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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all! My brother has a 2000 Camry (140k miles, 5SFE), and has been complaining about his car revving a lot without accelerating. I told him to check his transmission fluid - it sounded like the trans was slipping. A couple days ago, his car stopped moving at all in Drive (or 1/2). He added some fluid (it was low) and managed to get it into a parking spot, but I'm pretty sure he burnt through whatever was left of the clutches to do so (he said it smelled pretty bad). Note that Reverse works just fine. Shifter mechanism (including lever on trans itself) is working and not slipping as far as I can tell.

My questions are:
  1. Is there anything I can do diagnostically to confirm specifically what the issue is, before I jump straight to looking for used transmissions? 140k miles is pretty low, but who knows what information the previous owner omitted in the sale.
  2. I don't think a fluid drain/fill and filter check is worth it at this point - it's too late - any opinions otherwise?
  3. I have a lot of repair/maintenance experience, but have never rebuilt a trans and would prefer not to do that (unless there is a meticulous step-by-step on the process and tools needed). Where is the best place to find a used trans, and is there a decent walkthrough somewhere on the web? I'd probably get the FSM either way, if we go through with this.
I may suggest he just find another car, to be honest. I'm fully comfortable doing the work, but it is a crapshoot with a used trans (even with a 30 or 90-day warranty from a PNP). I don't think it'd be worth it to spend $3.5k on a reman from Toyota, although I (perhaps not he) could be convinced otherwise.

Thanks so much for any and all advice, it's greatly appreciated.
 

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I would go with #2 repeated a couple of times; adding new fluid can only help.
Get the ATF Dexron III at the dealer for (10$/qt). Try also to add the Lucas Transmission Fix fluid.. might work in your case, who knows. Good luck!!
 

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#1 how's Reverse working? If the fluid got low in this transmission, or if the strainer plugged up, then the Forward Clutch goes bad and you have the symptoms. It's pretty common failure based on the searches.

#2 You can get Valvoline Maxlife ATF $17.97/gallon or use the dino plain basic Supertech ATF but it does cost more based on the website at $18.44. Strainer and gasket kits are cheap on Rock Auto. I'd give it a try, but if it's a worn forward clutch it's a goner.

#3 If you can wrench, then try rebuilding it. You can pull the pump and examine the forward clutch pack and should know right there. See if there's a Transtar parts warehouse nearby. Home - Transtar Industries

And use the 5% off discount code if you buy from rockauto, scroll to the newest post:
RockAuto Discount Code

You can find all 10 parts with the engine rebuild too, but here's the start on the transmission:

And plenty more on YT:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
#1 how's Reverse working? If the fluid got low in this transmission, or if the strainer plugged up, then the Forward Clutch goes bad and you have the symptoms. It's pretty common failure based on the searches.
Reverse works great. The fluid has definitely been low. I refilled at one point, and told him to keep an eye on it, but I think the transmission cooler line leak worsened and accelerated the leak.

#2 You can get Valvoline Maxlife ATF $17.97/gallon or use the dino plain basic Supertech ATF but it does cost more based on the website at $18.44. Strainer and gasket kits are cheap on Rock Auto. I'd give it a try, but if it's a worn forward clutch it's a goner.
It sounds like that might not be worth the effort, although I might drain the trans and take a look at the filter before starting any work (if I decide to rebuild). If the filter looks super clogged, I might refill it, patch it back together, and see if it runs alright.

#3 If you can wrench, then try rebuilding it. You can pull the pump and examine the forward clutch pack and should know right there. See if there's a Transtar parts warehouse nearby. Home - Transtar Industries
Thanks for the video links. I watched them, and found the second (trans shop) to be quite a bit more helpful than the first (home wrencher). Hopefully his quick prybar method works for the oil pump! I've also got the A140E FSM from Toyota.

I think I could handle it - particularly if I can just pop off the oil pump, find a bad forward clutch, replace the pack and re-assemble (not best practice, I'm sure!). I'm nervous about disassembling much further than that - I don't like pulling things apart that I don't fully understand.

