Toyota Tundra is best described by these adjectives: big, tough, and reliable. It is known as the first full-size pickup truck that is built in North America. And Toyota knew they could never conquer the US if they did not offer a full-size truck. In this article, we are reviewing the transmission problems of the last two generations of Tundra. Here is a summary of our findings:
The 3rd-generation Tundra doesn’t have any current problems, the most common transmission problems on the 2nd-generation Tundra are various fluid leaks, shift solenoid failures and valve body wear. Most of the issues are related to high-mileage vehicles.
We gathered this information by reviewing Toyota’s technical service bulletins, potential transmission-related recalls, owners’ forums, and NHTSA’s owners’ complaints. We have also outlined all the transmissions used since 2006. If you are interested in more than just a quick summary, keep reading!
If you want to have a complete overview of all the problems that have plagued the Tundra in the past two decades, read the article we just linked.
Common Toyota Tundra Transmission Problems
Now, let’s see some common transmission problems that owners and Toyota have reported in the third and the second generation Tundra.
Third Generation – XK70 (2022 – Present)
Revealed in 2021, the third-generation Tundra started production in December of 2021. This generation Tundra features the following transmission:
- 10-Speed AWR10L65 “ECTi Direct Shift” Automatic
This does not give us much time to evaluate its transmission reliability, but there could still be initial problems that need to be mentioned.
10-Speed AWR10L65 “ECTi Direct Shift” Automatic
We started by looking at all the manufacturers’ communication documents on NHTSA. We quickly found a Toyota “Tech Tip” bulletin that addresses the possibility of an automatic transmission fluid leak on the 2022 Tundra.
This has been happening on completely new 2022 2WD Tundra models only. The transmission fluid leak can form at the extension shaft area at the transmission’s rear. While most of these leaks have been found during the PDS inspections, there is still a possibility of it being present.
This tech tip bulletin provides instructions for cleaning, observing, and repairing the leak.
Furthermore, we have noticed 10 NHTSA complaints reporting a significant lag after pressing the gas pedal. An owner of a 2022 Tundra reports:
Throttle lag – When attempting to accelerate from near or complete stop vehicle will accelerate for a split second and then act as if it is stalling causing a dangerous situation. It has put me in a position where pulling out into traffic i’m left for 2-3 seconds with no throttle response.NHTSA ID Number: 11493260
As of now, it is not clear if that is a transmission-related problem or an ECU/throttle response problem. However, there is always a possibility that this could be a transmission-related fault, and Toyota has yet to address this issue.
Apart from that, this transmission seems to be rock solid. We also checked other vehicles with the same Aisin-made transmission (like the Lexus LX), and there were also no reports of significant problems.
Second Generation – XK50 (2007-2021)
Starting with the 2007 model year, the second-generation Tundra had a fantastic production run. Throughout its lifetime, it featured the following transmissions:
- 5-speed Automatic (A750E/F)
- 6-speed Automatic (AB60E/F)
- 6-speed Automatic (A760E/F)
Anyone who knows a thing or two about transmissions will instantly know that this “transmission lineup” is hard to beat. All of them are incredibly durable units, but they still come with specific problems. Let’s dive in!
5-Speed Automatic (A750E/F)
One thing you need to know about this transmission is this: it is incredibly simple and durable. First released in 2003, this is one of those Aisin transmissions that will go down as one of the best automatic transmissions of all time.
That is why Toyota kept this unit going for nearly two decades. They simply did not want to change something that was clearly working.
Just like all things mechanical, no transmission is perfect. The first problem we have to mention is related to the poor placement of the transmission neutral safety switch.
Due to water intrusion, the neutral safety switches corroded, leading to intermittent problems and, eventually, a complete failure. As it failed, the car would either be unable to shift out of park, or it would be possible to shift the car out of park without stepping on the break.
It could also prevent the engine from cranking; it would light up transmission warning lights and bring up specific diagnostic trouble codes. Replacing the neutral switch is relatively simple and inexpensive, so it does not pose a big issue. That is also why Toyota, or better yet, Aisin, did not find it necessary to improve the positioning of the said switch.
You need to know that the A750E/F is not a closed unit. This means it needs regular transmission fluid and filter replacement. Because many people fail to do this, you can also find reports of premature valve body failure, solenoid failures, and transmission shuddering.
With regular maintenance and without extreme abuse, this transmission should not have any problems with the torque converter, valve body, or shift solenoids. Most of these problems arise from the contaminated or worn-out transmission fluid.
6-Speed Automatic (AB60E/F)
The AB60E/F transmission is a bit more controversial than the A750E/F we discussed. Despite the more significant amount of problems and reports, Toyota has been proactive with its TSB releases to address them.
In a 2007 TSB number TC018-07, Toyota quickly addressed the reports of torque converter shudder. The shudder was felt when the driver lightly accelerated after an upshift between 20 – 45 mph or before a downshift between 30 – 65 mph when the torque converter assembly was in flex lockup.
