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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    A thought occurred to me. The biggest impediment to Lexus admitting to and fixing the transmission problem is those who do NOT have the problem.

    Why? Because if Lexus admits the problem (and I still think it is likely a design problem, not one on individual vehicles), all of you who do not have the problem, or experience the problem are likely to want the "fix" anyway, even though you claim to be happy with your cars.

    So, if 1/4 of us have a problem, it will cost Lexus three times as much as it should to fix it. Lexus has to weigh the cost/benefit to having 1/4 of their customers unhappy versus what it would cost them to fix the cars of those who are satisfied but who would demand the fix anyway.

    So, lenscap and kreativ and aceking2000, if I reported that Lexus fixed my transmission with, say a 2003 ES300 transmission upgrade, would you then want to demand a fix from your dealer under warranty?
  • joeguy1joeguy1 Posts: 1
    Can anyone recommend any good car wax to use on the Lexus? I have a white ES-300 and it's time to put on its first coat of wax.
  • Joeguy:

    Try Zaino. Many people recommend it and it's one of the top products.


    That depends. Just like you said earlier, you did not want the dealer to break something else by fixing this problem. So do I. Honestly, my transmission is perfect and I see no reason of making any changes toward it. In fact, this is one of the best transmission I have ever experienced. My car knows when to shift from the 1st to the 2nd. Not like Honda Accord, which stays in 1st for a long period of time.

    I believe that you and others have the issues regarding the transmission. I would like to see if there if these problems occur on the car manufactured after a certain date - say April or May.

    We should keep this discussion going just to find out what is really the cause of bad transmission on some of the 2002 Lexus ES300
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    lenscap - personal preference on the Klasse (from Germany). I liked the 2-step Klasse system, with the first taking off the dealer-applied wax and laying a foundation for the sealant glaze. The first step can also be used standalone, which is what I do on other cars. I've heard enough about the high alkalinity of Dawn harming the plasticizers in the clear coat that I'd rather avoid this step if possible. If you have Zaino and am happy with it, I'd stick with it. I've heard Klasse is more durable (they claim up to 6 months with AIO, and up to a year with AIO + 1 layer SG), but it's hard to say really. I currently have 4 layers of Klasse sealant glaze on my '02 ES. AIO/SG works great for wheels too.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    The "fix" i had in mind was a software update to the transmission program. This is easily done, so yes, I'd ask for the update next time I'm at the dealer. But I haven't driven the car hard yet, so I may just not have experienced any of the described issues yet. I believe one of the issues was a hesitation when flooring the pedal at a slow speed.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    My guess is 2004 for the ES330. They haven't announced anything yet, and aren't likely to until it's about to be released. They wouldn't want to sabotage sales before then.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    I called Desert Lexus regarding the transmission problem. The sales manager there informed me that all Lexuses have "smart" transmissions, which adapt to the driver's habits. (Note: I remember you saying this also, slaing). It would not do much good to test a different Lexus because its computer would have different info in it than mine does. Furthermore, it would probably not do much good to reset the transmission firmware - one alternative - because my driving style would just cause it to return to where it is now, unless I changed my driving style.

    The "smart" transmission issue seems very weird to me. Does it mean perhaps that the transmission will not respond optimally in driving conditions that are exceptional to the driver? What about drivers who have different styles depending upon where they drive?

    Note that in an earlier post, I noted that an LS430 owner complained of a similar symptom in their car.

    As a last resort, rtorreca may ask if the dealer will reset his transmission computer. Maybe he did some driving that caused an exceptional situation.

    In a humorous way, I asked the Desert Lexus sales representative whether my car was trying to tell me that I am a lousy driver. Oh, well. :-)
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    Call my crazy, but I seem to remember something about some car having something that adjusts to the driver's habits. It's a vague memory though.
  • rtorrecartorreca Posts: 74
    I actually talked (read complained) to the dealership about this the first week I had the car and was told the same story that it has a "smart" tranny that needs to "learn" my driving pattern. It's also because they changed from the "cable" type to fly-by-wire. When I drove their 02 es300 loaner, it's transmission felt exactly the same as mine.

    Just to clarify, the tranny problem I have is the "shuddering" when slowing down to turn. There is also hesitation when passing and merging from a complete stop. What really pissed me off what when I tried to merge into traffic, it hesitated and almost got into a serious accident. My wife and daughter was with me at the time.

    Prior to this car, I had a 99 exv6 accord coupe, which in my opinion, had one of the smoothest shifting tranny out there. I could be going 80mph (not that I drive that fast all the time) and still pass another vehicle with nary a complaint from the tranny.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    I was driving down the road today and a Millennium Silver 2002 ES300 drove by me. It was very nice looking. Call me crazy (again) but is there just something about the front design (and maybe the back) that just incredibly stands out? I don't mean to say it's outlandish or ugly in design, but rather that it's just very substantial looking and attention grabbing? Toyota has done the same thing with the new Corolla. There is just something about the new Corolla's design (especially in silver) that gives it a unique and solid look.
  • Glad to see so many posts today. I think we should keep it this way.

