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Isuzu Axiom Transmission Problems



  • No, I haven't thankfully - but if I did, I would be as concerned as you are, as this is NOT normal operation for a transmission. Also, it is not normal to replace a transmission with a REBUILT one either. Haven't heard of that and it sounds like a crapshoot to me. I bet they got it at the junk yard and it's not rebuilt at all - it's just plain old USED...

    In fact, one symptom you mentioned is detailed in the 02 Axiom Workshop Manual on page 7A-17 in the section on the transmission where it states this:

    "Harsh 3–4 Shift

    Step 1:
    1 Check line pressure. Refer to Line Pressure Test in this section.
    Was line pressure normal?

    If Yes, Go to Step 2
    If No, Use Chart 15b: Possible Causes of High Line
    Pressure in this section

    Step 2:

    2 1. Check for 3–4 accumulator valve (407) stuck in adapter case
    valve body (401).
    2. Check for 3–4 accumulator piston (18) stuck in adapter case (20).
    Was the problem found? Yes - Repair or replace.


    So, two possible causes of the harsh shift is incorrect line pressure or a stuck accumulatro valve or piston.

    If the Check Trans Light is coming on (I guess not or you would've mentioned it), then you could get the code checked at Autozone or by a friend to find out for sure what's going on, but if you know it's not right, then it's probably not right.

    An automatic tranny is a very complicated piece of equipment - if yours is not working properly, and the dealer will not help, I suggest you take it to a reputable tranny repair shop and get a proper diagnosis first. If they say the tranny is defective, go back to the dealer and nicely demand they replace it with a new tranny. If that doesn't work, you may have to get a quote to replace it elsewhere and SUE THE BAST*&*%S! In my state, you can sue for up to $5000 in Small Claims Court and you dont even need a lawyer to do it.
  • wilsonrwilsonr Posts: 3
    I have an '02 Axiom. Rebuilt transmission cost about $3200.
  • deron1deron1 Posts: 2
    My 2002 Axiom only has 80,000 miles on it and all of a sudden when i press on the gas it will not move. The RPM go up but no motion for the car. Is there a sensor that went bad? is the trans gone, and since i am the 4th owner do i qualify for the 10y-100,000 mile warranty?? PLEASE ADVICE
  • jerryp49jerryp49 Posts: 5
    Hi deron1,
    You might possibly have lost some or all of your transmission fluid as my Axiom did at about 90k miles. There are two rubber hoses that connect the radiator cooler to the transmission circulation lines just above the front skid plate. One of my hoses became weak and blew out while on the road and the car came to a stop. Of course the failure was obvious as fluid was all over the engine compartment.

    After having it towed to the dealer, replacing the hoses, filter and all remaining fluid, the vehicle has run fine since, without fault. Those rubber hoses should be checked at every oil change, in my opinion, even though nothing was mentioned about them in the owners maintenance manual.

    Good Luck,
  • deron1deron1 Posts: 2
    Hi,Jerry I have had all hoses and trans fluid checked every oil change. My trans light does not come on. But if i park or I am at a light my car makes a rattling noise thats coming from the back, It also makes a thumping feeling almost like if i have shoved the gear shift in park. Any suggestion????
  • jerryp49jerryp49 Posts: 5
    All I could suggest is to inspect for any signs of a fluid leak. You still could be low and since the Axiom has no dip stick to check the level of the Trani fluid, it might be best to have the dealer or a trusted shop check the fluid level and condition. That's the first place to begin any diagnosis.
  • jjj12jjj12 Posts: 1
    can i change my transmission filter myself? i know that is a closed system, but am i able to add transmission fluid back into the system after i change the filter. i had the fluid changed at a quick lube place about 10,000 miles ago. when they did it the hooked up some hose and pumped the old out and the new in?
  • cptsessocptsesso Posts: 116
    I have all of my transmission servicing done at a local AAMCO shop. It is nice because the lead mech there worked a long time for Isuzu before the local dealership closed. He suggested, as I have posted here in the past, to change the fluid every 30k miles and do the filter every 60k miles. He said if you do it his way and do not follow Isuzu's transmission schedule, you will more than likely never have any transmission problems.

