Good General Information On The A140L Automatic Transmission

Posted by on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The A140L is a four speed automatic trans-axle made by Toyota. It is hydraulically controlled and has a two-way overdrive. It was used exclusively in the Camry turbo-diesel, and the Celica ST and GT models. The A140L transmission was first put into production in 1985 and remained in the Toyota lineup through the 1989 model year. The A140L shares many parts with the A140E, with the major difference being that the 140E is electronically controlled. Toyota is generally known for making well built vehicles and components, but this transmission in not without problems. Let’s take a look at a few possible problems that you might experience with the A140L automatic transmission.

This is the A140L transmission


This transmission has a problem with the gear that is attached to the governor.  The gear is made of plastic and is subject to failure. The plastic teeth on the gear tend to disintegrate over time, causing the governor to no longer function properly.  Once this occurs, the transmission loses all gears except first and reverse.  The good news is that the plastic gear is easy to replace and inexpensive, and you’ll be back on the road in no-time.

The A140L is a light duty transmission and does not handle abuse well. Neutral banging, power braking and towing over the factory recommended limit are all typical forms of abuse this transmission might experience.  Any of these activities will eventually, if not immediately, lead to burnt up clutches and bands, and the failure of delicate internal hard parts.

The A140L can be found in the 1985 - 1989 Camry


This transmission may experience overheating issues.  The A140L, just like every other automatic transmission, is very sensitive to excessive transmission fluid temperatures.  This transmission is designed to operate at a maximum temperature of around 200 degrees. For every 20 degrees you go above this temperature, you risk cutting the lifespan by a factor of two.  At temperatures as low as 240 degrees the fluid will start to turn to varnish, at which point it will no longer lubricate the transmission properly.

To help eliminate overheating, don’t abuse your transmission (as described above).  Invest in a good quality aftermarket transmission cooler and upgrade your transmission fluid from an organic oil based fluid to a synthetic fluid. Many A140L transmissions suffer from a lack of maintenance. The fluid and filter should be changed at the minimum every 30,000 miles. When purchasing a used car equipped with this transmission, be sure to obtain copies of all previous maintenance.  If the owner cannot supply maintenance records, I would skip on the vehicle purchase or negotiate the price accordingly.

Be sure the oil and filter is changed a minimum of every 30,000 miles


If your A140L experiences a major failure, I highly recommend replacing it with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. Re-manufactured automatic transmissions will include alterations and upgrades designed to make them more durable and last longer. A rebuilt transmission will not. A re-manufactured transmission will also include a much better warranty: three years compared to an average 90 days for a rebuilt transmission.  The companies that re-manufacture transmissions generally have better customer service and can be quickly reached by phone or email in the event you have questions.

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