ECM/Transmission problem for 2001-2003 RAV4 - Page 43 - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#421 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 07:19 PM
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UPDATE: ECM Adapts Reset Recommended!

***ECM Adapts Reset Restores 100% Shifting!***

Ok, thankfully after lots of prodding, the local dealership was willing to play along and reset the ECM adapts for me after hearing that I repaired the ECM on my own with mostly good success, except for the 2-3 shift.

I should note that on the way to the dealership, I did find that the shift from 2-3 was pretty crisp as long as I was climbing up a slight incline. I noticed this on the way to the dealership and this gave me some hope. Continuing on...

The Toyota Tech that came out with his laptop scan tool was still convinced that the 2-3 shift problem was a common symptom of the ECM problems and I don't think he nor the Service Manager was convinced this would fix anything but they were at least willing to humor me. Thank goodness.

So, after the Service Manager jokingly told the Tech to, "Hurry up!" to which the Tech responded, "Hey, it takes 45 seconds to complete!" the adapts were reset and it looked like the computer may have showed instructions to drive the car for 15 minutes in stop and go traffic to reset the learn values (but I was reading over his shoulder and couldn't get a good look). This is what the Tech told me to do as well.

I left the dealership lot and 1-2 was smooth, but sadly the 2-3 was just as jerky as before and I was almost going to give up hope but decided to give the ECM time to "learn." I made steady accelerations, traffic permitting, holding the gas pedal with gentle pressure and letting the transmission shift as it pleased.

About 7-8 minutes into it, I started to question if it felt a little bit better. No joke, by 15 minutes, the 2nd-to-3rd gear shift was very smooth. A few minutes later, the transmission felt as smooth as ever.

The Service Manager wants a call back in a week since I think the's still skeptical of all this "fixing" since it's not what Toyota-on-high recommends to them but I'm confident!

Cliff's Notes/Final thoughts: I recommend that if you choose to have your ECM fixed, or choose to fix it yourself, please be sure to have the ECM adapts reset. I hope you have better luck getting this done at your Dealership than I did at mine but try to speak directly to the Operations/Service Manager and explain your situation. It truly won't take them more than 5 minutes to plug in and perform the reset for you but good luck convincing them of that, ask them to confirm with a Tech. I know they'll try to tell you all about liability issues and other non-sense but be persistent and don't give up.

Would the ECM have learned around the 2-3 jerky shift, given enough time? Maybe so, but it sure didn't feel good for the transmission and maybe it could damage it? Do yourself a favor and reset the adapts. Please note that you can't reset "just the transmission adapts table" like some repair service postings make it out to seem. To my knowledge and the whole ECM has to be reset. The Toyota technician balked at the "low idle" warning that some people note after resetting the adapts stating that you'd only have low idle if the throttle body was gummed up so take that worth a grain of salt (I was looking for the low idle to be a true indication of a reset and I don't think it is a good indicator is what I'm saying). Please also note that you may also be told as you call around that you can reset the ECM by pulling the negative battery cable. I did not find this to be true at all. The adapts appear to be on non-volatile memory and neither pulling the ECM out of the car nor using the "erase" feature on my OBDII scan tool reset the adapts.

I truly hope this helps at least one other poor, unfortunate soul that experiences this whole ECM/Transmission snafu and Toyota refuses to help. Don't give up on "the solder fix" until you reset the adapts (or choose a repair service where you are confident they reset the ECM)!
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#422 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by WRXFanatic View Post

I truly hope this helps at least one other poor, unfortunate soul that experiences this whole ECM/Transmission snafu and Toyota refuses to help. Don't give up on "the solder fix" until you reset the adapts (or choose a repair service where you are confident they reset the ECM)!
Thanks for the excellent write-ups! FYI, you can probably do the transmission or ECM reset yourself using the Techstream software and MVCI cable. At least I can on my 2008. The software and cable can be had for $29:

2012 Newest V7 11 010 Mini VCI V7 for Toyota Cable Software Tis Techstream | eBay

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#423 (permalink) Old 01-21-2013, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamallah View Post
Hi,
I purchased a Rav4 in July 09 knowing that it was having tranny/shifting problems, however, I was unaware of the history of this common problem and figured I was in for a tranny replacement.

Vehicle symptoms:
- Would work great for approx. 1 day after re-flashing (unplugging computer)
- Hard shifting and double-shifting between 2nd/3rd gears
- Shifting problem gets increasing worse in a matter of a day causing problems in shifting in other gears
- A bit of darkness to the tranny fluid from the shifting problems but I don't believe my clutch is burnt or damaged.

This is my story:

As the Rav4 would work for about a day each time the computer was unplugged we figured it must be the computer (after reading forums such as this) since it would shift fine during the "re-flashed" period.

After reading the feedback for "chkengine" on eBay (he states he can fix the shifting problem in the computer as says it is a hardware, not software problem) I decided to send my computer away (risky) since it was cheaper than the alternative options (replace ECU, replace tranny). Before sending it I had confirmed with him that the 3-year warranty would apply for me as well since I am located in Eastern Canada and he is located in Brooklyn, NY. Cost was $250 US Buy It Now with $30 US shipping, plus I paid $32 CDN to ship it there (not included in sale price). Turnaround time was about 4 days to arrive in NY, repaired and shipped out from Check Engine, Etc Mechanical Shop the same day it arrived, and took about 4 days for me to receive it back (shipped July 23/09 - received back Aug 4/09).

Day 1 (Aug 4/09): So I got my computer back yesterday and installed it at around 5:00PM. Check Engine stated to take the drive for a harder-than-normal accelerated drive for 5-7 miles. So I took a scenic 75 km drive - shifted great for the duration. After I got back, I drove around downtown to see how it performed at intersections - worked great.

