Transmission ripoff for 2000 Toyota Sienna

Is a solenoid valve inside the transmission part of the transmission?

Our 2000 Toyota Sienna minivan with 150K miles was acting up 500 miles from home. We took it to my dad’s trusted mechanic who said it was the transmission, and sent us to his preferred transmission shop, an ATRA participant. The transmission shop did diagnostics, and satisfied us that we needed either a repair or rebuild. Being risk averse, and given the price differences, we went with the rebuild. 4 hours and ~240 miles after picking up the car, the check engine light came on. It was diagnosed as a transmission code: P0770 shift solenoid E fault. We were told that if this part failed the car would freeze into second gear. We limped home and took the car to a local transmission shop that participated in the first shop’s warranty program. They could find no problem and sent us on our way. 250 miles later (and 150 miles from home) the light came on again. We took the car to our trusted mechanic, who read the same code, but reset the check engine light. The transmission shop said they couldnt diagnose anything from the code number and readout from our mechanic, and that we should drive around again until the light comes on. We did that and another 200 miles or so later, the light returned. We took it to the local (not original) transmission place. 8 days later, they “discovered” its the solenoid valve! But… they say that altough the valve is inside the transmission, it is not part of the transmission. This is because it is an “electrical” part and transmissions are “mechanical”. For only $535 they will be happy to fix the solenoid valve. We explained that when we had the transmission rebuilt, we expected the transmission and everything inside it to work flawlessly, at least for the duration of the 15,000 mile - 1 year warranty. The local shop is now talking with the original shop, and say that if they don’t come to an agreement, that we can deal with the original shop 500 miles from here. Meanwhile, our car is disassembled at the local transmission shop.

Is a solenoid valve inside the transmission part of the transmission? Should its repair be covered under our ATRA warranty?

Please help. We need our car to return to Grama and Grampa’s for the holidays and would like not to lose our shirts in the process.