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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2016, 22:02 Thread Starter
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Newbie to Mr2s

I just recently obtained an 86 Mr2 automatic. The odometer reads 89K miles. Looks real good, great power. But after reading this forum a bit, I find I have a very common problem. Automatic transmission OD shifting problems.
After getting the car, first thing we did was have the timing belt and water pump changed. Then the next day, took it out for an extended drive. Found that it did not change into overdrive until about 10 miles away. It changed back and forth until we were about 5 miles away from home and after having to let up off the throttle for a second, it downshifted into 3rd, and stayed there until we got home. It downshifted into 1st and 2nd when coming to a stop, but it never would shift back into OD.
Another problem, the temp gauge doesnt work. Dont know yet whether it's the gauge itself or maybe a wire unplugged/broken.
I have read that Redline ATF is best, a 75-90 wt. Would this be correct?
What are your suggestions to resolve this shifting issue and gauge issue? Thanks and looking forward to learning more. We are hoping to possibly compete in either AutoX or regional Hill Climbs with this car.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old December 25th, 2016, 22:32
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You need to change the engine coolant thermostat. The thermostat effects the shift point of OD and your gauge reading. Change your thermostat and the engine will run at its proper temperature.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old December 26th, 2016, 00:04
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Your automatic transmission is a A240E. This transmission uses Dextron II as fluid. Research A240E and read up on it. My brother had a nice, fully optioned, black leather seats, automatic 86 MR2 and HATED it. It would take several miles of interstate driving to get it to go into OD (overdrive) even when the thermostat is working correctly. Eventually he bought a manual shift 86 MR2. Welcome to the family and enjoy your MR2. Much to be learned about it and this forum is a wonderful resource.

John
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old December 26th, 2016, 14:38
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Welcome to the Mr2 community and congrats on the Mr2 purchase. Ideally a manual trans is the way to go with these wonderful cars but if you must go with an auto...then so be it. Keep in mind some owners do a auto to manual swap and there are DIY's on how to do it if you are ever so inclined. Here are some great sites that may be of help to you, mark them as "Favorites". Good luck.

Great sites:
4age engine pictures Photo Gallery by aw11mr2 at pbase.com

MKI MR2 Write-Up Page

Bill Sherwood's Stock 4AGE Page

Phil Bradshaw's home page
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old December 26th, 2016, 23:34 Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the welcome and advise. I did have a chance to check the tranny fluid today. It was pretty nasty looking. No 'reddish' color at all. So tomorrow, as I'm getting the tires balanced(slight vibration at 60+ mph), I'll look into having the trans fluid changed. I'll order a thermostat also. But the car looks like it needs just some regular maintenance. As stated, we hope to use this car in AutoX and Hill Climb events. We are a 501c3 non profit with a program to help disabled veterans thru racing. Thus the reason for an automatic.
Let me get these items changed and see how it runs then. I'll report back. Again, thanks. I appreciate the help.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old December 27th, 2016, 16:29
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When running right, the automatic does a good job of putting power to the pavement. The "Power" setting will push right up to redline if you floor it. Be sure you check/change the gearbox fluid as well as the ATF. Be sure the "kick down" cable is properly adjusted. If you scour the internet it's not hard to find a download of the Toyota factory service manual that will give you about any info you need to fix these cars, including thorough AT diagnostic methods.

Get a Toyota thermostat.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old December 28th, 2016, 03:54 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by random_tox View Post
When running right, the automatic does a good job of putting power to the pavement. The "Power" setting will push right up to redline if you floor it. Be sure you check/change the gearbox fluid as well as the ATF. Be sure the "kick down" cable is properly adjusted. If you scour the internet it's not hard to find a download of the Toyota factory service manual that will give you about any info you need to fix these cars, including thorough AT diagnostic methods.

