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Lexus ES 300/ES 330



  • Just took delivery of new 2003 ES300 on Saturday. Initially I noticed a few rough shifts around 25 miles on the odometer and thought "trouble ahead" but after about 75 miles on the odometer the transmission was flawless, no hesitation, no rough shifting, just smooth and confident. About 300 miles on the odometer now (Monday night). On they way home this evening I was darting about in moderate traffic feeling quite confident in the car.

    - Jim
  • Hi:

    My wife has a 2002 ES 300. She has noticed that there is a bad odor coming from the A/C system. We have had the car into the dealer twice now and the problem goes away for a while then slowly returns. They have put some kind of freshner in the system but I don't think its a permanent fix. The smell is present only when the A/C is on. When ventilation is on without A/C there is no smell. My two theories are 1: The A/C drain is clogged so there is some really nasty stuff in the system or 2: a possible problem with the catalytic converter.

    Has anyone else had this problem. Any suggestions, etc. My wife says she is going to contact Lexus about this. This is an expensive car so we should not have this problem. Other than that, we love the car.

    Thanks everyone.
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    A musty, moldy kind of smell seems to be a common problem these days in a lot of cars, including Lexus. It is probably due to mold in the AC evaporator system. Someone had said a while back that spraying Lysol into the air intake solved his problem. The dealers also have a fix..... They were quoting me about $130 to inject a disinfectant into the system.
  • This should fix your getting Lexus to pay for it is another issue.
  • Has anyone with a 97 or newer ES300 had a problem with too much play/slack in their seat back?
  • Has anyone installed XM radio into their ES300? I have a '00 ES. I was wondering how it worked, how it was mounted, etc. Thanks.
  • We just bought 95 300ES. Only complaint is that speedometer and tachometer needle lights are out. We hear this is not uncommon. Dealer wants $900 to replace entire dash unit. We had the needles painted a light color, but this does not work at night. Any suggestions?
  • I have a 2002 ES 300 with TOYO tires. I've had the car for 11 months 14500 miles. After taking the car in for its 15000 mile service the dealer said I needed new tires. Does any one have any info on these tires and is it not odd that new tires are needed with so few miles on them.
    also I have decided to get car service every 7500 miles instead of every 5000 miles as the dealer stated. any thoughts
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    david valone, New tires at 15K is definately too soon. But ultimately, tire wear depends on each driver's particular driving habits. The average driver should get about 30K to 40K miles out of tires on a ES300.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    sam95ES, since you already painted the needles, I don't think there is much else you can do except get a new instrument panel.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Ouch! $900 for the lights, that is expensive. I wonder if you can get a better price at an independent station. Dealers tend to charge a lot more!!
  • The Toyo tires on my wife's 300 have a treadwear rating of 140, which is very low, and you probably won't get anywhere near 30-40K out of them.
  • mrrogersmrrogers Posts: 391
    The ES300 engine has had a few cases of the oil gel (sludge) problem. You may be able to get by with 7,500 oil and filter changes if you do strictly highway driving, but I would feel safer with a four month/4,000 mile schedule. I realize Lexus is repairing the sludged engines for free, but who needs the hastle?
  • jyeljyel Posts: 1
    I do a lot of highway driving - about 3K miles per month, so I have decided for myself to go with the 7.5K service interval, which works out to about every 10-12 weeks or so for me. My understanding of the sludging problem is that it was addressed early this year with a minor design change to the engine that is supposed to prevent it from happening at all.
  • The needles on the Optitron gauges are definitely a frequent point of failure on earlier ES300s. I've located an used instrument cluster on the internet for $165! It's very simple to remove and install really. I've had to remove mine once on my '95 ES300 to replace a couple of backlight bulbs. Here's the details on buying the used instrument cluster...I'd call to get their assurance that the needles are GOOD and Guaranteed:




    Junkyard Jimmy

    6234 SR 61 North

    Shelby Oh 44875

    Web Site:


    Toll-Free: 866-JYJIMMY (595-4669)

    Local: 419-342-2390

    Fax: 419-342-2365

  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Have you installed the Airsept system? How much was it and how well does it work?
  • No, I've not installed one. It's nothing more than an electronic fan control device that cycles the blower motor when the ignition is turned off. The cycling of the blower effective dries up the moisture on the coils.
  • Hi everyone. I was wondering if any of you could let me know if the ES 300 has folding rear seats to allow for hauling of larger items such as a bike. I went to their website but could not find the answer.

