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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?



  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Actually - if you have a transducer that converts a position (of the pedal) to an electronic signal, there is going to be some mechanical interface of some sort (the pedal itself is a mechanical arm). If there is any play in the mechanical or linkages, then depending on how you apply force to the pedal, the sensing of the transducer will be affected.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Lexus owners with this problem may want to check out the discussion in the Avalon forum regarding foot-position-on-pedal.

    havalongavalon, "Toyota Avalon 2005+" #11794, 27 Mar 2006 9:41 pm
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    Well, the saga with my ES is finally over. I was able to reach a settlement with Lexus and am now in a GX470 - picked it up yesterday.

    Although I do like it WAY better than my ES and the Suburban I've been driving for the past 3 months - I must say that I just don't think I was made for the Lexus driving style. My husband likes it a lot, so when he looses his company car he agreed he would drive the GX and I could get something different.

    Anyway, I may check back on this board out of curiosity every now and then....but won't be monitoring it as closely has I have been over the last 6 months or so.

    Good luck to others who are still in their ES and are having issues....

    Thanks again to all of you who provided support and suggestions along the way!!!
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Congrats! :shades: I hope Lexus and Toyota will work with others experiencing this problem and make them as happy.
  • jmlawjmlaw Posts: 2
    I have still the hesitation problem and Lexis says nothing wrong. Where can I find the arbitration results that you mentioned above, or tips on taking it to arbitration? thanks,Jerry
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    My July 28, 2005 post you are responding to refers to bkinblk's arbitration case as discussed in the Engine Hesitation forum: "Engine Hesitation (All makes/models)" #2411, 19 Dec 2005 1:41 pm

    Unfortunately he was unsuccessful in his arbitration case, but there are probably some things you can learn from it if you do a search for his posts in that discussion.

    Shepali, who just posted here, was able to get a buyback from Lexus along with a deal on a new Lexus. I don't know if you are willing to get into another Lexus, but it couldn't hurt to talk to her. She says she will be watching this forum, so maybe she can give you advice.

    Also search this forum. There was an earlier post by a Lexus owner who went through the Lemon Law buyback procedure.

    Based on these other cases, I think it is important that you document your case -- You need to have given your dealer a number of opportunities to fix your car (or a number of opportunities to refuse to fix your car) and have this well documented. If I recall correctly, bkinblk lost his case because the Toyota rep said that the hesitation is a designed-in feature to protect the drive train and is present in all of their 5-speed drive by wire vehicles. I don't know how to argue against this unless you can prove that they all don't hesitate. There certainly have been a large number of posters claiming no hesitation at all.

    I think it is a good idea also, if you can have the arbitrator actually drive or ride in your car to experience the problem. This can be difficult since there seems to be some inconsistency associated with the hesitation.

    A question, have you read some of the recent posts dealing with foot position on the gas pedal? Why don't you see if this could be part of your problem and if you get relief from changing foot position? I think the problem is likely more complex than this, but it is worth a try since some have noticed improved driving after moving their foot up a bit on the gas pedal (this can be uncomfortable for many drivers and should not be a way for Toyota to get out of responsibility!).
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    If I recall correctly, bkinblk lost his case because the Toyota rep said that the hesitation is a designed-in feature to protect the drive train and is present in all of their 5-speed drive by wire vehicles.

    Thats not true true Scoti. He lost the arbitration because he Refused to let the arbitrator actually ride in the car to verify that it indeed had unacceptable hesitation. Bkinblk instead chose to simply state that the car's performance was unacceptable.

    Whatever characteristics are designed into the drivetrain are not even detectable to me, 3 people I know personally, and obviously the vast majority of the two million owners of Toyotas with that exact drivetrain. The hesitation that some people have described is not something I have ever experienced. Letting an arbitrator actually experience that hesitation would be crucial. They are not just going to just take your word for it.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    bkinblk, "Engine Hesitation (All makes/models)" #1802, 14 Sep 2005 7:26 am

    #1802 of 2421 He who hesitates is lost by bkinblk Sep 14, 2005 (7:26 am)
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    .........."The position of the Manufacturer is that the Customer is dissatisfied with a feature of the vehicle which is inherent in its design. There is a built in delay of up to one second in the electronic transmission control to protect the engine. This is not a defect in the material or workmanship of the vehicle. The Manufacturer believes that there is no current concern with the Customer's vehicle which impairs its use, value or safety.".............."The Customer's request that the vehicle be repurchased is hereby DENIED. I have reached this decision because the Customer is alleging a nonconformity, hesitation in transmission shifting, which I find to be a normal characterisitic of the vehicle in its design."
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Arbitrator test drove bkinblk's car:

