Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Lexus RX 330 Maintenance and Repair



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    rattling dashboards, loud transmissions, excessive engine vibrations and sluggish transmission shifting

    Okay. You've identified some problems. Have we come up with any solutions? It's apropos per the topic.

    tidester, host
  • gardencargardencar Posts: 293
    Touche! As I wrote my rebuttal to post #117 last night I was hoping no one from this board remembered my post on the RX330 v. Murano board.

    Ya got me! But sometimes you just feel like you gotta go to guns. You know? Oh,well. It's still nice to be quoted!
  • gardencargardencar Posts: 293
    Starforce, too bad you feel that your RX is "a piece of crap." In answer to your question, I do own an RX330 and I am very happy with mine. I have had some issues with the car and have since resolved them, as I have written in past posts.
    You mentioned that you expect Consumer Reports will publish future articles backing up your claim that the BMW X3 is also a "piece of crap."
    Since you value Consumer Reports' opinions, you should know that CR's choice for Most Appealing SUV of the Year is the 2004 Lexus RX330!

    Seriously though, it's a pity you are so unhappy with the RX. Maybe if you were more specific with instances, examples, and details,instead of just calling it "a piece of crap," people might be able to help you.

    It certainly would be interesting and helpful to hear about your experiences, in more detail. I wish you fortune in resolving your situation.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    for my 03 ES service. Is the base radio (non-ML) on RX330 the same as the one on ES? It sounds better than ES actually even tho the engine is louder than ES when footing the gas. The ride is not as smooth as ES either. That's what SUV supposed to be? I recalled RX300 of my friend's a bit smoother. The central storage box is so long that the rear central seat is not meant to be seated? I like the new look and the base audio is not bad but the rides and noise.... Mmmmm
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    gardencar: Sorry, couldn't resist! To be honest, I was hoping for a little 3rd-party moral support over there while I was sticking to my guns in that other topic. Thus, I was a little disappointed to be placed within the same mold as my counterpart! Anyway, I realize that I was a little too negative over there. You have a great attitude; definitely better than the attitude I sometimes display! I sincerely hope you continue to contribute to these boards for quite some time!

    lovemylexus1: That, imo, was a very good and articulate post. I couldn't have said it better. I personally wouldn't take someone's "Lexus sucks!" rant too seriously, especially when very little detail is provided to validate that rant. In the distant past I remember a couple cases that appeared to be a teenager, pretending to be a buyer/owner, whose goal was to have some fun stirring up trouble within these forums. I'm not saying this is happening now, but you never know...
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    No doubt the RX330's engine is louder than the typical Lexus engine when the rpm's go up. Being a fan of sport sedans, I don't mind some engine noise, but I understand that Lexus probably missed the mark this time. I wouldn't be surprised if the '05 RX330 exhibits less engine noise from within the cabin.

    No doubt the RX300 has a smoother ride, but I think it is too "mushy" for my tastes. It also exhibits too much body roll and far too large of a turning radius, imo. In comparison, the RX330 has a firmer suspension, and most are equipped with 18" wheels and lower profile tires. This provides us with more responsive/nimble handling, more steering feel, and less body roll. But yes, I can understand why an ES or LS driver might be disappointed with the RX330's ride qualities.

    The central storage box can be easily slid forward and aft, but this adjustment may be tricky without any instruction regarding the location of the release lever. We have ours adjusted forward so that there is plenty of room in the rear center seat.
  • igibanigiban Posts: 530
    Thanks cotmc. Yep I guess they made RX330 a bit 'rougher' thinking that'd match the sporty nature better. Maybe it'd be a bit funny to have an ES/LS type of ride and quietness on RX.... Anyway it's not a fair compare. Someone must've done it for MDX or FX already and RX may be the better one anyway.... Good to know that the central box can be moved. Is that in the manual? No tool required right?

