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Questions about transmission and transfer case, leaks and delayed acceleration from standstill

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  • Questions about transmission and transfer case, leaks and delayed acceleration from standstill


    I've recently bought a 120 2004 Prado 1KZ-TE that requires some work and Im finding new work every time I drive it.

    One of the problems that needs rectifying is the transfer case output shaft seal is leaking oil, not dripping but it is wet and it looks like it's been leaking for a little while. I'm choosing to drive it very sparingly until I get this sorted. However, I'd like to figure out the risks I'm taking driving it at all, and just generally understand things better - I have a basic understanding of transmissions and the drivetrain

    I recently noticed on my last couple of drives in the city (about 10km total of stop start driving), that it will sometimes - probably once or twice per journey - seem to fail to get into 1st gear for a few seconds. So it will rev from a stand still for about 3 seconds and then, with a jerk, get into 1st gear and start moving. Then it will drive fine. This seems to happen when the engine isn't quite hot yet, but not right from the engine start. I've only had it happen on two journeys but I don't want to drive it til I sort this in case I knacker the tranny

    According to the internet, this points to transmission fluid being low. The service history says this was changed 10kkm ago. So:

    Where and how do I check the transmission fluid levels on a 120?

    Could the transfer case output shaft seal leak be the cause of this or is the transfer case only in use when going to 4WD? Does the transmission share fluid with the transfer case?

    Is it possible to just top up the fluid? I don't actually know the fluid used, just the brand, so does trans fluid come in different weights/types for the same vehicle like oil, and is it a big risk using another a different one? I don't want to flush it if I can avoid.

    Is there anything else that this symptom points to?


  • #2
    If the leak is bad, then likely low fluid. I would have the trans serviced and flushed fully. It sounds like its either critically low on fluid or has internal issues. Having a Trans professional look at it will likely be the best way to diagnose if its just oil level or something more sinister. Should cost around $300-350.


    • #3
      The fluid doesn’t have to be too much lower for it to make the transmission act strangely. I accidentally under filled my 90 auto by half a litre once and it kept popping out of reverse and into neutral when I was trying to reverse up my driveway, and also failed to find first gear when bringing the car to stop.... At every stop. Fun when trying to accelerate and the auto’s still in 4th. A decent thump and you’re able take off again. Half a litre went back in when I got home to get it to the correct Hot level and all was good again. When I did the fluid flush the day before it was a little difficult to get find the correct level because the fluid was so clean and also kept streaking up the dipstick. It was difficult to know what it was reading. Easy fix though in my case. But you have a leak that could be real problem. And no dipstick to check either. I’d be getting that leak fixed if I were you. The way the transmission is setup in your car will make it a bit of a painful task to be checking & topping up fluid in it frequently.
      2005 120 series V6 Grande, 2 inch susp lift (King/EFS combo), 32 inch MT’s, Safari Snorkel, rear diff lock, breathers, Light Force spotlights, UHF, dual batteries.


      • #4
        Cheers. So the transfer case does use the transmissions fluid then. I'm waiting on parts and then will replace the seal(s) asap.

        Can anyone recommend a transmission specialist in Sydney?


        • #5
          No, they use completely different fluids. 75w90 fluid for the transfer case. It’s cheap to buy. Just mineral grade is perfectly fine. You might need a Tom Thumb pump to get the fluid into the housing.
          2005 120 series V6 Grande, 2 inch susp lift (King/EFS combo), 32 inch MT’s, Safari Snorkel, rear diff lock, breathers, Light Force spotlights, UHF, dual batteries.


          • #6
   if it's low transmission fluid there's a seperate leak that I don't know about that didn't come up on the inspection. Or it's something else. This is why I want to be able to check my level.


            • #7
              Yours should have a transmission dipstick (usually orange) near the brake booster. My mate's 2005 1KZ has one. Check the transmission fluid with the engine on and warmed up (e.g. up to temperature on the gauge). It's just like a car dipstick - wipe, replace, check. Sometimes you need more than one wipe to get an accurate reading. Be careful threading the dipstick back in the hole as it can bend easily, I find mine easiest to hold the actual dipstick as I thread it in. Don't be tempted to do it with the engine off, you'll likely get a false high reading. The dipstick has hot and cold markings, use the hot ones. Let us know how you go.

              If you add ATF make sure it's the correct type (see your manual, but for the 120 series 4-speed I believe it's Toyota T-IV or T-4) and you add through the dipstick tube using a funnel of some sort. . You can either get this from Toyota (e.g. dealership) or get a generic fluid that covers that specification from any auto parts shop.


