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
#10 of 732 Re: Decision/ Indecision on 2000 RX 300 [kris44]
Sep 24, 2006 (9:33 pm)
The timing belt and rack and pinion bit sounds like you have been talking to Firestone, Goodyear, or a shyster service manager at a Lexus dealer.
I would go to a third party, not one of the above, and get a tranny repair quote. There are many stories here and about regarding early, premature, transaxle failures in the RX300 series due to the adoption of ASL(***) techniques late in the last century. In many cases the Lexus dealer was able to get Lexus corporate to pick up a portion or all of the repair bill.
And don't let ANYONE tell you that the failure is a result of your not doing the proper scheduled maintainance. Your owners manual is quite clear that no routine scheduled transaxle maintenance is required.
***ASL: Aggressive Shift Logic. The transaxle control firmware is designed to upshift the transaxle into the next higher gear anytime the, ANY, opportunity arises. That oftentimes results in the tranaxle starting an upshift as the result of a slight lift of the accelerator pedal just before accelerating. The transaxle begins the upshift just as you reapply pressure to the accelerator pedal and now the upshift must complete before the downshift most appropreate to the new pedal position can be commanded and begin.
You RX300 has a direct connection from the gas pedal to the engine throttle so the engine RPM will begin to rise long before the transaxle has shifted into the lower gear needed to provide the proper level of torque to the drive wheels.
Can you smell the slipping and burning of the transaxle clutches as you read this?
In 2004 Lexus went to DBW, e-throttle, so as to delay engine torque until those clutches had time to fully and firmly seat.
In the meantime....
#11 of 732 Need a new transmission
Jan 08, 2007 (3:26 pm)
Another RX300 that needs a new transmission! Mine is a '99, AWD with 101K miles. Dealer wanted $4,300. I found a trusted, local guy who will do it for $3,500. The whole thing needs to be replaced. The local guy says that the RX300 has been great for his business.
Is this a manufacturers defect or just poor quality? Can anyone say "Class Action"?
#12 of 732 Re: Need a new transmission [pbbob]
Jan 12, 2007 (6:20 am)
I had to sign up for this discussion. I just bought an 01 RX300 this year and at 68k miles the transmission went, talk about furious. Luckily it was covered under warranty and Lexus replaced it w/a remanufactured one but I'm concerned when I hit 100k or more. It was definitely a defect.
#14 of 732 2000 Lexus RX300 transmission busted at only 76k miles
Jan 30, 2007 (12:14 pm)
>>Is this a manufacturers defect or just poor quality? Can anyone say
Its definitely a manufacturer's defect, the transmission in my car
just got busted at only 76k miles.
Is there anything we can do about it? I have filed a complaint to
LEXUS, local newspaper, TV station (email to
PLEASE REFER THE URL's below to see how many people owning
1999-2000 model of RX300 have transmission failures, have similar
Lexus Owners forum:
Is there any way we all can get in touch and do something about this?
#15 of 732 Re: Need a new transmission [mikey00]
Jan 30, 2007 (3:29 pm)
We just reported the RX300 transmission problem to the NHTSA, spoke
with somneone. They have about 8 such cases for transmission failure
logged in their database. If more people file a complaint with them
& if they see a recurring pattern regarding transmission failure, then the Nation Highway Transportation Safety Agency investigators
will definitely investigate this.
Anyone running into transmission failure problems with Lexus RX300,
please file a complaint here or call the at 1-888-327-4236
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/complain/complaintsearch.cfm?step=2&t- - ype=1&year=1999&searchtype=DrillDown
#16 of 732 RX Transmission Defects or Satisfaction?
Jan 31, 2007 (10:52 pm)
When you buy a Lexus, shouldn’t you expect to be treated better than if you bought (I apologize for saying this, but I feel privileged from family experiences) a Windstar? What about Customer Satisfaction? Have folks been treated right by Lexus if they fail early? I think there are more who have (failed and been treated right) than you hear about. Why post a complaint if you have been treated fairly? However, those experiences don’t help those of you who haven’t found satisfaction, so I hope this information is helpful for those of you having transmission issues, and those hoping to avoid them.
