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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • My 98 ES300 will not hold an idle today. Where is the idle sensor control located? Can anyone recommend a mechanic in the Kansas City area?
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    Just disconnect the negative battery cable for a second and put it back on. That will turn off your idiot lights, but will also delete your radio station pre set channels.

    Avoid the Lexu$ dealer$ $hop$.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    I have a MIL problem on my 98 es300. My mechanic did a scan which indicated that the charcoal canister and vapor purge valve were malfunctioning. I was told that this would not cause any damage to the engine. Is this true? Also, I am considering replacing the canister and purge valve with a used one (canister and valve included)that I saw on eBay. Has this happened to anyone else and would you recommend this action?
  • I have an opportunity to buy a 2002 ES300 for $18990 from one of the buying programs here in So. Cal. It has the 6cd changer, leather and wood wrapped wheel, sunroof, and other than that it is pretty basic. It has 69,250 miles, so the factory warranty is set to expire in a few hundred miles.

    This seems like an incredible deal to me, since I'm looking at used altima 3.5s for roughly the same price. I've read quite a bit about the transmission issues here in the forums, but I didn't notice it when I test drove it a couple days ago. I did notice that it wasn't a very beefy engine, but I'll trade that for the lush interior and cushy ride. I'm taking it to an independant mechanic in a few days for a look-see, is there something I can alert him to that would say if this transmission problem has been fixed or not? I'll definitely pay attention to it when I drive to the mechanic, but I think it won't be much of a problem for me since I'm not a speed freak anyway.

    Other than that, I'm pretty excited, I didn't think I'd be able to get into a car like this for the price.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I think it was the 2003 model that first used DBW. So your 2002 is likely subject to premature transaxle failure for the same reason as the early RX300s. But the ES is so much lighter than the RX the failures may be delayed to something more like 100,000 to 120,000 miles.
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    What % of 2003 ES has the transmission Problem?

    I considering the purchase of a 2003 ES from a good friend who tells me he has never had a transmission issue with his car. Do all 2003 models have this problem?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    ALL, 100%
  • hey everyone. i am new to this sight is i hope i do everything right. i have a 1995 ES300 and my brake lights don't work. i checked the bulbs and they are fine. i put in a new switch and it still didn't fix the problem. dose anyone have any ideas....
  • tedescm1tedescm1 Posts: 309
    Are you serious… or just kidding.........
  • I am looking at a used 2000 ES300 Platinum model. The cars seems to accelerate slow from 0-60. Has there been any tranny problems with these cars? I saw some posts about ES330 transmissions problems? Will take a long time to read thru 5500+ posts on ES :)

    Any pointers on other things to look for will be appreciated.

  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    Today while driving my '98 es300 on rain-drenched roadway I went through a puddle. About an hour later while driving on the expressway the car suddenly "bucked" and the speed decreased from 60 to 30 mph. It now feels like the transmission is straining between 20-35 mph and I am smelling "burnt" smell. The MIL is also on. Is this the transmission going bad or just something that got wet and will dry out. I'm very concerned about this and hoping that it is the latter.
  • tammy10tammy10 Posts: 15
    I'm new here, I'd really appreciate some advice. I posted this question on the engine forum but then realized it's pretty dormant.

    I am the second owner of a 1998 ES 300 with approximately 86k miles. I purchased the car 12/01 when it was 4 years old and had 35k miles on it so I've had it a little over 5 years. So, the car is 9 years old as of last December.

    I have never taken the car to the dealer for service because it has always been quite far from my house- I've moved around a bit since I purchased the car.

    My "check engine" light has come on three separate times, starting in May of 2005. The first mechanic said it was the O2 sensor and he reset it.

    Later it came back on.

    The second mechanic replaced that sensor.

    The engine light came back on but the same mechanic said it was the "knock sensor" P-330 and he reset that because the "condition wasn't present at that time."

    Now the engine light is back on and I am aware that in addition my engine has a significant sludge problem. I've changed the oil every 3-5k miles. I do realize that the first owner may not have regularly changed the oil but it was "clean" when I purchased it.

