Transmission won't shift when cold..

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Thread: Transmission won't shift when cold..

  1. #1
    Junior Member PRTaco's Avatar
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    Default Transmission won't shift when cold..

    My '01 DC Tacoma with 3.4L autotrans will not shift into drive when cold. The shifter goes through reverse goes into Drive but the transmission does not engage drive. If I let off the brakes, the truck inches along, regardless of throttle input. No weird noises or odors. Transmission fluid is at good level.

    If I let the truck warm up, then it shifts normally. Once underway after initial crankup, no problems. It shifts fine while driving. The colder it gets here in TN, the more times it happens on initial start up in the mornings.

    Toyota shop gave me the usual 5 minute 'we can't mimic it and the fluids are fine'. The truck has 98K miles on it.

    Any takers?

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    "Rosco" Thread Derailer Flashgordon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    I'd first start off with a fluid change. With 98k miles and if it's never been done, thats the easiest thing to try.

    Good luck!
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    Veteran Member ICON's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    I highly doubt a fluid change will help any, chances are the pump might be bad or something in the valve body isn't happy. You need to have someone w/a scanner and the knowledge of how to read and interpret info from the scanner plus how to demand certain things from the vehicle to pin point the problem. I'd first make sure the fluid level is ok but i think that's all you'll be able to do yourself. W/a scanner you can see what's being commanded by the ECM and what's not happening with the tranny. Good luck.
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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    I had a Ford Exploder that I had the tranny rebuilt on. There was a piece of dirt/varnish that was stuck in the valve body. When cold it would not downshift to first gear. Started and moved fine but stop signs/traffic lights within the first 5 minutes would result in a second gear start. Once warm the metals would expand enough to clear around the block.

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    Junior Member PRTaco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    Quote Originally Posted by ICON View Post
    I highly doubt a fluid change will help any, chances are the pump might be bad or something in the valve body isn't happy. You need to have someone w/a scanner and the knowledge of how to read and interpret info from the scanner plus how to demand certain things from the vehicle to pin point the problem. I'd first make sure the fluid level is ok but i think that's all you'll be able to do yourself. W/a scanner you can see what's being commanded by the ECM and what's not happening with the tranny. Good luck.

    I just returned from the Toyota shop here. The transmission was due for a 30K flush. The fluid looked normal, nothing out of the way. Tech said he ran a scanner and nothing showed abnormal.

    I guess I get to rent a car one night and let them have it overnight so it can get cold and let them figure it out. Thanks for your replies. Not exactly holding my breath for any change in the transmission after the flush change. We'll see.

    Thanks for all your guy's help.

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    Supporter sequoiasoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    Quote Originally Posted by PRTaco View Post
    I just returned from the Toyota shop here. The transmission was due for a 30K flush. The fluid looked normal, nothing out of the way. Tech said he ran a scanner and nothing showed abnormal.

    I guess I get to rent a car one night and let them have it overnight so it can get cold and let them figure it out. Thanks for your replies. Not exactly holding my breath for any change in the transmission after the flush change. We'll see.

    Thanks for all your guy's help.
    Big hint!!! Make sure you drop it off the night before and that they leave it OUTSIDE. When I had the problem they could never find it. They had the car for at least a week and it "never" did it. Owner even took it home 2 nights, "never" did it. They were right! The problem was they always kept the cars inside the shop at night and the owner kept in his garage. Both were heated and at 50+ degrees it was fine. I parked in front of their garage door and met them in the AM. Let them drive it COLD and TA DA! No first gear.

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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    Quote Originally Posted by sequoiasoon View Post
    Big hint!!! Make sure you drop it off the night before and that they leave it OUTSIDE. When I had the problem they could never find it. They had the car for at least a week and it "never" did it. Owner even took it home 2 nights, "never" did it. They were right! The problem was they always kept the cars inside the shop at night and the owner kept in his garage. Both were heated and at 50+ degrees it was fine. I parked in front of their garage door and met them in the AM. Let them drive it COLD and TA DA! No first gear.
    Do you remember what the diagnosis was for your vehicle?

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    Supporter sequoiasoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    They said there was a piece of dirt stuck in some part of the valve body keeping one of the solenoids from closing.

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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    Heh..re-read one of your previous posts. Sorry for making you repeat.

  11. #10
    Junior Member PRTaco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    Update on initial post:

    Transmission fluid was normal color and level. It was due for a change anyways, so I went with transmission fluid change / flush.

    Problem solved and its been much colder since the problem came up in the first place.

    Hope this helps someone else out there.

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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    I'm having this exact same problem with my 01 Tacoma v6. When its cold out (<20 f) the vehicle will go into reverse and back out of the garage just fine. When I try to shift into drive, nothing happens. No click, no surge, nothing. Pressing the accelerator causes it to crawl along, but the transmissions isn't really grabbing. The temporary fix has been to shift down to 1st and back into drive serveral times. Eventually it always engages.

    Approximately 7500 miles back I did a flush with Amsoil ATF. I checked the fluid the first time this problem happened around a week ago and it was a quart low. I topped it off but the problem continues. Has anobody every heard of the amsoil not performing well in extrmely cold temps?

    Did you ever resolve this issue? My (pregnant) wife drives this vehicle and I need it to be reliable.

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    Default Re: Transmission won't shift when cold..

    Flushing trannies every 30K miles or drain/fill pan every 15K miles is the best insurance for long lasting tranny. Don't even look at the fluid color,shape,form -- just follow the above schedule and it will last a lifetime (provided one does not abuse it). Its like an oil change, do you skip on it, so is the tranny, cannot skip any lubricating part in the vehicle.


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