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[Solved] 2014 Toyota Sienna - noisy transmission after CV axial work


Topic starter

Mr. Kilmer,

Watched your show for a while on YouTube - Thanks!  Have problem.  Last week I had to replace both lower control arms on my 2014 Toyota Sienna LE (FWD - 120K miles - no engine codes).  During the repair the mechanic said that he discovered the driver's side CV axial was torn and slinging grease in the wheel well area.  Since he was already replacing the control arms, I said to go ahead and replace the CV axial too.  About an hour into the job I took a look to see their progress.  I discovered they had the engine jacked up either on the oil pan / transmission pan (couldn't tell).  When they removed the CV axial a of fluid came out from the transfer case.  Mechanic said he poured back 2 quarts back into the transmission.  Mechanic then drove the van to get the alignment completed - had to drive down the street as he didn't have the equipment.

When I got the van back, I didn't really notice anything immediately wrong.  I drove home - no leaks.  But when I restarted the van a few hours later, the transmission seems to be making scraping sound.  I called the mechanic and he said he didn't hear such a sound and he swore he installed transmission fluid.  I didn't get a warm and fuzzy.  Took the van the dealer the next day to have them drain and pour transmission fluid in case the mechanic didn't pour the correct amount (or any).  Dealer did the job, and didn't say there was anything wrong.

Again, after the van cooled down the same scraping sound at lower speeds was evident.  I'm worried that the goober mechanic broke something and won't fess up.  Again, no leaks.  Doesn't make any noise in reverse, just lower speeds - highway speeds you can hear a high pitch sound.  Any recommendations is appreciated.

Forgot to mention - this isn't the first time I've drain and filled the transmission. Has been done at three times - once at 50K, second at 100K, and this most recent at 120K. Never flushed.

2 Answers
Topic starter


Got it fixed, but wanted to share my situation in case someone else has a similar problem.  After a few videos I took with a GoPro taped to the driver's side control arm, and a careful eye by a Toyota technician, it was eventually fixed.  When the original mechanic (who I'll now call OM) changed the control arm and CV axial, I called him up to ask how he lifted the engine to remove the lower motor mounts.  The OM said that he and a partner jacked up the engine by way of the transmission oil pan.  Ugh...

The damage to the transmission oil pan wasn't significant; however, it did cause a slight flow restriction of transmission fluid to the transmission enough to make a loud noise (this noise was the result of cavitation of the transmission fluid pump - sounded like the groaning of a power steering pump going bad).  Went back to the dealer and the guy at the counter was saying it may need a new transmission, so I asked him if I could speak with the mechanic and share my video.  He agreed and the mechanic lifted the van and looked under it.  He initially didn't fix the transmission pan and did notice a slight imprint in the oil pan (said he's seen worse - someone hit a rock), and thought the transmission was toast.

I asked him if he'd attempt to roll out any of the impact damage to the pan and install a new pan gasket to see if that'll work.   He figured, I had nothing to loose and everything to gain, so he agreed.  And after couple of hours the work was done - the noise went away.  The transmission had shifted fine the whole time, and it was audibly noticeable the transmission wasn't either getting the correct flow or amount of fluid.

Appreciate the feedback, and wanted to share my experience so others may avoid an expensive lesson from The School of Hard Knocks. 


This post was modified 1 week ago by US_RedTape
Posted by: @us_redtape

When they removed the CV axial a of fluid came out from the transfer case. 

It's called an axle, and FWD vehicles don't have transfer cases. The axle seats right into the transmission.

Posted by: @us_redtape

scraping sound at lower speeds ... highway speeds you can hear a high pitch sound.

It could be a lot of things. Changing the axle might have just made it more noticeable.

Symptoms sound typical of failed wheel bearings.