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Toyota Avalon 2005+ Transmission Questions

tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
The Lexus 300 and 330 both have had throttle and transmission hesitations problems and complaints for the past three or four years.

Do these problems also exsist on the 05 Avalon?

Do they exsist on the Camry?


  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Read all the posts on the 2005 Avalon board. The answer is yes, some do. Avalon now has a 5 speed transmision similar to the Lexus. Not many, as a percentage, seem to be problems...but if you have one, it is a problem.

    Don't know about Camry. Again, read all posts, ask a question when you have one. :)
  • will16will16 Posts: 21
    I have had 2 RX300, a 1999 and a 2002, and did not have any hesitaton problems with the transmission. I traded for a 06 Avalon and it also is problem free
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    The Engine Hesitation discussion "Engine Hesitation (All makes/models)" has been almost exclusively about the Toyota/Lexus hesitation problems. The Avalon is included. Toyota has issued a TSB for all of the affected models, although reports on the effectiveness of the TSB in eliminating the problem are mixed.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Thanks for the info...

    This problem has exsisted for 2 or 3 come they can't fix it?
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    One of the theories discussed in the other forum is that the fix could effect fuel efficiency and/or emissions. This means Toyota cannot properly address the problem without violating EPA standards.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    More likely the CARB emission standards since those are more strict.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    I just have a hard believing this problem has existed for 2 or 3 years in the Lexus and other Toyota 5 speed cars.

    How difficult can this be to correct?

    Don’t they care about their customers?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    that somewhere back in about 2000 Toyota discovered the fuel economy could be increased and emissions reduced the more often the vehicle was run in the highest gear seemingly appropriate.

    So, when you relax the pressure on the gas pedal the system says "ahah, he's through accelerating and now just wants to cruise along at this road speed". Or if you happen to fully release the gas pedal the ECU decides that what you really want is to coastdown to a lower speed and shifts into a higher gear to allow the engine to turn at idle RPM or close thereby.

    Both of these actions would undoubtedly contribute to better fuel economy and lower emissions. Possibly making the difference between the vehicle being rated as conforming to ULEV emissions standards or not.

    But there was a fly in the ointment.

    Transaxles began to fail prematurely due to the need to quickly downshift if the driver suddenly changed he/her mind and now wanted to accelerate. The transaxle has just upshifted, and now the transaxle must (immediately) downshift with the hydraulic pressure having been depleted and the engine now at ~idle.

    With the engine RPM and torque now climbing rapidly and the transaxle downshift clutches not fully and firmly seated there will be an inordinate level of clutch wear.

    What to do??

    Go back to not upshifting and the EPA and/or CARB fines might be enormous.
    And the PR....??

    Oh, if we convert these vehicles to DBW, e-throttle, then we can delay the onset of engine torque until those clutches have time to fully and firmly seat.

    Problem solved!

    Just as Toyota has now stated publically, the engine hesitation is a design "feature" to protect the drivetrain.
  • my new 2006 avalon has a sporatic problem where it hesitates the motor spins revs to 4500rpms. if I punch the accelorator a couple of times it will drive itself 40 mph for 1/4 mile without touching accelorator again. I think it it something fualty in the pcm or sensors any thoughts any help appreciated. getting nowhere with dealership
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    This situation has been discussed at length in the "Toyota Avalon 2005+" board. Read all the posts on that board and you will see. It will take a while but it will help you understand the problem. After reading, post again, on that board, and you will probably generate more information. This is an interesting subject.
  • Avalonbad, you posted "...if I punch the accelorator a couple of times it will drive itself 40 mph for 1/4 mile without touching accelorator again. I think it it something fualty in the pcm or sensors "

    Methinks you got something "fualty" in right foot, bad. No punch accelerator. Driving smooth like buttah. Ahhh, change name from Avalonbad to Avalonice.

