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Toyota 4Runner Transmission Problems



  • I have a 94 v6 4runner that hesitates to shift into overdrive.
    This problem occurs on cold mornings only. I generally have to drive from 2 to 10 miles, depending on the cold temperature outside, before the transmission will shift into od. Once it shifts the first time into od then it does just fine until the vehicle is parked in cold weather again. Do you think this is a trans. problem or some kind of engine or sensor problem?
  • I have a 1998 toyota 4runner, automatic, 175,000 miles on it. My transmission seems to be going out. Heres the deal. When the car is in park, the car hesitates about every 10 seconds where the rpm drops and goes back up. When I shift from park to drive, or from park to reverse, the transmission makes a constant weird noise, almost like something is rubbing in it... I think its a dirty bearing. Anyways, as I pick up speed, the noise goes away. When I hit a red light on the street, same thing, the car hesitates when idleing, and when i start to drive, the transmission makes that noise again. I have notied a huge loss of power, and when I start to drive, the front right of the car (where the air filter is located) make a loud vibrating noise (maybe thats another problem). I took it to AMCO for a free diagnostic test, they said it was the tranny, I took it to toyota, they said the same thing.

    My question is this. I have a few options. I change the bearing and hop this is the problem, chang the tranny with a used one with 72,000 miles on it, or do I get it rebuilt? Anyone else have this problem? What would you do? HELP ME PLEASE!!!

    All maintenance has been done... its not spark plugs, its not any hoses, its not a dirty fuel filter, etc, etc, etc.
  • I have a 2000 Toyota 4Runner, SR5, 5-speed manual transmission that I just replaced the transmission in a few weeks ago. The problems all started about 1.5 years ago. First the clutch failed. It was replaced three times before the transmission finally went out. The mechanic who replaced the clutch several times did a few things to the trans to keep the vehicle running without replacing it, but the clutch kept getting screwed up. Finally, the trans blew out while driving down the interstate and it has now been replaced. The vehicle feels much better for obvious reasons. However, I've noticed a few problems, and I'm not sure of their severity. First, since the first day I drove the car after having the transmission replaced, the gears seem "tough" to shift into. LIterally it's tough to get the stick into each position. I should also mentioned that I live in Chicago and it is winter time. The gears seem to ease up after 10 minutes of driving or so. Also, I notice that the gears grind quite a bit when going into 3rd. But it is avoidable if I shift slowly into 3rd. The next problem I've noticed is a slight rattling that seems to be coming from underneath the vehicle. This was not noticed until after the transmission was done. Its difficult to determine exactly where the sound is coming from, but it seems to be beneath the gear box. Should I get the vehicle back to the mechanic?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  • I have a 98 4runner v6 2wd auto 175,000. Makes a loud clank noise when shifting from park to drive or reverse or vice versa. Makes a bad vibration at high speeds (50+) but only when accelerating. Looks as if some fluid is leaking from rear-end and also fresh oil looking fluid from the rear of the trany around where the drive shaft connects and where looks to be some sensors. No check engine light. Runs fine and shifts good.
  • were you able to fix the overheating issue? I have the same problem on the exact same model 90 v6, mine actually overheats only above 2900rpms, can drive for hours in city and everything is fine, it overheats only on the highway when driving above 2800-2900 rpms, usually up hill.
  • sfzabsfzab Posts: 1
    Topic: Automatic transmission losses strength sometimes

    I am the owner of a 1995 Toyota 4Runner, 4 doors, SR5 V6 with a 3.0 EFI engine. About a year and 3 months ago, its automatic transmission began to lose strength occasionally even though it was accelerated. The vehicle might run apparently well sometimes, and then unexpectedly lose strength and not be able to pass a speed rate of some 30 mph.

    When this has occurred I have noted that the speed revolutions meter moves up then very fast. However the motor vehicle will not move much more faster even though one accelerates it. The problem described is not something that happens all the time, but rather unexpectedly.

    I took the car to a few reliable mechanics that were knowledgeable of Toyota motor vehicles although they were not Toyota employees. Three of them scanned it, and they all informed me that they could not detect the cause of the failure. One of them made a full repair of the automatic transmission, but unfortunately that did not solve the problem.

    I will appreciate your kind feedback on the matter in terms of other possible solutions that might exist or may have been overlooked.
  • :cry: Our 01 4runner is in the shop, complete transmission rebuild. Our first sign, a whine during acceleration. Had Jiffy Lube flush and change the fluids. Whine didn't go away...back to our local shop, they couldn't find an issue. Then a new noise popped up, a knocking noise (louder in reverse)....Back to our local shop, then to a transmission shop. Upon draining fluids and finding metal pieces in the drain pan it was determined that the transmission was in need of repair $$$

