Last post on Nov 26, 2013 at 10:48 PM
You are in the Lexus RX 300/330/350
What is this discussion about?
Lexus RX 350, Lexus RX 330, SUV
#201 of 732 Re: 1999 Lexus RX 300 [wwest]
Feb 09, 2009 (8:57 pm)
First time user at edmunds.com: Great info sight.
I am looking at buying a 2000 RX300 with 93k.
I notice a lot of the trany comments are coming from the California area.
I'm in the Northwest.
Is the outdoor temperature the biggest factor in the trany failure rate?
Can one install an after market tow package oil cooler to extend the life of the trany?
Any info or help would be appreciated.
#202 of 732 Re: 1999 Lexus RX 300 [handeeguy]
Feb 09, 2009 (9:37 pm)
My honest advice - don't buy it! I doubt that the weather plays a big factor. You have a choice of buying whatever vehicle you want - so why buy something that may break down within a year and cost you $5000! IMHO..
#203 of 732 Re: 1999 Lexus RX 300 [handeeguy]
Feb 09, 2009 (10:38 pm)
Warm weather idling is one of many factors that contributed to a weak original transmission design. The best situation: if you get one with an updated Lexus-replaced transmission, a good warrantee, or enough $ room if it needs one.
Many of the original transmissions were not reliable after about 60-70,000 miles. The ones that were trouble-prone tended to have a few issues with them, and have been generally low-mileage (higher mileage crappy trannys tended to have been replaced during the long original warrantee). The bad ones usually show symptoms and/or burned fluid indicating internal wear and tear. Others go far longer, hundreds of thousands.
If you're looking at one with burned fluid consider passing on it, or expect a bargain needing a replacement tranny. So if that's the reason you want to add a cooler, it's not likely to help a lot. However, YES you can add more cooling. I added an additional cooler after Lexus replaced my transmission under warrantee. The added cooler was cheap insurance, and easy to install. Most likely the model you're looking at has the factory external cooler in the RF fender, behind the windshield washer bottle which was included in the tow package nearly all came with. It's ducted but there's no fan, so that factory cooler is only effective when the car's moving at a good clip, another drawback affecting those that idle a lot. The tranny replacement I got was a brand new updated tranny from Lexus, all expenses paid. This was a very common occurance for higher-mileage, especially early 1999's. This new one (2004) shifts flawlessly, reliably, and it does not burn fluid the way the original did. Compared to the original transmission, I expect the replacement to last a long time.
Also I recommend a "search" in RX300. There are lots of posts with common questions. One I found is link title. But there are lots of good posts. It's a great question.
Honestly, RX300's weren't perfect, but what nine year old car with the utility and convenience this little car has, is? I think if you're looking at a good one and you're a careful shopper, it is possible you'll find the car comfortable, safe, full of everyday convenience in a smart size, as well as reliable.
Post up questions that come up with some details. There are bound to be some. Good luck.
Feb 25, 2009 (2:02 pm)
I have a 2000 RX300. I am at 80,000 miles. I started having problems when putting my vehicle in reverse. Dealership is telling me that it might be the transmission. What am i expected to pay if so? I dont want to be cheated out of my hard earned money. I take good care of my vehicle and dont see it being the trans. Is it really going to be above 5k?
#205 of 732 Re: [shannonlee619]
Feb 25, 2009 (6:02 pm)
Just paid 4K on a Lexus reman. tranny on a 125K 2001 RX (at a Lexus dealer). Seems there are a whole lot of RX tranny problems. Just read this site.
#206 of 732 Re: 1999 Lexus RX 300 [handeeguy]
Feb 25, 2009 (10:07 pm)
RX series design change, resulting failures, and fixes (non-fixes actually).
When the ATF accumulator was dropped from the Camry transaxle design to make room for building a more robust transaxle for the soon to be released to production RX300 they obviously didn't foresee the problem associated with a need for a downshift for re-acceleration immediately following an upshift resulting from a throttle lift.
So the '99 and '01 RXes, at least the earlier '01's, had premature failures, most likely clutch failures, due to the lack of sufficient ATF pressure when the firmware commanded a downshift for re-acceleration.
My guess is that by about mid-production of the '01 model the mistake/oversight was discovered and the only quick and easy "fix" was to modify the firmware so that the "real-time" "bottom level" control of ATF line pressure was substantially increased.
While this would result in more line pressure being available for that "unexpected" downshift it would also result in substantially more heating of the ATF then had been planned. As a result almost all, if not actually all, 01-03 RX300's were shipped with the towing package which just happened to include an external ATF cooler.
