Toyota Corolla Driveshafts

Has anyone ever heard of the driveshafts separating from the transmission on a Toyota with just over 26,000 miles? It happened to me today. Should the dealer replace the transmission to ensure I won’t have drivetrain problems in the future?

The driveshafts are retained in the transmission by some mechanical means, usually clips or snap-rings. Perhaps yours were forgotten during assembly. It’s not a transmission problem…

The only thing that worries me is the dealer said the transmission lost a lot of fluid.

Are you saying both halfshafts came out of the transmission?

Did you buy this car new or have you had any suspension work done on it?

Halfshafts usually snap into place with a circlip and it’s difficult for me to see two of them coming apart.

If even one halfshaft came out and you lost fluid then you’re not moving anywhere. The car will stop right then and there and at this point I assume you shut the engine off.

It would have lost a lot of fluid and it would eat up the seals where the axle goes into the transmission, but the transmission should be ok as long as the dealer puts everything back right and replenishes the transmission fluid. That last part may be a sticking point with the dealer, some Toyota transmissions, 5 speed automatics I think, do not fill in the traditional manner. It takes a special machine that the dealer might not have yet.

Somehow, I think there is more to this story. The half-shafts just didn’t “pull out of the transmission” after 25,000 miles.

OP, please tell us EXACTLY how this happened. Was it on the third roll-over when the shafts came out or what??

I don’t know to what extent the driveshafts came out of the transmission, because I haven’t gotten the car back from the dealer yet. However, the transmission was leaking fluid from both sides.

I’ve never had any trouble with the car, and it has needed no maintenance other than the routine stuff (i.e., oil changes, air filter, etc.).

This car has not been in an accident. When I purchased it new, it had six miles on it. The dealer said all of the repair is under warranty, but I’m concerned that this happened on a Toyota with so few miles.

This happened under normal driving conditions. My wife drove the car less than 50 miles in the past week. The car simply began leaking transmission fluid two days ago, so I assume that’s when the driveshafts slid partially out of the transmission, because the car still moved, but it shifted erraticly and the RPMs needed to go into the 4,000 range to get the car out of first gear. I became aware of the problem today, and that’s when we took the car to the dealer.

Even if the cir-clips were left completely off of the CV shafts, the control arm and struct assembly and the BIG nut on the end of each shaft will hold them firmly in place. I don’t see ANY WAY that either one, much less both of them could have possibly come out of the transmission, UNLESS they were the wrong shafts for the car. I’ve taken too many of them apart to think that they cam apart by themselves. Perhaps it was a factory error, or the poster is pulling our collective legs.

I respectfully disagree that an axle shaft cannot be a problem if the suspension and axle nut are tight. There is usually enough linear movement in the joints that a circlip could come undone.
The inner joint will then move out (but not completely) and this allows the joint to wobble, which in turn will tear up an axle seal.
This was a common problem in the old Chevy Citations/Phoenix cars after they got some miles on them. The inner joint would wobble and beat the seal out, leading to loss of fluid. The cure was an amazing little combo bushing/seal unit called a “trans saver” which was pressed into the trans case and provided support.

So, it’s obvious now the axles did not come out, at least all the way. The problem the OP has now is the loss of fluid (the 4000 RPMS before shifting out of first) and continued operation of the vehicle.

This means the car has probably suffered some transmission damage. The extent may not be known for months or even years.
OP, you MUST document this problem on your copies of the repair order.
It should spell out WHAT the problem was, what was done to cure it, and also state the loss of fluid and how much was replaced.

It may not be a bad idea to go ahead and talk to the Toyota regional office about this in preparation for a future transmission problem. This may happen after the warranty is history and then it will be “nobody knows nothing”. Send them a letter and request a response either by snail mail or e-mail.
Without documentation to the max you may be toasted later if and when a trans problems occurs.