2002 Corolla CE Automatic gears won't engage. Need help!!! - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
8th Generation (1998-2002) Specific discussion of the 8th generation

 
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#1 Old 09-01-2012, 04:37 PM
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Automatic gears won't engage? Check this out.

This is my mother in laws car. She ran the motor dry of oil. I swapped out the motor for a working one. The motor is running fine. I put the original automatic transmission back in the car. I had to take it off the old motor and put it on the new one. Everything is working great, except that when I shift into any gear other than Park, nothing happens. It just isn't engaging. I check to be sure the linkage is connected and working. It's on there and the linkage is shifting. Just nothing happens. When I shift into a gear other than Park the RPM's usually lower for a brief second, but that is not happening. Any ideas or thoughts as to what could be causing this folks?

Last edited by dahmu; 09-07-2012 at 12:21 AM.
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#2 Old 09-02-2012, 05:57 PM
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It sounds like the torque converter isn't doing its thing.

Did the engine seize while she was driving? If so, and if the car didn't immediately grind to a complete stop (e.g. it kept coasting until she applied the brake), most likely the torque converter sacrificed itself.

That would absolutely be the first thing I look at.

I'm on my way out the door right now so I don't have time to get into how a torque converter works, but I'm sure someone else here can explain it if you need. If not, I can spend more time on a detailed post when I get back later tonight.

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#3 Old 09-02-2012, 06:52 PM
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I agree. I think it is the torque converter as well. I checked all other options and nothing else seems to be the issue. I started the process of taking the tranny out of the bottom last night. The motor did NOT seize luckily. It was still running when I switched motors. I believe the issue is my own fault though. When I was putting the tranny on the new(ish) motor, I bolted the torque converter to the flywheel before putting the tranny on. I've found that I should have seated it in the tranny first. So I'm guessing the torque converter isn't all the way installed. Do you think this could be the issue? Also, anyone know how to check if the torque converter is filled completely and know how to make sure it's seated in the tranny correctly? Thanks in advance folks.
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#4 Old 09-03-2012, 02:59 AM
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Are you using the TC that was in the transmission originally, or one that came with the new motor?

If you're using a different TC, it's possible the "new" one is bad. If not, you're probably onto something when you mention fluid levels. A torque converter is a stator motor; basically one side spins and draws in fluid, which in turn spins, moving the other side with it. If there's not enough fluid, it simply won't turn the other side as fast. Given that you're getting no motion whatsoever, it's either completely or almost completely dry, or as you said, not seated correctly.

I've personally never removed or installed an automatic transmission (though I have done some off-vehicle repairs, it wasn't my trans and I didn't have a hand in removal or installation) so I can't offer you any help as far as properly seating the TC. I always thought it just bolted on to the flywheel and the trans shaft stuck into it like a manual trans shaft would normally stick through the flywheel. Huh, guess I should read up on that before I help my buddy dig into the 99, eh? (I'll start a new thread about that tomorrow -- it's the 99 in my sig)

If it is the 'old' and known-good TC, then it is most likely one of the two issues you mentioned, in which case there are at least a few people on this board a bit more knowledgeable than myself.

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#5 Old 09-03-2012, 03:09 AM
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Thanks for giving advice/help. I just got the tranny off. It's now 2am. I don't quite understand how to fill the torque converter. It doesn't have a fill hole like other ones I've seen. I haven't ever removed one before. Ive been there when it happened but didn't pay enough attention to the process. I have a feeling that it's both things (low fluid and improper seating) honestly. I'm gonna get at it again tomorrow and hopefully figure it out. I'll also come back here and note what and how to fix the problem. Thanks again.
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#6 Old 09-07-2012, 12:20 AM
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Well I got the TC seated correctly. Got it all put back together and still nothing. My dad works at a small car dealership. I got to talk to their mechanic. I was very surprised. He was the most knowledgeable mechanic I've ever talked to. I explained what I had done and before I could finish he stopped me and said that the transmission pump is ruined. He said he did the exact same thing on a Corolla once before. Apparently starting the motor when the TC isn't seated correctly ruins the trans pump. I had no idea. I have been working on this car for my mother in law for 3 weeks now. He offered to fix everything for me fora hundred bucks. I couldn't pass it up. I'll post some pics of the tranny once it's out again. Hopefully I can show some folks what NOT to do.
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#7 Old 09-07-2012, 11:38 PM
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For future reference, seat the T/C in the transmission or transaxle first, and hold it there. An X of mechanics wire across 4 belhousing bolt holes is a typical way to hold it in mesh with the pump. Cut these wires and pull them clear in the moments between starting to mate the transmission to the engine, and not having clearance to remove them. Bolt up the belhousing to the engine. Then bolt the torque convertor to the flex plate through the access hole, or starter opening. Some torque convertors use studs and nuts to attach to the flex plate, so have to be aligned when mating the tranny to the engine, which just makes it more difficult. This is generic info, not specific to the corolla.

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