    #1304 of 2421 Re: Am I at a right forum ? [scoti1] by bkinblk Jul 13, 2005 (1:19 pm)
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    Replying to: scoti1 (Jul 13, 2005 9:57 am)

    Just finished the arbitration and all went very well. A Toyota Customer Relations Field Rep was there as well as the arbitor. I presented my case and she hers(Toyota's). We then went on a long test drive where the car displayed some hesitation and sudden jumps in RPM. First I drove, then the Toyota rep drove while the arbitor rode in the back. When we got back, the Toyota rep said that she too noticed about a 1 second delay in acceleration and that was designed for the "safety of the transmission." My reply, of course was " I understand about the safety of the transmission, but what about my safety when I am driving defensively in L.A. traffic?" She further said that the new TSB would correct most if not all the other problems associated the the transmission, but it would not correct the hesitation issue which she said was "normal" for the car and for which they had no fix. I have so much more I could report, but I don't want to use up too much space. Regardless, I left the meeting with a very, very optomistic feeling and I think the arbitor noticed the Toyota rep making key mistakes in her (their) argument. I will know the results of the arbitration in about one week. Meanwhile, I feel so good, I may apply for the Bar Exam. Thank you all for your support these past couple of months.
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    Scoti, strangly, you have left out a couple key facts. You have done that several times, which is especially curious since you don't even own one of these cars and have never even driven one. If you are going to give advice to those considering arbitration, it would be helpful to tell them the whole story.

    The facts are simply:

    1. Bkinblk had an arbitration where the arbitrator did drive the car and determined that the concerns were indeed valid, but that the manufacturer had not been given a chance to correct the problem.

    2. bkinblk had the TSB applied.

    3. He went for a second arbitration and REFUSED to allow the arbitrator to drive or ride in the car, insisting instead that the built-in hesitation was the problem. That would be the same built in hesitation that is on every one of the other two million other cars with that drivetrain, yet very very few report a problem. Mine drives flawlessly. I know of at least 3 others personally that do as well. Whatever hesitation may be built-in is inperceptable.

    Without a doubt there are cars with an issue, but it is by no means anything that applies to all similar cars. Why you insist otherwise in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is certainly very interesting.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    jmlaw, I think it best you just read bkinblks case for yourself rather than someone else's interpretation of it. I gave you links. Just go to that discussion, do a search for "bkinblk" and just follow what he says (and by the way, when you find the post where bkinblk says he lost his case because he refused to give the arbitrator a ride, please post the link, because I was unable to find this ;) )
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    is exactly the right suggestion. There's no need to get in any arguments here about what happened when it's all in the other discussion.

  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Hi Billran.
    IMO, you should refrain from discussion with some evidently here only to promote the hesitation issue.
    First and foremost, comments about the issue by these folks are mostly slanted, misquoted, embellished, or what have you to support the promotional efforts.
    Correcting the deliberate misquotes is a waste of time, and won't change anything. It certainly isn't going to stop.
    Another consideration is the fact that it's really impossible to verify, one way or the other, anything said in these forums--for all intents and purposes all of it has to be considered in that context. This has to be remembered when reports about arbitration are logged in these discussions.
    Also important is the fact that only a small number of actual reports have been logged in these forums; most discussion is by a few individuals going back and forth with endless discussions on the reports, theories, condemnations, etc.
    Regarding the hesitation issue itself, it's a given that it's not a widespread issue, and to date (after two or three years of monotonous debate) there's no agreement on (a) whether or not it's a problem or a characteristic; (b) whether or not all DBW systems work that way; (c) whether or not there's any kind of design flaw at work; (d) that it's any kind of a safety issue; (e) that solutions such as TSBs, gas pedal mods, etc., are worthy of consideration.
    IMO, what's being said about the issue is doing little harm, and it's not worth arguing about because the real proof is the marketplace in general, and everyone knows where that's going.
    Let these folks do their thing--they tell us it's to "help" others, but it seems to me that the "help" being given is a thinly disguised form of brand bashing.
    Folks who are here for that purpose aren't going to be dissuaded by rational debate.
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    it seems to me that the "help" being given is a thinly disguised form of brand bashing.

    I agree 100%. I believe that the posting of partial facts and deliberately distorted information is misleading and unfair to those sincerely looking for resolution to their particular problem. Anyone considering arbitration would be much better advised to have the arbitrator drive their cars to experience the hesitation first hand, rather than trying to make a case that all two million cars with identical drivetrains are flawed, which is simply not true and bound to fail.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    jmlaw, fyi, bkinblk most recently posted as bkinblk1. Good luck.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    To all:

    We are not going to argue here about what went on in another discussion. As I mentioned anyone can go read it and find out.

