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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?



  • 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: 27
    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?

    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: 27
    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.
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