Torque converter chuggle.. (1 Viewer)

Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
126
Location
Oregon
I have what is called torque converter chuggle, apparently. I've been dealing with it for over a year after buying this vehicle. It is a 1996 cruiser with 90k, all fluids are mobil 1 synth, the TB has been removed and cleaned twice, and there or no vacuum leaks or cracks in the rubber intake boot. The motor seems to idle smooth. Also the timing is dead on, with the circuit shorted its at 3 degrees.

What seems to be happening is that when the transmission is in overdrive and the torque converter locks up, which usually happens at about 50-55 mph, I get a chugging from the motor under light acceleration. This chugging goes away at about 60-65mph, or if you just stomp on it, is undetectable. Almost like a lean condition. I have been trying to figure this problem out for some time, and have been trying to avoid any spendy repair costs.. Dosnt seem like its hurting the cruiser, but for what I paid for the thing, and how annoying it can be when the speed limit is 50mph, i'd really like to fix it.. Plus it dosnt exactly impress people riding with me.

I did take the cruiser to a transmission guy, who was actually familiar with these tranny's. He drove the cruiser and told me the transmission seems fine and that the motor seems to be missing right after the converter locks up. The thing is, I initially thought it might have been an ignition problem and have had the almost entire ignition system replaced with all OEM parts. That includes wires, cap, rotor, and denso plugs.. No luck.. The other strange thing is that is has never thrown a misfire code, but does and has seemed to run a little rough..

Before I go any further I want to add that I did have the nasty, and yet very famous P0401 when I first purchased the vehicle. I updated the modulater to the newer one with the blue sticker then the light went away for about 8 months, then came back. The cruiser also would not pass the egr test on the scanner, so I busted out my FSM and starting doing some of the vacuum tests within. I applied vacuum to the EGR valve directly and it opened. Not only did it open, but after I put all the hoses back my cruiser passed the egr test on the scanner tool and hasnt thrown the code in over 5 months.. ????? kinda wierd, and possibly my first suspect.. Could the egr cause this type of problem?

I continued to do more research and found (searching with "converter chuggle", this apparently being the technical term?) many people on the net, not cruiser owners in particular (or at all for that matter) that have had this same problem. In fact, I think I am the only one on this board that i have found with this issue (story of my life). Anyhow, I read about this problem being cured once by replacing O2 sensors, and another time they found that the injecters werent balanced and it was causing the problem.. Can the injecters be tested without yanking them out? Several bottles of Redline later and no change other than slightly smoother engine and more power. My O2 sensors seem to be within range according to my scanner and the specs within the FSM..

At least I feel that I have things narrowed down, a little... maybe.. Any help, comments, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.. thanks..

:confused:
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
126
Location
Oregon
Does anyone know anything about the injector "hot flushes" they are referring to in the link that was posted above? I wonder if Toyoya or someone else in my area even offers this type of service.... Is it expensive?
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2005
Messages
158
Location
Twin Falls Idaho
I seem to have exactly the same problem. If I try to cruise at 55 it feels like I'm running out of gas. It kinda chugs. But if I jump on the throttle it will go fine. Its accelerates slowly until it hits 2600 rpm and then it feels like a turbo kicks in and it takes off. It simply won't give me any power under 2600 rpm. It won't hold 65 in overdrive and on flat ground but will do 80 easily in third. I've also noticed a slight miss at idle. I was thinking torque converter as well. I thought maybye it was locking up too soon and not unlocking until the rpms got high enough or something.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
1,858
The 3FE suffers from lack of power, not a hiccup in acceleration :).

I use the ECT button if I actually want to accelerate.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
126
Location
Oregon
They arent this bad... and it's not the torque converter, only a problem that occurs when the converter is locked... My cruiser certainly can hold 65mph and dosnt seem to be lacking power. I have a bit of a miss at idle too, just barely. If you werent holding the wheel, you probably wouldnt feel it, but it shows itself at 50-55 mph... Also, dosnt seem to happen as bad when the motor is cold (makes me think mixture). I have replaced almost all of the ignition system over the past year, with no luck.. Even ran bottles of injector cleaner to only get a bit more power and what seems like smoother acceleration, but my "chug" is still there. Which is why I think it might be O2 or EGR crap (as I had the P0401, and it mysteriously went away).... hopefully its not a faulty injector or something... =(

Dosnt seem like anyone has much input on this subject though....
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Messages
1,858
You don't get much more input than listing all the things that have been done and then indicating that a hot flush fixed the problem and restored motor performance. Many people have this problem. It was discussed ad infinitum on the 80scool list before it become a bulletin board.
 

