I have a 2002 4Runner (the V6) that sits for a few weeks at a time between uses (I live in coastal FL). If I haven't started it in a while when I put it into Drive the gears don't seem to engage unless I rev it a bit and then it "clunks" into gear (reving it up in Neutral has no effect) . After I have done this once, it runs fine until I don't run it for a while. My wild guess on this is that over time the transmission fluid is draining out of the hydrolic actuators that shift gears and that I have to rev the engine up to push that fluid back into the lines. FWIW, I don't appear to be low on AT fluid.

Any thoughts?


  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented May 14, 2018 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


I think you could be right with a slightly different bent. I believe what's going on is you may have a sticking solenoid/valve which is not actuating the clutches (or other friction parts) in your transmission. When the solenoid/valve dries out, it sticks until there's enough line pressure to overcome the sticking. Once there is fluid in the right places and it's no longer stuck, it works fine. When the transmission is in neutral, fluid doesn't take the same path as when in drive, so fluid is not pushing against the mechanism to un-stick it. This may be something which won't affect usage beyond what you're seeing now, or it could be the tip of the iceberg of something major going on. You may try (if at all possible) starting and moving the 4Runner a little more often to see if it alleviates the issue. Beyond that, you'd probably need to take it to a shop and get it properly diagnosed.

  • Paulster2: Thanks for the input. I'm hoping that using it more will alleviate the issue. Cheers.
    – HDA
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 18:15

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