    Thanks much!
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    The ES 300 does not have folding seatbacks. Part of the reason is they take away from the structural integrity of the car.
  • I recently purchased a 98 ES300 and was wondering if the interior lighting should go on when unlocking the doors with the remote. Mine isn't at the current time. Thanks in advance.
  • This is an update to the message I sent a week or so ago--see #3172. Took my wife's 02 ES 300 back again to the dealer this past Saturday. They had the car most of the day. Apparently they took alot of things apart in the ventilation system checking to see if an animal, rodent or similar had crawled up into one of the tubes and died thus creating the odor. Did not find any animal life, but determined that the odor was coming from the air conditioning filter. Cost to me was $86.00 check out fee and approx $50 for the filter. This is not the cabin filter that they recommend changing at 15K miles which cost about $300.00.
    This seemed to solve the problem as there is no longer any smell. I was not happy having to pay the approx $150.00 but they said that it was not a mfg defect so not covered under warranty.
    BTW, we did get back the old filter and there is a trace of the odor in the filter.
    Just hope the odor doesn't return!!
  • tmarttmart Spring, TXPosts: 1,204
    The cabin filter for my C70 is around $30.00.
  • akw3akw3 Posts: 14
    My 02 ES 300 had the same problem but not to that extent. The car was purchased in August and the smell only comes on when I turned on the heat 2 weeks ago . The Lexus dealer took a look today and I was told all I need is to apply some freshener in the ventilation system , that was what they did. And always leave the AC on auto all the time even during the cold winter months in Canada.
  • richm4richm4 Posts: 169
    My local dealer won't admit to the existance of any transmission problems.

    Is there anyone who has purchased an '03 and has experienced the same tranny problems that have plagued the '02's? There was an earlier post where someone thought Lexus has fixed the problems for this model year. I hate to plunk down $35K if the problem still exists.
  • atoewsatoews Posts: 637
    If the dealer does not admit a problem in the first place, and the publications do not advertise an upgrade, then I doubt there is any change.

    Just having a thumbs up from some 03 owner will not prove that the problem does not exist, as the majority of 02 owners do not experience a problem, either.

    The best advice is to test drive a vehicle to see if your driving style uncovers the problem.

    In my experience, the "problem" is completely repeatable on a test drive.
  • kreativkreativ Posts: 299
    Do any '02/'03 ES owners notice your car will feel like it's lunging forward when you're waiting at a traffic light (i.e. car stationary, in Drive, with foot on the brake pedal)?

    I believe it's due to the A/C compressor switching on and off when in auto mode.

    It almost feels like a car is nudging me from behind. The lunging sensation is quite pronounced for a car that's stopped. It can happen 3-4 times while I'm waiting at a light.

    I haven't experienced this to such a degree in any of the other cars I've driven extensively (including other Lexus models), so I'm wondering if it's just my ES.
  • I have that problem too. I thought it was also the transmission that was to blame for this behavior.
  • Greetings:

    I have experienced the 'lunging' or slight surge forward while at a stoplight. This has only occurred while the compressor was on. My 2K Solara did this as well so I don't think it's a flaw or problem to be overly concerned with. It may be due to the compressor cycling on and the engine control module increasing RPM to compensate to keep the car idling smoothly.

    On a more positive note, I now have 4,500 perfect miles on my 2K2 ES300 and enjoy the car even more. On occasion I have accelerated somewhat briskly from a stoplight and the car will move out nicely and there is no noticable hesitation in the transmission and I'm still getting 27-28 MPG (90% highway) with premium. I find the car has more than enough power considering the good gas mileage.

    Regards -

    M. J. McCloskey
  • akw3akw3 Posts: 14
    My 02 ES 300 has the same problem when stop at red light with the brake on but was told by the local dealer that was caused by the AC compressor.
  • I'm pretty sure I want this over a MB C240 or a used E320 (still expensive & old body style).

    I was told that Lexus' are nice, but they get you on the maintenance. I checked this site and it seems that it is about $120 every 5K miles and about $350 at 25K miles. Is this about right?

    I would be looking to buy in February 03 and hope that the transmission issue is fixed by then. Anyone with input on this?

    Lastly, what did you all pay for yours (invoice vs purchase price)?

This discussion has been closed.