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Lexus RX Transmission Problems

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    edited February 2010
    the Lady in front of congress yesterday from Tennessee who's Lexus sped to over 100 mph on it's own...when exactly did she find time to call her husband

    I read that all she had to do was push a button on the steering wheel and say "call home" and then she was connected. Bluetooth is supposed to be hands free, right?

    Check out Toyota on the mend for 2010? for more stuff about SUA.

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    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    Bluetooth is supposed to be hands free, right?

    It's hands free after you push a button and calmly say "Call Home", or in the case of some cars where you don't activate voice, you have to push the button on your display OR call on your cell phone as you would normally.

    So I ask again, where do you find the time at such a terrifying moment while trying to supposedly control your car from being wildly out of control and thinking "He I think I will call my husband". First of all, if she did have voice activation set, the system would never have understood her if in fact she was in distress since her voice and speech would have been impaired.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    "Wildly out of control" could really mean she took off after merging into the freeway and hit 100. Traffic around Knoxville can be pretty bad but it's a bit better since they fixed Malfunction Junction a few years ago. I drive through there twice a year usually and there's plenty of stretches out where you could "cruise" at 100 and use a regular cell phone, traffic permitting. A Bluetooth would be lots easier I think.

    But we're really off-topic in here - try that link above please.

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    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..so I ask again.."

    The real question is why are you taking such pains to disparage what the lady did.

    I have little doubt that my wife would do exactly the same thing after exhausting all the remedies she might think of.

    "..What do I do now.." would be the gist of the initial contact.

    Oh, just what would be YOUR first action after exhausting all your known methods and none worked...call 911..maybe...??
  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    Look this is the last time I will write about this even if Steve doesn't allow it through.

    My position is this: I drive a lot for my job and have done so over the past 20 years. In that time I have seen people do some galactically stupid things behind the wheel. The problem I have with the lady in front of congress is that everyone believes what she says carte blanche...

    Too many people want to blame someone or something else for their mistakes or shortcomings, and the chances of this lady's story being 100% true is just not that good in my opinion.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    And many of us, most of us probably, saw no reason to disbelieve anything the lady said.
  • p8ret1p8ret1 Posts: 1
    We have owned our 2000 RX 300 for 8 years now and bought it from the first owner who was turning it in on lease. The couple we bought it from were senior citizens and the car had all service records and it was in meticulous condition. My husband has always done oil changes on time and had the transmission serviced when recommended. Last week the transmission went out (104,000 miles)and we had it towed to a transmission specialty establishment that came highly recommended. After inspection they told us the transmission was totally destroyed with metal shavings everywhere. I decided to research if there was any other owners who had the same experience and what a surprise! We did have the transmission rebuilt to the tune of about $3800. I want to know if Toyota has shown any accountability and if there is any recourse for reimbursement due to the seemingly faulty transmission of this early model RX? Has anyone else been successful in recouping their losses and has a class action lawsuit been thought of or started?
  • mrbostonmrboston Posts: 43
    My wife drives her RX 300 AWD gently and we have owned it from day #1. After five years we had the
    transmission pan removed and low and behold it was
    filled with metal shavings. Our transmission failed at 103,000 and again was filled with an incredible amount of metal shavings. A metallurgist told me that using softer metals reduces machining cost and is confirmed by all the metal shavings and wear.

    This transmission I discovered is a Toyota not Lexus, we were all deceived and defrauded I believe. Another example how Toyota over the last ten years cut many corners and it is now coming back to bite them. I would advise considering suing in smalls claims court.
  • I have a 2000 Lexus RX300 which I bought new from the dealer. Always had service done at the dealer. In October of 2008 the transmission went out, 104,000 miles. It took me over a year (with the economy being what it is) to get it into the shop for a rebuild. Lexus wanted over $5,000 so I went with a local business that rebuilds on site. They've been in business over 30 years, great reputation, slightly less than Lexus dealer but a 3 year warranty and the money stays in the states. So, went with them. 3 weeks and 3 transmission rebuilds later, I'm having it towed tomorrow into the Lexus dealer for a control unit/computer failure. Seems that each time the shop rebuilt the transmission and took it out for a test drive, the computer caused the transmission to mis-shift and tear itself up again. Of course, Lexus is saying that the transmission shop "rebuilt it wrong" and "the control units just don't go out". Will keep you posted on this one. Not sure if anyone else has had to replace a control unit or computer.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Not surprising...

