2004 Transmission Issue - Washboard Vibration, Shudder (1 Viewer)

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Oct 12, 2008
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Long-time lurker. Have an '04 LX 470 purchased pre-certified in 2008 with approx. 46k that now has approx 108k. At about 102k, started experiencing vibration at around 30-35 mph when the trans tries to shift up. Does not vibrate when coasting, only when lightly accelerating. Vibration is similar to driving a washboard road and can range from barely noticeable to jarring and violent. The vibration continues until I let my foot off the accelerator or until I shift into 4 with the selector lever. Local non-dealer Toyota shop talked to Lexus Tech and recommendation was for a fluid drain and refill. After first drain and refill, issue didn't occur as often. After second drain and refill, issue abated for approximately three weeks of daily driving and then began occurring again. After third drain and refill, issue is occurring consistently again. Note that these were drain and refills, not flushes and the trans ECU was erased each time. Also, the drained fluid was put through a strainer and no particles or debris were observed.

There is a TSB that appears to describe my issue and my VIN is in the range of affected models. I've included it at the bottom of the post. A similar issue was experienced by the OPs of the following threads, but the threads either died out or went off topic - no resolution was ever reported:

https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/100-series-washboard-style-vibration.796261/#post-9148400
https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/04-transmission-problem.603692/

Local shop is recommending replacement of trans and torque converter with Lexus factory reman parts. I don't have an estimate yet, but imagine it's going to make me ill. I think we can definitely confine this to a transmission issue and not drive train. Any additional thoughts or suggestions? Do I have any recourse with Lexus (pre-certified warranty ran out in Oct 2011) since there's a TSB out there that matches my issue exactly? There's no indication from PO maintenance records that the vehicle has ever had any reported trans issues.

I also want to get this issue documented on the forum so others will have an easier time getting answers in the future. I know the forum has been an incredible resource for me over the last 6 years.

Thanks for your help.

TRANSMISSION & CLUTCH
TC001-05
Title:
FIFTH GEAR SHUDDER
Models:
'04 - '05 LX 470
January 28, 2005
Introduction

Models affected:
2004-’05 LX 470 vehicles produced before the Production Change Effective VIN: JTJHT00W#53553516

Some 2004 and 2005 model year LX 470 vehicles may exhibit a shudder (or vibration) sensation, usually accompanied by a cyclic droning noise, when lightly accelerating (less than 15% throttle) after the transmission shifts into 5th gear (usually between 35 and 45 mph). This condition may be caused by water entering the transmission breather, contaminating the transmission fluid. The transmission breather has been changed to prevent water intrusion.

Repair Procedure:

1. Remove the automatic transmission with torque converter.

a. Disconnect the breather tube and transfer rear case hose No. 1 from the transmission breather skirt (vent). See Fig. 1.


b. Remove the transmission with torque converter.

Refer to the Technical Information System (TIS), 2004 or 2005 model year LX 470 Repair Manual; Automatic Transmission: Automatic Transmission Unit: Removal.

2. Replace the transmission breather skirt (vent), P/N 35123–60060.

– Remove the bolt and replace the transmission breather skirt (vent). See Fig. 2.

Torque: 12 Nm (122 kgf cm, 8.9 fts.-lbf)


3. Install the new automatic transmission with the new torque converter, P/N 35010–60A00–84.

Refer to TIS, 2004 or 2005 model year LX 470 Repair Manual; Automatic Transmission: Automatic Transmission Unit: Removal.

a. Reconnect the breather tube and transfer rear case hose No. 1 to the transmission breather skirt (vent).

4. Adjust the fluid level in the transmission. Refer to TIS, 2004 or 2005 model year LX 470 Repair Manual; Diagnostics: Automatic Transmission: Pre-Check.

5. Road-test and confirm proper transmission operation.
 
Joined
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I know some people don't like transmission flushes and some are ok with them, but is there are reason why you didn't ever do a flush? If you are looking at replacing the transmission do you have anything to lose by seeing if a flush would help before you dive into the replacement tranny? Long shot I know...
 
Joined
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Messages
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I know some people don't like transmission flushes and some are ok with them, but is there are reason why you didn't ever do a flush? If you are looking at replacing the transmission do you have anything to lose by seeing if a flush would help before you dive into the replacement tranny? Long shot I know...

Thanks - that's a good question. Up until now, I had hoped that a transmission replacement wouldn't be necessary. And we were following the instructions of the Lexus Tech, who characterized the drain and fill(s) as an initial step in the diagnosis/fix. Suddenly after 3 drain and fills, my local shop is being told that the next step is replacement.
 
Joined
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Walnut Creek CA
It is your lock up on the torque converter that is slipping. I had the same problem on a Ford truck. Changed to Redline ATF (full flush) and problem would go away for about 40k miles. Then would change again and it would go another 40K miles. Trans was still working at 350k miles when the truck was wrecked. Call Redline Tech assistance and ask their opinion, they were very helpful in explaining why it actually worked. Not just dumb luck
 
Joined
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Interesting, my 2005 was made after that VIN number. Would think there would be others postin with your problem. I owned 2- 2004's and never experienced this condition. Good luck
 
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Location
Oklahoma
Does anyone know what "change" was made to the breather to prevent this? I don't do any water crossings at all, but the TSB makes it sound like big puddles might cause this! I would like to do this to my LC as a preventative.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2003
Messages
259
I had mine repaired under this TSB. I have the post linked below. They put in a reman'd trans. Sorry to see you got hit with tis too.

