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ToyotaTom, Toyota Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 1416
Experience:  Toyota, ASE, MSE, MECP Certified
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I have a 1989 Toyota 4x4 with a 5-speed manual transmission,

Customer Question

I have a 1989 Toyota 4x4 with a 5-speed manual transmission, 4-cyl 22-RE engine, and 147,000 miles. I just bought it from a guy who used it as a farm truck. I started having problems shifting the truck into 3rd. The transmission would grind and I have to try again to get it into gear. 4th gear has begun to do the same thing. 1st and 2nd gear don't make any noise, but are difficult to shift into, especially at higher RPM's. 5th gear has shown no problems. Does this sound like a clutch problem?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  ToyotaTom replied 5 years ago.

ToyotaTom :

Hello, and thank you for choosing Just Answer to help you with your questions!

ToyotaTom :

I highly doubt it is a clutch problem, as this would usually lead to slipping while in gear

ToyotaTom :

especially with a hudraulically controlled clutch

ToyotaTom :

Grinding is usually a synchro problem... however... 99.9% of the time this is not a problem with any of those transmissions (just mentioning it as a worst case scenario)

ToyotaTom :

99.9% of the time you will find that the shifter bushings are worn out and need replacement. They deteriorate into basically nothing, making for a sloppy shifter, and making it incredibly difficult to get the truck into gear

ToyotaTom :

Fortunately for you, the bushings are quite cheap, and very easy to replace

ToyotaTom :

here is a great article/write up on how to replace the seat and bushing

ToyotaTom :

Should cost about 10 bucks in parts, and shouldn't take more than a half hour to replace them if you take your time

ToyotaTom :

Good luck, try this first. I'm sure it will cure your problems. If not, please let me know and we'll take it from there


Would that explain the grinding of the gears even when the clutch is depressed? I'm working on getting the parts. Thanks.

ToyotaTom and other Toyota Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  ToyotaTom replied 5 years ago.
Yes because when the seat and bushing are worn, there is too much slop in the shifter to actually get it in gear
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Great. Any hints on finding the right bushing. Should I just go down to the dealer and ask them for the part. Or order it online myself?
Expert:  ToyotaTom replied 5 years ago.
Just get them from the dealer. That way there's no guesswork. They're cheap enough and most dealers keep them in stock normally.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. I'll let you know how it goes. I'll be stopping by the dealer tomorrow.
Expert:  ToyotaTom replied 5 years ago.
sounds good
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey Tom - I have the bushing and I was able to get the rubber boot off of the shift lever. I'm having trouble now getting the shift lever to release from the transmission. The collar that is described in that article you forwarded to me is not allowing me to turn it 1/4 turn. I'm having trouble pushing the collar down. Any advice? Does my '89 have a different technique for getting that lever out?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Tom - Finally got the collar to release the shift lever. You were right! When I took out the shift lever I couldn't even see the end cap bushing. It looks like it has disintegrated into nothing. The seat bushing (or whatever you want to call it) was also in about 50 recognizable pieces (the rest has turned into what I'm gonna call "after market grease"). I've called the dealer to see if they have the seat. They have one for the V6 model, but it's dimensions seem to be identical. I'm going to check it out and see if it will work for my I4. I'm hopeful it will. Let me know if you have any knowledge in that department.

P.S. It looks like all together the two pieces will cost around $30 purchased from the dealer. Just fyi for future customers.

I'll let you know if it fixes the problem when I put it back together. I imagine it will. Thanks again for the great help.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Here's a link with great pictures and info on the whole process. Basically says the same thing as the one you provided but with more pictures.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Tom! My truck feels like it has a new transmission! Thanks for the help. You've saved a poor college student hundreds of dollars. I'll be driving 500 miles to CA this weekend and I won't have to worry about my transmission. Thanks Again.

Expert:  ToyotaTom replied 5 years ago.


I apologize for the delay in response. Much like many of the other experts on here, I am a tech at a dealership for my "regular" job and do this part time in the evenings.


I am glad to hear that worked for you. Most of the time those bushings just deteriorate into basically nothing, and you just have to fish out the pieces, throw some new bushings in there and you're as good as new again. With those bushings gone, there is so much slop in the shifter that it never really makes it fully into gear, and causes what you've described. Now your shifter is working again, the linkages are doing what they are supposed to, and you're up and running. I am glad you got it all set, and it was a simple and cheap fix. Good luck with the rig, and if I can help you in the future, please let me know.


Have a safe trip :)

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