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Lexus ES 300/ES 330

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Comments

  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    wow!.....so negative....

    Toyota has a good track record. Why do you assume it will have a bad transmission again??? Actually it's not even that the transmission is bad in the current car, it's the software that is bad.

    Toyota/Lexus has a very good track record with 1st year production cars, in fact, they probably have the best record. I'm sure they will address the transmission problem with the next generation ES.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    Toyota/Lexus may have a "good / best track record" with 1st year production cars. As with any brand the first year of a new model usually starts with newer technology and components that aren't as "time tested" in the field as those cars produced toward the end of a product cycle. Often those new technologies are introduced in order to meet or exceed federal mandates.

    Case in point. The '02ES experienced issues with brake rotors, suspension problems, and of course the ongoing transmissions problems. Most of these have been corrected in the later models, with the exception of the transmission problems, which are the ongoing topic of this website. Even though the '02 ES was initially thought to be far superior to the '97-'01ES in size, style, comfort, interior quality and safety, I can speak from first hand knowledge that the previous 4sp transmission operated far more smoothly than does the current 5sp tranny in the '02-'05 models.

    In my opinion, it defies logic to assume that a new '07ES would have all of the "bugs" worked out of the '02-'05ES models without introducing a few "new bugs" that are yet to be defined.
    :)
  • turnbowmturnbowm Posts: 76
    toydriver,

    Totally agree with you about the pre-2002 ES-series being better cars. Have recently driven numerous '04 and '05 ES330s and the driveability and tranny shifting issues are a deal-breaker for me. It seems like my wife's '98 ES300 is the one with the advanced technology!

    Martin
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    "In my opinion, it defies logic to assume that a new '07ES would have all of the "bugs" worked out of the '02-'05ES models without introducing a few "new bugs" that are yet to be defined. "

    Did I say somewhere the '07 ES would have "all the bugs worked out" somewhere? If I did say that......well I didn't say that.

    I merely said Toyota/Lexus has a good track record with 1st year products. No where did I say it would be "problem free". Heck, cars aren't problem free in year 5!
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I agree with you on both accounts.
    #1 Toyota/Lexus does have a good track record with 1st year products - esp. when compared to US brands. I've owned 2, one was fine, the other had power train problems.
    #2 "Cars aren't problem free in year 5".
    What is surprising (and irritating) is that a company with a good reputation for quality, such as Lexus, can't produce a transmission for the ES (after 5 yrs of trying), that won't be such a source of discontentment for so many owners.

    However, I am less confident than you that Lexus will "address the transmission problem in the next generation ES" to my satisfaction. They have had 5 years to address it so far, and each time I get anew loaner ES, I'm convinced that they have been unsuccessful.

    My conclusion is that the ES is not as far along the "passionate pursuit of perfection" as I would expect for the money . :)
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    They could fix the tranny problem with a whole different tranny, but there will likely be new problems that might have nothing to do with the tranny.
    If the 2007 has better tranmission that certainly doesn't mean it won't have new problems in the all new design of the rest of the vehicle.
    It is silly to run blindly from the 2005 tranny problem into a completely new unknown design in search of better reliability.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    but there will likely be new problems that might have nothing to do with the tranny.

    With all due respect that is pure speculation at this point. While no car is 100% perfect, to make a blanket statement like that is somewhat uncalled for. If the new Lexus ES is based on the 05 Avalon platform at least in terms of the powertrain I think it will be a great car. It certainly won't be a competitor against BMW, Infiniti, or Lexus's own IS 350 but it never was meant to be. The new Avalon has been out for more than 3 months now and all the real owners (who are posting at Edmunds) are very happy with the car. I realize the current ES 330 has been a disappointment for some folks but that certainly doesn't mean the upcoming ES will be a problematic car.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    It is speculation to say that the 2007s will cure everything bad about the ES330 and bring no new problems.
    It is very "likely" that there will be new problems because it is an all new design. The only speculation is whether the problems will be few or many or whether they will be minor or serious or whether they will be a better or worse trade-off than the transmission issue of the current design.
    It is less "likely" that the initial 2007 models will have fewer problems than the out going 2006 models.
    It is a risk. The point is that it is a new model and it is not logical to not buy a 2006 and wait for the 2007s for the sole reason of expecting the 2007s to surely have fewer problems than a 2006.
    The 2007 models will probably not have any more problems than other previous new Lexus ES models had in their first year, but any problems the new model might have could be just as annoying as the tranny issue (even assuming that will be solved and only solved on the new model).
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I was just re-reading the past 10-20 posts on this website.