    Anyway, I know you can buy a filter kit and change it yourself but it is a messy process and you have to know how to exactly refill the transmission correctly since it is a sealed unit (no dipstick to check the fluid level).
  • There are some definite tricks to this and there is no mention of a filter at all. Plus, there are warnings about overfilling, or checking the fluid level with the engine off. So, be careful if you are going to do this yourself. Also, they suggest replacing the gaskets on the two plugs (drain and overfill screws) when you do the fluid changeout, which probably never happens in the real world at your local JerkyLube.

    Here is the manual excerpt. If you need the image, too, let me know and i can post in online and link to it.


    From Page 7A-10:

    Checking Transmission Fluid Level and Condition

    Checking fluid level and condition (color and odor) at
    regular intervals will provide early diagnosis information
    about the transmission. This information may be used to
    correct a condition that, if not detected early, could result
    in major transmission repairs.

    IMPORTANT: When new, automatic transmission fluid
    is red in color. As the vehicle is driven, the transmission
    fluid will begin to look darker in color. The color may
    eventually appear light brown.

    A dark brown color with burnt odor may indicate
    excessive fluid deterioration and signal a need for fluid

    Fluid Level

    When adding or changing fluid, use only DEXRON )–III.
    Refer to Maintenance and Lubrication in General
    Information section for maintenance information and
    servicing interval.


    Overfilling will cause foaming, loss of fluid, abnormal
    shifting and possible damage to the transmission.

    1. Park the vehicle on level ground and apply the parking
    brake firmly.

    2. Check fluid level with engine running at idle.

    NOTE: Be sure that transmission fluid temperature is
    below 30 deg C (86 deg F).

    3. Move the selector lever through all gear ranges.

    4. Move the selector lever to “Park”.

    5. Let engine idle for 3 minutes and open the overfill
    screw (1).

    6. Add released transmission fluid until it flows out over
    the overfill screw opening.

    7. Let engine idle until a fluid temperature between 32 deg C
    (90 deg F) and 57 deg C (135 deg F) is reached, then close the
    overfill screw (1). Torque: 38 N•m (28 lb ft)

    NOTE: To prevent fluid leaks, the overfill screw and oil
    drain screws gasket must be replaced each time these
    screws are removed.

    NOTE: Check transmission fluid temperature with scan
    Minimum fluid level " 57 deg C (135 deg F)
    Maximum fluid level " 32 deg C (90 deg F)

    CAUTION: Do not open overfill screw with engine
    * Immediately after driving at sustained highway
    * In heavy city traffic during hot weather.
    * If vehicle is towing a trailer.

    If the vehicle has been operated under these conditions,
    shut the engine off and allow the vehicle to “cool” for thirty
    (30) minutes. After the cool down period, restart the
    vehicle and continue from step 2 above.

    From Page 7A-27:

    Changing Transmission Fluid

    There is no need to change the transmission fluid unless
    the transmission is used under one or more of the
    following heavy duty conditions.

    A. Repeated short trips
    B. Driving on rough roads
    C. Driving on dusty roads
    D. Towing a trailer
    If the vehicle is used under these conditions, change the
    fluid every 20,000 miles (32,000 km).

    1. Place a large drain pan under the oil pan.
    2. Remove the transmission oil drain screw (2) and drain
    3.Tighten drain screw (2).
    Torque: 38 N•m (28 lb ft)
    4. Remove the transmission overfill screw (1) and fill
    transmission through overfill screw opening, using

    NOTE: Add transmission fluid until it flows out over the
    overfill screw opening.

    5. Let engine idle until a fluid temperature between 32 deg C
    (90 deg F) and 57 deg C (135 deg F) is reached.
    6. Add transmission fluid until it flows out over the overfill
    screw opening, then close the overfill screw (1).
    Torque: 38 N•m (28 lb ft)

    NOTE: To prevent fluid leaks, the overfill screw and oil
    drain screws gasket must be replaced each time these
    screws are removed.

