Toyota Nation Forum banner

1 - 20 of 64 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Currently own a 2012 Highlander. 153k miles and transmission is on its last legs. Is the 8-speed better or worse? when I googled it, I found a class action suit for 2017-2020 HL owners because of transmission issues. Is that widespread thing?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Do you have a link to the video or instructions on how to find it (if links aren't allowed)?

Thanks for the info!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
I've had no problems and have not heard of a class action suit. The same transmission was in Lexus in 2016 and the Siena if I remember correctly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
Currently own a 2012 Highlander. 153k miles and transmission is on its last legs. Is the 8-speed better or worse? when I googled it, I found a class action suit for 2017-2020 HL owners because of transmission issues. Is that widespread thing?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Hmmmm, I don’t know if this is much help but just to add one more voice on this subject, and I’m figuratively knocking HARD on every piece of wood furniture in the house. We have a 2017 HiHy with 50K miles, including some light towing, and haven’t had a single issue.
 

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
Currently own a 2012 Highlander. 153k miles and transmission is on its last legs. Is the 8-speed better or worse? when I googled it, I found a class action suit for 2017-2020 HL owners because of transmission issues. Is that widespread thing?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Hey, I remember you - you're the one who had shifting problems that were supposedly fixed with the loose air hose. So, turns out the transmission is actually bad now?

I have to say, I'm surprised - I think you did change the transmission fluid on a regular basis? These transmissions are known to go 200K+ miles without a major issue. How often did you actually change the transmission fluid and is it dark/burnt?

To answer your question though, I believe the 8 speed complaints mainly have to do with driveability (people don't like the way it shifts). I haven't really heard of many (or any, although I'm sure there are some) actually outright failing.
 

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
Hmmmm, I don’t know if this is much help but just to add one more voice on this subject, and I’m figuratively knocking HARD on every piece of wood furniture in the house. We have a 2017 HiHy with 50K miles, including some light towing, and haven’t had a single issue.
Highlander Hybrid has a different e-CVT transmission that is similar to the one used on the Prius, Camry Hybrid, and other Toyota hybrids. That one is completely different than the 8 speed auto on the V6 gas Highlanders.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hey, I remember you - you're the one who had shifting problems that were supposedly fixed with the loose air hose. So, turns out the transmission is actually bad now?

I have to say, I'm surprised - I think you did change the transmission fluid on a regular basis? These transmissions are known to go 200K+ miles without a major issue. How often did you actually change the transmission fluid and is it dark/burnt?

To answer your question though, I believe the 8 speed complaints mainly have to do with driveability (people don't like the way it shifts). I haven't really heard of many (or any, although I'm sure there are some) actually outright failing.
That's me.

Drove fine til yesterday. Thought it was fixed. It still shifted hard occasionally, but it was so infrequent that I didn't worry too much. Then yesterday, we had a family emergency and had to drive like a bat out of he11 for 15 minutes (25 miles in 15 minutes - you do the math). Had to accelerate quickly 5 or 6 times. Just before we arrived, it started slipping and searching really, really badly. Then driving home, it was awful. Unsafe how poorly it shifted in all gears, at all times. Then I got to wondering if maybe it had to do with the adjustable, "learned" parameters, and decided to unplug the battery. So I tried that and it improved a lot. As I drove more, it improved more. However, it's still not even close to being "right". It clunks really, really hard going from park to reverse, shifts a little hard from 1st to 2nd, and searches really bad from 2nd to 3rd. 4th and 5th are fine.

I called 3 transmission shops today, and here are the 3 replies:

First guy - Those transmissions don't break down. My reman dealer doesn't even sell them because there's no market.

Second guy - When he saw my vehicle, before I could even tell him what was going on, he asked if it was searching 2nd to 3rd and had a history of "backshifting" when accelerating after coasting (exactly what mine was doing). He said he's rebuilt a ton of them and that he could fix this one for $3500.

Third guy - Sounds like a re-flash might fix it to reset the shift points. He's had these transmissions go bad but it's not common. Wants me to bring it by for him to spend a few hours with next week.

So 3 completely different answers, and I have no idea what to think, except that this is my wife's car and I don't want it to be even a little unreliable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Just go on a test drive. People either like it or hate it. The opinion you will get is to each person only.
I didn't know if it was one of those deals where some units are ok and some aren't.

I drove a 2019 this evening. Compared to the 2016 model I had driven earlier today, it was terrible. The 2016 6-speed felt great. The 2019 8-speed felt like my 5-speed did right before it broke.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,080 Posts
When I first drove the new 8-speed, it was a complete failure concerning programming and upshifting too early and never downshifting. I can't believe anyone would even buy it. Doesn't help that the drive by wire is an MPG improving slow throttle body response lag lag lag nightmare.

2 years later and the software updates, transmission updates..... made it extremely tolerable and not all that bad in 'sport' mode.

So, I would not buy one used. I would consider new only.

Test drive and decide yourself.

