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big time Avalon transmission failure

6648 Views 24 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  jhbhatia
My wife was just given the really bad news that her
1998 Avalon with 69,000 miles needs a new transmission.
The old one started to get a little noisy about 300 miles
ago and then something "broke." The drivetrain sounds like all the brake pads are dragging. We were told not to drive it
as it could sieze.
We had the trans serviced at 30,000 and 60,000 miles.

Is there a history of Avalon transmission failures?
What recourse do we have with Toyota?

Any info would be appreciated.

mr bill
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There aren't too many trans problems with that year car. Esp if you had the fluid changed. That sucks. Toyota does stick to their product very well an they might just change it out for you. See if you can have the main service manager phone toyota to see what they can do. I have seen them replace engines even out of the warranty. But if that don't work go to and look for a low mileage trans.
Also maybe the trans is fine and you just really need some new brakes:dunno:
We thought the brakes were bad. We just had it in for tire balancing 2 weeks before that and the service manager said that the brakes were noisy. We made an appointment for 2 weeks later to have the front pads, rotors changed out. 2 days later my wife said that the car has a major vibration and noisy front end.

We parked it at that time and took it in for the brake job. Even had a discount coupon which came in the mail the day before
for brake work. Took it in and got "the call."

I called the NHTSA and filed a claim that the sudden transmission failure was a safety defect. I will call the Toyota number monday and let them know about the failure events. My wife is upset in that we had a 84 VW Jetta and it had a tranmission go out at the 60,000 mile mark. We weren't expecting this sort of problems
with Toyota. And yes, I know that shit happens and sometime failures occur. I really hope Toyota steps up the plate and reimburses us ($3200 estimate including labor for a rebuilt transaxle.)

Many thanks to the folks for replying to my post.

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have several different shops look @ it to make sure the tranny is the problem. A ton of rediculously stupid people tend to work @ auto repair shops.:(
Where did you get your car serviced?

I would go somewhere else like a transmission shop to confirm the problem.

30K miles between transmission fluid change seem like a lot, I do mine at 15k.
The service manager at our Toyota dealership is the one
that says the problem is in the transmission. I have never heard bad brakes sound like what her car sounds like and I was once upon a time a mechanic. The 30,000 miles between fluid changes is what is
recommened by both the service manual and the dealer.

I called Toyota this morning and filed a complaint that the trans failed prematurely. They are going with the info I gave them and contacting the dealership. Should have more info this thursday or so.
Keep us updated.

Unfortunately there are a lot of fishy Toyota dealership out there. I've even heard of a few that they would rather ignore problems they found on your car until it breaks, then they tell you how much it is to replace (instead of repairing) the part.
How much powertrain warranty is on toyota's of 1998. I ask cus my es300 was 74K when its tranny failed, THANKFULLY, got the problem fixed thru lexi for FREE (minus some deductibles and miniscual other softcost into other parts mainly shop supplies not even totalling 40 bucks). Yeah, 30K mile service schedule is what toyota recommends..but did you do a drain&fill or tranny flush. I'm guessing drain&fill. Cus' if you did the flush, then this shouldn't have happened..but then's too are sometimes plagued with lemons!
drivetrain warranty is 60,000 miles. time I believe
is 5 years. We are beyond both time and milage.

more to come.

I just checked the paperwork for 30,000 miles.
Fluid change and transmission conditioner added.
We haven't filed the paperwork for the 60,000 service yet.

at 60,000 miles they changed out the fluid and the pan gasket.

mr bill5
bad news
Toyota won't pay for the repair.
Good news is it will be done late today.

Is there any recourse I have like a letter to a vice president or president at Toyota or???????

mr bill5
Follow up on our transmission story. After getting the shaft from the local dealer, then the local rep we wrote letters of disgust to 2 Toyota VPs. We recieved a phone call 3 weeks later with Toyota agreeing to pay 1/2 of the $3200 bill. We were happy with that compromise. We also feel that the local rep should have made that offer.

mr bill
I dont see how the local repare shop is at all responsible? They didnt make the car, they didnt drive the car, hell all they did was change the fluid. And you are lucky that Toyota did that for you, most manufacturers would have said forget it and made you pay to fix it.
And my reply is Toyota's reputation of reliable cars is a myth. The transmission should not have failed (could have locked up and caused an accident) at 69,000 miles much less 100,000 miles.
And the replacement rebuilt tranny had a major fluid leak which probably would have failed due to low fluid in about 3 months.

We hope the rebuilt tranny holds up for another 69,000 miles.
no matter how perfect something is you cannot expect that nothing will ever go wrong with it... and yes it COULD have locked up, but what would the diference be if it locked up at 69,000miles or 150,000miles? It wouldnt have caused an accident then becuase its allowed to break at that time?
I can see a transmission need adjusting at 69,000 miles, not failing. Most modern car engines and transmissions should go 100,00 mile without breaking. If it failed at that time I would have accepted it. THe clincher was the replacement transmission was faulty right out of the box. Did not give us a warm and fuzzy feeling with it leaving a puddle in my garage. I think Toyota paid 1/2 because they know the original transmission should not have failed and the replacement should not have been bad either.
count your blessings and be happy! I always insist on the "tranny flush" every 30K services. Dealerships guise you by price and reterm the service as major tranny service and minor tranny service. Drain and fill is great for every 15K miles, but i don't do it. I rather wait out the process and do a tranny flush every 30K miles.
mrbill5: I'd suggest you to insist on a tranny flush every 30K miles..regardless of how they term it. Count your blessings that toyota paid for 1/2. i think you got a lemmon tranny!
mrbill5 said:
And my reply is Toyota's reputation of reliable cars is a myth.
Because of one car and a potential error on a servicer's part? Rebuilt trannys don't come from the factory. Somebody did it at some point.

You're free to buy another car of another make, but to say that Toyota's reliability is a myth because of *one* Avalon's problems isn't right. Yes, you may be frustrated, but it's not like you're the only Avalon out there.
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