    NOTE: Check transmission fluid temperature with scan

    7. Reset “Oil Life Monitor” data by using Tech 2.
    Refer to Tech 2 OBD II Connection in Transmission
    Control System (4L30-E) section.


    This is verbatim from the service manual, less the illustrations. The Service manual is available online for less than $20 in PDF form and is worth every penny.

    What is odd is that there is no mention of changing any kind of transmission filter. In fact, doing a word search of the PDF file of the manual, I cannot find any instance of "transmission filter" or "transmission fluid filter" or "fluid filter" in the entire 2100 pages of the Service manual, nor does it appear in any of the diagrams either. So, it probably only has a magnet in the bottom of the tranny fluid pan to catch metal flakes, which may be why this transmission is so problematic in the first place.

    As for me, I recommend using synthetic transmission fluid. Also be sure to check the modulator gasket on the side for any possible leaks, as mine blew out at 38K miles and caused lots of grief.

    Still, the fluid change is easier than an oil change in theory, but you will need ramps and jackstands, so the vehicle is LEVEL and you can still get under it to work on it.

    Finally, since there is no dipstick or fill tube, I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU GUYS HOW YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO FILL THIS TRANNY WITH FLUID. I CAN ONLY VISUALIZE A LUCILLE BALL-LIKE DISASTER IF I WERE TO ATTEMPT THIS MYSELF. Please post back if you have attempted this yourself.

    Good luck.
  • cptsessocptsesso Posts: 116
    Look in the shop manual at page 7A-55 in the transmission section. The drawing shows the filter (item 8). Your right though, you can't find it searching with Adobe.

    Google search also shows transmission filter available for Isuzu Axiom.

    I just had mine changed last year along with fluid at 60k miles.
  • Hi, I have a 2002 and we have experienced times when travelling at constant speed, the TOD lights will flash and the transmission will shift up or down. This can be very disconcerting :(

    We have had the vehicle back to the dealer 3 times but they cant reproduce the problem. We have been told it may be a defective speed sensor but since the computer doesn't register any fault codes, the dealer won't do anything.

    My wife is ready to have us get rid of the vehicle. Any ideas?

  • boomenboomen Posts: 1
    I have an '02 Axiom and when driving I experience a very noticeable vibration (like you're driving over shallow rumble strips) when the rpm's are between 1500 and 1800 at about 40mph. I tried coasting at different speeds and have determined that it's not the tires or wheel bearings. Has anyone else experienced this or have any idea of what it may be? Thanks.

    - For a brief history, I now have 107K on the car and had the tranny replaced under warranty at 65K and the engine replaced under warranty at 85K. -
  • Hi everyone

    I`m Revaz from Tbilisi, Georgia.
    I have an `04 Axiom and it has problems with Transmission, I want to buy it but i could not know where i can it buy. Please give me some advises where i can it buy
  • I was driving down the highway when my 02 Axiom started making a bunch of noise. It sounded like it was coming from the transmission or transfer case, but then it stopped. It sounded like some SUVs with really strong 4WD systems sound when engaged in 4WD at high speed. Mine however was not. The sound then stopped for several seconds when the Car suddenly made a loud bang and started braking and came to a rather abrupt halt. The rear tires will not longer rotate and the engine, while starting, sends all of its power into oblivion. Anybody else run into this problem?
  • Hi all
    I am about to buy an AXIOM 2002 2 WD but the Automatic transmission is DEAD. Could any body tell me where to buy it from and how much would it cost. I live in LIBYA and there are no dealeres who sell spare parts for this car.

  • 108,000 miles and the trans was jinking around slightly then started to slip going from 2nd to 3rd. This was Friday late afternoon so I called the dealer on Monday. And drove in Tuesday AM. Almost didn't make it. Lost all drive line connection and had to pull over. I waited 5 minutes and it drove just fine so I made it to the dealer. Will get free new (not refurb) transmission. Also my gas gauge sending unit had failed and I dreaded replacing it but I found out that was also covered under the 125,000 mile drive-train warranty. I'm the original owner so I'm happy, but wondering what's going to go next. Still think the 4L30E transmission is a good transmission, perhaps it's how it is utilized in the Axiom with the TOD. Cadillac, BMW, Chevy, and Postal service trucks don't seem to have the trans issues with the 4L30E. Anyway I'd thought I'd let you all know the bad - good news.

