Clinking sound from front end, car won't drive

My fiancee has a 1995 Toyota Camry that she uses as her work vehicle and yesterday the car started making a clinking noise from the front that I thought was a broken CV but after going to 2 mechanics we were told it was something with the transmission but neither mechanic did trannys so they wouldn’t go any farther into it. When put into gear it there was a loud clinking sound that sounded like it was coming from the front driver side wheel and the car wouldn’t move. Before spending the money and bringing it to the only transmission specialist in town I figured I would try here first because I have learned specialist usually means more money, especially when your the only specialist in town. Is there any common issues with transmissions that would cause a clinking or metal on metal sound?

“…the car wouldn’t move.”

Do you mean like the brakes were on, or the transmission is in neutral? Also, “grinding” and “clinking” are very different. Which is it?

Sorry I meant to change the title earlier but now it’s done. The car acted like it was in neutral when it was in drive. The transmission was definitely spinning but the car wouldn’t move under it’s own power. When I saw the car it was no longer moving and it was making a metal on metal clinking like a ting, ting, ting that got faster as you pushed the gas.

Sounds as if the tranny is toast, but getting a pro to look at it would be worth your time.

How many miles on the car? It’s 20 years old and probably not worth fixing…

+1 to Caddyman’s comment.
Fixing what is almost surely a major transmission problem would cost much more than the book value of the car. That would not be sound economics, at least in my estimation.

That’s the sound a broken planetary gear set makes. The transmission has to be taken apart, rebuilt and gear set replaced.

Or the tranny could be replaced with a boneyard tranny…
But first, you need a specialist. Yup, they cost more money. But of the rest of the car is in good shape, it’s still usually a lot cheaper than buying a new one.

The car has 68k miles but it was a 1 owner car from an old lady who took great care of it. We only had it for 6 months so maybe I will see if I can sell it for parts. The rest of the car was in great shape but I think it’s time to move on. This was my first time ever on this site so thank you to everyone for all the help. It’s nice to find a place like this and have so many people take the time to help out a total stranger.

You’re welcome. All my best friends were total strangers once. {:slight_smile:

What about the possibility of stripped splines in the wheel hub? That can cause a clinking sound and the car will not move one inch in that condition.

This problem is often caused by someone in the past not tightening a halfshaft nut enough when an axle was replaced, brake rotor/hub removed, suspension work done which necessitated the removal of the hub, etc.

I’ve also personally seen this condition a few times and had to resolve it when someone made the not tight enough halfshaft nut mistake.
At least a hub is much cheaper than a transmission… :smile:

Jack it up, spin the wheel by hand, and note if the halfshaft also spins. Hold the halfshaft by hand if need be as there can be enough friction there to rotate it even with the splines peeled out of it.

Good idea. It does sound like it’s coming from the wheel, that’s why I originally thought it was a cv problem. I will look into that

Well I think we settled on getting a used transmission for $150 for our local U Pull It yard and it’s going to be $500 to install it and replace the broken CV shafts. My fiancee puts a lot of stop and go miles on her car daily so I think for what we have to put into it I would rather fix it then risk $2000 on a car we know nothing about.

most yards sell trans with extra warranty for labor if trans is bad. the fee is usually pretty low. the u pull it yards usually sell the trans as-is. you pay a little more for shelf stocked trans but they have a 30 day exchange. that is part only. the labor ins is extra. sort of a crapshoot on a used trans. my local u pull it has trans for 99 with exchange or 49 with no exchange.

There is one issue I have with the pull a part yards. I’m not bashing them as I’ve used one here on many occasions but will just point something out which may or may not be relevant to the one you’re going to use.

Almost every car in the pull a part yard here (2000 of them) are not wrecks nor have they burned to the ground. This means they’ve been hauled off from someone’s property because:

  1. The engine is bad.
  2. The transmission is bad.
  3. Both of the above.
  4. The engine/trans is good but car had problems and someone got tired of throwing parts at it.

I’ve bought engine and transmission parts but never a complete unit as I feel that the odds of 1 through 3 are too high and number 4 is not high enough.
It’s risky enough getting a unit from a wreck that was moving under its own power when it got creamed.

The boneyards in my area seem to be populated by aging vehicles that were in accidents wherein the cost of repair exceeded the insurance’s “cutoff” amount for considering them “totaled”. Typically in my area they get purged of environmentally hazardous fluids (required by the EPA) and the engines & trannies get pulled and inventoried in a warehouse. In one boneyard in my area “clips” are removed and inventoried in a warehouse as well. Wheels, tires, doors, fenders, quarterpanels, and misc. normally-sought parts are also warehoused if they’re undamaged. The rest is crushed and sent for recycling.

There’s always risk, but if the boneyard offers a warranty (I think the one where I am offers a 30 day refund) and if one has the abilities and facilities to install the engine or tranny, it can be a low risk alternative.

Why are you getting a transmission if you have broken CV shafts?

Do we know that yet?

I agree with oldtimer 11 and the OP said 500 bucks to replace the transmission and the broken CV shafts. If there’s even one broken shaft the car will not move so why not replace both shafts and skip the transmission.
It could be that there is nothing at all wrong with the transmission.

Stay with your tranny and replace the half shafts. This will fix your problem and not give you unwanted problems.