Toyota Transmissions

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2019-2021 Corolla transmissions

The new K120 CVT is a continuously variable transmission; it cleverly combines the usual bands with a special launch gear (the world’s first launch gear in a passenger-car CVT) as well, because CVTs are not efficient in lower gear ratios. When drivers start, they will have “gear drive,” avoiding a moment of sluggishness and wasted power. It moves from gear to belt drive after launch, so the belts can be retuned for higher gear ratios, increasing the range.

2020 Toyota manual transmission shifter

Combined, the two systems bring an excellent, class-leading range of 7.5 — similar to much more expensive nine speed automatics. Reducing the torque load of the belt meant that the belt and pulley could be smaller, increasing shift speeds. The transition is a little awkward for some drivers, but one gets used to it.

The six-speed “iMT” (intelligent manual transmission) automatically matches engine revs on downshifts for greater smoothness and lower emissions. The new gearbox is also 15 pounds lighter (at 88 pounds) and shorter (by 0.94 inches).

A131L, A240E, A241E, and A245E automatics

1993 Corollas with the 4A-FE engine kept the old A131L three-speed automatic transaxle, but a new four-speed A245E automatic transaxle was used with the 7A-FE engine.

The A240E was developed for the 1989 Toyota MR2 and upgraded to the A241E in the 1993 MR2; engineers worked to make it smaller and lighter for the Corolla, whose power-handling needs were not as severe as the MR2’s. The result was the A245E. It kept the four speeds and lockup torque converter; the latter, developed originally by Chrysler some years earlier, provided a direct mechanical link between engine and rear wheels, avoiding the waste of using oil to transmit power. Both A240E and A245E transmissions were electronically controlled (hence the “E”) and quite advanced for their time.

Transaxle Type A131L A245E
Engine Type 4A-FE 7A-FE
1st 2.810 3.643
2nd 1.549 2.008
3rd 1.000 1.296
4th - 0.892
Reverse 2.296 2.977
Counter Gear Ratio 0.945 -
Differential 3.526
(3.722 opt in USA)
(had been 2.962)
Trans fluid 5.5 l (5.8 qt)  
Trans fluid type DEXRON® II (GM compatible)
Differential fluid 1.4 l (1.5 qt) 7.6 liters (8.0 qt)

Specific changes made to create the A245E from the A240E were:

The planetary gear units were similar, and were modified to work better with the 7A-FE.

  A245E A240E
Forward Clutch Discs 4 -
Direct Clutch Discs 3 -
Underdrive Direct Clutch Discs 3 4
Second Coast Brake Band Width 25 mm -
Second Brake Discs 3 -
First and Reverse Brake Discs 6 5
Underdrive Brake Disc 3 -
No. 1 One-Way Clutch Disc 18 -
No. 2 One-Way Clutch Sprags 20 -
Underdrive One-Way Clutch Sprags 30 -
Front Sun Gear Teeth 39 -
Front Pinion Gear Teeth 16 -
Front Ring Gear Teeth 71 -
Rear Sun Gear Teeth 27 -
Rear Pinion Teeth 18 -
Rear Ring Gear Teeth 62 -

Toyota wrote: “The accumulator consisted of C1, C2, C3, B2 and B4 as in the A240E. While the C1 accumulator piston of the A240E was activated only by the spring tension, the C1 in the A245E was activated by the spring tension as well as the back pressure, as were C2, C3 or B2. Lenghthening the stroke of all accumulator pistons reduced the shift shock.”

Electronic Control for the Transmissions

The electronic control system for the A241E (1993 MR2) and A245E (1993 Corolla) were similar except, as noted, the second speed sensor was dropped (so the #61 diagnostic code was removed) and the throttle valve opening was divided into 32 positions, up from eight, for better shift control. Diagnostics were the same for the two transmissions.

C50 and C52 manual transmissions (1993-1997) and associated clutches

These likely continued long past 1997. We will determine the true start and end dates later.

The C50 and C52 manual transaxles carried forward to the 1993-97 models; the shift lever moderating mechanisms from the old four wheel drive models was made standard on the front wheel drive cars for a better feel. The C52 had launched in the 1991 Corolla with the 4A-GE engine. The same transmissions were used in other cars with the 4A-FE and 7A-FE engines.

The dry, hydraulic single-plate clutch was used in past cars, but added a resin-washered damper (first used in the 1993 MR2 and 7A-FE equipped Corollas) to reduce noise. When used with the 7A-FE in the Corolla, a turnover device in the clutch pedal assembly reduced pedal load, unless drivers had antilock brakes or the theft deterrent system. The mechanism for cutting load was an overcenter plate and a tension-type coil spring.

1993-1997 4A-FE, 7A-FE engines
Clutch   Dry single plate with diaphragm spring, hydraulic operation
Cluch Cover   Diaphragm spring turnover type, 215 mm (8.5 inches)
Clutch Disc   212 x 140 x 3.5 (8.35 x 5.51 x 0.14 inches); 199 cm2 (30.8 square inches)
Master Cylinder   Conventional, 15.87 mm diameter (0.62 inches)
Release Cylinder   Non-adjustable; 20.64 mm (0.81 inches) diameter

The prior generation Corolla’s “type A” shift lever moderating mechanism continued in 1993-onwards Corolla wagons; a new one, type B, was used in sedans. The construction was updated but both had similar operation. The detent shaft in type A was replaced by the shift lever in type B.

  C52 Gear Ratios and Capacities
1st 3.545 (3.166 with 7A-FE)
2nd 1.904
3rd 1.310
4th 0.969
5th 0.815
Reverse 3.250
Differential ratio 3.722
Oil Capacity 2.6 liters (2.7 US quarts)

Oil Viscosity

SAE 75W-90
Oil Grade API GL-3, GL-4, or GL-5

Gear ratios, 1977 Corolla five-speed

3.59, 2.02, 1.38, 1.00, 0.86; all gears synchronized.

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