Sweers Hints at New Tundra Transmission and Differential Ratios – Autoline Interview

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In a recent video interview on Autoline after dark, Chief Tundra Engineer Mike Sweers hints that a new transmission and differential ratios are coming fueled by the CAFE requirements. Check out the video.

Sweers Hints at New Tundra Transmission and Differential Ratios - Autoline Interview

Sweers was recently interviewed on Autoline after dark. Check out what he had to say.

With the pending CAFE requirements, a new transmission with new differential ratios seems like a no brainer. Sweers admits that nobody really knows what a full-size truck will look like in 2024 (the second CAFE deadline). He shares his personal stories and reasons for many of the 2014 changes.

The video starts midway through the show. Also, there are moments when the journalists respond to questions that aren’t Toyota specific. Here it is.

Our takeaways are:

  • 25% of 2014 Tundras are sold with the top-of the line packages (Platinum or higher)…wonder if this number will hold.
  • 27% of Tundras are sold to people who used to own domestics
  • Future models may have the option of more than one rear axle ratio…another good indicator that a new transmission is coming
  • No plan to merge the Hilux and Tacoma…but that doesn’t mean that these vehicles couldn’t share some components
  • No plans for a bigger, stronger motor than the 5.7
  • Diesel is unlikely (which is what we’ve heard for a long time…)
  • Diesel exhaust systems cost $3k in addition to the premium for the engine, and that number is likely to increase in 2017 when the new emissions regs kick in
  • HINO makes the Tundra’s rear diff

What do you think? 

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  1. LJC says:

    If I were to buy a new truck today it would be the 2014 Tundra. There is still a lot to like about the truck. However, I’d still be upset-to put it mildly-with the lack of a selectable lockers.

    Myself and others will start saving for ARB’s products…

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      LJC,

      I hear you. I do wonder what the next-gen Rock Warrior will offer in terms of selectable lockers. I mean the 4Runner has them in all packages with the Trail edition having the most options. At the very least, the Rock Warrior should have it.

      -Tim

  2. Mickey says:

    Long interview. Very informative. Looks to be 8 speed tranny coming out soon. I do like the 1794 interior in the dark brown version. I just hate the fact they are using the same AIP pumps which I despise now. After changing both pumps then changing air switch valve, 2 weeks later have CEL only and also limp mode again for P2445 Secondary Pump stuck close on Bank 1. This is beyond ridiculous. These pumps make the truck less reliable. They need to look further than “Cardone” for pumps.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Mickey,

      Agreed on the AIP pumps issue. Funny to me that when I asked their reps if they were using the same part for the new trucks, I was met with blank stares. It is almost like they didn’t even consider it to be a problem.

      I sent off a long list of specific questions to them on this and other issues. I don’t hold out much hope they will ever be answered, but who knows. Last I heard, my email was forwarded to their engineering department.

      -Tim

  3. […] Interview New Tundra Transmission and Differential Ratios Coming – Better MPG | Tundra Headquarters Blog __________________ MIDNIGHT RIDER THIS TRUCK CAN TAKE A HIT AND KEEP ON […]

  4. Randy says:

    This “Redneck” purchased a 2014 Tundra because of the QDR! As far as I am concerned the Tundra is a “Home Run”. The San Antonio plant is building a superior product compared to the other three brands; it is not even a close comparison. With the high percentage of conquest sales others must feel the same way.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Randy,

      You know what I really like about Sweers? He is a truck guy. He’s like, I bent the hell out of the bumper, so I told them to fix it. When is the last time you heard a GM truck engineer talk about ditch loading a snowmobile??

