Last post on Jun 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM
You are in the Lexus RX 300/330/350
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Lexus RX 300, SUV
#9341 of 9498 Thoughts on buying a 2002 RX 300
Jul 23, 2009 (10:29 am)
I am considering buying a 2002 rx 300 awd from someone I know with about 40K miles. Price will be what dealer will give on a trade, which I expect to be lower than I could get elsewhere.
I stayed up way too late last night reading posts in this thread and the rx 300 transmission thread. (Did Lexus make any rx 300's that didn't have trans problems? But seriously, the post seem to heavily include 1999 and 2000 with trans problems. I didn't see many 2002's.
I plan on taking it to a Lexus dealer and having them look it over expecially inspect the rear seal, check the trans fluid and if possible check for gelling.
I would appreciate hearing any of your thoughts on this. Thanks.
#9342 of 9498 Re: Thoughts on buying a 2002 RX 300 [irishcasey]
Jul 23, 2009 (1:25 pm)
Thoughts: Get it checked out by an independent (not Lexus) shop that specializes in Toyota/Lexus or other trusted mechanic, rather than the dealer.
Note that the posts on this forum are only usually from owners with complaints looking for resolution. Owners without complaints rarely have a reason to post. Yes there are owners who did NOT have transmission problems. I know of a close friend whose '00 RX is a good example at 199,000, no hesitation, and the fluid runs pink.
OTOH, there seem to be more reports of out-of-warrantee RX trouble from those who have low mileage. It could be that many high-mileage owners experienced trouble which was resolved during the long warrantee. But '02 model with 40k miles seems like either mostly city/traffic mileage contributing to the type of wear that could be trouble, or the vehicle was not used for extended periods which can also potentially be hard on the car.
Road test the car extensively. Look for any disagreeable shift anomalies under light load, downshifting, and any possible disagreeable hesitation. Not all models experienced this trouble either.
Check the fluid condition for burned color and/or odor. Clean, it should be clear pink with a petrochemical smell without a burned smell. Also consider if the purchase price is good enough, you can still end up OK even if you have to have the transmission rebuilt later. Plus you can control the transmission service interval, because dealer "service" packages based on their recommended schedule don't usually include any transmission service or concentrate on areas that are prone to failure.
With frequent oil changes, it's unlikely gel/sludge is a problem, especially '02. Any blue smoke from the tailpipe on cold initial start? Oil changes should have been done ahead of schedule in the Lexus manual, or for low mileage go by the "severe use" schedule. Mine called for 10,000 mile oil changes... In my opinion that's a bit too long, and I've always done 3-5,000 max.
Check that all the power door locks work properly. Sometimes the solenoids can get sticky if the vehicle is used infrequently. If that happens you have to lock the affected door manually or the security system doesn't work right. Again, it's not a deal breaker, either, if there's room in the price to have one fixed. Check the power antenna. If it's hit tree branches, low garage door, or car wash it could be bent and not work properly.
When considering price, do not add for low miles on this car. It's very easy to argue that low miles on an RX indicates "severe usage" even (especially) if only used a few miles at a time to go to church on Sunday.
Let us know what you find out. Good luck!
#9343 of 9498 Re: New buyer, first car! [melanjian]
Jul 23, 2009 (2:05 pm)
I thought others would share their view, but I'd pass on the volume dealer that will only "flush" the transmission at $210.
I'd try either a trusted local Toyota dealer or
A local trusted transmission shop. I would offer to get the type IV fluid from a Napa or Toyota dealer and bring it with the car, if they don't have it in stock (most don't. They use generic Dextron and add an additive). Bring 6 or 7 quarts with you.
My third choice would be a different Lexus service department, one who offers individualized service.
Here is a link from another user who shows some DIY instructions http://rx300how2.home.comcast.net/~rx300how2/xmission_fluid_change1.htm, to familiarize yourself with what the mechanic should be doing. When they service the transmission (and replace the filter) they can check for unusual wear.
