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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2004 with 60 K miles and SMT. I had postponed changing the SMT fluid since it was a slight pain, and needed to clean out garage for some working space.

First there were no issues with the SMT before starting the fluid change over. No leaks no issues with the function of the SMT

I read several instructions regarding the changing of the fluid.

I selected the turkey baster method and used Dot 4 with just a slight amount of CASTOR OIL to fill the reservoir. (yes not motor oil)

First thing to note. the plastic cap on the reservoir had a rubber gasket which would allow liquid to escape but would not let air into reservoir.

Here is the problem: looks like I might have overfilled the reservoir a little beyond the high level marked on the side.
I read that ok If you put too much in , it will simply leak out. And it did ..

When I let the car sit over night the volume overflows the tank, When I allow the pump to run (approx 30 seconds) the fluid level drops in the tank, but not below the low mark.
I can re-attach the air cleaner and can take it for a short ride. The car shifts without issue, but when I stop the car it will not allow me to take it out of gear. (which strands me for at least an hour)

I ran Techstream on it and no error codes are generated and the Accumulate pressure would run from 39.50 to 52 when pump starts pumping.

Shouldn't the shift pressure be greater than 0? Is that stopping the gears from being able to shift to and from Neutral?

Any ideas what is causing the issue I am encountering?
 

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You should have ~20 bar shift pressure when initiating a shift change then once it’s completed, after several seconds, the pressure should go to 0 bar.
Are you saying, the shift lever (cabin shifter) is locked in position or that the selector shaft (at the transmission) isn’t moving?
Is it possible that brake fluid got into the master solenoid when it overflowed? It is a sealed unit but there is a space where the wires enter the solenoid. I’ve actually siliconed that area on mine. That solenoid sends fluid to the GSA for shifting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Are you saying, the shift lever (cabin shifter) is locked in position or that the selector shaft (at the transmission) isn’t moving? -- the shift lever (cabin shifter) is in the locked position.

Is it possible that brake fluid got into the master solenoid when it overflowed? It is a sealed unit but there is a space where the wires enter the solenoid. I’ve actually siliconed that area on mine. That solenoid sends fluid to the GSA for shifting.
(I will check the soleniod - Odd thing this morning after the car sat for hours - it allowed shifting of the gears) all seems normal
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can’t take it out of gear? What happens when you shift to neutral? Does the green light flash and the beeper sound?
yes it will not take it out of gear -

It sat all night, and it is acting normal. (allowing normal manual shifting from reverse neutral etc- with the correct indicators on dash and the movement of gears) but this same situation happened the day before and I thought it was resolved.
 

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If you move into neutral from reverse or “S” position (I call it sequential or start), before the pump has built up enough pressure, it won’t complete the shift. This is normal (design flaw?).
 

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Are you saying, the shift lever (cabin shifter) is locked in position or that the selector shaft (at the transmission) isn’t moving? -- the shift lever (cabin shifter) is in the locked position.

Is it possible that brake fluid got into the master solenoid when it overflowed? It is a sealed unit but there is a space where the wires enter the solenoid. I’ve actually siliconed that area on mine. That solenoid sends fluid to the GSA for shifting.
(I will check the soleniod - Odd thing this morning after the car sat for hours - it allowed shifting of the gears) all seems normal
I just realized that you said the shift lever is in the locked position. This can happen when the TCU detects a problem. If this is an intermittent situation, you’ll probably have to wait till it becomes constant and there’s a code generated.
I’m not sure why there’s a gasket (o-ring?) on the reservoir cap. Maybe this gasket and overfilling had something to do with it. What I do is fill to the seam on the reservoir quickly after the pump stops pressuring to get a proper fill. It should bleed down from the system overnight to the full mark on the reservoir.
I believe the o-ring is a “special service tool” used to keep fluid from spilling out when servicing the HPU. I think the cap is meant to be vented so air can replace the fluid taken in by the accumulator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just realized that you said the shift lever is in the locked position. This can happen when the TCU detects a problem. If this is an intermittent situation, you’ll probably have to wait till it becomes constant and there’s a code generated.
I’m not sure why there’s a gasket (o-ring?) on the reservoir cap. Maybe this gasket and overfilling had something to do with it. What I do is fill to the seam on the reservoir quickly after the pump stops pressuring to get a proper fill. It should bleed down from the system overnight to the full mark on the reservoir.
I believe the o-ring is a “special service tool” used to keep fluid from spilling out when servicing the HPU. I think the cap is meant to be vented so air can replace the fluid taken in by the accumulator.
I removed the o-ring . still have the same problem with the shift locked position.
It sat for a couple days
1. It started the pump started as normal
2. it shifted to neutral as normal
3. car started
4. attached techstream for a short drive. (During entire drive no codes generated)

- the shiftbar pressure started at 20 went to 0 and went back to 20 periodically on the 2 mile run.

During the driving it would not allow shifting to neutral , even with the shiftbar pressure at 20.

Can someone explain how the shift level locks?

Is there a manual component that I should looking at?
 

