|Most people who own cars like this
are enthusiasts and maintain their cars meticulously. I am no exception.
I also feel that it's in mine and my passengers best interests to maintain
the car at peak operating capacity. I have outlined below all maintenance
that I can remember. I kept all my receipts, the problem is that I am somewhat
disorganized and I didn't always file away the receipt before it got lost.
Massachusetts recently (2000) implemented more stringent emmisions guidelines
and the Celica recently passed way under the limits. More details on that
The Great Clutch/Transmission
I recently (12/01) sold the car. I had hoped to keep it a few more years but it seemed like the syncros for first, 2nd and 3rd gear were going bad and I would need a new transmission. In November 2001 the clutch was having problems depressing and then getting the shifter into gear. I decided rather than spend a lot of money on the car, it would be better for me to sell the car and get a new one that my wife could drive. Since the car was having problems, I sold it for $1000 as whoever bought it would be spending more money to get it fixed.
All details will be revealed below.
In Feb. 2000 the clutch was replaced by my then mechanics, Little Foreign
Car Garage in Waltham, MA. There was a problem with it after installation
and they had to redo the job. I sold the car to a fellow car enthusiast
from out of state halfway across the country, someone who did not know
LFCG but had spoken to the owner about my car for maintenance history before
buying. The following are excerpts from his email regarding the repairs
to the car once it was in his posession:
Perhaps LFCG does good work some of the time, maybe many times. However given the problems with the clutch install and the observations of a fellow car enthusiast who doesn't know these people from a hole in the wall and has no axe to grind with them, I will not be going back to them nor recommending them to anyone anymore. Even despite what is reported, if this is not completely accurate about LFCG, just that the suspicion of some problem, of unethical and dishonest behavior has been raised, I cannot continue to do business with them. I mean, I should've just never gone back there after the clutch problems to begin with.
At about this time I was listening to "Car Talk" on NPR and someone who replaced a clutch on his Toyota truck from the same era reported the exact same noise. I listened to what they said might be the problem and wrote it down. I then called their garage to speak to one of them about my problem and how it related to the guy who called in and what they thought. I then wrote all this in an email to the owner. His office manager called and said to bring the car back in. When I got there I asked him about the email and what the car guys said and if that was the case and he said no, that was not it. He said something about how the clutch had been really worn and something which had been in one position was now in another position. I didn't really know what he was talking about but I wasn't really sure if he really did either. After all they had not taken the car apart to find out. Given that this car is very labor intensive (hence the $2k) due to the engine layout and design and AWD, they were loath at first to spend the time to take it apart again. Rather they tried lubricating something. The sound went away for a day and I had to go back. This time they used some other lube but after a couple days the sound came back. I let him know and said I would see if it went away on its own.
After about 3 months I couldn't take it anymore and called the owner telling him this and would they please fix it. I brought it in and it was done in about a day and a half. I thought it would've taken longer however the office manager said they had summer interns to help out. I was told that instead of trying to figure out where the problem was, they just replaced the whole clutch assembly etc. I drove it and so it seemed the noise had gone away. However when the car would be idling there was some strange but not very audible whistling noise coming from below the car. Also at this time another small but high pitched noise developed when the accelerator was pressed in at a certain spot going between 2000 and 3000 RPM's and more likely when the AC was on. At first it was random but then I was able to reproduce it at will. It seemed that something else got screwed up when they took my car apart and put it back together again. But since it was so small a thing in occurance I may have mentioned it in passing or in an email to them saying if it got worse I would bring it in but did not make a big deal about it.