My 170k mile 5-speed is not on its last legs. It shifts as good as new. But, it had yearly drain/refills and 2 filter changes in the past 12 years. I expect to last to 300k.

Competent techs are hard to find. Competent owners are even rarer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
My 170k mile 5-speed is not on its last legs. It shifts as good as new. But, it had yearly drain/refills and 2 filter changes in the past 12 years. I expect to last to 300k.
I maintained mine per the book - fluid change at 60k and 120k. I expected mine to last 300k also. Now at 153k, it's acting up and I don't feel one bit responsible for doing exactly what the engineers asked me to do. I expected more out of a Toyota - you certainly pay more up front. Only reason I didn't initially look at other brands is that my wife loves the Highlander. But after finding out that all of these 8-speeds are hard shifters, it just doesn't make sense to buy another one. I can't afford a new one and don't want to buy something 4+ years old when my current vehicle is 8 years old and having major problems. I want this to last more than 4 years, and a budget of $25k should allow for that.

So after my wife heard my report on the 8-speed shifting and finding out that 2016 models are still 22k-25k and don't have most of the upgraded safety features, she's decided to look at other brands finally.

We had a Honda CR-V that was absolutely terrible, so the Pilot is definitely out. No idea what other options might be available in that size range.

I drive a 2018 Ram 1500. The interior makes the Honda look like it's from the 80s, and the 8-speed transmission handles way more torque and horsepower than the Highlander's and shifts smooth as butter through the entire range, and there are multiple reports of them lasting 500k+ miles. And even though it's a truck with way more capability than a midsize SUV, it costs less than the HL. Just doesn't add up.
 

·
Registered
08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
Joined
·
8,331 Posts
I didn't know if it was one of those deals where some units are ok and some aren't.

I drove a 2019 this evening. Compared to the 2016 model I had driven earlier today, it was terrible. The 2016 6-speed felt great. The 2019 8-speed felt like my 5-speed did right before it broke.
It may not even be that. You either like it or you don't or you can test drive as many of the same type of vehicle as much as you can to determine whether or not it is an "issue" or just how the vehicle is. ECU, transmission, throttle, all of these I suspect are part of why it does not "feel right" but when things are new it is hard to know what is right or wrong. All you can do is test drive it to determine whether you can tolerate it or just avoid it. And as far as I know, if you test drive it you test drive it hard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Makes sense. My point wasn't that I shouldn't test drive it - it's that I didn't know if this was one of those situations where some shifted hard and some didn't and you just needed to keep looking for one that didn't shift hard/jerky, or if they all shift the same and you just need to determine whether it bothers you or not.

Maybe if I hadn't just come from a HL with transmission issues, it wouldn't seem like such a big deal. But that's legitimately the only reason we're even looking for a new car. I just put a $700 radio in it like 4 months ago, I don't want to trade this thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
When I first drove the new 8-speed, it was a complete failure concerning programming and upshifting too early and never downshifting. I can't believe anyone would even buy it. Doesn't help that the drive by wire is an MPG improving slow throttle body response lag lag lag nightmare.

2 years later and the software updates, transmission updates..... made it extremely tolerable and not all that bad in 'sport' mode.

So, I would not buy one used. I would consider new only.

Test drive and decide yourself.

My 170k mile 5-speed is not on its last legs. It shifts as good as new. But, it had yearly drain/refills and 2 filter changes in the past 12 years. I expect to last to 300k.

Competent techs are hard to find. Competent owners are even rarer.
Should also mention that we live out in the country in Texas, so most of the driving this car sees is highway or country roads at 55-70 mph with long stretches without accelerating/decelerating. It's about as easy of an experience as you can imagine on a transmission. Very disappointed for the price of these vehicles.
 

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
That's me.

Drove fine til yesterday. Thought it was fixed. It still shifted hard occasionally, but it was so infrequent that I didn't worry too much. Then yesterday, we had a family emergency and had to drive like a bat out of he11 for 15 minutes (25 miles in 15 minutes - you do the math). Had to accelerate quickly 5 or 6 times. Just before we arrived, it started slipping and searching really, really badly. Then driving home, it was awful. Unsafe how poorly it shifted in all gears, at all times. Then I got to wondering if maybe it had to do with the adjustable, "learned" parameters, and decided to unplug the battery. So I tried that and it improved a lot. As I drove more, it improved more. However, it's still not even close to being "right". It clunks really, really hard going from park to reverse, shifts a little hard from 1st to 2nd, and searches really bad from 2nd to 3rd. 4th and 5th are fine.

I called 3 transmission shops today, and here are the 3 replies:

First guy - Those transmissions don't break down. My reman dealer doesn't even sell them because there's no market.

Second guy - When he saw my vehicle, before I could even tell him what was going on, he asked if it was searching 2nd to 3rd and had a history of "backshifting" when accelerating after coasting (exactly what mine was doing). He said he's rebuilt a ton of them and that he could fix this one for $3500.

Third guy - Sounds like a re-flash might fix it to reset the shift points. He's had these transmissions go bad but it's not common. Wants me to bring it by for him to spend a few hours with next week.

