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9th Gen Corolla/1st Gen Matrix (2003-2008) 9th generation Corolla and 1st generation Matrix discussion.

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Old 04-11-2010, 11:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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5-speed Trans bearing failure

Over at an Edmunds forum a lot of posters are up in arms about bearing failure in the 03-05 5-speed trans. Usually happens ~100K miles. There's even talk of a class action lawsuit.

Yet, I see almost no mention of this anywhere else on the web. Anyone here had this problem?

I wonder if more frequent oil changes would make a difference. I'd bet that almost all of those failed trannys had the original oil in them. I changed the oil in my '88 Accord every 30K miles and I plan to do the same in my '06 Matrix.

Last edited by circuitsmith; 12-15-2010 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There are some 9th gen Corollas with bearing problems. Some owners on 9thgencorolla forum boards are on their 2nd or 3rd transaxles - others have gone 100s K miles with zero issues. Most cry manufacturing defect, as they have not found the root cause of the bearing failure. Similar issues seem to plague the 6 speed transaxles in the XRS models.

I agree, a more aggressive maintenance schedule can address many of these concerns. A bearing will not fail unless it doesn't have clean lubrication or correct lube (some owners turning to non-approved "magic" gear mixtures to cure excessive noise and improve shifter feel) or loaded incorrectly.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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2003 XRS 6 speed 120,000 miles and no problems.
I did drain and refill with Redline at 80,000 miles.
Perhaps I should do another soon. Strong believer in Synthetic Fluids and preventative maintenance.

Last edited by edbso; 04-13-2010 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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^^^ Can't hurt to do another drain and refill. On my 2003 Matrix XRS, synthetic fluids all around. Run a slightly extended oil change intervals (monitor with UOAs - OCI @ 7500 miles to stay well within the safe zone - likes Mobil 1 the best), and transaxle drains and refills every 30K miles with Redline fluids. 115K on the Matrix.
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Old 08-01-2010, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I bought my 04 Matrix with 38,000 miles. At 45,000 the 5 speed trans went out due to bearing failure. Toyota replaced the trans at no cost. At 50,000 I replaced the original tires. Now with 135,000, the trans is making bearing noise again. I'm about to replace the second set of tires, I am not hard on this car. The 2nd set of tires, (Michelin) have lasted 85, 000 miles and i have yet to replace the original brakes. I am dissapointed the trans doesn't outlast the brakes or my latest set of tires. We'll see what the dealer says now. I wanted to get at least 300k out of this car but it's not looking good if I have to replace the trans every 80 to 90k.
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I just changed the trans oil in my '06 Matrix 5-speed at 21K miles.
It was pretty dark, with a metallic sheen and a slightly gritty feel.
Seemed in worse shape than the trans oil in my previous Hondas after 30K miles.
In hindsight I would have changed it at 10K miles.
I plan to change it every 30K from now on.
I refilled with Valvoline 75W-90 (dino).
I think it was $12 well spent.
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Famous Frank View Post
I bought my 04 Matrix with 38,000 miles. At 45,000 the 5 speed trans went out due to bearing failure. Toyota replaced the trans at no cost. At 50,000 I replaced the original tires. Now with 135,000, the trans is making bearing noise again. I'm about to replace the second set of tires, I am not hard on this car. The 2nd set of tires, (Michelin) have lasted 85, 000 miles and i have yet to replace the original brakes. I am dissapointed the trans doesn't outlast the brakes or my latest set of tires. We'll see what the dealer says now. I wanted to get at least 300k out of this car but it's not looking good if I have to replace the trans every 80 to 90k.
So how often did you change the gear oil after they replaced your transmission? You never said anything about gear oil changes.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Canada '03 Matrix gear bearing change

Just got my '03 Matrix 135,000k back.
They changed my transmission bearings, and clutch assembly (was 2/3 worn) for $2000.00.
They said they haven't done one in ~2yrs, probably just the luck of the draw that it happened to me.
Hope the darn thing lasts for the next +200,000k.
As far as I'm concerned, they should have done it for free, as I've promoted Toyota for several years now, but now I will tell anyone who listens about this problem, which could cost them a lot more than what I spent.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SuperchargedMR2 View Post
You never said anything about gear oil changes.
None of the complaints I've seen posted on any forum mention oil changes, but then neither does the owners manual.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edbso View Post
2003 XRS 6 speed 120,000 miles and no problems.
I did drain and refill with Redline at 80,000 miles.
Perhaps I should do another soon. Strong believer in Synthetic Fluids and preventative maintenance.
2005 Rolla XRS with 95,000 KM and no problems. I drive it fairly hard and rev up to 8400 rpm fairly frequently. I don't baby it by any means.

