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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • 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

    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!!
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