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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?

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Comments

  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    Note that the problem does not occur in vehicles whose model years are pre 2002. Only 2002-2006 model ES300s/330s have this problem.
  • I'm so very frustrated with the lack of response by Lexus and the local dealer with regard to this problem. I've engaged an attorney, and he isn't even very hopeful that I can get any remedies. I HATE this car so very much - and I've never hated a car. And its sad, because I really like the look and feel of the car - as long as I don't have to drive it anywhere.

    I have had the TSB upgrade, and it helped for about 500-1,000 miles - but now its just as bad as it ever was. Most noticeable in traffic, parking lots/garages, etc. - basically at speeds below 20mph. It also has some shift problems at speeds just below 40mph.

    Does anyone out there have any suggestions - other than just eating the $3,000 that I'm currently upside down? It seems that the only success anyone has had was in 2003, when this was still a fairly new problem. Now that it has gone on for 5 model years (2002-2006), it seems as though Lexus isn't willing to do anything.

    They obviously have transmissions that don't have this problem (used in other models), so why can't they make this problem go away?

    Why hasn't a class action been filed or successful?
    Why doesn't the lemon law appear to protect us on this?

    Why, Why, Why???? :cry:
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Why, Why, Why???
    Why no class action or lemon law results? I submit there are probably many reasons.
    First reason? It's plainly not a big deal for the vast majority of owners, otherwise it would be talked about a lot more than it is.
    Second reason? It doesn't even exist for most owners, and it certainly isn't a widespread issue. Most discussions about it in these forums seem to be dominated by the same group of posters. There doesn't appear to be a broad cross section of complaints from a diverse group.
    Third reason? It evidently isn't enough of a "winner" for most lawyers.
    Fourth reason? Lemon law usually works if there's a doable issue being contested, and evidently that hasn't been the case with this one.
    Fifth reason? It isn't a safety issue. No one has been able to show why it should be one.
    Sixth reason? There's a TSB out there for anyone to apply for if they think they have a problem--and it appears to work for most who've had it done.
    Seventh reason? Lately there's been little discussion aboout it, which indicates it may have disappeared on its own. How do we know that it hasn't been "fixed" anyway?
    Eighth reason? It apparently happens when drivers induce it under a very narrow set of driving circumstances. Most folks probably don't experience that narrow set of circumstances very often, if at all.
    It's too bad you feel the way you do about your ride. Perhaps the best thing for you to do is get rid of it and move on. There are worse things to cry over in this world.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Read the Toyota TSB regarding the description of the three circumstances under which Toyota acknowledges the problem is likely to occur. I think then most will see that all of these circumstances are common enough to the average John/Jane Q Public's driving experiences that they might be encountered by anyone.

    So obviously something random is going on here making it seemingly impossible for anyone to predict which 5-speed transaxle equipped cars rolling off the production line will be subject to the problem.

    I'm quite certain that Toyota is working very hard to remove the "X" from the equation and when they know then we will knowsoon after. Until then it might be best to stay away from any Toyota or Lexus 5-speed transaxle equipped vehicle.
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    "Until then it might be best to stay away from any Toyota or Lexus 5-speed transaxle equipped vehicle. "

    An interesting statement to make considering that you don't even own one of the affected vehicles, and have never personally driven one and experienced the specific hesitation being discussed. So, without any first hand knowledge of the the actual intensity, duration or frequency of this problem, I have to question the motivation in making such a statement.

    I have a car with that transaxle that drives great, as do two others I know of personally. I think that making statements like you made above, or giving blanket recommendations, especially based soley on secondhand information, is not appropriate. And again, I have to question the motivation here.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    It's much more than just an "interesting statement". It's an unwarranted statement at the very least, and alarmingly inconsistent with other comments by this same poster. In another ES330 forum, a recent post wisely calls for "mature, objective conduct and don't respond things intended only to bait others". What is now said is 180 degrees from that suggestion, and can only be interpreted as intentional "bait" to get the controversy going again. I strongly suggest it be disregarded, if for no other reason that it is totally wrong. Just don't respond to what are obviously irresponsible and unsubstantiated claims.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    shepali - a number of people with Toyota and Lexus DBW systems have endured your frustration. no posters at edmunds knows or can document the true extent of the issue. likewise, no one posting to the forums knows or can document the true root cause.

    your observation that initially the TSB helped, but then certain behaviors returned is something to take note of; it's possible there are a few behaviors the manufacturer is trying to remedy with the TSB, and your vehicle just doesn't fall into the targeted population.

    you are the best judge as to the drivability and safety of this vehicle for you and your family.

    therefore, the advice provided to you to get out of the vehicle (and incur any financial hit) is probably wise, as no one truely knows if and when a permanent fix for vehicles like yours will be possible and made available.

    good luck to you.

    billran: i apologize for being unable to retract or otherwise address my post that you had been marginalizing another poster in another forum on this issue. the post was meant to be directed to another poster. sincere regards to you.
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    User777, No problem, I had figured that out. Best wishes to you for a very Happy and safe New Year!
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Shepali,

    Some people have had luck with arbitration, so you may want to consider that route. In the meantime, why don't you file a complaint with the NHTSA at www.nhtsa.gov? They were doing an investigation into this problem, but I don't know what ever came of it. Also, the Center for Auto Safety can sometimes get automakers to respond to a problem. You can find them at www.autosafety.org.

