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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

I recently bought an '02 rav4 2wd 4-speed automatic with 105k miles on it. I'm getting some significant transmission whine only in the first gear; it's not unbearably loud, but definitely the most noticeable sound in the cabin. As of now, it runs perfectly smoothly, but i'm concerned this might be an indicator of imminent problems in the future. I've done a transmission fluid drain and fill with T-IV atf fluid, but that didn't stop the noise.

I noticed that in 2013, the previous owner experienced the notorious ECM issue and had it replaced at a dealer, but not before driving "100-200 miles" on it. The dealer at the time did do a test drive after, but in the service log only mentions it ran smoothly after the ECM replacement.

Is a loud first gear on an U241E transmission something to be concerned about? And if so, how much would it cost me to get this fixed?

Thanks!
 

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Can't answer your specific question but am wondering if you put the shift lever into "2" for takeoff do you still have the noise. Some transmissions skip first gear that way. If that works it would be a nuisance to shift manually every time but might save a big repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response. I tried using "2", but unfortunately, it starts in first gear still.
 

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Hi Everyone,

I recently bought an '02 rav4 2wd 4-speed automatic with 105k miles on it. I'm getting some significant transmission whine only in the first gear

Thanks!
Is the sound a high-pitched, electronic sound, like "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!", almost crackly?
 

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Is the sound a high-pitched, electronic sound, like "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!", almost crackly?
Not particularly. It's actually quite a smooth, rich sound, like an electric car. When I accelerate, the tone rises with the RPMs, then drops and disappears as it shifts into second gear. Same as when I slow to a stop. When it shifts from 2nd to 1st, you can hear the exact reverse happening.
 

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Okay, it sounds like you might have a slightly different issue than I had, but here's a recent post I did regarding my sister's '01 -- check it out and see if its anything similar:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/88-4-2-faults-fixes/270705-01-rav4-transmission-success-story-p0770-fix.html

That post is long and has a lot of information that you hopefully don't need, because that Rav4 was in much worse shape than yours (you aren't getting any codes, right? You don't have any reason to suspect your torque converter, either, right?). But what you might do, that's mentioned in that post, are these easy steps:

1.) Disconnect the battery and clean -- by sanding -- both ends of the ground connection. That is, remove the ground both from the battery post, and from the chassis. Clean the ends by removing any corrosion with medium-fine sand paper (120 or so). Replace the chassis bolt or terminal if they are too corroded.

2.) Disconnect the engine ground that you can see on the center-passenger side of the car, as you are looking from in front; it is the connection that grounds the engine to the chassis, with simple bolts on either end (it is the only engine ground you will be able to see from the front). Clean (sand) both ends of this connection, as well, or if its very corroded, just replace it with a new ground (you can use any ground of equal or large gauge; you can get a 19" lawn mower ground at Walmart for $4 that works perfectly).

3.) Re-connect the battery, and start the car and see if that made any difference (notice: the idle might seem very boggy after you do this because the ECU has to re-learn every time you disconnect the battery; it will be back to normal after a 10 minute drive or so).

4.) If you still hear the noise, then I would drop the transmission pan and replace the filter. Install a new pan gasket and refill with new Toyota T-IV ATF. The torque on those pan bolts is a very low value -- just 67 INCH-lbs -- don't over-tighten them because they will just break right off. Torque on the drain plug is 35 ft-lbs.​

Hopefully that will solve your problem. If you need any more information regarding the filter change, don't hesitate to PM me. It is very good that you're getting on this problem right away -- hopefully you will pin it down with these simple repairs. Also, if you decide the drop the transmission fluid pan and the bolts look rust, soak them with PB Blaster for a couple days before you attempt to remove them to prevent them from shearing off.

Do you have proof that the ECU was replaced? If not, then look at the ECU and verify that its the newer part number, and not the original ECU part number. Don't freak out if its NOT a replaced ECU -- you can have your old ECU professionally repaired and re-flashed for under a $100, if it comes to that.

Please keep us updated! I know how you feel, and hopefully we can pin it down because you Rav should have many more years to give if its just got 105K mile on the clock.
 

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Okay, it sounds like you might have a slightly different issue than I had, but here's a recent post I did regarding my sister's '01 -- check it out and see if its anything similar:

That post is long and has a lot of information that you hopefully don't need, because that Rav4 was in much worse shape than yours (you aren't getting any codes, right? You don't have any reason to suspect your torque converter, either, right?). But what you might do, that's mentioned in that post, are these easy steps:

1.) Disconnect the battery and clean -- by sanding -- both ends of the ground connection. That is, remove the ground both from the battery post, and from the chassis. Clean the ends by removing any corrosion with medium-fine sand paper (120 or so). Replace the chassis bolt or terminal if they are too corroded.

2.) Disconnect the engine ground that you can see on the center-passenger side of the car, as you are looking from in front; it is the connection that grounds the engine to the chassis, with simple bolts on either end (it is the only engine ground you will be able to see from the front). Clean (sand) both ends of this connection, as well, or if its very corroded, just replace it with a new ground (you can use any ground of equal or large gauge; you can get a 19" lawn mower ground at Walmart for $4 that works perfectly).

3.) Re-connect the battery, and start the car and see if that made any difference (notice: the idle might seem very boggy after you do this because the ECU has to re-learn every time you disconnect the battery; it will be back to normal after a 10 minute drive or so).

4.) If you still hear the noise, then I would drop the transmission pan and replace the filter. Install a new pan gasket and refill with new Toyota T-IV ATF. The torque on those pan bolts is a very low value -- just 67 INCH-lbs -- don't over-tighten them because they will just break right off. Torque on the drain plug is 35 ft-lbs.​

Hopefully that will solve your problem. If you need any more information regarding the filter change, don't hesitate to PM me. It is very good that you're getting on this problem right away -- hopefully you will pin it down with these simple repairs. Also, if you decide the drop the transmission fluid pan and the bolts look rust, soak them with PB Blaster for a couple days before you attempt to remove them to prevent them from shearing off.

Do you have proof that the ECU was replaced? If not, then look at the ECU and verify that its the newer part number, and not the original ECU part number. Don't freak out if its NOT a replaced ECU -- you can have your old ECU professionally repaired and re-flashed for under a $100, if it comes to that.

Please keep us updated! I know how you feel, and hopefully we can pin it down because you Rav should have many more years to give if its just got 105K mile on the clock.
Thank you so much for the detail! To answer all your questions: I'm not getting any codes. The car honestly shifts way more smoothly than my perfectly fine '97 v6 camry, so I don't believe it's the torque converter. Also, I found out about the ECM replacement by registering my VIN on the Toyota website; it was done in 2013, about 30k miles ago. The replacement ECM has a part number of 04009-39642, which luckily seems to be one of the good ones.

I'll definitely try all these! I just read your other post and it was also very informative. Thanks again for the advice!
 
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