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Lexus RX 330 Maintenance and Repair



  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    "Running the A/C on HIGH HEAT will have no effect, other than your own discomfort, unless you use recirculate simultaneously."

    Please refrain from stating authoritatively what will and will not work on all cars. It's worked on several of my cars and others that friends own.

    "In the meantime I would advise you to read the material at ..."

    Every message board seems to have a resident guru who presumes to know ALL and wants to 'hold court'. Please consider the possibility that it is not necessary to weigh in on each and every matter. Leave a little breathing room for others to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy this public forum.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    ""If you can wait for model 2005, it'll be great because Toyota might resolve all noise, clunking, and Technical Service Bulletin issue at the time. Remember, Toyota tries to plug every single hole in their product quality.

    For any of you considering a purchase of the 2005 RX330, be assured that the problems of excessive engine, road and cabin noise have NOT been resolved. Nor has the slipping and hesitiating transmission. Lexus "quality" seems to have taken a back seat to Lexus "profitability".

    There is simply no comparison between the older RX300 and the RX330. Like the commericials said: ".. the all new Lexus RX330 ...". Yeah, it's all new, and not necessarily better!

    I'll take the older model any day over this bucket of bolts they call the RX330. Even with its smaller engine and poor turning radius, the RX 300 was a much more quiet and refined driving experience, IMO.

    One more thing: plan on budgeting nearly $1,000 to replace all four of the 18" tires that come on this car. The Goodyears are VERY noisy, and after they wear out in 20-30,000 miles you can look forward to a very expensive new tire purchase. The Michelins are quieter.

    If you can buy this car with 17" tires, do it! Your car will be quieter, and you'll save gas money and money when its time to re-tire. Better yet, think twice and don't buy this car!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Leave a little breathing room for others to participate in

    Everyone is welcome to participate here within our Rules of the Road structure. If you don't care for another member's posts, please use your down arrow. If you have non-Lexus problems with the forum, please take it email.

    Steve, Host
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Sorry, but I have never seen nor heard of, an automotive air conditioning system wherein the A/C evaporator isn't located UPSTREAM of the heater core. Therefore the only way one can benefit from the heated airflow exiting the heater core is to have the system in recirc mode. I would suggest FULL recirc if there is moderation method in the system.

    But yes, there are likely systems out there that always recirculate at least a portion of the cabin airflow, which would explain, other than the possibility of simple coincidence, why you and your friends have been successful in not using recirc.

    The fact that I come on board and state a solution, or correct someone's else's solution, does not prevent anyone else from weighing in with their own ideas or obections, just as your own posts indicates.
  • jfzjfz Posts: 45
    The crossbars are easy to remove and install. The rear endcaps of the the rails are plastic. They snap off by sliding rearward. There is a set screw that prevents the crossbars from sliding off of the rails. Unscrew the set screw on both sides and the crossbars slide off the end. Replace the set screws and snap on the endcaps by sliding forward and down. Removal and installation is fast and easy. The trick is knowing how the end cap is removed.

    I have always taken crossbars off when not in use. I think that their removal does improve wind noise.

    If anyone has taken off the rails, let me know if there is a plastic part for the mounting points and if there is any added improvement with their removal. Cosmetically. I would like the look of an uncluttered roof.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Therefore the only way one can benefit from the heated airflow exiting the heater core is to have the system in recirc mode

    It seems that it is your opinion that only the A/C evaporator is capable of breeding bacteria, as opposed to to the vent system and parts in between. Is that your premise?

    I would suggest FULL recirc if there is moderation method in the system.

    I am glad that you agree that there is a way that this will work. I had also suggested, in a separate sentence, that people run their AC without recirc from time to time in order to get fresh air in and stale air out.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    many manufacturers are today embedding an anti-microbial chemical, fungicide, onto the surfaces of the A/C evaporator vanes. Lexus, in the new LS430, is even going so far as to use a UV light source within the A/C evaporator's plenum area to help combat the breeding of these microbes.

