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Brown Transmission Fluid

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by WV_Tacoma, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Dec 24, 2010 at 2:56 PM
    #1
    WV_Tacoma

    WV_Tacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Not enough
    I just got around to looking into my transmission.

    I dump it out the drain hole. It is reddish/brown, with emphasis on brown. It almost looks like used motor oil brown. But with reddish tint...

    My transmission has been acting a bit strange lately. I pull a 5,000# travel trailer, built like a box, so the weight is one issue, but pulling against the wide flat area of the trailer is a bitch....

    I have tow package that I added myself, trans cooler, oil cooler, III hitch....

    The tranny has been shimming from a start up to 25mph. then it goes away...

    What do you think?

    1. Should i pull the transmission filter?

    2. Should i put fresh back and check it?

    Damn,,,,,, I always felt that 5k # was a bit of load for a toy truck......
     
  2. Dec 24, 2010 at 7:08 PM
    #2
    bcmedic13

    bcmedic13 Well-Known Member

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    What is the milage on your truck?
    chances are you have a screen type filter, and you prolly wont find anything.
    does the oil have an odour to it? does it smell "burnt"
    where you consitering a transmission oil flush? If so, something to think about, transmission oil is mostly detergent, in a high milage transmission the clutches are somewhat deteriorated, so the new oil will tend to peel the lining off the clutches and cause slipping, especially if it is burnt. A dark colour to the oil with no smell is not always a bad thing, some additives will change the colour. under 100k miles you should be safe to flush the oil and put a friction modifying additive reccomended by a dealer.
    Do a little reading on Lube Guard I use it on our matrix.
    http://www.lubegard.com/~/C-112/LUBEGARD+Automatic+Transmission+Fluid+Protectant

    If you have an existing problem, changing the oil will not fix the problem

    Good Luck!!

    Check driveline for vibrations, u joints and steady bearing, even rear tires for ballance.
     
  3. Dec 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM
    #3
    WV_Tacoma

    WV_Tacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Not enough
    It is 2005, 4.0 v6 auto. 63,000 miles.

    I pulled a 5,000# trailer one summer 2k miles, I didn't have the oil/trany coolers on then, the texas heat and pulling was putting out some heat from the center console. After that I put the coolers on and no more heat...

    The oil is brown with some burnt smell to it. I can see some very small particles of metalic flakes.

    I was going to make sure:

    1. I had enough fluid, when I put the cooler on, I never added or checked the level.

    2. since I pulled with out a cooler on once and I could tell there was some heat on the tranny, I figured I would flush the fluid to make sure it isn't from that time frame

    3. since pulling regularly I thought I would change the fluid

    I was hoping with all this that I could make the slipping or what ever its started doing go away!

    4. Say if I rebuilt the transmission, is there much beefier parts to put back in it. If so i would keep the truck, if not, then it can't handle 5k up hills towing and I would be forced to get a full size truck.....

    I will put the truck on blocks and check the drive line, wheels etc as you recommend.

    Thanks BCmedic for the input...

    thanks
     
  4. Dec 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM
    #4
    Trapper6speed

    Trapper6speed Hacksaw engineer

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    You know my dad is having the same problem. put a bottle of Lucas Trans slip with the older oil withe the oil filtered out a little with a few rags. Kinda messy but see if that works. I always had good luck with doing this right away, and if you plan on towing more get a bigger trans cooler witha fan.
     
  5. Dec 24, 2010 at 8:01 PM
    #5
    bcmedic13

    bcmedic13 Well-Known Member

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    As you will notice on the lubeguard site, Heat is the #1 killer of automatic transmissions, looks like you are prepaired with an aux cooler.
    Beware of any quick fix in a bottle, they usually contain seal swealing agents to prevent late shifting when cold, reduce slipping ect.. the seals will quickly deteriorate and you will have a bigger problem.

    1. the amount of oil in your transmission is critical, usually seen lots of damage as a result to radiator shops replacing radiators and not filling the transmission oil, as there is a cooler in the rad, that holds 0.5 - 1.0 Litre of oil, this on its own will burn out a transmission over time.
    2. is your cooler in series or bypassing your radiator, and is the direction of oil flow correct? is the cooler in a place to allow for good air flow?
    3. Depends on the maintance schedule, I think it calls for fluid replacement every couple years, unless from factory they use synthetic oil, that will allow for longer milage.
    4. A shop will prolly reccoment a larger cooler, and can usually suggest stronger parts if there is a common part to fail, sounds like you will need simple clutches, seals and gaskets, most shops will hesitate to give a dollar figure untill they have the unit diss-assembled, its like asking " how many pages are in a book"
    5. manipulate your u-joints up and down feel for any play, good time to grease them. Have a good look at your steady bering, look at the condition of the rubber, make sure its not twisted or oil soaked.
    check diff oil too!
    Depending on how much towing you will be doing, maybe an idea to look at a heavy duty truck.

    with toyota's reputation, they are usually bullet proof, unfourtunately a common weak point for vehicles is the automatic transmission. When car shopping we bought a matrix for my wife, usually its just the electronics that cause a problem with toyota transmissions, as for automatics, they definately get a good proven track record.

    depending on how much towing you will be doing, maybe an idea to look at a heavy duty truck.
     