Defective transmission? There were a few issues. One that I know of was a defect Lexus noticed early on. This was my experience. The early 1999 models (mine is a ’99 model built in early ‘98) had a TSB for replacement of the transmission valve body to be done at Lexus' expense if there was a shift problem, which a very bad dealer did not do, but was supposed to (first they said it was nothing and I didn’t insist they document it, then they said they couldn't find a TSB after all, and on another occasion they said all was OK, which was not true). I requested the correction before any damage occurred, and kept the documented warrantee checks.
Before the warrantee expired in 2004, but after I had the transmission fluid “flushed” once and serviced many miles later by my same ol’ neighborhood Toyota dealer I usually go to (so that’s twice, second time slight metal shavings found on the magnet filter) I had a different Lexus dealer check on the “hard cold 1-2 shift” again. I didn’t know about everyone else's issues, but didn’t want any trouble with it after it was out of warrantee. Just before 70,000 miles with hard cold 1-2 shift symptom, Lexus (different dealer) stood behind their product and replaced my entire transmission with a brand new unit from Kyushu, Japan after trying two factory rebuilt units that also had shift logic issues, all at no cost to me. I didn't have to ask; this was their solution which was great with me. They went out of their way to make sure problems from the other dealer were not repeated, and even showed me some things that they fixed I didn’t notice. So yes, there was a defect, and I was happy with how it was finally corrected. Nearly 6 years and 70,000 miles later, I had a brand new transmission built based on modern (not ’98) specs.
Are they all “defective”? I don’t think so. I have a local friend with a 2000 4WD with many more miles than mine on the factory transmission without problems, his shifts with the same smoothness and precision mine does, and still has clean fluid. Also, he has his fluid changed at the same local Toyota dealer as I do as part of his preventive maintenance. That doesn't mean they don't have inherent weaknesses.
Do they all have their flaws and weaknesses? Yes, I certainly think so. Most cars do, this one's not as perfect as I expected from a Lexus. One person in particular on this board (correct me if I'm wrong) will give you detail about software logic to up-shift for low emissions and fuel economy. This is not the only vehicle that employs this logic. My heavy-duty Ford motorhome has one of the toughest transmissions in the business, and it employs the same unfortunate logic, which is much more pronounced than the RX. I’m betting most non-sporting modern cars do as well. But, they usually have less-precise but sturdier bearings and clutches, a sacrifice in smoothness I’d gladly take. Also, the RX, like most FWD based cars, has the engine exhaust run right under the transmission. Normally, with the size of the engine/transmission cooling (as well as the extra transmission cooler included in the “Towing Package”) there isn’t a problem as long as the vehicle is moving along. RX’s main weakness is dissipating transmission heat in low-speed situations, like extended idling (especially parked with the air-conditioning on) or maneuvering a trailer in the summer on steep inclines and tight parking spaces because the exhaust heat and transmission cooler do not have the constant rush of air. The engine coolant “temp” gauge shows the engine is staying cool, but it causes the fluid to break down (as well as engine oil gelling). The factory did not feel it was necessary to install a fan on the transmission cooler. Lastly, transmission maintenance is not normally performed very often. The factory manual doesn’t call for it unless usage is “severe” and most folks don’t think of their usage as severe. For marketing purposes, Lexus, like many manufacturers, goes to the extreme to define long service intervals, but this light duty transmission needs to be serviced often. All too often they aren’t serviced until they go bad and it’s too late.
Will Lexus fix your faulty transmission under warrantee? I’ll bet they will be really cooperative if your car is within the 6 years/70,000 miles powertrain warrantee Lexus provided (longer than most) without a hassle. However if not, you may have a problem unless you have some really good prior documentation, or I'm guessing a dealer relationship would help. I also got the impression it probably helps if you can show the car has been serviced by Lexus (or a Toyota dealer) because they like to be confident the correct Type IV (Toyota) fluid was used rather than Dextron/Mercron with an additive they use at the corner quick lube. If the car is out of warrantee, I don't think they feel a legal obligation, but they might be trying to retain a repeat customer, and offer assistance to make you happy.
Is your transmission OK now, but you want to prevent problems? Have it serviced. Often, that's your best bet. Once a year or two at the most, unless the fluid is still bright red. Additionally, if you are handy, you can also add a small computer fan in front of the auxilery transmission cooler, if your model has one. Or you can add an additional cooler or have a transmission shop do it. I did. Cheap insurance. You can find info on my CarSpace page http://www.carspace.com/la4mead/ in my photo albums, if you are interested.