    Good Luck.
  • montiemontie Posts: 10
    This Edmunds forums business is brilliant. I am a passive viewer for the last year and a half. Very informative.
    Scoti1 you seem to be a helpful fella and often appear in most all Toyota and Lexus forums. You are a wealth of information about problems or how to get attention about complaints.
    I must ask you something if you don't mind. This is not meant to be a criticism of what you do, but why is it you only appear in Toyota or Lexus forums and only focus on Toyota Lexus complaints? Do you have a personal issue with them, and what might that be?
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I find it curious that I was the inspiration of your first ever post on Edmunds after over a year of "passive" viewing. I will find your question more truly sincere when you ask it of the many many other Forum members who post more frequently than I do in the Toyota/Lexus forums. With that out of the way, I will tell you that I currently own a Toyota Sequoia with no problems, with the exception of the lousy gas mileage, but I knew what I was getting into when I bought it. So with that aside - back to the discussion at hand...
  • montiemontie Posts: 10
    Please do not doubt my sincerity. This isn't what you may think it is. The main reason why I haven't said much before now has mostly to do with our internet back home. It is the slowest in the world I think! And your screename is the most informative source of who to contact about problems. Currently I am visiting friends in Cincinatti Ohio and I love how their internet works here!
    So I am still curious why you settled on Toyota Lexus
    as your main focus? Is it because of problems you have had or what? Are you involved in a dispute with them? Have you been wronged somehow? Have you had success in dealing with them?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I'm not scoti1 but....

    I have been an enthusiastic Lexus "supporter" since purchasing my first one, a new 1992 LS400. Company currently owns that original 92, a 95 LS, a 2001 AWD RX300, and an 03 Prius.

    That being said my personal "nature" is to be, act, as a fixer. I truly LOVE solving problems.

    So while I was not mentioned you may also notice that my own posts are mostly in the realm of resonse to user complaints. I have no doubt that Scoti1 has inadvertently fallen into the same category.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    So I am still curious why you settled on Toyota Lexus
    as your main focus?


    Sorry, but I thought I made that clear. I own a Toyota.
  • pilot130pilot130 Posts: 319
    Regarding your query about motives:
    In fairness to Wwest, he may not own nor have experienced one of the affected vehicles, however, based on his response to Montie's questions, he apparently owns a fleet of Toyota products--hence (IMO) that certainly qualifies him to say anything he wants about them.
    That amount of exposure to Toyota products also speaks to his knowledge of the products, which appears to be quite extensive.
    I am confident that West's motives in problem solving are sincere, especially when applied to the "Great Hesitation Debate" we have indulged ourselves in over the past months.
    I sincerely hope Wwest continues to be a satisfied Toyota "Supporter."
    In considering one other response to Montie's questions, the intentional deflection of those questions raises major doubts as to what motive might be at play there.
    Be that as it may, there really is no "right" or "wrong" within this hesitation debate. Essentially, it's just a debate, nothing more, nothing less.
    As User777 says, paraphrased: "frankly, no one can state factually what may (or may not) lie at the bottom of the issue, nor can anyone state factually just how extensive the issue may (or may not) be."
    Needless to say it's been an interesting time.
    Let's hope those who feel they have problems somehow manage to garner some satisfaction before too long.
    Regarding the input from Montie--I see from the profile that He's an Aussie here on a visit. I will be visiting his country fairly soon and hope he finds his stay here in NA as pleasant as I do during visits there.
    Re Post 854 from Hyliner--A totally appropriate answer, and the solution is clear. I agree.
    Finally, to all my fellow debaters--(both pro, con, and our illustrious Host)--Best Wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Thanks wwest.

