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I have a 2012 Camry with the TQ shudder problem. I recently went into the dealer and they told me the warranty expired near the end of Feburary and gave a quote of $2400 to fix the problem. I contacted Toyota's customer support line and explain the situation and they basically told me I'm SOL. Now I'm definitely upset about how they handled this. This is probably the worst experience I've had with a car manufacturer yet. But they aren't gonna fix it so I'm left to figure out what I'm going to do now.

I called some independent shops and the price to replace the TQ is way more than I really can afford right now. It's probably worth paying for it over selling this one and buying another car but I'm considering replacing the converter myself. I don't have a ton of experience with working on cars but I've removed an engine before, which seems to be where most of the work in replacing the converter is. It would save a lot of money and make repairing the car much more realistic for me. The kit and the few small parts that are necessary, as listed in the service bulletin for the problem, are reasonably priced.

I can't seem to find any sort of FSM for the car online. I don't really know what pulling the engine entails or how hard the actual converter replacement is. I also know that messing with the ATF level is way over complicated and I have concerns about making mistakes there. I'm just not really sure about the entire process and what kind of things I would need to do to replace the converter. I was hoping someone on here might have done this, or at least pulled the engine out, and could tell me what their experience was as well as where they were able to find the information about working on the car in the absence of a readily available FSM.
 

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first of all..heres the oem number for the tc upgrade kit..04004-48106. secondly..it can be had for around 350-450 dollars. 3rdly..it lists for around 6.5 hours labor. do the math...depending on where u live the labor rate should be no higher than about 7-850 dollars..thats a guess btw. so we will say 900 just to be safe. with me so far? add in fluid and u can have this done (at a reputable shop) for 1500 at the most. 04004-48106 - Google Search
 

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what i would do first..is have the fluid changed and put in shudder fix by lubegard,see if that helps,that will cost u a lot less and it will alleviate the issue,maybe not permanently,but at least it will buy time..at that point,if u want to sell the car...
 

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The fluid was changed a few thousand miles prior to the shudder starting. I am not comfortable putting in additives.

Also because I still owe money on the car, and it has an obvious (to anyone who would test drive it) mechanical problem, it's not a very good financial move to sell it although I thought about it. I would also hate to sell someone a car with a mechanical problem they weren't aware of, and if I tell them it may significantly reduce the price.

~$1500 is around the lower price range for independent shops around here although there aren't many shops to begin with. Unfortunately I am not really in the financial position to afford that unless there are no alternatives. I would rather take the risk of trying to fix the problem myself, but I would like to first know what I would be getting into and that is why I made this post in the first place. There's no clear instructions on how to do this.

I might try to give Toyota another call to see if I could get the repair done out of warranty but I really don't think they're gonna change their minds. Funny how they'll sell a defective car then not really care after that because they already got the money.
 

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Welcome to the site Salt.

To change it you are going to have to drop the tranny. This will involve a lot of work (which is what it is an expensive job) but it is actually fairly straight forward from from a wrenching POV. You have to remove the bottom sub frame, so that means taking apart the suspension (CV axles come out, knuckle all attached to it comes off, etc.). You have to support the engine as the tranny is part of the mount for it. Once the tranny is on the ground you pull the TC off, put fluid in the new one, pop it in, then put it all back together.

I have a thread where I swap my tranny, gives some pics and details: Tranny
 

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The Lubegard has seal-swelling solvents so would not be my first choice unless I had leakage or perhaps a slippage problem suspected to be caused by a leaking band piston.

Also listed as "does not fit your (2015 Camry)".

I would give the ShudderFix a try, in conjunction with thorough fluid replacement. I would start with a smaller portion of the bottle first to test it's effectiveness, and would be prepared to add a little more if it helped only a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Welcome to the site Salt.

To change it you are going to have to drop the tranny. This will involve a lot of work (which is what it is an expensive job) but it is actually fairly straight forward from from a wrenching POV. You have to remove the bottom sub frame, so that means taking apart the suspension (CV axles come out, knuckle all attached to it comes off, etc.). You have to support the engine as the tranny is part of the mount for it. Once the tranny is on the ground you pull the TC off, put fluid in the new one, pop it in, then put it all back together.

I have a thread where I swap my tranny, gives some pics and details: Tranny
Thanks for the reply. This helps a lot.
 

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Lubegard isn't a seal sweller. Esters are natural seal conditioners, cleaners, EP/AW additive....
So, you are not getting 'solvents' or brake fluid-like glycol seal swellers/conditioners.

Toss in a bottle of Lubegard Platinum with your next service(which should be now). Can add a small 10-oz bottle now and judge whether you want to use the 15oz during your next service.

Most shops don't do AT fluid changes correctly... and this includes the majority of dealers that so many trust blindly.

