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Old 01-08-2021, 12:56 AM #1
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Rumble strip transmission problem: thoughts?

Hi folks!

I have 2008 4Runner Limited V6 with 145k miles. I'm the second owner. Both the prior owner and I are fastidious about maintenance, so all scheduled maintenance has been done.

Unfortunately, it seems like the vehicle has developed the "rumble strip" transmission issue discussed in other threads.

Here are the symptoms:
  • Most noticeable under light acceleration around 20MPH in 3rd (I think it's 3rd)
  • Also feel the shudder at higher speeds in 3rd (27MPH - 33MPH)
  • Issue does not occur if shifter is in "4" (only occurs in "D")


First significant issue I've had with the 4Runner, and I have to say, I'm bummed. Especially because we're supposed to leave tomorrow for a trip.

I've heard the following recommendations:

- Flush or drain/fill the ATF. I could do it again, but I've had this done at the dealer relatively recently when I bought the vehicle at 112k miles (33k miles ago) as preventative maintenance. Should I do it again?

- Lube or replace the driveline u-joints. I lube these fairly regularly. But I can't see how these would be the problem anyway if shifting into "4" solves the problem. To me, that suggests it is a problem with the transmission or torque converter.

- Change the spark plugs. I did this about 30k miles ago, so it's not due for another 20k.

- Add Lube Gard Instant Shudder Fixx. I'm a little hesitant to add this non-OEM additive, but it seems to work for some people. Doesn't seem like I have much to lose. Thinking this will be my first step. Or perhaps take it to a trusted mechanic to get their thoughts.

What do folks here recommend? I'm hoping that some conventional wisdom has emerged on how best to treat the issue.

Also, what do you think about driving with this issue on a 400 mile round trip trip to the mountains? We've pretty much decided we will take our other vehicle instead.


Thanks!

Charley
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Old 01-08-2021, 01:00 AM #2
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Charley, ask the dealer if they used WS or an aftermarket compatible fluid. Some dealers around here use aftermarket.

I'd start by replacing all of it if there's something other than WS in the transmission. Not drain and fill, but replacement through the cooler hoses. If that doesn't fix the shudder, only then would I pour in the additive.

Also, the plugs service interval is 30k, not 50, though I doubt they would cause the dreaded shudder.

Last edited by Seymore Butts; 01-08-2021 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 01-08-2021, 01:17 AM #3
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@seymore , according to the receipt, the dealer did a drain and fill with W.S. fluid

Note: I do some towing (2,000 pound camper) occasionally, in case that's relevant.
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Old 01-08-2021, 05:59 AM #4
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On my wife's 2013 Rav4, that symptom was the torque converter. Since it was a known issue, Toyota covered it to 150k miles, and replaced it for free (car had 129k at the time).
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:20 AM #5
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Talking

Amazon.com: Lubegard 19610 Instant Shudder Fixx, 2 oz.: Automotive
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:18 AM #6
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Shudder fix!

Used it over 10,000 miles ago now and haven't had an issue since. I'm at 299K on original W/S to upset the non lifetime fluid believers hahaha.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:22 AM #7
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good to hear your dealer used the correct WS fluid for your 5 speed trans. if it was just a drain & fill done that only replaces about 3.5qts of fluid. do a full fluid exchange at the dealer or yourself, very easy to do using the bottom port of the radiator to drain/pump out ~2qts at a time & fill via the fill hole on the passenger side of the trans.

many people have reported new fluid has helped or fixed shudder issues, either toyota WS or valvoline maxlife or amsoil etc which are fully rated for WS transmissions is ok to use & will not cause any harm. i did a full exchange on my 150k mile 08 V6 sport with maxlife & although i didnt have a shudder issue prior, i instantly noticed smoother shifts, the factory WS fluid was pretty dark but not burnt smelling. valvoline maxlife is much cheapper & is a full synthetic fluid that has anti shudder additives in it. the lube guard shudder fix additive is also perfectly fine to use, it just has stronger anti shudder additives than the factory fluid, wont harm anything being non OEM.

best of luck whatever you do, but the easiest thing right now would be to try the shudder fix by adding via the fill hole on the trans, if it fixes it you can decide to do another drain & fill or complete exchange & add another tube of it.
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:01 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charleypartanna View Post
Hi folks!

I have 2008 4Runner Limited V6 with 145k miles. I'm the second owner. Both the prior owner and I are fastidious about maintenance, so all scheduled maintenance has been done.

Unfortunately, it seems like the vehicle has developed the "rumble strip" transmission issue discussed in other threads.

Here are the symptoms:
  • Most noticeable under light acceleration around 20MPH in 3rd (I think it's 3rd)
  • Also feel the shudder at higher speeds in 3rd (27MPH - 33MPH)
  • Issue does not occur if shifter is in "4" (only occurs in "D")


First significant issue I've had with the 4Runner, and I have to say, I'm bummed. Especially because we're supposed to leave tomorrow for a trip.