  6. Dec 24, 2010 at 9:27 PM
    #6
    WABOOM

    WABOOM Well-Known Member

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    how is it that you can see metal flakes? Aren't there magnets in the pan?
     
  7. Dec 24, 2010 at 10:13 PM
    #7
    WV_Tacoma

    WV_Tacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I dumped the fluid in the dump fluid pan, you can see its brwn, and drain from one side to the other slowly you can see dozens of small tiny metal particles, probably hundreds....I didn't pull the manet, i would say it is full up.
     
  8. Dec 24, 2010 at 11:04 PM
    #8
    bcmedic13

    bcmedic13 Well-Known Member

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    I would not worry too much about tiny metal flakes in the bottom of the pan and on the magnet, as long as there are no broken snap rings, or parts,
     
  9. Dec 25, 2010 at 5:04 AM
    #9
    Trapper6speed

    Trapper6speed Hacksaw engineer

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    THat trans shouldn't be to hard to overhaul. Most I have torn down that wern't to thrashed semmed to have worn out 2nd gear clutches everything else was in good shape.

    You might be able to up grade your clutches inside and I don't know if there is a shift kit for that trans or not? I have broken alot of bigg truck tranmissions and usally the cure is better clutches and shift kit the the trans, Firm shifts don't get as hot.
     
  10. Dec 25, 2010 at 5:09 AM
    #10
    Trapper6speed

    Trapper6speed Hacksaw engineer

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    Im shure those snap rings and extra parts would get caught somewhere else and trash the trans in a hurry, :eek:
     
  11. Dec 25, 2010 at 5:26 AM
    #11
    WV_Tacoma

    WV_Tacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Not enough
    exactly where I was going.......if i could beef this thing up, no problem. If I can't get these parts, fix it and sell my baby.......but what your saying is what I need, shift kit cut slipping/temps, better gear stuff.... i want the best quality shit i could get..

    how do i find out?
     
  12. Dec 25, 2010 at 6:03 AM
    #12
    buddywh1

    buddywh1 Well-Known Member

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    Appearances are extremely deceiving for determining the condition of the fluid. If you really wanted you could send in a sample for analysis, that would also give you a lot of insight into the condition of the transmission. IMO, $40 well spent before dumping hundreds or even thousands into a transmission overhaul if there's any doubt.

    Best way to check transmission fluid is put a few drops on a clean, white paper towel and watch it wick into the fibers. If it wicks out quickly and evenly leaving a dark reddish stain it's still got life. If it leaves clumps in the reddish stain, or hasn't wicked so much in 30 seconds it's doubtless bad. Do some fresh fluid to compare. That's not much of a test, but it is a lot better than just looking at it.

    Not to argue with the experts here...but if the fluid has shifted viscosity from heavy use-age it can make the transmission shift strangely. New fluid will fix that, at least, so I think it's really worth trying it before anything more drastic. I'd also say use only ATF-WS, with no additives. If it doesn't work right with what it was designed for then putting additives in only masks something going wrong or injects their own problems.

    Did you ever have a transmission over temp warning? Since you already think this a light-weight truck for hauling such a load I'd imagine you picked gear and speed to prevent hunting on grades and into winds...right?
     
  13. Dec 25, 2010 at 7:57 AM
    #13
    twfsa

    twfsa Well-Known Member

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    I think I would have the dealer do a flush it about $150 or get some help there is a you tube video that shows how to flush with a helper, and you could save about $50 doing it that way, I bought my trk used at 50K and though about flushing as the fluid it looked off color but didn't smell burnt, after the flush the fluid was a cherry red, they never pulled the pan and in away I am glad they didn't, most guys that do say the screen didn't have anything in it, usually its my luck if the pan was glued on good, they pry it off and its gona leak, after the install.

    Hey and not to piss on your parade I know Toyota says these trucks are rated to pull a certain weight, but I think you need a bigger truck for a 5K RV.

    I would recomend that you install a trans temp guage, and (synethic fluid) that reads the temp in the pan for future towing.
     
