1989 Toyota Corolla transmission compatibility

Asked by Jan 25, 2016 at 05:58 PM about the 1989 Toyota Corolla DX Wagon

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1989 Toyota Corolla wagon  The three
speed automatic transmission has failed on it.  I
was wondering if I could put a four-speed automatic
transmission in there instead  or a manual
transmission  if so what type of modifications would  
I have to do for either one?

3 Answers


If you can find a wrecked donor car with a good manual transmission/transaxle the conversion should be fairly straight forward but labor intensive. I doubt your car is worth it though. Why not just buy a manual transmission car and save all the headaches?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

The purpose is not to have a manual but to just get it good working condition. The 3 speed auto went out in it about 8 months ago. After a let of looking we found a lot of used 4 speed auto transmissions but our mechanic said the 4 speed wouldn't work (why not?) we finally found a used 3 speed which cost nearly twice as much as the 4 speed (we were told it was very rare) then after only 8 months it went out again. Then after it went out again our mechanic told us yet hat it had needed new drive axels for the entire 8 months after he installed it so we finally put new ones on and within a few days the trans went out. He said that was what made the Trans go out.... Putting on the new drive axels...... Too much stress on the Trans. So would a 4 speed auto work? And do you think the failure analysis was correct? Thanks for the help!

I put a 4 speed on my 89 corolla wagon and it works fine. Your mechanic doesn't know what he is talking about. All i had to do was switch out the throttle cable length coming off the trans, Because my 4 speed original was too short. so i switched it out with one from a 3 speed that has the original cable length for a 1989 Toyota corolla. the 4 speed cable length is originally I believe for EFI modles but all you need to do is change out the cable and it should work.

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