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Old 04-15-2021, 04:53 PM   #1
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Transmission Overheating on Sequoia

We had gone a bit less than 40 miles when i happened to look down and notice that the transmission temperature was approaching the red line on the gauge. By the time I found a place to safely pull over it had hit the red line. We let it cool and drove on, having to stop once more. From that point, whenever we tow the transmission temperature gradually climbs to 85-90% or more on the gauge, then drops a bit, climbs, and so forth. I tried tow/haul mode on and off and it seemed to make no difference. I expected it would be worse on hills, but they're small and the gauge didn't react quickly enough to confirm. When I'm not towing the temperature measures fine.

Anybody have this happen and know what might be going on? No answers on Toyota forums, and the dealers don't seem to know.

I tow with a 2014 Toyota Sequoia with tow package pulling a 2018 Coleman Freedom Express 248 RBS.
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Old 04-15-2021, 06:39 PM   #2
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We had gone a bit less than 40 miles when i happened to look down and notice that the transmission temperature was approaching the red line on the gauge. By the time I found a place to safely pull over it had hit the red line. We let it cool and drove on, having to stop once more. From that point, whenever we tow the transmission temperature gradually climbs to 85-90% or more on the gauge, then drops a bit, climbs, and so forth. I tried tow/haul mode on and off and it seemed to make no difference. I expected it would be worse on hills, but they're small and the gauge didn't react quickly enough to confirm. When I'm not towing the temperature measures fine.

Anybody have this happen and know what might be going on? No answers on Toyota forums, and the dealers don't seem to know.

I tow with a 2014 Toyota Sequoia with tow package pulling a 2018 Coleman Freedom Express 248 RBS.
Have you hit a CAT scale for weight measurements? I’d bet you’re overweight with that trailer. How much passengers/cargo weight in the vehicle?

248RBS lists 705 lb dry tongue weight, which means you’re basically already over the Sequoia’s maximum TW with just an empty camper.
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Old 04-15-2021, 06:56 PM   #3
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I also agree that you may be overweight. But on the mechanical side, if you have 60k miles I would have a Toyota dealer do a transmission service. I don’t care what they say in the owners manual 100k is way too long on a fluid change.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:38 PM   #4
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Have you hit a CAT scale for weight measurements? I’d bet you’re overweight with that trailer. How much passengers/cargo weight in the vehicle?

248RBS lists 705 lb dry tongue weight, which means you’re basically already over the Sequoia’s maximum TW with just an empty camper.

Yes, I have hit the CAT scale. Within specs so the transmission should handle it. And has handled it without overheating since I've had the trailer until now.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:42 PM   #5
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I also agree that you may be overweight. But on the mechanical side, if you have 60k miles I would have a Toyota dealer do a transmission service. I don’t care what they say in the owners manual 100k is way too long on a fluid change.
Has towed mostly not at all or less weight for most of its life. Been pricing transmission flushes. But still need to determine what's causing the overheating. It was a problem with earlier generation Sequoias that from what I read never seemed to get solved.
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:22 PM   #6
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An aftermarket transmission cooler might help..
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:38 PM   #7
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What speeds are you driving? Check fluid levels and always use tow/haul mode when towing.
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:39 PM   #8
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I would find a gauge or a “ plug and Play” system that will display real time temps to keep a closer eye temps. I would also get a flush done. If problems continue find a tranny shop
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Old 04-16-2021, 06:45 AM   #9
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1. Verify trans temp, if its normal when not towing, id suspect the temp sensor is ok.

2. Have the trans serviced could be a partially clogged filter or line. Or just broken down fluid.

3. Could be a clogged cooler.

4. Transmission thermostat. Not sure if Toyota uses them, but a lot of the other manufacturers do.
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Old 04-16-2021, 09:18 AM   #10
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An aftermarket transmission cooler might help..

I'm not an expert on transmission coolers. Why would that be better than the factory-installed one on the vehicle?
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Old 04-16-2021, 09:28 AM   #11
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What speeds are you driving? Check fluid levels and always use tow/haul mode when towing.

I do always use Tow/Haul mode. The only time I didn't (other than occasionally forgetting for a few minutes) was to check to see if it made any difference in the overheating. It didn't.


