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Old 09-13-2013, 11:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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97 Camry torque converter question

Picked up my very first Toyota today. Have finally moved on from VW. I got a 97 Camry with 128k miles. Its a 4spd auto. It shifts or appears to shift good. The one thing I noticed is when the torque converter unlocks, it seems to unlock rather harsh. It seems to be a rather firm unlock, and it doesn't appear normal.

To my knowledge the fluid has never been changed either. I believe its original. I read a post on how to "flush" the transmission using an empty jug, and the transmission cooler return line, while filling with new ATF as old is pumped out. This should get the old fluid out of the torque converter too, yes? Any ideas on what might be causing the rather firm unlock of the converter? Its not a smooth transition at all, and its under light throttle loads.

This forum is a great resource. I've found a lot of useful information and hope to someday contribute to the wealth of knowledge here. I look forward to the responses!

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Old 09-14-2013, 12:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Usually you don't feel TCC disengage except for a slight increase in RPM. You shouldn't feel it disengage, but you may feel it engage. I'd also check engine and transmission mounts.

If it's never been serviced I'd drop the pan and change out the strainer. A Wix ATF kit locally or rockauto.com works fine with Walmart Supertech Mercon-V, Castrol Mercon-V or Castrol Import Multi-vehicles ATF. These are all better than the plain dino stuff, but Walmart has the dino ATF for about $12/gallon if you want to flush with the less costly stuff.

Remember to change the differential fluid too.
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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hydraulic fluid

... If you begin a routine of draining the hydraulic fluid bottle, and replacing with new/clean fluid, you should be able to avoid a leaking rack and pinion.

My rack was leaking, someplace, when I got the car at 45k miles. The fluid in the bottle in the engine compartment was just about black in color.
I started draining and refilling ... quite a few times at first. It wasn't too long before the hydraulic fluid leak stopped completely. Now I drain and refill the hydraulic fluid at every oil change ... about once a year.

To drain the hydraulic fluid bottle, I just remove the lower hose at the bottle on the side of the fender, and quickly place a 3 foot drain hose on the outlet. Be sure to open the bottle cap on top, so the fluid can drain out.

There is a generic hydraulic fluid available at the local Toyota dealer here.
I think it might have some additives that are beneficial.

I have seen one or two posts on how you can actually flush the entire hydraulic system. You can search the forum on this topic and see what you want to do.

However, if you don't address this problem immediately, you might run into something in the immediate future.

... Also, it would be a good idea to drain and flush the transmission fluid, as has been previously suggested. I think this will solve your shifting problems immediately. Be sure to use the correct fluids when you drain and flush.
98 Camry LE, 2.2L, automatic
54k miles, drop in K&N A/F, ... timing belt, water pump, NSS

Last edited by dc_98_cam; 09-14-2013 at 04:11 AM.
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