Tranny?

Tiny
SARABROWNS
  • MEMBER
  • TOYOTA COROLLA
Thought I already typed one but here goes again.

Lately my 1991 Toyota Corolla with 104000 miles on it has been randomly sluggish when accelerating or at a cruising speed (only those 40mph or less, not on the highway). I thought it was a sign my fuel pump was about to go (my Cavalier acted like that for a couple months before that pump went) but then today I had a more serious surprise!

Driving to a nearby store, my car was very sluggish accelerating. It felt like it was about to stall. I thought I heard a belt lightly squealing and then some odd bubbling. It did it again on the way home.

A short time later, I was driving to the parts store and at 20mph, very close to home, the car bucked and felt like it was going to stall but did not. About a quarter mile later, at 40 mph, I heard a grumbling and all of a sudden the car came to a screeching halt, like the tranny had locked up! The car did not stall, thoguh, it stayed running. I shifted through the gears but the car did not make any shifting noises. I got out and looked for leaks or dislodged car parts, but all looked fine. After sitting for about 3 minutes, I put it back in drive, stomped on the gas a bit, and it went. I pulled over in a nearby parking lot to check again for anything amiss, nothing. The tranny fluid level looked like it might be a tiny bit high, but that was all.

I then drove it home no faster than 20 mph with no incident.

What the heck!

I was thinking maybe my tranny was overheating, but I have no idea. No engine lights came on, gauges all seemed fine so!

Any ideas would be great!

Thanks!
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Saturday, November 28th, 2009 AT 4:36 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

Thank you for the donation,

Auto trans are very precise and complicated components, and when something like this happens there is real cause for concern, the fact that it did drive again is a good sign, but I would not temp fate, I would get it into a transmission specialist ASAP for a test and report, do this now as you do run the risk of doing serious damage if you continue to drive the car any distance.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Saturday, November 28th, 2009 AT 5:39 PM
Tiny
SARABROWNS
  • MEMBER
Mark,

Thank you for your quick response.I wish it could have been a bit more positive! Would you risk driving it to a repair shop or just towing it? And although you kind of implied it could be any number of things, what are some possibilities? Like what kind of testing would you do on it? I try to do as much work myself as possible, though I can't say I am anything near a tranny expert!

I have never had a problem like this and can't figure out why it would randomly do that! I mean, I drove some long distances this week (4 trips of 75-100 miles each) without any problems!

Thanks again!
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Saturday, November 28th, 2009 AT 7:17 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

The equipment needed to do a complete transmission test and report is normally even beyond the capabilities of general mechanic, as the test equipment is so expensive that is why we refer these jobs to the transmission specialists, as for driving, personally I would not, it would not be the first time that a car was driven in to a work shop with a suspected problem like that only to have it fail big time and cost more to repair. Best to err on the side of caution and go for a tow, testing will be done on line pressures and shift pressures, you never know a flush & service may see it right, but driving it is a risk I would not want to see you take with this one.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Saturday, November 28th, 2009 AT 7:46 PM
Tiny
SARABROWNS
  • MEMBER
Thanks Mark.

I was thinking about this more last night and I was wondering if it could have anything to do with my car idling poorly when stopped at a light. If I shift it into neutral, it idles fine. Also, I have thought I smelled a smell when getting on the highway like I was driving a manual and smoking my clutch a bit, but I thought it must be another car because why would my tranny smell like that! Now I am not so sure. I guess I was hoping the problem could be some kind of sensor (though I thought that would trigger a check engine light) or maybe my dirty fluid just needed changed. I have no clue what factors are relevant to this issue. All I know is it was scary as hell for my car to stop like that in the middle of the road and I hope it never happens again!

Thanks again.
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Sunday, November 29th, 2009 AT 2:14 PM

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