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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #201 (Edited)
Transmission time.
Been putting this off until there was absolutely nothing else needed doing on the rebuild, so that
1) I'd have no excuse (because it is scary)
2) there'd be no background noise (because normally during a restoration you've got about 50 irons in the fire all at once, to spread out the challenges, allow you to think about different things and give time for solutions to percolate and for vendors/ordered parts/machine shops to do their work you can keep working on other things.

But, taking apart the transmission needs a clear head and a lot of room to work (and a system to keep parts from getting mixed up).

Later, I will post a more thorough run through of the key things (there are a couple of excellent videos on youtube, and the FSM goes step x step). Mainly to explain the solutions to the special service tools that no one has. Today is just a teaser, with a couple of photos of an E53 coming apart:

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I plugged the axle holes with stubs from a pair of scrap half-shafts and took it to a coin op carwash, with oven cleaner, rubber gloves, a face shield, a bunch of scrub brushes and simple green. It cleaned up, some, then I went at it with a bunch of brass wire brushes and a flex shaft from a drill, which made it look a little more presentable. But, since then I learned the main oil seal behind the clutch can only be replaced from the inside of the case, so that made up my mind to rebuild it, rather than simply clean and reinstall and hope.

Here is the result of today's work: Disassembled the shift mechanism, stripped the switches and outer brackets and drain/fill plugs. Then removed the end cover and removed the 5th gear and its synchro. Then you can split the housing like this:
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Next step is to remove the differential, the oil pump and plumbing, remove the gear sets, and pull the bearing races out so the case can be vapor blasted.

Considering that it has 200,000 miles, and was always driven relatively hard, it is pristine inside (as were the brakes, the power steering system and the engine). The magnet had only a modest amount of shavings on it, and the 5th gear oil clearance and end float were both well within factory limits.

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A full E53 weighs about 90 lbs.
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #202
Uh oh...

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That is a crack in the casing. It was caused by an aftermarket half shaft that failed while driving, the flailing about shaft tore up the things around it but I'd always thought they were only cosmetic.

After stripping down the transmission today, I was just getting ready to call it a day (and take a trip to the vapor blaster tomorrow for cleaning), when I spotted the crack from the inside.

Am now going to find a TIG welder who can repair it.
Stand by.
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #203 (Edited)
OK, found a welder who'll patch that crack tomorrow (whew). Also, the windshield and back window goes in the body tomorrow. Big day.
Getting ready for vapor blasting the MT housings, I disassembled the shifter mechanism so that cover can also get blasted too, and WTH? Found what must be an error in the FSM (shop manual).

This trans has never been apart, or serviced in any way, other than fluid changes. I've owned it since new.

But, the lever 33256 and its spring pin 33256C are definitely NOT in it (a .pdf of page 33-07 of the parts diagrams is attached to this post for reference).

I got to that point and did Scooby's "hhnnrruhh?". Did I fall asleep and miss a step, did I blackout? No, after deeper investigation, there are 3 spring pins shown in the manual, but my shaft, 33261C definitely only has 2 holes for spring pins (33251B and 33251B) and so it isn't like I missed it, and also was not a part that someone forgot to install.

It must be a mistake in the manual. At least, that seems like the most likely explanation, at this point.
Unsettling, when working with such an unfamiliar part of the structure (what else in its clearances and tolerances and shim testing procedure is wrong?). It isn't like it would be at all easy to fix something if I didn't do it right, since these parts are buried 8 hours into a possible re-do if found out later. :oops:
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #204
Crack repaired by TIG weld:
First we ground a v groove along the entire length of the crack using a pencil grinder:
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Outside and inside: (note the T shape of the crack on the inside, due to the tension of the deformed casing that was pushed in by the flailing half shaft impact, note also the very scary looking casting/knit lines in the case, nearby, that look like more cracks but are not)
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After welding the outside:
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After welding the inside:
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This kind of aluminum is full of stuff that comes out when welding it, so the end of the bead has to be carefully extended out beyond the end of the crack repair, to sort of position the "slag" out of the way. After the first welding pass, he went back over it again, almost like flashing it with the heat and just a little bit more of the rod, to smooth the bead and to allow some more of the crap to rise up out of the repair.

To weld the inside, a special, small "gun" was used, with a short tungsten tip (the normal ones won't fit inside a small space like that).

When finished, the case took forever to cool, blowing air from a fan really helps.

Next step: vapor blast to clean all of the parts of the case.
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #205
It sure is a challenge rebuilding a transmission, because there are so many decisions to make: do you automatically replace every bearing, and then spend countless hours re-shimming everything to the new bearings (not to mention the cost)?
Or, do you take the bearings that have a fair bit of wear on their races (pretty dull finish, lots of very small lines but no deep grooves), who's rollers still feel smooth, clean them real well and simply re-use them and hope for the best?

