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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a newbie to the car mechanic world.

Here is my problem: I have an automatic 98 Tocoma 4 cyl, 4x4. Sometimes when I accelerate from a stop or very slow speed, I'll hear the engine start to go, but the wheels arent turning. Then it will suddenly engage and the back wheels will spin slightly.

Is my transmission about to die? Or is it something simple, like the ATF is low? I did recently change the fluid and filter. I did not go through the steps outlined in this forum section for checking the fluid level; I just used the dipstick the same way I would check the oil level.

Can anyone give me some advice?
Thanks!
John
 

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Re: Is my tanny about to explode??

As for fluid level, warm up the truck, put it in park and check the dipstick with the engine running. Make sure the truck is on level ground. Low fluid level is baaaaaaaaaaad.

If your fluid level is correct, my guess is that you have trash in the valve body. The valve body is a mechanical brain that tells the trans what to do. You might try changing the fluid again. If the problem persists, you're in for some repair work. Be very careful as most shops just want to R&R the transmission. I don't know how much it would cost to remove, inspect, and clean the valve body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Is my tanny about to explode??

Thanks Shall,

I just checked it with the engine cold. It appears as though I have too much in there. I'll try draining out a little today and see how that goes.

John
 

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Re: Is my tanny about to explode??

John - from what you describe it sounds like your fluid level is too low.. not high. Make sure you check the level with the engine running. The fluid level will drop as it is being circulated when the engine is running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Is my tanny about to explode??

When I checked it yesterday, I did it cold: started up the taco, put my foot on the brake, went through the gears, put it back into park, left the engine running and checked the level. I was going to try it hot, just to see what it would say. I am going to drive it about 10 miles or so, then check it again.

Is it more accurate to check it hot or cold? Or does it make a difference?
 

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Re: Is my tanny about to explode??

Some dipsticks have marks for both cold and hot conditions. The fluid will expand as it heats, so it's typical for the level as shown on the stick to go up when warm. It's possible that an overfill condition could be causing your symptom...I'm thinking that if the fluid is too high it may froth and you won't get proper line pressures in the valve body. Typically, excess fluid is vented out of the unit, but maybe that's only when the level is way too high. Don't know as I don't overfill my trans. :D
 

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Re: Is my tanny about to explode??

Just curious, what fluid did you use? You sure it was some sort of ATF (Brand doesnt matter). I had a vehicle last week, customer did own engine and trans service and filled both with engine oil :eek: .
I am not calling you stupid, just making sure you didnt accidentally grab the wrong fluid. ACCIDENTS HAPPEN.
Did you have problms before you did the fluid/filter change?
If not, then i would make sure the filter is 100% propely installed, if it isnt it may be sucking air from inside the trans pan.
If you did have problems before then the torque converter drain back valve may be sticking or the trans just may be on its way out.
Does it drive normal after you get it to move?
Over filled is bad, that will blow fluid out the breather and be very messy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Is my tanny about to explode??

Thanks for helping me out, guys!

Okay, for some reason, I have a lot of trouble checking that damn dipstick. I did finally decide that it was too low. I added another quart. (And I didnt take offense to your question Mustang!) It was ATF. Dextron 3, if I remember correctly.

I tried it hot and cold, checking against the appropriate hot or cold marks. I seem to get inconsistent results. Also if I pull the stick out, wipe it off, then reinsert and repull it, the dipstick gets ATF all over it from the ATF dripping down the fill tube! So I try to just pull it out and check it on the first try. To me, there just isnt a clear distinction of the level on the stick.

Then I realized that I hadn't yet disposed of the old stuff. I funnelled it back into the empty bottles and discovered that I took out the same amount that I put in. This made me satisfied that I am close, at least!

Now when I drive it, its much much smoother. Maybe even smoother than before I started?? I dont want to jinx it. So I did drive around maybe 30 miles with it a quart low. And 10 miles of that was with an extra 200 lbs in the bed. I'm hoping that wont hurt anything.

To make a long story short, I *think* its fine now. Its not leaking and seems smooth. I've been driving around with the radio off, worrying about every little noise though!

Thanks again for your help guys!
 
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