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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow RAV4 people! I have an issue if you guys can help me pin point. After lurking this forum for several months, I've decided to post for help as there seems to be no concrete answer on the problem with my transmission that I have.

So first, mine is a 2012 V6 Sport 4wd. Picked it up mid last year only because my brother also has the same exact model, and I loved his car so much (his was bought brand new at the time) that I decided to get one too (but bought used).

Now, before I picked up mine, I've driven my bro's rav4 several times, so I know how it feels: great pickup from the sensitive throttle and very responsive in changing gears on the freeway when that passing power is needed. My particular car has decent throttle response (in comparison with my bro's) but more notably the transmission feels slugglish when downshifting gears. It also feels like the response time takes a bit longer to downshift gears, and when it does, it feels more jerky. At this point, I usually have to press the throttle about 50% vs 30% with my bro, and his car shifts smoother. This is definitely noticable when I'm trying to put the passing power down on the freeway, and feels like I have a 1-second delay compared to my bro's rav. Any idea on the culprit on why I'm having such issues?

What I've tried:
Reset ECU by disconnecting the battery overnight
Changed transmission fluid to toyota ws - all I did was drain and fill, still the same feeling
Swapped mass airflow sensor with my brother's rav - thought it might be engine related but still same feeling
swapped throttle pedal with my brother's rav - also thought to be engine response issue
Used bluetooth obd2 and scanned for any codes - no faults found


I'm starting to suspect it can also be ECU related, can they be easily swapped? (lol I know probbaly a bad idea)

Any help is appreciated. Thanks everyone!
:thumbs_up:
 

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Interesting! I bought my RAV4 for the exact same reason except the new one was my brother-in-laws. After driving his I had to have one.

For your issue the first thing I'd do is at least two or three more drain & refills since they only dilute the old fluid. A pumped-out flush is best if you or a transmission shop can do it.http://www.walmart.com/ip/ACDelco-19287699-Mobil-ATF-3309/47624001?sourceid=csesh01cdb8d57ca6734cb2a816978cbf46a672&wmlspartner=shoppingcom&affcmpid=3397781976&tmode=0000&bcfg=1c950586dbc26f371eff84c33254acb8&veh=cse&affjs=1&affwt=popupBlank
Next stop would be a transmission shop probably to change a solenoid. Fortunately I have one I can trust not to rip me off in Coventry, RI.
 

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Interesting! I bought my RAV4 for the exact same reason except the new one was my brother-in-laws. After driving his I had to have one.

For your issue the first thing I'd do is at least two or three more drain & refills since they only dilute the old fluid. A pumped out flush is best if you or a transmission shop can do it. According to my research Mobil 3309 is the same fluid and is available from Walmart. ACDelco 19287699 Mobil ATF 3309 - Walmart.com
on the mobil website it states it's a replacement for Type IV transmission fluid for Toyota, didn't see anywhere mention of WS? are you sure it's compatible?
 

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on the mobil website it states it's a replacement for Type IV transmission fluid for Toyota, didn't see anywhere mention of WS? are you sure it's compatible?
No sure how I tracked that down so I'd probably have to re-research it to be 100% sure. Did it since I'm thinking of replacing mine which is now at 125K.

A quick recheck finds WS is Mobil 3324, not 3306 which Walmart doesn't carry so I'm deleting that link
 

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MyEeek, I'd go with the doc's idea, do a couple more drain-and-refills. I know people have gone back and forth on here about drain and refills vs flush and transmission fluids that are supposedly compatible with Toyota WS. IMHO, if you're trying to fix a trans problem, don't introduce another variable by not using WS. So, a couple more d&r's over a few thousand miles using WS and if it's still there, a visit to a trans shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the advice guys, I'll definitely try changing the transmission oil a couple more times and see how it goes. I'll report back.

In case a solenoid needs to be changed, is it costly in labor, and is there more than one solenoid to watch out for?
 

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In case a solenoid needs to be changed, is it costly in labor, and is there more than one solenoid to watch out for?
Don't know the answers if it gets to that but you'd need a trans shop that will level with you and not just say "Rebuild, leave your CC." Hopefully it won't get that far since I've been here six years and never heard another problem like yours.
 

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Good news everybody! :D
After reading two threads by 33k! (this thread & this thread) about techstream, I decided to try to reset the tcm myself and got a mcvi cable from ebay for about $20. I was successfully able to reset the memory for the transmission shift points and did a test drive for the ecu to get use to the newer shift points.