    ROBERTU :blush:
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309

    I was thinking of test driving and possibly buying a 06 Avalon. However, after hearing the stories on this web site, I think I’ll look elsewhere.

    I believe this problem has existed on the Lexus and Avalon for quite some time. How come Toyota has not been able to resolve the problem?

    Have people attempted to get satisfaction through the lemon law? If so, how did they make out?
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 362
    In all fairness I think you owe it to yourself to test drive the Avalon and decide for yourself.
    Even though the new Avalon does have it's share of problems and quirks, I don't think any are that serious that they should be considered deal-breakers.
    In my opinion, many of these issues have been caused by over-computerization of the drivetrain controls, but that is true of almost every new car today. While it is possible that Toyota will resolve these with future firmware upgrades in a TSB, I'm not holding my breath. Toyota (dealers & Corporation) don't appear to be very receptive to owner's concerns.
    I'm not convinced that the new Avalon is clearly superior than the model it replaces. Perhaps a giant leap sideways as opposed to forward?
    While undeniabley much has been improved, some traditional "Avalon qualities" have been diminished or compromised, like ride quality, noise control, transmission behavior and perhaps quality control. However when compared with anything else out there in the price range, I believe it still stands heads and shoulders above the competition - especially in the engine department and the execution of the interior. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have traded my '02 Avalon for the new Avalon, however if I didn't have the old Avalon as a benchmark, then this Avalon would be my choice.
    The wildcard is the new Hyundai Azera. It appears to have been engineered using the qualities of the old Avalon as a starting point, and if the new Sonata is anything to go by, this may very well be the car to out-Avalon the Avalon.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Thank you for your comments...

    Did your 02 have transmission issues? Was it a five speed?


  • alan_salan_s Posts: 362
    My '02 (got it in September '01) had the "old" 4-speed which was so seamless and smooth in operation that you were never aware of what it was doing, which I guess is the whole point.
    I never had a single warranty issue, not one in the 4 years I had the car, nothing ever misbehaved, failed or broke or needed replacement, except normal wear and tear items. I did replace the junk OEM Continentals at 10,000 miles though, which cured the vibration and pulling problems I initially experienced. I really wish Toyota wouldn't put junk tires on their cars. I have replaced the ones on my '05 already.
    Why did I get the '05? My lease was up on the '02 and the power, looks and allure of the sensual '05 seduced me into temptation. It cost about the same for me to lease a new '05 as it would to have bought out the '02, so I decided to go with a new car with a new warranty.
    In retrospect, perhaps staying with the old girl would have been a wiser choice, which I guess proves that beauty and youth ain't everything!!! (Although I personally could do with a bit more of both!) :D
  • buying/leasing cars in these days of every tightening emmissions requirments and other safety laws requires ALOT of homework by the consumer inorder to understand what you're getting yourself into. what i'm talking about specifically, is the application of "drive by wire" technology inorder to meet certain emmissions requirments (such as ulev). no longer is the connection to the fuel injection system a direct link between the accelerator pedal and the f/ is controlled via an electric motor and a bunch of sensors controlled by an ecu...this system is interactive between the engine controls and the transmission. this is the majority of the driveability problems with the avalon (along with lots of other cars with dbw....the 05 mustang comes to mind).

    one easy solution based on owners' experiences with the 05 avalon is to drop the shifter into 4th when driving around town. what this does is to override the mapped program for the shift points versus throttle application...this has gotten rid of the hesitation and slow/abrupt shifts that owners' have complained about. once on the hiway, shift into top gear.

    once again, when buying a new car it pays to research what kind of throttle control the car time goes on though, all cars will have the dbw technology...with time, the engineers should be able to make the system more seamless.
  • thanks Justgreat. I will try the tip abouth 4th gear

    the dealer suggested it was the drive by wire an I was just not happy with it's normal performance.

