Have Transmission Questions? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. These transmissions are very picky with regard to the total fluid capacity. We have found that a mere 8 ounces low of fluid will create all kinds of abnormal shift occurrences. Since this truck does not have a dipstick to set the fluid level, it needs to be done by a Toyota shop. The reason for this is to obtain the proper amount of fluid. To achieve this, a special tool is used to pump new fluid into the transmission pan, while, at the same time, a scan tool is attached to the vehicle to monitor the transmission temperature. The window of internal temperature is very narrow. Once the temperature window has been exceeded, the fill process must cease, or the level will not be correct. If I were you, before I did anything else, if I were you, I would have the transmission flushed and have new fluid introduced. I do not recommend draining and filling the pan. This leaves 4 quarts of dirty fluid in the transmission. A proper flush by a dealer usually runs in the vicinity of 150 dollars. This is the best path to take before anything else, as the fluid level must be at the specification or you can and will have weird shifting issues.
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There is no danger to a flush by a professional machine. The internet threads are wildly exaggerated. They place blame on Trans service when the real issue was they caused the issue via neglect or abuse. My shop performs flushes every day of the week. I would get it to a shop asap. The shudder may be a starvation condition.
Assuming the fluid level is correct, driving in 4th when towing, especially up hills, is a good practice.