CJF

Joined
May 31, 2005
Messages
7,013
 
 
 
Land Bruiser said:
Also, dosnt seem to happen as bad when the motor is cold (makes me think mixture). QUOTE]

On a 3FE, at least, you can get into the AFM to adjust the mixture if you really want to; several folks on the 3FE list have tried this recently (either to deal with light load pinging or sluggish performance) and reported good results.

Personally I wouldn't go this route till after a full tune-up with new filters, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, yada. Also test the TPS and AFM.

Bad wires and such can cause anything from intermittent missing to what you're describing; see this thread still on page 1.

https://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?p=805097#post805097

Curtis
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
126
Location
Oregon
I have replaced the wires, cap, rotor, plugs, battery, o2 sensor, cleaned the TB, and set the timing with the diagnostic port shorted with a paperclip... What is strange, is that this miss or stumble that I feel at an idle, only seems to happen when Im in park (or is much more noticable). When I put it in drive it dosnt seem to do it, other than the wierd chugging/vibration thing at 50-55. Could a dirty EGR valve be causing this? It also dosnt seem to have the miss until it warms up. I had the P0401, which suddenly dissapeared after I applied vacuum directly to the valve one day (still has me concerned). I have 98k right now, and have never had the EGR valve replaced, just the modulator...
 

concretejungle

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Oct 27, 2003
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9,632
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North Cadillac
 
 
 
The only things i can think up are one, remove and replace with injectors with ones that have been cleaned and tested (man-a-fre sells them with a core charge). After that i would advance the timing a hair.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
126
Location
Oregon
I was hoping I wouldnt have to go there, but maybe your right. Ive sent numerous bottles or redline through with no luck. The problem does seem to be intermittant though? One other thing I failed to mention is that the motor seems to be pinging as well.. Pulling the injectors does not sound like fun.. :frown:
 

concretejungle

SILVER Star
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
9,632
Location
North Cadillac
 
 
 
I know what you mean. One funny thing, and i have no clue why/how it worked out this way, but i was having trouble with pinging. Actually, if you search you will find that in the hot summer months pinging is almost normal for the low RPM range on these motors. Anyways, i started running premium fuel trying to fix the problem. It helped a little but hurt my wallet way worse. So i switched back to regular gas. When i did this i unplugged the battery to "reset" the computer. Now the truck runs just as good on regular gas as high octane. I don't know if the computer learned about the regular gas and adjusted the timing or what, but it worked.

I have just over 170,000 miles on the clock and am planning a new head gasket some time. At that time i will pull the injectors and replace with new/rebuilt ones from Man-a-fre.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
126
Location
Oregon
One more thing I noticed, and also why I changed the O2 sensor, is that when I hook up the OBDII scanner I notice my short term fuel trim dropping down beneath 0% to like -3% to -4%(which the FSM states it should be between 0%-20%). Also the voltage of O2 sensor #1 is between .04-.8 volts (FSM says it should read .1-.9 volts which #2 does just not #1). Neither of these are to spec according to my FSM "normal conditions". I replaced the O2 sensor and now both are reading as low as .035 volts and my short term fuel trim is still dropping down beneath 0%. Any ideas?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Messages
265
Location
Bainbridge Island
 
 
 
When your short term fuel trim goes negative, it is comparing it to long term. short term is just that short term, now you are going to ask " how short "? well shorter than long term.. ;]-


Basiclly it means that you are using less fuel in the short term.. any more and I am guessing you could google short term and long term fuel trim, it is universal not just toyota specific.

Sounds like your motor has some excess carbon on top of the pistons and the only tru way to get rid of it is by hand work, I bet the back of the valves on the exhaust and intake side have very hard carbon build up. If you think that a magic potion purchased at the autohouse will clean it you are in for a nice surprise when it is taken apart.

When I pulled my head and valves the intake valves had crap that had to be removed with the bench grinder/ wire wheel effectively giving the head a mild port and polish.

Best advice would be to have the injectors cleaned, I used a little place in WI that will do a 1 week turn around, search my archives and you will find it. approx $120 when all was said and done, not including my labor of love.
 

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