1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

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Old 11 Dec 2004, 11:37 pm   #1 (permalink)
RonB
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Default 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

This is my first post, caused by a problem.

We have a '99 Camry with about 96,000 miles. Until recently the car's
service had been spotless since purchase. Not a single repair since it left
the showroom. Routine maintenance and nothing else.

About 1-1/2 weeks ago we were traveling on the highway. I turned, started
to accelerate and heard a harsh 'clunk' and the car skidded to a stop -
locked up tight. With help from some other motorists, we rocked the car,
got it loosened up and was able to limp into a local town. We then
trailered the car back to our home in Andover, KS.

After describing the incident to four separate transmission shops they all
came to the same conclusion. Differential failure caused by grease leaking
and leaving the lower unit dry. I mentioned never seeing a spot under the
car and they said you don't. A seal between the differential and
transmission sections of the transaxle fails allowing grease to migrate into
the transmission. This leaves the differential dry but you might notice
higher than normal fluid on the transmission dipstick. Apparently this is a
very common Camry bug that often pops up in the 90,000 to 130,000 mile
range.

Be warned - that dipstick reading doesn't tell you everything about
transaxle fluids. If it ever comes up high or suddenly looks darker be
suspicious. Also check the levels via the plugs on the case (this might be
of marginal use since apparently this can occur and lead to failure pretty
quickly).



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Old 12 Dec 2004, 01:49 pm   #2 (permalink)
Jason James
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Default Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE


"RonB" <rbrogan@cox.net> wrote in message
news:cOQud.93767$EZ.90484@okepread07...
> This is my first post, caused by a problem.
>
> We have a '99 Camry with about 96,000 miles. Until recently the car's
> service had been spotless since purchase. Not a single repair since it

left
> the showroom. Routine maintenance and nothing else.
>
> About 1-1/2 weeks ago we were traveling on the highway. I turned, started
> to accelerate and heard a harsh 'clunk' and the car skidded to a stop -
> locked up tight. With help from some other motorists, we rocked the car,
> got it loosened up and was able to limp into a local town. We then
> trailered the car back to our home in Andover, KS.
>
> After describing the incident to four separate transmission shops they all
> came to the same conclusion. Differential failure caused by grease

leaking
> and leaving the lower unit dry. I mentioned never seeing a spot under the
> car and they said you don't. A seal between the differential and
> transmission sections of the transaxle fails allowing grease to migrate

into
> the transmission. This leaves the differential dry but you might notice
> higher than normal fluid on the transmission dipstick. Apparently this is

a
> very common Camry bug that often pops up in the 90,000 to 130,000 mile
> range.
>
> Be warned - that dipstick reading doesn't tell you everything about
> transaxle fluids. If it ever comes up high or suddenly looks darker be
> suspicious. Also check the levels via the plugs on the case (this might

be
> of marginal use since apparently this can occur and lead to failure pretty
> quickly).



That's a nightmare of a story,..but I have a question: doesn't the automatic
trans and diff combination use the same auto-trans-fluid.? This is the case
with the previous model.

On cars like the early Passat which were FWD, but had an inline
engine/transaxle arrangement, the diff was Bevel-drive, which meant it *had*
to use high-prssure diff oil just like any RearWD car. Now I had an old
Passat which used to leak diff oil out via the speedo-drive (the way it did
this was an exercise in amazing 'obscura' mechanics). It never went entirely
dry and it did provide protection against diff oil getting into the
auto,..how? By lowering the diff-oil- level well below the seal which
stopped the interchange of those very different oils.

The shaft from the transmission was offset relative to the diff-crown wheel
centre (which is normal for all 'hypoid-bevel drives) towrds the top of the
diff, not the bottom. This helped to further separate the two units.

Jason


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Old 12 Dec 2004, 02:45 pm   #3 (permalink)
RonB
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Default Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

>
> That's a nightmare of a story,..but I have a question: doesn't the
> automatic
> trans and diff combination use the same auto-trans-fluid.? This is the
> case
> with the previous model.


No. I have been told by several transmission shops that the case is divided
into two parts - transmission and differential. The transmission uses
standard automatic transmission fluid and the differential uses 70-8 wt gear
grease. When the seal between the two is compromised the grease migrates
into the transmission.

I had the transmission filter replaced and new automatic transmission fluid
just a couple of months prior to the failure. After the problem, I checked
the automatic transmission dipstick, cold, and the level was actually above
the 'Hot' marking. It was also darker than expected because the grease was
in with the fluid.


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Old 12 Dec 2004, 08:52 pm   #4 (permalink)
ROBMURR
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Default Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

Hmmm...my 97 Camry has the same
trans/differntial as your 99 I think ...
it uses Dexron fluid in both of them. NOT grease.
Check your owners manual to make sure.
The 4 cylinder model has a seperate cavity for the differential that is drained
and filled seperate of the trans...when you take it
in to have the trans fluid changed they will
9 out of 10 times NOT change the diff. fluid
out of ignorance or laziness.

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Old 13 Dec 2004, 08:49 am   #5 (permalink)
RonB
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Default Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

"ROBMURR" <robmurr@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20041212215204.09653.00001330@mb-m20.aol.com...
when you take it
> in to have the trans fluid changed they will
> 9 out of 10 times NOT change the diff. fluid
> out of ignorance or laziness.



