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Any solution to A/T "hunting" when the cruise is on?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by aboyandhisdog, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Jun 3, 2015 at 5:58 PM
    #1
    aboyandhisdog

    aboyandhisdog [OP] Member

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    I have an '02 3.4l with an auto trans. This is the first automatic I've ever owned. Got it because I do some towing occasionally and I know towing is hard on a clutch. Anyway, I just took a road trip from Colorado to Iowa and was very disappointed to find that with the cruise on, the truck is often shifting out of OD to 3rd to get up even a moderate hill. I love the truck otherwise, but this is very annoying. Is there any solution to this condition? I would like to find a way to keep the A/T in OD longer and eliminate all of the downshifting.

    When I drive my VW 5 speed the same route, I can leave it in 5th and it does just fine. I feel quite certain that the 3.4 would have plenty of power in OD to maintain speed up these easy hills, but it insists on downshifting. Can I get a software upgrade of some kind? Toyota says "no", but I figure you guys would know better what options I have. Thank you! -Tom
     
  2. Jun 3, 2015 at 6:06 PM
    #2
    trx125

    trx125 Well-Known Member

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    Is it in the ECM mode, for more power. I drive mine from time to time thru the hill and valleys and it never misses a beat.
     
  3. Jun 3, 2015 at 6:08 PM
    #3
    aboyandhisdog

    aboyandhisdog [OP] Member

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    No, not in "power" mode. I figured that would make matters even worse by downshifting sooner. Do I have that wrong?
     
  4. Jun 3, 2015 at 6:09 PM
    #4
    Silver02Taco

    Silver02Taco A dude that don't abide...

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    *ECT, Turn it on in the hills and mountains. With it on it keeps the engine/transmission in the power band longer.
     
  5. Jun 3, 2015 at 6:29 PM
    #5
    worthywads

    worthywads Well-Known Member

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    Sad reality, OD isn't gonna work when towing with any hills, just put it in 3rd and your tranny will live longer.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2015 at 6:38 PM
    #6
    aboyandhisdog

    aboyandhisdog [OP] Member

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    I may have confused the issue...I'm not towing on the trip I'm talking about. Just me and the truck on a cross country trip. I would like for the truck to stay in OD and not downshift so much. I'm certain that if it was a 5 speed manual, it could stay in 5th (OD) no problem. I would like to find a way to keep this A/T in OD and not downshift so much. Any ideas on how to achieve this?
     
  7. Jun 3, 2015 at 7:38 PM
    #7
    drr

    drr Primary Prognosticator

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    Not when you're using cruise control, no. The cruise control sucks unless you're on a flat highway. Use the ECT, it helps a little bit, and learn the shift points on hills. You can either pick up speed when you're coming up on an incline and then ease back a bit on the gas before it downshifts, or you can take the OD off when you're heading up a hill, which will allow the torque converter to go into lockup in 3rd gear. The constant hunting up and down if you leave it in OD is what will toast your torque converter.

    Also, do a quick drain and refill on the transmission a couple times a year. It will help it last a lot longer.
     
  8. Jun 3, 2015 at 8:20 PM
    #8
    worthywads

    worthywads Well-Known Member

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    Certainly a manual will stay in OD until you shift. I don't think there is a manual valve body kit for that automatic, but you can look.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  9. Jun 4, 2015 at 12:01 PM
    #9
    Voyager

    Voyager Well-Known Member

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    Do you worry about fluid compatibilities issues when you do a quick drain and refill? It only changes a portion of the fluid, right?

    As for the cruise control issue. Turn it off on hills. These 3.4 engines are comparatively gutless. Very annoying
     
  10. Jun 4, 2015 at 7:52 PM
    #10
    drr

    drr Primary Prognosticator

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    As long as you're using Dextron III or a Dex/Merc meant for Dex III transmissions, you won't have any issues with fluid compatibility. Even synthetics and non-synths are fine to mix (same thing as "semi-synthetic blends"). You're only changing about 4-5 quarts out of the total of 11 quarts, I think, so doing it once every six months or so will keep any solids suspended and you won't get any build up around the valves.
     
  11. Jun 4, 2015 at 10:20 PM
    #11
    Silver02Taco

    Silver02Taco A dude that don't abide...

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    While I'll agree that the 3.4 isn't as powerful as the 4.0, I disagree about the gutless comment. I've climbed some pretty steep highway inclines with my 32's and stock gearing, and never dropped below 70 MPH.
     
  12. Jun 4, 2015 at 11:26 PM
    #12
    TacoDell

    TacoDell Truck ~n~ Tow

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    Tire size and axle ratio can exacerbate your issue.
    what size tire and what gear code (ratio) ?
     