Two other major risks:
  1. I pull it apart and find nothing wrong (doubtful, I'm not sure what else could cause forward gears not to work, after weeks of slippage, while reverse works fine)
  2. I do all of the work, put it back together, and it still doesn't work because I mis-measured something, or forgot a roll pin, or installed the clutch/steels in the wrong order, or didn't check XX or YY like you're supposed to every time you disassemble a trans, etc. Then I'd be out 5+ hours, he'd be out whatever he pays me plus parts plus the tow to my place, and he wouldn't have a working car.
But, if it was my car, I'd go for it. I'll let him decide :)
 

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If he has to pay labor and parts, then have him consider a local ATRA shop. Usually the torque converter gets replaced with a reman if he goes that route. DIY will be about $350-400+tax in parts (rebuild kit and converter), before inflation. ;)

Check Yelp reviews: ATRA - Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association

See if a shop lets him out under $1800 and hopefully a 3-year warranty (most likely they give 1 year).

Junkyard transmission can be a dice roll but much cheaper. But between a junkyard and a self rebuild, I would trust my own skills. ;)

Or find a shop that can install a Jasper reman, 3-yr 100K mile warranty. Find an installer on their site: https://www.jasperengines.com/files/downloads/newsletter/nlapr2002.pdf

And if you don't mind helping your brother, don't charge him labor if your rebuild doesn't work. And warranty your labor for a year because you're a kind person. Besides, shops do that right? Just let him first buy the $200 rebuild kit with new clutches and decide if he wants to reuse the converter.

Just some options.
 

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Hi all! My brother has a 2000 Camry (140k miles, 5SFE), and has been complaining about his car revving a lot without accelerating. I told him to check his transmission fluid - it sounded like the trans was slipping. A couple days ago, his car stopped moving at all in Drive (or 1/2). He added some fluid (it was low) and managed to get it into a parking spot, but I'm pretty sure he burnt through whatever was left of the clutches to do so (he said it smelled pretty bad). Note that Reverse works just fine. Shifter mechanism (including lever on trans itself) is working and not slipping as far as I can tell.

My questions are:
  1. Is there anything I can do diagnostically to confirm specifically what the issue is, before I jump straight to looking for used transmissions? 140k miles is pretty low, but who knows what information the previous owner omitted in the sale.
  2. I don't think a fluid drain/fill and filter check is worth it at this point - it's too late - any opinions otherwise?
  3. I have a lot of repair/maintenance experience, but have never rebuilt a trans and would prefer not to do that (unless there is a meticulous step-by-step on the process and tools needed). Where is the best place to find a used trans, and is there a decent walkthrough somewhere on the web? I'd probably get the FSM either way, if we go through with this.
I may suggest he just find another car, to be honest. I'm fully comfortable doing the work, but it is a crapshoot with a used trans (even with a 30 or 90-day warranty from a PNP). I don't think it'd be worth it to spend $3.5k on a reman from Toyota, although I (perhaps not he) could be convinced otherwise.

Thanks so much for any and all advice, it's greatly appreciated.
Used transmissions are a waste of time because who knows how they have been treated, how many miles are really on them and what shape they are in ???

The factory service manual details step by step instructions and all factory service tools needed to take the transmission apart, check it and put it back together, it also has diagnostic flow charts for any vehicle problem to get the mechanic to work on what is needed without wasting a lot of time. So have a guaranteed and rebuilt transmission installed, or rebuild it yourself if you don't want there to be a chapter-2 of this fiasco.

This is why I change drain and fill the transmission fluid in my 4th gens once or twice per year, it is less than three quarts to do this, and fresh fluid in these keeps them from slipping and is the only thing that will get them up to high-mileage without trouble. Those who just ad fluid or neglect it period as in this case, will always end up right here.
 

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^this. Yeah, keeping the ATF fresh and the filter (strainer in the A140e) regularly changed is the cheapest way to make the transmission last in the long run. Don't forget the separately differential fluid chamber too.

New fluid and filter won't fix the many problems with the newer U-series transmissions, but the A140e is just about as bulletproof as can be if maintained.


This is why I change drain and fill the transmission fluid in my 4th gens once or twice per year, it is less than three quarts to do this, and fresh fluid in these keeps them from slipping and is the only thing that will get them up to high-mileage without trouble. Those who just ad fluid or neglect it period as in this case, will always end up right here.
 

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Did you check for codes? On one of my other cars transmission issues caused a stored code but did not light the light.
I would change the fluid and filter, and add Lucas transmission fix and hope for the best.
 
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