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Toyota/Lexus transaxle shift delay



  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    what sort of recourse do you think frogg has when clearly the dealership has shown an effort to work on some things to address the problem, then they won't do any more to track it down and fix it?

    The owner states:

    The dealership has acknowledged in writing that a problem existed (and that they thought they had fixed it).

    It sounds to me like the dealership says they have fixed the problem and the owner contends that they have not. I would think at this point that after talking to the regional rep, if no resolution is reached then arbitration would be the next logical step. A third party arbitrator could make the determination that a problem does still indeed exist, and if so, what actions to resolve the issue the manufacturer must pursue.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    I'll add a couple more things to what you suggest.
    Carefully document every step taken thus far, and document every result. Do the same from now on.
    Consider getting an independent confirmation of symptoms experienced.
    Keep cool, be polite but rigorous, and above all be honest and realistic.
    Lastly, keep one's own council. Don't go into this thing with preconceived expectations (good or bad) one might get from these forums.
  • froggfrogg Posts: 16
    I really appreciate all the help from everyone in this forum who responded to my problem. There have been some great suggestions/advice, much of which I'll incorporate in the steps I take from here. I'll report back, if anything interesting results!
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    I have owned my 2005 ES330 since August 2004. It has had the transmission hesitation and associated jerkiness since the day of the test drive. Unfortunately for me, I believed the salesman when he said that the transmission would learn my driving habits and that would go away. Rather, it has actually gotten much worse. And, I have had the TSB applied, as well as clearing the ECU memory multiple times.

    I am not a Lexus 'hater', and I DO own one of these cars. I actually love my Lexus - if I just didn't have to leave my driveway with it :(

    I am in the process of a DTPA suit against the dealer, as well as a lemon law claim against the manufacturer - and I'm not just doing this all for the 'fun' of it. This is a REAL issue for me.

    I will also tell you that between loaners during service and test driving other Lexus models in an effort to find one that doesn't do this - I have driven each of the following: GS, IS, ES, RX, and GX. A mixture of 06 and 05 model years, and I have driven each multiple times except for the IS. The ES is the only one that exhibited the hesitation issues at discussion here and in the other forum - and it exhibited it in each and every one I drove, except for one.

    On a side note - I experienced a completely different transmission problem with the GX which I took home for the weekend - gear hunting in cruise control at about 80 mph, with no significant hills or other terrain changes.

    I took both the local dealer General Manager, and on a separate occasion the Manufacturers representative, on test drives and they acknowledge that the issue exists. The Mfr rep actually drove my car while I was in it, and was able to get an even worse reaction from the car that I was. So, Lexus knows this is a problem - it just seems that they either don't know what to do about it, or are choosing to ignore it. In either case, I don't understand why they won't work with those of us that DO experience the problem. Only reason I can assume is that there are too many people with the problem, and therefore it would be too costly.

    I can't wait until I can get a car that doesn't make me so unhappy - unfortunately, I can't do that until my claims are resolved.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Just wondering, what is a DTPA suit?
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    DPTA = Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
    Not much chance of success taking this route. I don't think DPTA is intended for these types of complaints.
    Given this is about the umpteenth time we've heard how he hates his car, maybe it's a desperation move? Not a happy camper at all.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    There are 7 diagnostic codes associated with the two accelerator pedal position sensors. Two of those have to do with the engine/transaxle ECU having detected that the voltage output from one or the other of the two the sensors is "fluttering" (the exact word in the Lexus shop manual). Apparently the ECU is programmed to only check/detect a "fluttering" condition when or if the accelerator pedal is fully released.

    The voltage output from these sensors certainly, absolutely, should not "flutter" due to the input reference voltage nor to any design flaws within the sensor themselves, at least none that I can think of off-hand.

    So the only thing left to consider as a source of "flutter" is the driver's foot.