  13. Jun 5, 2015 at 7:27 AM
    #13
    Voyager

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    The reason you were doing 70 mph was that you were trying to catch the 4 old ladies in the minivan that just blew you off the line at the last red light. LOL.

    But seriously - a great all around small truck (I've had my gen 1 for 11 years)...but falls short in the hp/tq department. Freaking RAV will blow it away. Pulling my motorcycle trailer through the Smokies last month was a challenge.

    photo (44).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015
  14. Jun 5, 2015 at 10:04 AM
    #14
    aboyandhisdog

    aboyandhisdog [OP] Member

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    Maybe my question wasn't very clear...apologies. What I am wondering is: Is there a way to keep the A/T in OD longer when the cruise control is on so that it doesn't downshift?
    Thank you!
     
  15. Jun 5, 2015 at 10:23 AM
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    taco206

    taco206 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there's a solution. My brothers 03 4runner V6 does the same thing with the same trans. I was on I-90 in Eastern WA and it goes down to 3rd on the slightest hills when there's plenty of power in the 4.0L.

    Even my 05 V8 Tundra had this issue. It would dip down to 4th even 3rd sometimes and when that V8 wants to go it goes fast and speeds up past the set speed and coasts down again. It got so annoying that I learned how big of a slope would make it down shift, I would turn of CC before the hill and go up in 5th normally then turn the cruise back on.

    We have other Toyotas in the family and they all do it.
     
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  16. Jun 5, 2015 at 10:33 AM
    #16
    aboyandhisdog

    aboyandhisdog [OP] Member

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    206, thank you very much for your input. This is the problem I'm having too. If I drive the same route with the cruise off I can maintain my speed without it downshifting, but cruise on and it downshifts all the time. The obvious solution is to turn the cruise off but we're talking an 11 hour drive so would really like to have the cruise available. I was hoping there was a "software fix" available or an adjustment on the transmission, but sounds like I'm SOL. Wish I had a stick, but need the automatic occasionally for towing. Guess there are always trade offs.
     
  17. Jun 5, 2015 at 11:01 AM
    #17
    lanestaco

    lanestaco Well-Known Member

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    For what it's worth, I have the same problem with the 4.0. There are hills that I know will make it drop a gear or two, when unnecessary. I just cancel the cruise control for the hill, stay in OD, and then re-engage cruise after cresting the hill.

    Most of the time, I don't use cruise control anymore.
     
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  18. Jun 5, 2015 at 11:15 AM
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    Kneeboarder1025

    Kneeboarder1025 member-in-training

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    I don't use cruise either for the same reasons already mentioned. I tend not to use cruise anyway as the taco is the only vehicle I've had in a while that has a working cruise control - Flats its okay - but hills not so much - we have a fair amount of those - so no cruise for me!
     
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  19. Jun 5, 2015 at 11:33 AM
    #19
    Voyager

    Voyager Well-Known Member

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    Same here. If it is very shallow climb, I leave it in cruise and give it a little gas to gain some momentum. If I think the incline is too steep, I just click cruise off. Very annoying.
     
  20. Jun 8, 2015 at 7:49 PM
    #20
    Zemuron99

    Zemuron99 Well-Known Member

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    I think something we forget (and if I'm wrong on this, feel free to correct me!) is adjusting the tranny kick down cable on the throttle body. Myself, I preferred and earlier shift out of OD into 3rd, or from 3rd to 2nd for passing (on a supercharged 3.4), so I adjusted the kick-down cable to be as far out as possible, so the tranny thinks the throttle is further open. I'm not sure how much the cable pull and computer work together, but it did seem to make my downshift sooner. For this person, perhaps he needs to do the opposite, that is, relax/extend the cable to the tranny so it sees less cable pull at any given throttle position? Then it will wait longer to downshift, and do so at lower RPM/overall speed.

    I'd be careful about making too radical of a change though, perhaps go 50% less at first and see how that does. You don't want to have the engine lugging down to too low of an RPM for the power you need to maintain speed.

    I also second what DRR and voyager said above. When I see a hill coming, I try to gain an extra 5-15 MPH before I hit it, cancel the Cruise, keep steady pressure on the throttle and just let it slowly lose momentum, shift when it wants, and I resume 'cruise' when I crest. These trucks just don't seem to be of the 'set it and forget it' group unlike some others.

    FWIW, when I put 33's on my '98, I noticed the same thing-hills I could easily climb in OD or 3rd before now needed a downshift, or preferably turning OFF the OD switch. My tranny temps went significantly higher until I put in an auxiliary cooler and learned when I need to cancel OD. With OD off you still allow the torque converter to lock up and thus reduce TC friction which allows the temps to drop significantly, though RPMs are higher. Lots of others here have posted similar comments-OD is for cruising on the flats, but NOT for towing up hills.

    Hope this helps.
     
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