    BTW, the base audio of RX I found indeed is diff. than the one on ES. RX is 132-watt 8 speaker while ES 86-watt 7 speaker. Not sure if that explains the diff. I'd not quite stand the base audio on ES but RX is fine. If engine is quieter all the better..... Lastly, I found no coin holder? Is that supposed to be sporty-related?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    RX has greater box, interior, volume, can make a significant difference.
  • I've been considering the purchase of an RX330, but numerous complaints along the lines of yours (as well as my own bad Lexus experiences) have put me off. I've seen your posts over at the Lexus Owners Club, too. If you were a fan of Infiniti, then what made you choose the Lexus? The reason I ask is that Infiniti would be an alternate choice for us. Thanks!
  • We've been very happy with my 2000 ES300 and we'd like to go the SUV way. We like the RX330 look, the rear camera and the tailgate remote.

    So, Lexus was the obvious choice for us. We've been waiting for the Millenium Silver with our options to show and it will be here in 3 days.

    I learned about this website and my wife and I are now very concerned after reading about things like dashboard rattling,transmission/downshifting problems (whatever that is), steering column vibrations, and on and on...

    We don't understand much about automotive things, but can't see how we can ignore all these admonishments. Some postings say that Lexus knows all about these negative aspects and that they're 'working on them'. We checked with 2 Lexus dealers and they never heard about any of the problems. Of course, that doesn't surprise us.

    As much as we like the RX330 look, we now feel that it may be wise just to give up on the 2004.

    Think we're over-reacting?
  • I have no intentions of altering what I believe in and if the moderator believes that calling the RX330 a piece of crap constitute me being banned then so be it. For the last two days, my car has resided at my local LEXUS dealer because of the dashboard problem and the SRS light always flashing even when the passenger seat is unoccupied/empty (I consider the SRS problem minor). I did elaborate in my original post that “The excessive vibrations from the engine are too much, the dashboard sounds like pop corn on cold mornings and the service stinks.” There are 3 specifics:

    1. Excessive Vibration from the engine
    2. The dashboards sounds like pop corn on cold mornings
    3. The service stinks.
    I then further quantified my previous post concerning specifics by posting:

    Rattling dashboards, loud transmissions, excessive engine vibrations and sluggish transmissio
  • It is up to you to decide but you should know all the facts not just the positive aspects and weigh them accordingly to what you want out of a car. I notice too many on the boards want to squelch any negative messages. Good Luck.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Being the overall master of negative aspects of the Lexus LS and RX may I suggest that you restrict your statements to "My personal RX is a piece of crap!" until such time as you can be certain that your symtoms are prevalent in the product line.

    If you care to search you will find that I have oftentimes taken the position that the LS and RX share a very serious, safety related, design flaw within the climate control system, The RX300 series AWD is not actually AWD, and that any FWD vehicle or FWD biased vehicle, RX, HL, etc, is hazardous to drive on adverse roadbed conditions.

    At the same time I will proudly and gladly state that it is my firm belief that the Lexus LS400 and LS430, excepting the UL, series is the best bargain and most reliable product in its class worldwide.

    I have an 01 "AWD" RX300 of which I am quite proud but it does have 1.2" spacers all around and 17X8 wheels/tires such that I have successfully used rear chains only safely.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    "I found no coin holder? Is that supposed to be sporty-related?"

    Ha! Good one. No, I don't think a coin holder limits the "sport experience"! If it did, you can bet BMW wouldn't be including them within their interiors. It's probably just an oversight, unless, of course, Lexus plans to sell a coin holder as an overpriced accessory?

    By the way, the center storage box position may be adjusted by opening the lid to the cupholder area and pressing on a lever that is located just aft of the opening.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Personally, I believe that some people are making mountains out of molehills. I'm reminded of a "Chicken Little" story that I used to read to my son at night. I certainly hope most of this concern isn't caused because of one "Lexus Sucks" messenger.

