Mechanics

TOYOTA COROLLA TRANSMISSION PROBLEM

1998 Toyota Corolla • 250,000 miles

Hello,

I have a 1998 Toyota Corolla with a Transmission problem. First, it suddenly started leaking a large amount of transmission fluid and Second, it lost the ability to shift into Drive (or any gear for that matter). The car still turns on, but obviously can't go anywhere with this issue. What could be the problem? I would like to know if this is a couple hundred dollar repair or a couple thousand dollar repair before I spend a ton of money on having it towed 2 ways, to and from the garage. Don't want to spend thousands of dollars when the car isn't worth it.

Thanks in advance!
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Zyan
November 28, 2012.




If you don't have sufficient transmission fluid, it is not going to engage.
Cost of repair would depend on where the leak is coming from and if the fluid loss has caused any damage to the transmission.
Top up the trnsmission fluid and test if it can be driven, if leak is not very bad. Check if the leaks is due to ruptured hoses, which would be a cheap repair that you can do it yourself.

KHLow2008
Nov 28, 2012.
I will give it a try (although I know it's going to leak, I don't really want to make a mess on my driveway). It did start making some slight screeching sounds the last time I drove it, that's basically why I pulled the car to the side of the road on my trip back home from where I was and called a tow truck to tow it the rest of the way back. The transmission fluid was leaking out quite a good sized, constant flow and along the way the car made a really loud/hard jolt which scared the hell out of me!

Thanks again!

Tiny
Zyan
Nov 28, 2012.
Leaks have to be visually inspected and unless there had been impact damages, leaks won't be too bad.

Seals would leak badly only when they have detached from position and in case of axleshaft seals, unless the axle shaft is dislodged.

Other than that the component that would result in great amount of leakage would be the hoses leading to the radiator for cooling purpose.

KHLow2008
Nov 28, 2012.
So when I top up the fluid and test drive it, is there anything in particular I should be looking for? Obviously it's going to leak out all the fluid I put in it in no time and there is going to be one hell of a mess! The seal leak problem you mentioned sounds like that itself would be a very costly repair if that was the cause. I don't know how much fluid exactly there is on average in the transmission fluid reservoir, but it took a good 8-10 hours before it completely drained all of it out (basically from lunch time all the way until late night time.

As always, thanks again for your continued assistance.

Best Regards!

Tiny
Zyan
Nov 28, 2012.
First of all is to clean up any leaks so that you can see where the leak is coming from after you top up the fluid.

Before driving or topping up, check for signs of leaks from bottom such as oil pan nut or damage to transmission housing since the leaks occurs even when parked. That should be easier to check.

Next, after cleaning and topping up, check for leaks again. If no leaks are found, go for a short drive and stop to check again. You should be able to see fluids flowing out if any leaks are present.

If leaks are not from pressurised lines, it would not leak out completely meaning there would still be some fluid in trans but not enough for you to engage the gears. A dry fill would be almost 6 liters but I believe 2 -3 liters is the max you need.

KHLow2008
Nov 28, 2012.
Wouldn't test driving it in this state (if it even drives at all) cause even more damage than there already is? It was already making some unhealthy sounding screeching noises the last time I drove it, wouldn't driving it more add to it? If I put more fluid in, it's 100% definite that it's going to leak (picture having water running from a faucet with flow on a fair sized amount). So am I just basically seeing if it drives at all? If it does, what does that mean?

I know it's impossible to 100% diagnose what the problem is without even looking at it, but what are your best ballpark figures in repair costs for such a problem?

As always, thank you for your continued support!

Best Regards!

Tiny
Zyan
Nov 29, 2012.
If the leak is as bad as you have indicated, you are not going anywhere even if you top it up and being bad, it should be easy to detect. Put a collection pan under vehicle and try adding 1/2 a liter fluid. Check for leaks. Add more if necesary.

Without knowing the source of the leak, it is not possible to gauge the type of repair required therefore the cost is a mystery.

KHLow2008
Nov 30, 2012.
Okay, so I put about 2-2.5 Litres of Transmission Fluid into the car. Before turning the car on, it was leaking only very slightly (small intermittent drops). When I turned the car on, I was able to switch into all gears, including Reverse and Drive. I tested to see if the car moved and I was able to back the car up further down my driveway and then switch back to park without an issue. When I turned off the car and checked the leak, it was leaking pretty heavily.

That's about it for the testing you suggested. I'll need further direction for what's next and if my car is salvageable without spending tons of money, etc.

Thanks again!

Best Regards.
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Tiny
Zyan
Dec 1, 2012.
You need to get under vehicle to check where the leak is coming from. Since the problem only occurs after driving, it vould be from the seals and depending on which seal, the cost would vary. Torque converter seal would be the one that involves the most work as it equires the transmission to be removed.

KHLow2008
Dec 2, 2012.
What would I be looking for specifically? When it comes to cars, I know next to nothing so I would be completely and utterly clueless.

Are you able to give me a rough estimate regarding how much repairs would cost yet, or even a price range?

Thanks again.

Best Regards!

Tiny
Zyan
Dec 2, 2012.

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