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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?



  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    The 2004 Avalon has the "old" 4 speed auto transmission that was in the 2001 and earlier ES 300 models. The 2002-2004 ES 300/330 models have the 5speed auto with (drive by wire) electronics - which is the transmission of contention in this website. The 4 speed was "silky-smooth" and had satisfied (happy)owners.

    Edmunds is predicting that the new 2005 Avalon will have the 5speed transmission (unhappy) when it hits the showroom.

    It will be interesting to see if a new "transmission problem" website will be started by someone for the Avalon later this year!!
  • jragosta1jragosta1 Posts: 49
    It's pretty easy to see which models have this problem. Go to the NHTSA site above and look for models you want to compare. For example, the 2002 ES300, 2003 ES300, 2004 ES330 and 2004 RX330 all have between 30% and 60% of their complaints related to this problem. The 2004 Camry has less than 10% of its complaints related to the transmission in any way and none of these appear to be our hesitation problem (they're mostly self-acceleration reports). Interestingly, the 2004 Avalon only has 2 complaints (vs 29 for the 2004 ES300) and neither of them is related to this problem. The Avalon's a nice car - not quite as nice as the ES, but at least its transmission works.
  • mrdlexusmrdlexus Posts: 23
    I have just traded my 2004 ES330 with 6500 miles for a new 2004 GS300. I am sick and tired of the transmission, and the lack of desire to fix the problem. Where is the relentless pursuit of perfection? I would not have purchased another Lexus, except for the fact that I am paying just below invoice on the new car. The GS is silky smooth, just as the ES should have been. I would not purchase another ES until they fix the problem (if ever). As far as Lexus customer service is concerned they told me that it was operating as designed, and there was nothing more they could do. They did an investigation into my problem and they found it to be normal. So I was left an unhappy customer with little or no solution to the problem. I had 2 choices; arbitration, or trade it in for something else. I feel bad for so many ES owners out there because Lexus simply does not give a sh**. Good luck to all you ES owners out there, and all potential buyers stay clear of this car, or you will regret it just like the rest of us.
  • dennydenny Posts: 17
    Could you tell us how the new GS is equipped and what the net cash difference was not including title and taxes.
  • wypcwypc Posts: 6
    I'm interested in ES300/ES330, but not sure whether they have the model with manual transmission. I read part of the comments here and feel astonished. So anybody knows whether the same transmission problem exsits on manual ES300/ES330? Thanks in advance.
  • mrdlexusmrdlexus Posts: 23
    The GS is not set up the same as the ES. Rear wheel drive, less wood on the dash, cd changer in the glove box. I wanted the HID lights that are in my ES, but that is stuffed in w/navigation only and cannot find one near the Boston area. Inventory is low 2-3 per dealer thats it. I bought my ES MSRP $35,174 for $31560(non navigation). The GS MSRP $41,794 for $36,794(non navigation). Trade in $28,000, That has 6,600 miles and is in brand new condition, you can't tell the difference between my car and one that is actually new(except for the miles). Basically I am paying $5,234 more for the GS than the ES. If you wait the GS is being redesigned for 2006, and should be out in late 2005. Good luck!!
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    The last time the ES300 was available with a manual was for the 1994 model year. Since then, no manual transmission.
  • wypcwypc Posts: 6
    That's really bad :(
    Anyway, thanks a lot!
  • Add me to your list of complaints. My husband and I have bought our 3rd Lexus and now own a ES330, which we now have 1500 miles on. We have taken this beautiful car back to the dealer three times for transmission problems described in post one on this board. I also have described to my husband that I feel like a deer in the headlight of on-coming cars and experience the same shifting problems. Fremont Magnussen's Lexus (Calif.)has had our 330 for four days now, as their top mechanic is taking it home with him in an attempt to experience our complaints of hesitation and shifting issues. We called him yesterday to learn he felt the car was doing good with no problems. We were upset to hear this as we spent big money for this car and wanted some type of fix. Frustrated, we checked the web and found this site and post. We were relieved to find we were not alone or crazy. We will keep you posted and would like info on any progress or fixes.