    The root cause of mold and mildew odors with regards residential and commercial A/C systems has been well know for many years. While adequate drainage is ALWAYS provided for in these systems, once the cooling cycle is shut down, say during the night, a thin film of moisture will ALWAYS remain on the surfaces of these evaporators for extended periods. It is this moisture, the 65F to 75F temperature, and the airborne food source that results in the microbes breeding and surviving in these dark, damp, and dank environments.
  • olivia1olivia1 Posts: 1
    I have also had this problem and the dealer's respnse is "sorry". I am selling the car and as I have no garage available that is convenient, At first, I parked it under street lights and in all lighted place, but the body shop told me ut takes 28-32 seconds for the thieves to take them. I believe a class action suit is necessary as my friend, an attorney, said "when did they (meaning Lexus and dealers) lnow this was a problem. 40% of the larceny is my neighborhood is Xenon light theft.
    ps...right now, the car is in my aunt's garage!!
  • crystal2crystal2 Posts: 52
    Olivia 1, Glad you raised this issue. I was wondering if Lexus owners were continuing to have problems with stolen Xenon headlights. I have decided not to drive my new RX330 into NYC without parking in garages (hopefully that is safe enough). Unfortunately, I have read of thefts in suburban NJ and Long Island. This makes me anxious about problems with headlight theft, especially after reading about the high cost of replacement. I did not realize it ran into thousands of dollars? Is this correct for those of you who know from first hand experience (unfortunately)?
  • OK, I turned in my '04 RX330 for the 30k service today and inquired about the transmission hesitation issue. The service writer (a great guy) explained very thoroughly the reason. He said (I suspect this was what Lexus uses as their canned response) was that the acceleration problem can't be rectified because of EPA regulations (something about under HARD acceleration the excess fuel has nowhere to go but into the atmosphere). He acknowledged the problem (and showed me two other service orders with identical complaints) and suggested taking other routes if possible to avoid the situation or manually using the transmission. He said that those folks who started using the transmission in manual mode haven't returned to complain again. He also mentioned that if during hard acceration you happen to be at a speed where the transmission won't automatically downshift, you have double trouble. The car is not only hesitating to sync the fuel and higher speed request, but if you're driving faster than the lower gear requires then you're put in the next higher gear. This puts you in a "sitting duck" situation (coasting for a couple of seconds). He stongly recommends manually using the stick to avoid these situations.

    I was loaned an "05 RX (without NAV) so I was able to do some experimenting on my way home (about 45 miles). And sure enough I was able to avoid any hesitation problems. You just have to remember to get the car back in "D" after messing around in "3" and "4" or your mpg will suffer.

    And just for comparison between the '04 and '05, the '05 is a much softer ride, but seems to lack the power of the '04. Maybe the difference is the mileage...the '05 only has around 5k and the '04 has 30k and is broken in. My '04 tires (Michelin) will be replaced at 35k, and that may return the softer ride.

    As far as interior noise they are identical. Nothing to complain about. In fact both handle just as good as my old '00 Acura TL.

    Hope this helps and let us know if using the transmission manually helps you too.
  • maylhmaylh Posts: 9
    I took my 05 RX330 for the first maintenance service at Sterling McCall Lexus in Houston last weekend. I complained 1)hesitation problem 2)brake, I have to press harder than normal to stop the car. I feel like that something is pulling the car ahead hard when I press the brake, especially from cold start. (I understand the RPM is high when the engine is cold). The service rep told me they are all normal, and suggested that I need to change my driving behavior. The guy used ABS as an example. Since I learned from this board there is no fix for the acceleration hesitation at the moment I didn't ask to fix it. For the brake they said they couldn't do anything about it. They gave me a loaner car and asked me to compare. But the loaner car, a 05 RX330 with 2600 miles, didn't experience such a problem. When I told them my experience with the loaner car they again told me they couldn't do anything about it.

    An unpleasent experience in deed. They treated me like someone who doesn't know how to drive. They are arogant. The car was washed but still very dirty. I didn't ask for another wash as I was in a rush. I will probably take the car to other dealers for service and will write a letter to Lexus to complain.

    On another note, RX330 has been rated well but my overall experience is so so. Maybe I expect too much. e.g. the noise is no better than my 2000 Toyota Sienna. The guy even suggest that Sienna should be quieter because of the ground clearance. (?).
  • renrutrenrut Posts: 1
    I also had a fan noise in my 04 RX 330. The noise was coming from a fan in the right air vent on the passenger side. Once the fan was replaced the noise disappeared. Hope this helps.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    "An unpleasent experience in deed. They treated me like someone who doesn't know how to drive. They are arogant. The car was washed but still very dirty. I didn't ask for another wash as I was in a rush. I will probably take the car to other dealers for service and will write a letter to Lexus to complain.

    On another note, RX330 has been rated well but my overall experience is so so. Maybe I expect too much. e.g. the noise is no better than my 2000 Toyota Sienna. The guy even suggest that Sienna should be quieter because of the ground clearance. (?)."

    That's a classic refrain you were told. Like most of us, you've probably been driving a car since you were 16 or 17. There is nothing wrong with your driving. Maybe you can ask the mechanic or team leader to go out with you next time so you can try to reproduce the problem with them in the car.

