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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?

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  • My dealership is trying to make me out as being crazy over the same problem. In the morning for about the 1st 2-4 miles my car sounds like the valves need adjusted. The tapping sound is embarassing going down the street. They tell me that what 'I may be hearing' is the import injector, and then insist that this is normal operation. It may be normal for them, but unacceptable by me, but I can't get them to take it on as a problem to solve.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If it is any help my 2001 AWD RX300 makes a really loud engine related clicking noise when I start it up, especually on a COLD morning. I'm rather sure it's the fuel injectors so I don't worry about it.
  • Sorry to bother you, dont know where to exactly start, maybe you can help me.

    Bought a 1999 es 300 and today the trac off light came on with the engine light also. I have no idea, checked the book and says see Dealer, any thoughts first
    thank you
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Engine related problem, trac or VSC off with CEL is simply a default.
  • I had to take the car back in for the 3rd time last Friday. While heading to work I was cruising at 55 when the RPM jumped from 1800 to 5000 for no reason. It was like I had thrown it into Neutral. That was the last straw. So I turned around and drove straight to the dealership. I told them that I would not pick the car up until they had finally acknowledged a problem. And I didn't want them adding up mileage trying to recreate a randomly ocurring problem. After 4 days of diagnosis they tell me today that the diagnositic data sent to Lexus on the transmission showed a problem. I don't know if they are just giving me a bunch of dribble, but they said that Lexus has decided to replace the transmission and will have the car for another 5 days.
  • Did you buy the 03 ES? I have one and it had 17k miles when
    we purchased it. Now it has 40k and there really are no
    transmission problems. A slight little whirling noise between
    20 and 30 mph. Been that way since day one. Been driving the
    wheels off the thing and so far so good. First thing I did
    was dump all the oil, trans, engine etc. and put synthetic
    oil in everything. Went to Salt Lake City Utah from San Fran
    area, got 34.8 mpg with the cruise control on. Average speed
    70 to 80.
    Works for me.
    How has yours been working out?
  • Yes, I bought it new in May. I have 11800 miles on it. The problems started about 8,000 miles.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    No... not yet.

    My friend owns the car and the lease is up in June. The car has 15K miles on it and i am told that he has never had any trans hesitation so i think it's ok.

    He's an old friend and I trust him...
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I have little or no doubt that many, probably even most, could drive these cars for a lifetime and never expereince or notice the hesitation symptom.

    Read the three circumstances in the 2003 Camry TSB under which it most commonly occurs.
  • curt2005curt2005 Posts: 70
    My ES330 uses the previous generation of transmission and computer. It sometimes hesitates on acceleration but I have never felt in danger because of it.

    After careful tests I have determined that on my car there is hesitation only if I gently press the gas pedal. This is fine because it saves gas.

    When I stab the pedal, the car takes off briskly.

    The hesitation problem for the newest transmission and software combination may also be related to how quickly and how far you press the pedal. The computer can easily determine how fast you are moving the pedal, which makes this different from what we are used to with a non-computerized transmission.

    I think that this is a side effect of an algorithm in the engine computer designed to get better mileage and emissions ratings in the standard tests. It has been an issue with several Toyota models for several years.

    For me, the 330 has turned out to be a great car.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Thank you for the information
  • gavrikgavrik Posts: 30
    I had an interesting experience driving my wife's 2005 ES330 about a month ago.

    We were driving on a single lane road and I got tired of driving behind this old beat-up pickup truck at low speeds. I floored the gas pedal and immediately the rpm went up from 1600 to about 5000 rpm, I overtook the vehicle and as I eased off the gas pedal, the vehicle refused to drop rpms and speed. The vehicle behaved as if I was driving in 1st gear and stuck in it. Also, the sound from the transmission was unbearable. I wanted to slow down and kept on shifting to 4, 3, 2, while pushing down on break pedal with my foot, anything that would switch off the vehicle but to no avail.
    I then shifted to Neutral and that did not help, either. The vehicle was still going fast. Luckily, there were no cars on the road in front of me. In my last desperate attempt, I simply took the ignition key off. The vehicle finally came to a stop. I then caught my breath, put the key back into ignition and started the car. It was Ok, finally.

    I really did not feel I had to take the car to my dealer as I was afraid they would laugh at me. I no longer try to floor the gas pedal anytime I drive this car.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    There is a serious problem with the vehicle.

