Toyota U241E Transmission information

Messages
14
Hey guys, I've lurked around here for years researching oil and going on deep dives on the engine and oil side there. Now I'm doing some research on automatic transmissions and fluid because I have my old car back from my brother that is having a transmission issues and I want to get it going again. I've done some drain and refills and just put in a new filter, and, for the most part, it drives fine. What us was doing was not going into drive and left my brother stranded a couple times so he ended up getting a new car. This car has 176k miles on so its definitely got plenty of use for us out of it, but I don't believe its time to junk it. Its too clean and stll runs fine for the most part. I've got it driving pretty good with only the occasional hiccup of not engaging but I can usually get it to engage eventually and then it will drive fine for the most part except for maybe a slight flare sometimes.

My question is this: are there any forums or places where I can find more information on this transmission and the valve body and what eveything does and how it works to get the car moving and changing gears. I know there are plenty of very knowledgeable guys around here and was just looking to pick somebody's brain on this thing from someone who really knows them. It seems like automatic transmissions are like trying to find out how magic tricks work. No one seems to know or isn't talking. Most places just want to replace the tranny (dealership). I can't seem to find much information on these in general. I found some great stuff on Sonnax's website. Sor for instance, upon dropping the pan and poking around I did notice that two of the solenoids seemed to be very loose in their bores. In my mind they should be tighter since they are regulating fluid pressures in the bores and channels in the valve body and whatnot. But in looking at pics of new solenoids they don't seem to have orings or anything, they just slide in and are held with bolt in clips, so maybe thats normal. Long story short I'm not convinced this transmission is trashed, dealer said the forward clutches were gone, but I dont get that when it does engage it drives fine for the most part. Its not engaging and then slipping when you're on the gas. They said it wasn't throwing any codes either. If the transmission is throwing a code the MIL will light right? Or can it have codes stored that aren't a hard fault that can be read like engine codes sometimes?

If anyone can be of any help or point me to somewhere to look online I'd appreciate it.

-Mike
 
Messages
5,335
Location
Paramount, California
Hey guys, I've lurked around here for years researching oil and going on deep dives on the engine and oil side there. Now I'm doing some research on automatic transmissions and fluid because I have my old car back from my brother that is having a transmission issues and I want to get it going again. I've done some drain and refills and just put in a new filter, and, for the most part, it drives fine. What us was doing was not going into drive and left my brother stranded a couple times so he ended up getting a new car. This car has 176k miles on so its definitely got plenty of use for us out of it, but I don't believe its time to junk it. Its too clean and stll runs fine for the most part. I've got it driving pretty good with only the occasional hiccup of not engaging but I can usually get it to engage eventually and then it will drive fine for the most part except for maybe a slight flare sometimes.

My question is this: are there any forums or places where I can find more information on this transmission and the valve body and what eveything does and how it works to get the car moving and changing gears. I know there are plenty of very knowledgeable guys around here and was just looking to pick somebody's brain on this thing from someone who really knows them. It seems like automatic transmissions are like trying to find out how magic tricks work. No one seems to know or isn't talking. Most places just want to replace the tranny (dealership). I can't seem to find much information on these in general. I found some great stuff on Sonnax's website. Sor for instance, upon dropping the pan and poking around I did notice that two of the solenoids seemed to be very loose in their bores. In my mind they should be tighter since they are regulating fluid pressures in the bores and channels in the valve body and whatnot. But in looking at pics of new solenoids they don't seem to have orings or anything, they just slide in and are held with bolt in clips, so maybe thats normal. Long story short I'm not convinced this transmission is trashed, dealer said the forward clutches were gone, but I dont get that when it does engage it drives fine for the most part. Its not engaging and then slipping when you're on the gas. They said it wasn't throwing any codes either. If the transmission is throwing a code the MIL will light right? Or can it have codes stored that aren't a hard fault that can be read like engine codes sometimes?

If anyone can be of any help or point me to somewhere to look online I'd appreciate it.

-Mike
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
Transmissions do wear out.
Start with a new filter and complete fluid exchange. Use a bottle of lubegard red.

If the new fluid and filter doesn't help, then troubleshoot or replace. 176k is plenty miles on a used/abused/neglected transmission. Find a lower mileage salvage yard from the same year/make/model.





Sonnax emailed me back about an inquiry into their zipp kits and stated there is a possibility the valve body is worn beyond a drop in solution. They recommended a remanufactured valve body.
 
Messages
1,693
Location
VA
The Transgo product descriptions linked below might be helpful.


 
Messages
1,757
Location
TX, USA
There is also a lot of seller selling JDM transmission from Japan.
A used JDM transmission are taken off when the cars are thrown away in Japan due to mileage, IIRC around 100K km which is about 60k miles.