But since the actual heating was restricted to a local area, the ATF pump and "real-time" pressure relief valve, the extra ATF cooling was not of great help. My '01 had ATF that was quite burned and odorous at only 40,000 miles.
When the RX330 (Camry, HL, ES300, Sienna...) rolled off the production line with DBW the transaxle failure problem was finally SOLVED.
Except the customers did not much care for sometimes having to wait 1-2 seconds after gas pedal depression for GO....
The 2010 RX350 now has new firmware to help with the reluctance to GO...
#207 of 732 Re: [shannonlee619]
Feb 26, 2009 (8:16 am)
I have a hard time imagining that it's not the transmission if you're having problems with reverse. This same question has been coming up a lot lately, so check out the "search" function on this site for more details. There is lots of information. If your car is otherwise in good shape and worth fixing, you're at an advantage that you're getting some advance warning before something breaks internally or clogs and it fails on the spot.
Since you didn't notice a problem with it until you're long passed the long mfr warrantee, likely you (the owner) are responsible for the cost. But Lexus has been providing other owners with partial loyalty (goodwill) discounts on out-of-warrantee transmission work done by them for established customers or to earn your business. I don't believe they are under any obligation if you had nine years/80,000 miles of use, but I could be wrong. But I also believe if you have an established relationship with the Lexus dealer and you ask, they will try to work with you on a Lexus transmission, especially if you show you asked them to perform preventive service on the transmission which likely was in addition to the manufacturers suggestion.
You may want to share some of your experiences on this site. For instance, how the dealer tries to work with you, how brown/burned is your transmission fluid, how long ago it was last changed, etc. Good luck, and let us know the details.
#208 of 732 Another RX300 Trans bites the dust
Mar 20, 2009 (10:59 am)
I have a 2000 RX300, i am the original owner and have always had it serviced as supposed to. It has 77k miles.
As i was driving near my home my car just stopped and would not go into any gear. I just had it in a lexus dealership for a quote on the knock sensor two weeks prior.
I have mentioned several times to this dealer and a dealer in another state that the transmission seemed to slip periodically (about 6 times) over the last 2 years while going into reverse. And now i see these posts and am furious. They all acted like they had no idea why it would be doing this and did not even recommend i have the transmission looked at.
I see what seems like lots of folks getting help from Lexus and from the dealerships in offsetting the cost of the new transmission. Has anyone been refused assistance?
Does anyone know of any OTHER shops in milwaukee area that will give me a more reasonable quote should i decide not to spend time fighting with Lexus?
#209 of 732 Re: Another RX300 Trans bites the dust [bgr1]
Mar 20, 2009 (11:41 am)
If it was me, I would stick with dealing with a Lexus dealer on this issue, even if you get better results by going to a different Lexus dealer. I would recommend remaining calm and polite, yet firm. I would show the Lexus rep that you've been requesting assistance with the transmission all along and that the response you recieved was to wait for it to suffer a common failure. Lexus had issued many TSB (technical service bulletins) on this issue.
"Normal" service does not include the transmission until failure, as you've undoubtedly read or found out by now.
I'm not the biggest advocate of any brand's dealer service. However, in your case I'd stick with Lexus on this issue because it's likely they will help you if they feel it's in the interest of continued customer loyalty. Also, the transmissions sourced from Lexus are more likely to have updated hardware (better than original) than one sourced from a third-party transmission shop that was rebuilt with aftermarket parts. I'm guessing you don't want to spend a few thousand dollars and risk having the same trouble again in a couple years. My new Lexus transmission is great, after having it replaced under warrantee. And the new one does not show wear in the fluid (burning color & smell) like the original did. I expect the replacement to be much more durable.
Please report back and let others know how you were treated and how it worked out. Hopefully, Lexus will agree to pick up the tab for a good percentage, bringing your cost into reason. Good luck.
#210 of 732 LEXUS TRANSMISSION DEFECT
Mar 21, 2009 (11:38 am)
Lexus RX300 4WD purchased new, dealer serviced. Right after being serviced at dealer for 80K service the transmission failed, totally. Our family has owned 100 assorted cars and trucks over the last 50 years, 5 Lexus, and never had to replace a transmission before. It is bad enough that Lexus dealer charges $400.00 for a replacement HID head light bulb, but $5,500.00 for a transmission seems crazy, and typical. My 100K Lexus extended warranty would not cover it. The Lexus RX transmission is a defective product! Study all the thousands of Toyota transmission failure reports out there, these should be replaced at no charge, or a class action lawsuit started. Another unhappy Lexus owner stuck with two 2001 RX300's doomed to sit on the side of the road and strand the owner.