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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

Haven't been here for a while. My car was ok sofar, thank God!

But, recently, it developed some slight clunk felt in the gas pedal and less in steering wheel when hit the gas pedal after release it and coast a couple second. It feels like something re-engages. It quite annoying and worrisome. It happens almost every time, more or less. But, if I keep my foot on the pedal, it rolls smoothly.

I was guessing around and checking around. I changed the spark plug, checked and cleaned the throttle, checked its cable. Which doesn't help. I jacked up the car to look at the CV joint and it looked fine. I wiggled the wheel, no play. I roll it back and forth and hear some metal sound in the joint. It was the same on both fronts.

My question is whether this is normal or something wrong with the CV joint, axles or tranny.

I don't know if this is relevant but the previous owner had drived with spare tire on left front which is out of balance for a couple months before selling. Car shaked at high speed when I first took it. It fixed with new tired and all wheel balanced.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, it doesn't happen during a turn. I have 2 sharp turns on the way home in the neighborhood and I haven't felt similar clunk.

How can we diagnose those two possible causes? I can only check the passenger side motor mount, and it looks fine, some small crackson the rubber but still intact.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also, I check the ATF, it is light brown, not red, but still clear and not low. I don't know the transmission service history, so I decide to avoid flushing it as many warnings about problems after flushing old tranny. Don't know if it is kind of a cause.
 

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Transmission fluid should be red in color not brown; check when hot and smell it; if it has a burnt smell that is indicative of internal problems; U- joints in the drive shafts (if you have them will also cause a clunk sound).

I would drop the pan on the transmission and flush it/change fluid and filter also check for particles in fluid.

As to flushing an old transmission I have never heard of such stuff; flush, change it or re-build it.
 

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asyriuscamry
1996 Toyota Camry LE
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Checking your ATF is definitely a good idea. Changing it after going so far over the recommended intervals however has yielded different results among us. For me and plenty of others it was negative. I changed the fluid for the first time in a 96 Camry 5S-FE auto at 221,000. I started having issues with the shift solenoids less than a week later and as a result I was unable to use OD or Reverse and it failed completely after another 10k miles. Some people do it and have no trouble however enough people have had issues with it that I'd be wary of that course of action. If I had to do it over again I would have just left it alone and saved up enough money over the years for a good replacement tranny. BTW another little check for your tranny is to see how long it takes to engage after moving the selector to any gear range. I think its supposed to be like 1-2 seconds? Google it, pretty sure thats close. I'd go from Park to Reverse, count, reverse to D, Count, etc etc.

It may not be your tranny at all but rather a torque converter. I've never had one go out on me before but I've heard (and read) that when they (the torque converters) have issues they can sometimes let the car act like that because its letting it "free wheel". At least thats what I remember. Of course Look for the most obvious solutions first.

Let us know what ya find, good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
That's exactly what I'm worrying. I don't wanna give such a trial, especially when I'm 2000 miles from home, and a long awaits.

I have tried what you suggest, the gears engage almost instantly when I move the selector, P D 2 L, though there are more or less jerks when it engages. I guess it is normal for those jerks.

However, I jacked up the car and get under it once more. This time I tried to move the CV shaft with both my hands and found the drive side one had more free play than the right, it was minimal on the right. On the left, I can move the shaft on side-to-side direction about 5mm or so, not much in other directions. I didn't see any tear or disruption of the boots or sign of grease around them. Some oil on the inner boot, but I guess from the valve cover leak above.

For such a problem, do you think it can be re-torque or some fix or it must be replaced? And how much is the usual cost for each options? I ask because, as said, I'm 2000 miles away from home, with minimal tools and no known mechanics. I'll be home in a month, of course, after a 2000 mile trip. I wonder if the car can hold on until then, where I can think of an DIY CV half shaft replacement or bring the car to my trusting mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
To provide more information about the issue: on my drive this afternoon, I tried turning off O/D mode and found that it was minimal to no clunk when I accelerated from coasting, but it was a little jerk when I released the gas pedal (!) Is there any relation to the O/D mode?
 

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asyriuscamry
1996 Toyota Camry LE
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I forgot to ask you something. Does this correspond at all with bumps? Strut mounts can make one heck of a racket if they go bad. I know you said on acceleration and deceleration but just thought I'd throw that in there, definitely check it out on a nice smooth road vs a bumpy one.

When you have it in the air there is a whole list of things you can check by pulling and pushing on stuff but I don't suggest it unless you have a jack stand. I found a list once of someone who went through pretty much the general "what to check out when..." guidelines, I'll try and get it to you. May I ask how loud this noise is? Any video or audio is helpful, obviously. Yeah those CV joints are usually able to move in and out a bit, not sure how much but it shouldn't clunk. It should either click with the outer going bad or do other weird stuff like vibrate at highway speeds if its the inner (from what I've heard).

Might wanna make sure its not like an exhaust hanger come lose and letting it sway too much or a heat shield that broken or come lose. I say check for anything thats lose (after the car is cooled down).