Flushing can cause more problems than an improperly installed pan gasket. And the dealer's service department should be able to install a gasket without problems. But I'm not surprised the "volume" dealer deals in volume, quick in & out. I'd definately avoid them, and go out of my way for good service.
#9344 of 9498 Re: Thoughts on buying a 2002 RX 300 [irishcasey]
Jul 25, 2009 (6:19 am)
By the 2000 RX300 model year Lexus had already "applied" the first of what was to become many "fixes" for the design flaw they (inadvertently..?) incorporated in their transaxles beginning in '98.
It is today my firm believe that this particular "fix" involved reprogramming the transaxle control firmware to hold the ATF line pressure at a higher pressure level than previously, and/or even installing a higher volume ATF oil pump.
In any case the result appears to be localized(***) overheating of the ATF since the addition of the external auxillary ATF heat exchanger does not seem to have helped.
If the vehicle you are considering does not have the external ATF cooler (UNLIKELY) then I would PASS.
Even if it does I would want to know the maintainance history in great detail and upon purchase I would monitor the ATF condition like a HAWK. Every oil/filter change.
*** For instance, the gear type ATF oil pump itself overheating due to having to sustain a higher ATF oil pressure than the original design called for, or a higher volume oil pump than the original design allowed for. The external cooler results in the AVERAGE ATF temperature remaining in bounds but not that flowing through or just leaving the ATF oil pump.
#9345 of 9498 Re: New buyer, first car! [melanjian]
Jul 25, 2009 (6:27 am)
My '01 F/awd RX300 is now at ~75,000 miles and I have no plans for doing ANYTHING with/about the transaxle unless the ATF again begins to look and smell burned.
If I wasn't a DIYer and the ATF again looked burned the flush machine would likely be my choice. There is no filter, just a screen, and mine showed NO evidence of clogging at 40,000 miles. There was debris, ~1/8", in the bottom of the pan which I cleaned out. The three magnets had some minor level of "fines" but nothing in my opinion to give worry.
ATF is specifically formulated to allow such debris to settle onto the sump bottom where it does not create a concern.
#9346 of 9498 RX 300 GPS
Aug 05, 2009 (9:12 am)
Does anyone know how to update the GPS in the RX300? Mine is pretty useless as it doesn't seem to find many places and is very difficult to use. I live in an area with alot of new streets, stores, neighborhoods.
#9347 of 9498 Re: RX 300 GPS [txgal1]
Aug 05, 2009 (3:20 pm)
Either the dealer will do it for $500-700 or you can find someone on here for a fraction of the price. I would like to do the same but cannot afford it right now. My GPS seems to be 99% accurate anyway
#9348 of 9498 Re: RX 300 GPS [txgal1]
Aug 06, 2009 (5:15 pm)
Even with all the current updates, $250-300 each, DIY install, the nav in my '01 RX300 does not even come close to measuring up to my 2 year old Garmin NUVI. First NUVI update is free but I haven't yet seen the need.
#9349 of 9498 Re: RX 300 GPS [wwest]
Aug 06, 2009 (6:03 pm)
Thanks for the info. I won't bother to update it. You can buy a hand held for much less than that. If I didn't live in the Dallas area where everything is new, I probably wouldn't have a problem with it but it can't find anything here! Thanks!
#9350 of 9498 Lexus rx 300 2000
Aug 16, 2009 (12:25 pm)
I have a chance to buy a Lexus rx300 with 206000 miles on it. I haven't seen records yet but it was a used car but not Lexus, dealer's wife's car, and he maintained it for her. Drives well and a mechanic will look at it Monday. They want $7000 taxes and tags. I think that is too much. First would anyone buy a car with over 200000 miles on it and second what would you pay if you did. I did appraise it on Kelly and Edmunds, it came out in the high $4000 or low 5000. Does any one have a Lexus with over 200000 miles on it?