    Unfortunately, neither of the mechanics mentioned the sludge problem to me.

    My question is this- is the oxygen and/or knock sensor possibly related to the sludge?

    I ask because I have a claim with Lexus/Toyota re: sludge only if I can show that the sludge problem existed within 8 years of purchase. If the engine light reoccurence will demonstrate that (it started within 6-7 years of purchase) it may help my case. I need to know before I lose my rights to file a claim next week. The repair could cost more than 10k.

    Thanks so much!
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    Believe it or not, a common reason the "check engine" light comes on is because the gas cap is not on tight, or the cap was removed with the engine running.

    The following procedure is always the first thing I try when the dreaded "check engine" light comes on: With the engine off remove the gas cap and replace it tightly, until you hear a click or two. Then open the hood and using the proper wrench, remove the negative battery cable from the battery for a second, then replace it. That should turn off the "check engine" light. This has always worked for me, on my old 1992 ES300, and my current 2000 ES300.

    The sludge problem is not related to the oxygen sensor.
  • tammy10tammy10 Posts: 15
    Thanks. The engine light code now is for the knock sensor. That sensor has been activitated before and reset despite the fact (at least the mechanic said) that there was no knock.

    I did have a mechanic tell me the knock sensor may be activated by sludge. Do you agree?
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    "I did have a mechanic tell me the knock sensor may be activated by sludge. Do you agree?"

    I am not a car mechanic, so I can't say for sure. But to me that doesn't seem likely. Sludge is sort of like gummy oil deposits in the engine crankcase and oil passageways, while a knock sensor senses low octane fuel which could cause the air/fuel mixture to detonate too early in the compression cycle. Two unrelated things, in my opinion, but then again, I only know so much about car mechanicals.

    One other thing I forgot to add to my previous post: If disconnecting the negative battery cable (a 12mm socket) for a second doesn't reset the "check engine" light, disconnect the negative battery cable again and leave it off for five minutes. That should definitely turn the light off.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The knock sensor can also be triggered by "lugging" the engine, but that generally will only happen with a manual transaxle with the driver not downshifting appropriately.
  • gomboy60gomboy60 Posts: 2
    I have 1997 ES300 with 150K miles on it and everything works well (except of course, some oil leak, dead lights for stereo, etc). Recently my both remote lock/unlock/trunk opener/panick controller are dead. They are from the factory. Is there a fuse related to this devices? I cannot find any form the manual. Yes, I have replaced the batteries for both of them. Your help is greatly appreciated.

  • lexuslxlexuslx Posts: 18
    I drive a 2002 ES 300 w/75k miles. The air conditioner was working perfect this morning. When I got in the car this afternoon, the AC button light was flashing and NO cold air was coming out. I called my Lexus service advisor and he said that it sounded like the condensor RELAY was probably out.

    Have any of you had this problem or have suggestions? I have left the car at the dealership for service tomorrow. They mentioned around $150 for the repair plus service. I am hope the $150 included not only the relay, but also the labor.

    THANKS in advance for any info!

  • patepate Posts: 8
    I had the same pproblem but mine is a 2003 Es 300 and was still under warranty.
  • lexuslxlexuslx Posts: 18
    I took the ES to the Lexus dealership and they fixed it today. One of the relays to the AC Compressor had went out. The relay was around $85 + labor, I also had the car serviced and the total was $187. Not too bad if it doesn't happen again for a long time. I'm just scared it will do it again soon!?! Has yours went out again since then? THANKS!
  • zippy5zippy5 Posts: 1
    I have had the same problem (VSC engaging on a clear dry road) several times with my 2003 LX470. Extremely frightening. Left it at the dealer for three days, and they could find nothing wrong. Can you provide any more information as to the steps you are pursuing with Lexus?
  • mcasomcaso Posts: 3
    Is there any way to overide the nav by pushing buttons?
  • We need to put a hitch on our Lexus... Can't seem
    to find anything online about towing capacity.
    We just need to tow an open trailer with sides...
    for moving household items. Wanted to do it with
    our 1997 Toyota 4-door RAV4... 4-wheel drive. But
    since the towing capacity is only 1500 lbs,and it
    appears that most of the little open utility
    trailers weight about 900 lbs. already, we will
    hve to put the hitch on the Lexus. Any info?