    I'm very discouraged with mechanics these days - - - I feel this should have been determined months ago.
  • Hello, I’m new here! This has been going on now for quite a while, if this has been ask before please forgive me. I have a 02 4Runner 2wd and when the motor is cold summer or winter it won’t shift out of second gear until I reach 35mph about 2500 rpm , fluid is fine. My son had a 02 Tacoma 4wd that did the same thing. Am I looking at a big repair bill or worse?
  • Hi I have a 95 4Runner and had this same thing before and after I had my transmission rebuilt for other problem(overheating). Anyway, this is normal and a Toyota design I guess to keep your transmission from working too hard to pump cold fluid into the overdrive section of your vehicle. No problem as far as Toyota and Ammco are concerned. More noticeable in winter as it takes longer to warm so more noticable. Been two years since the tranny was rebuilt and have not had any more problems.
  • Not too sure if this answer is mechanically correct. I recently had the same issue arise in my 1995 Toyota 4runner. It did not have this issue previously, by me or the other owners. It is not a "design" by Toyota. According to Toyota Manufactures, (not the dealer who is just a franchise of Toyota) this is not a design by them.

    Quoted is a reply from Toyota Corp:
    "It would be unsafe to design a vehicle with such behavior. This could create unsafe situations for drivers and undo wear on engines operating at high RPM's. If you are having such issues with your Toyota Transmission we highly recommend having your vehicle serviced at your local transmission repair shop."

    I am currently in the quest for answers as this problem began part way through the winter, after the cold snap and my driving patterns are the same today as they were then. Some have replaced stuck Thermostats, others have bad solenoids, my friends was a Coolant Temperature Sensor. Mine is still a mystery.
    Some other solutions have been transmission fluid issues(dirty, low, too thick), wiring(corroded, loose, and bent/cracked)

    Good Luck too everyone
  • Jean: the local dealership adjusted the netural safety switch 3 months and no more problems. Prior to this they replaced the transmission and computer and problem was still there.

  • bassnvoxbassnvox Posts: 3
    I have a 1990 4Runner 3.0 V6 4WD. The car bogs out, makes a metal grinding sound, and loses power at 2000 rpm, it has minimal power until about 2600 rpm, once I pass that it is fine. Also in 4th and 5th gear, the pedal will be floored and I will have no power and be unable to pass 2000 rpm, the only way around this is too down shift and tach up the engine so that I will go into gear higher than 2600 rpm. I have recently replaced the max sensor, fuel filter/pump, all gaskets inside the block, and cat converter. I also have a clean K&N intake system, and I run high mileage synthetic blend valvoline oil. I don't know what else I can repair or replace to fix this and it's becoming very expensive. What can be causing this?

  • My wife just told me she was having the same problem. Have you figured it out yet?
  • cableguy4cableguy4 Posts: 1
    did you ever find out what the problem with your 4runner was. i own a 98 4runner and have the same problem with the clanking in and out of park and the vibration at highspeeds. thanks for your response
  • berzeyberzey Posts: 1
    I own a '91 4Runner 4x4 v6 with 195,000 miles on it. About a week ago I started having problems with the auto tranny. When accelerating uphill from a stop, it won't shift from 1st to 2nd without me pulling it down into 2nd. The rpm's climb normally, it just doesn't grab 2nd until I pull it down. It shifts everywhere else normally and does well downhill and on flat surfaces. If anyone has any suggestions just let me know.
  • I have a 91 4runner and was having those problems. I tried everything I could think of then noticed a significant amount of play in the accelerator pedal. I checked out where the cable is attached to the pedal and noticed a rubber spacer was completely worn out and fell off in my hand. I replaced that spacer - tightened up the cable and solved all the problems.
  • I have a new 2009 Toyota 4 Runner at 1200 miles has a transmission problem. The transmission slips when turning right at a slow speed. The local Toyota service department says this is a common problem, and that Toyota has not explained the problem. I am to hear from the dealer within a month.
  • weasewease Posts: 4
    My 2000 4Runner has a tendency to sometimes not go into second gear every once in awhile. Now every so often it will slip out of drive, it just revs as if nothing is there but you downshift a gear and manually go back up and it seems ok.I can drive it for a week and it will not act up at all and then it starts again. The truck has 100,000 miles on it and is an automatic transmission.
  • 8/29/09 - I just purchased from a dealer an 08 4 Runner 4x4 with 7000 miles. I test drove it approx 15 to 18 miles and noticed something in the drive line. When I came to a stop on one occasion it felt like a slight tap from the car behind me. It only did it once and I chalked it up to not being driven in a while. But after driving it to approx 300 miles on the interstate to spend the night before heading home, the car is doing it much more frequently. It feels like I put it into gear even though it is already in gear. After coming to a stop, I have my foot on the break, I feel this "hit" like I just put it into gear. Has anyone had or heard of a similar experience?
    Desperate for some answers.
  • Hi All

    My 2001 SR5 4WD (80,000 miles) started showing the following symptoms: High pitched whining noise when in Drive (forward or reverse) (this sound does not occur in Park or Neutral). Also some clunking noise when Reverse is engaged from Park. Also note for about six months, truck would not move right after pressing the gas when Reverse was engaged (about a second delay before vehicle started moving).

