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Toyota Tacoma Transmission Problems



  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    With the similar problems we're experiencing it should be noted that other sites are posting this problem as well. This comes from TTORA. See posting at . This what it states.

    09 Tacoma Transmission Slipping/Shifting Strange
    I just bought a 2009 Tacoma Prerunner 4x2 V6, AT, double cab. I have 797 miles on it as of today. My transmission is acting funny and though I have found similar posts on the net regarding my problems, NO ONE has posted anything definite regarding possible causes, even after taking to the dealer.

    Issue #1: When I have come to a stop, after about 5-10 seconds, it feels like the truck moves forward slightly, like someone has bumped me. I notice the RPM's jump a little when this happens. Some say this is related to the A/C.

    Issue#2: The transmission slipped twice today, while slowing down and turning on to another street. It is like it was downshifting and got stuck for a moment in another gear. It happened quick and it is possible I hit the gas right while it was downshifting (even though that should not matter).

    Issue #3: When I take my foot off the gas, to start slowing down in a lower speed zone, the transmission seems to get hung up around 35mph, then downshifts around 20mph. I can see the RPM's move up and down as it shifts. It is not as bad as it sounds, but it is not a smooth slow down. To me, I should not feel anything but a smooth coasting, like my former Nissan Frontier. If I am braking to slow down, it kinda feels like the truck has a few surges forward.

    I dropped off at dealer today. Of course they said they had never heard of any of this, but I have found plenty of posts on the net that are similar. Service manager stated that it is all electronic now days and they will check it out.

    Anyone else experience these issues? Any ideas as to what is going on? The dealer had the truck driven 270 miles to their lot, all on Interstate. I am wondering if the constant speeds caused a problem. Service manual says do not drive at a constant speed for excessive amounts of time in the first 1,000miles.
  • casteebcasteeb Posts: 13
    Yep...just sent mine back to the dealer today - 2nd time - they claim everything is normal. I have asked to see the Toyota rep. - they quoted me 3 weeks wait for that.
    However, the lemon law here requires 3 trips to the dealer to file I'll make one more to satisfy the law...and then file for protection.
  • bishtacobishtaco Posts: 3
    I had the dealer reset the computer on my taco. Mine has around 1700 miles and it appears as if the lack of gear catch at 10mph has gone away, for the most part. It doesn't hesitate as much and catches better. Also, starting RPM seems to be a bit less which is good. Service said to give it a week. I got mine with 300 miles because it came from another state and the computer must've learned the porter's driving habits instead of mine. So, for now, looks as if it worked. If it doesn't, I'll let everyone know.
  • tacoma1958tacoma1958 Posts: 21
    I also filed a complaint via the NHTSA web site. I also returned my truck for repair on 3 separate occasions. They reset the computer, then checked the fluid and, on the third visit, did both. I then met wit 2 Toyota service reps that said there was no issue. The truck performs as designed. You have no claim. I filed for arbitration. The company that heard the case in on Toyota's payroll. I lost. I will now trade or sell my truck because I can not stand to drive it.