The tranny still shifts like butter at any rpm upto 8400 rpm (OK, once in a while I miss a gear, but the shifts have to be deliberate).

I actually switched to redline MT-90 synthetic transmission oil at 30,000 KM, which made a huge difference especially in very cold temperatures (below 0 C) where the ease of shift is night and day.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by circuitsmith View Post
Over at an Edmunds forum a lot of posters are up in arms about bearing failure in the 03-05 5-speed trans. Usually happens ~100K miles. There's even talk of a class action lawsuit.

Yet, I see almost no mention of this anywhere else on the web. Anyone here had this problem?

I wonder if more frequent oil changes would make a difference. I'd bet that almost all of those failed trannys had the original oil in them. I changed the oil in my '88 Accord every 30K miles and I plan to do the same in my '06 Matrix.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishexpo101 View Post
There are some 9th gen Corollas with bearing problems. Some owners on 9thgencorolla forum boards are on their 2nd or 3rd transaxles - others have gone 100s K miles with zero issues. Most cry manufacturing defect, as they have not found the root cause of the bearing failure. Similar issues seem to plague the 6 speed transaxles in the XRS models.

I agree, a more aggressive maintenance schedule can address many of these concerns. A bearing will not fail unless it doesn't have clean lubrication or correct lube (some owners turning to non-approved "magic" gear mixtures to cure excessive noise and improve shifter feel) or loaded incorrectly.
Hello,

I have a 2004 Toyota Matrix 5 speed, I experience 2 manual transaxle failures, one at 135,000 kms and the other at 185,000 kms. I bought the Matrix in 2006 with only 36,000 kms on it. I removed the origional gear oil and installed "Royal Purple" gear oil. and changed every 40,000 kms. I decided one afternoon here a couple months back to tear the origional transaxle apart and found that the bearings that hold the shafts to the outside of the casings were a flat roller bearing with PLASTIC CAGES!!!! WTF!!!! In my personal opinion replacing the fluid every x0,000 kms may help but what does not help is PLASTIC CAGES to hold roller bearings.

All i can say is shame on you toyota, these vehicles are not Radio Controlled toys or shopping carts!!

Matthew
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yes, I had a 5-speed manual tranny failure as well at 140,000 km- 2005 Matrix TRD. Bearings were the culprit. I followed Toyota's updated (they know these have a lot of problems) fluid change schedule (every 64,000 km) since km 0 and it still happened. This transmission has always felt kind of cheap from day one with poor shifting, etc. I think I may try this MT-90 fuid since I live in Canada and this transmission works poorly without at least 5 minutes of warm-up in the winter. More like 10 minutes in January-February. Next time it fails I will be putting a used 6-speed transmission into the car as they seem to have far fewer problems.... and it is only a matter of time. Also, why not the same problems in the Vibe? And as far as the plastic cages- as you serious????? Can't be.......
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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2005 Corolla XRS 2ZZ-GE with 115,000 KM

No problems at all. Transmission shifts smoothly at all rpms up to 8400 rpm. I do use Redline synthetic MT-90 transmission oil, though. Viscosity of the transmission oil is very very important. I use GL4, which has thick viscosity that works wells with the brass synchros in the 2ZZ-GE C60 transmission. Then thinner viscosity GL5 in the Redline MTL is a HUGE no! no! on 2ZZ-GE as it is too thin for the brass synchros.
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Last edited by silver04rollas; 08-22-2011 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I have seen some posts here complaining of this problem. I wonder if there is a better bearing upgrade (all steel) that you could replace the original plastic cage bearing with that would last?
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:50 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I've got a 2007 Matrix 5 speed. I'm starting to hear a " ratchety " sound coming from the drivetrain. When I depress the clutch, the sound disappears. Possible trans bearing problem or maybe a clutch bearing ? Any ideas out there ?
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