Automatic Transmission Symptom Troubleshooting

These symptom DO NOT trigger Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) or cause the [D] indicator to blink. If the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) was reported ON or the [D] indicator has been blinking, check for DTCs. But if the vehicle has one of the systems in the following chart, check the probable cause(s) for it, in the sequence listed, until you find the problem.

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
When you turn the ignition switch ON (II), the D indicator comes on and stays on or never comes on at all 1.



2. 
Communication line between multiplex control unit and gauge assembly defective
Blown indicator bulb 
Check that the MIL indicates code for communication line between the multiplex control unit and gauge assembly. If the MIL does not indicate code, replace the indicator bulb. 
D, 2, or 1 indicator does not indicate while the shift lever is in that position 1.



2. 
Communication line between multiplex control unit and gauge assembly defective
Blown indicator bulb 
Check that the MIL indicates code for communication line between the multiplex control unit and gauge assembly. If the MIL does not indicate code, replace the indicator bulb. 
Over-drive (O/D) switch does not operate even though the switch is pushed in D position A problem in the O/D switch circuit Check the O/D switch circuit. 
Shift lever cannot be moved from P position while you're pushing on the brake pedal A problem in the shift lock system (interlock system) Check the interlock system - shift lock system circuit. 
Shift lever cannot pass through R position from N position A problem in the reverse lock system of interlock system Check the interlock system - reverse lock system circuit. 
Ignition key cannot be moved from ACC (I) position to LOCK (0) position, when you're pushing it with the shift lever in P position A problem in the key interlock system (interlock system) Check the interlock system - key interlock system circuit. 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Engine runs, but vehicle does not move in any gear 1.
2.

3.

4.
5.

6.
7.

8.

9.

10. 
Low ATF level
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
ATF pump worn or binding
Regulator valve stuck or spring worn
ATF strainer clogged
Mainshaft worn or damaged
Final gears worn or damaged
Transmission-to-engine assembly error
Axle disengaged 
  • Check ATF level and check ATF cooler lines for leakage and loose connections. If necessary, flush ATF cooler lines.
  • Check for loose shift cable on the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Measure line pressure.
  • Be careful not to damage the torque converter housing when replacing the main ball bearing. You may also damage the ATF pump when you torque down the main valve body. This will result in ATF pump seizure if not detected. Use the proper tools.
  • Install the main seal flush with the torque converter housing. If you push it into the torque converter housing until it bottoms out, it will block the fluid return passage and result in damage.
  • Check the ATF strainer for clogged. If the ATF strainer is clogged with particles of steel or aluminum, inspect the ATF pump. If the ATF pump is OK, find the damaged components that caused debris, and no cause for contamination is found, replace the torque converter.
  • Inspect the differential pinion shaft for wear under the pinion gears. If the differential pinion shaft is worn, overhaul the differential assembly, replace the ATF strainer, thoroughly clean the transmission, and flush the torque converter, cooler, and lines.
 
Vehicle moves in 2 or R, but not in D or 1 position 1.
2.
3. 
1st accumulator defective
1st gears worn or damaged
1st clutch defective 
  • Check the 1st clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch and plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondary shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Vehicle moves in D, 1, R, but not in 2 position 1.

2.

3. 
2nd accumulator defective
2nd gears worn or damaged
2nd clutch defective 
  • Check the 2nd clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
 
Vehicle moves in D, 2, 1, but not in R position 1.

2.
3.
4.

5.
6. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
Shift fork shaft stuck
Shift valve E defective
4th/reverse accumulator defective
4th clutch defective
Reverse gears worn or damaged 
  • Check for [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the shift solenoid valve E for seizure, and O-rings for wear and damage.
  • Check for a missing shift fork bolt on the shift fork shaft.
  • Check the 4th clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the reverse selector gear teeth chamfers, and inspect engagement teeth chamfers of the countershaft 4th gear and reverse gear. Replace the reverse gears and the reverse selector if they are worn or damaged. If the transmission clicking, grinding, or whirring noise, also replace the mainshaft 4th gear, reverse idler gear, and countershaft 4th gear.
 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D position:
Stall speed high in 2 and 1 positions, and in D position in 1st and 2nd gears 
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.
6. 
Low ATF level
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
ATF pump worn or binding
Regulator valve stuck or spring worn
ATF strainer clogged
Torque converter check valve defective 
  • Check ATF level and check ATF cooler lines for leakage and loose connections. If necessary, flush ATF cooler lines.
  • Check for loose shift cable on the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Check the ATF strainer for clogged. If the ATF strainer is clogged with particles of steel or aluminum, inspect the ATF pump. If the ATF pump is OK, find the damaged components that caused debris, and no cause for contamination is found, replace the torque converter.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D position:
Stall speed high when starting off in 2 position 
2nd clutch defective 
  • Check the 2nd clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D position:
Stall speed high in R position 
1.