    P2120 and P2125 are the two codes used to designate that the accelerator pedal has been determined to be "fluttering" at the fully released position.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Came across this forum:

    Haven't heard much about hesitation in Sienna's here at Edmunds so was kind of surprised to find this forum where it is discussed so prominently.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    From the looks of what's happening at that site, the same few folks there are beating it to death just like here. I saw the identical scenario being repeated there--one says nay, another says yea, and it goes back and forth forever. Certainly a controversial topic, isn't it?
    I don't think it's so much a prominent topic (as in "widely discussed"). Rather, my sense it's a topic that is discussed prominently among a few (as in "narrow focus").
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    and keep in mind, is that those that say "nay", in whatever way, have absolutely no foundation for doing so other than their personal mindset.
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    That's not true. I say "nay", that is not a problem that affects all similar cars. I base that on the fact that my car, and two others I know of personally drive just fine. With two million cars on the road with this exact dirvetrain, and the relatively few complaints often consisting of multiple posts by the same people, I would have to question the mindset of those who insist otherwise.

    A poster who contends that he could demonstrate the problem in any car raises other questions. Would he hate my car, and those of my coworkers just as much as he hates his own? We think our cars drive just fine and are very happy with them. Makes me wonder.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    In either case, I don't understand why they won't work with those of us that DO experience the problem. Only reason I can assume is that there are too many people with the problem, and therefore it would be too costly.

    Or as wwest suggested, the fix will result in violation of an emissions or fuel consumption regulation.

    BTW, best not to respond to those who want to argue and make it personal.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Googled for "Atkinson cycle" & "intake noise".

    I was curious if the intake noise from the Atkinson cycle's reverse airflow, combustion chamber back into the intake manifold, in a 3.3L V6 might be at least part of the reason the RX400h doesn't make use of this fuel economy method.

    Inadvertently found:

    July, 8th, 1999 Final report by SRI, Sierra Research Inc, on "Alternative and Future Technologies for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Road Vehicles"

    One of the conclusions is that if the industry switched to 5-speed automatic transmissions, made use of ASL, Aggressive Shift Logic (quicker upshifts), early torque converter clutch lockup, and shift into neutral with brake application and engine at idle, a 9.8% improvement in fuel economy would result. Industry response was that "driveability" would suffer.

    Welcome to 2006.
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    So, as the driver, how do you fix this so called 'fluttering'?

    I have found that I fully release the gas pedal in this car much more frequently than I do in other cars I drive. I noticed this before even reading this website. That is part of the 'problem' with the car and its hesitation that I have complained to the dealer about - the gas pedal does not respond proportionally to either pressure, or release of pressure. As a result, I find I have to completely take my foot off of the gas pedal frequently.

    After reading your posts that this may contribute to the 'problem', I have tried to not do this as often...but given what I described above, this is very difficult for me to do.

    The other thing I have noticed, is that the gas pedal (and brakes, for that matter) do not respond in the same manner consistently. For example, when you drive a car that has very sensitive brakes, you automatically adjust your pressure to the brake pedal within a few miles - and you don't notice the sensitivity anymore until you switch back to a car that isn't as sensitive; and you adjust again. The problem I have with my car, is that I cannot just 'adjust' to the way it drives, because it always reacts differently.
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    I don't have a CLUE what atkinson cycle, or intake noise are....but....that article you quote is so very on point!!! That is EXACTLY what my car does. It just doesn't do it consistently, under the same circumstances (see previous post).

    the "shift into neutral with brake application and engine at idle" sounds like what is happening as I come up to a stop sign and do not stop, or negotiate a parking garage.

    And the "quicker upshifts" sounds like what happens when at speeds around 40 mph or so.

