One more question - if the bearing is making noise, which it has been doing since July or so, how long can I expect it to hold out before it seizes up or something? Thanks much.
Which bearing? A wheel bearing? Or a transmission bearing?
Nobody can answer that.
This shouldn’t be a separate thread.
@circuitsmith Why not? The other one isn’t being read anymore…
susanrm — "if the bearing is making noise, which it has been doing since July or so, how long can I expect it to hold out before it seizes up or something?"Since July? I'd say you're riding on borrowed time.
If it’s any consolation, the bearing probably won’t freeze while you are driving. The bearing usually freezes after you stop, when the bearing roller pins weld themselves to the race or shaft. (The welding may have already occurred, and the loud screech you hear comes from sliding, not rolling friction. But driving since July is a long time driving in that condition.)
You’ll have to get it fixed sooner or later; why add a towing charge to the cost?
Since this is an apparent bearing noise instead of chipped gears let me ask a question or two. (Chipped gears can still be a possibility.)
Does this noise disappear or greatly subside while the vehicle is not moving, the transmission is in gear, and the clutch pedal is depressed?
Does depressing the clutch pedal change the pitch of the noise at all?
Has anyone checked the transmission oil level? (Faulty bearings are generally caused by a low fluid level in the transmission.)
What I’m trying to determine here is whether you have a transmission bearing problem or whether it’s a throwout bearing (part of the clutch) fault or a pilot bearing issue. (Pilot bearing is in the flywheel or crankshaft and supports the transmission mainshaft.)
I still think you’re off base by blaming Toyota for this and I also think you’ve been fed a line by some of those people you’ve been dealing with.
Consumer Reports was referenced as a source that Matrix transmissions are lemons. I disagree simply because of CR’s methodogy, which is very skimpy at best and CR does absolutely zero investigative work about whether a complaint is justified or not.
CR says the transmissions are lemons. That goes at odds with MSN Autos survey.
If the input or input/output pilot bearing is failing the transmission will begin to jump out of gear. 3d gear would likely be the first to go.
ok4450 — "CR says the transmissions are lemons. That goes at odds with MSN Autos survey."The Consumer Reports auto survey in 2011 was based on 1.3 million readers responses from their customer base of 7 million subscribers. They do not report data on any car, model, or year unless they have at least 100 responses. Their standard for statistical significance is p<.01. In other words, the probability that differences in repair rates reported as meaningful were simply a function of chance is only 1 out of 100. To compare CR's analysis of auto reliability with some MSN Auto survey (whatever that is) is laughable.
CR doesn’t say that the transmissions for a particular make for a particular year are lemons. CR has transmission problems as a category on the survey and from these surveys notes if a particular make for a particular year has had more frequent transmission problems than other makes for that year. CR doesn’t say what the problem in the transmission might be (e.g. bearings, gears, etc.) In fact, what CR notes is probably for automatic transmissions.
There are droves of complaints about the C59 transmission in the 2003-2005 Corolla/Matrix on the web. Just Google it.
I think the problem is exacerbated in the Vibe/Matrix because it’s a little heavier than the Corolla.
The oil from my 2006 Matrix looked much worse at 21k miles than the oil ever did in my Accords ('81 and '88) ever did at 30k.
I’m hoping it will look better at 40k so I can let it go a longer interval.
CR’s data is probably the most accurate data you can find…HOWEVER…their data is NOT that accurate. If it were then there wouldn’t be any where near the amount of errors…Every year you can find two identical vehicles but with different badges (I.E. Dodge and Plymouth)…one with have a CR rating of good…and the other will have a CR rating of bad (or not as good)…If their data was accurate…then statistically that’s pretty much impossible. But because their sample rate is so low…they are going to have errors.
Mike–I noted the same thing about identical vehicles with different repair records back in the mid 1970s. I owned a 1971 Maverick and it had a worse repair record than a 1971 Mercury Comet which was just a rebadged Maverick. I wrote to CR about the discrepancy and the answer I received was “that is the way the data came out”. I finally found the reason in a Popular Mechanics survey of owners of Ford and the equivalent Mercuy model. The average age of the Mercury owners was 7 years greater than that of the Ford owners. I fournd the same true of Dodge/Plymouth twins. I surmised that the older drivers probably drove more conservatively and may have had more money to keep up the maintenance on their cars.