You can use the "search" tool on the other RX300 forums for older messages created before this forum; I think there's more there. Good luck, my friends...
#17 of 732 Re: RX Transmission Defects or Satisfaction? [la4mead]
Feb 01, 2007 (10:04 am)
The FULL lift-throttle coastdown upshifting technique seemingly adopted late in the last century may very well help to extend FE and lower emissions overall. But then the technique flies in the face, is adverse too, the use of regenerative braking to "simulate" engine compression braking on ALL of Toyota's hybrid synergy vehicles.
Why artificially "SLOW" the hybrid synergy vehicles if the FE and emissions "gain" is significant enough to go to the extreme, and thereby incur the horribly adverse publicity, and upshift standard vehicles in order to extend coasting distance?
No, the new shift technique was adopted primarily to improve the safety factor of FWD and front torque biased AWD vehicles when the roadbed traction is marginal.
Back in the mid to late ninties someone, or some group, with enough power, issued an edict that the adverse safety factor of FWD and front torque biased AWD vehicles arising from engine compression braking had to be corrected, NOW, INSTANTLY!
My vote goes to the automotive insurance industry.
#18 of 732 Re: RX Transmission Defects or Satisfaction? [wwest]
Feb 01, 2007 (10:31 am)
Sounds like a good theory, however that's when I might be inclined to take active control and downshift myself so I have the FWD traction when I need it.
That's how I learned FWD, and always helped me out to retain steering (and traction) before it's broken loose. Perhaps less active drivers needed the "fix" forced on the rest of us. The up-shift is not something desirable, but I couldn't argue that it was "defective".
I tend to drive the (RWD) motorhome on steep mountain roads in blowing wind on ice in the winter, too. Although the traction is good overall, I have to say the shift logic is more annoying in the Ford motorhome, and the shifter much more difficult to use, but I get by. I don't let either car shift automatically under any severe conditions, though.
#19 of 732 Re: RX Transmission Defects or Satisfaction? [la4mead]
Feb 01, 2007 (12:43 pm)
But I'm quite sure you wouldn't downshift a FWD for slowing/coastdown if the roadbed were known to be slippery or even if you were suspicious of same. With RWD automatic transmission vehicles, back in my days in MT, during the winter I would often use the e-brake "lightly" to help maintain directional control while slowing the car in those conditions, especially downhill.
Even with RWD downshifting an automatic transmission doesn't leave one with an easy way to "moderate" the engine braking effects and therefore can be hazardous on a slippery roadbed.
And it isn't the upshift itself that makes these vehicles unsafe. When it upshifts upon a full lift-throttle event the engine RPM quickly drops to idle or at least nearby. Now with the ATF oil pump hardly moving any oil at all there is not enough reserve ATF pressure/flow to quickly accomplish a quick sequential downshift should the driver happen to re-apply pressure to the gas pedal immediately upon the transaxle beginning the just previously commanded upshift.
The early, '99 (and '00??), RX300 transaxle failures are the direct result of adopting the new upshifting technique without seriously thinking over the consequences. Without enough ATF pressure/flow the "quick" sequential downshift following a lift-throttle upshift can not be completed before the engine torque begins to rise resulting in an inordinate level of clutch slippage and wear.
By '01 they had adopted a higher volume/displacement ATF oil pump to overcome this problem but that led to overheating of the ATF due to the otherwise un-necessary higher pump volume. It appears that ALL '01 RX300s had the tow package with the extra cooling ATF heat exchanger to help alleviate the effects of overheating the ATF.
In '04 they apparently went back to the lower volume ATF oil pump and adopted DBW, e-throttle, so the rise of engine torque could be delayed the 1-2 seconds it takes to re-pressurize the ATF with the engine at idle for that quick sequential downshift.
I too have a Ford based MH, E350 V10, but I haven't noticed any weird shifting charactoristics. But mine is a 99, perhaps before Ford's adoption of these new lift-throttle upshift techniques. But in any case I don't think I would notice a lack of responsiveness in my MH if the engine torque were delayed 1-2 seconds for downshifting completion.
Also I have read somewhere that with the new FWD Ford Edge a variable volume/displacement ATF oil pump has been adopted to increase the overall efficiency. But maybe also to overcome Ford's own "throttle lag" problems.