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1997 2WD 2RZ-FE a43D Transmission, Long shifts between 1st and 2nd, jerking, throttle pedal weird

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by iamtheghost, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. Aug 3, 2022 at 3:03 PM
    #1
    iamtheghost

    iamtheghost [OP] Well-Known Member

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    People smarter than I,

    My '97 taco's transmission is beginning to go the way of the dinosaur. I have the ole reliable 03-71 Aisin A43D automatic 4-speed.

    All forward gears and reverse still work, but I can sense the transmission wanting to give up. The throttle pedal is inconsistent: sometimes it will be rigid/stiff and sometimes it will be very easy to push.

    The shifts from 1st to 2nd gear are getting very long and I have to get up to around 30-40mph for it to shift to 2nd gear. Shifting from 2nd to 3rd takes just as long, if not longer, and requires getting up to around 55-65 to roll over into 3rd gear. Switching overdrive off does make a difference in the performance, but I am unsure if it's related. The problems largely still exist with overdrive off, though to a less noticeable extent.

    There are also noticeable jerks when the shifts finally happen. Reverse still works fine and at low speeds it seems mostly normal--maybe just a little slow to accelerate. This is my daily driver and it's the original transmission with around 236k miles on it. I have been great about maintenance (like most of us in here), so I'm fairly certain it's an imminent mechanical failure though I am hopeful for a repair.

    To my surprise, there are essentially no A43D rebuild tutorials or videos out there. Given how prolific and widely used this transmission was, I was expecting to see a wealth of rebuild and re-man videos but there's only 1 playlist on YouTube and unfortunately it is not in my native language.

    I am weighing my options. I am interested in making the swap to a 5-speed for ease of maintenance and "rebuildability". I have no idea what or if there's a direct bolt-up 5-speed/manual swap for the 2rz-fe engine, but I assume it's the W59 since that was the 5-speed that shipped on manual versions of my truck. A local salvage yard has a low miles W59 but no clutch, pedal assembly, or shift assembly. Just the trans. So, I would have to pony up some cash buying the parts separately.

    Still, this is my daily driver, so a swap would be a headache and I would have to work on it day and night to get back up and running again. So, a repair, especially one that I can do or someone local could do, would be much more convenient. Are there any known common points of failure for the A43D? If you were me, would you just take it to a local transmission shop with toyota experience and get their input?

    From my description, does it sound as though a "rebuild" kit with new clutch and steel packs, seals, and rear bearing would be the best bet to solve the issue? Or am I looking in the wrong place altogether? What are the odds that my issues are in the valve body and not the transmission or overdrive core?

    Thanks for any input and information you can provide.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
  2. Aug 3, 2022 at 4:16 PM
    #2
    Dm93

    Dm93 Test Don't Guess

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    Have you checked that your TV cable is adjusted properly and not sticking?

    A43D Throttle Cable Adjustment.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
  3. Aug 3, 2022 at 4:38 PM
    #3
    iamtheghost

    iamtheghost [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the PDF. I have not checked this, I will start there. Are these symptoms indicative of a maladjusted throttle cable?

     
  4. Aug 3, 2022 at 4:43 PM
    #4
    Dm93

    Dm93 Test Don't Guess

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    Yes, the TV cable controls line pressure and shift points, the farther it is pulled the higher the line pressure and the later it wil shift. It shouldn't be adjusted to compensate for a problem but it needs to be adjusted and working properly for the transmission to operate correctly.
    @gearcruncher any other suggestions?
     
    BassAckwards likes this.
  5. Aug 5, 2022 at 4:02 AM
    #5
    gearcruncher

    gearcruncher Well-Known Member

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    Great white North 51.0333° N, 93.8333° W
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    No other suggestions from me . You nailed it dude
     
    iamtheghost [OP] and Dm93 like this.
  6. Aug 5, 2022 at 7:04 AM
    #6
    iamtheghost

    iamtheghost [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your input, guys. It has been raining non-stop in my area for days, but I will observe the throttle cable as soon as I can and share some results.
     
  7. Aug 16, 2022 at 11:45 AM
    #7
    iamtheghost

    iamtheghost [OP] Well-Known Member

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    @gearcruncher @Dm93

    Hey again. Thanks for your help on the TV cable. So, I did some diagnostics and it appears that the culprit is in the kick down cable running from the throttle to the left side of the trans case (if you're looking at it from the front of the bell housing). The cable appears to not be retracting all the way to engage the pressure adjust valves inside the trans case. When the throttle is at idle, the kickdown cable has a noticeable droop and is not taught. The crimped ferule on the twisted steel wire is out past the adjustment/mount bolt by a good 1"-1.5".

    I disconnected the cable from the throttle and lubricated the steel cable using a syringe and large gauge needle. The cable was not stuck necessary but was not easily pulled/retracted. At max throttle, there's no way the cable can retract back into the transmission appropriately. No amount of adjusting the nuts at the mount point would correct the issue; there's THAT much extra cable sticking out.