    Hate it.
  • tacoma1958tacoma1958 Posts: 21
    For all interested, there is now a Facebook page dedicated to Tacoma Transmission problems. Please join.
  • harris42harris42 Posts: 1
    I just bought a used 2004 4wd Tacoma 4 door TRD limited with 52,000 on it. Whew, that's a mouthful. Anyway, I also own a 95.5 Tacoma sx 4wd with a manual tranny and have put 300,000 miles on it. The newer Tacoma is only the second car I've ever had that has an automatic, and the problems you are experiencing are similar to some things I've noticed about the 04, but are issues that I wrote off as what I've never liked about automatics--that is, they are just quirky to drive compared to a manual. For instance, the lurching bump downshift when coming to a stop--it actually feels as though the truck is pulling against the rotors until it finally decides to drop the last gear. At first it was bothersome, especially because I'm used to doing the shifting, as well as being used to the engine braking I get from my 95.5 manual, but now I'm getting used to it, and I don't think it is a catastriphy waiting to explode--Toyota just over-engineered the tranny, having it computer controlled instead of otherwise. You will probably also find that if you manually shift the truck up from D1 thru D that it doesn't shift with the lever movement--there is a bit of a lagtime as the computer catches up to your input and all the other issues that it is monitoring. Does this mean that your truck has longevity issues? I doubt it. My 95.5 had a tranny growl at 55mph when I bought it new, and it still has it 300,000 miles later, and I have never changed the clutch or even (and I hate to admit this because I'm a professional mechanic) the tranny fluid. In short, it's a quirk. Obviously this "problem" that you mentioned has been a Toyota characteristic for at least 5 years, and they haven't changed it, so I'm guessing that it really isn't an issue other than a feel preferrence. Would I prefer to glide to a stop without the sparatic drop shift bumps, yeah, but is it going to get me to hate my truck? Nope. I'll tell you something more irritating--Toyotas with rack streering, have rubber bushings keeping the rack anchored, and the wear out fast. Theresult is a certain amount of play and "hunting" in the steering, especially at highway speeds in a strong breeze. Yota doesn't sell the complete bushing kit, (only way to change the main bushing is to buy a complete rack) which is actually fairly easy to change in the garage, and so you have to go aftermarket. Why Yota hasn't addressed this issue is beyond me, steering is the biggest issue when looking into how an aging vehicle holds up. My 95.5 is still tight, but I credit that top a steering dampner I added when the truck was new--95.5 were undersprung in the rear (a recall I believe) and it caused a bit of steering wheel shimmy. Anyway, I hope this helps rest your nerves. Peace.
  • ccl1961ccl1961 Posts: 4
    I don't think the trans problems is happening on 05's to 08's. I haven't seen a post one other than 09's doing the trans thing.
  • Doesn't calm my nerves much at all. Maybe a little with regard to the lurching downshift. Do you work for Toyota? I am disgusted with the constant slipping/hesitation of my transmission when slowing down and subsequently accelerating when turning onto another street, when making a U-turn (not only does the engine rev but so does my heart with on-coming traffic), and when simply driving over a speed bump. If you make frequent stop and go's (i.e., do a lot of city street driving), this truck will drive you nuts! Mine is an 09 Taco automatic TRD Sport Pkg. with 9500 miles on it now. Had the computer reset once, helped for a while, but now it is still the same if not worse as when I bought it. Toyota told me the computer has to learn my driving habits and it could take 1-5K miles to do so. BS! This is the most idiotic statement I have ever heard. What other computer has to learn a person's habits? My home computer, my washing machine, my dryer, my dish washer? NO. Then they tell me that if my wife drives the truck too, that could cause problems because then the computer is trying to learn her habits which are different from mine. So I guess these trucks are meant to be driven by one person only? That is a major design flaw. NEVER will I buy Toyota again. This is a cheaply made truck as the slightest bump of the body causes a dent. I have two panels that cover my door and window control levers which vibrate (have tried to fix this with felt lining, guess I will have to glue them down). I have a buzzing sound coming from under my glove compartment (sounds like a bumble bee caught in paper and I cannot find the source). My air conditioning fan started making noise one day, as if it was about to die (fortunately has only happened once). I feel like I bought a lemon.
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Thank you Harris42. Sounds like well thought out reasoning. The transmission problem in reality for getting used to I can live with. It's the very real possibility of it not reacting in an emergency situation that bothers me most. I want the truck to move if I need it too and as things are I don't trust it to do just that. Thereby, leaving me and or others open to getting T-Boned and being dead right. Thanks again.
  • kevin144kevin144 Posts: 8
    I have been shopping for a 2x4 double cab long bed tacoma for 6 months. I have test driven the vehicle on 5 different occassions. The test drive was impressive. I called Toyota regarding the transmisson problem they have no such complaints. Is their any Toyota owners not having any problems wth the 09 toyotas ?
  • tacomaryetacomarye Posts: 11
    When I first got my 09. It did have some odd shifting behaviors. However, it seemed to improve the more i drove it. I hear that the computer system learns your driving habits and adjusts accordingly. I spoke with the dealer regarding the transmission and they told me that the 5spd automatics are a 'busy' transmission. I have a 4x4 double cab 4 liter. Its a great truck, and everyone who rides in it, or drives it says it rides real smooth. As the primary driver, I do notice the transmission at times.
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Well my friend if Toyota is telling you they have no complaints that is an outright lie. But then why would they. There are other posting out there like Edmunds with complaints like you see here. There are some out there without this problem which begs the question what is different? When I pose the question to them all I get for a response is it is a normal characteristic. That is an acknowledgement of the problem in itself. You can ignore it if you want. I'm begining to think Toyota is over rated. It's plain they have no intention of addressing the problem. Good luck
  • pesteele1pesteele1 Posts: 5

    To be as charitable to Toyota as I can, they are flat-out lying to you. Not sure if you are referring to salespeople at the dealership or Toyota national. Either way, its a real stretch to believe everything here and at, Consumer Reports, etc. is simply made up and fabricated & if so, to what end. Ask them why they have a TSB & they are going to arbitration if there is no issue. Personally, I've got things I'd much rather do than blog about Toyota transmissions

    Your choice, but if they're treating us this way, how do you think they are going to treat you after a thousand miles?

