A new transmission? Really? It's a Toyota?
March 5, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

My pickup is a 2000 Toyota Tacoma V6 4X4 with an annoying problem of popping out of first gear both under load and when not under load. This is apparently a known issue with Tacomas as documented here. I've replaced the bushings per the linked article except for the white one on the end of the shift lever visible in the second photo of step four. This part is on order but I'm not optimistic. What are my options?

The truck has just over 100k miles on it and I've owned it since late 2000 when I bought her with 27K on her. In addition to being kind of attached to this truck my guess is that I'd be spending at least $10kUS for a comparable replacement for which I wouldn't know the maintenance history. I'm assuming I'll get at least another 100k miles out of this truck, barring accidents. So, I'm figuring it makes sense to replace or rebuild the transmission. However, I have a bad habit of paying to repair trucks that I really should scrap instead. I paid cash for the truck ten years ago, so I'm comparing replacing the truck entirely versus repairing it. I do not have the wherewithal to replace or rebuild the transmission myself.

What should I be looking for here? Seriously, I'm dumb about this. Do I want a dealer to do the work or a transmission shop? What should I have replaced while the transmission is out? The clutch pad is a no brainer, but what else should I get at while I'm in there? Should I buy a new transmission or a salvage transmission? How long should I expect the truck to be in the shop?

Best of all, is there an easy and cheap fix I'm overlooking? That would be ideal. I'm planning on owning the truck for at least another decade, so that's the time frame for amortizing costs.

I'm in the Bremerton, WA area, if anyone has recommendations for specific shops.
posted by stet to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Best answer: You can see me in the Instructables comments; I had the same issue except that the shifter was popping out of 3rd as well.

I replaced BOTH bushings and it solved the problem for me. It was seriously less than 30 dollars and less than 30 minutes. I used the Delrin ones from Marlin Crawler. This was my order:

1 x Heavy Duty Shift Lever Socket - $6.00
Transmission: All other common Toyota Applications

Heavy Duty Shift Lever Ball Seats - $10.00
Application: All Other Toyota Applications (White)

You may need slightly different ones. Also, I changed my transmission fluid for the synthetic recommended in the YotaTech forums, which also made a difference.

Your truck is a good, solid truck and you can reasonably expect that it is only halfway through its life. Repair the transmission and keep driving it!!
posted by fake at 10:55 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd have the dealer do it, but it will be more expensive. I really don't trust many independent transmission shops, especially with a manual. I doubt you'd find a new transmission, most everything will be rebuilt (remanufactured). If you go with a used one, some places won't install it. If you do, use a site like Car-Part to find the lowest mileage one available.

You should have the pressure plate, disc, throwout bearing, and rear main seal replaced. Possibly the front transmission seal if you throw in a used transmission.
posted by narcoleptic at 10:56 AM on March 5, 2012

Now, I hear you that you're not optimistic about replacing one more bushing fixing the problem. If it turns out that the bushing isn't the issue, you have a wear issue - most likely some bearing or the synchros are worn.

In that case, you will want to get it diagnosed and then repair, rebuild, or replace it. Even if that costs, say, $1000 for the tranny plus labor, you're doing well. You definitely cannot replace the truck for that money.
posted by fake at 11:00 AM on March 5, 2012

Response by poster: I am, I fear, temperamentally not optimistic. Good to have my inclination to repair rather than to replace the truck vindicated, as well as a list of things to replace is I do need to swap out the transmission.

The parts I've got so far have run me about $60 from the local dealership, which is cheap compared to paying a shop to eliminate the bushings as a problem. Fake, do you think it's worth swapping out the factory bits for the Marlin Crawler bits? Well, on reflection, it's worth trying the Marlin Crawler parts before taking it to a shop.

If that doesn't work, any thoughts on which of the repair/rebuild/replace option makes sense?
posted by stet at 11:44 AM on March 5, 2012

It looks to me like that spring which is around the shift lever between the retaining cap and the shift lever ball controls the friction between ball and bushing.

If all else is insufficient, you could increase that friction by stretching the spring.
posted by jamjam at 11:59 AM on March 5, 2012

Response by poster: Well, I'll have the parts from Marlin Crawler here tomorrow. I'll update with the results. Thanks all.
posted by stet at 6:56 PM on March 5, 2012

I think it's worth replacing both parts before doing anything more serious, and it looks like you're on the right track.
posted by fake at 9:06 AM on March 6, 2012

Response by poster: Finally got around to replacing the bushings and found out what I hoped to not find out which is that the bushings didn't fix the problem. The Marlin Crawler ones are noticeably stiffer than the original and factory replacement and, I have to say, have tightened up the shifter action considerably.

Time to call my local dealer I guess. Boo.
posted by stet at 11:17 AM on March 24, 2012

Response by poster: For anyone interested, as of this morning there were four unused 2000 tacoma V6 4x4 transmission in the united states. One of them is now mine. Installed, it will be about $3,000. For a rebuild, the estimate was $2,000 possibly going up depending on what they find when they open up the transmission. I went with the new transmission as I'm planning to keep the truck until it dies. Probably in fifteen years or so.

Also, I got a 10% off by applying (and being declined!) for the dealerships 6-month financing.
posted by stet at 2:50 PM on April 4, 2012

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