Update 18 – Apr 13

Well it looks like the one of the shift solenoids in the transmission has called it a day. When in drive it is trying to take off in top gear. It will take off in first if I manually select it, but manually selecting 2nd actually gets me third, and I only have overdrive in D.

For anyone with problems in the automatic transmission, you can do a quick check to see if it’s mechanical or electrical. First remove the passenger side transmission cover.


Basically on the passenger side of the transmission you will find a connector for the solenoid wiring.


Disconnect it


Then take it for a drive. Manually selecting 1st should give you first gear, manually selecting 2nd whilst moving should give you third gear, and manually selecting D should give you overdrive. Reverse should give you reverse. If it does all of this then the fault is electrical, not mechanical. As suspected my problem is electrical.

When you’re done connect the solenoid wiring connector back up. Under the bonnet at the fuse box, take out the EFI fuse for at least 30 seconds.

I’m pretty damn certain it’s the shift solenoid as it is a common fault with this transmission (A343F), and as mentioned in previous updates I did have issues with coolant & transmission oil mixing. I believe this was the catalyst for the failure. The only way to confirm this is to take the transmission pan off to access the shift solenoids, remove them and test them.

Unfortunately we are down to 1 vehicle working right after a vehicle accident on Friday – the Defender. Who ever said that was the unreliable vehicle 🙂

So I basically have to wait until I get the Magna sorted before I can do anything else on this. I will be using it for work and leaving the Defender with the family.

So on to other things.

A while ago in Townsville I damaged the standard side steps quite bad. Well I decided to just take the bloody things off. I actually think it looks better without them, although I will try and sort something out a tad better when I get the chance. Might be time to look at a pipe bender…..



Next up was a UHF that doesn’t work anymore. Which actually means a big job as the radio needed replacing as well. So I got into it.

Old one out



New ones to go in (BTW there’s nothing wrong with pink if it has the words ‘John Deere’ on it) 🙂



New UHF aerial & Next G aerial fitted to bullbar


New mounting point for the UHF


Prado was well and truly getting pulled apart now 🙂


Phone cradle fitted (the other mount is for the electric trailer brake controller)


Radio in (does radio, bluetooth, DVD, camera, iPod etc – quite fancy actually)


UHF in


And all done (for now)


Still to do (due to running out of time this weekend):

1. Rear camera
2. iPod connection
3. Microphone for bluetooth
4. Get an adaptor for the phone cradle to aerial cable (they’re bloody different!)
5. Finish fitting car kit.
6. Fit new speakers.
7. Fit winch.
8/ New battery (because of winch).

Overall I’m generally happy with how it’s coming along but I’ll be a lot happier when the mechanical issues are sorted. This is our family vehicle so I really can’t afford for it to be having issues. If I confirm that it’s the shift solenoids, I may just upgrade the valve body and put a torque converter lock and temp gauge kit onto it.

Here’s hoping it gets me to work & back this week…………….. 🙂


Leave a Reply