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5 speed transmission question, 97 corolla

trev0rtrev0r Posts: 3
so i bought this car a couple weeks ago but the transmission was no good in it. i went to a junk yard and got another transmission off an identical 97 corolla same trim same engine size everything. me and a friend swapped out the transmission and after getting the new one in and taking it for a test drive ive encountered a problem.

it feels like 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear are all the same gear. they all feel like 3rd. to start off (with the shifter in the 1st position) i have to rev it to like 4-5krpm just so the car doesnt stall. i figured a problem with the shift linkage but it can only go in one way. and reverse works fine tons of power. and i have 5thgear for sure and pretty sure 4th. so im not really sure if this is some error of me putting it back together wrong which im pretty sure i didnt or if somethings wrong with this transmission i bought. the shifter inside the car moves into all the gears and it feels like its sliding into the gear but like i said there is no difference in feeling between 1st 2nd or 3rd gear. any help would be appreciated


  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Sounds like a job for AAMCO. But seriously, if you keep driving it like it is you'll be putting a new clutch in too. Did you ever replace a tranny before? Sounds like the replacement was bad also.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    You'll have to re-post without using profanity. I'm sure it was an oversight, but we have to remove posts containing profanity.


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  • trev0rtrev0r Posts: 3
    oh sorry about that, yea i have changed transmissions before but im not saying i couldnt have messed up. does this sound like a bad transmission? because it shifts rly good with reverse and stuff. i did get the transmission from a junk yard so i guess it could be possible that its bad if thats what it sounds like to anyone, im clueless cuz the gears that do work, work fine
  • trev0rtrev0r Posts: 3
    i spoke the the owner of the junk yard and they said they had used the car the week just before and the transmission was working fine. the shift linkage looks okay but if it was bent could this cause it not to go into gears correctly?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    Your thread is probably going to be seen by more people if it's posted in the Corolla Maintenance & Repair discussion - I know a few more people "follow" that discussion, and might miss your separate discussion. You can re-post there, or I can just move this thread there, your choice.

    (I would have moved it before you got feedback, but I didn't see it quickly enough)


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  • Sounds like an issue with the linkage, you can adjust this in the car.. there are adjustment bolts located under the center console as well as on the linkage itself.. You might have to get a shop manual and get the adjustments correct.

    If you go to Autozone's website you should be able to become a member, by signing up, which should give you access to the shop manual for free and give you the adjustment "how to" as well as instructions to how to correctly adjust this..

    Keep in mind that there are two different 5-speed stick shifts. One which will work on the FE engines, (7AFE and 4AFE) which if i remember correctly, have variations.. the other version was for the GE engines (4AGE, 4AGZE, 4AGTE, 4AGZTE).. they are bigger, stronger, and can handle much more power.. Although, they may not fit directly with one-another.. You may need to make adjustments to make it correctly work..

    Check to see where it came from?
    The Prism LSI had the 4AGE motor.. If it did, see if you can get the motor too.. thats 35MPG of civic eating fun! (Or with a few little bolt-on's the motor is capable on stock internals of getting close to the 250HP mark)
    That heavier duty transmission was found in the;
    Prism LSI
    Corolla GTS
    Corolla FX16

    Where as the other 5-Speed was;
    Corolla CE, LE, base
    Corolla SR5 coupe
    Prism LS and Base
    possibly.. the Paseo and Tercel

    Good luck.. Sounds like you can at worst drive backwards.. save the miles.. ;)
  • Hello everyone. It is my understanding that the Toyota Matrix and Toyota Corolla have the same transmission and engine. Please be aware of a serious transmission problem on these vehicles.

    It seems that many Matrix owners are having problems with a faulty transmission bearing which necessitates the transmission needing to be replaced prematurely. I would think this applies to Corolla owners also.

    We had to replace our five-speed manual transmission on our 2004 Toyota Matrix at 98,000 miles at a cost of $3,100! Models besides the 2004 are also affected, but I don't know which ones. I sent a certified letter to the president of Toyota Motor Corp. North America. I was told since there is no recall, I would not be compensated.

    It is important to notify Matrix and Corolla owners about this problem before their life is endangered when the car breaks down without warning on a 70 mile-per-hour highway. This is what happened to me.

    There are numerous reports of Toyota Matrix 5-speed transmission failures due to a defective transmission bearing. I don't believe a manual transmission should need to be replaced at 98,000 miles. Some vehicle owners have had it happen at less mileage. The regional manager of the repair shop I took it to said he has seen this problem before, and he believes there will be a recall. At this time, Toyota will not compensate Matrix owners for this very expensive defect.

    Please sign my petition at Hopefully if there are enough signatures, Toyota will do a recall .

    Thank you!
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Other than you own transmission trouble,where did you get this information from? I wasn't able to find any kind of trend on the web. Please share your sources of information for all of us to investigate.
  • Hi terceltom. I found a lot of sites with information by Googling:

    transmission problems with Matrix
    transmission problems with Corolla
    transmission problems with Vibe

    If you cannot find info, let me know and I can post specific sites.

    When we had the problem with our car, I wanted to research to see if others have had this problem. And they have.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    That's not how the recall process works. I have NEVER seen a recall issued in response to a petition - they're generally a pointless waste of time.

    The best way to call attention to vehicle issues is to report them to the NHTSA at If enough owners report the same safety issues, the NHTSA will investigate and recommend or force a recall.


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  • circuitsmithcircuitsmith Posts: 117
    edited July 2012
    I think that at least some of the early transmission failures are due to the fact that Toyota doesn't recommend changing the transmission oil except when the car is used for towing.

    Unbearable, was the trans oil ever changed in those 98k miles?

    I changed the trans oil in my 2006 Matrix at 21k miles after reading about early failures.
    It was pretty dark with a metallic sheen.
    It looked worse than the the oil coming out of my previous Accord after 30k miles.
    I plan to change it again after another 20k miles and extend the interval if it looks cleaner.

    I believe you have to do more maintenance than the manual recommends if you want a car to last far beyond the warranty.

    Here are other "extras" I do to my Matrix
    (and my Accord I sold running fine after 21 years and 220,000 miles):

    Drain and refill the power steering reservoir once a year.
    Flush brake fluid every 3 years.
    Change serpentine belt, drain & refill coolant, change thermostat & radiator cap every 5 years.
    Re-lube the caliper sliders when the brake pads reach 50% wear.
    I plan to replace the spark plugs and check the valve clearance at half the recommended mileage.

    Since I no longer drive every day (been riding a bike to work for 21 years) I charge the battery overnight every 3 months.
    My last battery (in the Accord) worked OK when I changed it after 7 years.
    I plan to change out the Matrix's battery in the Fall 2013.
  • terceltomterceltom Posts: 1,022
    Sounds like a lot of extra work and expense for a car like a Toyota with such an impeccable service record.
  • Hey so i have a 99 toyota corolla stock everything, its automatic and i want to change it to manual, and can anyone help me to know what to do and what i have to watch out for?
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