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94 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I've got a 94 Camry with the 5SFE automatic transmission. Few days back I let it warm up before work and when I put it in drive/took my foot off the brake it simply wouldn't move. Checked transmission fluid and all is well there. When I put it in any drive/reverse gear the speedometer registers speed. Decided to jack the front end up today and with the wheels off the ground the passenger wheel will spin forward/reverse based on the gear but driver side will not. However, the passenger wheel can be stopped with a shoe and then the driver side starts spinning.

Any ideas on what this may be? I hadn't been having any issues prior to this. 182k on the car. Thanks
 

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short-throw dipstick
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The wheel-spinning behavior is normal because the car has an open differential, don't worry about that
 

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94 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #5
Are there any sensors that could cause this behavior? I'm not getting any codes though so assuming it must be internal and require a shop at this point.
 

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1995 Camry LE Wagon
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Any ideas on what this may be?
I went to my transmission FSM trouble shooting - A140E.

1. "Vehicle does not move in any forward or reverse position"
On Vehicle Repair - 1. Manual valve
2. Primary regulator valve
3. Go to Off vehicle repair

2. Under "Off Vehicle Repair" there are 7 possibilities, one as simple as "parking lock pawl"

Can't offer much more as I have never needed to do any trans work.
 

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94 Camry LE
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Discussion Starter #7
Not a transmission guy either. I'll rebuild an engine any day but I generally keep my paws off the gears. Everything seems to point internal though :-/. Just has me out of sorts as it's never given me a hiccup out of the drivetrain and then it just quit.
 

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I think the speedo working is a clue. I don't know where the speed sensor gets it's input from but I would guess the output shaft to the axle. It's as if you broke the axle but the output shaft is still turning.

What I would do is make sure the shift lever cable is connected to the transmission. If it or it's connection were broken then the lever would shift but the trans would not go into gear. When you put it in drive do you feel any attempt by the transmission to engage - such as the normal feel when it goes from park to drive?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Shift cable is intact and is moving the selector as I move the shifter. Local mechanic said CV but I wouldn't think the wheels would move off the ground if that's the case.

I do not feel the car bump or anything when put into gear, but the RPMs do change as if it is engaging something.
 

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Ok just to clarify-

It goes into gear.
Wheels spin off the ground.
Wheels do not spin on the ground/under load.
Speedometer is registering.
Fluid level is ok, fluid in good condition.

Transmission is slipping. It takes far less torque to spin a wheel off the ground than on the ground under load. Was the fluid changed recently? With 180,000+ miles, an internal transmission problem isn't out of the question.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'll have to try with it in park off the ground, haven't done that yet.

And yes, as you describe is exactly what is happening. The fluid was just changed about 7,000 miles ago when the engine was replaced.
 

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This is very interesting...I'll be watching to see what the issue is. It would be odd that both forward and reverse gears are slipping - usually its one or the other for these when they do wear out.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just figured I'd ask this...is it possible the shift cable suddenly went out of adjustment? One issue I've had with the car since day 1 is the dash gear indicator doesn't always light up...but the car had been like that with previous owner too and I didn't think much of it to be honest. I had just driven the car home from work the night before with absolutely no issues though. And it doesn't matter what position I put the shift lever in now, I've tried rocking it a bit to see if anything would engage.
 

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There is a throttle cable connected to the trans valve body, that cable moves in unison with the throttle and I believe determines some shift points from the throttle, like kick down. That cable does not adjust much (at throttle) and I believe has no determination on in-gear/not in-gear. It is connected to the valve body. If it were not connected inside the valve body I think you could disconnect it from the throttle valve and just pull the cable to gauge resistance. Adjusting it determines shift response from the throttle.

The neutral safety switch goes directly into the valve body and actually puts the transmission into PRNDL.
 

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The fact that one wheel turns and the other one doesn't makes me want to try what Stillrunning described. Put it on stands, engine off, go into neutral and spin one wheel. The other should turn in the other direction.

Hopefully it's just one of those tired axles snapped off thing instead of something inside the differential.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
But when jacked up I can stop the one wheel spinning with my foot and the other will start. Would that happen if it was an axle?

I'll get it up off the ground again tomorrow and see what it does in park and neutral. It's been cold as all get out and have many inches of snow on the ground.
 

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The fact that one wheel turns and the other one doesn't makes me want to try what Stillrunning described. Put it on stands, engine off, go into neutral and spin one wheel. The other should turn in the other direction.

Hopefully it's just one of those tired axles snapped off thing instead of something inside the differential.
This is true. If the axles are in somewhat decent shape, the tire should spin in opposite direction when in neutral and tires are turned.

If you stop the spinning side with your foot (be careful), the other side should spin faster. If it doesn't you might have a broken axle. You could also just put the car in park after raising the front end and attempt to turn the wheels manually. If you can turn one wheel around and around in park, you got a broken axle or transmission issue.

I think there was someone who had this issue before. CV bearing inside gave out with the boot intact.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I literally sent a message to a buddy earlier asking is it possible the friction from the boot clamps on the CV makes it look like everything is OK when off the ground. I'm gonna go deep tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Update - with car off the ground in park each wheel spins independently. Actually harder to turn them in neutral.
 
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