    I think these discussions should serve as a wake up call to Lexus/Toyota. Clearly, prospective buyers who read these posts are going to be cautious before buying a new ES. Current owners who post here are writing to voice their concern about future flaws, defects, transmission problems, etc. in upcoming Lexus ES models, based on their current bad experiences. I for one, have no intentions of buying another Lexus ES.

    What happened to the old, reliable Lexus quality (seen in '07-'01ES and '01-'03 RX)??
    I believe Lexus is starting down the path of GM, Ford and Chrysler with less vigorous quality controls and "planned obsolescence" . :confuse: :(
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    "It is speculation to say that the 2007s will cure everything bad about the ES330 and bring no new problems. "

    Well...aren't you speculating that the 2007 will bring a whole host of new problems??? If you think Toyota doesn't make well engineered cars, go buy another brand. There are plenty of carmakers to choose from.

    "It is very "likely" that there will be new problems because it is an all new design."

    It is not "very likely" that there will be new problems with the 2007, it is a definate. All new cars have teething problems. Again though, Toyota/Lexus has a better track record than any other car company. And if you want a car with absolutely no problems in year 1 or even later, I got news for you, it doesn't exist.

    And don't forget, the current ES's transmission isn't what is faulty. It is the software that is faulty!
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I'm not sure that we know if the cause of the poor performance in the '02-'05 ES transmission is purely a "software problem".

    I do know from personal experience that Lexus' attempts to improve performance with "software improvements" and "re-setting the original software" has not been successful.

    I don't exonerate Lexus, merely because the transmission problem may be due to faulty software.

    Software, hardware or silverware, the problem is with Lexus!!
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Future1, can you provide a little more info on that TSB? We have been debating it in the Engine Hesitation forum and could use some input from you.

    We cannot find this April '05 update of the TSB listed on any of the usual sources (NHTSA, Alldata). One of the posters took a printout to his dealership and was told it was a fake. Another person was told that his '05 model vehicle already had the most recent update performed. I am thinking that maybe this is too new to have reached the dealerships. Have you had any luck getting the work performed? Can you share where you obtained the TSB?
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    It is a "software" problem. If it was a mechanical problem, you would see actual transmission replacements. I haven't heard of anyone's transmission going bad, in the mechanical sense. Toyota has even admitted it's software related. Besides why would they publicly try to fix software if it's actually a mechanical issue??? Doesn't make sense to do that.

    I don't exonerate Lexus either. Whatever the problem is, it is still a problem. And it is Toyota/Lexus' problem, and they need to fix it.

    But this problem wouldn't stop me from buying a Toyota/Lexus product, since overall they still make the best cars and Lexus' cars are the best in terms of quality/reliability. But me myself, I wouldn't buy a 07 ES nor would I buy any other first year car. I'm one to wait until at least the 2nd model year and more like the 3rd model year. But plenty of people buy 1st year Lexus products and very few have major problems.
  • bkinblkbkinblk Posts: 198
    Hope you guys don't mind, I'm jumping over from the Toyota hesitation forum. I recently took my 2005 V6 XLE to a Lexus shop foreman. He told me he has had numerous TSB's over the past couple of years for the ES300-ES330 that called for reprogramming the ECU to correct to shifting problems (always under the title "check engine light", and not under "transmission". You can speculate on your own as to why that is. Anyway, there is a new revision to an August 4, 2003 TSB that is dated April 1, 2005. It calls for new calibration I.D's for 2002-2003 ES-300 and 2004-2005 ES330. So far, he has only done one reprogram on an ES330 about 10 days ago, and he has not heard anything from the owner (good news, I think). Hopefully, Toyota will follow with their own revised upgrades in the near future. As to whether this is a software or hardware issue. He told me that if you went to Japan and drove one of these cars, you wouldn't find any problem at all. It all has to do with EPA restrictions and software programming issues. Otherwise, why would a vehicle perform as expected immediately after a ECU reset or 10 minutes after disconnecting and reconnecting the negative battery terminal. The computer relearns the whacky shifting pattern in about 2 days (or less) and it's back to square one. Has anyone taken their car in for the NEW REVISION that came out April 1, 2005? It is revised from the original TSB TC004-03. It lists old calibration codes and the new calibration codes.
  • future1future1 Posts: 103
    quote: Future1, can you provide a little more info on that TSB? We have been debating it in the Engine Hesitation forum and could use some input from you.