This was present in the 2007 and 2008 model-year Tundras before Toyota improved the torque converter design that was later implemented into production. All the owners with this defect received a new, improved torque converter for free.
Another early problem of this transmission was also slipping and rough shifting. Several diagnostic trouble codes and the illumination of the malfunctioning indicator lamp commonly accompanied this problem.
This problem was dissected in the T-SB-0170-09 technical service bulletin. Unless there was significant damage to the C1 Clutch in the transmission, this problem was resolved by simply installing new software logic for the engine/powertrain control module.
Due to some owners’ complaints about their inability to remove the key when in Park, Toyota released the T-SB-0094-12. This TSB provided a repair procedure for the service technicians to know when to replace the transmission control switch and when to diagnose the issue further.
In most cases, replacing the transmission control switch solved this issue.
Specific 2007 model year 2WD Tundras were also prone to developing transmission fluid leaks through the driveshaft slip yoke plug in the center of the yoke, and Toyota addressed this in the TSB number T-SB-0055-08.
Long-term use, high mileage, and poor maintenance can also lead to the valve body, torque converter, and shift solenoid failures on this transmission. With regular transmission fluid and filter changes, you should worry about those problems once you pass the 250,000-mile mark.
6-speed Automatic (A760E/F)
The 760E/F is incredibly similar to the 750E/F, with slight changes to the valve body, two additional shift solenoids, and additional gear. Everything you need to know about this transmission can be found in a presentation by the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association (ATRA).
The first common problem with this transmission is the failure of seal rings. The Vespel material construction is prone to distortion, which can lead to transmission fluid seal failure. Install new seals must be installed by a professional who knows how to handle and install these seals to prevent damage at installation.
ATRA also points out that problems like harsh shifting, shuddering, and shift flare commonly occurs because of the wrong transmission fluid. Toyota released the TSB number TC010-07, showing that the only transmission fluid that should be used is the Toyota ATF WS.
Other common problems with this transmission also include shuddering between 30-50 mph and erratic shifting behavior. Both issues are linked to valve body wear and shift solenoid failures. There are plenty of affordable aftermarket solutions from brands like Sonnax that resolve this issue.
You can also learn more about solenoid issues in the Tundra in this video which provides an excellent explanation:
Generally speaking, just like the 750E/F transmission, this unit is built to last. With regular transmission fluid replacements, there is nothing to worry about until the car reaches mileages in the range of 150,000 – 200,000 miles.
Other Problems Related To The Powertrain
We could write another lengthy article to cover the technical service bulletins that address the problems with whining and howling differentials, driveshaft clunking noise, and transfer case diagnostic trouble codes.
You can view all the relevant powertrain TSBs for the 2007 Tundra by clicking here.
If you are in the market for a Toyota Tundra, make sure you exercise your right to a test drive. Make sure no weird noises are coming from the front and rear of the vehicle. There should be no thumping, growling, whining, or similar indicators of damage.
When you switch between 2WD and 4WD, there should not be any resistance or weird sensation. If you can, have the vehicle inspected for leaks and visible damage to the powertrain.
How Long Does A Toyota Tundra Transmission Last?
All the transmissions mentioned in this post are among the most durable modern transmissions. For this reason alone, we can easily set a uniform lifespan estimate of 180,000 – 300,000 miles for any of the transmissions mentioned in this article. Which is exceptional, especially when compared to the transmission on other larger vehicles.
Of course, that’s not out of the ordinary for Honda vehicles. You’ll find other long-lasting transmissions in vehicles like the Highlander Hybrid, Avalon, and the always-reliable Corolla to name a few.
This estimate is based on reading numerous ATRA articles, owners’ forums, and NHTSA reports. With regular maintenance and repairs at high mileage, these transmissions are known to last even longer than we estimated.
How Much Does A Toyota Tundra Transmission Cost?
- 5-Speed A750E/F, AB60E/F or A760E/F Rebuild Kit: 250$ – 500$ (eBay)
- Remanufactured A750E/F, AB60E/F or A760E/F: 2000$ – 2500$ (SPPrecision)
We’ve journeyed together through the strength and grit of the Toyota Tundra’s transmission. But it isn’t all strength and grit- we’ve also looked at the problems plaguing the last two generations with the third-generation Tundra displaying commendable resilience with no current transmission issues.
It is clear that Toyota has made strides in improving this aspect of its full-size truck. On the other hand, the second-generation Tundra has had its fair share of transmission problems, including fluid leaks, shift solenoid failures, and valve body wear, mainly linked to high-mileage vehicles.
However, the Tundra is still a solid vehicle and this guide isn’t intended to deter you from picking up one of these trucks. Instead, we’re giving you the info you need to find the perfect Tundra!
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!