  14. Dec 25, 2010 at 8:12 AM
    #14
    05 TRD Sport

    05 TRD Sport She's Fat, I'm Drunk, It's On.

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    I'm no transmission guy, but wouldn't that lower fluid level in tranny by the amount in the new cooler and lines?
     
  15. Dec 25, 2010 at 8:39 AM
    #15
    buddywh1

    buddywh1 Well-Known Member

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    Beyond a feeling that more margin is always better, why are you so sure? Not that I'm likely to tow anything really big myself (I got it for trekking when I can and hauling ping pong balls around the neighborhood otherwise :p). I think I'm typical of most suburban truck owners; we cube-out way before we load-out.

    I've seen several threads...one 'show what you tow' thread in TW even...where people show off their hauls. Pretty big stuff, most regularly. Big RV's on summer vacations, and even one guy a back-hoe which was really over the 7500lb tow limit IIRC.

    Even so, and as with any vehicle, it should be set up correct for it. That more than anything seems to be OP's problem, not the basic truck. It didn't have a tow package and he's kinda piece-mealing it onto the truck. Oil coolers (both tranny and engine) as well as oversized radiators are a critical part of that.
     
  16. Dec 25, 2010 at 9:02 AM
    #16
    twfsa

    twfsa Well-Known Member

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    ^^ I think that with an RV at 5K wind and road conditions are not taken into consideration when vehicles are rated as to load limits, if your hauling a load with a 20 mph head wind that is going ot put more strain on the drive train ( trans ).

    Just recently the EPA made the auto manufactures put up more realistic MPG figures as what was posted on the window stickers wasn't real life figures, so that leads me to believe that when a manufacture states a vehicle is rated to tow 6500 lbs those figures are under ideal circumstances, no severve grades, head winds under 5mph,ambient temps under 80 deg's.

    Its like this for me when I go to Vegas and intend on gambling away $1K I always take $2K cause, I am gong to need it, horse power is like money in the bank you can never have enough of it. my $0.02
     
  17. Dec 25, 2010 at 4:31 PM
    #17
    WV_Tacoma

    WV_Tacoma [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Not enough
    I think I may have found the problem as BCMEDIC pointed out, I jacked the truck up and inspected the drive lines. The rear u-joint looks like bearings coming out of the joint. see pic
    the middle joint looks like its got a bit of grease starting to come out of the joint as well.

    Should I replace all u joints while i am down there?

    Man I hope this is the problem, i was totally not wanting to get rid of my taco.......

    i have larger then stock oil/trans coolers on it now. after the first trip I could feel the heat coming frm the center console. after that trip i added coolers.

    Outside of the oil/trans coolers, and a bigger alt the truck should be set up for towing....Your radiator is not larger then my basic truck is it??

    I will go ahead and do the flush like poster "mountian lion" flush the system myself.....

    ah i never overheated the transmission if i go by the dummy light...which it works as i tested the 4/13 pin test.

    IMG_1020.jpg
    IMG_1023.jpg
    IMG_1027.jpg
     
  18. Dec 25, 2010 at 4:43 PM
    #18
    mclapperton

    mclapperton Active Member

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    u joints are definitely toast.
     
  19. Dec 26, 2010 at 7:27 AM
    #19
    Trapper6speed

    Trapper6speed Hacksaw engineer

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    I don't know what model transmissions the tacoma has but there is a great support now for a lot of our import stuff, I know a company called Level 10 sells clutches and converters for the Tundra trans, and there are repair books on every trans out there, I googled Toyota Performance transmission and I got a lot to look at.
     
  20. Dec 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM
    #20
    buddywh1

    buddywh1 Well-Known Member

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    WOW!!!:eek: That u-joint looks scary! I wonder if that's commonly how they look when they fail or if you're like really close to finding a drive shaft dragging on the pavement.

    Did you lube them regularly? It's common for grease to come out of the dust boot on good joints... I lube mine till it squirts clean grease...but if you've never lubed them that's probably not good. If yours doesn't have zerks (is that something else that comes with the tow package??) I think that settles it...you should replace all with zerked joints so you can lube them. You don't want that drive shaft scenario on the highway!

    Fluid color is terrible but at least it's not clotting on the towel and it's wicking like new stuff (meaning the viscosity properties is very similar) so I wouldn't be too scared. ATF-WS is a synthetic fluid so holding viscosity well under such abuse would be expected. Did the old and fresh wick about the same amount in the same time period?

    A change is definitely in order and towing heavy makes it even more important. In the future it shouldn't be so hard if you just drain & replace the 3 qts or so in the pan at each oil change.

    I'm not really sure if the tow package gives a bigger radiator, I just kinda assumed it did.
     
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