    the problem is the car has two natures... a jeckle and hyde type nature

    when it is normal the shift patttern is fine shfitng about 3k rpms

    when bad the accelerator is literally hard to depress i give alittle more gas it will race free spinning to 4k rms or higher wihtout momentum a plate clicking sound will occur and a puff of smoke will burst of the tail pipe

    this "fit" will occur for a period of time then return to normal behavior this does not occur every drive trip it is very sporratic. ironically I am not a lead foot ...friends joke I drive like grandpa

    some times it will start driving itself wihtout me touching the accellerator for distances at 40 mi per hour

    this just does not seem like normal drive by wire to me any thoughts. thanks again!
  • Have had 2006 Avalon for three weeks now and enjoy the car. But, can hear a quiet,dull "thump" on normal acceleration. Dealer technician today suggested it was movement of the fuel in the fuel tank causing the sound. Since the sound also occurs on quick stops as the nose of the car moves down, his opinion sounds logical since the sound is more pronounced with a full tank.Am concerned that it was a mechanical or transmission problem. Anyone else experiencing anything similar?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    I am not an expert on the new models, nor did I stay at a holiday inn last night. But....on a 30K car, I don't think that would be the answer that would first come to mind.

    Make sure that everything, is secure in the trunk, including the jack, spare tire, etc first. Open a window, and see if you can detect where the sound is coming from. Trunk, suspension parts, etc. Sometime anti sway bars can creek, not thump though. Consider taking it to a wheel and axle type of place and let them drive it for 5 minutes for a second opinion.

    I am not a big truster of dealerships, especially since they have not had to care of this new model for very long.

    Good luck.

  • "..a quiet,dull "thump" on normal acceleration."

    Check spare tire, jack & lug nut wrench mounting. They can bounce around a little.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Does the 2006 model still have the transmission problems which are associtate with the computer?
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 362
    Toyota will tell you that there are no problems with the transmission and that they are not making any changes. The 2006 is mechanically identical to the 2005. Some people seem to have the tranny issues while others do not.
    It is not a continual problem. It is intermittent so even if you are unlucky enough to have one that develops the problem, it will only bother you some of the time and not all of the time.
    It took Toyota nearly 3 years to correct the computer related transmission problems with the ES330 and the Camry, so I guess they will eventually come out with a fix for the Avalon, although who knows how long that will be.
  • I have noticed the same thumping noise from the rear when accelerating from a stop with my '05 XLS. I'm pretty sure its not related to the spare tire, jack, or other contents of the trunk.

    I don't think it is caused by the fuel moving in the tank. The fuel tank should have baffles that prevent the fuel from moving around too much. I also haven't heard thumping noises from the fuel tanks on any of my other Toyotas. Fuel tanks are not new technology. I suppose if the entire fuel tank itself were loose (and shifting) it could cause a thump.

    I was wondering if the thump could be related to the Strut Tower issue. Can anyone explain what the symtoms are of a faulty Strut Tower? I have a rapid ticking sound from the rear deck area and the thump on acceleration.

    I should take the car to my dealer and have these noises checked, but it would just be a waste of my time. The service department at Lia Toyata of Wilbraham, MA has made little attempt to address other problems in the past. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they managed to add the full 6.5 quartz when doing an oil change for just $35.

    Can anyone recommend a good Toyota service department in central Massachusetts?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    in my Odyssey, i can hear faint thumping of gasoline in the tank sometimes after a fill when coming to a stop, specially in the garage. generally i don't hear it when pulling out, or hear it at all.

    that said, my Odyssey did have some metal burrs on the strut tower front-right. when going over tiny road imperfections, it would exhibit a light tapping or tick tick tick sound. i rode with a tech and he immediately identified the problem. i believe they deburred the tower, applied a lubricant and re-assembled. i haven't had a problem since.

    i know the vehicles aren't the same, but you may be on to something. you might be able to rule one possibility out: if it were gas in the tank, if you perhaps had someone push you in a level parking lot say, with the engine off and in neutral, then apply the brakes to come to a quick stop; you probably would hear a slosh back and forth perhaps twice or three times... that would probably be a quite different sound than a strut in need of servicing.

    does the ticking rate vary with vehicle speed? does the ticking change with the road surface being driven on?

    hope it helps.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Good comments. Exactly how I feel. While I have had my share of issues with my O2, it runs superb now. The new one does not interest me at all. In fact, if I am unlikey enough to crash it, it will be replaced by a Toyota small truck or the like. Bought a 1 year old 325ci for a little back up.