If you live in a big city, they usually have somebody that sell this with installation shop.
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
I was looking around at used transmissions, can get one with less miles pretty cheap, cheaper than a rebuilt valve body. This car also burns some oil so honestly I think I have to come to grips with the fact that this car could be a write off at some point. Good news is today it drove better than ever. Kicked right into drive everytime and drove just fine. We'll see how it does over the next couple weeks. Im thinking all the new fluid has finally cleaned things up enough to restore mostly proper operation for now. Its made me paranoid though a bit and I'm currently doing drain and refills on my 185k mile Lexus LS430. That car has had fluid services done but is probably overdue cause I dont have any records beyond the first owner who always took it to the dealer.
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
welp...it wouldn't go in drive today. It did once cause I moved it, then it wouldn't go in drive when I tried to move it back. No check engine light...so am I right to assume that I could have an accumulator problem and not a solenoid problem? A faulty or stuck solenoid would throw a code right? Thinking of buying a used tranny and just swapping over the valve body and getting it on down the road.
 
Messages
4,930
Location
Southeast
I’m not very experienced here but I believe this points closer to a solenoid or other control problem than an accumulator, which is just a passive piston pressed back by a spring, like a tiny little pressure tank. accumulators are within the valve body and the solenoids are probably bolted to the VB - I think that’s how aisin does it. If you’re ok with losing this transmission, you could drop the pan and the whole valve body and pull the solenoids and clean what you see. Solenoid could simply be stuck. I wonder if there’s a transmission flush you could idle HOT with for an hour or two that might break some junk loose?

a real transmission person can offer better advice for sure, but since you aren’t certain ans your willing to just replace it, there might not be any harm in trying.

this transmission does not have a real filter.... I believe it just uses a screen. It’s possible it’s gummed up internally.
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
Yeah the SLT and SL1 solenoids seem very loose in the valve body, I'm not sure if thats normal or not. I've already changed the filter, it is an actual filter, not just a screen. The old one (original) was pretty dark and full of crud so I did replace it. I"m going to put some Lubegard in it tomorrow and see if that helps before deciding what to do next. I mean it's funny cause I moved it to check the oil and trans fluid level in my garage and it engaged and drove fine. Finished up and pulled my truck in to do a couple things to that. So couple hours later I go to move cars around again and go grab some coffee and chase down an oil leak and it wouldn't go in drive again. I mean it will probably work tomorrow and work for a few days and then do it again.
 
Messages
1,287
I was looking around at used transmissions, can get one with less miles pretty cheap, cheaper than a rebuilt valve body. This car also burns some oil so honestly I think I have to come to grips with the fact that this car could be a write off at some point. Good news is today it drove better than ever. Kicked right into drive everytime and drove just fine. We'll see how it does over the next couple weeks. Im thinking all the new fluid has finally cleaned things up enough to restore mostly proper operation for now. Its made me paranoid though a bit and I'm currently doing drain and refills on my 185k mile Lexus LS430. That car has had fluid services done but is probably overdue cause I dont have any records beyond the first owner who always took it to the dealer.
Your LS430 is one of the best cars ever made - and I hate to admit that because I owned a LS460 - but that LS430 is legendary in reliability. I’m actually warming to the LS500 a little bit now, after a lot of resistance, but I’ll have to wait five years before the prices come down enough where I can afford one. My LS460 made it to 179,000 miles before the oil consumption just got to be too much...and the brake actuator went, needed tires, a power mirror, door panel was worn out, control arms failed for the second time, needed brakes. And I would have repaired all of it if not for the oil consumption.

I would absolutely keep up with the transmission fluid on that thing.
 
Messages
363
Location
VA, US
My Hyundai Sonata from 2000 has 200k miles (is driven by my daughter now) and it shifts and drives smooth, with no issues like using oil between changes. Those miles are mostly city driving, hard usage, stop and go, not highway.
But I do drain/refills at about 60k miles on all my cars. And all of them are V6 engines, no over-stressed I4 trying to do a V6 job.

For a Toyota to start to fail at 176k miles, shows how much hype is around this brand "reliability". Some owners imagine that, being a Toyota, doesn't need any maitenance.

PS: I do also own a 2011 Toyota RAV4 (my daily driver) but I am realistic about it's reliability and need of maintenance, I'm not a fanboy.
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
My Hyundai Sonata from 2000 has 200k miles (is driven by my daughter now) and it shifts and drives smooth, with no issues like using oil between changes. Those miles are mostly city driving, hard usage, stop and go, not highway.
But I do drain/refills at about 60k miles on all my cars. And all of them are V6 engines, no over-stressed I4 trying to do a V6 job.