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Are you saying that the shift lever won’t move into neutral while driving or do you mean the transmission doesn’t shift into neutral when moving the shift lever into neutral?
I believe the shift lever will only lock when the ignition system is in the off position or when there is a problem with the shift lock solenoid, shift lock ecu or damage within the shifter mechanism assembly. I may have been incorrect about the lever locking when the TCU detects a problem; what it does is, it locks the gear that it’s in (won’t allow shifting into any other gears) but should allow the shift lever to move into other positions as long as the ignition is on. On further study, I haven’t found any way that the TCU can lock the lever by shutting power to the solenoid. Edit: maybe Neomr2 can double check this for us? 😁
If the lever doesn’t move into other positions while driving, you might try removing the black plastic bezel, instead of removing the little chrome plastic trap door, then pressing down on the white plastic piece to move the lever but only when it’s safe to do so; I wouldn’t be fumbling around in traffic while trying to do this.
If you’re saying, the transmission won’t go into neutral when driving in gear, then there might be a problem with the shift lever position sensor since you’re getting good shift pressure. That, of course, should generate a 820 code.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are you saying that the shift lever won’t move into neutral while driving or do you mean the transmission doesn’t shift into neutral when moving the shift lever into neutral? (sorry I was not clear, the shift lever does not move to neutral - but once if sits for hours and I come back it will allow the lever to be moved to neutral .)
I believe the shift lever will only lock when the ignition system is in the off position or when there is a problem with the shift lock solenoid, shift lock ecu or damage within the shifter mechanism assembly. I may have been incorrect about the lever locking when the TCU detects a problem; what it does is, it locks the gear that it’s in (won’t allow shifting into any other gears) but should allow the shift lever to move into other positions as long as the ignition is on. On further study, I haven’t found any way that the TCU can lock the lever by shutting power to the solenoid. Edit: maybe Neomr2 can double check this for us? 😁
If the lever doesn’t move into other positions while driving, you might try removing the black plastic bezel, instead of removing the little chrome plastic trap door, then pressing down on the white plastic piece to move the lever but only when it’s safe to do so; I wouldn’t be fumbling around in traffic while trying to do this.
If you’re saying, the transmission won’t go into neutral when driving in gear, (yes this is what is happening) then there might be a problem with the shift lever position sensor since you’re getting good shift pressure. That, of course, should generate a 820 code.
I took a test drive for 2 + miles no issue - the level shifted to neutral at stop lights with no hesitation. Still no codes - maybe it was some of the fluid leaked on the shift lock solenoid.

 

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I took a test drive for 2 + miles no issue - the level shifted to neutral at stop lights with no hesitation. Still no codes - maybe it was some of the fluid leaked on the shift lock solenoid.

We’ll, if you’re talking about SMT fluid, that wouldn’t happen since the shift lock solenoid is located under the shift lever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If the lever doesn’t move into other positions while driving, you might try removing the black plastic bezel, instead of removing the little chrome plastic trap door, then pressing down on the white plastic piece to move the lever but only when it’s safe to do so; I wouldn’t be fumbling around in traffic while trying to do this.
If you’re saying, the transmission won’t go into neutral when driving in gear, then there might be a problem with the shift lever position sensor since you’re getting good shift pressure. That, of course, should generate a 820 code.
[/QUOTE]

Drove the car again and would not shift out of gear, once the car is driven for a couple miles. I removed the plastic bezel, (in fact I removed the entire console between the seats) . I pressed the white plastic piece and it had no affect.

Where is the level position sensor? (part number?)

Still no codes are generated.
 

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When you pressed down on the white plastic piece, you weren’t able to move the lever into neutral? If not, the mechanism must be jamming somewhere, I would remove the shifter assembly (4 fasteners and two connectors) so you can get a better look at it. When the white plastic piece is depressed, it should bypass the shift lock solenoid. Actually, it will push on the solenoid, collapsing it to free the locking mechanism. The position sensor shouldn’t have any effect on moving the shift lever unless it’s broken and hanging it up somehow. One of the electrical connectors plugs into it, is on the same side as the white plastic piece, and is mounted with three fasteners.
 

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I’m pretty sure I have a used part if you like. Or a complete used shifter assembly also. maybe something plastic is falling out of position and blocking the lever from moving? I think it’s possible to completely remove the lock out solenoid and its mechanism. (For testing only - probably not safe to drive it like that)
 

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It’s weird that it works initially then after time locks up. Maybe the coil in the shift lock solenoid heats up and shorts out to some degree and can no longer hold down the plunger? It does have a return spring on it which may overcome the loss of electromagnetism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I’m pretty sure I have a used part if you like. Or a complete used shifter assembly also. maybe something plastic is falling out of position and blocking the lever from moving? I think it’s possible to completely remove the lock out solenoid and its mechanism. (For testing only - probably not safe to drive it like that)
Yesterday, I removed the lock out solenoid and shifted it to neutral, started the car and temporarily reattached the solenoid. Drove the car for 2 miles or so and it locked up the shifter . Pulled off the road, Took off the 3 screws and removed the solenoid — shifted it back to neutral. And drove using the shifting buttons on steering wheel. After turning off the car it started beeping , I had to manually move the levers unfil it stopped beeping. Reattached the solenoid and let it sit over night. Drove it today knowing I would not get stranded going to a store (with the new technique of removal of the lockout mechanism) .. and the shifter worked perfectly. I might take you up on the replacement part hopefully the detachment and reattachment was all it needed.
 
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