2001 Lexus transmission catches while in reverse

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: December 28, 2012 - 3:52 PM
Q I'm having a problem with the automatic transmission in my '01 Lexus ES with 125,000 miles on it. The reverse gear hesitates when I shift into reverse, catches, hesitates again, then catches and moves the car. The problem is not present when the engine is cold but appears after warm-up. It hasn't gotten worse over the last year but is especially bad when backing up an incline. A transmission mechanic suggested I use reverse gently but it would likely need a rebuild. I did have the transmission serviced several months before the problem started. Any thoughts?

A Was the transmission fluid and filter changed at a dealership or independent shop? Toyota specifies a specific transmission fluid, ATF Type T-IV, for this vehicle. This fluid is not the same as Dexron III, perhaps the most commonly used automatic transmission fluid (ATF). It is quite possible that the symptoms of delayed engagement and slippage are the result of using incorrect fluid. If the wrong ATF was used, I'd suggest a complete flush and refill with the proper ATF T-IV fluid and, if the issue continues, adding 1/2 can of SeaFoam Trans Tune to the fluid -- before deciding on a rebuild.

Q I own a 2003 Buick LeSabre with 75,100 miles on it. We recently took a road trip from Minneapolis to Maine. When traveling at 65 to 75 miles per hour using cruise control, if I needed to slow down or stop for road construction, the transmission downshifted smoothly, but when I increased the speed back to 65 to 75 mph the upshift would result in a "clunk" at each shift. After stopping for a break and starting to travel again, the upshifts would be normal. Also, around town there is no problem. Does heat play a role?

A Very possibly. If the transmission is overheating at highway speed, shift qualify will be affected. Make sure the radiator and grille opening are clear of debris that could cause higher transmission operating temperatures. My ALLDATA automotive database pulled up several GM bulletins addressing concerns with the transmission valve body. Have a scan tool check for any DTC fault codes that could related to the issue. If none are found, and the transmission has never been serviced, it might well be worth a full transmission flush and refill. This would also be the time to inspect the valve body if it is suspect.

Q A friend just picked up a 1996 Dodge Ram Van 2500 with the 5.2-liter V8 and only 48,000 miles on the clock. He got it back to Minnesota and is wondering about improving traction in the snow. Are there any limited-slip rear-end options for this vehicle? If so, where would be the best and most cost-effective places for us to source one?

A Adding or swapping to a limited-slip differential can be a costly upgrade, particularly for a 17-year-old truck. This van could have one of three rear axle setups -- Chrysler 8 3/8-inch or 9¼-inch, or a Dana 60 9¾-inch differential. Considering that new Trac-Lok carriers for the Dana unit start at around $500 plus installation, I'd start shopping the automotive salvage and recycling yards.

MOTORING NOTE

Betsy Glennon writes, "I suggest that the writer with the 2009 Chevy Cobalt check to be sure the inflation pressure in the spare with the sensor is adequate. If riding with one in the vehicle, the warning may be detecting low pressure in the spare. This happened in my daughter's Toyota RAV -- all pressures in the four on the road were adequate, but the spare in back was low."

Betsy's note raises a good point. If your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure sensor in the spare tire, low pressure in the spare can trigger the warning light on the dash. But not all vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitors in the spare tire, including this Cobalt. If the vehicle is equipped with a full-sized spare, it may well have a tire pressure sensor.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 0 2nd Prd 13:14
Buffalo 4
Carolina 0 2nd Prd 10:24
Columbus 1
Pittsburgh 0 2nd Prd
Detroit 0
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close