      -Tim

  5. Brian J says:

    Interesting…wonder how a new diff and 8 speed trans will affect fuel economy numbers? It’s a crying shame about the lack of diesel, but I see why Toyota is making this call. The fuel, where I live, is currently $0.75 more per gallon than regular unleaded. Combine that with higher initial cost and lackluster MPG gains (comparitively) because of all of the emissions crap (yes, crap because it strangles the diesel’s otherwise awesome MPGs) and its not too hard to see that diesel’s growth in this segment may be short-lived. I do understand increased resale value with a diesel, but what about potential injector issues, fuel filter changes, more expensive oil chnges, etc. With gas motors now going 120k miles between major tune-ups and making the power numbers we currently see…well…like I said: I see why Toyota is saying “No” to diesel. I wonder what Ford and GM will do going forward now that Ram and Nissan have declared they will market a half ton diesel…

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Brain J,

      I recently drove a Lexus RX 350 with an 8-speed transmission (see: my review here: http://lexusenthusiast.com/201.....0-f-sport/). While it is hard to estimate MPG numbers for the Tundra based on the Lexus RX 350, I would say the MPG gains will be minimal 1-2 hwy, 0-1 city. Frankly, I just don’t see it.

      -Tim

  6. DJ says:

    I haven’t watched the whole video but I am dissapointed at no new, larger engines than the 5.7. I was sure there would be since GM and Ford have 6.0+ monsters that have surpassed the 5.7. I’m still hoping for direct injection to boost the HP and MPG on the 5.7 though.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      DJ,

      Seems to me that Toyota is just happy with what they have and they have the QRD data to back it up. I have spoken with lots of third-party companies who flat out say that the 5.7 is just a beast of an engine. And these third-party companies see all the other makers as well.

      -Tim

    • Brian J says:

      If the 381 horses and 401 lb-ft of torque aren’t enough, then you can step up to the supercharged 5.7 for over 500 horses and 550 lb-ft of torque. That should satisfy your power hungry needs. I have also read on some forums from guys that have the S/C 5.7 that their MPGs actually improved. No real test data on this that I am aware of and I’m sure Toyota would deny those claims, but interesting nonetheless.

  7. Randy says:

    I just went to the TiVo and pulled up the over full hour video.

    Prior to Mike Sweers coming in; there is a section on the big mess Ford has regarding suppliers; apparently no company has relationships developed with suppliers like Toyota does, at least according to the discussions by the three dudes in the chairs.

    This is later followed up with by Sweers regarding EPS. I can fully back that up, the EPS on my EcoBoost was a frigging disaster, the rattle, snap, pop, and intermittent electrical induced torque steer should not be acceptable to Ford or its dealers. It was not acceptable to me.

    How nice it is to have real steering that is always the same and does what you tell it to do. The Tundra steering is a pure joy by comparison.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Randy,

      Good points on the suppliers. I was going to link to the whole interview, but it was really long and except for a few parts, wasn’t that interesting. It is largely known that Toyota’s quality standards for third-party suppliers is MUCH higher than other makers and is part of the reason why they are more dependable. However, it also means that innovation takes longer.

      -Tim

  8. T says:

    Tim,

    Nice find, we finally have more details as to what has changed and what advancements are likely to come. I really wish Toyota would just bump the hp (19-25hp)when they add the new (8 speed) transmission. I would probably bite if they did those two things. My gut tells me I am not the only one with that view…

    T from Phx

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      T,

      I hear you on more HP, but I think Toyota will stay with what they got. They just have to make a vehicle to meet so many different needs that it is hard to see them add more HP and thus more fuel burn (not better MPGs).

      If I had to place a bet, I would think they keep the current Tundra powertrain setup as the normal option and then add a high MPG model-8 speed, 4.6L V6 with a 3.5 rear diff. I can’t see them going bigger.

      -Tim

      • T says:

        Tim,

        Honestly, I think the 8 speed will be added to all the platforms otherwise it would not be competitive (think of the “truck looks small” comment). Once the 8 Speed is added and hopefully along with VVL and direct injection we could see the MPG increase 3-4mpg easily. Add an electric engine fan you are talking an extra 1-2 mpg on top of that. Did Swears mention the new truck has electric power steering?