    Took it to the dealer who services the vehicle and the outcome: Internal transmission problem, recommend replacing with factory rebuilt transmission. Cost $4,000.

    Was not really expecting to spend such serious $s so early on a Toyota. So still trying to absorb the news.

    Questions/recommendations requested:

    - Was my confidence on Toyota quality misplaced ? ;-)
    - Anyone else seen similar symptoms and what was the outcome?
    - the reason quoted to replace the transmission was fixing it would cost about the same and not assure as good results. Should fixing it be pursued?
    - Any suggestions for a reliable independent shop in Metro Nothwest Boston?
    - The truck is due other repairs (brakes - still original, timing belt, AC etc). So I am starting to wonder how much money to sink). Too bad I just missed the cash for clunkers program.....

    Thanks in advance for your help !!
  • Hey there-
    I am looking at an '06 Sport that is a V8, 4WD with 51k miles. I am looking at Toyota having had a Tahoe for the last 9 years and wanting to avoid costly tranny repairs and do at least a little better on the gas mileage, and still have an SUV that I can use for towing a 19' boat and some light off-roading, as well as drive to work every day.
    I was told by some dealer (in error, typical) that the V8 version has a 2WD/4WD-H/4WD-L option like my Tahoe...this is not the case. The V8s only come in 4WD so you can only switch it from 4WD-H to 4WD-L. That info immediately set of alarm bells in my brain. ("DANGER-Transmission problems!")
    My questions are, from experience:
    1. Is Toyota so much better at building quality stuff that the truck being in 4WD all the time won't be a higher risk for tranny problems?
    2. What kind of gas mileage can I expect with a V8 4WD? B/C I know what I can expect from an American 4WD V8 and it is NOT pretty.
    I'm still thinking 4Runner but thinking that a V6, 2WD/4WD-H/4WD-L would be a better option b/c the off-roading and towing will not happen very often and most of the time I'll be on 5.5 hour road trips or driving to and from work.
  • I have a 2003 V6 (same) and zero tranny problems. Except for when gas was $5 a gallon locally, I wish I had the V8. I haven't read of many tranny issues on either, so I'd recommend the V8.
  • Hello!
    If any one can know what going on with my 4runner ? V6 3.0 4X4 .Don't have power,when go up in the hill feel like I pull trailer,and start going on high RPM,it's get 4000 RPM to go 50 mph.Don't know if it's motor or it's transmission.Thank you!
  • I have the same problem in the 06 I purchased last month. It's an 06 with 31,000 miles. I asked the dealer that I purchased it from and was told that Toyota was aware of the problem but hadn't found a fix yet. How hard can it be to find a fix for the problem, hell they're engineers aren't they ?
    I asked to be informed when they found a cure and was told that I would have to check in periodically because they don't send out service bulletins ! ! I asked if it would have a lifetime warrantee since they admit it's a problem of their making and they have been aware of the problem, that went over like a concrete turd....Please let me know if you have heard anything else to resolve this on your end.
  • Some shop say it's motor,some say it;s trans.I'm thinking to sale 4runner and buy me LandCruiser for hunting,for city use I have 2000 Lexus LX470, it's best car I ever have.
  • Hi, they finally gave me back my car last friday, nobody said a word about Toyota knowing, or being aware this particular problem, and beside that, I had to pay $ 3,500.00 for their mistake. It is a shame but down here there is nothing else that I can do, they are a big Toyota dealer and get away with almost anything.
    If you find out any additional info. please let me know. Thanks
  • my 1998 4Runner is making the same sound. I was told it was a worn bearing, what ended up happening to your car?
  • I have a '98 4Runner with about 175K on it. There is an odd whislting like sound that is coming out of the front end. It is only evident when I am idling at the light. Someone has told me that it may be a worn bearing. Has anyone come across anything similar? any advice?
  • Although you did not say, I'm assuming you have the V8? If so, this is a common issue, and will be remedied by having the slip-yoke lubed. There is a simple grease fitting if you prefer to do it yourself. Once lubed, the problem will go away for a few thousand miles, but by your next oil change, it will need it done again. Hope this helps!
  • I have an '05 V-8 Limited AWD with 55k miles. While I have not had any transmission "problems" I often notice a bumping feeling when stopping from highway speeds (ie. stopping at the end of an exit ramp). I had this checked out by my dealer at about 20k miles and they told me it was normal. I also get an occasional hard downshifts if I decelerate and then accelerating slightly -- like the transmission is lost or can't decide which gear to go into and then slams into a lower gear. Both seem to occur more often when the AC is running. I don't know it this is just a poor product or signs that my transmission is going to fail. If you read the posts, it seems that a lot of 4Runner owners experience this same issues. These issues are not something I can't live with and don't take detract from my love for this vehicle --- as long as the transmission doesn't fail.

    As for MPG's, I get over 19 on the highway (cruising at 80 mph), about 16 local and about 17.5 mixed; all with a bit of a heavy foot.
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