    We also aren't going to tell others what and what not to post.

    And we're going to stop criticizing other members for holding different opinions or beliefs. If someone posts something with which you don't agree, certainly you may post a contrasting opinion. What needs to stop is the criticism of the person who made the post that you disagreed with.

    If anyone has any questions or comments on anything I've said here, please address them to me in email and don't post them here.

    Thank you.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    On page 12 look at the "dithering" of the absolute throttle position signal as the pedal goes from idle, fully released, to WOT (or nearly).

    It's very heard to imagine someone's foot doing this so there must be some sort of flaw in the engine/transaxle ECU's signal sampling algorithm.

    This sort of on-and-off, on-and-off, and then on again would undoubtedly be quite confusing to the transaxle downshift control algorithm.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    wwest please post the correct page number.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Just checked, page 12 is correct.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    oh yeah, the artifact between 340 and 370sec. now i see the labeling below each plot. please forgive me.

    remember this is most probably throttle position, not accelerator position. big diff right?

    now as the unit shifts up, we are probably seeing the coordinating throttle dither to lessen shift shock or something like that.

    an accelerator position wouldn't revert to 10%/
  • bkinblk1bkinblk1 Posts: 12
    Can't say much, other than a court date has been set for next year. As for some on this forum and similar forums who post ad nauseum with the same arguments and denials, I can only say, God bless you, you've got more time than me.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    other than a court date has been set for next year

    Dang, that's a long time to wait.

    Well, good luck to you and hope you have something else to drive until then.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    Seriously considering trading in my '03 for a new IS 250AWD

    Really tired of the ES transmission performance in "stop and go" traffic. Test drove the new IS and it behaves much differently - didn't have any issue with the "hesitation, harsh downshifting, clunkiness, gear-searching" behavior that has kept this thread going for 4 years now.
    If I do this trade in, I know that I may be reinforcing Lexus' bad corporate behavior for not admitting the problem in the 5speed ES, but they seem to have corrected it at least in the new IS models.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The IS models are all RWD, different automatic transmission configuration, and entirely different driving dynamics for the control firmware to overcome/address.
  • toydrivertoydriver Posts: 227
    I know that you have posted many notes on this website.
    The facts about the new IS that you just mentioned are some of the reasons that I am considering that model. Since I live in the "snow belt" I've decided to try the AWD version. I've driven both the IS350 and IS250AWD. The 350 model is very fast and fun to drive but not very practical in MN winters; being RWD and equipped with low profile "summer" tires.
    Interestingly, the new IS has been out for 8-9 months and I haven't seen anything on that website about transmission problems that have plagued the 5sp ES models. So, I assume that the control firmware is either different in the IS or it's mating to the new IS drivetrain results in a better performance.
    It will be very interesting to see if the new ES350 (despite being front wheel drive, I believe it has the same 3.5L V6 and 6sp tranny as the IS350 ) will avoid the hesitation, gear-searching problems of the 3.3L / 5sp setup.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Also keep in mind that the space available for a transaxle is quite limited in comparison to a RWD vehicle. Taking a transaxle to six speeds will be a lot more difficult than with a transmission.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    FYI. I know this forum is about the Lexus transmission, but since the Avalons have a similar problem, thought I would share. The two owners quoted in this article both post in the Avalon forum and both have been contacted re. generous offers from Toyota. Makes you think these forums do get Toyota's/Lexus' attention. The article is in the May 2006 edition of Automotive News.

    #12217 of 12293 Re: Quality Article today [captain2] by joe369 May 01, 2006 (12:45 pm)
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    Replying to: captain2 (May 01, 2006 12:26 pm)

    Here is the article

    LOS ANGELES -- Alan Seider has owned 11 Toyotas since 1982, but his 2006 Avalon likely will be his last.

    He says quality glitches have bedeviled his Toyota sedan, which he has driven less than 6,000 miles since he bought it last July. His dealer could not solve the car's problems. Toyota headquarters stonewalled his appeals, he says.

    "There have been significant throttle control and transmission hesitation issues," says Seider, 45, a computer consultant from Roswell, Ga. "I've isolated 15 different rattles in the body work."

    Seider is far from alone. Internet chat rooms such as Town Hall are littered with complaints from Toyota loyalists about the redesigned Avalon, which went on sale in February 2005.

