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Old 06-20-2022, 07:15 AM #1
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2002 SR5 Automatic Transmission Failure

Hey fellas,
Yesterday I was driving my 4runner (270K miles 2wd) on a 55 mph highway and noticed my tranny was starting to fail about 10 minutes away from home. Every time I let off the gas the rear axle would thud. I knew I didn't have long but I couldn't make it home before i came to a stoplight and the engine stalled right after a couple of loud grinding noises. Started it back up fine but it died every time I put it in drive. Pushed it about 500 yards into a parking lot and called my buddy with a flatbed to get it towed.

Now I'm at an impass - I have an old yukon that I use for work but my 4runner can't be worth more than $4.5K I love DIY repair and would call myself a shade tree mechanic but a tranny replacement is too time consuming for me so I'm lookin at about $1400-2000 to replace it. I was already on the road to selling my 4runner and buying a truck but now I have no clue what to do.

Should I sell it with a broken transmission? I just replaced the sparkplugs and take very good care of it otherwise but any tranny with 270K miles isn't gonna be in mint condition. Just curious what y'all would do? Scrap it, see if someone will buy it or replace the tranny and then sell?

Thanks for all the help gents.
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Old 06-20-2022, 07:18 AM #2
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I'm not convinced the trans has gone south yet. A bad trans won't make an engine die just cuz it goes into gear....
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Old 06-20-2022, 07:22 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgue467 View Post
I'm not convinced the trans has gone south yet. A bad trans won't make an engine die just cuz it goes into gear....

I'm open to other suggestions but I'm about 90% sure on this one. Sounded like a trans, felt like a trans issue. It does go into neutral as I was able to push it so maybe not... If you have any other ideas I'd love to look into them because they cannot be more expensive than a new transmission lol.
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Old 06-20-2022, 07:59 AM #4
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Engine runs fine in park?
Engine runs fine in neutral?
A/C works when running?
Windows work?
etc. etc.

If yes, I'd find a junk trans and swap it out if you're convinced it's the trans. A whole lot cheaper that buying a new car.
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Old 06-20-2022, 09:50 AM #5
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I'm not convinced the trans has gone south yet. A bad trans won't make an engine die just cuz it goes into gear....

If the torque converter is locked up it will. It wouldn’t allow for the engine/trans to “seperate”. It would be like having a manual trans and the clutch is always connected. You wouldn’t be able to change gears but if you did the engine would die.

I had a buddy with a newer Nissan Sentra with a similar symptom. Turned out to be the torque converter clutch was stuck in the locked position. Not sure if these trucks have that but that’s what it seems like. Which would be a trans removal to access anyhow if the torque converter was the culprit.
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Old 06-20-2022, 11:38 AM #6
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I see, TC grenaded itself into bits or worse, bummer.
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Old 06-20-2022, 09:06 PM #7
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I'm going the junkyard tranny route soon. Still drives great but increasingly ominous straining/whine in all forward/reverse gears. Ruled out belts and alt a while ago....never going to 'give up' on this rig.
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Old 06-21-2022, 12:59 AM #8
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I'm going the junkyard tranny route soon. Still drives great but increasingly ominous straining/whine in all forward/reverse gears. Ruled out belts and alt a while ago....never going to 'give up' on this rig.
@infamousRNR and I have a series that might help you out. Here's Part 1.

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Old 06-21-2022, 11:06 AM #9
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@infamousRNR and I have a series that might help you out. Here's Part 1.




Thank you - I'll probably watch that series a few more times. The Bible.
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Old 06-21-2022, 12:53 PM #10
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Seeing that you have a 2WD, it is unlikely to actually be anything in the rear axle or differential. I agree on the transmission diagnosis but before you take it to the shop, drain some transmission fluid out (it's going to get messy) and put it in a flat shallow drain pan. Look for metal shavings that look like brass. If there are, go ahead and drain the whole pan and undo the 1000's of drain pan bolts to drop the pan and check the magnets on the bottom. There might be a whole lot of metal there if it truly did die.
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Old 06-23-2022, 07:36 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Reak Show View Post
If the torque converter is locked up it will. It wouldn’t allow for the engine/trans to “seperate”. It would be like having a manual trans and the clutch is always connected. You wouldn’t be able to change gears but if you did the engine would die.

I had a buddy with a newer Nissan Sentra with a similar symptom. Turned out to be the torque converter clutch was stuck in the locked position. Not sure if these trucks have that but that’s what it seems like. Which would be a trans removal to access anyhow if the torque converter was the culprit.
Yup that's exactly what's happened. My transmission bout fell outta the bottom of the car so that makes a lotta sense. Thank you
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Old 06-23-2022, 07:38 AM #12
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Seeing that you have a 2WD, it is unlikely to actually be anything in the rear axle or differential. I agree on the transmission diagnosis but before you take it to the shop, drain some transmission fluid out (it's going to get messy) and put it in a flat shallow drain pan. Look for metal shavings that look like brass. If there are, go ahead and drain the whole pan and undo the 1000's of drain pan bolts to drop the pan and check the magnets on the bottom. There might be a whole lot of metal there if it truly did die.

Sounds like a fun weekend project. I have no doubt theres going to be lots of metal. I checked the trans oil when it broke down and it smelled very burned.
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Old 06-23-2022, 07:40 AM #13
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I'm going the junkyard tranny route soon. Still drives great but increasingly ominous straining/whine in all forward/reverse gears. Ruled out belts and alt a while ago....never going to 'give up' on this rig.
Yea she's been building up to a grande finale for a while. I new i had a couple thousand miles to go before I needed a new one cause I could just feel it. Then I had to tow a 1200 lb trailer for like two days and the trans quit.

My advice would be to go ahead and swap it out before you end up broke down somewhere.
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Old 06-23-2022, 08:10 AM #14
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Just a reminder if you're going to swap in a used transmission, make sure you get one from a 01/02 2wd model. The 96-00 transmission have a kickdown cable that the 01/02 models don't have.

Good luck on the swap, it's really not that bad especially with the help of Tim/Sean's videos. If you have a helper and a tranny jack, it can easily be done on a Saturday.
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Old 06-23-2022, 08:17 AM #15
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At least it a 2x2 not having a T-case makes it bit easier.
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