    In both cases, when the car shifts into the proper gear, not only is there an inappropriate hesitation, there is a jerk/clunk when it does shift to the lower gear.

    very interesting.....
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Here's some really interesting info. Like it or not. it's worth reading.
    My Internet research reveals there are at least Four (count 'em---4!!)Aftermarket Suppliers of "Transmission Performance Programmers", also called "Power Control Modules", sometimes called "Automotive Performance Computers" which are able to modify shift performance, shift points, shift firmness, and a host of other parameters for 4,5,and 6 speed automatic transmissions on every make or model of vehicle on the planet.
    That tells me (1)There's no mystery or black magic to this issue, (2)The so called "unknown fix" isn't unknown--likely Toyota included, (3)A lucrative market exists for people to change the way their trannys work--not just Toyota/Lexus, (4)Cost is modest--prices range from $125 to $400 depending how sophistcated one wants to go.
    All the confusing technobabble aside, in layman's terms, I no longer believe it's the mysterious and elusive quest we've all been obsessing about.
    That said, here's what I think this issue boils down to.
    All manufacturer's DBW throttle/transmission systems have unusual or unfamiliar characteristics. I believe those Service Tech's comments about it being a "normal" characteristic are probably correct. I believe it's likely a consistent phenomenon across the board--typical to a greater or lesser degree to all manufacturers. Auto manufacturing consistency today is higher than it's ever been, so anomalies like some suggest this may be aren't too prevailent any more.
    So I believe that complaints we are seeing have more to do with a few owners having adverse sensitivity to the issue, and most owners not noticing it nor being bothered by it.
    More research results. A small sampling to be sure, but revealing nonetheless.
    Since coming into this issue last October, I've driven 12 Toyota/Lexus products with 5 speed BBW in addition to our own two cars. Lexus 330 and RX series, Highlander, Avalons, and Camry. None has exhibited any of the delay, lurching, seeking, or prolonged hesitation. All have been seamless, smooth and quiet. I have yet to experience any of this phenomenon, and I have yet to speak directly to anyone who has.
  • My response to your comments in the other forum....

    I appreciate that information and do find it informative. It also makes me wonder why Lexus continues to say nothing can be done. I also wonder why they haven't suggested such a product, since the local dealer and the Lexus representative both acknowledge and can repeat the symptoms in my car (unless there are warranty issues associated with such an aftermarket product...).

    But I must vehemently disagree that I am just experiencing an 'adverse sensitivity to the issue'. I do agree that most owners are not 'noticing it nor being bothered by it'. But it is definitely more than a perception or sensitivity issue.

    After reading some of the other observations and suggestions, I have been messing around with different driving 'styles', for lack of a better word. And the symptoms are definitely more pronounced under certain driving conditions and/or driving 'styles'. It is definitely some type of reaction by the software or hardware to the 'inputs' from the driver.

    Having said that, I have not been able to find a 'style' where the symptoms are completely gone - THAT may be a function of my 'sensitivity to the issue'. But as noted in a previous post, the car doesn't react the same to the same inputs - so modifying my driving 'style' permanently has not been effective. Not to mention, I do not see anywhere in the manual where the driving 'style' required for this car is discussed.

    I completely understand that you and others do not experience the symptoms that I experience, and I have event talked to others who do not experience this problem. But trust me, what I am experiencing is much more than just being 'sensitive to the issue' - and I am not the only once experiencing this, so it is definitely more than just sensitivity.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    In case you missed it in the other forum, here's my response to yours:

    Good luck with your Lemon Law process. You have formed your opinion of the issue and based your action plan on that opinion--your choice is made; now let the chips fall where they may.
    Nevertheless my perception on what this is all about has not changed, and likely won't, at least not in the near future. If it turns out my assessment is in some way incorrect, so be it. What I think about it is just my opinion. For now, I'll stand firm on what I feel is going on here. I'm quite happy with my vehicle status, and as I said earlier, I have yet to meet anyone who hasn't. I've actually met quite a few who agree with me. I don't expect that status to change much either.
    I posted info about "performance enhancers" as simply info, and wasn't implying that anyone should rush out and buy one.
    It simply proved to me there are numbers of commercially available devices out there, unrelated to Toyota/Lexus, which change transmission shift characteristics. Therefor the issue is fixable, changeable, modifiable, or whatever, and isn't the elusive and mysterious quest being bantied about by us. Toyota/Lexus have also offered a mod in the form of a TSB for those who want their transmission characteristics changed. For anyone not wanting to use what's already available, that's their call.
    How you choose to resolve your "itch" is entirely your choice, and it's not my intention nor my place to interfere with it. I hope things work out for you.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    An improvement of 9.8% in fuel economy and the resulting reduction in overall emissions is not something to be taken lightly. If Sierra Research said it could be done back in 1999 then the EPA and CARB will not be long in making it the law of the land.