I've heard the following recommendations:

- Flush or drain/fill the ATF. I could do it again, but I've had this done at the dealer relatively recently when I bought the vehicle at 112k miles (33k miles ago) as preventative maintenance. Should I do it again?

- Lube or replace the driveline u-joints. I lube these fairly regularly. But I can't see how these would be the problem anyway if shifting into "4" solves the problem. To me, that suggests it is a problem with the transmission or torque converter.

- Change the spark plugs. I did this about 30k miles ago, so it's not due for another 20k.

- Add Lube Gard Instant Shudder Fixx. I'm a little hesitant to add this non-OEM additive, but it seems to work for some people. Doesn't seem like I have much to lose. Thinking this will be my first step. Or perhaps take it to a trusted mechanic to get their thoughts.

What do folks here recommend? I'm hoping that some conventional wisdom has emerged on how best to treat the issue.

Also, what do you think about driving with this issue on a 400 mile round trip trip to the mountains? We've pretty much decided we will take our other vehicle instead.


Thanks!

Charley
I had this exact issues shortly after I bought my runner! I bought an 08 with 161k in December of 2017. By March of 2018 I had rumble strip in the exact same scenarios. Never in 4 only in D and usually between 3rd and 4th gear. Generally at 35ish mph. I was towing a trailer pretty regularly at the time for work and would regularly pull 1500lbs and run up the mountains on the weekends.

The ways I have solved the issues to date are the following. I had 1 drain and fill done immediately. I initially requested a flush but my dealer talked me out of it and suggested drain and fills. After the first drain and fill the fluid was very dark and burnt. I added a bottle of shudder stop at this time and did not feel the problem again. I didn't have enough money to do more at the time so I waited 6 months. At that point I elected to do 3 more drain and fills. This got me to new fluid coming out on the drains. I did one roughly every 3 months. At this point my fluid is the right color and the transmission shifts great! Here we are 3 years later and I do a drain and fill once a year as a preventative. Now I am at 245k and haven't had any noticeable shudders.

Last edited by Fl_tigers; 01-08-2021 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:30 PM #9
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Thanks all! Amazing resource. I really appreciate it.

I added a 2 ounce packet of Instant Shudder Fix. Test drove it for about 10 miles. The shudder seemed to disappear around mile 3. Fingers crossed the fixes it! Again, thanks all.

I siphoned out an ounce of the existing fluid. Do folks think I should sent it to Blackstone for analysis? Do they analyze ATF?

Best,

Charley
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:56 PM #10
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How does it look and smell?
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Old 01-08-2021, 05:46 PM #11
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@seymor, it looks pretty black. Smell is unremarkable.
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Old 01-08-2021, 05:58 PM #12
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I think Seymore is on it. Do it right, don't rely on additives to fix bad fluid.
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:04 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charleypartanna View Post
Thanks all! Amazing resource. I really appreciate it.

I added a 2 ounce packet of Instant Shudder Fix. Test drove it for about 10 miles. The shudder seemed to disappear around mile 3. Fingers crossed the fixes it! Again, thanks all.

I siphoned out an ounce of the existing fluid. Do folks think I should sent it to Blackstone for analysis? Do they analyze ATF?

Best,

Charley
blackstone does do trans fluid analyses, might tell you if something is going bad in the trans, but if the additive improved or stopped the shudder i would hold off on that for now. sounds like it may be a fluid issue if its original at 145k, owners manual maint schedule says 100k miles to replace the fluid & 60k if abused or towed, so you are way past that mileage.

since you said the fluid was dark/black i suggest doing a full fluid exchange, this is not a flush & will not harm the trans at all, starting the engine allows the trans pump to pump out some fluid, about 2qts, then you refill 2 qts, after 5-6 cycles of that you have almost all new fluid, quick & easy job if you do it right. if you dont want to or cant do the exchange then do 4-5 pan drain & fills with your choice of... "correct rated"... fluid & on the last fill add a tube of the additive.

whatever you do dont leave the old fluid in there, at least do the drain & fills if you are comfortable checking the fluid level the right way, if not pay a trans shop or pay more at a dealer.

Last edited by firebirdguy; 01-08-2021 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:17 PM #14
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If it's black, it's done. The fluid in your transmission has very little in common with the WS spec and you don't need Blackstone to tell you that.

It may be the only reason you're getting the shudder.

I'd immediately replace it through the cooling lines. Probably twice.
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:39 AM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seymore Butts View Post
If it's black, it's done. The fluid in your transmission has very little in common with the WS spec and you don't need Blackstone to tell you that.

It may be the only reason you're getting the shudder.

I'd immediately replace it through the cooling lines. Probably twice.
can you clarify this statement? the fluid in his trans IS WS, why would it have very little in common with WS spec? do you mean because its worn out?

& if it gets completely replaced with new fluid, why would it need to be done twice?
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