I would drop the pan, clean the magnets, replace/upgrade to 4 magnets if only equipped with 2, change the filter/oring, button it up, add the pint of Lubegard Platinum, and refill using the proper equivalent ATF and temp level checking procedure.

  • Prevents overheating, reducing elevated operating temperatures
  • Dramatically reduces friction & wear on metal parts and internal components
  • Will not alter the crucial sulfur balance in your transmission fluid
  • Will not harm yellow metals
  • Inhibits fluid oxidation and foaming
  • Contains patented Synergol® TMS Technology, a synthetic molecule that tightens the shift cycle without losing the friction modification at lockup, which eliminates shudder
  • Eliminates torque converter shudders
  • Ensures proper shifts
  • Frees stuck valves & keeps them free
  • Extends fluid change intervals
  • Protects & restores seals for optimum performance
  • Conditions & restores seals and o-rings
  • Does not contain any harmful components such as zinc (ZDDP)/ash, etc., like other competing products

So, your TC is done and you can keep driving until it fails completely. Since you are driving on it now, make it last as long as possible with fresh fluids, filters, and LG Platinum. Start budgeting the TC replacement which is inevitable. Since TC debris can wreck the transmission, it would be smart to install an inline filter, like the B&M, PermaCool, or Magnefine kits.

I don't care for ShudderFix. Too many use it to extend old fluid which is not too smart. Get more fresh ATF in there with the LG Platinum.

Drive like a little ol' lady who has all the time in the world. This will do more for your vehicle than anything else.
 

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OK I see that I mis-read the table graph that they published, it really says that they DON'T have those solvents in the LubeGuard product!

But the 2015 Camry is still listed as not compatible, not sure why.
 

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Compatibility means nothing. It can be added to ANY Toyota slushbox ATF.
 

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Could be.

We are in an age where anything that materially affects the car's drivetrain from it's as-EPA-tested configuration has to be considered illegal to sell.

Just as with the oil-change places now refusing to make oil viscosity adjustments per customer request.

Even as far back as the late-80's, my Isuzu truck's carburetor was federally mandated as non-adjustable, only an approved original, factory-set replacement was allowed. It ran like S***, even the road tests of that vehicle stated very poor driveability. But I as the owner was free to re-balance the fast-idle and automatic choke adjustments. I was free to re-size the primary main jet. And I was free to insert a restrictor into the hose coming from the gulp valve.
It took a lot of testing but netted some very worthwhile results including better gas mileage, smoother running, better-controlled warm-up RPM, and less-balky shifts.
It still always passes smog tests, that's a lot of strict California smog tests by now!

The owner is free to do what they want, as long as they can meet their State's inspection standards.

I wonder how the oil companies are able to make their fluids deemed compatible while the transmission additive products are not? Does it have to do with the scale/expense of performing certification of meeting standards, or is it more a matter of the product actually not meeting some standard(s)?
As an additive meant to work with various company's fluids, would it have to be individually tested for use with each and every "certified" ATF?
 

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Before you go crazy trying to replace the torque converter, your problem most likely lies below in the bold text. If the new fluid that went in is NOT toyota WS, then that's your problem. Have the fluid flushed with toyota WS and nothing else.

The fluid was changed a few thousand miles prior to the shudder starting. I am not comfortable putting in additives.

Also because I still owe money on the car, and it has an obvious (to anyone who would test drive it) mechanical problem, it's not a very good financial move to sell it although I thought about it. I would also hate to sell someone a car with a mechanical problem they weren't aware of, and if I tell them it may significantly reduce the price.

~$1500 is around the lower price range for independent shops around here although there aren't many shops to begin with. Unfortunately I am not really in the financial position to afford that unless there are no alternatives. I would rather take the risk of trying to fix the problem myself, but I would like to first know what I would be getting into and that is why I made this post in the first place. There's no clear instructions on how to do this.

I might try to give Toyota another call to see if I could get the repair done out of warranty but I really don't think they're gonna change their minds. Funny how they'll sell a defective car then not really care after that because they already got the money.
 

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I had the torque converter replaced under warranty by the dealer on my ‘12 XLE 4 Cyl. The severe shudder went away but ever since replacement the engine lugs between 30-40 mph under light throttle and it slip shifts gears 2-4 when cold. I took it back to the dealer and they told me the only way to fix those issues was to replace the transmission. Their explanation was that the original torque converter sent debris through the transmission and that is what is causing the other issues. Transmission replacement isn’t covered under the extended warranty.

I escalated my claim to corporate and they told me they wouldn’t offer any assistance because I only owned one Toyota (can’t make this stuff up). I’ve been driving it ever since and dealing with the poor shift quality. I haven’t bought anything else because I’m not in a financial position to do so, but between the transmission issue and the roof structure “creaking/rattle” issue my car has had since new, I will never buy another Toyota.