              • #8
                Nice one, I'll have a look tonight


                • #9
                  So I just drove it round the block. Tried to get it on a level surface but it's not that easy in the eastern suburbs, but was mostly level I think. Anyway, not only was the fluid dark but also extremely low according to the dipstick - but maybe it wasn't level enough. Bit confused cos on the inspection report he says it's clean and levels are fine. Will have to ask him how he checked. Not only that but the service history shows it was replaced 10kkms ago, so it being dark seems very wrong.

                  This is the leak on the transfer case, I can't see any transmission leaks - however the inspection guy called this the rear transmission seal on the report.
                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 14.12.19.jpg Views:	0 Size:	19.0 KB ID:	751289

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 14.12.29.jpg Views:	0 Size:	18.6 KB ID:	751290

                  I'm gonna have take it to a transmission specialist to see if he can find the culprit

                  These are other leaks that I was told are not the transmission, or a problem. Is he right?

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 14.15.46.jpg Views:	0 Size:	16.3 KB ID:	751291
                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 14.16.04.jpg Views:	0 Size:	19.2 KB ID:	751292

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 14.16.25.jpg Views:	0 Size:	21.7 KB ID:	751293
                  Last edited by Minklet; 13-03-2020, 06:19 PM.


                  • #10
                    So took it to CATS in banksmeadow and they reckon I need "supply and fit reco valvebody and solenoid". I've just gone with it. Can't be arsed getting a second opinion. $1100. This car is turning into the bane of my life

                    They also reckon that's not a leak on the transfer case. It's just mud flung about. So I guess that's a bonus, tho it doesn't look like mud to me.
                    Last edited by Minklet; 16-03-2020, 12:42 PM.


                    • #11
                      Doing that will mean resealing the pan but that's about it - it's a job that can be done without removing the transmission. Just the pan needs to be taken off. So if it's leaking from a front or rear seal then it's not going to get anything. Did the transmission place remove the pan to inspect to make that diagnosis? I just can't see how, unless it's massive overpressure issue, a valve body would make any difference to seal leaks, unless caused by incorrect application of clutches and the transmission overheating and leaking out the breather. I'm no transmission expert though.

                      Seems some inspection guys (including a guy my friend who recently bought a 120 used) seem to assume all automatics are now uncheckable voodoo.

                      I do know for sure that any little transmission leak seems to fling oil around everywhere! I had one bad one (mechanic failed to do up pan properly) and even my trailer was soaked in tranny fluid!

                      Good luck with it mate.


                      • #12
                        They said they did a transmission scan and it was a problem there that was causing the problem with it getting stuck in neutral and that it will get worse. I dunno. Hard to argue really.

                        Not sure which bit you mean would only mean resealing the pan?

                        So to clarify, whats happening is I have what I was told was a t̶r̶a̶n̶s̶m̶i̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ transfer case leak on the output shaft. Separately I've noticed a problem with my transmission which I was trying to find out if my apparen transfer case leak could cause that problem.

                        Now apparently the problem is the valvebody and solenoids, and the transfer case isn't even leaking.

                        Proper ordeal
                        Last edited by Minklet; 18-03-2020, 03:11 PM.


                        • #13
                          Well, removing the valve body, solenoids, or filters can be done by just removing the transmission pan, therefore the pan will be re-sealed with a new gasket or a FIPG/silicone substance when put back together. Sure if the issue you're seeing was it getting stuck in neutral a bad valve body may be the cause and need attention.

                          I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you are leaking from any seal (aside from the transmission pan gasket), replacing the valve body will do nothing for this. Unless these leaks are due to the seal passing from overpressure inside the unit, the only thing to do with a leaking seal is replacement of the seal, and whilst a fairly cheap and simple job on its own, the only way to do that job is remove the entire transmission (and usually transfer case) from the vehicle.

                          So - will the new valve body solve the sticking in neutral problem - should do if that's what a transmission shop has said.

                          Will it solve leaks from the transmission pan gasket - should do again as this will be replaced during the valve body service.

                          Will it solve leaks from any seals (aside from the pan gasket) - probably not.


                          • #14
                            you are not using the right name - it not your "transmission case leak on the output shaft" its your transfer case leak on the output shaft


                            • #15
                              Yes sorry, that time was an error, but elsewhere in this thread (ie my OP) I refer to it as a transfer case output shaft leak

                              My inspection mechanic did originally call it transmission leak which I now know to be wrong, but it confused a bunch of people (including me when googling for it)
                              Last edited by Minklet; 18-03-2020, 03:12 PM.