    As to the tranny, please do yourself and the rest of us a favor and tell them about the problem. At the very least you will be given written documentation that you have experienced and reported a problem. In many states, lemon laws provide that after 3 or more attempts to correct a problem with a car, you may be entitled to a new car or equivalent compensation. The tranny problem is well known to Lexus, though it is still their dirty little secret. So is the noise.

    I recently test drove another Lexus model and the salesperson shared that he is aware that Toyota/Lexus are focused heavily now on profit (earlier years focused on quality and getting marlet share), thus a formerly quiet car like the RX300 was transformed into the lesser RX330. He also mentioned the myriad of people who come who indicate a solid preference for the older RX300.

    May I suggest that you take yours to a different dealer. I have found two other dealers who were very nice, appreciative of my business, and one in particular, was really focused on addressing my concerns.
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    the RX330 is my wife's car. Due to some eye surgery, I was her passenger for a couple of weeks. When she backs the car there's a noticable rumble. It sounds exactly like a problem I had on my Tahoe. Chevy had a TSB that installed additional rubber dampers on exhaust system (that fixed it). It ain't terrible but definitely not what I expect from Lexus. It was hard to tell if her old ES sedan was running (not a problem in her RX) and the power-train transmitted virtually no information to the cabin.
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    My co-worker's 2004 RX330 just got his HID headlights stolen in Boston, MA two days ago. He has been parking in the same neighborhood (on street) since you bought the car few months ago. There are some damage to the hood and driver's door. I don't know much more details or even see his car. He filed an insurance claim. And his agent was already working on another RX300 HID claim when he went there the next day. It is the same thing his dealer told him that only takes thieves 30 seconds to steal it. Damage is estimated few thousand dollars, headlights and body damage.

    My wife heard that and immediately changed her mind to buy a RX330 unless some recalls or anti-theft features is being added by Lexus/Toyota. Will the metal tabs or clips stop the thieves from stealing them with force? I read something has been added on the Maxima by Nissan to stop HID thieves. Any good?

    I found several listings on eBay for used RX 330 HID headlights with very attractive price, some with broken tabs. What kind of car accident that cause the broken tabs but not the headlights lens???

    Folks. If class action is being considered, let me know and my co-worker is in.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    The ones for sale that cheap are probably the stolen ones?????
  • crystal2crystal2 Posts: 52
    Hi, Lok888, I am glad you are following up with info and questions. It is not good news and I am not sure there is any effective deterrent by reading the Nissan Maxima forum on stolen headlights. My worse fears have been confirmed. The xenon headlights are expensive to repair, particularly with damage to the car in the process of stealing the headlights (cost thousands of dollars and sometimes repeated hits).

    Unfortunately, I live in the NE and my husband is commuting to NJ for work. I was hoping to let him drive the RX but now we may have to keep the RX closer to home because of the chances of this car being targeted in public parking lots that are not heavily trafficked. But even home (Long Island) has had reported incidents.

    Question: Are there replacement headlights without the xenons and ballasts, which are the objectives of the thieves? How bad is the incidence of stolen headlights for owners of these cars in the NE? I see quite a few of the RX being driven around my area, so owners out there must know about this problem, if it is prevalent?

    I did not realize this was such a bad problem with the headlights until after purchase of the car. Not sure I would have purchased it, knowing this beforehand. I hate to feel captive in this manner (what good is a car if you are afraid of driving it because of expensive repairs resulting from thievery, which will result in much higher premiums if reported for insurance reimbursement?).

    Thanks for any info.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Read what others have to say in this ongoing discussion: Stolen Headlights!!

    tidester, host
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    I am my co-worker heard about the HID thieves in NYC already. And we didn't realize it is so bad until they did their shopping spree here. His car was parked in a nice and quite neighborhood in Allston/Boston line, on street parking. I am sure the insurance companies will have a lot to say to Lexus. The repair cost is about $6000, including a complete set of HID lights (Lexus OEM parts) and repair on hood & door.

    I am interested to know if anyone has contact Lexus or even file a complaint to NHTSA which may lead to a recall.
  • aaatttaaattt Posts: 22
    As I post above 2 FYI.. seens the problem RX330 come from the new Canada's plant..
    I am in So.California.I ask my sales manager, Can I find a RX330 made in Japan.
    He talk me the story.
    Several years ago all come from Japan.
    After Toyota build the Canada's Plant
    Asia & West coast USA get from Japan. & East Coast USA get from Cadana.
    Now Japan's Plant supply to Asia, & build RX400h & ThouderCloud Edition.(T/C edition original supply to Japan market then send some to USA)
    All reguler RX330 supply to USA now from Canada's plant.
  • aaatttaaattt Posts: 22
    I would like to buy the Thoudercloud edition ! But my wife did not like the color.
    So I need to buy the regular one !. Is anyone has the problem with Thoudercloud edition. Please let us know, Thank u very much
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    All regular RX330 supply to USA now from Canada's plant.

