Last post on Dec 05, 2013 at 10:01 PM
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Toyota Tacoma, Truck
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#140 of 601 2009 Tacoma automatic - be afraid, be very afraid
Jun 30, 2009 (8:58 pm)
I've been lurking for awhile but thought I'd share this re my 2009 Tacoma standard cab automatic 2WD. I purchased this vehicle in mid-April & now have ~1,150 miles.
The automatic transmission is largely electronically controlled & has a known software issue that Toyota has already issued a TSB for. Unfortunately, the TSB seems to have made the problem worse, at least in my case, & Toyota doesn't seem to have another fix in the works. For now they'll at least admit there is a
problem but are stalling on what if anything they'll do about it longer
term. I sense the dealer is frustrated as well & the service advisor said
he was sorry but until Toyota stepped up and addressed the problem, he
couldn't really offer a resolution. Toyota for the time being seems to be
holding to the line its not a safety or driveability issue at least in the
sense the vehicle can't be driven.
The problem first manifested itself at around ~400 in my case with a coarse vibration /shudder on deceleration. Evidently the torque converter locks up early and often (to increase fuel economy) but then doesn't want to let go. This is a bit like lugging a manual in a lower gear than it wants to be in. The vehicles I test drove (&
mine) are silky smooth until the this issue develops. I never would have
bought the vehicle if it had driven this way at the outset. The TSB (a
software download that reflashes the ECM) simply moved what was originally a
shudder/light vibration when coasting at around 25-30 mph to a more severe
vibration at around 20 mph, now present on light throttle as well. Another
issue (potentially a NHTSA concern) is the vehicle will maintain speed and
even slowly accelerate with your foot completely off the gas on level
ground - feels like cruise control is on but my vehicle doesn't have it
installed. The TSB also killed the tight, smooth shifting & turned the
transmission into a 'slushbox' with dead spots around 1,500 - 2,000 rpm
where the engine will start winding up but the transmission doesn't really
respond. At other times it will drop down & grab a lower gear when it didn't
need to. On other occasions it will feel like it is being manually
downshifted on deceleration as you would on a long downhill, with slight
but noticeable engine-braking, followed by the transmission completely
If you're doing your research, you're aware that the Tacoma is
class-leader in terms of features (especially safety) & overall design.
Build & material quality is good. Mine has one clink/rattle somewhere in the
suspension or the body-frame connection which I could live with. Less
impressive is the audio which is going in next week to be replaced under
warranty - intermittently turns itself off on its own, display goes out,
controls don't work, etc. Evidently Toyota got a whole bad batch from
whoever the supplier is but at least here there is no argument on replacing it - service advisor said most of the ones from the fall 2008 build are failing this way.
So, good luck but I'd stay away. You'd think Toyota, of all manufacturers, would realize that their perceived quality & reputation is their single most important asset & that burning customers w/ a poor design and quality and then refusing to address the problem isn't going to work well for them in the long run. I can think of a couple of recent examples of what eventually happens.....
#141 of 601 2009 Tacoma automatic
Jul 01, 2009 (7:05 am)
Very good description. I've noticed the feeling of downshifting when coasting as well. Didn't really associate it as being part of the problem but I suppose it could be. I agree to pursue this issue with the NHTSA. Don't know if a common trait with this problem is where it is made. Mine was made in Mexico. A question to be asked also is other vehicles by Toyota employ the drive by wire method as well. Doesn't seem to be near the problem with them. What's the difference in the systems?
#142 of 601 Re: 2009 Tacoma automatic [befuddled2]
Jul 01, 2009 (6:43 pm)
I have noticed this performance issue as well. When I spoke to the dealer technician about it, he told me that the 5 speed auto transmission (v6) is a "busy" transmission. I have found it to be quite jerky at times.
It seems to shift to first gear when I turn corners. Which makes the truck seem to jump a bit. Then it shifts to second. Is this the problem in which you are speaking?
Also, I first noticed that when I brake, I feel the vehicle would shift and it seems to make the braking a bit more difficult. A few times I had to press the peddle to near the floor to get it to stop. I spoke to the dealer about it, they claimed my rear brakes needed cleaned and they also tightened them. It has seemed to fix the problem (or i just adjusted my driving habits)
As for the transmission, If the computer does learn your driving habits, I feel the amount of shifting has decreased as I am now at 6000 miles.
I am new to the forum and hope that what I learn from my vehicle can help others.
I enjoy the truck and have found it handles better than most. Just thought the transmission was tricky.
#143 of 601 Re: 2009 Tacoma automatic - be afraid, be very afraid [pesteele1]
Jul 02, 2009 (4:34 am)
I have not heard about a TSB for the '09 Tacoma. I would much appreciate the number if you have it. I have made multiple trips to the dealer and even met with 2 regional reps from Toyota and they made no mention of a TSB.