  • The 4L30E is made in France, Southern I think so there should be some available new and refurbished across the Mediterranean.

    Check to see if the 4WD and 2WD use the same Trans.

  • wkazwkaz Posts: 2
    Where can I get one of those 2100 page shop manuals on cd
  • If that thummping happens when you start or stop you need new packing in your drive line gear box...
  • I have th manual in pdf format if you need it.
  • My 2002 Isuzu has "check transmission" light coming on every time I go over a small bump ... then it goes off after a few jerks ... I DO NOT recommend buying an Isuzu bran vehicle of any sort (lawn mower or truck) ... you have to be brain dead to buy any thing called Isuzu.
  • drk51drk51 Posts: 1
    can anyone tell me if there is a 2002 Isuzu Axiom tansmission recall?
  • There is no such recall, although many of us on this forum would agree that perhaps there should be one! I experienced problems with mine at 40K miles that were covered under the 120,000 mile powertrain warranty. Bert's tranny failed at 108K and was replaced under that same warranty. But, if you are not the original owner, you are up a creek with no paddle.

    Still, if maintained zealously- if you use synthetic tranny fluid and change it often, the Axiom's 4L-30E transmission should last quite a while. Still, several Axiom owners have reported premature failures. (And should do so on the NHTSA website, so that a recall might actually take place.)

    Some of the problem may be related to the the quality of the transmission (which is supposed to be quite good) and some to the confusion in the owner's manual about not having to change the fluid until the 120K mark, which differs from what is stated in the Axiom Technical Service Manual , which specifies that you should change the transmission fluid "Every 20,000 miles (32,000 km)".

    The 2002 Axiom Service Manual goes on to say, "Under harsh operating conditions, such as constant driving in heavy city traffic during hot weather, or in hilly or mountainous terrain, change the transmission fluid and service the sump filter after every 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of operation. More over, the remaining life percentage of ATF can be estimated by using TECH–II as an auxiliary tool to judge the right time for ATF replacement. The remaining life percentage is calculated from ATF’S heat history. When it is close to 0%, ATF replacement is recommended."

    I'll bet just about nobody does that, or even thought of it. Worse, there is no tranny dipstick, so you have to jack up the car and remove a plug to check the fluid level, and remove two plugs to change it - definitely not an easy DIY task.

    What transmission problems have you experienced and what did you have to do to fix it?
  • Could I also get that manual
  • jurejure Posts: 2
    Could you send me the manul plz???
  • I have an 02 Axiom. I always took it to the dealer with a certified Isuzu tech for the required maintanence. I was never told about changing the transmission fluid every 20,000. This year it started making a noise & slipping between gear shifts. We took it in, only to be told by a reputable transmission shop that the transmission was toast - found pieces of clutch plate and other damage. It needed a complete rebuild. The Y bar also needed to be replaced. $2700 dollars later......
  • Could I possibly get a copy of the pic and diagrams for changing the transmission fluid or a copy of that file PLease.
  • raycrraycr Posts: 1
    Yeste3rday i took a trip with my family on a heavy terrain and hot weather. As soon as we were heading back home i re3ceive a red light stating A /TOIL Temp message after driving slower for a few miles the light went away. Would you know what caused this message to prompt and how can i avoid in the future to get? If possible can you send me also the service manual i am from Costa Rica and cant even get it at the dealer since i imported the car.
  • mdimdi Posts: 4
    I have 02 Axiom 4wd (54000 miles)
    . I'd like to know if anyone has tried changing their transmission fluid. I mean flush and refill. Please advise.
  • cptsessocptsesso Posts: 116
    If you mean on my own then no...If you mean have someone else do it then yes. I go to the local AAMCO shop and let them do it every 30k. Seems like it is more of a pain to try to do it yourself.
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