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looking to buy spyder with SMT how to tell if its almost stuffed

968 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  wiso
Hi guys I am looking at buying a spyder here in Australia, all toyota released locally here were the SMT variants. I have read alot here about people having transmission problems and what happens when they go, but is there anyways I can look at the tranny when buying basically to tell if its on the way out? things to look for that are worn in it, shift feels/slippage/etc? is there ways you can tell the condition by the fluid? or any other signs to look for?

before reading here I thought they were an auto tranny so I thought I could tell by looking at the fluid colour and smell for good indication. but that doesn't sound possible being that its actually a manual. So this means the box has standard manual gearbox oil inside it? and the hydraulics run via the SMT/Dot 4 fliud?

also if I do find some that have clutch slippage issues does it become the similar to a manual clutch replacement I can take the box off change the clutch and plate and put the box back on or is it much more complicated?

I am highly experienced mechanicly with AW11 mr2's but as mine was just written off I am looking for a newer replacement.

I am not keen on buying one with a dud tranny considering how hard they are to fix.

thanks any advise would be great.

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were abouts in australia are you located?
i brought my spyder 3 years ago and its clutch was going, but the smt covered it up until it was completely stuffed
if your close to me i got an obdII scanner than can look for codes, but the only way is to really test drive it and listen for problems like crunching gears/jerky shifts
From my understanding changing the clutch is just a tad bit harder than a normal manual and yes the gearbox oil is inside like a normal manual
cheers mate. I am in Liverpool Sydney.

I have heard you can buy a scanner reasonably cheap, but you needed a special scanner for the transmission codes? any truth to this.

no idea on the transmission my guess is that the scanner would work for both, i'm in the campbelltown region and my work is not far from you.
dunno about getting a "cheap" scanner i had one and it wouldn't even connect to the car, i believe our obdII port is slightly different to USDM ones
You may have seen my Spyder around liverpool as my rc shop is there, but you'll always hear it long before you see it:lol:
Also there is basically no aftermarket support for the spyder in oz, there is a small shop in lansvale that can get bracing and the some coilovers
google "Al Palmers", he is the man to go to in oz if you got mechanical problems that you can't fix
yeah I know of Al palmer, but he has no knowledge of the SMT in these. got a mate with an SMT spyder he is good mates with Al and Al could not help him when his tranny went belly up. Rumour has it there is some guy in campbeltown/camden that has good knowledge on the SMT if anything goes wrong, thats all I know.

I know the RC shop there ;)
interesting, i have not heard of that fella in the ctown/camden area
the rc shop in liverpool ain't as good as it used to be, shame too as i refuse to buy major components from that campbelltown one
i thought al knew about the SMT, is his one a regular manual?
Only real way to tell if the SMT is stuffed is by driving it.....

Take a look underneath -- any evidence of hydraulic fluid leaking is enough to make you walk away.

Open the driver's door and listen.... you should hear the hydraulic pump running for 20-30 seconds. Longer than that could indicate a problem building pressure. Or it could just be old hydraulic fluid... but I assume it's still pretty warm in Sydney, so that shouldn't matter (matters when it gets very cold, though).

Take notice -- is the shift selector in "N" while parked? Could be a minor bad sign (electrics hosed enough so that you can't shift from R or S to N at startup). Could be coincidence, though.
Next, with clearance in front of you, try to start the car while the shift selector is in 'S' -- it shouldn't let you (some do, it's only a minor annoyance, but it is a minor electrical issue).

Assuming all that works, next step is to... go slow. Make sure there's no shudder or hesitation going into 1st, then 1st to 2nd.

BTW... other than finding a leak, none of the above is conclusive.... you can have shudder and need only a simple re-learn. Or it could indicate a big issue.

Any CAN-capable code reader should be able to get you stored codes.... I think.
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Like MikeV said.

From behind the wheel you will be able to spot 99% of the typical issues we experience; these are are issues with sensors, ECU, or need of a relearn.

This is unacceptable behavior:

- Slight gear grinding in some transitions during hard/soft acceleration/deceleration.
- Accelerating slow from a stop sign would cause a jerk (like when a young driver drops the clutch) or a chirp of the tires.
- Shudder/Stalling when driving too slow.
- Creep: when you release you foot from the brake, the clutch is slightly engaged.
- Some clutch slippage under hard acceleration.
cheers guys thats some good advise there. nice little tips

the one for opening the drivers door to hear the pump is that something you do with the engine running, or with the key in the on position with the engine off it should still do the same?
cheers guys thats some good advise there. nice little tips

the one for opening the drivers door to hear the pump is that something you do with the engine running, or with the key in the on position with the engine off it should still do the same?
Engine off, key anywhere :)
When you open the door, the pump should start.
I can only assume it's the driver's door down under, seems it would be upside-down from ours.....
Biggest one to look out for is creep, it's the only one that is purely caused by SMT system problems and not just a worn clutch. The car shouldn't move when you first put it in gear, if does I would walk away.
Engine off, key anywhere :)
When you open the door, the pump should start.
If the car has been parked for some time. If the pressure has build up and the engine has been shut off recently and you open the drivers door the pump don't necessary start because there is pressure enough. In that case sit in the drivers seat and turn on the ignition without starting the engine and move the gear selector repeatedly from S to R a few times and you should hear the pump start and after some time stop again. It's hard to hear the pump working when the engine is running while sitting in the front seat.
Thanks very much guys. All this has helped significantly.
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