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
#52 of 732 Re: RX 300 2001 Transmission Failure [kgalahari]
Sep 03, 2007 (7:05 pm)
Your 2001 RX300's automatic transaxle failed prematurely because of a well known design flaw (see previous post) introduced into the product series late in the last century. Toyota (Lexus) is very well aware of the flaw and the resulting failures and generally will offer to compensate owners, especially those like yourself with "stellar" maintenance history/records.
According to various posts on the internet in some cases they will foot the entire bill, in others only the cost of the new transaxle and the owner pays the labor.
I would go back and open a discussion with the dealer on this matter and willingly start a shouting match in the dealer's showroom if they don't offer a substantial level of compensation.
#53 of 732 Re: RX 300 2001 Transmission Failure [wwest]
Sep 03, 2007 (10:27 pm)
Question, in what model year of RX, Toyota/Lexus fixed the 2001 transmission problem?
#54 of 732 Re: RX 300 2001 Transmission Failure [ktc]
Sep 04, 2007 (9:20 am)
Not sure I really understand your question, but insofar as I know the problem began with the '99 RX and still exists to this very day.
As long as Toyota(Lexus) persists in using the LOW FIXED volume/capacity/displacement gear type ATF pump for FE reasons I don't know if there can be a satisfactory solution.
Toyota(Lexus) have made many "patches" and various fixes over the intervening 8 years but as yet I don't think they have yet announced a "final" across the board FIX.
The '99, and possibly the '00, series had premature, 80-100,000 miles, transaxle failures.
The '01, and likely all the way up to the RX330 series, tends to overheat the ATF to such a level that the scheduled maintenance recommendation for ATF flush/refill was reduced from infinity to 15,000 miles.
The RX330 came with DBW to prevent transaxle downshifts, "kickdowns", at times when the ATF pressure had been just previously exhausted and no "make up" was readily available due to the low volume pump and engine speed at idle.
A little noticed aspect of the RX330 series was that the VC, Viscous Clutch, was dropped from the driveline for the entire RX330 product run. IMMHO it is possible this was done to reduce the AWD load on the transaxle.
There is an indication that the latest TSB, provided, seemingly, only to owners with specific complaints, is solving the problem on the '08 Camry.
Anyone know the bottom line news on the '08 RX?
#55 of 732 Re: RX 300 2001 Transmission Failure [wwest]
Sep 04, 2007 (3:20 pm)
The reason I asked that question is that my wife is considering replace her 2001 RX300 with a new one. Maybe I should also look at the Infinite EX-35 next year.
#56 of 732 Re: RX 300 2001 Transmission Failure [ktc]
Sep 04, 2007 (3:27 pm)
Yes, the EX35 does look to be a winner. I was put off by the huge blunt nose, in your face, effect of the other Infinity SUVs.
The other SUV that you might consider is the Acura RDX.
#57 of 732 Damsel in Distress
Oct 23, 2007 (9:33 am)
I just purchased my first EVER used vehicle, a 2000 Lexus RX300 with 101,000 miles on it. When I test drove it, it was warmed up and ready to go. I signed the paperwork and picked it up the next day. I immediately noticed a lunge when shifting gears (it's automatic) although this literally only occurred through the first series of shifts and then only again when cold. I've told the dealership about it and they're willing to buy it back but I'm just wondering if I should just tell them I want to keep the car but want the transmission replaced (I'm thinking they'd rather buy it back and sell it to another dealership, etc.). They did perform a "transmission service" on it and said if it continues to bring it back. It continues. Any ideas? They want to make this right but I really don't want to return the car.
#58 of 732 Re: Damsel in Distress [sallyk]
Oct 23, 2007 (11:30 pm)
This might be the hesitation that occurs on at least the first RX models. I have a '99 and it happens on mine. We were told that it has to do with controlling emissions. I don't even notice it now. I remember lots of mention of this in the first few years but it seems to have died out so maybe the transmission isn't programmed that way anymore. Maybe you are giving it a lot of gas and due to the delayed shift points it lunges when it finally shifts up to the higher gear. Just a guess.