        I am thinking BullyDog will crack the Gen 2.5/3 codes as well. Between all the enhancements and the real programmer it will be a great day to be a Gen 2.5/3 Tundra owner.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          T,

          Could be, we just don’t know yet. I do know that the new transmission is likely going to come from Aisin not ZF. Toyota currently has the 8-speed in the Lexus RX 350 F Sport and I have driven it. Frankly, it is really smooth and tough to see a difference. Now, the F Sport is tuned for performance, so MPG gains are 0 city, 1 hwy. Yet, after driving one for a week, I can’t see the Tundra picking up any big city MPG gains. Hwy? Sure, there will be gains there, but around town, the 8-speed wasn’t that impressive.

          It does, though, seem that if Toyota threw all the MPG options at their trucks (DI, 8-speed, new rear diffs) that they could pick up some big MPG gains. I am SURE they have such a thing in the test fleet. Although, it is like Sweers says, how long is the ROI for the average consumer? That is the big unknown for us, Toyota probably knows.

          In the end, Toyota HAS to do something. Not for us, but for CAFE regulations. Those regulations are going to force their hands.

          -Tim

          • RIck says:

            Tim,

            I agree the potential in the 8spd is minimal. But it would allow Toyota to gear the heck outta the truck, improve towing numbers again (!) and still improve, albeit marginally, MPG. Off the line performance will also increase.

            As you mentioned, adding DI and a few other things could vault the truck to the top of it’s class, but would definitely improve bragging rights. It’s a step in the right direction.

            Who knows, Toyota might add a few more things we’ve been asking them for like a locker for the already stout rear.

            I have too much into my truck now to let it go, but if mine were stock, I’d be looking to sell in a year or two.

            Rick

          • Tim Esterdahl says:

            Rick,

            One can hope, one can hope. I’m just not sure the 8-speed tranny is the “golden ticket” that a lot of people make it out to be.

            -Tim

          • T says:

            Tim,

            That makes sense, and I understand Toyota’s decision and respect the fact they perform a cost benefit analysis before applying costly changes while making us pay for it (The big 3)when we want to buy a new truck.

            If you do get a chance to speak with Sweers, please ask about electric engine fans, VVL, and direct injection. An electric engine fan for example would not be more than a $50 cost increase when you are talking high volume and adds 1-2mpg, I know the mpg gains to be a fact not an opinion.

            Also if you would ask about calling out the competition like TFLT did.It would be a great marketing tool during the Super Bowl when America is watching. Consumers want real tow ratings for their trucks and not “Magic Towing Dust”—->@Mark PUTC.

            T

          • T says:

            Tim,

            That makes sense, and I understand Toyota’s decision and respect the fact they perform a cost benefit analysis before applying costly changes while making us pay for it (The big 3)when we want to buy a new truck.

            If you do get a chance to speak with Sweers, ask about electric engine fans, VVL, and direct injection. An electric engine fan for example would not be more than a $50 cost increase when you are talking high volume and no markup while adding 1-2mpg. I know the mpg gains to be a fact(buddies 07 Tundra w/Flex A Lite 775 modded to fit).

            On a side note, it would be a great marketing tool during the Super Bowl when America is watching, to bring the issue of real tow ratings for trucks so the Big 3 and the like could get off the “Magic Towing Dust” band wagon. Imagine Chevy or Ford coming out with a new best in class towing commercial for the big game for a new truck and which is then followed by the Truth in Towing Toyota commercial feature “Magic Towing Dust”…that would embarrassing for the competition.

            Thx,

            T

        • Larry says:

          T,

          About the electric fan? While I think electric fans make a lot of sense over the old style belt driven units with a fan clutch, how do you come up with a 1-2 MPG advantage? 1.5 would be a 10 percent gain. How can that be?