    I presume when you put the vehicle in N or Neutral, the vehicle speed would have continued to decline, specially if you put on the brakes...

    However, perhaps the engine reving would not go down for you. That MUST BE diagnosed by your dealership.

    Further, you should report your experience with the NHTSA site.

    Never though should you turn your ignition off. Not only can you end up locking your wheel, you'll loose power to the stearing and braking systems.

    Again, when you put the vehicle in N (Neutral), that should have de-coupled the engine from the transmission / wheels, and you should have been able to slow (although with engine perhaps racing).

    If that's not the case, then you have a totally different problem.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Keep in mind that there is now NO mechanical connection from the shifter to the transaxle nor is there a mechanical connection from the gas pedal to the engine throttle.

    The only thing left is the Stearing, brakes and ignition and even with those these days you can't be sure there isn't some ECU firmware in the control loop, especially with the ignition "control" key.

    Some of the newer VSC systems even have the ability to "assume" control of the stearing inputs.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    which is why i said, if putting the vehicle transmission in "N" did not actually cause the vehicle to slow, this poster has other problems as well.

    ECM/PCM/TCM i don't know.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If the engine is at high torue, WOT (For whatever reason, fault, etc.) is it possible that the control firmware will not even allow a shift into neutral?

    It most certainly would not "allow" a shift into reverse.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    good point. excellent point. i was assuming there was cable linkage to the transmission from the shifter. bad assumption perhaps.

    i did recommend the poster contact the NHSTA didn't I?
    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/

    it could be like the airbus crash at the paris airshow... test pilot performs a low-altitude manuver that the engineers didn't anticipate in the programming of the system and the engine controls usurp pilot authority when he attempts to go full throttle (to make it over the trees).

    he didn't make it.

    if the transmission is programmed NOT to go to "N" at high rev, coupled with a sticky accelerator / non-linearity in sensing / or a confused throttle body servo, then that is one scarey scenario. you've got to be able to decouple the engine from the drivetrain if speed is increasing.

    turning off the vehicle to "reset the electronics" is :sick:

    now then, one would think it *may* be possible for the vehicle to be checked under controlled conditions again. but who would want to do it.

    oh how wonderful if not repeatible, huh?

    now, speaking for myself, and not trying to be alarmist, if i had an uncontrolled event like that which could not be pin-pointed / addressed, i'd be immediately dumping the vehicle, loss and all.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Was the gas pedal PUSHED so hard for that initial accerleration to pass that it stuck mechanically?

    Or to be quite fair, the gas pedal may have been stuck under the carpet mat, like has happened to me twice, once many years ago and again just two years ago.

    Carpet mat "draped" over the gas pedal but behind the brake pedal, the harder you brake the more the engine ROARS.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    always a possibility. there was a recall for this wasn't there, to install some hook or something to keep the mats from binding up with the pedals.

    still, you have to be able to disengage the transmission. it's suicide if you can't.
  • gavrikgavrik Posts: 30
    No, the gas pedal was not stuck. The transmission behaved as if I was doing 45mph in 1st gear with RPMS going strong without any letup. I disengaged my foot of the accelerator then and put my foot on the brake. The vehicle started to slow down, however the RPMS did not change. I came to a complete stop thanks to strong brakes but the car would begin accelerating again had I took my foot of the brakes. I turned the car off right then.

    Like I stated before, I no longer try flooring the gas pedal in any circumstances.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    you had an uncontrolled accelerator event then. it's clear the vehicle tried to take off when you let your foot off the brake from zero speed. that's not good.

    thanks for confirming it wasn't an issue with the mats.

    also good to know you shut the thing down at or near zero speed when you started taking off again... like i said, powering everything down is dangerous, but you did it at a more controllable condition than at speed.

    ultimatley, we're glad you are ok!!!

    i STRONGLY suggest you contact the NHSTA and put in an entry for your VIN.
  • 1matt11matt1 Posts: 1
    I'm having the same issues with my 05 ES330 and have been working with the dealer and Lexus to get it resolved...with no luck so far. Just the same; it's operating as it should. Have you had any luck?

    My next option looks to be in the court but I've been doing whatever I get it fixed.

    Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated!
    thanks!
  • texicotexico Posts: 3
    Thank You all for the information. other than this site I've had a hard time getting anyone to tell me for sure what this could be.
    My '92 ES300 started these same symptoms about a month ago.
    running at 40-45 MPH when the accelerator is pressed it shutters like you ran over a dog or something.
    I see allot of people have this same problem. I've had this car for over ten years... why would this problem just pop up now?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    I think your vehicle is of such vintage that the whole of the conversation with respect to drive-by-wire and intellengent transmission control, or fuel air management in an engine control unit do not apply to you.

    if your vehicle is truly a '92, and if you are experiencing hesitation upon throttle application, either you have a fuel/air problem (dirty throttle body, clogged air filter), missing hose, clogged EGR port, etc, or you have a transmission problem (dirty fluid, problematic shift solenoid), or something along those lines.

    you could also have an issue with plugs, ignition coil, wires...

    for that matter a clogged CAT covertor might yield a loss of power / stumbling.

    have you googled the issue more?

    how about another site dealing with vintage lexus.

    do you have a shop dealing with lexus / toyota vehicles. you might want to ask them how much it might cost to diagnose.
  • texicotexico Posts: 3
    Okay Maybe I didn't understand that drive-by-wire and intelligent transmission control, or fuel air management in an engine control unit don't apply to my "vintage" Lexus. yes, it really is a '92.
    but I was having the exact symptoms described here. the car is drives fine. it's only happened when cruising at 40-45 MPH, all is well. until you press the accelerator again. then the car shutters like crazy until it passes 45 MPH. then it's all good again. if you mash it hard in the 30's and pass through the 40's it does not do it. anyways... the solution given a few pages back totally worked for me. I pulled out the "ECU-IG" fuse for about five mins. and put it back in.
    the problem is gone.
  • thomtthomt Posts: 1
    Help! New to forum. Lexus ES 300 2001 Transmission won’t go into reverse. Cable appears to be working properly & other gears engage. Owned for 3 months, no history specifics except for a clear “car-fax”. 113,000k Any advice appreciated, thank you.
  • I have a '95 ES300 in mostly sound mechanical shape.

    However, i've been experiencing some scary moments with my transmission.

    Several times now while driving, my gas pedal will become unresponsive. The engine will rev, but the car will not move forward. I try to shift to a lower gear, and these will also not drive.

    After pulling over and shutting the engine off, I will restart the engine, and the car will drive as normal. This has happened 4 times now. 3 of these times happened while I was driving on the freeway (2 going up a significant hill). The other time was driving through the city, going no more than 20 mph.

    Another quirk that happens (which i'm assuming is associated) is that my speedometer will jump between 60 - 80 randomly while i'm on the free way. I got a speeding ticket for doing 83 when I had my cruise control set at 68.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
  • I have a 95 ES300 in good shape but I have recurrent problem. About a year ago I accidently grounded the alternator cable, and about 3 months after my OD light started blinking causing my computer to go into fail safe mode. The code suggested defective solenoids. I changed the solenoids (which were quite expensive) and the problem still existed. I then changed the computer and the problem stopped. However recently the same thing started happening and again the diagnostics suggests the #2 solenoid, I changed the OBD as it was the cheaper option and the car worked quite well for a week or so and the problem came back. The computer is going into fail safe mode which means it is lazy on take off as if in 3rd gear, I would have to manually shift to L gear to take of and then shift to drive.
    Could I have a short in my wiring harness? Could anyone please help me with cost effective solutions.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Miles driven...???

    With high mileage I would suspect OD lockup clutch slipping, or even standard clutches. It might take as long as a week or so for the ECU to "learn" that clutches are slipping depending on the severity, or non-severity, of the slippage.

    How does the transmission act if you reset the computer and then drive with OD always disabled for a few days?

    "grounded the alternator cable.."

    The most obvious alternator wire for "easy", accidentally, grounding would be the OUTPUT one connected directly to the battery via a fusible link. That should result in nothing more than would happen with a dead battery, even if you blew the fusible link.
  • The shutter you are feeling is most likely the torque converter clutch not fully locking up as it should around that speed. Unless your a certified tech I wouldn't advise you attempting to fix this problem yourself. I had the same problem on my 1999 ES300 (135K miles) I am a tech and had the proper tools to determine the problem and fix it accordingly. You might try getting a transmission serviced and putting in an additive like Bars or a "No slip" additive for Automatic Transmissions. Hope that helps
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