For a Toyota to start to fail at 176k miles, shows how much hype is around this brand "reliability". Some owners imagine that, being a Toyota, doesn't need any maitenance.

PS: I do also own a 2011 Toyota RAV4 (my daily driver) but I am realistic about it's reliability and need of maintenance, I'm not a fanboy.
I've had plenty of experience with bulletproof toyotas, but this one aint it I guess lol. My wifes corolla had almost 200k on it when we sold it, and the new owner is still cruising all over town with it. This Scion though, I guess just didn't fair well. In talking to a couple transmission companies that specialize in valve body parts and rebuilds, these particular transmissions have issues with wear on the aluminum valve bodies over time. Probably not helped by not keeping up with fluid changes on the transmission. This car also eats oil, one of the models that had the oil burning 2.4s from 2008-2009. It didn't qualify for the tsb ring and pistion replacement when my brother took it in years ago. Its been running and burning oil for over 100k. Not sure where it all goes, I mean it doesn't smoke, cat hasn't burned up and it runs pretty good but you have to check the oil ALOT! I've put like 2 quarts in it since I've had it. at my house. I think a valve body would fix my transmission issue but dang it uses a bunch of oil too. I think it's time to put her out to pasture lol
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
Your LS430 is one of the best cars ever made - and I hate to admit that because I owned a LS460 - but that LS430 is legendary in reliability. I’m actually warming to the LS500 a little bit now, after a lot of resistance, but I’ll have to wait five years before the prices come down enough where I can afford one. My LS460 made it to 179,000 miles before the oil consumption just got to be too much...and the brake actuator went, needed tires, a power mirror, door panel was worn out, control arms failed for the second time, needed brakes. And I would have repaired all of it if not for the oil consumption.

I would absolutely keep up with the transmission fluid on that thing.
Absolutely. I wanted one forever and bought this one like 3 years ago with about 159k on it. Fixed a few things and its been awesome since. Over 180k on it now and is a pleasure to drive and own. I havent been driving it a lot lately because I got a Tundra, so I've been thinking of selling it. But then I drive it and I want to go ahead and do the second timing belt change, maybe put some new shocks on it and keep on cruising. It doesn't burn any oil, drives smooth and will get up and go on the highway. Definitely one of the best cars Ive ever owned.
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
Update: on the 17th I drained a little coolant to add a bottle of red lubeguard and used my techstream to rest my transmission ecu memory. I've driven it every day since then and the car has gone into drive everytime. It still acts a little funny when it's dead cold but runs pretty good after warming up. Once warm it will occasionally have a flared shift or a just a general soft shift between gears but overall it goes forward and that is a bonus. Level looks spot on right now. I'm sure it still needs a valve body ultimately but it drives pretty good right now and hasn't left me stranded anywhere. It will probably get sold off as a running/driving beater for cheap. I don't really need it and have an extra truck to sell already. I don't need four cars! lol.
 
Messages
1,287
Update: on the 17th I drained a little coolant to add a bottle of red lubeguard and used my techstream to rest my transmission ecu memory. I've driven it every day since then and the car has gone into drive everytime. It still acts a little funny when it's dead cold but runs pretty good after warming up. Once warm it will occasionally have a flared shift or a just a general soft shift between gears but overall it goes forward and that is a bonus. Level looks spot on right now. I'm sure it still needs a valve body ultimately but it drives pretty good right now and hasn't left me stranded anywhere. It will probably get sold off as a running/driving beater for cheap. I don't really need it and have an extra truck to sell already. I don't need four cars! lol.
You ever call the dealer and ask if there is a factory reset for this transmission? I know that for never models 2010 and up, that if you’re experiencing valve body symptoms...shifting flares and weird shifts, do NOT let someone put a valve body in it...it needs a quick reset and it’ll go right back to normal. I’ve heard that from Toyota techs. And it’s a quick simple easy fix. Might just be worth a call if you know a reliable dealer in the area. It’s a shot in the dark, but you never know.
 
Messages
17,990
Location
NH
It's moving now. Time to sell for cheap (disclosing that the trans acts up sometimes) and call it done. Even if you replace the trans, is the bump in asking price worth whatever time and cost it will cost you?
 

mykvr6

Thread starter
Messages
14
You ever call the dealer and ask if there is a factory reset for this transmission? I know that for never models 2010 and up, that if you’re experiencing valve body symptoms...shifting flares and weird shifts, do NOT let someone put a valve body in it...it needs a quick reset and it’ll go right back to normal. I’ve heard that from Toyota techs. And it’s a quick simple easy fix. Might just be worth a call if you know a reliable dealer in the area. It’s a shot in the dark, but you never know.
I did do a reset with toyota techstream. Its gone into drive everytime since then. still acts a little funny from time to time but have been driving everyday since the 17th.
 
Top