2003 Matrix Manual Transmission Compatibility


New Member
Hi all,

I have an 03 Matrix XR as follows:
I think this is a "C59" transmission (please correct me if I'm wrong on that). Well, long story short at around 80k miles it's apparently self destructed. I was a bit incredulous about this at first because manuals should be more reliable than that. I've read there's apparently a poorly designed bearing that has been causing frequent issues. Well, can't win them all. I'm also almost certain there is internal damage as a result of whatever part coming apart in there, meaning rebuilding the existing transmission is probably not an option (on top of my limited time).

My question though, is that I want to buy and install a replacement. BUT I don't want to get one with the exact same defect that will grenade itself in 100 miles. Which means I'd like to put in a 2005+ C59 (because I've read they made some adjustments to fix the bad design of the '03 version) or possibly C60 which I heard is almost compatible, possibly requiring a change of flywheel. I'd even be open to converting to an automatic if it's not too hard (I figure it probably is, I am by no means a toyota or corolla expert). We just want to get the car back on the road on the cheap (relatively I know) and using my own fairly good mechanical prowess.
The entire rest of the car is in good shape and it should have many years of service left.

Unfortunately I can't find a straight answer as to what's compatible. Can anyone help me out here and enumerate my options?

Thanks, I really appreciate your time!
2006 Vibe that just grenaded the c59 transmission. Bearing at shaft disintegrated and caused all sorts of gear chipping/debris. Just tore it down and replaced all bad parts and installed a rebuild kit. Works fine now. Essential info below.
I worked through toyota for all of my parts and dealer info.

- my main sources:
- general transmission removal: https://www.toyotanation.com/thread...59-clutch-rear-seal-replacment-w-pics.959473/
- general c59 disassembly: http://www.tcorolla.net/overhaul-1203.html
- c59 differential ring removal and install: http://www.tcorolla.net/overhaul-1212.html
- output and input shaft gear pulling and pressing: various youtube videos.
- main culprit: The bearing that looked worst had the following identification on the inner race ("HTF...B25-163Ag") and outer race ("NSK...JAPAN...630Z"). Note that the replacement bearing that came in the rebuild kit was identical. I opted to use a different bearing (totally sealed on both sides, unlike the original) from toyota. I just let the parts department identify the superseding part.
- "Rebuild Kit": Note that there are two very similar kits out on the market. Go to "www.transmissionpartsdistributors.com" and see the difference between their "BK418BWS" and "AWS" kit. A difference of 0.020". Easy to mix up and not everyone offers both kits to choose from. The "BWS" worked for my vibe.
- Advice: Go to friendly dealer. Give them car info. Have them print out all schematics of: internal shafts and gears, differential and bearings, overall trans case. During tear down, identify all parts to replace. Have them identify all toyota part numbers (the numbers in the schematics are the short 6 digit codes that aren't specific enough). Use the real toyota part numbers to buy for 60% the cost using an online toyota parts dealer.
- Advice: Be organized during tear down. Take photos. Ensure all parts are removed and laid down so you know the orientation/order. label all parts against the step number for reference.
- Minimal tools: Press. Various pipes (measure the exact sizes you need to press bearings and gears and order from mcmaster carr. Cut to 6" or 12" lengths.). Inside diameter blind pullers (expand to allow hammer pulling from one side). Outside diameter bearing pullers (various sizes). Bench grinder (you'll need to grind your pullers to fix exactly and be prepared to get replacement pullers). Impact gun to make pullers work better. Clamps to hold pullers in place while using impact gun. Small plate with and without holes to protect pointed tips of pullers when pulling on shaft without a hole.
- Advice: On the differential, I just approximated bearing preload by spinning the differential teeth with a long screwdriver. Did not use a tool in the middle hole.
- Advice: Note that not all bearings are pressed and bottomed out. Read the instructions from toyota above at each step.
- Advice: When the two case halves are sealed and bolted together - you will probably fail to get the two shafts to stick out far enough for the snap rings to be installed. Don't panic. Tap (with wood block) on the input shaft in the bellhousing from below while pulling up on both shafts to get them moved up a little. You don't need to tear it all apart and repress bearings.
- It won't be clear exactly what parts the rebuild kit comes with compared to your toyota part numbers. Plan on sucking up a restocking fee from someone. If you're getting close to a 30-day return window - contact the distributor and get an allowance of time in writing.
- Advice: If you're hammering when you should be pressing during reassembly, you're doing something wrong. Make sure it all gets seated correctly and straight.

My rebuild cost ~$1,300 on trans internals (new shaft, diff ring gear, some gears, and rebuild kit). ~$350 on new clutch and rear main seal.

have fun. don't rush. if something seems too tough - walk away and think on it.