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My 2008 Toyota RAV4 with 200,000 kilometres has developed a shimmy/shudder/vibration at 60 km/h. Toyota said it was the universals and replaced the drive shaft – including hanger bearing – but there was no change. When the transmission shifts to fourth and the rpms level off, it occurs, but under acceleration or if shifted down to third, it goes away. – Val

Given the repair that the Toyota dealer has already completed and the conditions you describe, I suspect the issue is related to the transmission's torque convertor and its corresponding lock-up solenoid.

Simply put, the torque converter is the fluid coupler inside the transmission that transfers the rotational force from the engine, taking the place of a clutch.

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Lock-up is designed to allow for a direct mechanical connection between the engine and transmission, controlled by the vehicle's transmission control module (TCM).

The TCM will temporarily apply torque convertor lock-up under the conditions you are describing for the purposes of fuel economy. The problem may have a simple fix, as Toyota does have software updates for many of its vehicles under the heading "Torque convertor flex lockup shudder." If software doesn't offer an improvement, then its controlling DSL solenoid located inside the transmission's valve body will have to be examined by a qualified transmission repair shop.

At 200,000 kilometres, you also need to be prepared for a larger problem such as torque convertor failure, which ultimately means a complete rebuild. Start simple with a fluid change and software update at your dealer and hope for the best.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area

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