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Vagabond

Transmission Shifts Into Neutral

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I have a 2001 RX300 that just purchased from the dealer 2 months ago. It has 115,000 miles on it now and I have put roughly 3000 miles on it since I purchased it. The transmission seemed to shift into neutral on the way home yesterday and the vehicle would not shift into gear either forward or reverse though the engine revs up just fine. It made no noise previous and there was no loud clanking noises when it failed. The vehicle just coasted to a stop. I had it towed home and on a whim went out and started it today. It shifted into gear and moved far enough to shift parking spaces. It would have gone further but I did not want to press my luck and have to push it into a space. I checked here the transmissions all seemed to make loud noises or have some other warning signs. Any sugestions? There are no dash warning lights that come on.

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As much as I hate to ask the obvious, I will. Have you checked the fluid level? A low fluid level will cause those symptoms but so will a pump failure internal to the transmission. Let's start with the easy stuff first.

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It has been a while since I could get back to the car due to working out of town. I checked the fluid level and it was in the range it needed to be. I read a post that recommended changing the fluid and filter just in case that was causing the problem. Crawling under the vehicle in the snow was not my idea of a great time but $50 spent on fluids and filter seemed like a good first step before the $5000 transmission replacement. I pulled off the pan and I do not believe that it had ever been removed. The fluid came out nice and cherry red but the filter seemed to be clogged shut. I cleaned off the magnets and wiped out the sludge from the bottom of the pan and refilled the fluid. I have not taken it up on the highway yet but it shifts normally and makes no odd noises while going around the block. We are getting a bugger of a snowstorm so the rest of the testing will have to wait.

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Good job. Hope the cleaned filter screen and fresh ATF solves your problem. An inexpensive fix, indeed. Keep us posted....

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