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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Seeking some technical (possibly legal) advices on an unfortunate situation: I own a 2002 Seq since 2011 with only 132K miles on it that I have continuously maintained during my ownership to drive it another 100K. Timing belt & water pump have been done last year, with a plethora of other fixes including both catalytic converters, front wheel bearings, a VSC module change, new brake callipers all around, the list goes on and on. Fluid wise I changed the rear diff and, as I was taking a trip to Boise from Vancouver, BC last week, took the truck to the largest dealership for a trans drain & refill. Reason why I opted for a dealership service was that I was finally approved for the dreaded passenger airbag recall there. Anyhow, sadly, and to my complete surprise the truck only made it to Ellensburg, WA where the trans literally blew up on a small incline :surprise:. Got it towed to a local mechanic shop (D&M) and the owner (Sam) inspected it and told me all gears were shot, the truck doesn't shift at all and can't even be flat towed back to Vancouver (U-Haul).

When I got the truck back from the dealership service last week I asked the service person for any signs of transmission problems, such as a black ATF fluid when draining, or the presence of metal shavings, etc. and he said it was all good. Now the OD on my truck was starting to get noisier and noisier for the past couple months (whirling rubbery noise when cruising at lower speeds and engaged) and since I had never serviced the trans before (only drove 35K miles since I bought it) I thought I'd do a preventive drain & refill. All other gears were buttery smooth when shifting, only the overdrive would make some noise (which would go away with the OD turned off).

I have 2 basic questions, one technical and the other more legal oriented:

1) how is it possible for an original trans in seemingly good working condition to completely explode under moderate driving conditions (no heavy load, 2 persons onboard, never towed)? And if the OD gear gave up, is such a catastrophic trans failure normal?

2) I can't help and wonder if the trans service the dealership performed just the Friday prior leaving (only 5 days before the failure) could be related to the event. Again I've had the truck 5 years and it never let me stranded before. I did a 7000 miles coast-to-coast round trip last summer all the way to NYC and back and had not a single problem with it, nor with the trans. I'm bewildered by the coincidence and considering consulting an automotive lawyer as I believe the dealership should be at least partially liable for the trans dying on me like that. Either they did something wrong to it (for whatever reasons, such as getting me to dump my 14 year-old truck for a newer vehicle) or they neglected informing me of important wear to the trans that could have prevented me from driving the truck and save the trans with further appropriate maintenance or repair.

Am I delusional in thinking the dealership bears some responsibility in this? I'm aware we're talking about an old, used truck but the severity of the damage and the dealership timing strikes me as more than odd. Sorry for the long rant & thanks in advance for chiming in, I'm driving back to the mec tomorrow for a full report with pics to take to the dealership on Wednesday.

Bast
 

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2005 Sequoia 4x4 Limited
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It will be hard to prove who is at fault for the transmission failure. How did Sam @ D&M inspect the transmission? Did he drop the pan? Did he check the fluid condition? Was it full of metal shavings? What does he mean that "all gears are shot"? What did he find was the main cause?

It can be hard to tell if an internal part is close to failing by only evaluating the used fluid condition, and it is possible that the previous owner was hard on it. The Toyota dealer who did the transmission service may not have been able to detect any potential problems. The fact that you were noticing issues with OD prior to the service indicates that something was already amiss, and it may not have been isolated to the OD gear alone. A transmission has a lot of different inter-related parts.

Most dealerships offer some kind of limited warranty on their service. If the transmission needs some kind of major repair, they may be willing to work with you on discounting the repair. When discussing the issue with them, it will be better to simply state the facts, be curious (ask questions), but do not make accusations. Again, you don't know the vehicle's history prior to buying it, so don't immediately assume it was the dealer's fault (unless you have evidence to indicate that the transmission was not refilled with the proper type and quantity of fluid).
 