@ok4450: "Does this noise disappear or greatly subside while the vehicle is not moving, the transmission is in gear, and the clutch pedal is depressed?"
No. The noise is not PRESENT when the car is not moving, period. When the mechanics put the front end up on a jack and one went through the gears while gassing it and the other watched what was going on, they saw that the clutch was fine, but the problem was in the transmission.
"Does depressing the clutch pedal change the pitch of the noise at all?"
Not the pitch. It makes it go away (as in, disengaging the transmission stops the noise). This is most evident at highway speeds, when the noise is loudest. Again, the diagnosis of anything to do with the clutch has been eliminated. Of course, if I do get transmission work done, I will have it replaced to save the labor preventatively.
"Has anyone checked the transmission oil level?"
Yes. That’s the first thing the shop checked at the inspection. The level was full. I have always been meticulous about maintaining the car at all of its required maintenance times, both oil changes and mileage-level inspections (15K & multiples, etc.).
Regardless of what CR, MSN, or anyone else says, I have been told by two separate shops that the reason the used 5-speeds are so high is that working ones are so rare/in demand. That alone speaks volumes.
The shop that comes highly recommended in this area can’t see my car until mid-next week. Fortunately, I have a rental car until next Tuesday morning due to a work situation.
@Mechaniker - I did try to get it diagnosed right when it started, but I encountered a stupid mechanic who threw the whole process off by insisting it was a wheel bearing, and that his 35 years of experience said so. Since when does wheel bearing noise change when you are going the same speed but disengage the transmission?? The shop put it up on the lift and confirmed that it was indeed NOT anything to do with the wheels. And no other mechanic rode with me in the car. Everyone just assumed the engine just got noisier, until last week.
I hope you’re right about the tranny not freezing up while driving. I read some reports on Edmunds of it doing just that. But like I said, I plan on bringing the car in next week, which is the soonest I can do it at the best transmission shop in the area. And fortunately I just renewed my roadside assistance, so if it does have to be towed, it won’t cost a fortune.
Fascinating reading on the NHTSA site. A number of people have written in on there about the transmission problem. This one was interesting in particular:
WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE HIGHWAY ONE EVENING, AN ODD CLICKING SOUND WAS HEARD FROM THE FRONT END OF OUR 2003 TOYOTA MATRIX (MANUAL TRANSMISSION WITH 88,000 MILES). THE SOUND WAS LOUDER WITH ACCELERATION. AFTER GETTING OFF THE HIGHWAY, THE SOUND WAS NOTED TO BE LOUDER IN HIGHER GEARS, AND ABSENT WHEN THE CLUTCH WAS PRESSED DOWN. THE VEHICLE WAS BROUGHT IN FOR SERVICE AT OUR LOCAL TOYOTA DEALER THE NEXT MORNING. AFTER PAYING A $95 DIAGNOSTIC FEE, WE WERE TOLD THE VEHICLE NEEDED A NEW TRANSMISSION AT THE ESTIMATED COST OF $3300, WITH NOTHING BEING COVERED BY ANY WARRANTY OR RECALL. WE BROUGHT THE CAR TO A TRANSMISSION SPECIALIST FOR A REBUILD. THE BEARINGS, RINGS, AND TWO TRANSFER GEARS WERE REPLACED, ALONG WITH THE CLUTCH, AT A COST OF $2100. IT IS NOTED THAT THE MECHANIC HAD A DELAY IN GETTING THE PARTS DUE TO A MANUFACTURER BACK ORDER, REPORTEDLY FROM A HIGH DEMAND DUE TO MANY OTHERS WITH THE SAME PROBLEM WITH THIS MAKE/MODEL CAR! THIS IS OUR FIRST TOYOTA, WHICH WE BOUGHT DUE TO THEIR GOOD REPUTATION. IT HAS BEEN REGULARLY MAINTAINED AND SUBJECTED TO ONLY NORMAL DRIVING CONDITIONS. WE HAVE NEVER HAD A VEHICLE WITH TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS AND ARE SHOCKED THAT THIS EXPENSIVE REPAIR WAS NEEDED ON SUCH A YOUNG CAR. TOYOTA SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR COVERING THE COST OF WHAT APPEARS TO BE WIDESPREAD TRANSMISSION FAILURE DUE TO DEFECTIVE/INFERIOR PARTS USED ON THIS VEHICLE!
And others wrote about transmission experts saying Toyota put defective bearings in these transmissions but refused to take responsibility. Yikes!