    Toyota and Lexus have long been ahead of the curve in implementing these new aspects before they become law and I suspect that this is just another case of their "leading the pack".

    The only answer I can see for the future is to only buy cars with the sequential shift feature and then always run it under at least that level of manual control.

    For those of you who might be interested it appears that ALL of these new 5-speed transaxles have the three electrical inputs required for sequential shift mode/operations but no connections to tyhe cockpit.

    Good luck.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    buying and installing a mod like this would most likely void the manufacturer's warranty, not to mention, even though there may be a number of manufacturer's of Transmission Control Modules, for sure they are not all alike.

    it's even responsible and realistic to assume the TCM or ECM or whatever of a particular manufacturer, applied to an OEM vehicle of one make and applied to other makes have different firmware.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    I am NOT suggesting anyone immediately run down to the neighborhood automotive store to buy a performance enhancer, and yes, I am aware the device would probably void one's warranty. That's decidedly a no brainer.
    My ONLY reason for raising the point was to show how solutions are already out there. This is, after all, a "problems and solutions" forum.
    And yes, different makes/models of cars require different performance enhancing devices. That's why, when one buys one of these devices, it is necessary to specify which make/model one owns, so the appropriate device is purchased. They are make/model specific--look it up on the net.
    They come in all styles and shapes, with a variety of operating characteristics and user features. The simplest ones are straight replacement CPU chips, non adjustable nor programmable. Some factory chips are non removeable, so in these cases the performance enhancing device installs in line with the transmission CPU harness. For some units, what's changed stays that way until the new chip is replaced or the unit running in parallel is removed. High end units are dashboard mount, infinitely programmable, and are capable of providing a variety of different performance characteristics, even while in motion.
    No matter how one slices and dices this issue, it's not the deep, dark, unsolvable mystery that it's thought to be.
    That's all I'm trying to say.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My team, nor any reasonably competent software group, would EVER suggest simply reprogramming versus digging in and finding and correcting bugs in the current firmware.

    Were you to do so then your assumption would be that an aftermarket third party programming group is better than the factory and that's simply not going to happen.

    If you were doing it to improve torque/HP for track use then the new bugs you will surely encounter might be tolerable, otherwise.........
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    From the other forum--as promised--my response to yours:

    Look my friend, all I was trying to do was illustrate there's more than one way to skin this "elusive" hesitation cat. It isn't that elusive, and I believe you, more than most,should know that.
    These performance enhancement devices I've researched aren't for "track use" or "dragster application" or any other "competition" purposes. They're just another way to change one's transmission characteristics for a more user compatible attributes--assuming that's what the user desires. And they're cheap, easy to obtain, and there's lots of them around so the proof of their effectiveness is beyond question. Besides, any developer worth his or her salt knows the algorithms we're talking about in CPU transmission controls are about as simple as it gets. CPUs in these applications aren't quite the same as Lunar Landing Module controllers. I'm sure you have great programmers in your company, but they aren't any better or worse than a great many others out there. The application here is a relatively simple one, so it shouldn't be made to look more complex or difficult than it really is.

    Besides, those who claim they're really unhappy with their AV, or HL, or ES300, and who claim they'd rather deal it and eat the loss than drive it any longer, now have an inexpensive and perhaps viable alternative.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    The application here is a relatively simple one, so it shouldn't be made to look more complex or difficult than it really is.

    Maybe Toyota should hire you on then since they haven't quite got it figured out yet.

    Joking aside, I think wwest hit the nail on the head. Toyota likely knows what to do, and maybe it is a simple solution, but they just can't do it and still meet fuel efficiency and pollution requirements.

    So the question is, would use of these after market "fixes" compromise fuel efficiency? And if not, then maybe they aren't truly a fix for the problem.

