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Old 11-30-2012, 05:20 PM   #1
dbailey
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Default 2001 Toyota Highlander Transmission

My wife has a 2002 Highlander with an automatic transmission. We had the transmission flushed a year and half ago. A few months ago it stopped shifting into 4th gear. It will run fine for about 10 minutes and then it stops shifting at third gear. We took it back to the shop where it was flushed, they said they could try another full flush, but if that doesn't work it will need to be re-built. Well $200 later and it does the same thing. Is there any reason anyone can think of that it would shift fine for 10 minutes and then stop? Cold fluids are helping?

Anything we can do? This has about 185k miles on it and I don't want to spend 3-4k on it. Any ideas?
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbailey View Post
My wife has a 2002 Highlander with an automatic transmission. We had the transmission flushed a year and half ago. A few months ago it stopped shifting into 4th gear. It will run fine for about 10 minutes and then it stops shifting at third gear. We took it back to the shop where it was flushed, they said they could try another full flush, but if that doesn't work it will need to be re-built. Well $200 later and it does the same thing. Is there any reason anyone can think of that it would shift fine for 10 minutes and then stop? Cold fluids are helping?

Anything we can do? This has about 185k miles on it and I don't want to spend 3-4k on it. Any ideas?
likely the colder fluid is the reason it shifts for a short time. once the temps get up the oil is likely getting passed seals losing pressure.

my thoughts:
get a junkyard trans with warranty and risk eating labor if you don't get a good one right away.

find a mechanic you trust and talk to him about options.

or what I would do ->

sell it... limit test drives to <10 minutes
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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Yes, being cold typically helps a slipping transmission. But you don't mention if it's slipping or if it simply just stays in third without trying to shift. The latter would indicate something other than a failed clutch pack.

Did the shop check for DTC's?

When was the last time the fluid was changed? If the shop did your first flush at 150k+, they're fools and I would not go back there. Likewise if they thought an additional flush would help slipping.

If they're competent, however, recommending an additional flush would indicate that they likely thought the problem was a sticking valve or solenoid. Which should not require a rebuild.

Need better info on the symptom. 'Won't shift into fourth' is kind of like saying 'engine won't start.' Expresses the issue, but a little too vague.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies..
The shop did a full flush at 150k.. and did recommend it again recently. The transmission seems completely normal when cool.. shifts into fourth gear and stays put. When it finally warms up, it shifts up to third and then never tries to go into fourth. Sounds like it is toast as I don't want to spend much money on it with so many miles.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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I hang out in toyotanation.com and people have commented that you might be running into an issue where the filter is clogged. You will have to drop the transmission pan to access the filter. Clean that out, Drain / Refill with some good fluid then report back.

I doubt that your transmission is toast but the FLUSH definitely loosened up some crap therefore causing your "mesh" filter to be clogged. Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Agree... Change filter at a trusted, reputable shop (or even better, do it yourself) if it hasn't been done already. Don't drive the car until this is done.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:23 AM   #7
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Thanks Onza.. I just checked on Angies List and found a highly rated place.. will report back.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:56 PM   #8
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Just called the transmission place.. they said to bring it in for a diagnostic. Said it might be a coolant temp sensor telling the car not to shift into the highest gear. Quote for the filter and refill is $181... not too bad.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:57 PM   #9
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Speaking of Highlander anyone else questioning Ryan Reynolds ability to star in a remake?
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zivic View Post
likely the colder fluid is the reason it shifts for a short time. once the temps get up the oil is likely getting passed seals losing pressure.

my thoughts:
get a junkyard trans with warranty and risk eating labor if you don't get a good one right away.

find a mechanic you trust and talk to him about options.

or what I would do ->

sell it... limit test drives to <10 minutes
That sounds really honest of you I hope you're not being serious.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:22 PM   #11
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...buyer beware. Frankly, I think that's what people get for spending multiple thousands of dollars on impulse without being willing to pay a mechanic a few bucks to look at the damned thing.

Although I would just be looking to trade a car with a bad trans, because it's not just principle there. I would have too much misguided empathy to do it to a person. I would get off on doing it to a car salesman.

But it does not sound like he has a bad trans.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by dbailey View Post
Just called the transmission place.. they said to bring it in for a diagnostic. Said it might be a coolant temp sensor telling the car not to shift into the highest gear. Quote for the filter and refill is $181... not too bad.
181 is better than 2-4k. Good luck keep us posted on the outcome.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:16 AM   #13
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Ok..
Just got back from the transmission shop. There had been a check engine light on for a knock sensor for some time now. My original mechanic said it had nothing to do with the transmission. The transmission shop looked up in some database the issue about fourth gear and the knock sensor and determined that it was related. The knock sensor was preventing the car from damaging itself by not shifting the car into the highest gear. There were two sensors that needed to be replaced, a sub harness, gasket and two intake gaskets. Parts 807.37 and labor 479.37 including the diagnostic tests they ran.

Total cost $1327.11. Not great, but I feel confident in these guys and hopefully this will last a while. Thanks for all the input.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:24 AM   #14
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Good to hear, although seriously you should've told us you had a CEL... Maybe we should've asked i dunno. Keep us posted. I'm curious what harness needed replace.. Usually knocking etc is a "simple" intake gasket, not a bunch of stuff.

Also I would ask if they can comp the diag time since they're doing the repair.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:42 AM   #15
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Good to hear, although seriously you should've told us you had a CEL... Maybe we should've asked i dunno. Keep us posted. I'm curious what harness needed replace.. Usually knocking etc is a "simple" intake gasket, not a bunch of stuff.

Also I would ask if they can comp the diag time since they're doing the repair.
It says Sub-harness 82219-07010 on the receipt..
Also gasket 17176-62030,
Intake gasket 17177-20020
Intake gasket 17178-20020
and 2x knock sensors 89615-12090

Yeah, I should have mentioned the CEL.. my other mechanic had me convinced that it wasn't related. Should have known better. Already paid.. looks like they spent 1.3 hours on the diagnostic time so I don't mind paying for their time.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:37 AM   #16
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Comp diag time.....on electrical diagnostics?
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:44 AM   #17
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Comp diag time.....on electrical diagnostics?
I guess.. i think they had to spend some time driving it etc to duplicate issues.
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Old 12-13-2012, 09:57 AM   #18
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dbailey - holy cow? that's an expensive bill.. I take it you are not the mechanically inclined or maybe don't have the tools?

Sub-harness 82219-07010 = 27.00~
Also gasket 17176-62030 = 7.25~
Intake gasket 17177-20020 = 22.25~
Intake gasket 17178-20020 = 21.50
and 2x knock sensors 89615-12090 = 135.00~

348.00 in parts using an online oem website. YIKES!!!
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Last edited by onza; 12-13-2012 at 10:05 AM.
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