    Went to the dealer today because I wanted to know if the rattle on the passenger side was normal or not. A sales rep. rode the car with me and he did hear the noise but was unable to identify the source of it. One thing that I know now is that the noise is NOT the rattle. Rattle is more like a metalic sound but mine is so minor that you really have to pay attention to hear it. And it only happens when the road is bumpy - road condition is Michigan is really not that great. I heard it's just the material noise which I am not going to be too concerned about.

    The story is, I asked him to try the loaner and it still has the same noise. As a result, I believe my car is normal. No more complaints about the noise.

    About the tranny problem several of you experienced, I don't really know if it's the "smart" technology of the tranny. However, mine started to fit into my driving habit the first day I got the car. I am still "training" it though.

    I hope everyone would love his/her Lexus ES300 eventually.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Lexus has been using ECT-i ("smart tranny") for some time now (not sure about the previous ES, but in the LS). No more Normal/Power ECT switch like in my older LS...

    Personally, I think it's a an easy excuse by the dealer to blame it on the driver-adaptive learning feature any time someone complains about the tranny. If it's supposed to adapt to the driver, then the driver should be happier driving it vs. a car without a smart tranny.
  • I found out today that the minor "noise" comes from the passenger side is not something serious. It is actually the head rest of the passenger seat! After realizing the source of the noise, I lowered the head rest and guess what, the noise is gone. Now the car is really quiet and I enjoy it a lot.
  • trmgatrmga Posts: 50
    I'm ready to purchase an ES-300 with Nav/ML. Will be contacting dealerships in the Raleigh, NC/Norfolk/Richmond/Northern VA/Washington, DC area. Has anyone gotten a particularly good deal from a dealership in any of these areas lately?
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    It's been a while, and the mileage issue hasn't been touched for some time. This was probably the #1 complaint half a year ago.

    I reset the avg. MPG meter when I took it on the freeway, driving more or less a consistent 65mph for a half hour or so, and could only manage 25mpg. I'm using Premium unleaded. Doesn't look to be very good vs. the 21/29 spec.
  • jcarberryjcarberry Posts: 2
    I am having difficulty with a very tight oil drain plug on my 1997 Lexus ES300 and am about to use a breaker bar as an aid, but before causing any damage I thought I should make absolutely sure that I should indeed be wrenching this plug in a clockwise direction. That is, with the wrench handle facing the front of the car, I am attempting to turn the wrench toward the right front tire. Am I or on the correct track here, or is there some reverse logic with this part on this vehicle for some reason? Many thanks in advance for any info!
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    So what you are saying is that you are achieving 25 MPG in V6 near luxury car weighing 3400lbs and you arent satisfied? What did you expect? Those EPA tests are borderline useless.. have you ever seen the specs on which they are based? As a point of reference, I feel that it is better to base your expectation on average fuel economy published in magazines such as Car and Driver. And I know everyone has their issues with Consumer Reports, but if theres one thing that I have found to be true, it is their mileage estimates. By that standard, you are doing quite well- they only averaged 21 or 22 MPG for the ES300.
  • tk_dettk_det Posts: 21
    I use premium in my 02 ES300. I commute 30 miles each way on a freeway. That, with the odd evening and weekend errands is giving me "city" mileage of between 25.5 and 26.2 mph.

    I recently took a trip from Michigan to North Carolina. I used all Inter states. "Country" mileage was between 28.8 and 30.0 mph depending on the terrain.

    I run the AC most of the time. On pleasant days when I turn it off it does not seem to have an appreciable effect on mileage. A surprising but pleasing result as it means I am not paying a price in fuel efficiency to ride in comfort.

    I got the car last January. My mileage has gotten better as the weather warmed. When it's cold the engine has to run a richer fuel mixture until it warms up.

    I have always used Shell in all my cars. This is not a commercial but I recently got their Shell Master Card which gives me a 5% discount off the price of their gas. If you buy Shell gas 9 times a year there is no annual fee and they credit you the 5% in the very next month's bill. I'm running on premium for the price of intermediate. Go figure!
  • The MPG on the car should improve after you drive it for a while. Right now my car only has around 22MPG but I am not too worried about it since I just got the car for about 1 and a half weeks.

    I talked to the dealer the other day and they said it was not really necessary to use the premium fuel. The engine is designed to take the mid-grade fuel. So if you want to save some money you can definitely do that. I will put the medium grade fuel into my car from now on and will let you know about the MPG.

    TK's car really has some of the greatest MPG I have ever seen. It may depend on individuals' driving behaviors too.

    By the way, I am feeling happy that the noise problem has been resolved.
  • sliangsliang Posts: 50
    Last week, I took my family on a trip to the Disneyland. I drove all the way from the Bay Area to Anaheim in L.A., and I was on the free way all the time. The average mileage was about 27 mpg, and I was driving 75 mph most of the time except when I was getting closer to the city. The total mileage is about 390 miles one way, and I didn't even need to refill the gas. I always use premium gas since I believe that is required for qualifying the ES as ULEV, plus I won't bother with the saving of using a lower grade gas. The average mileage for the return trip is about 25.8 MPG, it could be because it was a little bit windy that day. For my daily trip to the work, the mileage is about 22.5 MPG, and it is 50/50 city and highway. I am quite happy with the mileage performance of my ES.
    Also my transmission is getting smoother and more responsive than it was at 5K miles, I am now close to 9K miles.
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