Get a Toyota thermostat.
You're going to have to refresh my memory here. Gear box fluid as well as the ATF? I thought the transmission was the gear box. I have no idea about the gear box fluid.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old December 28th, 2016, 12:12
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The differential has its own lubrication volume and a different lubricant, separate from the transmission.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old December 28th, 2016, 19:34 Thread Starter
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Thanks. I'll look into that.

Changed the tranny fluid and filter today. Good thing I did. It was nasty. Burnt and gritty. Oil was bad also.
Didnt get a chance to change thermostat yet.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old December 29th, 2016, 18:44 Thread Starter
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Took the MR2 out today after changing the tranny fluid. Warmed it up and checked the levels, added a bit more to make it right. Took it out and OD still never did engage. Havent had a chance to change the thermostat yet. Is there a 'sensor' somewhere that may be causing this and the temp gauge not to work?
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old December 29th, 2016, 19:41
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Originally Posted by Racing Dreamz View Post
Haven't had a chance to change the thermostat yet.
Change the thermostat ALREADY!
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old December 29th, 2016, 19:53 Thread Starter
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AustinTXmr2, I plan on it. Thanks
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old December 29th, 2016, 23:12
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BTW, when you change out the thermostat (PLEASE USE OEM!) and completely FLUSH your engine cooling system, then on the fresh coolant refill you MUST follow the proper REFILL and "burping" procedure for the Mr2 cooling system. You MUST follow the factory correct procedure on refilling the cooling system on a MR2, remember it's a bit different than "normal" cars since it is a midengine design so pay attention. You DO NOT want air pockets in the Mr2 cooling system!! Plenty of info on the correct coolant refill procedure.....just do a search. BTW, plenty of cooling lines both rubber and metal through out so best to closely check the condition of ALL OF THEM. A professional cleaning of the old radiator may be in order as well. Good luck.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old December 30th, 2016, 12:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Racing Dreamz View Post
... Is there a 'sensor' somewhere that may be causing this and the temp gauge not to work?
Yes, the sensor is called a "thermostat."

To clarify what has been already said, the evidence presented suggests that the thermostat is stuck open, and the temp gauge is telling you the truth. I am assuming that the gauge never gets off cold. If it pins at hot, then it does have a problem.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old December 30th, 2016, 15:32
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I used to have this problem on my old 4afe and 7afe autobox fleet cars (all long since retired now LOL). If the ECT (Engine coolant temperature) sensor went bad then the thing never went in OD. Probably should test function of the ECT and even check to make sure it is plugged in to the harness and the wiring is intact. Of course if the thermostat is stuck open or has been removed entirely by a PO, then ECT reading will stay low and no-shift will occur. But it sounds almost like something else is also going on with this car.
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old December 30th, 2016, 20:00
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From another 86 automatic owner. Change the thermostat. I had the same problem when I first got mine and that cured it. Did you do a full flush or just a drain & fill on the tranny? Did you drop the tranny pan and check the filter and magnets?
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old December 31st, 2016, 04:45 Thread Starter
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When we changed the tranny fluid, we dropped the pan and changed the filter also. No magnets.

The thermostat, the heater works great, it'll run you out of the car. But the gauge wont move. It did once and it barely got above the C. Still havent had a chance to change it yet. Where is the procedure to flush the coolant system for these. I tried looking but couldnt find anything.
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old December 31st, 2016, 07:58
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Here is a link to the bleeding procedure. It is located in the "Sticky" section at the top of this forum.

How do I bleed the engine coolant?

Also, it is a good idea to check the condition of the O-rings on the bleeder valves before you do the procedure. I had to replace all of my O-rings to get them to seal right.
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old December 31st, 2016, 17:13 Thread Starter
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Got it. thanks
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old January 5th, 2017, 12:58
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Saved you a google search. Here's a downloadable Toyota service manual. It's for the '88, but almost entirely applicable. Save a copy.

http://www.shinny.co.uk/toyota/MK1%20AW11/88aw11.pdf

Oh look. Here's the 87 Owner's Manual.

http://mr-2.info/files/1987%20Toyota...s%20Manual.pdf
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