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
#433 of 732 Re: Lexus RX 300 Transmission [mrboston]
May 14, 2010 (7:43 am)
"...to much torque on the aluminum..."
No, the early RX300 transaxles had/have a factory design flaw that was finally overcome via the adoption of DBW throttles beginning with the RX330 models.
Via the adoption of DBW the engine was prevented from rising above idle until the transaxle could finish, fully and completely, changing gears. Due to the design flaw there were instances in which a gear change would sometimes take 1-2 seconds to complete.
Thus you now often, post ~2003, see complaints of engine non-response to gas pedal position lasting 1-2 seconds for/regarding Toyota/Lexus/Scion vehicles.
#434 of 732 Re: Advice/Guidance Needed Lexus RX300 Transmission Problem [pooryota]
May 15, 2010 (4:14 am)
I contacted Lexus and a law firm that has handled similar cases (one with Lexus) just to gather information. I quickly realized this was not going to be an easy process. I did want resolution, so I contacted both again. Much to my surprise, Lexus agreed to pay for 1/3 of our repair. We decided that was much better than months of legal proceedings so we took the offer. With this payment, I believe it is clear that Lexus does know that there is a major issue with these transmissions and owners might have cause for legal action. Maybe this is why they decided to offer us a little money to make us happy? For us, we had to choose what was best for our situation. Good Luck on further actions!
#435 of 732 Re: Advice/Guidance Needed Lexus RX300 Transmission Problem [notlexusloyal]
May 15, 2010 (7:09 am)
to notlexusloyal: Could you please post contact information for Lexus that you used? My 1999 RX trans just died with 96,000 milles on it and the dealer would not reduce the $5600 cost of repair. Thanks
#436 of 732 Re: Lexus RX 300 Transmission [wwest]
May 15, 2010 (8:16 am)
So I am looking into all of these postings with trans problems again...my question is this:
I have a 99 with 48k miles on it and absolutely no sign of trans problems at this time. I drained and filled it twice to get the majority of the fluid swapped out. Now the fluid is cherry red the way it should be. I can drop the pan and look, but better to ask first: If the fluid stays cherry red for several thousand miles, would that indicate that the screen is free and clear of aluminum? And if the fluid changes color rather quickly, I would assume that this would indicate a clogged screen?
Also, the replacement transmissions, if indeed it is the aluminum gears that are failing, are they being replaced with better built units? I can't believe people are having 2, 3 transmissions replaced on these cars.
#437 of 732 Re: Lexus RX 300 Transmission [jbl85]
May 15, 2010 (9:56 am)
The transmissions that repeatedly fail seem to be third-party rebuilt units, even when done at the dealer.
Not all of them are bad. My early '99 2WD original trans had a shifting problems when cold, I had serviced the transmission at the dealer (NOT FLUSH) twice during the warrantee period. When I mentioned it just before the warrantee expired, Lexus replaced it. They tried 2 third-party rebuilt units that also had problems, and finally got approval for a brand-new transmission directly from Lexus/Kyushu Japan. This was in 2004, just before 70,000 miles. My original had not failed yet, however they replaced it with an updated transmission which does not burn fluid, shifts "enthusiastically" and also does not have a screen. This "updated' transmission has a filter element with fine media which I have had transmission shops service three times since then, and each time was completely clean. Lexus said "what?... we've never seen a '99 with a filter instead of screen". So I took it to the trusted tranny mechanic I have my other vehicles serviced at who serviced it, showed me the pan and filter (clean!) and used TYPE 4 FLUID! Many third-party shops use the typical Dextron/Mercron and a can of additive to simulate Toyota fluid, which also leads to problems!
As far as Lexus goes, I was very happy with the warrantee service when I finally found a dealer to help. I'm even more happy with the "updated" transmission. But on any car, especially fwd platform, I wouldn't recommend to go more than two years without servicing the trans (NOT FLUSHING). Many other makes and models have this same issue, not just Lexus and Toyota.