<<edit -- sorry, I had posted a link to a PM. Here's the message I intended to post.>>

It's in TSB 00105 and is titled Fifth Gear Shudder. It only happened on a certain VIN range for 2004 (and I believe some 2005). The breather was faulty and would allow water into the trans and it would cause slipping as the trans tries to downshift from 5th to 4th.

It's very particular conditions, driving about 30-40, trans is in 5th but then you approach an incline and try to maintain the speed. The trans *should* downshift but it doesn't. The trans rumbles (like driving over really rough asphalt or a rumble strip) and then will finally downshift, especially if you give it gas. Driving around town, it would come up maybe once or twice. Sometimes not at all.

Someone used to have a copy of the TSB posted on MUD but I don't see it any more. I first learned about it from the thread on TSBs: https://forum.ih8mud.com/100-series-cruisers/138386-100-technical-service-bulletins.html


They extended the warranty to 70k miles I believe but if you're seeing the same thing, they might honor this if you bought recently or have a good relationship with a dealer. The key is to be able to reproduce the shudder because I can guarantee the service tech will take it out and say they didn't notice anything. It almost happened to me. 15 minutes driving around with the tech and I was starting to feel like a fool then we finally hit the right conditions. When it happened, the tech immediately moved the gear shift over to "4" and it wouldn't downshift (just rumble/shake the truck) so he knew right away there was a problem.

Good luck --

Mike
 
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Joined
Oct 12, 2008
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Maybe it's time to try a full flush. I'd be hesitant to use anything other than Toyota WS ATF unless someone can help me understand the benefit of a synthetic like Red Line vs. WS ATF for my particular issue.

Interesting, my 2005 was made after that VIN number. Would think there would be others postin with your problem. I owned 2- 2004's and never experienced this condition. Good luck

Like you, I would have thought more people would have encountered this issue given the existence of a TSB. I guess I am one of the few unlucky ones. I don't have a final replacement estimate from my non-dealer shop yet, but I'm dreading it. I'm still wondering if I have any recourse with the dealership where I purchased as pre-certified.

Does anyone know what "change" was made to the breather to prevent this? I don't do any water crossings at all, but the TSB makes it sound like big puddles might cause this! I would like to do this to my LC as a preventative.

Not sure what change was made, but this LX has sadly barely been offroad (at least in the last 6 years) and definitely hasn't been through anything more than road puddles during that time. LX has been in Birmingham, AL for the last 6 years.

I had mine repaired under this TSB. I have the post linked below. They put in a reman'd trans. Sorry to see you got hit with tis too.

https://forum.ih8mud.com/conversations/re-04-land-cruiser.178345/

Syrinxstar - I wasn't able to see the post at the link you provided - received an error message. But a reman'd transmission is my available option as well.
 
Joined
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Anyone have an update on this? My '05 has started exhibiting this behavior in the past 3 weeks. I haven't tried a flush yet.

Anyone have the vin range?

I can't inagine how much replacing the tranny would run. Holy hell.
 
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I'll let you guys know what happens after a drain and fill. I just drove around in the 30 to 40 mph range but with the transmission held in 4th and had no issues. Truck ran fine. hopefully a drain and fill helps.
 
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Brought it to the dealer today and they couldn't replicate the condition. Checked everything and there were no fault codes and the fluid looked good. I didn't have time to drive around with the tech. I'll have to find some morning to schedule an appointment and then drive with them until it shudders. It's frustrating. Decided not to drain and fill at this time. We'll see what happens.
 
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I'm still experiencing the same issues I described in my first post. I haven't taken any additional action - have just been living with the issue. When I'm driving around a residential area in the 30-40 mph range and the issue starts, I just shift over into 4th and that prevents further shudder. My shop gave me an estimate of @ $4500 for a replacement with reman'd trans. They balked when I suggested a full flush with anything other than Toyota WS ATF - as if I'd just asked them to take a hammer to the trans. Although if they're recommending a replacement, I don't see why we couldn't try a full flush first? I'm planning to take it to several other places (dealership, another local Toyota/Lexus shop) for further troubleshooting, but just haven't had a chance to do so yet.

NorthShoreLC - my LX has never thrown a code related to this issue and my fluid looked fine as well. I had a tech in the backseat with their laptop hooked to the OBDII port and was able to replicate the issue for them. No codes or any other visible issues from a code or fault standpoint. When they did the drain and refills, there were no visible contaminants, shavings, etc.

Please keep posting your progress (if any) and I'll do the same.
 
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I have been wondering about a motor mount. This is a northeast truck but it's been babied and garaged and religiously washed so it's fairly rust free. I'll look around.

I have been wondering what the downside is to just living with this for a while. I plan to keep the truck so if it needs a transmission then so be it. But if this is just an annoyance and not a precursor to failure, then I can live with it for a while.

Anyone out there have a shudder that evolved into something worse or a complete failure?
 
Joined
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Can't hurt to drive it. Worse case if it is the transmission you will replace. But based on clean fluid and no codes I think it's something to do with harmonics. Is the big iron weight still attached to the frame? Check all the mounts one could be defective/broken. We have even seen loose engine shrouds cause a vibration at certain RPM's, that can feel like other problems. Make sure your spare tire is snugged up.
 
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You know, I don't see the frame vibration dampener on my truck. Did all years have one? I didn't remove it and the PO didn't (I know the PO) and I doubt the thing just fell off (right?). Problem only started 3 weeks ago after 100k miles. Weird.
 
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Still hunting this down.

In the meantime I'm curious if anyone knows what the fault in the transmission actually is and whether it could just be rebuilt rather than replaced (if this is actually the issue). It's hard for me to believe that when this happens the transmission is just done and the only remedy is a new one. I know that wouldn't be cheap either but the notion that somene couldn't rebuild seems wrong.
 

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