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Hi folks. Just bought my son a '93 DX, 160K miles. The car runs well overall. We'll be going through the whole "new-used car" tweak-up routine this weekend. One problem-- the 4-speed auto doesn't downshift all the way to 1st at a dead stop-- it always starts in 2nd pulling out from a stop. It will go into 1st manually with the shifter with no problem; just isn't downshifting all the way on its own. We're going to do a fluid and filter change this weekend. Any suggestions as to where to look for this problem? We have the Haynes but it doesn't address this specific issue in troubleshooting.

Thanks in advance.

John
 

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Thanks, will do. No, it always starts in second, no matter how hard you tromp the pedal, unless you manually move the shifter down to first.

We'll be doing a fluid/filter change, and here's another question in that regard. There's a DIY fix for certain auto transmission problems in Saturn cars that involves backing the car up to a wall, stout tree, or whatever, putting it in reverse, and letting it idle that way for a half-hour or so. The idea is that this causes the tranny fluid to circulate backward, back-washing any debris that may have built up in the valve body. The fluid and filter get changed right afterward. I've actually done this and had it work in an early 90's Saturn. Would this same principal apply, and possibly work, in a 7th generation Corolla trans?

Thanks for any input.

John
 

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Transmission not going into first

I don't know if I am right about this, but could that specific transmission never go into first when it is in drive? Some Honda transmissions actually idle in 2nd gear instead of first. Maybe give a toyota transmission shop a call and see what they say.
 

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94 Corolla, 89 240sx
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I dont know about letting a car idle in reverse like that. The fluid will not flow backwards as the pump in the transmission is driven off the engine which is always spinning in one direction. Shifting to reverse or forward gears for that matter, merely causes different electronic solenoids to open, allowing fluid to flow thru different passages inside what is called a valve body to the different clutch packs inside the transmission which causes them to lock up or open, which ever is necessary for the desired gear selection.

You may have a mal-adjusted shifter cable or kick down cable on the throttle body. Try the fluid and filter change, synthetic fluid is a better choise as its less effected by cold or hot temperatures and will last longer. If that doesnt help, there is a cable on the throttle body (the lower cable) that runs from the TB (Throttle body) down to the transmission. See if there is excessive slack in the cable or if it has fallen off the bracket on the TB. The two lock nuts on the cable where it attached to the throttle boty can be loosened up and the cable lenghened or shortened by moving the cable housing away or towards the TB respectively.

Also, just a note, removing the transmission drain pan and filter will not drain out all the fluid, there will still be several quarts in the torque converter and other nooks and crannies inside the trans. Going to a service center and having them perform a trans flush will flush out all the old dirt and debris and fluid with fresh fluid. It costs a bit more but its more throrough.
 
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