Transmission Hard shift - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission Hard shift

Hey guys i've had this sienna now for about 3 years. It has about 150k miles on it (2006).

In the last 4 months or so i've periodically been getting hard shifts ONLY from 2nd to 3rd gear. We have flushed the transmission fluid and it helped for a short time (a couple thousand miles). Now the part that i find odd is that when the car is cold it shifts fine. It actually shifted smoother more consistently in the winter than it does now.

Where should i start checking? I think i can assume that fluid is not the issue (level is correct and its relatively clean). I've read about a solenoid that could cause it but havent gotten much past that.

Thank you for your help!!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 11:10 PM
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There can be a number of reasons for a harsh 2-3 shift. Here are a few questions:

- what fluid did you use when flushing?
- how often do you flush? (Drain and fills are different just FYI)
- my Sienna is experiencing harsh shifts but, I know this will sound very strange, when I use 93 gas and add some fuel injector cleaner (sea foam and stuff), it shifts better. Don't ask...
- when I fixed an exhaust leak once, the car shifted better. Don't ask...
- make sure your spark plugs are changed (should've done it around 120k miles).
- try using lubegard's small red bottle. It helped mine.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

- what fluid did you use when flushing? I couldnt tell you what the shop used. it helped for a week or two than went back to doing this
- how often do you flush? (Drain and fills are different just FYI)It was flushed about 5k miles ago. The shop did actually flush it. Not just change the fluid
- my Sienna is experiencing harsh shifts but, I know this will sound very strange, when I use 93 gas and add some fuel injector cleaner (sea foam and stuff), it shifts better. Don't ask...Interesting...sea foam is cheap. I may try it and see what happens
- when I fixed an exhaust leak once, the car shifted better. Don't ask...no clue on that one....strange
- make sure your spark plugs are changed (should've done it around 120k miles). I'm sure i need to do plugs. been waiting for the weather to warm up...its a task i'm thoroughly not looking forward to.
- try using lubegard's small red bottle. It helped mine.I will try that as well.


Hard shift may not be a good explanation. It seems like it disengages the transmission, revs about 400rpm higher, than engages 3rd gear. Gives it a nice little jerk when this happens. Next time i'm out i'll try and get a video to post in here of exactly what it is doing to hopefully help illustrate the problem.

Any more advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the video.

https://youtu.be/O0lfxGt6dzI
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 06:25 PM
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

I did a transmission drain and flush on my 2004 Sienna. I dropped the transmission pan and changed the filter. The flush I did was a complete fluid exchange by disconnecting the transmission output line to the transmission cooler and adding fluid as the old fluid was being pumped out.

For us this returned our vehicle to like new shifting and performance. The fluid definitely needed changing but the filter was fine. I am glad I changed it though just for the opportunity to visual check it and confirm its condition.

I looked at a lot of post on this problem and the different approaches people took to solve their transmission issues.
One thing that was consistent was that the type of fluid you put in will affect your results. The safe bet is to put in Toyota fluid Type T-IV on my van. Your manual should tell you if yours takes Toyota Type T-IV or Toyota WS. If the shop didn't put in the recommended Toyota fluid that could cause your problems. Many go with synthetic aftermarket transmission fluid and swear by it but just as many had problems and will eventually end up exchanging it for the recommended Toyota fluid.

These transmissions have shift points etc designed to work with the recommended transmission fluid.

I might suggest you confirm the fluid used or just go ahead and replace it with the recommended Toyota fluid. Once you do that you can eliminate this from the troubleshooting process and move on.

One last thing- these are excellent transmissions. With the right fluid and care they will last a long time. Our 2004 has well over 100,000 miles on it, much of it loaded down and towing.

From your post name I assume you may be in the service. I appreciate your service to our country

Last edited by Johnxyz; 04-28-2017 at 12:35 PM.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

I think i will probably tackle the plugs and doing the trans fluid myself. And if it still doesnt shift better i'll just burn it to the ground.

I'll try the flush again and see how it ends up
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 02:25 AM
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

The transmission type will be stamped on your transmission dipstick, at least on my 2007 is. If you have a 3.3L engine then you probably will use the Toyota Type T-IV fluid. The 3.5L engines will use the Toyota WS fluid.

2007 Sienna LE Mirage Blue 140,000 miles
Autopage RS-625 2-way remote car starter
Michelin LTX M/S2 225/70/16 tires
Air Lift 1000 rear air bags
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2017, 08:46 AM
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Yeah that looks like a small "flare." I think the first step is to use T-IV ATF (04-06 uses TIV. 07+ uses WS). My local dealership would sell me a quart for about $4. I believe our transmission takes about 10-12 in a full flush (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Did you say you were experiencing the same problem before the flush? And that the same problem just came back again after doing the flush?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by nlxsteve View Post
Yeah that looks like a small "flare." I think the first step is to use T-IV ATF (04-06 uses TIV. 07+ uses WS). My local dealership would sell me a quart for about $4. I believe our transmission takes about 10-12 in a full flush (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

Did you say you were experiencing the same problem before the flush? And that the same problem just came back again after doing the flush?
Correct. the issue persisted after the flush. IT seems to do it less when the fluid is cold.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

So i just finished flushing the transmission and i went for a short drive and it made 0 difference. I have to go pick up the kids in a bit so maybe letting the new fluid work through everything will make a change but as of now it is still behaving the exact same.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Hard to tell fill level. Maybe 1/16 of an inch over
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 05:05 PM
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

Disconnect the battery for 10 minutes and let the ECU reset. This may help after a flush so your computer can learn with the new fluid.

As for the fluid level I have such a hard time telling as well.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 10:16 PM
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

I have a 2004 Sienna le 3.3 liter V6 iam planning to do a flush transmission, but not sure were is the Transmission Output Line. Can you please let me know which hose to disconnect and where is located or if you have pictures can you please post it.

Thank you very much...
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by geneson143 View Post
I have a 2004 Sienna le 3.3 liter V6 iam planning to do a flush transmission, but not sure were is the Transmission Output Line. Can you please let me know which hose to disconnect and where is located or if you have pictures can you please post it.

Thank you very much...
Yeah man its super simple...the flush took me about 30 minutes from start to finish.

The return line to the transmission from the radiator is the BOTTOM hose on the driver side of the radiator.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-05-2017, 10:39 AM
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Re: Transmission Hard shift

If you are interested here is a link to a post that has pictures. If done right with the Toyota specified fluid it will completely renew all of your transmission fluid.

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/27...ienna-xle.html
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