    BTW, just cuz there are "lots of them around" certainly doesn't mean "their effectiveness is beyond question" as you stated.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "....isn't that elusive...."

    Initial complaints started in 2002.

    No fix as of yet......

    But you miss the real point. The part that seems to be the most elusive is the fact that a very few are experiencing the hesitation delay symptom. I have little doubt at this point that Toyota has already implemented all of the gas saving features described in the Sierra Research article within the firmware of all of the new 5-speed transaxles. But why has that resulted in a very few instances wherein this implementation results in a very noticeable, maybe even unsafe or hazardous circumstance?

    Therein lies the elusive firmware "BUG".

    My suggestion at this point is that Toyota should provide a transmission mode inverse to the "snow" mode. Basically a mode switch (shades of Edson DeCastro/Tracy Kidder) wherein the owner tells the transaxle to be aggressive with the shifting logic, "expect that I will floor the accelerator pedal at any, the very next, moment" and be prepared for same.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Guess I was wrong in attempting to offer constructive and creative solution options. It's clear collective emphasis here is polarized more or less on blame, in spite of forum titles to the contrary. I now have the distinct feeling there really isn't much interest in solutions after all.
    That said, I choose not to defend what I felt were helpful "food for thought" posts, nor will I take part in shooting them down with criticism when ideas like them appear.
    I explained very clearly why I posted what I thought might be helpful, so perhaps it's best to just leave it at that.
    If I come across any more constructive solutions, rest assured I'll do the same again.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    No, constructive and creative ideas are really what this forum is all about, especially until a solution is found. Just remember that when any of us come up with an idea we must be willing to accept the critiques.

    Remember my idea of modifying the IAT? Or the one about it being the inappropriate use of a solenoid as a linear servomotor? Those went absolutely no where, and for good cause I now firmly believe.

    Start to think of it as a back and forth discussion, a fully open discussion.

    "...polarized more or less on blame....."

    Not from what I see.

    Look, assuming Toyota has adopted the tranaxle logic that was recommended in 1999 by Sierra Research, and I firmly belive they have, that's all to their credit. A 9.8% improvement in fuel economy is not something to be sneezed at.

    But yes, ultimately the blame lies at Toyota's "feet", no question. Something, somehow, within the engine/transaxle firmware design is flawed.
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    "Start to think of it as a back and forth discussion, a fully open discussion....especially until a solution is found...."
    So far, so good. I could almost buy into that. But then comes your bottom line which flies in the face of the opening comment:
    "But yes, ultimately the blame lies at Toyota's "feet", no question. Something, somehow, within the engine/transaxle firmware design is flawed."
    You also omitted the part which comes before "until a solution is found". One item has to frame that comment,ie "when the problem has been defined".
    Perhaps your premature conclusion is why the "critiques" you suggest always accompany the "back and forth, fully open discussion" are always critiques against anything not laying blame against Toyota?
    Wwest, what you wrote is why I think the solutions side of these discussions are predicated on an heretofor unproven conclusion. That way of doing business is a done deal before any discussion happens. It's made real easy--just blame Toyota--end of story!!
    I may be wrong in a lot of things, but in this case, I know I'm right.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Question -- Who do you think should be "blamed" or be responsible if not Toyota?
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Well, you could start by learning more about why it affects only a few vehicles and not most others. Is that a design anomaly, a driving style problem, a sensitivity thing, something unique to that particular vehicle, and so on. If it was part of a design thing, then ALL of them should have problems--but that's not happening at all.
    No,don't bother to look elsewhere-- it's a big bad Toyota thing, blame it on a design flaw.
    Then there's a big mystery about the TSB. Why does it apparently work for some and not others?
    Could it be dealers aren't doing it right---or not doing it at all--or some aren't even having it done--or what?
    But no, it's a big bad Toyota thing, blame it on the design flaw.
    I could continue, but why bore you with a search for facts. I'm sure you're not interested, much less want to learn all there is to know about this issue. It's much easier to blame, blame, blame--that's become the predetermined name of this game IMO.
This discussion has been closed.