  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Thank you for the information.

    Is the problem really corrected on the 04 ES-330 ?
  • alan_salan_s Posts: 362
    Hard to say if it is really fixed. I drove a brand new '06 Sienna today which has the same 3.3 liter engine as the ES330 and I thought the transmission behavior was worse than the Avalon! I think Toyota has taken a retrogressive step as far as transmissions are concerned. They used to be perfect.
    I guess you'll have to drive one and see for yourself. Drive it for about 30 minutes though, both on the highway and in slow moving traffic. You will get a feel for the shift patterns.
    On the positive side, the dealer reset my Avalon's transmission computer and it feels much better.
  • lakedoglakedog Posts: 15
    The transmission shifting is never exact, it just cant make up it's mind when to shift, especially at low speeds. Every since I bought my '05 Ltd. I have been reading that many of you are experiencing the same thing. Does anybody know if Toyota is going to come out with a "fix" for this? It's got to be a computer problem, which should be easy to fix. :confuse:
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Toyota has issued a TSB for an ECM reflash to address the hesitation problem. It hasn't been a fix for everyone, but you may want to give it a shot if it hasn't been done to your car yet. The closed (read-only)"Engine Hesitation" and the still active "Toyota-Lexus transaxle shift delay" Edmunds forums have a lot of info that you may be interested in. This problem seemed to first arise in the Lexus ES-300, so the "Transmission problems with Lexus ES-300" Edmunds forum may also be helpful.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Here's some more info I posted in another forum:

    Here's some really interesting info. Like it or not,it's worth reading.
    My Internet research reveals there are at least Four (count 'em---4!!)Aftermarket Suppliers of "Transmission Performance Programmers", also called "Power Control Modules", sometimes called "Automotive Performance Computers" which are able to modify shift performance, shift points, shift firmness, and a host of other parameters for 4,5,and 6 speed automatic transmissions on every make or model of vehicle on the planet.
    That tells me (1)There's no mystery or black magic to this issue, (2)The so called "unknown fix" isn't unknown--likely Toyota included, (3)A lucrative market exists for people to change the way their trannys work--not just Toyota/Lexus, (4)Cost is modest--prices range from $125 to $400 depending how sophistcated one wants to go.
    All the confusing technobabble aside, in layman's terms, I no longer believe it's the mysterious and elusive quest we've all been obsessing about.
    That said, here's what I think this issue boils down to.
    All manufacturer's DBW throttle/transmission systems have unusual or unfamiliar characteristics. I believe those Service Tech's comments about it being a "normal" characteristic are probably correct. I believe it's likely a consistent phenomenon across the board--typical to a greater or lesser degree to all manufacturers. Auto manufacturing consistency today is higher than it's ever been, so anomalies like some suggest this may be aren't too prevailent any more.
    So I believe that complaints we are seeing have more to do with a few owners having adverse sensitivity to the issue, and most owners not noticing it nor being bothered by it.
    More research results. A small sampling to be sure, but revealing nonetheless.
    Since coming into this issue last October, I've driven 12 Toyota/Lexus products with 5 speed BBW in addition to our own two cars. Lexus 330 and RX series, Highlander, Avalons, and Camry. None has exhibited any of the delay, lurching, seeking, or prolonged hesitation. All have been seamless, smooth and quiet. I have yet to experience any of this phenomenon, and I have yet to speak directly to anyone who has.
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