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Delay in engaging reverse - Prado 2001

Ozimandius

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Purchased a 2001 (it says 2002 on the Registration Card) Prado VX, Auto, 3.4 litres, GCC/Middle East specification, with 218000 KMs (genuine, as I knew the seller, and he kept his service history records). After 200 KMs or so, I noticed a delay in reversing. When I shift it to Reverse, and press the Accelerator pedal, the engine revs, but it doesn't reverse. So I have to try again and then it reverses with a bump, this happens when it's cold. I initially thought this may be due to the loose shifter and replacing the bushings, but this didn't resolve the reverse issue. It also feels heavy and underpowered when accelerating, but I figured it's a heavy vehicle with an aging engine and I shouldn't expect much.

If the car has been driven for a few minutes, then the reverse works fine. I had the transmission oil and filter changed at 218285 KMs and it's currently at 218504 KMs. I took it to a transmission specialist, who didn't find any error codes when he connected to the computer, but says the AT oil smells burnt, which means it could be the clutch. Unfortunately, they don't replace individual components such as as the Clutch pack/band, valves, Transmission Shift Solenoid, Torque Converter, Transmission Speed Sensor, Suction Control Valve, Air Flow Sensor, Throttle Position Sensor and only recommend overhauling the complete transmission, which will cost around USD 816 to USD 1360, of which the labour costs USD 435 and is included.

What's baffling is that when I asked the previous owner about this, he said he's been facing this for years, but randomly, and never bothered doing anything about it. According to the receipts I received from him, he had transmission work done in 2015 that cost around USD 1000 (exactly 6 years ago), after the Toyota Dealer recommended replacing the whole gearbox assembly for slow acceleration from idle and a dashboard light at 159403 KMs. He doesn't remember what work was done, however. It's standard practice in Dubai to replace the whole assembly even if there's an issue with a single component.

After reading about similar issues from other forums that discuss the Prado 90 series, is it possible to check any of the components I mentioned above without opening up the whole transmission? I've read various posts where an individual component or sensor was identified and it resolved the issue, but none of them mention a complete transmission overhaul.

Considering I purchased this car less than a month ago, I'm losing interest in it and so is the Missus.
 

AdventureWagon

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Probably not the news you wanted but reverse going is is usually the first sign of these gearboxes needing a rebuild. Unfortunately it's not easy to check the state of things like clutch wear without dismantling the tranny.
 

Ozimandius

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That sucks. The labour rate here in Dubai is generally lower than the US or UK, so I'm surprised at the labour charges. Isn't that a lot?
 

AdventureWagon

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TBH that is a steal for a tranny rebuild IMO. Here in Australia I'd expect to see no change from USD2k.

They are fairly simple transmissions though certainly compared to modern autos.
 

Ozimandius

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I've seen Prado 90s go for insane prices (compared to Dubai standards) in Australia. These are for anywhere between 5000 AUD to 9000 AUD here. I'm getting it inspected to see if something can be done physically otherwise a rebuild seems to be the only solution. One of the garages I spoke to will use Exedy clutches and other Raybestos parts, I think, since they say Toyota doesn't make transmission parts for the Prado any more. Perhaps they're not being sold in Dubai, but I know it shares many parts with the 4Runner and Hi-Lux.
 

AdventureWagon

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Yes that's about the price the 90 series goes for here, most of them are the 3.4 5VZ petrol, there are some 1KZ diesels about but they always command a premium price.

Finding either engine one with less than 300,000km on it is hard.
 
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