I think a big part of the problem is "serviced by Lexus" from their menu-based services does not include servicing the transmission. If promted, they usually recommend a "flush" which seems to be profitable for them, but fatal for any automatic transmission that already has some issues/weaknesses, regardless of make.
If your fluid stays pink, chances are pretty good that you've got one of the good ones. But I still recommend having it serviced including cleaning the pan and filter (or screen on the earlier models) every other year. Some of these good transmissions go for hundreds of thousands of miles but require proper maintainence to do so, but Lexus is not going to suggest it.
If you are handy, you can also add extra cooling. I added an additional thermostatic cooler behind the factory cooler in the passenger side wheel well. I also added a small computer fan and an automatic thermostatic switch (Hayden from Pep Boys) which I set to come on about 160 degrees, and I opened up the vent holes in the plastic fender with an exacto knife. Cheap insurance, I thought, since others have had so many problems and they are usually related, or indicated by poor fluid quality. I'm pleased with the result.
#438 of 732 Re: Advice/Guidance Needed Lexus RX300 Transmission Problem [notlexusloyal]
May 15, 2010 (10:00 am)
That's not a bad settlement if you are free to use a third party repair shop. If you have to use a Lexus shop, well......YOU'RE SCREWED, STILL...!!
#439 of 732 Re: Lexus RX 300 Transmission [la4mead]
May 15, 2010 (9:59 am)
I would suspect that you got an '01 or later transaxle model as a replacement. The dealer was also likely to have been instructed to included an auxillary ATF cooler even thought yours is FWD only.
For the '01 and later model RX300's I suspect the engine idling ATF line pressure specification was raised so the re-acceleration downshift can be quicker and firmer. That, of course, still results in a higher than planned for, initially planned for, ATF temperature rise so the auxillary cooler becomes a real requirement.
Regretably the ATF heating, OVER-heating is localized to the ATF pump and pressure by-pass mechanicals so over time the ATF will still become "dirty", brown looking, and burned smelling.
My first need for ATF change, '01 F/awd RX300, was at only ~40,000 miles and am now approaching 80,000 and watching ATF condition VERY closely.
#440 of 732 Re: Lexus RX 300 Transmission [la4mead]
May 15, 2010 (10:09 am)
la4mead: good insight indeed.
I first drained and filled my 99 twice at 47k (did the second d/f 200 miles apart), and it was the first time it had ever been done. The fluid was a darker red and was certainly not considered pristine. Since then, it has remained cherry red but granted I only have a little over 1k on it since, so I guess time will tell.
I also have an '05 330 with 30k on it and the fluid in that one is not perfect, but very close to cherry red...even though the 330's transmissions haven't experienced the hardships of the 1st generation, I am thinking maybe I do a couple of drain and fills on that one too.......sounds like cheap insurance for sure.
#441 of 732 Re: Lexus RX 300 Transmission [la4mead]
May 15, 2010 (10:12 am)
"..but Lexus is not going to suggest it.."
When I discovered, at only ~40,000 miles, the burned state of my ATF I immediately contacted Lexus corporate. They, in turn, told me to bring the subject up with my dealer. Lexus of Bellevue recommeded (opportunistically, just as one should fully expect) that the transaxle ATF be drained, flushed, and replenished every 15,000 miles.
So I again contacted Lexus corporate who confirmed, in writing, the dealer recommendations.
I understand that the recommedations have been modified to say that the ATF should be inspected at every oil change and only changed out if required unless the ATF has accrued over 30,000 miles of use.
Due to the adoption of DBW to delay the onset of rising engine torque during a re-acceleration event the RX330 and later models do not share the premature tranaxle failure issues.
Just the danger, HAZARDS, of having an engine that does not always respond, mostly unpredictable so, situationally, to throttle inputs.
#442 of 732 Re: Lexus RX 300 Transmission [wwest]
May 15, 2010 (10:14 am)
Which is it, fwd or awd?