    Sluggish Transmission?: Is this really a "problem"?? The shift pattern wasn't the most responsive on our early production model. By that, I mean it was a little bit slow to downshift while driving at slower speeds. Certainly, not everyone shares this opinion, as evidenced by numerous professional RX330 car reviews and other user forums and polls I have read. According to my service advisor, only one other RX330 customer has complained to her about the shifting.

    In addition, this is an issue only on earlier production models. New models have updated software, from what we've seen in these forums. For those who have an earlier model that appears a little sluggish, there is a Technical Service Bulletin that allows any Lexus dealer to load updated Software into the ECM. Just had mine updated yesterday, and I'm very pleased with the results! On the other hand, my wife would have been perfectly fine with the shifting the way it was previously.

    Engine Vibrations?: The engine is rather loud at higher rpms, but I haven't noticed any excessive vibrations, whatsoever.

    Transmission Noises?: Huh? I admit I haven't read every post, but I don't remember seeing complaints about transmission noises. Our RX330 certainly doesn't have this problem.

    Dash Rattle?: No rattles on our RX330; but of all the complaints that might scare me away, this is the only one that carries any weight. I wonder how many RX330's have this problem?? Or if fixes have already been made within the production line to prevent this problem? As lovemylexus1 has reported, Lexus has an established fix. At least Lexus isn't keeping their customers hanging, like Nissan did with the early Murano customers.

    No, the RX330 is not perfect. There will be a few bad apples, especially during the first production year. And the various design trade-offs (sport vs. luxury vs. utility vs. cost) may not make sense to some of us. And, of course, there will be a few customers with expectations that will not be met. Does that mean that "Lexus Sucks"??

    Research these forums for other new SUVs and compare! With the possible exception of the FX or Highlander (neither discussion topics that I have been reading), I doubt you will find any other new "upscale" SUV with fewer legitimate complaints or with better build quality.
  • My 2004 RX has only about 1500 miles so I cannot say that my opinion represents any other than my own personal experience. So far I have had no other difficulties with my car, despite my living in a cold weather climate that other posters on this board cite as the cause of the complaints voiced by others. My transmission runs flawlessly and quietly, and there have been no excessive vibrations that surprised me.

    I have had this car and other lexus vehicles in for service and have received other RX330s as loaners. I have not noticed any of the mentioned problems in vehicles with considerably more mileage, except for one. The most recent RX loaner exhibited the dash rattle, but only while the car was cold. And still, the rattle is not very loud, but I understand that it can be irritating for it to exist in a luxury vehicle. This particular RX had well over 12,000 miles, and had was probably not cared for very well because it is a loaner. In my estimation, it has rarely been warmed up in the cold weather, and has probably been driven somewhat recklessly.

    I would also like to mention that transmission had not had any problems despite my driving style, which is "spirited" as professional auto journalists describe, and demands a bit more of the transmission. I also have not experienced the "very serious, safety related design flaw" with my climate control system or with the ones in the loaners. As I understand, it can potentially use the wrong setting and rapidly fog up the windshield. I don't see how this is possible, and it has not happened to me.

    To the prospective buyer: This board is a useful resource, but keep in mind that it represents a fairly small fraction of RX 330 experiences, and probably does not represent negative and positive ones equally. Exactly how often have you seen a post that said something to the extent that the poster's RX has 5000 miles and is running fine, just to let the world know? I haven't seen very many, but I'm sure those are the majority of the experiences that Lexus owners have. How else could Lexus have built its stellar reputation for quality and reliability? That's for you to decide.
  • tomtomtomtomtomtom Posts: 491
    Did you test drive your "piece of c***" before you take it home? Or all those things happened after you signed the paper?
  • I have 1000 miles on my RX330 and the noise is getting worse. Few days ago, it has engine noise when accelerate at 10 to 20 miles and also a strange noise at around 50 to 55 miles. Now the 10-20 miles noise has extended to 10-40.

    I tested two other RX330s one with 8000 miles and the other brand new. They are both very quite. So bad luck? It's really bad given this is my first expensive car.