After going over the details about the problem I concur; it sounds like a faulty mainshaft bearing. You can contact Toyota’s regional office and ask if they would perform a Good Will warranty for you (and not being a gambling man at all) I’d safely wager they will refuse based on the vehicle age and possibly the maintenance history.
Stuff happens to tweak a phrase and at some point Toyota (and any other car maker) has to stop the freebies. If not, there would be no end to the requests for freebies and Toyota would be belly-up.
Getting a nagging feeling about this, I pulled up the maintenance schedule for your vehicle and it states the oil in the Matrix manual transmission is to be changed at 30k miles/24 month intervals. Should I ask if this was ever done? My random guess is that it’s never been changed and If not this is a huge strike against any GW warranty possibility.
As to CR statistics they’re still not trustworthy simply because there are too many uknowns and CR investigates nothing. They get 1.3 million responses, not 1.3 million complaints. That 1.3 includes good, bad, and indifferent. It’s the equivalent of polling a 100 people on the streets of New York CIty on an issue and considering those results to be accurate.
CR does not take into account whether a complaint is even justified, the type of person or driver of that vehicle. along with a few other personality traits. One of those traits is someone who is perfectly happy with their car and reads a CR report that the steering is iffy for example. All of a sudden, this thought is planted and they start feeling that the steering in their vehicle has gone to hxxx in a handbasket.
As a matter of fact, some of the most misguided and illogical car owners I’ve dealt with were not backwoods hicks; they were well educated and simply refuse to believe that any problem was not the fault of the car. (One was an MD who bought a new Subaru from us and picked up a load of bad gas on vacation a week later. This led to a tow and an expensive repair. All verified with a gas sample that he brought back and expected us to pay for.)
One of the worst classes I’ve dealt with? Officers from the local Air Force base, including one instructor pilot captain who ran his recently purchased Porsche out of gas not once, not twice, but three times in a week and half and blamed both us and the car for this problem. I sarcastically asked him if he ever checked the fuel gauges on the T-38 Talon he was flying before he took off…
ok4450 — "CR says the transmissions are lemons. That goes at odds with MSN Autos survey."
ok4450 — "CR does not take into account whether a complaint is even justified, the type of person or driver of that vehicle. along with a few other personality traits."And your MSN Autos survey, whatever that is, which you dragged out to "prove" your argument, does take these things into account? Baloney. When it comes to believing you or CR, that's a no-brainer.
I don’t think the OP gives you much credence. Neither do I.
I don’t put much, if any, faith into MSN Auto surveys either. Those are just as flawed and the only reason I mentiond it is to present it as MSN oil to CR water. Note the MSN Auto refers to the Maxtrix as being prone to engine problems and the reasons for that bogus statement; O2 sensor problems and evaporative emission problems.
Like CR, MSN is taking a complaint at face value with no hint at all of determining the real story behind a complaint. Not one second is spent by any of them to find out if any complaint is legitimate or not.
Like CR and MSN Auto, I don’t put any faith in Consumer Guide reports either with much of that being subjecive opinion and non-investigative in nature.
So I’ll bring this up again Mechaniker. Toyota Motor Company says the oil in the manual transmission should be changed every 30k miles/24 months.
Was this service performed?
Yes, it was. As I said, I had EVERY required maintenance performed at the specified intervals.
@ok4450, you seem determined to paint me as an incompetent person who doesn’t know how to care for a car. On the contrary, I was attending car shows as a child, learned how a combustion engine works when I was seven, have a dad who was a professional driver and taught me to drive, and am the “go-to” person among my friends for diagnosing car ills. I have listened to Car Talk for 15 years and have yet to be wrong about a car problem with my car, the one exception being when I go to a trusted mechanic who misleads me (like they did with this transmission problem, when I suspected transmission problems in the first place).
I have been caring for this car with the intention of having it last me for 20 years or more. This includes regular car washes, along with all the required internal maintenance. My upstairs neighbor thought my 9-year-old car was brand new, until I disillusioned him.
I’m also a techie who fixes her own LG combo washer/dryer (one unit), a job not for the faint of heart. When I bought this one, the main bearing failed almost right away. And yes, I changed it myself. Which was a REAL PITA!! But I did it. I do lots of other DIY/technical stuff too. Not that I have to prove myself to you, but your attitude was starting to annoy me.