          I’m not saying your wrong but wonder how you arrive at that. Have you converted a truck or something and seen that kind of number? While moving a 5000 pound truck around with all the aero dynamic issues and starting and stoping that 5000 pounds an electric fan just doesn’t seem like it could make a 10 percent difference.

          Just wondering.

          • T says:

            Hey Larry,

            A buddy of mine switched his 2007 (5.7L)Tundras belt driven fan with an electric fan by Flex A Lite (Black Magic dual fan model for Gen 1 4.7L). In winter driving their was a slight gain(0.5-1mpg). However, in the summer their were noticeable gains as the “engine fan” was not pulling from the engine (1.5-2mpg). We had similar results with a custom 1984 Ford Bronco running the old Ford 5.0 motor with carburetor, non-fuel injected.Hope that helps.

            T

  9. LJC says:

    It just occurred to me that a possible reason for no rear eLocker is Hino. I suspect the rear-end comes assembled and Toyota bolts it on, along with the brakes, etc..

    So, in order to have a factory locker, Hino would have to modify their assembly process, making it more difficult for Toyota to add one.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      LJC,

      Now THAT is some insight and could very well be the issue. If I ever get another chance to talk with Sweers, I’ll ask him.

      -Tim

  10. LJC says:

    Thanks Tim 🙂

    Also, while on the subject of ‘Hino’, ask’em just how much ‘Hino’ is in the Tundra. I think it would be good to know and would bolster the Tundra improving reputation.

  11. Larry says:

    “nobody really knows what a full-size truck will look like in 2024”

    We might not know what it’s going to look like but, we know what it won’t be. It won’t be a truck which will do any work.

    Tons of new expensive electronics
    Full time traction control 4WD for driving 70 on snowpack.
    A transmissions which will cost 5000 or more to rebuild.
    Smaller higher turbo pressure high RPM motors which will be light but not durable.

    Most of all the truck is going to go down in weight by 1000 pounds.

    After they remove 1000 pounds by replacing critical steel with aluminum and plastic, will it be able to do any real work for more then 5 years/100,000 miles?

    The trend doesn’t look good and it won’t be long before the assault on the durability and weight of the 3/4 tons trucks is targeted.

    These are some of the reasons I did not buy a new truck but decided to buy a 2006 3/4 ton with out all the junk on it. It might seem like a minor point but 2 issues really frost me. TPS sensors for all 8 of my wheels and micro chip keys which cost 125 dollars each. I just had 5 keys made for my 2006 for about 15 dollars.

    In 2024 people will be paying 50,000 for a 25,000 dollar truck and another 25,000 for all the junk they put on it. They will probably be sold at Walmart along with all the other junk which will be in a landfill in a very short time.

    It won’t be long until the day when the only real trucks will be 1 ton or more.

    While they are at it they should include locomotive engines in cafe and make them get 20 MPG.

    Good luck to all.

  12. […] heard the 8 speed tranny and a new diff with lower gearing, nothing about a new motor New Tundra Transmission and Differential Ratios Coming – Better MPG | Tundra Headquarters Blog __________________ 2007 SR5 DC 4×2 4.7L carbon filter delete Toyo Open Country AT […]

  13. […] capacity issue where they can't keep up. Sweers says they are at capacity in this interview: New Tundra Transmission and Differential Ratios Coming – Better MPG | Tundra Headquarters Blog Also, there are parts of the US where the 2014 trucks are just now getting too. For example, […]

  14. […] Originally Posted by nizmoz Yea it was mentioned in that one video posted here that was like an hour long with the white Tundra sitting inside of a building. You must mean the Autoline interview. I cut it to be just 30 mins. Thinking more about it, he did say something quickly about tweaking, but I really think that was less engine more ECU adjusts to shifting. I would say the bigger news is that there are working on different rear ends from Hino and a new 8-speed transmission, most likely from Aisin (the same transmission that is in the Lexus RX 350 F Sport). New Tundra Transmission and Differential Ratios Coming – Better MPG | Tundra Headquarters Blog […]

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