    I will report after my 1000 miles service next week.
  • Never the less, these problems have manifested themselves in my car and I am not the only person who has experienced them. Now, I can't help it if some of salesmen who post in here want to stop my postings but even when you sit there and try to justify the problems as trivial, the fact remain that they exist by your justifications. I love it when people become judge of what is and isn’t trivial. Why not let potential RX330 customers decide that. That is what Freedom is all about. Now the people know. Ok, let us recap:

    Sluggish transmission Problems:
    Messages 4,5,6,29,30,33,38,39,41,42,43,87
    Note some people did have the ECM updated but many were not satisfied. 59 (59 mentions many customers having the ECM applied and still not happy with the sluggishness.) 91,99,102 and 119.

    Conclusion: yes many RX330 owners have applied the ECM update but many not happy with it so it still is a problem.

    Loud Engine/Excessive Vibrations
    Messages 13,16,18,33,43,44, 48(Note how people try and call the people in message 44,48 ) 69,76,112,148 was very dissapointed ,87,99 and add the lastest message "150" to the list.

    Conclusion: These problems exist

    Dash Rattling Problem:
    Messages 90,127 and 123(my post)

    Conclusion: this problem exist
  • edev31edev31 Posts: 41
    Hello everyone. I haven't visited an RX330 forum since my husband & I purchased one in July. (ordered in May) After extensive research for about 6 months (many thanks to Edmunds!) we decided on the RX330. I am the primary driver, and I started noticing shifting problems right away, and had the ECM update at the 1000 mile service. I definitely noticed some improvement.

    After I hit 5400 miles, I started having the many annoying problems that others have mentioned. I called the service manager, and there were quite a few TSB's for the dash rattle, glove box, driver's seat,moonroof and headliner rattles. The fan for my climate control system had a piercing high pitched sound when it was on all settings. To make a long story short, the dealer had my car for two weeks. (awaiting the blower motor which is still on back order b/c apparently many other RX330's are having the same problem) They gave me print-outs of all the TSB's that Lexus has on the RX330 along with illustrations on how they are to be done. My whole car was torn apart(dash, moonroof taken out, headliner of vehicle and glove box)and then put back together. I thought all of these very loud creaks and rattles would be gone since I was told everything was insulated. Wrong. On the way back from the dealer, the dash creaked even louder than before!!

    Needless to say, I am really disappointed in a vehicle in this price range and the service. We also have a 2000 Jaguar S-Type that had a lot of annoying problems, and I didn't want to go through all of those trips to the dealer again.That was the reason why we bought a Lexus, because they are renowned for quality.
    I don't hate my car, but I'm definitely not happy with it. I will have to go back to the dealer once again when the blower motor comes in(as well as a part for the driver's seat creaking), and they will have to rip out the dash again and hopefully fix the problem. I also have the problem where the power back door does not open (yes, all doors were unlocked, and the button was pressed for at least 7 seconds!)and there is a gross "egg" smell from the exhaust when the car is just started and for a few miles thereafter. Of course, the dealer couldn't replicate these problems,and therefore couldn't fix them.What scared me the most was that I was given a loaner RX330 with 9500 miles on it, and the thing creaked and rattled so loudly (and in all the same places as my car)I couldn't believe it. I must also say that the engine noise is very loud, and now I also have a ticking noise while idling, which I was told was the fuel injectors or something of the sort. Even my husband mentioned the loud engine noise, as well as the the loud sound in the car when driving through rain or snow. (louder than his 1996 Nissan pick up he drives for work!) There must not be enough insulation in the wheel wells.
    Well, enough said. I just wanted to let others know that they are not alone!
  • It seems to me that if you are so dissatisfied with your RX then you should trade it in for something else.

    If you have something new and constructive to add to the conversation, great. But so far, it seems that you are repeating the same complaints in each message you send.

    As I have stated in earlier messages, I too have had issues with my RX. But, I use this forum to share my concerns AND provide constructive feedback on the steps I have taken to resolve the problems.
  • I am sorry to hear you are having so many problems with your RX.