Yep - That is exactly what happened to us. Ours is a 4 banger. I certainly
didn't know the difference and I am a bit of a car bug. I checked the
transmission dipstick on a regular basis and was going along fat, dumb and
happy. Now $1,800 poorer.


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Old 15 Dec 2004, 06:40 am   #6 (permalink)
nospampls2002@yahoo.com
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Default Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

That sounds closer to the truth. Someone neglected to change the
differential fluid.
There is a warning label on the transmission dipstick cautioning to
also service the differential.
Something similar happened to me, but without the drastic result.
When purchasing a used car I always check and replace the gear oils
since they are frequently neglected.
The differential fluid came out looking like chocolate milk - should be
light red color.
Switched to Mobil 1 fully synthetic ATF, and has been fine ever since -
have drained it at service intervals and looks as fresh as it went in.
The odd part is that the prior owner furnished me with service records
clearly showing the differential fuild had been changed. There was a
separate charge broken out on the itemized receipt for labor and also
for the differential oil - charge for parts.

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Old 17 Dec 2004, 11:47 pm   #7 (permalink)
Comboverfish
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Default Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

>>>>>I had the transmission filter replaced and new automatic
transmission fluid
just a couple of months prior to the failure>>>>>

What has usually happened when a diff failure occurs shortly after
servicing a A140E transaxle is that the jiffy-mechanic drained the diff
at its drain plug but did not fill it through its exclusive fill plug.
Its very unlikely that your failure occured due to simply "not changing
the diff fluid".

The fluid that comes out of these diffs (1.3 Quarts Dextron III) is
usually fairly clean / red as it doesn't get overheated or mixed with
friction material like the fluid in the trans housing. Therefore if it
was left intact, you would probably never have a problem for a REALLY
long time.

This is all to common practice and you may consider a small claims
dispute with the shop if you are sure this is the cause. It is
probably going to be difficult to prove, but it would help if you have
a complete service history papertrail and you never service the car
yourself. Also if you've always used the same shop you have the
leverage of taking your business elsewhere, and loyal service could be
a plus in court.

>>>>>After the problem, I checked

the automatic transmission dipstick, cold, and the level was actually
above
the 'Hot' marking. It was also darker than expected because the grease
was
in with the fluid.>>>>>>

I hope you checked it with the engine running, right?
The dark fluid is due both to trans temperature and to black friction
material swimming in the fluid. Unless you drain and fill the unit
several times (2.5 Quarts Dextron III with pan removal) or use a
flushing machine it will still look VERY dark if it started out dark.

To sum up, I'm not on a crusade against fellow mechanics, just ones who
don't do their job properly. It's a real common scene with the
venerable 4cyl. Camrys and I get sick every time I see it happen. Good
luck.

Toyota MDT in MO

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Old 19 Dec 2004, 06:39 pm   #8 (permalink)
toyotawiz
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Default Re: Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

check it running . it sounds like they drained all of the fluid and filled
it from the top but didnt use the fill plug on rear of the diff.

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Old 20 Dec 2004, 07:40 am   #9 (permalink)
RonB
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Default Re: 1999 Transmission/Differential Failure - EXPENSIVE

What happend in my case is a couple of seals failed - one in tatters the
other compromised in one area. The differential grease migrated into the
Dextron in the transmission part of the case actually raising the Dextron
level a bit. Lower end starved and failed. This occured about 2 months
after a fluid and filter change and I know the Dextron level was ok because
I checked it after the change. The mechanic, who I totally trust, said he
added a small amount of grease to the lower end but it actually looked ok.

I have known this mechanic for a long time and he is one of the most honest
guys I know, so I have to believe this was just a premature failure of the
seals.

"Comboverfish" <comboverfish@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1103348870.558892.167140@f14g2000cwb.googlegr oups.com...
>>>>>>I had the transmission filter replaced and new automatic

> transmission fluid
> just a couple of months prior to the failure>>>>>
>
> What has usually happened when a diff failure occurs shortly after
> servicing a A140E transaxle is that the jiffy-mechanic drained the diff
> at its drain plug but did not fill it through its exclusive fill plug.
> Its very unlikely that your failure occured due to simply "not changing
> the diff fluid".
>
> The fluid that comes out of these diffs (1.3 Quarts Dextron III) is
> usually fairly clean / red as it doesn't get overheated or mixed with
> friction material like the fluid in the trans housing. Therefore if it
> was left intact, you would probably never have a problem for a REALLY
> long time.
>
> This is all to common practice and you may consider a small claims
> dispute with the shop if you are sure this is the cause. It is
> probably going to be difficult to prove, but it would help if you have
> a complete service history papertrail and you never service the car
> yourself. Also if you've always used the same shop you have the
> leverage of taking your business elsewhere, and loyal service could be
> a plus in court.
>
>>>>>>After the problem, I checked

> the automatic transmission dipstick, cold, and the level was actually
> above
> the 'Hot' marking. It was also darker than expected because the grease
> was
> in with the fluid.>>>>>>
>
> I hope you checked it with the engine running, right?
> The dark fluid is due both to trans temperature and to black friction
> material swimming in the fluid. Unless you drain and fill the unit
> several times (2.5 Quarts Dextron III with pan removal) or use a
> flushing machine it will still look VERY dark if it started out dark.
>
> To sum up, I'm not on a crusade against fellow mechanics, just ones who
> don't do their job properly. It's a real common scene with the
> venerable 4cyl. Camrys and I get sick every time I see it happen. Good
> luck.
>
> Toyota MDT in MO
>



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