    BTW, bought this car with 25,000 miles. Now,
    104,000 and never any serious repairs except the
    Nakamichi [sp?] sound system... cd player. We
    have a great after-market warranty. Just renewed
    it for 2 years or 24,000 miles more. So even the
    CD repairs only cost us $50. I think the new
    warranty is now $100 deductible, but still a good
    deal. Love my lexus!!!

    thanks for your help!
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    What is the general consensus on high mileage ES300's?

    I'm looking at a 99 with 140K mile (and an attractive price...private sale). I have yet to drive the vehicle but the photos look like it's in very good condition. I also have to run the VIN but they say it's clean.

    I intend to use the vehicle as a commuter vehicle and will only put on approx 8k miles a year (suburban & highway miles). I need the vehicle to last at least 3 years.

    I've read a few of the posts and the problems run similar to other makes/model (though I'm not sure of the frequency).
  • I have a 03 ES300. I discovered my carpet and underlayment completely soaked. Took the car to a Lexus dealer. They found brown colored paper in the drainage tube. Insinuated that someone must have put it there. I dot believe this to be true. The underlayment stared to mold and smell. I asked them to warranty just the underlayment pads, they said no. The car is out of warranty. But I believe that the clog came from the manufacturing process and finally worked it's way down.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Pollen filter removed and something got "sucked" out of the glove box...???
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    Hi. I have a '98 ES300 with 152K on odometer. When I move the gear selector from park to reverse I get a sharp jerk and hear a clunk. This only happens when the engine is cold (in the morning or the evening). I took the car to my mechanic who had a transmission shop look at the car. The tranny guy said that there were no codes stored in the computer and felt that the engine mounts were the cause; my guy said that the rear mount was really shot. I was quoted a price of $700 to replace all of the mounts (parts from lexus and my mechanic's labor). A friend of mine sugggested that I wait because he has a v6 Toyota Camry (95), 200k and he said that he has never had a problem with the mounts. Does this sound credible? I have 152K on the car and never replaced the mounts, they seem fine to me. Will it cause any damage if I choose not to replace them? Any ideas would be appreciated.
  • curt2005curt2005 Posts: 70
    I remember finding the info in the owner's manual for my 2005 ES 330. It will be in the owner's manual somewhere.

    The manual on my 330 was not that enthusiastic about adding a hitch because it compromises the crash performance of the bumper. I decided not to.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    Yes, the problem could certainly be an engine mount. You could take it to another shop, without telling them you were told the problem is an engine mount. Assuming that there is at least one broken engine mount, I do not see the need to replace the other engine mounts that are not broken.

    Your friend's Camry has no bearing on your car. Any two cars will have different problems over the life of the car.

    Don't wait too long. If it IS an engine mount, you don't want to have another engine mount break while another one or more are broken.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    I took the car to another shop that I use for oil changes and light repairs on Saturday. I described the problem and the mechanics looked at the car. In about ten minutes they called me back into the bays and was shown that the front mount (also known as the torque strut or "dog bone") was bad. They also checked all of the other mounts with the car on the lift right in front of me and said that they were ok (they used a pry bar to check - no movement from the other mounts). The mount was replaced within an hour (had to wait for the Carquest guy to bring the part). I was then taken for a final test ride by one of the mechanics and again there was the hard shift but no clunk when the car was in reverse. He said that the shift was probably an internal transmission thing but seemed to go away after driving for awhile. It was suggested that I let the car warm up for about ten minutes each time before driving and that I don't worry about the clunk/hard shift; he said that it was a small issue that would drive me crazy if I tried to resolve it. So, at least the mount issue was resolved and I'm ok with the small shift/clunk issue - I'll just keep an eye on it. Thanks for your advice and help.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    There is always going to be a hard shift when you first start up the car and put it into gear immediately. A cold engine will run at a faster speed (revolutions per minute) than a warmed-up idling engine does. This is because the whole system is trying to quickly heat up the emissions system to keep pollution levels down. My 2000 ES300 does that when I start up a cold engine.