Keep in mind that you'll probably want to replace the struts by 150k and that the Toyota switches (windows, lumbar, signal) all tend to need replacement (or service if you know how to clean them) between 125-200k. My switches went earlier — I had to replace a rear window switch at 95k and the lumber support switch at 115k. My struts started to show their age at 130k. These are items you won’t get a return on. Just some likely expenses to keep in mind.

Personally, I’d trade the car in and get something by a manufacturer other than Toyota when you’re in a financial position to do so. That’s my plan, although the resale on this generation has taken a hard hit.
 

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Sorry to hear about your experience, but it's not all bad, right?
2 things you can do, to try to alleviate your transmission problem w/o replacing it.
1 - Reset the ECT memory, you need a proper scan tool to do it, disconnecting the battery won't do it.
2 - Make sure that the transmission fluid is at the right level. They're very sensitive to level changes. Find someone that actually knows how to do it and is willing to do it right. Best if done after a cold soak, which means leave it overnight. Doing it while hot it's a major pain in the ass to do it right...
Hope this helps!

I had the torque converter replaced under warranty by the dealer on my ‘12 XLE 4 Cyl. The severe shudder went away but ever since replacement the engine lugs between 30-40 mph under light throttle and it slip shifts gears 2-4 when cold. I took it back to the dealer and they told me the only way to fix those issues was to replace the transmission. Their explanation was that the original torque converter sent debris through the transmission and that is what is causing the other issues. Transmission replacement isn’t covered under the extended warranty.

I escalated my claim to corporate and they told me they wouldn’t offer any assistance because I only owned one Toyota (can’t make this stuff up). I’ve been driving it ever since and dealing with the poor shift quality. I haven’t bought anything else because I’m not in a financial position to do so, but between the transmission issue and the roof structure “creaking/rattle” issue my car has had since new, I will never buy another Toyota.

Keep in mind that you'll probably want to replace the struts by 150k and that the Toyota switches (windows, lumbar, signal) all tend to need replacement (or service if you know how to clean them) between 125-200k. My switches went earlier — I had to replace a rear window switch at 95k and the lumber support switch at 115k. My struts started to show their age at 130k. These are items you won’t get a return on. Just some likely expenses to keep in mind.

Personally, I’d trade the car in and get something by a manufacturer other than Toyota when you’re in a financial position to do so. That’s my plan, although the resale on this generation has taken a hard hit.
 

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The engine-lugging issue is normal behavior with these 6s transmissions, even my '15 model does that.

I can even get it to lug on the highway if I start going up a sustained uphill, since the transmission is reluctant to downshift or even to unlock the TC.

In short, these transmissions tend to upshift aggressively, sometimes followed by a very late downshift if the car is going even slightly uphill.
They are reluctant to downshift.

I don't have a gear-indicator on my car and I can hardly hear the engine at all, but what I can feel is that it's a weird transmission compared to any other automatic I've owned.
I'm not a lead-foot and maybe that's the problem?
 

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The engine-lugging issue is normal behavior with these 6s transmissions, even my '15 model does that.
Mine didn't lug until the TC was replaced. Drove the car from brand new until 103k and never had it lug once. Got the TC replaced and suddenly had the lugging (really bad actually). Maybe the newer/updated calibration is more aggressive? Also developed the slip shifting after the TC replacement. Had an independent transmission shop verify fluid level and they said it was fine (it's damn tricky to check on these sealed units).
 

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It's not really tricky to check the level, it's just that the car needs to be fairly level and most important that it is not checked anywhere near normal operating temperature.
It's only when the shop is in so much of a hurry that they can't wait for the fluid to cool down that the calibrator standpipe apparatus and procedure is needed. For anyone that is able to start the car from cold, the built-in standpipe is super-simple to use for confirming the proper fluid level.

As long as someone has jackstands or "wood stairs" homemade ramps and a jumper wire, and thinks it through before starting the work, the process of checking the fluid level and perhaps also swapping out a few quarts is actually very straightforward and could be done at home.
 

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Part of TC replacement is a ECT reflash with updated software and that's why it feels different. Lugging the engine is what gives slightly better gas mileage.
Just like I said before and just like someone above me said it, make sure that the fluid is at the correct level, there is no "it's fine", it's either right or not. If it was done hot(after you drove it there) then I guarantee you the level is low.

Mine didn't lug until the TC was replaced. Drove the car from brand new until 103k and never had it lug once. Got the TC replaced and suddenly had the lugging (really bad actually). Maybe the newer/updated calibration is more aggressive? Also developed the slip shifting after the TC replacement. Had an independent transmission shop verify fluid level and they said it was fine (it's damn tricky to check on these sealed units).
 
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