Guys, I have 2004 Camry and my car has exactly same problem.
IT hesitates from 1st to 2nd gear and in turn loses acceleration. I think this problem is specific to 5A.
I am very disappointed by Toyota Camry. Toyota doesn't want to acknowledge it and dealership says everything is fine with the car.
I wouldn't buy any Toyota product in future.
A follow up to my experience with Toyota and the shifting problem. I took to dealer to Arbitration in December. The gentlemen came out as did a Toyota rep and we test drove the car. The transmission "did it's thing" everyone lurched forward in their seats and I thought I had a good case. When the decision came back all he said was that I proved it was an annoyance, but that I failed to prove that it damaged my ability to resell the car.
So how many people out there would buy a car that had a shifting problem that made you lurch forward in your seat?
If there are any takers I have a Camry I would love to sell you.
Purchased a used 2003 Camry LE V6 auto (5 speed) in June of 2004. After a short trip the next weekend realized the car had serious shifting problems. Tried to return the car to the local dealer where purchased. Dealer refused saying that was what warranty service was for. What a joke. After two trips for warranty repair from the local dealer and a letter to Toyota, took the car to a dealer in another city in May of this year. After a short test drive by the tech, he checked the fluid level in the transmission and discovered it was overfilled. I was told he had to drain nearly 0.9 quarts from the transmission to get it back to proper level. I drove the car home from the dealer and immediately could feel a difference: No more hesitation when pulling from a dead stop, shift point from 1-2 and 2-3 feel more normal and consistent, passing gear now feels normal with acceleration (what a relief). Only symptom that still seems apparent is at slow speed when trying to begin to accelerate, it feels like the transmission is not in any gear, but then shifts into gear.
It is possible the tech may have reprogrammed the computer in some way and did not say so, but it has been three weeks and the transmission is still operating more like a normal transmission. One more thing, see if you can find a procedure in your Owners Manual for checking transmission fluid level.
Still one more thing, about the cost warranty inspections, the dealer in the other city charged me nothing for the 30,000 mile warranty inspection, but the cost of a new air cleaner (~$18.00). Some dealers will try to say you must purchase their warranty inspection package at a very high cost, so beware.
I had exactly the same problem, lurched into 5th gear when going 25 mph (and I mean hard). After several unsuccessful trips to the dealer, I finally sold this car and bought a Hyundai Azera (2007 Limited and I love it). I was a very loyal Camry owner since 1994 but will NEVER buy another Toyota product of any kind.
Commenter 15:46, congrats on the Hyundai. I'm a died-in-the-wool domestic owner after disastrous experiences with imports, but Hyundai seems to be making a real effort to build high quality cars. I looked at and drove the new Sonata and was very impressed.
As for Toyota, just looking at the Camry reviews would be enough to turn me off, and my experience with Honda was so bad we'll never buy another one of those either.
I just bought a 2003 Toyota Camry XLE a week ago. It is doing all the things everyone else describes as far as the shifting/transmission, getting stuck at lower speeds and then lurching forward. Brought it back to the dealer 3 days later and then again today and they are basically telling me that it's my imagination, that there's nothing wrong with the car.
I brought it to my regular mechanic, and he confirmed my fears. It also has steering problems and possible engine problems. I am so freaked out over this! They get away with it because there are no recalls to be looked up, so only by really searching the internet did I now find all the complaints about this car. I am trying to convince them to let me trade it in for another, different car, but I'm afraid the car they may give me in exchange may be worse! I had a 1997 Camry XLE with 105,000 miles on it that I traded in and wish I still had!!! This car is NOTHING like my old Camry. I will never buy one again.
I bought a new 2003 Toyota Camry XLE 6cyl, automatic transmission in 2003. From the get-go, the transmission was just strange with its hesitation and lurching. I did research and saw where other owners had the same problem, so I knew I was not imagining it. I told the service department at the dealer several times, and they always came back with "we don't feel it".
Well after about 2 years, when I took it in for service and again mentioned this problem, they said we don't see a problem, but by the way Toyota is putting in a WHOLE NEW TRANSMISSION for you. Huh, no problem?
Now about 4 years later, it is doing the same thing and the car only has 37k miles on it. In reading many websites, this car also is subject to UNEXPECTED ACCELERATION and should be considered under the new recall. I have not had that problem, but am scared that it might happen.