One more question sir, is it a dull clunk or would you describe it as more of a bright or metallic clank?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I forgot to ask you something. Does this correspond at all with bumps? Strut mounts can make one heck of a racket if they go bad. I know you said on acceleration and deceleration but just thought I'd throw that in there, definitely check it out on a nice smooth road vs a bumpy one.

When you have it in the air there is a whole list of things you can check by pulling and pushing on stuff but I don't suggest it unless you have a jack stand. I found a list once of someone who went through pretty much the general "what to check out when..." guidelines, I'll try and get it to you. May I ask how loud this noise is? Any video or audio is helpful, obviously. Yeah those CV joints are usually able to move in and out a bit, not sure how much but it shouldn't clunk. It should either click with the outer going bad or do other weird stuff like vibrate at highway speeds if its the inner (from what I've heard).

Might wanna make sure its not like an exhaust hanger come lose and letting it sway too much or a heat shield that broken or come lose. I say check for anything thats lose (after the car is cooled down).

One more question sir, is it a dull clunk or would you describe it as more of a bright or metallic clank?
No, it doesn't correlate with bumps. Suspension is fine, I think. I do the bouncing check and also make some sharp turns, some hard brake, it responses quite well, good control.

With your reminder, I think my issue is more like a click or clack, as I felt it in the pedal and steering wheel more than I hear it. The sounds, if any, are masked in the street noise and engine sounds.

I used to have vibration at high speed (60-70) but if was fixed after wheels balanced.

I don't have jack stand now, just a jack in the trunk, but I'll try to have a video of how the axle move when I push and pull.
 

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You mentioned you feel it in the pedals; sounds like it's in the front suspension (possibly).

Try this:

Jack up the front wheels one at a time enough so that the tire is off the ground about 2-3 inches and grab the top and bottom of the tire with your hands and attempt to move it in and out. If it moves a significant amount your wheel bearing is bad.

Also grab it at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions and try the same thing; there should hardly be any movement at all; if there is could also be ball joints; steering stabilizer, or steering rack, check it all, no torn boots, leaking grease etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have checked all. Only the driver side half shaft has some movement. Other things are all tight. There's just oil leak and some brake fluid overflow after the brake done. No sign of grease.

I can't include the video that show the movement of the axle shaft. I can't attach it with the phone. I'll find way to transfer it to the laptop.

Do you think that this symptom may be caused by a throttle position sensor out of adjustment or went bad?! I notice that the the rmp gauge change dramatically when I release or hit the gas pedal.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have changed the TPS with no help. A little better acceleration but still some jerk.

I guess that I have to bite the bullet and replace the CV axle. Hope it does not cost much!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
UPDATE:

I decided to bite the bullet and brought it to Pepboys. There, I was told that the CV axles may have some movements, and as long as the joints and boots are ok, there is no need to replace them. They suggest the problem may be due to the transmission. Being determined, I headed to Mr.Transmission, where Free inspection and quote offered. They inspect and drain the fluid. It was bad, dark brown and burn smell, but I found no sludge or flickering of metal. They suggest transmission rebuild or replace a rebuilt/used one, with quote from $1500 - $2000. I refused, had ATF refilled, and went home.

And, luckily, I found the jerk when accelerating improved by half and sometimes I can't feel at all!!!!

That's exactly the transmission issue, and may be the ATF issue. The new ATF may dilute the old dirty oil a little. I'll have it seat for a couple weeks and drain&fill again to see if it fix the jerky acceleration.

Thanks all for helping me through!

And hope this information help other Avy owners. It's a good car though.
 

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The last 3 times I had diagnosed an off or on the gas pedal clunk were all related to worn steering tie rods, either the outer (once) or the inner (last two times).
 

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I too have heard lots of stories of problems after flushing or just changing long overdue ATF. Enough to be hesitant about doing it.

Only recently I heard a workaround that will probably try if I ever need to.

Drain and replace just one quart at a time. I think I would try this at each oil change. The source suggested every week or every month, with no indication of miles driven.
:unsure:
 

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Hi guys,

Haven't been here for a while. My car was ok sofar, thank God!

But, recently, it developed some slight clunk felt in the gas pedal and less in steering wheel when hit the gas pedal after release it and coast a couple second. It feels like something re-engages. It quite annoying and worrisome. It happens almost every time, more or less. But, if I keep my foot on the pedal, it rolls smoothly.

I was guessing around and checking around. I changed the spark plug, checked and cleaned the throttle, checked its cable. Which doesn't help. I jacked up the car to look at the CV joint and it looked fine. I wiggled the wheel, no play. I roll it back and forth and hear some metal sound in the joint. It was the same on both fronts.

My question is whether this is normal or something wrong with the CV joint, axles or tranny.

I don't know if this is relevant but the previous owner had drived with spare tire on left front which is out of balance for a couple months before selling. Car shaked at high speed when I first took it. It fixed with new tired and all wheel balanced.

Thanks.
This happens in both camries that I've owned, a 93 and a 2004. It is super annoying. How did the drain and fill of atf hold up? Is it still fixed?
 
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