    We cannot find this April '05 update of the TSB listed on any of the usual sources (NHTSA, Alldata). One of the posters took a printout to his dealership and was told it was a fake. Another person was told that his '05 model vehicle already had the most recent update performed. I am thinking that maybe this is too new to have reached the dealerships. Have you had any luck getting the work performed? Can you share where you obtained the TSB?


    1. I found the TSB in question in another Lexus forum. Can't post a link, because it's against this board policy, but I guess you can figure it from these two words: club lexus.

    2. I have no idea how genuine this TSB is, but I think it's unlikely someone would invest their time to fabricate something like this.

    3. I have not yet had a chance to run it by my dealership, but I will pay them a visit this Saturday. Will report here after that.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    You can't find the April '05 update of the TSB because it is simply a revision of the August '03 TSB and is still listed under that TSB #.

    As for what people are told at the local dealership, it depends on who you talk to. It is highly doubtful many of the service advisors actually keep up with all the new TSBs for every model and year Lexus, let alone revisions of original TSBs. Most of the time, it has to be brought to their attention before they know about it. This TSB revision is quite new after all. But there has already been a news report this month in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about this latest computer upgrade covering the 2002 to 2005 model years. The original TSB didn't include the 2004-2005 model years.
  • bkinblkbkinblk Posts: 198
    The question is: Is the new revised "fix" the same as the old 2003 TSB (which did not correct the problem), or is the new revised "fix" really a new fix (reprogram) applied to all years with the U151E transmission. Our hope is that this will result in a final satisfactory resolution. Since my Camry was manufactured in Feb, 2005, I don't know why it wouldn't already have the "fix", but it very obviously does not. You Lexus guys will know before us (Toyota).
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Think of it as software versions. The version continually increases as changes are made in the hopes of improving the software. And newer versions are based on the older ones. Then it's up to Lexus to decide when the transmission behavior has changed enough to warrant a software update to be released to current owners. Obviously, the original '03 software update for current owners didn't work out as they had hoped. And it wouldn't make sense for Lexus to try to apply old '03 software code onto an '05 ES330...the software versions in the '04 and '05 should already be based on improvements of the '03 software code.

    So I think it only makes sense that this is a new update. But with the Lexus shop foreman you have contact with, you probably have a better source for this information than most of us here.
  • bkinblkbkinblk Posts: 198
    The Lexus foreman told me he had peformed only one new calibration so far, and it was from the revised April 1, TSB . It was on an ES-330, and 12 days later he has not heard from the owner (good news, I think).
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    future1,

    Thanks for clearing that up so quickly!

    So, it looks like the TSB revision for the ES300/330 is likely the real thing.

    It also appears that the April Pittsburgh Post Gazette article, which implies that Toyota/Lexus has a software upgrade for all the the 5-speed automatic transmissions, is a little misleading.

    I am looking forward to hearing from the ES300/330 owners to see if this does the trick! I know with the previous upgrades that initially the drivers felt like it fixed the problem, but the old hesitating ways returned. If you read through the Transmission Problems in ES300? forum at the time of the release of the first TSB, there are some owners who initially reported positive results but later changed their tune when hesitation returned. I think it took several months and several 1000's of miles of driving before the condition returned, so if initial results are positive, that will be good, but realistically, it may take some time to determine if it is The Fix.
  • bosox04bosox04 Posts: 2
    I'm faced with quite a quandary. I was literally about to go a purchase a new ES330 this weekend and while doing final negotiations on price I contacted a couple of other dealers in the area. When asking about what changes are in store for the ES and when the new model would be out I basically got 3 stories. As you can imagine the dealer I was about to buy with claims the new ES350 (which he says will be the '06 version) will only be very slight changes (primarily engine) and any new body changes won't be until the '07 model which would be out until late '06. The other two seem to be saying that the ES350 will first be introduced on the '07 and it will be out before April '06, likely with a new body style (which seemed to imply the '06 would still be the ES330 introduced later this year). Here in lies my dilemma, I have a vehicle that has over 110k miles so timing is an issue yet the thought of a larger engine on this vehicle and potential body changes (if not an entirely new body style) would certainly be reason for me to wait----the problem is I have no idea what is truly coming and when. Does anyone out there have any insight or at least suggestions? Thanks.
  • Thanks for your advice Scoti1. Lexus has agreed to buy me out of my lease of a year and a half before the lemon law process went to arbitration. The only charge is a Florida required mileage charge, which I will gladly pay. Lexus is expected to pick-up my ES330 within 30 days. Thanks!
  • cfazzaricfazzari Posts: 77
    Oh God...I'm Helping a Red Sox Fan!! (I'm Sorry Mickey, Babe, Lou, Joe D, Lefty, etc...)