    I am glad you got the engine mount fixed and that they demonstrated the problem for you.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    Thanks for your reply. I am still just a little concerned about the engine movement. I was provided with a sound, reasonable explanation by the mechanic who said that there will be a little movement when shifting throughout the various gears due to the mounts being made out of rubber. Is this the way that ES300 was designed? Also, should I flush the transmission. The car has 152k and I am not the original owner - did a tranny tune-up when first purchased (105k) and dropped the fluid twice since.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    I am not sure what you are referring to when you say "engine movement", but after replacing the engine mount, everything should be fine.

    If you have done three trans fluid changes in the last 47,000 miles, I don't think you need any trans flush in the near future.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    What I mean is that there is still an unusual amount of movement. When the car is shifted into reverse or drive (with someone holding the brake) I can see the engine lifting a little and moving back and forth. I went back to my original mechanic and addressed this and told him that the torque strut was replaced; I was also honest with him and told him that another shop checked the other mounts and said that they were ok. He still maintains that the other mounts are still bad and said that you can not tell condition of mounts by just trying to move them with a pry bar because the mounts are hydrolic. I told him that I would reconsider but probably get parts on my own (ebay, etc.). What would happen if I do not change the mounts? Will the engine and transmission drop out of the car? I mean, they lasted 150k miles.
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    I think your car is fine. Look at ANY car's running engine while someone puts the trans in and out of gear, and the engine will move. Enjoy your Lexus.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    Thanks for your advice. Are you a mechanic? I am just concerned because I need the car to last at least another two years and I drive long distance with my daughter and do not wish to have any problems, especially with the drive train. I know the car is reliable but want to make sure no problems.
  • No, I am not a mechanic, but I have owned my 2000 ES300 for two years and a 1992 ES300 for 5 years before that. (And other cars for 23 years before that). The 1992 ES300 was still running with the original engine and transmission when I traded it in on the 2000. The 1992 had 255,000 miles on it. I think that your ES could join the quarter million mike club eventually. Lexus=reliability, although it is still a man made product.
  • Hi. I've posted a few things here. My question to all is this: if a binding caliper is fixed (cleaned and lubed) is it necessary to still replace the caliper. My mechanic recently unfroze one of my front calipers and said that I should not replace it. What is your advice on the matter?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Take the mechanic's advice.

    It was likely the "slider" bolt that was at fault anyway, nothing to do, really, with the caliper itself.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    Yes, the mechanic did say that the slider bolt was causing the caliper to bind, but my concern is if this will happen again. Winter is coming and I am concerned that salt and other contaminants will cause it to dry up and bind again. I really would like to avoid having to replace the rotors and brake pads so soon again (last ones replaced at 18k miles due to this problem). Also, what will happen if the timing belt is not changed at 90K? I know that Toyota engines are non-interference which usually is good.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Most commonly what happens is the rubber "boot" preventing contaminants from getting into the slider bolt frictional area are compromised. Make sure these "boots/gaskets" are in good condition and you will be "good to go".

    There currently are 5 91/92 & 95 LS400's within my realm of knowledge or control that are well over 150,000 miles and have NEVER had the timing belt issue addressed in any way. The one's in my control will remain that way.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    I am sure that the rubber boot that you mention is in good condition; the mechanic who did the brake job said that the calipers looked good in general. As for the timing belt, I had a 95 V6 Camry and a friend has a 95 V6 Camry. When the belts were replaced at 100k there were no cracks or deterioration at all - we examined them carefully. Also, all the teeth of the belt were in place. A co-worker who recently retired never changed the belt on her 95 Avalon, the car has 135k on the clock. And I know someone who allegedly has almost 200k on their belt and it never went. So, what you're telling me is that I should not worry about this.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Personally I would have a looksee, myself, at the rubber boot/gasket that covers the head-end of the slider bolt. It is VERY easy to damage, takes two wrenches, when tightening the caliper on to the mount.