#144 of 601 Re: 2009 Tacoma automatic - be afraid, be very afraid [tacoma1958]
Jul 02, 2009 (6:11 am)
I don't know what the TSB # is either. Hopefully, it will show up here. I currently am waiting for the Regional rep to look at the truck. I want to say that I find this rather silly that this is proving to be such a challenge. Don't know why it can't be resolved nor why Toyota is apparently so resistant to tackle the problem.
#145 of 601 Re: 2009 Tacoma automatic - be afraid, be very afraid [befuddled2]
Jul 02, 2009 (9:19 am)
Yes, good question what it the TSB number. I've sent 4 people to the Nissan dealer in the last 2 months who were considering Toyota Tacoma in Florida, You would think they would wake up one day and realize that fixing this could not possibly be as expensive as loosing their reputation in the small truck business. Apparently they don't get it. The funny part is, about the time they figure that out, it will be too late.
#146 of 601 Re: 2009 Tacoma automatic - be afraid, be very afraid [casteeb]
Jul 02, 2009 (7:56 pm)
Hi Everyone & thanks for reacting - I wish Toyota would do likewise.
I'm looking at my service invoice & it states:
"Test drove vehicle. Verified concern. Found TSB #0096-09 pertaining to concern. Recalibrated ECU per TSB. Test drove - passed." Obviously I don't agree it passed but I can't fault the dealer, I think they are trying but Toyota is just looking away and pretending none of this is happening.
My suggestion to the group is to:
- Keep at Toyota at every opportunity - start a case #, send emails & calls as appropriate. I've read some other posts where folks report Toyota Customer Care and dealers claim they've never heard about a compliant about this - I'd take this excuse away from them.
- Keep posting here - I'd guess someone from HQ lurks here to see how restless the natives are getting.
- Post on the review pages on Edmunds, Cars.com, Yahoo, Epinions, etc. Drive their satisfaction numbers down & scare shoppers away.
- When someone at work or in a parking lot says 'Hey - sharp truck - howdya like it?', tell them. I bet I've already killed a couple sales for them.
- Answer your Consumer Reports and JD Powers surveys if you get them. My 90 day anniversary is coming up and Toyota better pray JD Powers doesn't sample me.
- File a complaint w/ NHTSA re inappropriate shifting - I don't want to run down a pedestrian in cross walk because the truck whimsically decided it wanted to drop down a gear too many. Likewise, I did a long 3-4% uphill and it would not shift down.
- See what recourse you have in your locality re lemon laws, state attorney general, consumer affairs, etc. Probably not much chance here as these are pretty uniformly stacked against the consumer, but you could at least make some noise.
I'm a realist and I've got Toyota's truck and they've got my money and not much I can do at this point. Sad thing is, I like the truck & if they'd address the transmission issue fairly, I could be retained as a customer (& send some more their way) if they'd quit this GM/Chrysler-like behavior.
A wise man once said better to make $100 from a customer ten times than $200 once. Balls in your court Toyota.
#147 of 601 Re: 2009 Tacoma automatic - be afraid, be very afraid [pesteele1]
Jul 03, 2009 (5:04 am)
After reading all this, they have lost a customer for now. I will wait and see what happens but only for a month or so and then here I come Nissan!
#148 of 601 Re: 2009 Tacoma automatic - be afraid, be very afraid [ccl1961]
Jul 03, 2009 (6:04 am)
Seems from the posts that at least word is getting out to potential customers about this issue. My truck now has around 8300 miles on it and still the transmission gets hung up when turning corners, downshifts a little rough when slowing down around 35 mph, and is jerky at times when accelerating. I have also just recently noticed that at around 25-35mph when the transmission starts the downshifting, if I lightly touch the gas, the truck will shudder until I adjust the pressure I am applying to the gas pedal. I have spoke to several 09 Tacoma owners now and everyone I have talked to has experienced the same general issues with the transmission. Problem is, they have not taken any action to complain! I have urged everyone to bring it to the attention of Toyota. And as much as I like everything else about the truck, each time someone asks me how I like it, I tell them about the transmission. Wake up Toyota. You are losing customers. I will not be completely satisified with my truck nor will I be a future Toyota customer unless you address this issue.
#149 of 601 TSB #0096-09 link?
Jul 05, 2009 (3:05 am)
I too have the same tranny issue. Vibration from 25-10mph deceleration and a slip at 10mph. Service says it's normal. Started around 400 miles, now have 1500. Had I known I'd have this issue I would have bought a ridgeline. When toyota fixes this I'll give a posting. Mine is an 09 prerunner four-door SR5. Very frustrating for a new truck. I'd expect this from Ford, not Toyota.