    I tried to remove the cable from the transmission side to investigate there, but I didn't have time. I noticed there is a wire connector right in front of the point where the line enters the transmission, and I didn't see any obvious way to disconnect the line. Do I have to drain and drop the pan in order to see/investigate what's going on in that area?

    If it is relevant and helpful at all, I think I know what caused this issue to present itself. This is my daily driver and I rarely ever drive it more than 5-10 miles at a time, and always in the city. Right before this problem began, I had to drive ~80miles on the interstate at higher speeds/more throttle which, if I am imagining it right, would keep this kick down cable pulled out. That trip was the first time I had driven the truck that kind of distance in years, and probably the first time the truck had seen those speeds/max throttle in just as long. Hopefully that will help you help me.

    Thanks a million for any information or suggestions you might be able to give me on how to remedy this issue/diagnose it further/etc. :help:
     
  8. Aug 16, 2022 at 12:09 PM
    #8
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Your post has motivated me to go ahead and replace that cable...it sits above the exhaust manifold....so its slowing cooking.
    Even after wrapping in a silicone jacket....

    The tranny is super sensitive to the free operation of that kick down cable....

    I use Lubeguard added to atf to try to get as much life as a can out of my a43d.....
    these shift controled solenoid trannys can last a really long time....

    And your wrong about the a43d trannys.....these go back and used by toyota since mid 70's....
    If you go check on line everybody and his grand ma sells a rebuild kit just for the a43d's/ a44d...
    Around $120.......with out solenoids.......each three of those are about that same price...
    may not find rebuild vids on tacos, bet there are some vids on those stuck on older 20R's, 22R's, ect......

    You know you can buy a43 rebuild manual on line every where too.....$40....
    you can get that with your whole FSM's at amozone for about $150......
    or you can wait and someone will have the whole pdf for your year...
    I have the 98 and 99's......both with small section on a43d......


    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?rt=...p=15&_pmc=true&LH_ItemCondition=1000&_fosrp=1

    s-l500.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  9. Aug 16, 2022 at 12:15 PM
    #9
    iamtheghost

    iamtheghost [OP] Well-Known Member

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    yeah, I was surprised to see just how close to the exhaust that the wire connector and cable truly are. Was difficult to get in there with a hot engine haha.


    Yeah, I've seen rebuild kits, but I haven't been able to find any build logs/video logs of people doing the a43d....at least not with the language I'm searching.
     
  10. Aug 16, 2022 at 12:16 PM
    #10
    iamtheghost

    iamtheghost [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Does this product really make a difference? It doesn't expand your seals like the Lucas additives do?
     
  11. Aug 16, 2022 at 12:22 PM
    #11
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Problem with all the other ones, according to LG, is that they go acidic....
    and you really dont want anything acidic floating around anywhere in a hot engine.....
    especially old coolant and brake fluid.........not to mention these ancient differentials are now costing more than the trannys....

    Your engine oil goes acidic after about 3000mi.......
    been a life time user of lucas stuff......when I did flush oem and convert to maxlife atf.....I made sure the lucas conditioner was added to avert problems......just in case.....
    That was couple years ago when at 150K......now use the lubeguard at maybe a 1/3 what they say.....
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  12. Aug 16, 2022 at 12:28 PM
    #12
    iamtheghost

    iamtheghost [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I had heard that the Lucas transmission additives can cause your seals to expand and eventually rupture. Is that not the case?

    What about the Lubeguard stuff?

     
  13. Aug 16, 2022 at 12:32 PM
    #13
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    If your seals are not leaking......never use high milage anything....
    oil or atf......
    never buy anything for leaking seals if you dont need....
    it will expand and destroy em......
    careful when u buy any any additive, read/research.......
     
  14. Aug 16, 2022 at 12:33 PM
    #14
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    ITs funny you should mention that.....if thinking lube guard.....
    and u have old seals.....it might not be for you.....use with extreme caution..
    Lube guard will do opposite and so thin might make leak.....

    Dont think lucas will do that.....expand seals that is....

    And I have a very slow leak as we speak.....
    so already cut lube guard.....and may have to do AT-205 if it doesnt clear up.....

    When we were in there with engine out, I should of automatically replaced that front seal.......what a dumbass......my mech should recommended that too.....

    Like I said.....I got tons of stories for you bitches......
    grew up in a car family, could work on cars before read or write....
    A mopar tranny was as big as me......and had to work fast....because of the ticks in the yard.....

    LIke I dont drop my tranny plug no more, I got a pump w/long straw and just suck it right out of pan, via dipstick tube......
    2 qts out, 2 qts back in, everyother oil change.....
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2022
  15. Aug 16, 2022 at 1:06 PM
    #15
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully that cable will be easy.....but.....

    I'll repost when I do, tackle it about a month from now after things cool off in the south.....
    its 107 out there right now.......
     

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