    My dad used to say "Buy a car when you do NOT need one..." And he was 100% correct. If you wait until your current car blows an engine or tranny you'll regret not getting out of it earlier. That being said, I'm not sure 110K miles means the end is near - my Dodge Intrepid has 148,000 miles on it and I'm expecting the engine to easily top 250,000 or even 300,000 miles. I expect around 200,000 miles out of the tranny before the gears start to wear out.

    Chasing heat (the latest and greatest) isn't very productive. You may wait for a 2007 and then go to the auto show in 2006 and see a 2008 you'd like even more....then what? You can't kiss ALL of the girls!! If you like the current ES330 then buy it (be aware of the critisisms of this car on this board).

    The point is I believe you're dealing from a position of strength. You don't need to buy today, but if you feel the end of your current ride is near, all you need to do is make a decision sooner rather than later.

    Good Luck & Have FUN!
  • bosox04bosox04 Posts: 2
    Thanks cfazzari. You are helping a Sox fan but as I tell all Yankee fans can't we have one vs. your 26 since 1918 (I guess as one Yank fan told me in response- "but it happened on my watch")? Anyways, I guess since I'm not overwhelmed by the current ES330 and to your point, I probably still have more miles left on our current car I will probably wait and see what ultimately does unfold with the '06 or '07 or what ever the heck comes out in the spring of '06. At a minimum it sounds like I will get at least some improved performance with a larger engine. Thanks again.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    That is great news that they are buying you out. Did you use a lemon law attorney or do it on your own? If you have a chance, you may want to pop over to the Engine Hesitation forum here at Edmunds. There are some people there who are contemplating their next move, arbitration, lemon law, ditching the car at a loss, etc. They would probably like to hear about what you have gone through. Good luck.
  • cfazzaricfazzari Posts: 77
    Bosox04.....Couple of other thoughts...

    About your current ride - Just keep the oil (3000-4000 miles) and tranny fluid (15000-20000 miles) fresh on your current car - don't give the damned thing an excuse to blow out on you!

    Also keep in mind that it snows up by you for what seems like 10 months a year (kidding)...keep the anitfreeze fresh (18-24 months) and an AWD or at least a FWD is essential unless you want to start buying snow tires (snow tires...sheesh....I didn't even know they still made them).
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    I am no expert, but here hare some observations on Toyota lifecycle issues:

    1) According to some expert posters (lenscap and kreativ), Toyota tends to maintain a lifecycle whereby they introduce discernable body/styling changes every 5 years. For the ES3X0, it means there will be a new body style for the 2007 model.

    2) Last year, posters first reported seeing the new 2005 models on dealers' lots in July/August of 2004.

    3) If the pattern in 2) persists, the 2007 will appear on dealers' lots in the late summer of 2006. Also, if the pattern persists, the 2006 will appear on dealers' lots sometime this summer.

    As to when they will change the engine, I don't know. Perhaps, based upon their experience with Toyota, come other poster could provide a reasonable estimate of this. If I were forced to guess, I'd guess that Toyota would wait until 2007 for the new engine.

    As for engine upgrades, in my opinion, the 30 extra "horses" in the ES330 from the ES300 do not make enough of a difference that would cause me to wait an extra 2 years for a vehicle (I own a 2002 ES300) . I have driven ES330 loaners and barely note the difference, so I suspect that an ES330 owner might not find an ES350 engine worth waiting an extra year or so longer for either.

    Just my two cents worth.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    atoews is fairly accurate based on what I've heard. I have talked with Lexus regional managers at dealer events and the redesigned ES is due as early as spring 2006 as a 2007. It may arrive as late as fall 2006, but I doubt it.

    From what I hear the engine will definitely be the 3.5 at launch. How the tuning is done has yet to be announced, but expect power roughly the same as the Avalon that has the same engine - 280hp.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    There is a huge performance difference between the current ES330 and the new 05 Avalon. The Avalon will torch the ES in any performance test. The 02-03 ES does 0 to 60 in about 8 seconds. The 04-05 ES 330 does it in about 7.5 seconds. The new Avy does 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds. That is a full second quicker than the ES330 and you will definitely notice the difference. The difference in HP between the ES 300 and 330 is only 15 ( 210 vs 225). The Avalon produces 280 Hp that is 55 more than the ES. I sometimes surf the Avalon board and it is one of the most active forum on Edmunds. Some Avalon owners have actually raced against Mustang GTs and beaten them not that I encourage this kind of behavior
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Sounds like the 2007 model may well be worth waiting for!!
This discussion has been closed.