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Toyota standard truck slips out of gear

my 94 toyota truck (90,000 miles, 2 wheel drive, standard) won’t stay in 3rd and 4th gear unless I hold the stick in place. Question 1: is it safe to keep driving it, holding the stick in place while in 3rd and 4th.

Question 2: The transmission guy says he has to take it all apart and can’t give me an idea of cost until he does. He said it will be at least 4 hours labor just to look at it. My neighbor said to find a used transmission at a junk shop and find the cheapest guy to install it. What would you recommend?

It is a second car and not used muchjust used for hauling mulch, firewood, trees and such.


Shari (upstate NY)

I agree with your neighbor. Odds are the problem is in the 3/4 sychronizer assembly OR there is a worn shift fork. Tearing into an aged high mileage transmission would mean a complete overhaul basically and internal repair parts are expensive.

Something to consider is whether or not you have a tendency to drive with your hand resting on the gearshift lever. Doing this magnifies the weight of the hand and causes the shift fork to constantly brush against the synchronizer sleeve. Eventually the fork and/or sleeve wears a bit which then allows the syncro. hub and inserts to not stay put. Ergo, jumps out of gear.
I don’t know if you’re guilty of this habit or not but many people are. Hope that helps.

If a good used transmission can be found it would likely be the best option. The 3/4 syncrnizer is being tossed of both ends and you likely have a whining noise in neutral and the lower gears that quietens somewhat in 4th. These are indications that the idler bearing between the input and output of the main shaft is worn requiring the entire main shaft being replaced $$$$$$$$$$. I wouldn’t be surprised if the transmission recently had a leaking rear seal and was run with the oil considerably low.

Thanks. I think that helps.

Do you think it safe to drive it a bit, holding the gearshift in place, until I get it fixed?

Not sure if I have been guilty of this but will pay attention in the future.

Thanks. I haven’t noticed a whining noise in neutral or the lower gears. I will look for a used transmission.

You’re not going to hurt it at this point so you can hold it in place. It may eventually get to the point where you can’t hold it in place though.

I mention the hand on the shifter because I’ve had to repair a lot of manual transmissions due to this very thing; mostly Subarus. I couldn’t even start to remember the number and 3/4 is usually the problem area because that’s where a lot of stop and go driving is done.

Resting the hand on the shifter becomes a force of habit and many people are unaware that the transmission internals are affected.

Before you have your transmission torn apart or replaced, try replacing the shift lever seat and shift lever bushing ($10-$25 for parts, about 20-60 minutes of your time, simple tools required). My Toyota truck slipped out of gears and this repair fixed the problem. I have also read about similar problems on other websites and a similar repair fixed the problems.