Little Known Facts and Tips For The A132L Automatic Transmission

Posted by on Thursday, August 1st, 2013

The A132L automatic trans-axle is a 3 speed made by Toyota. It was first put into production back in 1988 and remained so through the end of the 1999 model year. It was used in the Toyota Tercel and the Corolla (in the Latin, Asian and European markets only).  By all standards it is a very light duty automatic transmission.  It is also a little odd that is has only three speeds when just about every other automatic transmission built during this time period had four speeds, one of which was an overdrive gear.

The 1990 Tercel came equipped with the A132L transmission


Because this is a light duty transmission, it is easily broken when abused. It also has its fair share of inherent problems, too. Let’s take a closer look at this transmission.

Here are some facts about this transmission:

-  Fluid capacity: if you only drain and refill the transmission, the capacity is 2.5 liters. If you are filling up a new transmission and torque converter for the first time the capacity is 5.5 liters. The A132L use ATF DEXRON II style transmission fluid.

-  The differential has a fluid capacity of 1.4 litres.

-  The transmission has the following number of discs/plate: Froward clutch (3/3), Direct clutch (2/3), 2nd Brake (2/4) and the Reverse brake (5/4)

The A132L uses DEXRON II transmission fluid


Here is how to check the line pressure in the A132L automatic transmission:

-  Acceptable pressures with the engine idling are 363 – 422 PSI in drive and 530- 706 PSI in reverse.  With the engine in a stall condition the pressure in drive should be 902 – 1049 PSI and 1412 – 1648 PSI in reverse.

-  Mount your pressure gauge into the hole where the trans-axle case test plug usually sits. Use a long hose so you can see the pressure readings from the driver’s seat.

-  Start by warming up the trans-axle. The normal operating fluid temperature should be 50 – 80 degree Celsius.

-  Fully apply the parking brake and block all four wheels.

-  Start the engine and be sure to check that your engine idle rpms are set correctly.

-  Put the transmission into drive.  Step down strongly on the brake pedal. With the other foot, feather the accelerator pedal but do not push down so hard that it causes the car to move forward.

-  Have a buddy record the pressure readings along with the rpms at which those pressure occurred.

-  If you find the reading to be out of the acceptable range, try adjusting the throttle cable. Please refer to the shop manual for the proper adjustment procedure.

Use a pressure gauge with a long hose to check the line pressure in your A132L transmission


The biggest problem with the A132L comes from the fact that owners abuse them. These were inexpensive cars when new, and as 12 -20 year old used cars, they are downright cheap. They are often passed down through the family to new drivers who drag race them, power-braked them and rode them hard which causes them to overheat and eventually fail.

Sooner or later, due to high mileage or age, you will be faced with the decision to replace your A132L transmission. I highly recommend you replace it with a re-manufactured transmission over on that was simply rebuilt. A re-manufactured transmission will include alterations and upgrades designed to make it 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.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.