    I've only seen one timing belt removed, 92 LS at 153,000 miles, and that belt looked good to go another 100,000 miles.
  • I had a meltdown with my es300 the other day and was curious if anyone has had similar issues and what the results were.

    When traveling during a constant rate of speed the car would began to shift "hard" and the RPMs would jump from 2600-4500 and back down quite erratically at which point the VSC light would come on.

    I took the car to the dealership who said they could not recreate the problem and that the computer chip recorded no problems. After picking up the car and driving on a short trip the problem resumed at which point the car began to shift extremely erratically again and the RPMs redlined and would drop, as the car began to lose acceleration I pulled over to the safety lane as the car bucked. The car would not move even when put into gear but sounds fine. I have always had the maintenance done etc...

    I am extremely frustrated with the dealership as they did not seem to take the issue seriously only to have it repeat with more serious results. I would appreciate anyone's input.
  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    I had a similar problem with my 98 es300 in March of this year. It was raining when I was driving on the expressway and the car decelerated and would not go past 25-30 mph. It felt as if the transmission was straining. I suspect that I hit a water puddle which somehow got into the intake system. The next day the car would not start. I took it to my mechanic (took three days to start over the weekend) and he replaced the mass air flow sensor and put a concentrated fuel system cleaner in the car (not the store-brought stuff like STP or Techron). The car is now running like new, I could even feel an improvement in the acceleration. So, it may be this sensor. There was a code in PCM that indicated an airflow condition (don't remember exact code) - my check engine light however was on. Hope this helps.
  • w35773w35773 Posts: 1

    I have recently purchased a '93 ES300 with 160k miles on it, hoping to get a year or two out of it. Anyway, when I pulled into work this morning, it sounded like elves with ball-peen hammers were working under the hood. This tapping sound was different from pinging, it sounds like a hard metallic noise.

    Anyway, I had it towed home and started it for a short time and pulled the spark plug wires one at a time and when I pulled the front left wire, the noise lessened to almost nothing. I realize that the car probably has a serious problem, but I was hoping some one could give me a likely cause (or causes) for my noise.

    The oil was changed less than two months (2000 miles) ago and I verified oil level was "Full" on the dipstick.

  • sean300sean300 Posts: 41
    Does anyone know how to resolve cloudy, hazy headlights? Is there some type of product on the market that can restore the plastic to its original clear finish? I have a 98 ES 300 (have posted here several times) with this condition, and it is driving me crazy. Also, is there another cleaner/solution on the market that will preserve the headlights' original finish? Lastly, will my vehicle have a differential that is separate from the transaxle?
  • larry1larry1 Posts: 29
    I did get my headlights to look much clearer on my ES300, but it was a few years ago. I think I used polishing compound (normally used on a car's paint) applied with a rag, but I may have used rubbing compound (that is coarser). Try the finer polishing compound first. There is a product specifically designed for what you want, though. It is called Meguire's Plastix, or similar.
  • loungerlounger Posts: 32
    Agree with larry1. Meguiar's PlastX is good stuff. It will clear up your headlights. You will have to polish them often (once every month or two if you live in a sunny region) because the UV light will start yellowing the plastic lens since the lens has lost the original UV protection that it originally had.
  • loungerlounger Posts: 32
    sean300, my girlfriend has a 99 Camry with a 2.2L engine, hence my experience with PlastX. The 99 Camry has a separate differential fluid fill hole and drain hole. Just look at the differential of your car and see if it has a separate drain bolt from the drain bolt from the transmission pan. If it does, they both will be a 10mm hex bolt.

    I changed the fluid. It is kind of a pain to refill. I used a 2 cycle oil syringe to refill the differential; squirting close to 2 quarts with a syringe was a pain. Just make sure you can open the fill hole (also a 10mm hex bolt) BEFORE you drain the fluid. The bolts were torqued on hard and I needed a breaker bar to open the fill hole bolt. The fill hole is on the back side of the differential.

    The Haynes manual has pictures which are quite good.
This discussion has been closed.