    I have experienced some of the same problems (including dash rattles in the loaner RX while my dash was being worked on).

    I am not trying to make any excuses for Lexus, but I noticed you took delivery in July on a vehicle ordered in May. This tells me you have an early model (my model was built at the very end of June). My dealer has indicated a number of improvements (and "fixes") are being made to the RX models each month as new issues develop.

    This tells me Lexus is aware of the problems and working to correct them as quickly as possible (but I recognize this doesn't necessarily make your situation any better).
  • With the flurry of complaints filling up this board in recent days, I have to wonder if I and other owners are expecting too much from Lexus.

    Are we holding Lexus to some unobtainable standard because the RX330 IS a Lexus? I am beginning to think the answer to this question is yes.

    Would these very same complaints about rattles, transmissions and engine noise result in the very same passionate debates seen on this board if the RX was a Ford? I'm not so sure.

    I count myself lucky that I have the means to even own a Lexus. At the end of the day, my complaints (as with most of the ones on this board) are trivial in comparison to the real-life issues people in the US and around the world face every day.
  • Glad to see you got and are pleased with the transmission update.
  • dardson1dardson1 Posts: 696
    an '01 ES300. It's been the best car we've ever owned.......only one problem that required service which was fixed in 24hrs while we drove a new Lexus loaner. After almost 3 years it still drives and rides like the day we bought it. No nothin'. Absolutely the best ownership experience ever.
       Our lease is up and we consider whether to keep the car or get a new one. Considering both the RX and the ES. I see all this stuff and wonder......has Lexus really dropped the ball? The ES330 has an equally long thread with message after message complaining about transmission problems. I wonder if it's it partly true.......or is it bull?
        Hard to believe there's nothing to it with all the comments; yet, these cars continue to get the highest ratings in every review I read. Maybe I'm doing too much research.
        My wife drives the Lexus. I drive Tahoes and just traded for a new one a month ago. Did the same kind of research (here and elsewhere) before I bought. There is nothing close to the number of complaints about the Chevy compared to either the ES or the RX. Maybe it's just more fun to hammer the high and mighty Lexus or maybe it's true. Too bad either way. I'm totally comfused.
  • Thanks for sharing that edev31 . You see too many want to marginalize these problems and say your voice doesn't count. However, it does :) I wish you well.
  • Not going anywhere not altering my tone.
  • gardencargardencar Posts: 293
    Just want to let you two know how informative and well thought out your posts are. Thank you for posting helpful and contructive information. I've greatly enjoyed reading posts
    from the both of you, and I'm pretty sure neither one of you is a Lexus salesman!
  • I'm about to take delivery of my new RX330 this coming week and I was wondering since Lexus knows about all the complaints and problems, does anyone think Lexus may have corrected these problems prior to delivery? I was told it was built in Japan on Jan. 16th of this year. Also, is there a quality difference between the RX330s built in Canada and Japan? Thanks in advance!
  • gardencargardencar Posts: 293
    What else can you get? Take a look at the other boards and read those horror stories. I agree with lovemylexus1 and cotmc among others, that we are just plain spoiled as Lexus owners and that in our expectation of perfection, we whine in the midst of mere excellence. With the exception of starforce and edev31, who have had legitimate issues with their vehicles, the majority of owners seem happy with theirs. The other SUV's have stranded their owners with total systems shutdowns, have had not just rattles but parts break off or fall off; alarms, power windows and locks have gone on and off as if possessed, etc.

    If you plan on only keeping your vehicle for four years or less, go ahead and get an ML, X5, or XC90. They are all nice luxury SUV's and when
    you're ready to trade them in, the warranty will be just about expiring.

    However, if you plan on keeping your vehicle longer, I'd put my money on Lexus. In fact, I did, and so did J.D. Powers, and Consumer Reports, and 91,000 other drivers since 2003.
Sign In or Register to comment.