After a month the clutch noise slowly but surely came back in all its glory. I didn't say anything to them though because it seemed to me that they had done a lot of work on it already, that they had done all they could and what else could be done? If I took it somewhere else it would cost me another $1k or so to have it taken apart again. At that point I just should never have gone back there. However I did for minor things like oil changes and when I got my Mazda to have oil changes and a tune up. I think in August of that year (2000) an AC hose blew out causing the car to overheat. I was at work at that time and took the car to the nearby Toyota of Woburn. I figured I would have them do major work on it from now on. When I brought it in I mentioned about the mechanic checking the clutch noise and what he thought about it. When the car was done they said they couldn't hear any clutch noise. I figured, of course not because of the nature of making it happen. Anyway because the car is labor intensive, to replace an $8 hose in an out of the way place, it cost me $900. I think at that point I decided to sell the car. Sure it's an awesome car but maintenance was expensive!
I created this site and detailed everything about the car including the noise. I also did some research and emailed with other members of the Celica GT-4 webring. One of them owned a Supra which exhibited this same clutch noise after the clutch was changed. At that point I figured it was some kind of Toyota bug. In February of 2001, a guy made an offer which I accepted. He didn't care about the clutch noise and at that point a lot of the noise had gone away so in his extensive test drive he had not even heard it or been able to reproduce it. However he never ended up buying it because he was concerned about his job security and also about the 2nd gear syncro which made a clunking noise if you shifted into it above 25mph. This was what led me to think the syncro was going bad and the transmission might be having a problem.
In March of 2001 we had really bad snow so I decided to take the car off the market and keep it until the summer. However at that point I wanted to sell my Mazda instead and keep the Celica for myself till it died. I had a buyer for the Mazda however the guy got laid off and couldn't then buy it. Meanwhile on the Celica it was getting increasingly hard to shift the car into first and third gear and a whiring noise started to occur during idle in the area below the turbo. It stopped when the clutch was depressed. I took the car to Watertown Toyota to ask them how much it would cost to replace the syncros. The guy I spoke to told me his truck made the same whirring noise and that it was the throwout bearing (part of the clucth assembly or something related to the clutch) that was the cause. Later they told me that because the labor would be the same to replace the syncros as to just put in a new transmission, might as well put in a new transmission. The transaxle was part of the transmission and to replace the entire assembly would cost $4000 or more. I decided not to do it. I would just keep the car till it died and then have it towed away.
Later shortly thereafter I was at LFCG for an oil change and told the owner about all this and what Toyota had said. He said that they replaced the throwout bearing twice and that could not be the problem with that noise, the one under the turbo that went away when the clutch was depressed, that it had to be something in the tranny. He said they could rebuild the tranny and for a lot less like maybe $2000 but he would have to look into it. So I said ok look into it. When he did he told me that it was going to be more expensive than he realized because of replacing the entire assembly and the labor and parts cost, probably all between $3k and $4k. I said I was not going to have the work done in that case.
In November 2001, I was at a Target parking lot and when I went back to the car, the clutch would not depress. I could not get it into gear. I let the car run for a bit and finally was able to depress the clutch and get the car into gear and drive it home. I parked it in the driveway figuring it was done for and I didn't want to risk driving it anywhere else and getting stuck. I put a note on this site about the problems with the car, that I was going to sell it and that the new owner would need to fix it. Given all that I put the price at $1000 firm. I was flooded with emails by people wanting the car. Amazing! Anyway this guy I talked about above, who also owns a MKIV Supra turbo, wanted a winter daily driver. And what better car than this one?! So now my baby has a new daddy, one who will take great care of it, and I'm happy about that. And that's the story.
One other odd thing of note. The
last time I was there for the tune up of my Mazda (11/01), I brought Redline
synthetic gear oil for the transaxle. I had researched what gear oil was
supposed to be used and talked to other MX6 owners on the www.mx6.com
website forum. This was important because apparently if the gear oil used
contained the wrong compounds, they would eat away and corrode the brass
and copper containing syncros. I was standing in the main area and the
owner told the mechanic who had walked in that I had brought in this gear
oil. The mechanic seemed taken aback and said something about but can't
regular 10W-30 oil be used?! The owner told him again that I had brought
in this synthetic oil to be used for it. I found this very strange
considering this was supposed to be a shop with car enthusiasts who knew
a lot about cars.
The Old BBN
Auto Mechanics List