    Questioning "motives" and getting personal is what got the Engine Hesitation forum closed. I see a similar trend occuring here now (the only forum open that addresses this hesitation issue) by the same players and I am not going to go there. This is the last time I will talk about things of a personal nature here and I would respectfully request that others also not respond to posts that are off-topic and personal, no matter how sincere they may appear. In the future, I hope the moderators can address this directly with the individual instigator(s) rather than closing down forums.
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    There are without a doubt motivations here that I have yet to fully figure out. When people who have no direct connection to the problem, and have never even personally experienced it, feel compelled to come back time and again feeding the controversy, something is up. There are posts that are obviously slanted against the manufacturer, and when that happens over and over I have to wonder why. If Edmunds wants to address the true cause of the unrest on the boards that would be a good place to start.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Scoti, Like you, I don't want to go there either, but I must question the necessity and intent of posting "similar trend occurring ....by the same players....". There were many "same players" at your referenced flamefest Scoti. We all should refrain from pointing fingers and singling out individuals here or anywhere else as more or less guilty than any others. So please Scoti, let's not start things up again by flaming others, subtly or otherwise.
    Billran, motives or not, as long as they don't get personal or do the flaming thing, any comment, idea, or opinion is fair ball.
    If there's an issue to discuss, let's just discuss it, OK?
    Now, back to the subject of this forum......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,957
    Well you all know the rules we try to live by around here, so keep it friendly and you'll be okay.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    I appreciate your thoughts, and you are probably right on a lot of them. But is it still very disappointing.

    I HAVE applied the most recent TSB, and my car is actually worse than ever. I accept that the TSB appears to have worked for some - but it has not worked for all. And Lexus should address that, in my opinion.

    I cannot even explain to you how BADLY my car drives. And I would love to get rid of it - and I'm even emotionally prepared to take the $3k hit, because I HATE THIS CAR SO BAD!!! But, fundamentally, I just feel that Lexus should stand up and support their product. I am not driving this car in any unusual manner beyond how a car was designed to be driven. Even if my so called driving habits' are different than others (which I don't necessarily believe), that is NO EXCUSE for a car that drives like this.

    This is the ninth car I have personally owned, and last year alone I rented over 30 cars - I have NEVER NEVER experienced this kind of behavior from ANY car before. And THAT should mean something.

    I would just be happy, and have asked that the dealer or manufacturer buy my car back for what I owe, which is also approximately what they could resell it for (they SHOULD even be able to make a profit on that amount!). But, they are not interested.

    Thus, I am in the process of filing a lawsuit under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). My attorney has advised me that it is in my best interest FOR THE LAWSUIT to keep the car until the suit is resolved. This too is very unfortunate, that I have to be subjected to continuing to drive such a piece of JUNK - just to get some type of remedy (which isn't even guaranteed). Not to mention, that I had to forego all of the great December new car deals!!!

    Anyway, I appreciate having this forum as a way to vent - but I would appreciate any constructive ideas on how to remedy this problem, rather than the back-and-forth bantering that some are doing here.

    This is a REAL problem, being experienced by REAL people. If you disagree - then please go read another forum and allow us that are experiencing the problem to share our experiences.
    Thank you.
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    Oh, I forgot to mention that I have filed a complaint at the NHTSA website. Its actually amazing how many posts that are almost identical to mine - yet they have done NOTHING.

    I will try the other website you suggested.

    As for arbitration (I assume you mean the lemon law?) - my attorney and I have discussed this, but based on the posts on this forum, it doesn't look like many people have had very good luck. There was even a post from someone in my own state - Texas - who didn't have any luck. So, we chose the DTPA route for now. I am still considering the Lemon Law though, and may end up trying that route as well.

    Thanks again for your insights - and I welcome any other ideas people may have.
  • montiemontie Posts: 10
    I have filed a complaint at the NHTSA website. Its actually amazing how many posts that are almost identical to mine
    Can you help me to find all these complaints at your NHTSA website? I would like to look through them but cannot seem to find the right way to see them all. I could only find about 6 at Lexus and 3 at Toyota. Thanks.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    if you were so inclined, had approx. $125, and a laptop computer, you could concievably capture some of the toyota specific datum off the OBD-II interface related to the action of the system in response to your throttle/accelerator commands.

    for a long time, there have been several of us "regulars" that have wished we were given access to some objective data like this to review and discuss what may be *REALLY* going on.

    you'd have to be somewhat computer savvy, be willing to spend some money on the OBD-II interface and software, be familiar with, or know someone familiar with automotive / transmission controls lingo to know what to capture, and patient performing the capture.

    here are the links to the web-site which i found by googling: (btw: i am not endorsing the product nor do i know if it will perform the necessary task with any specific vehicle):
    http://www.obd-2.com/

    and specifically, with respect to the toyota-specfic parameters it can collect:
    http://www.obd-2.com/toypida.htm

    personally, i'd like to apologize for what probably contributed to the actions which the host felt necessary to take making the other forum Read-Only.

    this is the best constructive contribution i could make to you. i wish you the best.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    No, I didn't mean lemon law, but that is an option for you. I think there are some people who have succeeded with Lemon Law, just read through some of this site. Toyota has a separate dispute resolution/arbitration program. Read through the Engine Hesitation forum here at Edmunds (closed and is "read-only" now). A poster, bkinblk, reported his arbitration experience. Unfortunately it wasn't resolved in this manner and the last he reported, was proceeding with an attorney. Have you let your attorney know about all the similar cases you have seen on the internet?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,957
    A new topic has been opened to discussion a Toyota/Lexus transaxle shift delay as it related to ALL models/years/engine types that might be affected by this problem.

