3rd Sep 2010, 05:25

We have a 2003 December build CVX Kluger. I love the car, and yes the auto has given me some concerns also. Running the 95 or top unleaded has helped a lot.

We are at a low klms, 103,000 or so, and the engine light just came on today. This car has not missed any services, and we have decided after reading about it, to have it taken by tray truck to our mechanic, and have the engine flushed or serviced. Also, the last service was only done 7k ago.

So hopefully no big engine problems!

Derek Pater.

13th Apr 2013, 06:46

Hi Derek.

What happened thereafter? I have a 2004 Kluger with around 100,000 km, and it has just started blowing blue smoke on starting up. The car was serviced and still continued to blow blue smoke. The engine light has come on and I am researching on the net to get some info before taking it to the Toyota dealer, who incidentally have taken 3 weeks to give me a quote on valve stem seals, which I was lead to believe may be the problem.

Is this a common fault at around 100,000 km?

Any feedback will help.

Thank you.


8th Oct 2015, 12:46

Had this vehicle for a couple of years now and my transmission has the same problem. Lags really badly and can't decide what gear to change into. Never thought to check if it was a wide spread issue; I just assumed it was getting old.

4th May 2017, 10:31

I have read countless complaints about the Toyota Kluger 2005 transmission. I travelled in Canada for 12 months in 2016 and bought a 2004 Kluger (Highlander) to drive in the extreme conditions and tow a camper trailer across the country in the summer holidays. I loved it so much I bought a 2005 Kluger with just 133000 km on the dial when I returned to Australia. It was then I discovered the transmission problem.

I have chased so many online threads. Read all the issues and things people have done to try and solve the issue. None seem to work so I decided to try my own thing.

I bought the vehicle in Sydney in January 2017. It had spent most of its life on the streets near Marrickville and the occasional trip down the coast to Kiama. A lady driver and in pristine condition. Needless to say the computer had learnt some really bad fuel and transmission habits over the 11 years. I drove it 500km home. The transmission fluid was really dark in colour when I bought it, so I had a service done and replaced the ATF as soon as I drove home.

Since then the transmission became impossible to live with. Couldn't decide which gear it should be in when driving at slow speeds and turning into streets where it needed to step down to 2nd or even first. The hesitation was almost 2 seconds. I put up with it for 3 months, thinking it would get better. It didn't. I came to the conclusion that non-compatible transmission fluid was put into the car. I bit the bullet and decided to do some maintenance myself.

1) I dropped the transmission fluid and replaced it with Valvoline synthetic ATF. Recommended for Toyota transmissions.

2) I removed and looked at the MAF sensor. It was coated in filth and took a long time to clean with the appropriate cleaner. I put it back in.

3) I unplugged the battery for 3 hours to drain the computer to wipe the old history.

4) I used a third party OBDII scanner adapter from China to check for engine faults. None were present.

That's it.

After a week of driving the car, it had improved tremendously.

1) The engine started properly and was not hunting for the correct revs when cold. (MAF) sensor is now working properly.

2) The gear changes from 1st to 2nd were faster and more efficient. The rest of shift points were also much better.

3) After a week of driving, the hesitation has reduced from 2 seconds up the hill to my house, down to half a second at most. It isn't hunting for the correct gear now.

4) The engine / transmission is running much quieter and smoother.

5) When I manually downshift the transmission to 3rd, 2nd and 1st, they slot in very quickly and the engine responds more quickly as well.

6) On acceleration, the gear shift points are getting better all the time.

On reflection, the computer was not registering the amount of air coming into the engine so the computer was running lean, then rich, then lean when it should have been more constant. This has a direct input into the gear the transmission is going to select, depending on the torque required for the throttle position being read. The 2nd lot of oil allowed me to flush even more sh***y old transmission fluid out, leaving more quality fluid in the system.

Just though I would post this. Hope it helps someone out. Cost me $80 for the ATF and MAF sensor cleaner, but it was worth every cent.

I really enjoy the driving experience now. Fuel consumption is under 11.8 L/100 on average so I'm happy.