2. 
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
4th clutch defective 
  • Check for loose shift cable on the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Check the 4th clutch pressure in [D] and [R] positions.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D position:
Stall speed low in 2 and 1 positions, and in D position in 1st and 2nd gears 
1.

2.

3.
4.

5.

6. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
Torque converter one-way clutch defective
Engine output low
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Restricted ATF cooler 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the shift solenoid valve E for seizure, and O-ring for wear and damage.
  • Replace the torque converter.
  • Check ATF cooler system for restriction.
 
Poor acceleration; flares on starting off in D position:
Stall speed low in R position 
1.

2.
3.

4.

5. 
Torque converter one-way clutch defective
Engine output low
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Restricted ATF cooler 
  • Replace the torque converter.
  • Check ATF cooler system for restriction.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Engine idle vibration 1.
2.

3.


4.
5.

6.

7.

8.
9. 
Low ATF level
Shift solenoid valve E defective
Drive plate defective or transmission misassembled
Engine output low
Torque converter clutch piston defective
ATF pump worn or binding
Lock-up shift valve defective
Restricted ATF cooler
Misadjusted engine and transmission mounts 
  • Check ATF level and check ATF cooler lines for leakage and loose connections. If necessary, flush ATF cooler lines.
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Inspect the ATF strainer for clogged with particles of steel or aluminum. If the ATF strainer is clogged, replace it, and flush the torque converter, cooler, and lines.
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the shift solenoid valve E for seizure, and O-rings for wear and damage.
  • Check for a misinstalled/damaged drive plate.
  • Set idle rpm in gear to the specified idle speed. If still no good, adjust the engine and transmission mounts as outlined.
  • Replace the torque converter.
  • Check ATF cooler system for restriction.
 
Vehicle moves in N position 1.
2.

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

9.

10. 
Excessive ATF
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
Relief valve defective
1st clutch defective
2nd clutch defective
3rd clutch defective
4th clutch defective
Clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance incorrect
Needle bearing seized up, worn, or damaged
Thrust washer seized up, worn, or damaged 
  • Check ATF level, and drain ATF if it is an excess.
  • Check the ATF strainer for clogged. If the ATF strainer is clogged with particles of steel or aluminum, inspect the ATF pump. If the ATF pump is OK, find the damaged components that caused debris, and no cause for contamination is found, replace the torque converter.
  • Check the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th clutch pressures.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve (3rd and 4th), and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal (1st and 2nd) for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondary shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
  • Inspect the 3rd clutch feed pipe. If the 3rd clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the mainshaft if the bushing for the 3rd clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Late shift from N position to D position, or excessive shock when shifted into D position 1.

2.

3.


4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.
12.
13.

14. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valves B and C defective
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
Mainshaft speed sensor defective
Countershaft speed sensor defective
ATF temperature sensor defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
Servo control valve defective
1st accumulator defective
1st check ball stuck
Lock-up shift valve defective
1st clutch defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the mainshaft speed sensor and countershaft speed sensor installation.
  • Check for loose shift cable on the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Check the 1st clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondry shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 
Late shift from N position to R position, or excessive shock when shifted into R position 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.
9.

10.
11.

12.

13. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
Mainshaft speed sensor defective
Countershaft speed sensor defective
ATF temperature sensor defective
Shift fork shaft stuck
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
Shift valve E defective
4th/reverse accumulator defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
4th clutch defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the mainshaft speed sensor and countershaft speed sensor installation.
  • Check for loose shift cable on the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Check for a missing shift fork bolt on the shift fork shaft.
  • Check the 4th clutch pressure.
  • Inspect the servo valve and O-ring.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
No shift 1.

2. 
Mainshaft speed sensor defective
Countershaft speed sensor defective 
Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Check the mainshaft and countershaft speed sensor installation. 
Excessive shock or flares on all upshifts and downshifts 1.


2.

3.

4.

5. 
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valves B and C defective
Mainshaft speed sensor defective
Countershaft speed sensor defective
ATF temperature sensor defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the mainshaft speed sensor and countershaft speed sensor installation.
 
Excessive shock or flares on 1-2 upshift or 2-1 downshift 1.

2.

3.


4.

5.

6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

11.
12. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valves B and C defective
2nd clutch pressure switch defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
1st accumulator defective
2nd accumulator defective
1st check ball stuck
2nd check ball stuck
Lock-up shift valve defective
1st clutch defective
2nd clutch defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the 1st and 2nd clutch pressures.
  • Inspect the clutch piston and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are warn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 1st clutch feed pipe. If the 1st clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the secondary shaft if the bushing for the 1st clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Excessive shock or flares on 2-3 upshift or 3-2 downshift 1.


2.

3.

