Potential Problems To Look For In Your Customer’s A241E Transmission

Posted by on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The A241E is an automatic trans-axle made by Toyota.  It has four forward gears. It had a very long production lifespan, first being put into production in 1988 and remaining in production all the way up through 2005. Keeping a transmission in production for 17 years is almost unheard of in this day and age.  It was used extensively in the Celica GTS, in both the regular and S/C version of the MR2, and the RAV 4.  Because this transmission was produced for such a long time, you can count on one ending up in your shop for repairs sooner or later. Let’s take a look at a few common problems with this Toyota transmission.

The 2005 Cleica came with the A241E transmission


Symptom:  The vehicle has no movement in any gear (neither forward or reverse). Possible problem:  The first thing I would check is the shift cable and make sure it is not out of adjustment. Please refer to the shop manual for the proper adjustment procedure. Next check the torque converter. The torque converter could have suffered a failure of either the turbine or impeller. If the torque converter has failed, there is a good chance the transmission pan will be full of debris and the transmission will need to be replaced. Also take a look at the oil strainer (filter) located in the transmission pan. Make sure it is not clogged up with debris. If you find enough debris in the pan to clog the oil strainer you most likely have serious problems somewhere else in the transmission. Finally, check the flex plate. Make sure it is still bolted to the engine crank shaft and that it is also still connected to the torque converter.

Symptom:  The transmission experiences a harsh engagement in any forward gear. Possible problem: Check the throttle cable adjustment.  You will want to refer to the shop manual for detailed adjustment instructions. The cable is very sensitive to any adjustment and if you make it too tight it will cause the transmission to shift harshly.  Also take a look at the accumulator piston. Make sure the accumulator piston is not stuck in its bore. Check the accumulator pin and spring and make sure both are intact.

internal view of the A241E


Symptom: The transmission slips in forward gears. Possible problem: Once again, both the shift cable and the throttle cable could be causing problems. We have already addressed these above.  Check to make sure you do not have a defective valve body. If the transmission has been overheated, the valve body could be warped. Last, check the solenoids that are used to move the valves in the valve body. Using an ohm meter, verify that the resistance between the two wires coming from the solenoid is between 20 and 30 ohms. Anything outside this range may indicate a bad solenoid.

The A241E valve body


As is the case with every other part on your customer’s car, the A241E transmission is not designed to last forever.  Given enough miles (or abuse), your customer will be faced with a decision when it comes to replacing his transmission. I highly recommend you convince them to purchase a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simple rebuilt.

A re-manufactured transmission is going to include modifications and upgrades designed to fix inherit problems with the transmission, make it more durable and help it live longer. A rebuilt transmission will not.  A re-manufactured transmission also has a much better warranty: three years compared to an average of 90 days for a rebuilt transmission. If for some rare reason the re-manufactured transmission fails within the warranty period, the company that re-manufactures the transmission will also pay you to R&R your customer transmission. That could save you, the repair shop owner, a lot of money in the long run.

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