    PS - the 2-3 trucks I test drove operated beautifully (as did mine until 400 miles) so caveat emptor.
  • kevin144kevin144 Posts: 8
    Toyota national has no such complaints regarding their transmission, I guess keep reporting. I did notice their are 12 complaints on the NHTSA site. I am waiting to see whats new for 2010 tacomas.
  • tacoma1958tacoma1958 Posts: 21
    edited August 2011
    I don't know about Toyota "National", but Southeast Toyota had at least one complaint. It went to arbitration. At the very least, I'd call that a complaint. I traded my Tacoma on a Frontier. What a relief I don't have to drive that ****** anymore. It's a shame, too, becasue besides the transmission issue, it's a good truck.
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    You mention it went to arbitration. What was the result? I've applied for arbitration. Be sure to post the result please.
  • dboatrigdboatrig Posts: 1
    Many of the descriptions of tranny problems here sound exactly like our '02 Lexus es300. The dealer and Toyota corporate responses are exactly the same (computer will learn, need computer update, etc). They eventually acknowledged it was an issue and sent notices to owners to have the dealer perform an updated computer mapping, but it did not fix the problem. If this is really an issue with the Tacoma also, they never will fix it either. Don't worry, you eventually get used to the hunting, jerking, over-revving, delayed shift response, etc.
  • When I am at the stop light and then start accelerating away from the light, the back tires start to spin (normally when it is wet outside). I notice that initially there is little power for acceleration but then the truck "all of a sudden" accelerates, which normal causes the tires to start spinning. I wanted to know if anyone else is having this same problem, if anyone knows what the issue is, and how to fix this problem.
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Sorry fflewisje, don't know what the problem is however, it certainly sounds like a computer problem. I'm becoming more and more convinced that the fly by systems developed by Toyota leave a lot to be desired. Like my problem keep posting here when you find a solution. Beware the phrase "normal characteristic". Good luck my friend.
  • ccl1961ccl1961 Posts: 4
    I have to post this. I have bought a 2009 Tacoma about a week ago and during the test drive I made turns like described and every turn I got the truck to do what is described. And has done it since. Let me say this much. IT IS A NORMAL CHARACTERISTIC OF THE TRANSMISSION!!!! All that the trans is doing is downshifting into 1st when it's supposed to be in 2nd and I am sure there is a good reason for this. But there is NOTHING wrong with your transission!
  • ccl1961,

    Trying to understand your hostility and why you would even take the time to post your message if it is a normal characteristic? How do you know it is a normal characteristic? Have you surveyed every single 09 Tacoma owner to know how many transmissions are actually behaving like this? Are you saying that every 09 Tacoma does this? Sounds like you work for Toyota. Apparently you don't mind a transmission that slips and gets hung up and revs your engine while it searches for the next gear. Would you call that smooth operation? Wait until you pull out into traffic and your tranny activates its NORMAL CHARACTERISTIC!
  • ccl1961,

    "All that the trans is doing is downshifting into 1st when it's supposed to be in 2nd and I am sure there is a good reason for this. But there is NOTHING wrong with your transission!"

    And your above statement means there is nothing wrong "when it's supposed to be in 2nd"?
  • Befuddled2: Sorry to take so long answering your question. My case went to arbitration. I elected the "documents only" format. I sent my paperwork in as did Toyota. I presented service tickets, copies of complaints to the NHTSA web site, a copy of the TSB issued for Camry transmissions, and a DVD with a short video of my dashboard (speedometer and tachometer) during a transmission slip. The arbitration team (who is on Toyota's payroll) denied my request fro re-purchase. They said I failed top prove my case with reasonable proof. I don;t know what, if anything, would have convinced them otherwise.

    "normal characteristic": It was also a normal characteristic for Pintos to blow up when struck from behind. It was normal characteristic for Explorers to roll over when there tires had a blow out.

  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    If I may add a note here. First off, the term "Normal Characteristic" is one used by the Toyota people. It defines their belief that it is not a problem and that is the way it is supposed to work. Not all of them do it. Hence the question what is different that makes this occur to some and not others. We have two Toyota products. The one the wife drives employes the same technology only under the name of Lexus. It does not do this. In fact, the transistion from one gear to another is barely discernible at all. My personal concern is that on roads that I drive visibility is a real problem. There are times when you commit yourself to go and at that point another vehicle appears from nowhere. I want to be sure that when I step on that accelerator to go it does. The computer taking it's time to decipher what gear it wants to be in could leave me or someone else being dead right. Not knowing whether it will react tends to make one more of a defensive driver out of necessity. Even so, you could end up dead right. It is my belief that this is a fixable problem and Toyota won't tackle the problem. It has definitely left me with ill regard for them. Good luck.
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Thank you sir. My oh my, you did go to some trouble to prove your case. I wondered who the arbitrator might be. Obviously, an arbiter from an interested party tends to yield unfavorable results. The more things change the more they stay the same. We're still paying to be guinea pigs aren't we. All the best to you.
  • It might be normal to some trucks, but that does not mean it is normal. What DB believes that when your coming out of a corner and the motor reves while the converter does not lock up putting you in perils way is a moron !

    There is something wrong and it needs fixed. My 09 does it too !
  • Oh ! I have same problem like you but have not any idea. :confuse:
  • Did you ever find anything out? I just purchased an 07' prerunner crew cab TRD Sport. It does the same thing your describing here. Let me know if you found out anything, Thanks
  • befuddled2befuddled2 Posts: 111
    Not as yet. However, there was a gentleman on here that went to arbitration and lost. Turns out the arbiter was Toyota itself. If that makes sense to you I got a truck to sell you. Keep pursuing it as it is only through persistence that issues such as these get changed. Good luck my friend.
  • casteebcasteeb Posts: 13
    Still fighting with Toyota to get a fix for this. Now we wait for the week when a Toyota rep is available to "look" at the problem. It is maddening that they won't own up to this problem.
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