CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Overdrive rpm's in '93 toyota camry

my camry was reading 3000 (^) rpm’s @ 65-70 mph on flat freeway. was told transmission was slipping and had rebuilt transmission installed. problem remained. i think rpm reading should be 1800-2000! am i right or wrong? do i have a problem or not? no one i talk to seems to know including mechanics and dealers. help if you can! thanx, frenchman

Is this a 4 or 6 cylinder?

How long have you owned it? Is this a new thing, or has it always been this way, or you don’t know?

If you have a 4 cylinder & all 4 gears plus “overdrive” (torque converter lockup) you should likely be in the neighborhood of 2500rpm +/- a bit at about 65mph, and up to 3000+/- a bit by 75mph. That’s rough since transmissions are geared differently.

Add 2-400rpm to each figure if your torque converter isn’t locking up.

cigroller, thx for the reply. my bad as it is a 6 cyl and this is a new development with tach rpm’s.

Well, all cars are different but at 65-70 mph in your highest gear should be no more than 2200 rpm. Yes, you have a problem. Is this car a 5-speed manual or an automatic w/overdrive??

elly, thx for reply.it’s an automatic w/ overdrive, 6 cylinder.

Given that it is a 6cyl & this is a new condition I’m going to guess that you’ve lost 4th gear & torque converter lockup with it. The next time you get out on the road try to count the gears according to the number of shifts and find out if you’re only getting as high as third gear.

Also check the trans fluid for color & odor - if it looks dark & smells burned this would be a good clue that it is slipping.

Either way, I’d guess that you probably do need a rebuild.

As I remember OD in a Camary is 2k RPM @ 60 mph – 3k in 3rd @ 60mph.

As Cigroller recommended see if the transmission is actually going into 4th gear. You can check by taking OD off with the shifter button. If the RPM jumps 1K, you know you were in OD and the problem is elsewhere.

If the transmission is not going into OD even though the button is in the enabled position, the problem may be that the ECM does not know the engine is warmed up. The ECM will not command OD unless it knows the engine has warmed up fully. So check the thermostat to make sure the engine is getting to correct operating temperature and check or replace the Coolant Temperature Sensor as that sensor’s input is used to tell the ECM the temperature of the engine.

Hope that helps. Get back to us about whether the transmission is actually going into OD.

I also have a 92 v6 auto camry that revs at 3200 rpm at 75 mph. It shifts through 4 gears and then locks up. When it locks up it drops about 200rpm. The fluid is burnt. Is the trans slipping? Is there a test that would reveal the slipping? Is there a table printed anywhere that would show what speed in what gear at what rpm? David

The ‘fluid is burnt’ is indicative of enough slippage having occurred to overheat the transmission oil. One test you can do is to watch the rpm as you hold a steady speed on an increasing grade at freeway speed. As you tip in the throttle to hold speed without the torque converter clutch unlocking, the rpm should not climb. If it does climb any of the clutchs involved could be slipping i.e. TC clutch, overdrive clutch, forward clutch, or/and direct clutch.

A stall test in drive would check the forward clutch and the low roller clutch. A stall test in reverse would check the direct clutch, the reverse band, and the overdrive backup clutch. A line pressure check would view the integrity of the pump and the condition of the piston seals and seal rings as the transmission goes through its gears. Dropping the pan and checking the debris would indicate what might be happening internally. With the pan drop, a new filter, a pan clean up, and new gasket might give you a little more life out of this transmission.

Let us know what you learn and do.

First, let me say how impressed I am with the detailed and swift answer. I have been reading up on the stall test, and I am wondering if I should change all the fluid first. I am leary of this because the last time I had it done, not long after, I was replacing the trans in my 90 Cressida(slipping, no shift). I was talking to the manager at a repair shop who said that old fluid is heavily acidic and new is more base on the ph scale. He said new fluid “shocks” old seals and stuff, and they end up falling apart. He said he adds some sort of buffer to ease the transition in ph.
My question is what is your opinion on changing out the burnt fluid? The car has 312,000 miles on it. Also some posts mention a torque converter stall test and a transmission stall test. What is the difference.
By the way, I found these specs for stall tests:http://meisners.net/camry/Links/Motor%20Age%20Magazine%20Toyota%20Camry%20--%20Electronics.htm
STALL SPEED SPECIFICATIONS
A140E:2450 -+ 150 RPM (4 cyl)
A540E:2400 -+ 150 RPM (92-93 v6)
A541E:2600 -+ 150 RPM (94-? v6)

The stall test checks for the appropriate operation of the torque converter and to highlight any slippage in the transmission clutches involved. Remember to only hold the throttle down against the service brake only long enough for the rpm to stabilize and to be read. Remember that the dash tachometer may not accurate. A better instrument would be an external tachometer or scan tool with freeze frame data. Let the transmission cool with the engine running for a few minutes between attempts. A full throttle stall pours a lot of heat into the TC oil. A stall test will not check the TC clutch because that only engages at cruising speeds.

I remembered that this transmission has a Throttle Valve cable. Now this cable modulates the line pressure according to the throttle setting. It doesn’t set the shift points as they are commanded by the Power Control Module. So you might check the adjustment of the TV cable as you will get slippage if the line pressure is not up to specification. This is another reason to do a line pressure check.

The main reason to drop the pan is to eyeball the debris. You want to see if you have massive amounts of friction debris; if there is metal chips and flakes on the bottom; and if there is a pile of fuzz on the magnets. IMHO if the seals and seal rings are in trouble, new fluid is not going to make much difference no matter what the Ph is. I would not do a power flush as you might spread settled debris into the valve body. At least if you decide to do a power flush, clean the pan, change the filter, and reinstall the pan with a new gasket before the flush.

With the mileage on this Camary you might be ahead to install a used low mileage transmission. BTW is there any whine from the final drive at this point?

Still curious.