Toyota owners across the country and around the world waited for what seemed like an eternity for a fix to the problems plaguing the dreaded five-speed-automatic transmission in Avalons and Camrys. After denying any problems existed, in June Toyota finally released a TSB to address low-speed hesitation in Avalons.
As one of the hundreds of thousands affected, and one who had Bill Kwong, press and media relations manager for Toyota N.A., tell me as late as January, 2007 that they had no data to support any problems with Avalon transmissions, I didn’t know what to expect when I took my 2006 Avalon Limited in for the TSB.
After having the TSB EG029-07 (ECM CALIBRATION: ENHANCEMENT
TO SHIFTING PERFORMANCE & SMOOTHNES) performed, I was able to put on some miles to gauge the effectiveness of the TSB fix.
First the good news: the hesitation seems to be largely fixed. So if you haven’t had it done yet, as Larry the Cable Guy would say “Get ‘R Dun”.
Now the bad news: the shifts are still as weak and sloppy as my knee the day after having arthroscopic surgery. The tranny still hunts to find the right gear, but at least it never is totally disengaged.
Furthermore, the extremely hard downshift and torque-converter-induced engine braking that occurs while coasting down to 33 mph before the TSB is still there… The TSB just moved down to a shift point of 28 mph.
It seems that Toyota took a page from my elementary school academic playbook: it did the absolute minimum to address the problem.
So if you are a Camry or Avalon owner and you are dissatisfied with the problem, the next step is to call 1-800-331-4331, which is Toyota’s national Consumer Hotline. It takes just few minutes. They will create a trouble ticket. This is the ONLY way that Toyota engineers will get the message if you are experiencing trouble, since dealers and district managers are not forwarding complaints to any central trouble reporting center.
A Four Wheel Drift reader passed along that when she called, the representative she spoke with actually explained she experienced similar problems on her Toyota! The representative also mentioned that too many people complain on chat boards and to dealers, but never call the 1-800-331-4331 number.
If we all call 1-800-331-4331, Toyota will get the message that just doing the absolute minimum to make the Avalon “not dangerous” is simply not enough.