4Runner Shifting Problems

by Alexis Writing

Owners of a Toyota 4Runner might panic when the gearshift begins to have problems. Knowing a couple of the things that often go wrong in a 4Runner can help a driver diagnose or even repair the gearshift himself. Following are some of the more common shifting problems with 4Runners, and a bit of information on what to do next.

Shift Solenoids

One of the leading causes of gearshift issues in automatic 4Runners is a bad "shift solenoid." In automatics, shifts are controlled by shift solenoids, electrical coils that change gears automatically. These solenoids can go bad over time and cause stuttering between gears, or prevent shifting beyond a certain gear. Shift solenoids can be purchased and replaced on your own. By consulting the owner's manual, you can determine the location on the valve body of your vehicle and check shift solenoids for breakage or rupturing. Replacing these on your own isn't terribly difficult, as long as you are certain the shift solenoid is the problem. Tutorials are available in car repair manuals and sometimes are posted online.

Transfer Case

When a 4Runner begins to have shifting problems, the transmission is often fingered immediately as the culprit. A driver might change the transmission fluid and filter, only to find that the car slips into the same shifting problems. Four-wheel-drive vehicles utilize a transfer case that ensures shifting between two-wheel and four-wheel drive. If a vehicle has a difficult time shifting into two-wheel or four-wheel-drive high, but works on four-wheel-drive low, examine the transfer case. Common problems include linkage breaks and worn gears.

Shift Lever Seat

Sometimes, the gearshift on a manual simply doesn't feel right. The vehicle might come out of gear too easily or have a problem upshifting or downshifting. The shift lever seat is the well in which the stick shift rests. After years of use, pieces might break off, bend or rust, causing problems with gearshifts that don't stay where they should or have a hard time getting there. Fixing your shift lever seat is quite simple and takes about 45 minutes. Once the boot cover and plate cover have been removed, you need only examine, remove debris, grease up, and reassemble. Such a fix can cost serious time and money at a mechanic, so try it on your own if you have the time and the proper equipment. The proper equipment includes a screwdriver and/or wrench to remove the boot cover and plate, a soft cloth to remove dirt, and grease for lubricating the shift lever.

About the Author

Alexis Writing has many years of freelance writing experience. She has written for a variety of online destinations, including Peternity.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Rochester.