#59 of 732 Re: Damsel in Distress [sallyk]
Oct 25, 2007 (8:34 am)
It appears that the '99 (for SURE) and possibly the '00 RX300 series suffers from premature transaxle failure typically in the range of 70-80,000 miles.
Even my '01 AWD RX300 was showing symptoms (burned ATF) of a design flaw as early as 40,000 miles.
I suspect that when the Camry transaxle was initially adapted for the larger and HEAVIER RX series it needed to be BEEFED up here and there and the engineers missed a few "corners".
Your dealer should be very well aware of this issue and therefore willing to discuss with you any possible alternative solutions.
You can search for "toyota", "DBW", and "hesitation", for clarifying posts.
As of the introduction of the RX330 Toyota adopted a DBW, e-throttle system so it could be programmed to "protect the drive train", prevent the engine torque from rising until the transaxle downshifting clutches can fully and firmly seat when you depress the gas pedal enough to "force" a downshift.
In the meantime the RX300 series is left to "suffer", wear out the clutch surfaces prematurely, since with a "hard" mechanical coupling to the throttle valve the rising of engine torque cannot as easily be delayed.
#60 of 732 Re: Damsel in Distress [wwest]
Oct 25, 2007 (8:43 am)
Thank you. I took it in to my mechanic who admitted that he hadn't seen a lot of problems so he checked with his transmission guy who knew EXACTLY what the problem was even before my mechanic finished his sentence. I had my mechanic call the Lexus Dealership and tell him what his findings were (since I don't speak the same language). They have continued to offer to buy the car back (I don't want to give the car back). They told me to pick up the car from my mechanic and await further word. After reading your reply, should I be concerned that even if the transmission is replaced that other parts have suffered because of this problem and that they'll end up "breaking" even though I have the transmission replaced? Should I just let them buy it back? (It's 100% mint interior and exterior and just seems a shame to give back). I'll await further directive. Thanks!
#61 of 732 Re: Damsel in Distress [wwest]
Oct 25, 2007 (10:17 am)
Hi Damsel and others with similar issues on the *1999* RX. After Mr. West's post I wanted to add some information specific to the '99 model from my experiences. The '99 had a few different issues with the original transmissions. If the Lexus dealer is offering to replace the transmission, I think you will have a fine car.
First, the '99 models do have a TSB (mention Technical Service Bulletin) that the Lexus service department should be fully aware of, as the "valve body" on that transmission was always a problem, and Lexus realized it right away. On my early '99 built in '98, it caused a "slamming shift" between first and second gears, only when the vehicle was cold, and only in cooler weather (I live in a warm climate so it happened rarely). When this continues to occur, it contributes to the premature wear, along with the issues Mr. West mentioned.
However, when my transmission was replaced with a factory new unit (at Lexus's expense), the new transmission not only does not have this problem, but is a more modern design without the "delayed" shift pattern that Mr. West mentioned. Most importantly, I no longer get the burned fluid indicating the durability is in question, and am now impressed that the new unit will last a long time as long as it isn't abused or left for extended idling to run the air when parked.
Also, when Lexus replaced the transmission, they checked to make sure nothing else was damaged (like CV joints, etc.) and nothing else was/has been since, except they were kind enough to find a cracked exhaust pipe that wasn't related and took care of that at the same time.
There is something else which may be what you are experiencing and it isn't a problem. I can't tell from your question. The '99s have a cold shift pattern programmed so that the transmission shifts "late" at about 3000 RPM for second gear when the engine temp is cold (the needle hasn't moved off the "C"), but just drive easily until it warms up. Year 2000 and later don't have this issue. That continues on the '99 even with the modern transmission replacement I had in '04.
Other than the transmission, Lexus should check for engine "oil gelling" that occurred under certain conditions, but you would have seen blue smoke if that were a problem. Mine, as well as most, has not had this problem.
If the transmission is good (or especially if Lexus replaces it with a new factory unit) and frequent oil changes and transmission service, you are likely to have a reliable and fine little wagon.
You can search this forum and the other RX300 forums and find issues people had problems with (especially this same topic) but remember to take those posts within the context that most posts are about problems on any model of car.
Welcome to the forum, we are looking forward to your input from your experiences.