4.
5.
6.
7.
8. 
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valves B and C defective
3rd clutch pressure switch defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
2nd accumulator defective
3rd accumulator defective
2nd check ball stuck
2nd clutch defective
3rd clutch defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the 2nd and 3rd clutch pressures.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve (3rd), and O-rings. Check the spring retainer and retainer seal ( 2nd) for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are warn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 3rd clutch feed pipe. If the 3rd clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the mainshaft if the bushing for the 3rd clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 
Excessive shock or flares on 3-4 upshift or 4-3 downshift 1.


2.

3.
4.
5.
6. 
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valves B and C defective
Foreign material in separator plate orifice
3rd accumulator defective
4th accumulator defective
3rd clutch defective
4th clutch defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket and O-rings for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Check the 3rd and 4th clutch pressures.
  • Inspect the clutch piston, clutch piston check valve, and O-rings. Check the spring retainer for wear and damage. Inspect the clutch end plate-to-top disc clearance. If the clearance is out of tolerance, inspect the clutch discs and plates for wear and damage. If the discs are worn or damaged, replace them as a set. Inspect clutch waved-plate phase difference. If the phase difference is out of tolerance, replace the waved-plate. If they are OK, adjust the clearance with the clutch end plate.
  • Inspect the 3rd clutch feed pipe. If the 3rd clutch feed pipe is scored, replace it and O-ring under the feed pipe guide.
  • Replace the mainshaft if the bushing for the 3rd clutch feed pipe is loose or damaged.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Noise from transmission in all shift lever positions 1.
2. 
ATF pump worn or binding
Mainshaft bearing, countershaft bearing, or secondary shaft bearing defective 
  • Improper alignment of ATF pump and torque converter housing may cause ATF pump seizure. The symptoms are mostly an rpm-related ticking noise or a high pitched squeak.
  • Be careful not to damage the torque converter housing when replacing the main ball bearing. You may also damage the ATF pump when you torque down the main valve body. This will result in ATF pump seizure if not detected. Use the proper tools.
  • Install the main seal flush with the torque converter housing. If you push it into the torque converter housing until it bottoms out, it will block the fluid return passage and result in damage.
  • Inspect the ATF strainer for clogged with particles of steel or aluminum. If the ATF strainer is clogged, replace it, and flush the torque converter, cooler, and lines.
  • Inspect the mainshaft, countershaft and secondary shaft for wear or damage.
 
Vehicle does not accelerate more than 31 mph (50 km/h) Torque converter one-way clutch defective 
  • Replace the torque converter.
  • Check ATF cooler system for restriction.
 
Vibration in all shift lever positions Drive plate defective or transmission misassembled 
  • Check for a misinstalled/damaged drive plate.
  • Set idle rpm in gear to the specified idle speed. If still no good, adjust the engine and transmission mounts as outlined.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Shift lever does not operate smoothly 1.


2.

3. 
Transmission range switch defective or out of adjustment
Shift cable broken out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the transmission range switch for operation.
  • Check for loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
 
Transmission does not shift into P position 1.

2.

3. 
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn
Park mechanism defective 
  • Check for loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
  • Check the park pawl spring installation and the park lever spring installation. If installation is incorrect, install the spring correctly. Make sure that the park lever stop is not installed upside down. Check the distance between the park pawl shaft and park lever roller pin. If the distance is out of tolerance, adjust the distance with the park lever stop.
 
Lock-up clutch does not disengage 1.

2.

3.

4.

5. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Lock-up control valve defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Replace the torque converter.
 
Lock-up clutch operates unstable 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Torque converter check valve defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Lock-up control valve defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Replace the torque converter.
 

Symptom Probable cause(s) Notes 
Lock-up clutch does not engage 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8. 
Shift solenoid valve E defective
A/T clutch pressure control solenoid valve A defective
Mainshaft speed sensor defective
Countershaft speed sensor defective
Torque converter clutch piston defective
Torque converter check valve defective
Lock-up shift valve defective
Lock-up control valve defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the solenoid valve filter/gasket for wear and damage, and inspect the solenoid valves for seizure.
  • Replace the torque converter.
  • Check the mainshaft speed sensor and countershaft speed sensor installation.
 
A/T gear position indicator does not indicate shift lever positions 1.


2.

3. 
Transmission range switch defective or out of adjustment
Shift cable broken or out of adjustment
Joint in shift cable and transmission or body worn 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the transmission range switch operation.
  • Check for loose shift cable at the shift lever and the transmission control shaft.
 
Speedometer and odometer do not operate Countershaft speed sensor defective 
  • Check the [D] indicator indication, and check for loose connectors. Inspect the transmission range switch operation.
  • Check the countershaft speed sensor installation.
 
Transmission shifts up during low-rev engine speed condition; engine cannot rev up to high speed Engine rocker arms defective Check the engine rocker arms as described.