    The Avalon's launch problems point to a larger issue. To meet demand, Toyota has added factories in North America and thousands of new employees. Executives are worried that Toyota's rapid growth may dilute its quality standards.

    Toyota and Lexus divisions still exceed industry averages in various studies that measure quality. Toyota predicts that the Avalon will score well in J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study, to be released in June.

    But the quality gap is closing. And Toyota recalls have spiked in the last two years.

    Every production line produces its share of lemons. But Toyota already has issued a string of technical service bulletins to dealers to fix Avalons on the road. Changes are being made on the assembly line. Toyota representatives acknowledge there are some teething problems, but decline to call the Avalon a problem car.

    The Avalon is the Toyota brand's most-expensive car, starting at $27,355 including destination charges. The redesigned 2005 model was embraced by consumers; Toyota sold 95,318 Avalons last year in the United States, up from 36,460 in 2004. Avalon sales peaked in 2000 at 104,078 units. It is assembled at Toyota's Georgetown, Ky., plant, alongside the Camry and Camry Solara.

    It's a car-buying axiom that one should never buy a car in its first year of production, before the bugs are worked out. But in recent years Toyota and Honda largely disproved that old saw, delivering nearly bulletproof vehicles from Job 1.

    Now the Avalon redesign is showing that even mighty Toyota can slip up.

    Kevin Clingenpeel, a 37-year-old insurance litigator from Fort Mill, S.C., loved his Avalon for the first 2,000 miles. Then the transmission shifts became erratic, especially in cold weather. The engine developed a persistent knock, which could not be cured by changing grades of gasoline or by using a fuel-injector cleaner.

    "I pulled up next to a Ford F-350, and I could hear my valve train clicking louder than his diesel," said Clingenpeel, whose Avalon is his family's third Toyota.

    Clingenpeel says his dealer gave the car "a wink and a nod" when he brought it in three times for repairs. Clingenpeel then appealed to Toyota headquarters to send out a district service manager. Toyota refused. Now Clingenpeel is looking to sell the car.

    "It's sad because there's a nice car hiding behind all this," Clingenpeel said. "But this is not up to snuff from what I would consider from Toyota."

    The Avalon's problems have drawn notice from Consumer Reports magazine, which has for years given the Avalon high marks.

    While still giving the 2005 Avalon its highest scores in most categories, the magazine's overall quality rating for the car was average because the Avalon scored below the Buick LaCrosse, Kia Amanti, Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego.

    Anita Lam, data program manager for Consumer Reports' auto test center, said problems with the Avalon cropped up in steering, suspension and body integrity.

    "These are first-year teething problems. We anticipate the second model year will be much better," Lam said.

    Toyota spokesman John Hanson called the Consumer Reports ratings "the sum of small irritations more than anything else."

    But Hanson acknowledged that Toyota has been concerned with the initial wave of quality problems for the car. Toyota's priority has been to find and remedy problems, get the fixes to the production line, and issue technical service bulletins so dealers can fix the faults on vehicles already on the road.

    "The Avalon is the most complex vehicle Toyota Division sells, so just by definition it's a problematic vehicle," Hanson said.

    The Avalon's transmission lurch is especially noticeable in low-speed crawls during rush hour, Hanson said. Previous Avalons had problems shifting smoothly at high speed with high engine revs. Toyota fixed the high-speed lurch by changing software algorithms, but the adjustment caused a low-speed lurch.

    The low-speed problem "is all software," Hanson says.

    Some customers are voting with their feet. In Seider's case, he replaced his wife's Toyota Sienna minivan with a Honda Pilot. He doubts he will replace the Avalon with another Toyota.

    Said Seider: "I am so disappointed in Toyota. I've had previous first-year vehicles, but nothing like this ever happened. Toyota's build quality has declined in recent years, and there seems to be nothing the dealer can do. Toyota has reached a size that they've lost sight of the individual customer."
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    Just wanted to let everyone know that I am very happy with my transaction whereby Lexus (the manufacturer) and I came to a settlement and they took back my ES in exchange for a Lexus of my choice (for a calculated purchase price difference).

    I have had my GX470 for a month now, and it has no hesitation issues whatsoever, and I am very happy with the vehicle. My ONLY complaint is that it has a really hard time at highway speeds in cruise control - it consistently downshifts then upshifts when most cars don't do that. But, that is something that I can definitely live with.

    Anyway, thought I'd give you all an update! And thanks again for all your support and input here!
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    good for you! yeah i wouldn't sweat the cruise control - just keep it off. still seems like that should work smoothly though.
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