been updated since yours was made. This is my first toyota replaced a gas drinking chevy tahoe. The car is very nice but has a little more wind noise than i think it should have. The ride is nice but feel the seams in some roads more than did in the tahoe, but over all a nice ride. As far as power goes it has plenty for a family car with a quarter mile run of 99mph not hardly going to beat that unless u go to a sports car. The dash has a few rattles and a poping noise over the right rear seat which i found to be where the air bag is located in the quarter panel you can hear it when you push on it decided not to mess with it since an air bag is hear. The front seat bottoms could be about 2 or 3 inches longer. The arm rest on the doors are nice but to soft your elbow goes right to the bottom don't know how long they will hold up over time. I'am getting 28 to 29 mpg on the hwy and 18 to 20 in small town driving which i think is great for the horse power it has. Much better than the tahoe getting 9 and 10 in town and 16 on hwy. My biggest concern with the car is it has no body molding what were they tinking (Not thinking) when they did this. Well i solved the problem i found a place that makes body molding which i purchased and installed myself. Its painted to match your color code and its perfect it finished the car off nicely looks like it came from the factory (like it should). I purchased it from Dawn Enterprises, Inc in Ohio Phone number (216) 447-1777. Their site is you can see a few pics here. Hope this will help those who want body molding. I only have 2700 miles on the avalon only small issue with the engine so far has been a few cold starts where it would start and die but would could start it right back up and no problem. Forgot the radio reception sucks big time because of a so called antenna in the rear window. I have thought about installing and external antenna but it just would look very nice on the car.Might try to put some type of antenna under the dash if i can find one. Over all its a nice car for the money but we will see after 40 to 50 thounds miles or so. Thanks hope this helps
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The service manager at Lexus of Bellevue told me that the really simply way to disable VSC temporarily was to create an engine fault.

    So I disconnected the MAF/IAT sensor connector on my 2001 AWD RX300 while the engine was running. The engine died almost immediately and wouldn't restart. When I reconnected the MAF/IAT it started right back up but with an engine & VSC failure indication.

    After about 4 drive cycles the indications went out.

    So for any of you that are experiencing the extended delay/hesitation symptom if you want to try and see if VSC is somehow related.....
  • I have an 03 xls that has a vsc on-off switch on the underside of the dash just above my right knee.Hope this might be helpful .Sparky 53.
  • atleyatley Posts: 3
    I just purchased a black Avalon XLS (2006). I was unable to get a good look at it in the daylight the day I picked it up at Bellevue Toyota in Omaha. The car was covered with sleet by the time I got to it to drive it home. Well, the first time I washed it I saw spots in the hood. After two long trips(20 miles one way) to the dealership and two trips to the body shop the problem which they said was caused by the coating on it when it came from the factory was solved. Since then in about 6 weeks I have gotten 3 major scratches on the car. With the slightest bumping or rubbing against the car it scratches down to the white undercoating. I believe that it has a VERY thin coat of paint. I look for a most difficult time keeping this car looking nice no matter how hard I try. Another major problem is the hesitation in the foot feed. When starting from a stopped position, the engine reeves up and then the transmission jerks in. It is most annoying. When I test drove it, I didn't drive it far enough to notice this problem. The dealership and the district rep both tell me over and over again that these are normal problems that many other Avalon owners are complaining about. No wonder that Consumer Guide rates the Avalon only average in reliability. Also, anyone looking at an Avalon should take notice that Toyota has removed the side moldings from the car leaving most it vulnerable to dings and they have removed the automatic driver seat adjustment. In my opinion, Toyota has cheapened up the vehicle thinking they can get by on reputation. I predict they will be in for a run for their money from several other cars in the sedan class most notably the Hyundai Azera which I have since test driven in an effort to find a car for my wife. The Azera drives very nicely with lots of power and has all of those things I mentioned that Toyota has removed from the Avalon XLS plus a sun screen for the back window. Also Consumer Guide is rating Hyundai as very reliable. There is no way I will purchase another Avalon. The Azera has the same cabin space as the Avalon, the back seats fold down for my real estate signs, and there is no hesitation in the foot feed. It sells for 3-4 thousand less! Look very closely before you purchase and Avalon. I like the body style but that is not enough to make up for all the problems I am having. And if you are having the same problems I am forget it Toyota won't do anything for you. Atley in Omaha
  • mthomas1mthomas1 Posts: 4
    Here is the latest on the hesitation and bumping feeling in steering for my 2006 Avalon. I have been told by Toyota service at my dealer that the hesitation/serge I'm getting is just part of the cars little quirks and that a lot of owners have complained about it. And if a TSB comes down on the problem they will let me know. As for the bumping in steering... they replaced the rack & pinion
    steering but this has not solved the problem and in the mean time my car horn has quite working. I took my car back to service yesterday. They have ordered a part for the horn and can't seem to find the steering problem. So once again I'm driving a rental from the dealer. I drove an Avalon (95) for 5 years then traded for the 2000 and drove it 5 years and have had this one since Aug. and only 9500 miles on it. I'm sick when I make that payment each month. My husband says to get rid of it even if I go with 2007 Avalon. Does anyone know if the 2007s are having the transmission problems? And also, any suggestions with my present car's problems? Thanks, mthomas1
  • neil5neil5 Posts: 118
    The hestitation on my vehicle is better with the A/C off. Seems to be pretty good. I spoke with the manager at my dealership an he said he would check it. Also, If you write toyota directly with (Certified letter, probably in California) you will get some real action. Someone post the national address for Toyota central.
  • sambesuesambesue Posts: 3
    I also have a problem with the transmission,surge,jerkingand at times pushing the car forward.Dealer says nothing wrong? Also have quality issues with wind noise,passenger seat rattle quality of the leather interior,excessive engine noise.I totaly agree that the Avalon has been cheapend compared to my previous 2000 Avalon.
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