Can't check fluid levels while on the road. I tried that. No dipstick. I found I had a sealed transmission.

So far as speeds, I pretty much stick to 65, though I did slow down some the other day to see if it made a difference in the overheating. It didn't.
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Old 04-16-2021, 09:31 AM   #12
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I would find a gauge or a “ plug and Play” system that will display real time temps to keep a closer eye temps. I would also get a flush done. If problems continue find a tranny shop

I plan to get a flush done. Don't expect that to impact the overheating, but strange things happen in the world sometimes.


I don't know if the factory gauge installed in the car displays "real time temps" or not. I have thought about one of the plug-in units that displays the temps, but I'm not sure if it buys me anything more than the factory gauge already tells me or not. Do you have any insight on that?
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Old 04-16-2021, 09:48 AM   #13
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1. Verify trans temp, if its normal when not towing, id suspect the temp sensor is ok.

2. Have the trans serviced could be a partially clogged filter or line. Or just broken down fluid.

3. Could be a clogged cooler.

4. Transmission thermostat. Not sure if Toyota uses them, but a lot of the other manufacturers do.



Temperature is normal when not towing. So I suspect you're right, that the sensor is OK. I do plan to have the transmission serviced. I thought about a clogged filter or line, but then it seems that it would run hotter when not towing also. Perhaps not, though. Anyway, the transmission flush probably should be done and then i can see if it makes a difference.


A friend of mine suggested the thermostat but he wasn't sure if Toyota uses them or not. I couldn't confirm for sure with a search but it appears they do. So that is a possible failure point I need to check out.


Right now I'm thinking a thermostat may be the most likely. Clogged line would cause the problem, though in the sealed transmission I'm not sure what would clog the line. But doing the flush I'd hope would fix that if it is the problem.
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:28 PM   #14
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Have you yourself checked the fluid? Pull the dipstick while running and engine warmed up.
1. note the color of the fluid, it should be bright red and transparent
2. smell the fluid... does it smell burnt? If it is dark red/to brown and/or smelss burnt you need to get it serviced
3. an add-on transmission temp gauge is in-expensive
4. another transmission cooler, larger might be better then what you got
5. nothing worse on a transmission then overheating
6. repair/replace transmission is very expensive
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:53 PM   #15
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Have you yourself checked the fluid? Pull the dipstick while running and engine warmed up.
1. note the color of the fluid, it should be bright red and transparent
2. smell the fluid... does it smell burnt? If it is dark red/to brown and/or smelss burnt you need to get it serviced
3. an add-on transmission temp gauge is in-expensive
4. another transmission cooler, larger might be better then what you got
5. nothing worse on a transmission then overheating
6. repair/replace transmission is very expensive



No dipstick. Sealed unit.
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Old 04-16-2021, 01:07 PM   #16
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My ZF 8 speed RAM tranny is sealed also

It did not keep me from having the pan dropped and new fluid put in at 50K miles because I tow... I also did it again at 95K miles...

I needed a replacement pan because the factory pan is plastic...

I replaced it with an aftermarket aluminum pan...
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Old 04-16-2021, 01:43 PM   #17
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Aftermarket cooler would be a wise investment. Most stock coolers, unless has a tow package, go through the bottom of the radiator. It could be clogged internal, or you might have a flow issue with radiator.
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Old 04-16-2021, 01:43 PM   #18
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A good scanner

A good code scanner would plug into the OBDII port and continuously report transmission temperatures.
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Old 04-16-2021, 02:21 PM   #19
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A good code scanner would plug into the OBDII port and continuously report transmission temperatures.
X2. Without a dipstick you have no way of knowing the condition of the fluid. Excessive heat is the number 1 killer of automatic transmissions.
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Old 04-16-2021, 02:27 PM   #20
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I agree with most, a aux transmission cooler would help tremendously & get the transmission serviced, new filter transmission control module for software updates, Some transmissions also require certain adjustments while the pan is removed

Id absolutely stay away from anyplace where the shop use one of those vacuum pumps extractors, had my Honda where the dealer did a transmission flush using one of those contraptions , and 3 weeks later my transmission died due to excess dirt and crap lodging in when vacuumed (or trying to vacuum)
Would have been better to drain & fill process & drop the pan to change filter.

My 2 cents
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