So 3 completely different answers, and I have no idea what to think, except that this is my wife's car and I don't want it to be even a little unreliable.
Hmm... maybe the 3rd guy is on to something? How much is he charging you to diagnose? The fact that you unplugging the battery helped a lot leads me to believe that there's something computer related going on here.

Another thing to look at, is the transmission fluid burnt? You say it was changed at 120K so if it's burnt, that could indicate something wrong with the transmission internals. But if the fluid looks fine and there are not many metal shavings, the internals are probably fine. Is the transmission fluid at the correct level? Has there been a transmission fluid leak and it's now too low on fluid? On this car, a drain and fill of the transmission fluid is very easy (like changing the oil) and you could do it yourself for less than $20. Draining it will also allow you to see if there are any significant metal particles stuck to the drain bolt. I would try that first before giving up on the car.

I understand your concern for reliability... I recall you were looking at a 4 cyl FWD model last year. Too bad they are no longer making them. Toyota Safety Sense was not on the 2016 models but became standard starting in 2017. Perhaps you could consider looking for a 2017-2019 4 cylinder model on the used market, if the price is right?

Personally, the only midsize SUVs I would consider are the Pilot and Highlander. Maybe the Subaru Ascent. But of the 3, the Highlander should be the most reliable, at least statistically. I understand your experience has been different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I found another thread last night where a guy had a rav4 with a very similar issue to mine with the clunky "bang" going from park to reverse, and he said he changed his transmission filter and it went away. So I'm planning to go get a pan gasket and a new filter today, as well as some new motor mounts. Going to try the filter first and motor mounts 2nd to see if I can figure out a way to get it back running right. Unfortunately the 3rd transmission guy can't look at it til next week. So I'll try to have some patience and give it a few days to see if we can figure out what's wrong. My wife loves her car and doesn't want a new one if this one can be reliable. But even if the park issue is fixed, it's still clunking going from 1st to 2nd and slippping going from 2nd to 3rd.

I swore off Honda after our CR-V experience. So the Pilot is out for sure. Love the HL if we could get one with AWD, good safety features, a 6-speed transmission, and no sunroof.

Yeah I was looking at the 4 cylinder last year, but ultimately we decided to go with an AWD, so that limits our options a lot.

I'm a patient person, so I can wait around for the right deal. And if I can get the transmission working good enough that I don't think failure is imminent, then I don't mind trying to sell the car on my own to try to maximize value.

But I was pretty set on buying a newer HL until reading about the 8-speed. Local dealer has a 2019 LE Plus AWD with 43k miles for $25k, which seems like a good price. But when I got there it had stains all over and cigarette burns in the seats, so I'm probably out on that one. And trade-in offers on our 2012 HL have just been embarassingly low, so it's worth a shot to see if we can make it work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,784 Posts
One thing you have to pay more attention to with an 8-speed tranny is HEAT. The more gears...generally - the hotter it'll run. I'd also be very diligent about changing the fluid every 50k miles (or sooner). And use a full synthetic fluid.
 

·
Registered
2001 Camry LE
Joined
·
584 Posts
I found another thread last night where a guy had a rav4 with a very similar issue to mine with the clunky "bang" going from park to reverse, and he said he changed his transmission filter and it went away. So I'm planning to go get a pan gasket and a new filter today, as well as some new motor mounts. Going to try the filter first and motor mounts 2nd to see if I can figure out a way to get it back running right. Unfortunately the 3rd transmission guy can't look at it til next week. So I'll try to have some patience and give it a few days to see if we can figure out what's wrong. My wife loves her car and doesn't want a new one if this one can be reliable. But even if the park issue is fixed, it's still clunking going from 1st to 2nd and slippping going from 2nd to 3rd.

I swore off Honda after our CR-V experience. So the Pilot is out for sure. Love the HL if we could get one with AWD, good safety features, a 6-speed transmission, and no sunroof.

Yeah I was looking at the 4 cylinder last year, but ultimately we decided to go with an AWD, so that limits our options a lot.

I'm a patient person, so I can wait around for the right deal. And if I can get the transmission working good enough that I don't think failure is imminent, then I don't mind trying to sell the car on my own to try to maximize value.

But I was pretty set on buying a newer HL until reading about the 8-speed. Local dealer has a 2019 LE Plus AWD with 43k miles for $25k, which seems like a good price. But when I got there it had stains all over and cigarette burns in the seats, so I'm probably out on that one. And trade-in offers on our 2012 HL have just been embarassingly low, so it's worth a shot to see if we can make it work.
Good call on trying to get the transmission functioning again. These filters shouldn't clog up. If they do, it's typically because the fluid has been neglected, but it sounds like yours hasn't. I would still recommend taking it to the 3rd transmission guy if the filter/fluid doesn't solve the problem as long as his diagnostic fee isn't outrageous.

Curious why you're set on AWD. Does it snow frequently where you are?
 
1 - 20 of 64 Posts
Top