    Respectfully, my car, which I purchased in April, 2005 in Southern California, was built in Japan. That fact was evidenced by various documents that came with the car, and was also reflected in my car's VIN number, which began with the letter "J", signifying Japanese manufacture.

    Perhaps now that the RX 400 hybrid is made in Japan, all future non-hybrid RXs destined for North America will come from Canada, but I don't know if that is a fact. Can anybody else affirmatively shed light on this ?
  • aaatttaaattt Posts: 22
    I don't know the fact is true or not that the sales manager told me!
    But I done a little research before I go to dealer. I think it's true!

    In the global village ! Business will cut their cost, max profit in all ways to keep compete with others.

    The Japanese standard of living is very high.I went there twice last year. Everything is expense & expense. So if the low end car Made in Japan then ship to USA will be no profit.( also weak US Dollar VS Japanese Yen, they will loose money)
    So the Toyota build plants in USA, long time ago. (may check

    Even the BMW build low end model assmblely-line in China last year.(3 series) to supply China market. Audi & GM already there several years ago.
    But some person still looking for German made BMW, Mercedes & Audi.
    I will not to buy a BMW made in China now. May be later year.

    The recent Hyundai motor ad show they also build a plant in USA now to improve their quality image than Korea made Hyundai.

    Please check the following link. You will be wonder how many car are made in Canada now.

    The RX330 is the first Lexus car build outside of Japan. As they said in ca
    That plant also build, matrix & corolla.

    I don't know any regulation to rule the VIN number. "J" is Made in Japan.
    I own an Infinite is "J", Made in Japan, Dodge Van is "U" USA made.
    I don't own any European made car.
    Is anyone own other maker like BMW, Audi,Mercedes , Volvo, Mini etc. different country car maker.
    what is the VIN start. Please us know. Thanks
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    The numbers say most RX330's sold in the US are built in Canada.

    Here are the latest numbers for May-05 and YTD thru May-05:

    RX330 sales(including RX400h):

    May-05 May-04 YTD May-05 YTD May-04
    10,707 9,659 43,993 41,659

    Canada production of RX330:
    May-05 May-04 YTD May-05 YTD May-04
    6,727 5,391 27,587 23,180

    So, approximately 63% of total RX330/RX400h production thru May of this year is from Canada.
  • aaatttaaattt Posts: 22
    Correct my VIN.
    I re-check my document
    00 Infinite start "J"
    98 Olds Cutlass start 1G
    92 Dodge Caravan start 1B

    I wonder what is the VIN Start for RX330 , Canada made & Japan made.

    I don't own any European made car.
    Is anyone own other maker like BMW, Audi,Mercedes , Volvo, Mini etc. different country car maker.
    what is the VIN start. Please us know. Thanks
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Here's a VIN site:


    Making Sense of Your VIN

    You may want to cover yours up:

    Another Car Theft Technique

    Steve, Host
  • aaatttaaattt Posts: 22
    Go to dealer to change the computer program. under the warrenty.

    The dealer should know it . The TBS come from the Toyata company for RX330 & ES330.
    U don't need to use manually. some people never know how to use it.
    just use "D" shift all time.
    Like my wife she never know how to use the over-drive funtion in our infinite.
    (like down hill should use over-drive off for "engine brake")

    I can not post the detail because it vialotion of Edmunds agreement.
  • coop75coop75 Posts: 3
    The Xenon theft is a big issue on the East Coast. I just sold an Audi A4 which I loved because my xenon headlights were stolen twice in Boston. The total cost was about $6,000 combined...I was out a car each time for a few weeks and a few thousand bucks in deductibles. I don't know what Lexus is doing about it, but Audi was useless. Nissan was sued by the state of NJ for the issue and was forced to come up with a solution. What I have heard from mechanics is basically the insurance companies have to force the makers to do something otherwise it will continue on.....
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Was the same 5 speed transmission retained for this new car, or was it abandoned in order to accomodate the hybrid gas engine and electric motor? I am wondering if the transmission hesitation is gone in this new model?

    Also, any news/reports of cabin noise in the new car? I am asking this in the RX330 thread because I would like to be able to go back to Lexus if I were to learn that the noise and tranny problems have been engineered out of the latest RXh -- maybe we could go back to Lexus and demand the same fixes that found their way into the new h version of this car.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The Toyota hybrid design concept REQUIRES a certain type of CVT, continuously variable ratio transmission.
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