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I believe the 2000 - 2002 trannys have a bad overdrive bearing in them that will grenade and ruin the internals. Sounds like it was already failing prior to the service.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone for your input and sound advice, this is much appreciated. I drove back to D&M in Ellensburg, WA on Tuesday and had the owner Sam print out his diagnosis of the failed transmission. It says "Verified customer's concern transmission has no gears at all and transmission will not move. Transmission has no line pressure. Vehicle has failed transmission RC". In talking with Sam he confirmed there could be a wide variety of reasons for the trans to give up, he mentioned a switch in particular as his best guess (might not have been related to the OD gear after all but rather related to a defect in the design). I still intend to go back to the dealership and appeal to their understanding to have at least the trans service reimbursed. I also think it's a good thing to report the incident to them so they're aware of the potential problem on these 2002. In the end I've decided to let go of the truck and sell it as is (I'm currently taking bids on it). It's a shame as it's been a really good truck that I fixed for 5 years & obviously intended to keep for a much longer time (just did the timing belt & water pump last year not even 10K miles ago). Do you guys know if there's an add section that I can subscribe to on this forum? Many thanks to all.
 

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Sorry to hear that you're letting it go without even getting a true diagnosis for how much it would cost to repair. But maybe the truck has other issues that make it not worth it for you to fix... What do you plan to replace it with?

Here's the classifieds section on this forum. A complete description of your Sequoia with photos is probably a good thing to create if you want to get any real interest.

Vehicle Classifieds - Toyota Tundra Forums : Tundra Solutions Forum

Of course, there's also craigslist and autotrader.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry to hear that you're letting it go without even getting a true diagnosis for how much it would cost to repair. But maybe the truck has other issues that make it not worth it for you to fix... What do you plan to replace it with?

Here's the classifieds section on this forum. A complete description of your Sequoia with photos is probably a good thing to create if you want to get any real interest.

Vehicle Classifieds - Toyota Tundra Forums : Tundra Solutions Forum

Of course, there's also craigslist and autotrader.
Thanks XPLORx4 for the classified section, much appreciated. I'll prep up my add over the coming weekend with all the details needed.

I'm actually letting go of the truck knowing it needs a new trans, be it a used one, a rebuilt one or a remanufactured one. While there are important cost variations with each option I would have to go with one that includes a warranty. That simply represents more bucks than I'm willing to shed on this vehicle after investing over $9K (Canadian dollars) over the past 5 years into it. In the meantime my practical needs for the cargo and hauling abilities of the truck have changed and I've been thinking of selling it for about a year. I should have acted earlier on this thought for sure.

My basic rationale for selling is factoring in the repair (in US dollars as I live in Canada) against the truck resale value which is low anyway in the area I live (RWD Sequoias's value in the Pacific Northwest is lesser than say in the south). With a new trans and all the bills I have to show this would be a strong buy for anybody interested in a low priced Sequoia. It has no other known serious issues at this point having been through most of these on my dime. Minor fixes I was planning to resolve next included a CEL on due to the charcoal canister (faulty VSV diagnosed inside) and the right front ABS sensor needing changing (changed the right left one 2 years ago). That's about it.

The truck also came with rare dealer installed options such as dual Borla exhausts, repeat signs in the rearview mirrors and is pretty loaded options wise (fog lights, rear spoiler, running boards, rear air, trip computer with compas, self dimming mirrors all around, upgraded JBL sound, powered front seats, etc).

Anyways, still mulling over my replacement options for now, I might actually just take a car lease for a while...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Bast,
I am sorry to read of your transmission issue. Maybe a used transmission is your best bet. There are several on eBay that are fairly reasonable & perhaps you can find others that are closer:

"2002 Toyota Sequoia" +Transmission | eBay

Mark
Thanks Mark for the link, at this point I have decided against purchasing a new trans and doing the fix. I'm now selling it as is, the truck is located in Ellensburg, WA on the parking lot of the "D&M" mechanic shop. I've sent Sam the owner my entire service/maintenance records. He is now taking bids on the truck on my behalf. I'll post some adds over the weekend on the classified section of this forum, as well as on the local Craigslists and Autotrader.
 

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Best of luck to you selling it, and I hope you replace it with something that's well-suited to your needs! Cheers.
 
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