And what do ya know, success! My rav now feels as powerful as my brother's rav, and even the throttle response feels much improved! :D

Thanks for the suggestions everybody. I still have 4 quarts of toyota ws laying around, so when I get another change, I was going to do another drain/fill since I have no idea what kind of fluid the previous owner put into it. :cheers:
 

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am looking for the mcvi cable to reset my 2007 rav4 tcm. i am having the same issue. 3rd and 4th gear will not engage.
 

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am looking for the mcvi cable to reset my 2007 rav4 tcm. i am having the same issue. 3rd and 4th gear will not engage.
Try Ebay for the mini mcvi cable:

Just make sure you know what you are doing in Techstream. If you are having shifting problem it is more than likely your transmission fluid is worn out. How much mileage is your transmission fluid from the last change? It could be damaged if your fluid has never been changed.
 

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It could be damaged if your fluid has never been changed.
Toyota claims that their transmission fluid is "lifetime".

That being said, on my 2001 Mercury Sable I am doing drain/refill at each 50k miles (now at 180k flawless) and I will do the same with my 2011 RAV4 (bought used at 70k miles). Personally I never trust the OE fluid, it's more of a rip-off. Draining my (original?) WS fluid just confirmed that - looked dark and oxidized.
Other people recomended Valvoline MaxLife synthetic, and looking at the specs, they seem right. Did two drain/refill by now, I'll drive a bit more and do it again. If is red, I'll change the filter too.
 

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Toyota claims that their transmission fluid is "lifetime".

That being said, on my 2001 Mercury Sable I am doing drain/refill at each 50k miles (now at 180k flawless) and I will do the same with my 2011 RAV4 (bought used at 70k miles). Personally I never trust the OE fluid, it's more of a rip-off. Draining my (original?) WS fluid just confirmed that - looked dark and oxidized.
Other people recommended Valvoline MaxLife synthetic, and looking at the specs, they seem right. Did two drain/refill by now, I'll drive a bit more and do it again. If is red, I'll change the filter too.
The Life time claim is just a marketing gimick from Toyota. I think Toyota though that was a good idea to convince new buyers that their cars would last a long time with little maintenance. They even went to the trouble of eliminating information when to change the ATF. Luckily for Canada we do have the Toyota Supplement Manual that do tell us when to change the ATF.

WS ATF does turn black quick which is why you should not keep the fluid too long. ATF do break down and gets thinner which causes the transmission parts to wear out. ATF is to provide lubrication and cooling for the transmission. When the ATF is dark the oil no longer does its job properly. Switching to synthetic ATF (MaxLife, Redline, Amsoil etc) will provide better protection and longer intervals. If you tow, carry items on your roof rack, drive on mountainous roads or dusty condition you should replace the ATF at 25,000 miles. Normal ATF changes should be done at 60,000 miles. This information is based on the Toyota Supplement manual.
 

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I have a friend that has a Sienna and an RAV4 and he thinks that he will never have to do replace transmission fluid. Because Toyota is superior to any other car and me by doing that... I am just looking for trouble.
When I send him a pic with my black fluid (70k miles) he replied "make sure you put back Toyota fluid!".

That's the mentality that was cultivated by Toyota in US, with paid activists on Internet forums, to compete with US brands! Honda later followed the same path of Internet influence.
Maybe Toyota were better in 80'-90's when their profit margins were larger compared with US cars made by greedy unions, but today there is no difference. Honda are just horrible, especially on their lower end models.

My opinion is that, for any cars are made after 2010-2012, the fuel economy gimmicks (CVT's, direct injection, low friction pistons, biodegradable wiring, low viscosity lubricants) and added complex electronics will lower a lot the useful life of those cars. My 30 year old Ford and Hyundai are still being driven today (not in a rust belt state), I am hopeful for my 2011 Kia and 2011 Toyota will last that long with maintenance and care. Newer cars that that? I would not bet on.
 

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The RAV4 trans. fluid issue presents a conundrum for owners - conflicting info, but it would appear that if Toyota seriously believes that fluid should be changed they would have made it much easier to do a complete change. But owner reports suggest that the fluid should be changed periodically. Nothing in my U.S. Toyota maintenance book about changing, but DL175' Post #12 about Toyota's Supplement manual is interesting.
 

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None of the automatic transmission cars are provided with means to completely drain the fluid. Always the fluid from the torque converter will remain in the torque converter during a drain.
Only big trucks have a window in the bell-housing that provides access to a bolt in the torque converter for a full drain.

This is Ford (F150, Explorer V8):


 
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