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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?



  • After doing a lot of research, I found that an Acura TL was comparable and seemingly more performance oriented than the ES of the same year. I ended up buying an '03, 50k miles, TL 3.2 (not the Type-S) and after tax, license, extended warranty (4 yrs/100k mi/$0 ded./bumper-to-bumper) and LOJACK, got out the door at just over $20k. That's the same as I paid in '98 for my then-new Saturn SL2.

    I have since driven the TL from Sacramento to SF and back and given a workout on some back roads. I have driven in light rain, day and night, and could not be happier with it. Okay, I could be happier if I paid less or got more features like ventilated seats, but it has lots of goodies, drives like a dream and even if it does develop problems, which is unlikely, I have them covered. :)
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I was all set to buy the Lexus. Smooth ride, incredible interior. But there's no Lemon Law even for a certified car; and too many people crazed because of tranny problems which affect safety of car. So like you I bought an Acura. I pick it up tomorrow.

    Good luck with yours.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I received the following email from one of the certified Lexus salesmen in Westport, CT. Very personable guy, who has stayed on top of his job.I find Toyota's behavior not only unconscionable, but suicidal from a business point of view.

    Hi Nancy,

    I have an '06 ES330 that will be ready tomorrow late in the day. It is Mystic Pearl(medium green metallic) with beige interior. Is this something you would like to take a look at?

    Call me or reply to this email and let me know. I will be here from 9am to 8pm tomorrow.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    The following is my reply to him. (for all the good it will do.)Hi______

    The Lexus sounds beautiful. Just what I would have wanted. But I decided to purchase an Acura which I'm picking up tomorrow.

    Frankly, and you can pass this on to the powers that be, all the discussion of the Lexus tranny issues on every board made me nervous. A number of people had been given replacement cars. (These were new car buyers.) A number of people with new cars were invoking the Lemon Law. And many others were just saying that they'd always bought Lexus; but this was going to be their last one and that they couldn't wait to trade it in.

    I was very sad to give up the idea of buying a Lexus. I think they are beautifully appointed with a smooth, smooth ride. But transmissions that hesitate when you're trying to merge far outweighs the beauty of the car. As a matter of fact, I've heard there are unhappy customers with the 350.

    Maybe salespeople aren't supposed to talk about the transmission problems, even when asked. But it would make more sense if you all would be able to admit there's been an issue and then offer some kid of reassurance that the car you're selling had not been turned in for that reason... etc. etc.

    Sorry for the length of this. In no way am I flaming you. Just a word to pass on to Toyota who seems to have this problem in many of their Camrys, Avalons, etc.and has from what I've heard still not found a fix for this problem.

    I wish you well, (Wish Toyota/Lexus had made the improvements so I would have been able to purchase one of your beautiful cars.)

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Nicely written making good points.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Yes...good message that should apply to all manufactures who tend to dismiss problems by telling you "it’s normal”.

    I’m thinking of my poor Acura experience which eventually ended up in a law suit.
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    Probably a good move to buy the Acura. Wish I had. Lexus replaced the transmission in my 2007 ES 350 a couple of months ago because of an "RPM flare" between 3rd and 4th gear when the car was driven in the morning after sitting overnight. Things were OK for awhile, but now the problem seems to be coming back. Sewell Lexus in Fort Worth, Tx has been great, but Lexus has a problem with which they need to deal.
  • I think wwest may be on the right track in linking the hesitation to reducing the level of engine compression braking to improve safety.

    Would you please explain the "ATF" and "DBW" acronyms?

  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    ATF = Automatic Transmission Fluid; that would be the hydraulic medium in the transmission that transmits motive forces to linkages and surfaces as various passages are permitted to flow, the valves commanded by solenoids under the direction of the TCM (Transmission Control Module) / PCM (PowerTrain Control Module) and ECU (Engine Control Unit).

    DBW = Drive By Wire. Traditional systems implemented a cable linkage between the accelerator pedal and throttle body valve. Newer systems do this "by wire" or electronically. By doing this, the request from the pedal and also the command to the throttle body valve can be monitored, augmented, and commanded through the ECU (Engine Control Unit) to achieve higher fuel efficiencies and other system objectives like those, not limited to safety and operability.

    For what it's worth (FWIW), a fairly active discussion of Hesitation in the 2007 Camry is ongoing in the 2007 Toyota Camry Woes forum.

    For instance here:
    toyotacarfan, "2007 Toyota Camry Woes" #2544, 30 Nov 2006 9:18 pm
  • Our 2007 ES 350 started slipping after 750 miles. Around 38-40 mph this would happen intermittently. Now at 1500 mi it happens regularly at 38 mph but also at 25 mph on an incline. Not feeling very good about this purchase. David
  • ecnirpecnirp Posts: 20
    I posted this in another forum but maybe this is a more appropriate place.

    Recently talked to a dealer who is selling a 07 ES350 where Lexus bought it back as part of a voluntary recall. The transmission has been fixed or rebuilt and the car only has 3k miles on it.
    1. Was this an actual recall/buyback offer when the cars were first being sold?
    2. Would this be a good car to purchase since it's still under warranty?
    3. Has anyone else seen these cars available for sale - and at what price?

  • bear64bear64 Posts: 17
    My car is starting to have the same transmission problem that you describe. Did the new part installed by your dealer solve the problem?
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    Lexus replaced the transmission about 2 mos. ago and at first it seemed like the problem was fixed, but lately I've noticed that the same problem exists when I first drive the car in the morning after it has been setting overnight. Also, the transmission seems to slip when I accelerate. It just doesn't feel like the transmissoin is right. I plan on contacting Lexus about buying the car back from me and then buy an Acura TL.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I would be sitting in the seat of a "returned" ES freaking out right now if I hadn't come to this board. What a great place to share.
  • Very smart move. Toyota/Lexus has a HUGE problem on its hands with this transmission flare issue, and it appears that there is no fix in sight. Buyer beware on ANY Toyota product with V6 and automatic transmission. Just check the Toyota Camry Problems & Fixes threads, you'll see many with problems same as those in this thread.
  • carteachcarteach Posts: 179
    I'm curious. I was reading a glowing review of the Lexus LS460. So I went to the LS board; and there was no mention that I could see of transmission problems. Does the LS have an eight cylinder engine?

    Why isn't there more about this in the newspapers? Maybe some negative publicity would help. It seems this has been going on for years and yet Consumers says Lexus is the most reliable car. What gives?
  • garmogarmo Posts: 20
    Yes, the LS has an 8-cylinder engine.
  • Consumers has been giving Toyota the benefit of the doubt for years, but they are quietly admitting that quality issues are starting to come thru. There have been spotty reports of Toyota issues in the newspapers, but again, not enough for people to take notice. Toyota has huge momentum going for them right now, problem being that they are now cranking out problems in record numbers, and the word of mouth is going to kill them.
  • 99-03 Acura TL's also have a tranny issue..I owned one and had 2 transmissions put in that. Not a difference from Lexus.
  • I'm seeing that Honda Odyssey is having big time tranny issues as well. Buyer beware!
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    I have a 04 tl that has been nothing but problems. Are the Japanese cars losing their quality advantage?

    You can buy a Buick for half the price of a Lexus or Acura and almost as good!

    Of course, it's not a Lexus!
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