Same question for the synchros, there are no dimensions in the FSM to judge their service limits, and getting to them is a substantially larger job (to fully disassemble the entire input and entire output shaft assembly is a lot of additional steps), and since the heaviest loaded ones have dual and triple cones their wear is really minimized (imagine the amount of surface area in a tripe cone synchro?), do you replace them all and start fresh (note the individual synchros are not available from Toyota anymore, only full hub assemblies, for even more money). Or, just put it back together, as-is, and say that replacing the seals, and cleaning everything real well, is enough.

Ditto for the differential: the thrust washers do wear, and they allow more slop in the driveline as they wear. Replacing them is relatively straightforward, but Toyota's FWD diffs bury those thrust washers pretty deep inside. On an MGB you can replace them (and REALLY tighten up a rear end) with it in place!

There are rebuild videos but none of them do any of the above additional steps, they really just disassemble and re-assemble after cleaning and new seals. Toyota transmissions last a good, long time, but there is always that thought: "as long as I am in there"...

hmmmm.....
 

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RX-7 Restorations
18 Camry SE
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1,570 Posts
You are absolutely sparing no expense with this!! It's amazing to see one of these transmissions apart. Been quite some time since I've seen one apart. You're doing an amazing job!! Keep up the great work!
 

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'00 4 Cyl. Auto Camry LE
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968 Posts
Next phase: manual transmission.

The local shop I'd planned to rebuild it with last fall has now changed their mind. Even though the Toyota data states the later, and much more popular, and all parts available for E153 MT is the same as the earlier E53 (the one I've got), except for gear ratio, they now say the parts aren't available and aren't interested.

So, I've got two choices:
1) try finding a rebuilder from much farther away (KO Racing in Oregon, or ATS Racing in Texas came up in a quick google search)
2) decide that the E series MT last really long, and since mine was quiet and shifting fine, to just clean the outside, replace exterior seals and put it back

Anybody got suggestions/advice for me about it?

On the one hand, an MT with 200,000 miles on it isn't necessarily a big durability risk. On the other hand, synchros do wear, and it would be nice to put it in with new ones, rather than wonder.

On the third hand, I don't expect to get more than another 100k out of the car after the restoration simply because I won't be driving it nearly as much as I did daily the 1st 25 years.
Post #15. I vote for #2, if you haven't found a reputable transmission shop / rebuilder locally .. Especially if parts sourcing is an issue.

Good catch on the trans casing crack: the welder did some nice repair work there.
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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1,025 Posts
Discussion Starter #208
Thanks!

It was the front main seal that required the disassembly to replace that led to this point, and the lack of a Toyota transmission specialist willing to do it for me that led to it being mine to do. Now that I am doing it I'm glad I didn't farm it out (but having an experienced specialist make those "go/no go" decisions instead of me would have been nice!).

Today I ran through some of the common service parts with the dealer I use and he found the diff side thrust washers are NLA, so there's the answer to that question: don't touch the diff.
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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1,025 Posts
Discussion Starter #209 (Edited)
Correction of Posts #142 and #176: adding outside mirror heater wiring to the vehicle.

I had overlooked putting a 10A fuse into the power feed line that I'd tapped off of the back window heater circuit.
The wires inside the mirror, and that I ran to them, are only 18gauge, too small for the back window heater system's 40A fuse.

It was a simple matter to put an inline 10A fuse in place of the short wire I'd run from the tap to the mirror feed wires and I can sleep better now knowing it is done right.
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Ironically, the original wire harness came with a 10A Mirror Heater "MIR HTR" fuse in the main fuse panel (100% of the NA market GEN3 Camrys came with that "give away" fuse, but 0% of them used it).

But, unfortunately, I did not realize it until after the dash, and the dash wiring harness was already re-installed into the vehicle, making access to the connector with the empty chamber from it impossible (it is located on the front side of the JB1, behind a cover, which is totally impossible to access unless completely removed from the vehicle, as I've found out).

Oh, well. Tapping into that wire has worked just fine, for 27 years so far, it ought to continue doing so.
 

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short-throw dipstick
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6,165 Posts
n, penny for your thoughts, a bit OT.

I bought new exhaust manifolds for my '99 1MZ. Figured I would while they're still available...the originals are in bad shape due to the car being from several salt states, and have broken studs, etc (welded studs). I had them coated in a ceramic chrome if you remember from before, to protect them and maintain a certain look when I put them on (a long time from now, because I'm going to pull the powertrain for a refresh and upgrades). Had to take off the heatshields, which I also had coated (in a matte black). They took the heatshields apart because the love-fluff sandwiched between the halves had to be removed - you happen to know a suitable replacement for that fluff?
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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1,025 Posts
Discussion Starter #211 (Edited)
OK, I just took apart the heat shield on a factory header and see what you are referring to. This is a photo of the shield over the Y pipe joint of a V6 header:

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That white stuff between the heat shield and the exhaust pipe is probably a fiber glass matt.

