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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just a warning for those with the 01/1990-04/1992 gear selector mechanism assembly: the lock ball has been discontinued from Toyota.

Transmission: S5x

I was looking for a new one because the ball seized up in mine and is causing poor shifting performance. I may try heating it up to get it to free itself, but it seems pretty stuck.

I have a newer lock ball that came with my 2001 S51, but it's not compatible with the older shifter/gear selector mechanisms (the one the goes into the transmission). I may be able to build a hybrid since I have the newer selector mechanism as well, but it depends on what has changed.

The newer lock balls should be compatible with 08/1992+ S5xs.

I'll look around at junkyards. Compatible models are:
1990-1992 Celica, Camry
1991-1993 MR2 (only very early 1993s up to 04/1992)

The 04/1992-08/1992 models use 33290-17010, but I'm not sure if it's compatible. It may just be a non-adjustable version of 33290-32012. There were no changes to the selector mechanism in that time.
This one is also discontinued, unfortunately.
 

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Jason, why do you say that the newer lock ball assembly is not compatible with the early setups?

I'm not saying that your wrong, I'm just curious as to what you've found or why you speculate that it wont work. I've never looked at the different setups at the same time to see the difference to be able to understand why it wont work.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Because I tried it, and it doesn't work.

As you tighten it down, the shifter mechanism starts to freeze up, but you can move it to 3rd and 4th. There's hardly any resistance. Try to move to 1st or 5th, and it's extremely difficult. With it really loose, you can move it to all gears, but there's zero engagement feel. I can actually feel the rubberiness of the shifter cables.

Once you tighten it down more, the mechanism freezes completely and the shifter is locked in place.

The newer ones don't work with the older mechanisms.

Anyway, there was never a time throughout the minute adjustments where it felt right. It was either too loose with no feel, or too tight with restricted shifter movement. Put the old one back in and I dialed in the feel within a few turns of the lock ball; not too loose and not so tight where I'd have difficulty shifting.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Figured I'd post some pictures:

Left: 1991 ball (with 19mm top nut, and 24mm adjusting/lock nut); Right: 2001 ball (integrated 24mm nut)




Mine has a completely frozen lock ball, but the newer one moves freely, as it's supposed to. It's causing some shifting issues, but I can deal with it for now until I find a replacement.

EDIT: Yay, I got it to free up. The ball is spring loaded, and I couldn't get it to compress by hand, but now I can. I guess 20-odd years of dirt and grime just locked it up. So, it looks like I don't need another one after all. Heat and solvent helped, btw.

EDIT 2: Shifter feels smoother now. I pre-lubed the lock ball prior to re-install since the heat and solvent took it all off. Much happier.
 

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Yeah, with those photo's, I can see the difference and can see why you were getting the exact issue's you described when you installed the later one into the early trans.

Glad you got it free'd, I was going to suggest soaking it in a strong solvent. Since they are a simple hollow assembly with a spring and a ball, there's really no reason why it should ever need to be replaced. Technically they could be modified to where they could be taken apart to replace the ball and/or spring. And really, new ones could be made too without too much issue.
 

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What exact sort of poor shifting performance does this cause when its gummed up?
Hard to move the shifter left/right or fore/aft into gears? Other affects?
Might need to check mine. I have an 01 Camry s51 with < 80k miles, but of course the center section/shifter is out of the original s54 with > 200k miles.

Thanks for posting about this.
 

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It effect the for/aft movement. It will either cause it to be very hard to get it into gear (if it wont compress in very well) or it will cause a NON positive gear engagement feel in the shifter and will prevent it from staying in gear on its own well (ball gets stuck up in the bore of the assembly which is more likely to occur).

That Detent is what keeps it in a selected gear. If you were to say take it out totally, the trans would pop out of gear easily.

If you look at the diagram from the BGB below, the ball drops down in the groves in the in the part that is labeled as being No.1 Shift Inner Lever. As you move the shifter in a for/aft direction, the ball drops down into one of the grooves on the top of that part cause the shaft that that is attached to rotates. If the ball is not dropping down in the grove, there is nothing really to keep the gear engaged other then potential friction and binding in the slider hub.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
The shifter gets really stiff and hung up going through the gears. I've missed a couple of shifts because it wouldn't go into gear smoothly. Sometimes, it would lock me out of 1st gear at idle; all other gears were fine. On upshifts, it would hang up in various gears.

After cleaning it up, the shifter just glides into gears. It's a crazy difference.
 

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Also, just to give a bit more understanding of it all, the non theaded area of the assemblies as shown below in the photo that Jason originally posted rides in the part labeled as Interlock Shaft. It prevents that part from rotating as the rod is rotated to select a gear (for/aft movement of the shifter). The point of that function is to lock other gears out so that you cant select 2 gears at the same end (like 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 4th ) at the same time. Basically its what prevents you from moving the shifter for and/or aft in between gears.



That area and its length difference is why the later assembly wont work in the early transmission. If you go back to Jason's post where he said that as you tighten down the bolt assembly, the shifter started to bind but he could still select 3rd and 4th with hardly any resistance. This was because the threads of the bolt / ball assembly were binding with the interlock shaft (as toyota calls it) which prevents the side to side movement of the shifter but the ball still wasn't down in the grooves on the No.1 Shift Inner Lever and hence the non resistance when selecting 3rd and 4th.

I will bet however that if the theads on the newer one were ground down making the non threaded spigot longer like the early style, it probably would work in the early transmissions cause then it could reach the No.1 Shift Inner lever but not have threads that could bind on the Interlock Shaft.
 

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The shifter gets really stiff and hung up going through the gears. I've missed a couple of shifts because it wouldn't go into gear smoothly. Sometimes, it would lock me out of 1st gear at idle; all other gears were fine. On upshifts, it would hang up in various gears.

After cleaning it up, the shifter just glides into gears. It's a crazy difference.
Ah, so yours did actually get stuck down, not up....... Interesting cause I've seen more stuck UP over the years then down....
 

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Thanks guys. I really have to check this then. I get that sometimes where it just doesn't want to go into 1st, 3rd or 5th.
 

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I fill the trans with fluid from this spot. Much easier than going sideways and the assembly usually frees up. Just make sure not to adjust it too much on reinstall or you'll end up with the tough shifting feeling (or super easy shifting)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I fill the trans with fluid from this spot. Much easier than going sideways and the assembly usually frees up. Just make sure not to adjust it too much on reinstall or you'll end up with the tough shifting feeling (or super easy shifting)
I do the same.

It's the only way to fill on newer Toyota transmissions in some cases. My brother's 2000 C59 lacks the side filler bolt.
 

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I thought the SOP for filling was to fill it till it runs out the filler hole? At least that's how I do it. Obviously you can't do that using the lock ball hole. Do you just go by the BGB's drain-and-refill spec for how much you pour in?
 

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I just pour in the first two quarts and on the third one, its .7 of a quart or so. Or you can measure what came out and put that amount in... You can get your wife's measuring cup out, but I think she may have a fit.

So the side level check plug may be a small mess, but filling from the side is some super donkey piss.

You can also fill from the top while leaving the side plug out so you know when to stop.
 
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