    So this topic will remain for ES 300 owners specifically who wish to share information and solutions, and the NEW topic would be for anyone interested in the technical characteristics of the problem itself.

    Lexus/Toyota Transaxle Shift Delay

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    Can you help me to find all these complaints at your NHTSA website? I would like to look through them but cannot seem to find the right way to see them all. I could only find about 6 at Lexus and 3 at Toyota. Thanks

    I believe that is all that are there.
  • montiemontie Posts: 10
    The only complaints at your NHTSA place I could find for ES 330 had to do with child seat restraints. For hesitation in both Lexus and Toyota there was one for 2003, a couple for 2004, and the rest were for 2005. There were a few duplicates too where the vin numbers were the same but the complaints were posted on two differtent dates. I counted them as one complait.Maybe I am not looking in the right spots? Should your complaint be there somewhere?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    for the 2002 es300 model, on the following nhtsa site (link provided below), i've found approx 30 complaints (which i think are unique..they might not all be) related to the transmission, hesitation and shift characteristics of this particular model and year:

    In general, the codification of issues, and the search methodology leave much to be desired.

    Here's the approximate "click stream" I used in case someone wishes to replicate my results:
    1). http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/complain/complaintsearch.cfm

    2). Vehicle | Search Selected Type

    3). Year | 2002 (Submit Year)

    4). Make: Lexus (Submit make)

    5). Model: ES300 (Go)

    6). Type: Passenger Type (Submit Make / Model)

    7). Component: (there are three related ones to search)
    Power Train
    Power Train AT
    Power Train (PCM / TCM)

    I'll be monitoring the new forum established for this issue should someone fail to be able to replicate the results I obtained from the web-site.

    Regards.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I checked the ES330 2005 and found about 15. I did not select a component so that all complaints were listed -- there were some duplicates because some complaints are filed under more than one component. Some of the hesitation problems were listed as engine complaints and some were listed under something like vehicle speed control, so they are not all being filed under the power train or AT. That may be why some are having difficulty finding the complaints.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    user, I went back to the 2002 ES300 and did like I mentioned above, and did not select a component and found more listed under other components. For example, here are two listed as "Vehicle Speed Control":

    Make : LEXUS Model : ES300 Year : 2002
    Manufacturer : TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA, INC.
    Crash : No Fire : No Number of Injuries: 0
    ODI ID Number : 10093211 Number of Deaths: 0
    Date of Failure: May 11, 2004
    VIN : JTHBF30G825...
    Component: VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL:ACCELERATOR PEDAL
    Summary:
    2002 LEXUS ES300 WITH ABOUT 18,000 MILES HAS A PROBLEM WITH HESITATION WHEN ACCELERATING AFTER SLOWING DOWN, ESPECIALLY AFTER COMPLETING A TURN. IT IS LIKE THE TRANSMISSION DOESN'T ADJUST WITH THE PRESSING OF THE GAS PEDAL. ALMOST HAD AN ACCIDENT BECAUSE OF THE HESITATION. ALSO I HAVE HAD PROBLEMS WITH THE CAR DOWN SHIFTING AS I COME DOWN A HILL. ALSO A PROBLEM WITH THE CAR TRYING TO DECIDE WHAT GEAR TO BE IN WHEN GOING AROUND 20 TO 25 MILES PER HOUR. YOU CAN FEEL THE CAR CHANGE GEAR. PASSENGERS EVEN HAVE ASKED WHAT WAS THAT? COMPLAINED TO DEALERSHIP, AND WAS TOLD IT WAS THE WAY I DRIVE. I HAD THE SB-TC004-03 PERFORMED AFTER RECEIVING THE LETTER FROM LEXUS, BUT IT DIDN'T HELP. MAY HAVE MADE IT WORSE. *AK
    --

    Make : LEXUS Model : ES300 Year : 2002
    Manufacturer : TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA, INC.
    Crash : No Fire : No Number of Injuries: 0
    ODI ID Number : 764271 Number of Deaths: 0
    Date of Failure:
    VIN : JTHBF30G425...
    Component: VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL
    Summary:
    WE HAVE A SURGE OR SKIP ON DEACCELERATION.THIS WILL HAPPEN FROM 40 TO 60 MPH. THE DEALER WILL ONLY TELL US THEY ARE AWARE OF THE PROBLEM BUT HAVE NO CURE. I FEEL THAT AFTER 7 MONTHS THEY SHOULD HAVE A FIX.*AK
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