    Info we found from Toyota #TC005-03 "Technical Service Information Bulletin" (not for general public) This addresses ATM shifting issues with the 2004 Rx330. So Lexus obviously knows somethings not right.
  • Just a question. Have you looked under your hood? I did. And found the upper vacume hose that goes into the engine air filter compartment was disconnected. I promptly went to a Toyota Dealership and verified that the Camry SE (has same engine) has the vacume hose connected. I promptly connected the hose and no hesitation any more. The acceleration on the car improved noticeably. However, it does suck regular unleaded like it's going out of style (even driving on cruise control). This hose is located on a T connector and connects up to the upper left hand side of the upper part of the engine air filter container (when you are facing the car from the outside). Hope this helps.
  • I will print out this post so to try the hose check under the hood thing when i pick up my car from lexus. We also have an appointment this week with Lexus' dealer/owner, Bow Magnison, as we feel that we are not going to get anywhere.

    keep you posted
  • vanboyvanboy Posts: 6
    Hi folks....just was browsing the lexus site when I came across a page stating that there is a "snow mode" that you can put the car in. When in this mode, the acceleration is electronically reduced to help tackle any slippery conditions such as snow. Is it possible that some of the posters have this switched on? Or that its switched on in error....that is the switch may be off but the car is still running in this mode?

    There seems to enough people buying car without noticing any transmission lag and loving the car for this to be really such a widespread problem.

    I'm looking to buy one but am waiting for the 2005's to arrive to see the differences.

    Happy driving to all!
  • I purchased my 2002 ES one year ago and have been bothered with the same tranny problems everyone else is talking about. I decided the car had to go so I traded for a 2000 GS with 24,000 miles. Wow! What a difference in these two vehicles. Plenty of power and very smooth tranny. There's a little less wood trim inside but this is no big deal. This is probably one of the best car buying decisions I've ever made.
  • billp1billp1 Posts: 1
    No, this is a real problem that Lexus will not acknowledge. My dealer said all EX330 have this transmission hesitation.
    I wrote a letter to the CEO of Toyota North America and the Lexus VP & General manager and received no help with this problem. DO NOT BUY THIS CAR !!!
  • goodthought vanboy, even though the swith is in the off mode it may be still on???

    just got my es330 back last night. they drove it for a week+ and admit shifting/hesitation issues. they feel that not all es330s hvae this problem and dont know way some do, werd. the loaner i have had just has the pause/hesitation issues obviously "operating as designed". they are good people at fremont magnussen, i have dealt with top sales dude "neal", he is far and honest, no i didnt know him prior to buying our last es330 few months ago. he will treat you fair for sure. neal knows that issues on shifting and hesitation has come up, but has not exereance the shifting issues he says. we are going to see them this week, they said that they will make it right for us, im not a gulible person but believe they will.

    this isnt any type of sales pitch but buy your lexus in fremont, im 50 and have bought dozens of cars in my live and these guys are custemers first, well may be money too, they got to pay the bills.

    if i were to do it again i would buy the upgrade GS or and older GS. good luck
  • davidzdavidz Posts: 35
    As I understand it, all ESs from 2002 to 2004 (and probably 2005 as well) have the hesitation problem. It just bothers some drivers more than others.
  • Like many of you, I have reported ES330 transmission problems to the dealer that I purchased my car from. During a recent sit down with the service manager, he stated that there has been some success in alleviating the hesitation and slow shifting problems by running premium fuel (93 octane) in the car. He stated that the onboard computer knows what octane is currently being burned but cannot adjust the engine timing to accommodate the increased octane from regular to premium on it’s own. He suggested running the car for three tanks of premium and bringing the car in to have the computer reset. He said the procedure would be as follows: reset the computer, drive the car for seven miles as conservatively as possible…let the car cool down and repeat the process. If regular fuel was used anytime in the future, the computer could adjust downward with no problem.

    Has anyone else heard of this?
  • Drove my es300 for 3 yrs (lease) and i loved that damn car! shouldve bought it - sporty, fun - good lookin. now i took over my dads lease 2002 es330 - definite tranny problem. he said he got the upgrade this summer - it feels lousy to me. same problems as everyone else. this car sucks - not even close to the old es. talk about changing styles of the car - taller, less sporty, and yippy in the tranny - especially in stop go 35 mph fwy traffic. only have to drive it till the end of the year....g35, here i come!
  • amf1932amf1932 Posts: 79
    2002 & 2003 = ES300
    2004 & 2005 = ES330
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    How do you know that the 05 ES330 has the problem? Is it even out yet.
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