Potential Tramsmission Problems?

It happened only twice. First was 2 months ago and then again last week. When I shifted into reverse, transmission was disengaged for a few seconds then it kicked and banged a few times before going into reverse. 2002 Camry 4 cyl. 160K miles, trans fluid has been changed by transfusion 3 times and it’s red and clean. Forward gears are shifting perfectly. Is this a major concern?

Sounds like your transmission needs adjustment. Take it to an in dependent transmission shop, not a chain, and have it evaluated. If you had the transmission “flush” done by an oil change or muffler shop, you may have initiated some internal plugging problems. Even though the fluid is clean, the flush could have plugged upo some oil passages preveting smooth shifting.

A good transmission shop may want to do a proper FLUID and FILTER change in order to guarantee their work.

In the future, I would stay away from transmission "transfusion "shops.

IMHO what you describe is an internal hydraulic problem. To get reverse the 3rd gear clutch has to come on; the 1st/reverse clutch has to come on; and the overdrive lockout clutch has to engage. Since you do not have any problems with 3rd gear that clutch and its hydraulic piston and seals is probably okey. The 1st/reverse clutch is only used in manual 1st gear and reverse. The overdrive lockout clutch is only used in manual 3rd, 2nd, 1st, and reverse. If the piston seals in the pistons that activate these clutches are leaking until the flow causes them to seal you will get the kicking and banging you describe. The only valves that are operating during reverse engagement are the manual valve, the pressure regulator valve, some shuttle valves, and maybe some ball valves so it is unlikely to be a valve body problem.

To better diagnosis this problem have the line pressure checked in reverse. Hopefully the problem will surface during the test. Otherwise, you might just drive it until the problem gets worse and more predictable; then have it diagnosed; and decide if you want to have the transmission openned up. If the line pressure is low during these events, it is possible that 3rd clutch is slipping until reverse gets a solid engagement which could hurt your 3rd gear forward engagement so look for slipping in the 3rd gear shift.

Let us know what you discover and how you proceed.

Thanks guys! Sounds like an expensive repair so I’ll just wait till it happens more often before I bring it in for repair. But any time when you are dealing with an internal transmission problems don’t the shops usually suggest that replacing with a rebuilt instead of repairing it the old fashion way as the most cost effective way? Or is it because it’s the most profitable way for them?


Can a proper fluid & filter change un-plug the oil passages?


Although I am not a transmission expert, once the oil pan is off, the shop will find a way to unplug whatever is plugged. I mentioned the fluid and filter change since this is most likely the minimum they will do and charge you for.

Most posters have their fluid and filter changed at regular intervals, such as 40,000 miles, at which time any adjustments are normally made free of charge. Maybe this is all you need.

Since buying my first automatic transmission car in 1965, I’ve only spent $185 in actual transmission repairs, and that was on a 1971 Mercury Comet with a C-4 transmission, which had slipping bands.

Good luck!