'04 Camry wierd shift

Our '04 Camry V6 was bought new and has 223K miles on it. Has been extremely reliable ( well maintained). From the day I bought it it has to “think about” what to do if I need to accelerate suddenly from stopped. I’ve always assumed that it is a computer control problem and not an actual transmission problem. Recently it has an occasional problem deciding what gear to be in on a 2/3 (or possibly 3/2 shift) which I can not replicate by trying. I think what is happening is that on encountering a (slight) grade at low speeds the computer is telling the trans to upshift due to speed ( 20+ ish) at the same time it encounters a grade calling for it to downshift, resulting in a mild clunk. Transmission is due for regular servicing but since I can’t replicate it I’m not sure that a trans shop can diagnose it. Anybody else have this sort of problem? ( My neighbor’s '03 is apparently doing something similar.)
( This car is way better than our '15 Camry and my wife prefers to drive this one.)

When was the last time your transmission oil was replaced?

32K, As I said it is due now.

I have always had the trans serviced by a dealer or independent mechanic and my recollection is that I have been charged about $100 each time. This time I did it myself. A little research on Toyota sights suggests that Toyota simply recommends “draining the oil and refilling”. Removing the pan is a pain as the LF tire has to come off and the trans has to be lifted off the trans mount in order to access the pan bolts. A mechanic cannot do that for $100. My guess is that I am the first to remove the pan since new especially after inspecting the gasket. Just completed 800 mile round trip to Eastern Washington with no problems. This sure doesn’t bode well for the “sealed trans” with no dipstick on my 15 Camry. That must have saved Toyota at least 49 cents. This is not a fun job but I will continue to do it myself in the future.

I had a ES350 that is a similar car to yours. It also seemed confused as to when to shift in certain situations. I know there is a TSB from Toyota for the issue, if your car is dealer maintained you might want to check if they have ever reflashed the transmission in your car with the updated software.

Thanks much, dealer is more than 50 miles away so haven’t used them much in years. They no longer show the car in their records, only the newer one. Will try to see if they will do anything.

Here’s another idea to consider. Ray used to talk on the show about something called TCS, “Toyota Camry Syndrome”. Some sort of engine performance problem, valve sticking or not sealing. Not sure if that would apply to a 2004 V6 though. A problematic engine can sometimes confuse the transmission and make it seem like there’s transmission problem, when in fact the problem is the engine.

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