If so, any fiberglass mat ought to work. You could test it with a heat gun, or a halogen heat lamp: put the heat next to the FG and get it very, very hot (like 300~350F hot), use a temp probe if you've got one. If it doesn't smoke, or if it briefly smokes because some paint/food coloring burns off but then stops smoking, then you should be fine to use it in place of whatever was in a heat shield in the first place.
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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1,025 Posts
Discussion Starter #212
Cool Fresh air, or "speaking of fiberglass insulation":

One thing that had always bugged me about this car on a summer day was how the fresh air inlet would heat up from engine heat when parked briefly (say, drive home from work for 20 min, the fresh air is cool the whole way, stop at the store briefly, restart the car and the fresh air is now hot). It was necessary to either engage the AC to restore coolness, or run with hot fresh air on me (uncomfortable) for several minutes until the plenum cooled back down.

My girlfriend's '78 Buick wagon had an SMC (fiberglass resin) HVAC air intake plenum, with a cheap looking piece of fiberglass insulation over the front of it and her car's fresh air stayed cool, even during the same scenario. Using that as my starting point, I'm conducting an experiment. I found a source for black, 1/2" fiberglass insulation, with a mat surface, available in 4x4' sheets, which I cut with a razor knife to make an insulated blanket for my HVAC intake plenum:

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The single, long piece on the front is the main thing. I'll see if I can get the smaller pieces laying on top to squish under the plastic cowl louver, later. As soon as the windshield is in I'll spray adhesive the front piece onto the front of the plenum.

Hopefully it will blend in, visually, with the molded FG insulation on the firewall just below it, and end up looking totally factory. :)
 

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1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #213
Today's big update: the washer fluid and cooling system reservoirs are near the hood edge, and carwash chemicals spray in there and eats their plastic until it degrades and cracks. I've seen jars on some Gen3 that are actually completely eaten away, along their outboard edge. So, to defeat that I painted that area to help them:

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short-throw dipstick
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I like that edge paint. My solution to that issue is to never take my car to a carwash; consequently the reservoirs are perfect except the coolant which is getting funky from all the heat cycles
 

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Toyota Collector
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11,931 Posts
UV damages the plastic it's not due to chemicals, well it could be to an extent but UV does ruin them.
 

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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #216
"UV damages the plastic it's not due to chemicals"

While it is absolutely true that UV degrades plastic, in this case the edges of those jars are pretty well protected from direct suns rays (no matter how I shined a bright light into the gap I could not get it to land directly on those jars - ignore the two-tone paint on this winter car).
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Here's a photo of the inside, from the same angle, with the fender and hood removed.
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Here's a photo of a badly degraded jar, from a '92 which had been babied its whole life, in a northern Washington State locale (not a lot of sun up there, to start with). As you can see, the material looks like a styrofoam coffee cup that has been exposed to modeling glue, something just ate right through it. If there was an aggressive car wash chemical that would spray through that fender gap it would splash/land directly on this portion of the jar:
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From '94 Toyota moved the washer jar below the apron, to make more room for the huge ABS unit sharing that area. But the coolant overflow jar stayed in the same place (and I've seen similar degradation of its plastic too).
Interestingly, the power steering reservoir jars always look fine (must be made from a different, less reactive resin).
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Premium Member
1993 Camry SE,V6-5MT
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Discussion Starter #217 (Edited)
Top Gear (or, "Thank you Toyota").
Today's job was to inspect all of the components of the transmission for condition. I'd mentioned the wear visible on the bearing rollers and races that I was worried about. The FSM includes the method to confirm the end float and the synchro condition, for each gear and each sub-system. Everything measured to well within factory original specs (the FSM includes both "initial set up min/max" and "end of life max", mine were all well within the initial set up min/max).

Here's what the typical bearing wear looks like on an E53 with 200,000 miles on it. You can see how the surfaces are a little cloudy.
The marks on the outside of the bearing race are from pressing in/out from the case.
The shiny ring on the input shaft, just to the left of the inner race is where the seal lip rides (only just barely able to feel it with a fingernail, so not too bad):
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Here's the beveled roller bearing on the RH end of the output shaft, and its race, same thing: cloudy surface, micro lines, but nothing deep and they roll together smoothly:
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To try and keep myself organized, I made little signs for everything (the reverse gear is at the bottom):
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Just for kicks I laid the shift forks in place:
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The FSM has lots of images to explain how it works:
1st and 4th gear have single cone synchros. 3 has a double cone and 2 has a triple cone. You can really feel the difference between them (#2 is by far the strongest, to lock up the gear to the selector when sliding the shift collar).
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And here's my victory lap, all well within spec:
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Here's a photo of a badly degraded jar, from a '92 which had been babied its whole life, in a northern Washington State locale (not a lot of sun up there, to start with).
That's why I asked. I'm in Washington.
 
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