    The engine/transaxle ECU control module's firmware is often revised, changes from year to year, and sometimes even during a year's production run. So if the transaxle itself isn't well matched with the firmware version......

    On top of all that there is a well known design flaw in the transaxles for the early RX300 production series, '99 & '00, so there was likely quite a few "running" changes to the transaxle control firmware. From an outside observation, while both years seem to have an unusually high failure rate, the '99's seem to have an extraordinarily high failure rate in comparison to the '00 series. So my guess would be that somewhere around mid-year of the '00 production run a "final", more "robust" firmware fix was instituted.

    But a "true" fix, workaround actually, wasn't arrived at until DBW was adopted for the RX330 series. The very same design flaw is now incorporated throughout the Toyota/Lexus "fleet", but very well "plastered over", virtually hidden, by various firmware "fixes".
  • ahalksahalks Posts: 4
    I am looking to purchase a 2002 or 2003 RX 300. Have these model years encountered the same transmission issues/problems as the earlier years. If not, what changes were made? I did not read all the previous messages so I apologize if this was already discussed. Also, typically, what service work is needed at 120,000 miles.

    Thanks,
  • Would not get one an RX if it were given to me. Plan on a $5000 transmission replacement if it has not already been done. Toyota/Lexus was no help in costs when mine had to be replaced. My sisters RX . . . same problem. Another one in the shop at the same time. . . same problem.
  • I heard that Lexus, because of the transmission problems, replaced the gear ratio from 4 gears to 3 but I'm not sure when that was done in production. They also changed the gear composition from aluminum to steel, again, because of the problems they had been having. I don't know if they were forced to make the change, nothing I found on technical bulletins or recalls. I've had my car for 10 years and this transmission thing is the only problem I've had with it. If you are dead set on getting the 2002 or 2003 you should check out what type of transmission it has in it (4 gears aluminum vs. 3 gears steel). Make sure it has had all of it's service work done and the owner has the records. Check on the Lexus site to find out what maintenance should have been done so far. I would also take it to a reputable transmission dealer (not Lexus) and have an inspection and full system flush with screen replacement done.
  • mrbostonmrboston Posts: 43
    I had a 2000 RX 300 and my wife had a 2001 RX 300, both AWD. One transmission went out at 85,000 the
    other at 101,000. These cars never towed anything, never had a teenage driver and were never driven off road.

    Shame, shame, shame on Lexus for such a piece of junk.
    These transmissions at $5,000 plus each are a rip off.
    I hope some lawyer does a class action lawsuit.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Were I in your shoes I would only consider a 2002 RX300 if it were ONLY FWD and already had the extra ATF cooling radiator. My 2001 F/awd has the extra cooling yet at only 40,000 miles the ATF smelled and looked quite burned. Did two sequential drain and refills and now at ~80,000 miles and watching/checking ATF condition often.

    Overstressing of the transaxle was resolved in the RX330 series by dropping the viscous clutch for F/awd models and adopting DBW to prevent the engine form producing torque before the gears were fully and firmly engaged.

    But that "fix" came with its own set of problems.
  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    I have read many times NOT to flush the transmission but to just do a drain and fill. Flushing seems to have caused more issues than they have helped.
  • ahalksahalks Posts: 4
    Thank you very much for all of the information posted to my question. At this point I'm not sure what to do but I appreciate everyone's postings.
  • avery1avery1 Posts: 372
    I don't know if there was a connection or not but I had my transmission flushed for the first time a month or so before it went out. I have a '99 AWD
  • 2000 RX300 AWD, now on the third transmission. After the latest transmission was installed in August 2009, we took a sample of ATF via the dip stick tube, using a large syringe and 3 ft section of silicon tubing. Sent the sample to AOA in AZ for spectroscopic analysis. Now at 7 months, wife suspects the third tranny is eating itself alive, as in the first to occasions. Sent another ATF sample to AOA 3/20 and will report back to the forum. Lexus paid for all of the expenses on #2, since failure was reported and documented by dealer prior to the one year warranty expiring.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You could probably extend the life of your next RX300 transaxle by providing a little DC, Direct Current, bias to the ATF line pressure control solenoid. That would raise the average pressure of the line pressure but you would need to be sure and add an external ATF cooling radiator and drain and refill the ATF on a regular basis, say every 30,000 miles.
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