Day 2 (Aug 5/09): Drove my car to work today - still working great.

My theory is that if the car runs great for a full week that the problem is considered "fixed". It's still too early to say but so far so good.

Next steps: Will be replacing my tranny fluid and checking the tranny screen to make sure there's no large particles (which would mean tranny was damaged from all the hard shifting, etc).

Feel free to email me at pamallah@pei.sympatico.ca to get an update on how the car is working. I had read a lot of posts here where people would say their Rav4 was working great for the first day/two after having it repaired the same way mine was but no one reported any long term status. So please email me if you want to check in and see how its working in case, like the rest, I forget to post an update.

****UPDATE**** (September 8, 2009)

For all the people that have been asking how my Rav4 ECU is working here's the update. I just returned Saturday from driving my car half way across Canada (PEI to Ottawa to Niagara Falls to North Bay and back to PEI) --- 4710 KM! pretty much driving non-stop. The drive to Ottawa was 18 hours there (only stopping for gas) and 16 hours back (only stopping for gas). Rav worked excellent!!! Absolutely no problems. Weather was hot -- still no problems. If that doesn't prove the problem is fixed nothing will I'm hoping the problem will never come back but so far so good. I have complete faith in it.


*****UPDATE****** (May 14, 2010)

Ravie is still working great! Over the winter it would be slow to do the first shift but after that no problems. Now have 195,000 km on it! ..... 20,000 km more than right after my ECM was fixed!


******UPDATE***** (July 7, 2010)

No problems. Now at 199,000+ km. Just came back from a short trip where we drove it through 3 provinces
***UPDATE Jan 21, 2013*** Since I've been having a lot of people contact me regarding my ECM I figure I would give another quick update. I still have my Rav and now have over 290,000 KM on it (it had approx. 170,000 KM on it when I sent my ECM away for repair). Rav is still working excellently -- I've had no issues or recurrencenes with the tranny acting up. Best money I ever spent was sending it away instead of taking my car to a transmission shop. Feel free to contact me at my email address above if you have any questions.
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#424 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 01:07 PM
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Hello everyone!

So I'm having the same issues as everyone else, harsh shifting, 2nd to 3rd gear shifting problems, etc. I was able to diagnose my vehicle and received code P0750 which seems to fall in line with the usual ECM suspect.

I'm weighing my options right now as to how I'm going to resolve the issue and everyone seems to point to Check Engine in Brooklyn for the repairs. I guess I'm a little skeptical sending my ECM off to a random repair shop.

I've noticed that there are a couple vendors on Ebay selling replacement ECMs, but again that leaves me skeptical as well.

Has anyone had experience with buying a replacement ECM off of Ebay? I guess if all else fails I'll take a risk and send my ECM off to Check Engine.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!
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#425 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 01:17 PM
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If you use any services I would certainly recommend Sergei @ Check Engine.

I was extremely skeptical about sending it as well but when it was returned to me and I installed it my vehicle everything is 100% back to normal.
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#426 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 01:26 PM
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I'm a skeptic, but after all the positive comments on Sergei I opted to go that route. I sent my unit to him the same day Hurricane Sandy hit NYC. He suffered from flooding (4 feet of water in his shop), and my delivery by USPS was delayed by 2 days, but he still managed to get one back to me immediately, despite all the other issues he was dealing with. I plugged it into my car and haven't had a tranny hickup since. Given Sergei's proven record, I'd be more worried about dealing with an unknown on eBay.
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#427 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 01:32 PM
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Additionally, if you do get your computer fixed, some shifts for a day or two will feel a little funky but this is just the computer relearning and things will smooth out.

Also I don't know your mileage or year but in the states it can be fixed for free (10 years or 150,000 miles) but I'm guessing that is expired now since it's 2013...good luck.
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#428 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for the quick responses guys! I really appreciate all the info.

I'm just out of the extended warranty... I have an 2002 Rav4.

I'll probably give Check Engine a shot and see what happens! I'll give a status update later on as well. Thanks again.
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#429 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 01:38 AM
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I sent my ECU on friday to "chkengine" and he fixed it and shipped it out to me on Saturday. Looking forward to have in by tomorrow and see how it goes. I have 2002 Rav4 with 69,xxx miles. Just last week I felt a harsh engagement on reverse. I was aware of the problems with the ECU/transmission so I only drove home and pulled out the ECU and sent it in the next day. No other noticeable problems with the transmission so hopefully this solves it. Has really low miles looking to get a whole lot more out of drive train. I will post when ever I receive it and test it out. Fast service
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#430 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by noe619 View Post
I sent my ECU on friday to "chkengine" and he fixed it and shipped it out to me on Saturday. Looking forward to have in by tomorrow and see how it goes. I have 2002 Rav4 with 69,xxx miles. Just last week I felt a harsh engagement on reverse. I was aware of the problems with the ECU/transmission so I only drove home and pulled out the ECU and sent it in the next day. No other noticeable problems with the transmission so hopefully this solves it. Has really low miles looking to get a whole lot more out of drive train. I will post when ever I receive it and test it out. Fast service
service with "chkengine" was great and fast, I sent it on Friday and received it on Monday. I hooked it up and went for a test drive. works just fine. the learning process was quick. all the gears went in smoothly right away, it took a little longer to idle properly because I was not doing full stops. But it idles and drives just like before. the only problem I had before was harsh engagement on reverse and that is solved now. I did not drive much after that to prevent mechanical damage to the transmission. I recommend his service.
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