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Transmission is shifting weird

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by green03taco, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. Jan 16, 2010 at 7:02 PM
    #1
    green03taco

    green03taco [OP] Member

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    Nathan
    New York
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    Today I bought a 2003 4x4 SR5 Tacoma with an automatic transmission at 27,000 miles. The title was salvage due to the car being sideswiped, but I was told that there was no structural damage or anything major, just some dents in the side which were popped out. I do not know firsthand what actually happened, nor have I seen any pictures.

    When I am at a dead stop or not going very fast (<10 mph) and then jump on the gas, my transmission will go into neutral. Other times when I am rolling (still at a low speed <20 mph) and I gun it, the transmission looks like it drops into 2nd. When I am at higher speeds (>30 mph) neither of these things happen.

    What is causing this and how can I fix it?
     
  2. Jan 16, 2010 at 9:21 PM
    #2
    Janster

    Janster Old & Forgetful

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    When a vehicle has a salvage title....and they tell you no structural damage or anything major - NEVER believe them.

    Did you have a carfax report pulled? That might give you some clues as to what happened. Did you test drive the vehicle before you bought it?

    A Salvage title is a salvage title and unfortunately, you could have a lot of other problems that were never taken into consideration during the appraisal process. Once the vehicle reaches 80% of its value - the appraiser stops looking (for other damages).

    When was the last time the transmission was serviced (flush & fill transmission oil)?.

    I would see about getting the computer codes pulled - and paticularly - the history of any codes. Some faulty sensors could also cause the transmission to shift weird. Unfortunately, there could be many different sensors that could go bad.
     
  3. Jan 17, 2010 at 1:02 PM
    #3
    green03taco

    green03taco [OP] Member

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    I didn't look at the carfax report, which is partly my error and also because I was in a rush. The truck was selling for a really good price and I didn't have any leverage to draw out the negotiating process, so I just bought it before it sold out from under me (which it almost did several times).

    I did also test drive the vehicle before I bought, but I don't think that I pushed it as hard as I should have and did not notice the vehicle shifting into neutral like I said.

    I do not know when the last maintenance was done on the truck. I plan on doing a full maintenance check tomorrow to cover all of my bases.

    Ok, I will look into the computer codes when I go to the mechanic and see what he has to say.

    I think that the problem might actually be with the shifter itself. When I was driving around today, I noticed a few things. When I shifted the vehicle out of park into reverse, I had to press the button on top of the shifter to do that. Once I had the vehicle in reverse however, I could pull back on the shifter and move the truck into neutral or drive. I cannot put the transmission back into reverse once it is in drive or neutral without pressing the button on top, but I can shift it between drive and neutral without pressing the button.

    I think the problem lies within the shifter. I am not sure exactly what though is causing this. My guess is that a spring or something is not locking the shifter into drive or neutral correctly, but I could be wrong.

    Thoughts?
     
  4. Jan 17, 2010 at 2:02 PM
    #4
    Janster

    Janster Old & Forgetful

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    If I'm not mistaken, that stuff you mention about the shifter is normal.

    Think about it.... If you're driving forward and you suddenly put the truck in neutral (which is possible) then try to put it in reverse while you're still moving forward...that's a major no-no. That's why the truck won't allow you to do it even if you press the button at the top. You can't physically go from forward to reverse without stopping first ir vis versa.

    Unless I'm reading your explaination wrong.

    I had to go back and re-read your first post. But - while you are driving, does the shifter physically move by itself into neutral?

    What happens if you gradually put the gas on?? As I noticed, you said.."I gun it"
     
  5. Jan 17, 2010 at 4:14 PM
    #5
    green03taco

    green03taco [OP] Member

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    What you said makes sense, I just thought that the button on top would act more like a clutch and allow me to switch in and out of gears and lock the transmission in gear when the button is not pressed.

    The shifter only moves into neutral when I gun it (step on the gas hard). While I am driving normally the shifter does not move in and out of gears even if I step hard on the gas or on the break.

    If I gradually step on the gas, then it will drive normally.

    I would think though that if I am stopped, I should be able to step hard on the gas and go without having the shifter go into neutral. If I hold on to the shifter when I gun it, then the truck will drive like it should but I shouldn't have to hold it in neutral to go fast out of a stop. It's not like I'm trying to race my truck, but sometimes it makes merging easier.

    Even if this is "normal" I think I'm going to have it checked out anyways just to make sure.
     
  6. Jan 18, 2010 at 4:49 AM
    #6
    Janster

    Janster Old & Forgetful

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    Here's some OEM service manuals to look through.....
    http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/2003/index.html

    Scroll down to the Auto Transmission.
    Do some research on these items......
    Extension housing, parking lock pawl, park/nuetral position switch, shift lock system, and anything related to the shift linkage/sensors/ etc.

    In paticular....this looks interesting:
    http://www.ncttora.com/fsm/2003/Repair_Manual/03tacoma/ata340ea/slsy/loca.pdf

    Check all your fuses also.

    Good Luck!
     
  7. Jan 18, 2010 at 9:15 AM
    #7
    green03taco

    green03taco [OP] Member

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    Thanks. I'll definitely look into those and see what I can find.
     
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