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Lexus RX 350



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You may be looking at a $1100 bill to replace the rear main engine seal. Our 92 LS400 once came back from Lexus of Bellevue after an oil and filter change with an engine oil leak.

    Best explanation I ever heard was that most likely the crankcase was overfilled and then run that way for a period of time until the seal blew.
  • my3rdrxmy3rdrx Posts: 167
    It has finally arrived on Friday, October 13 (exacly three months after my inital order) ~ but, to make a long story short, I wound up with the 07 Acura MDX instead!

    The dealership is gracious enough to give me back my deposit (mainly because it has taken so long) and if you're looking for an 07 RX350 with the Performance Package ~ there's one waiting for you at Silver Spring, Maryland!
  • kutrakutra Posts: 8
    Thanks for your replies. I took the RX350 to the dealer who serviced it. The service agent said that it was engine oil...the technician did not tighten the drain plug correctly and hence the oil leaked. They have fixed it now. And they will also be giving me a complimentary 10,000 miles service since I had to return because of their fault.

    I did ask them if there was any engine damage because of the low oil level. They said there was none. Not sure whether to believe them or what I can do about this. Any ideas?

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Please go to the group top level and create a discussion that fits your comments/questions or post in an existing discussion.

    Lexus RX 300/330/350
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059

    tidester, host
  • We have a RX350 that is about 4 months old and the air conditioner smells when used. We had the same problem with our RX330 and we had a big fight to get Lexus to resolve the problem by injecting a cleaner into the system. Is there something inherently wrong with the system that makes this continuing problem? We love these cars but the smelly air conditioner ruins the experience.
  • pschiffepschiffe Posts: 373
    Have you tried examining and/or changing the cabin air filter?

    Pete :)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, there is "something" inherently wrong...!!

    In Spades!

    The first thing WRONG is that these climate control system are designed by NipponDenso, ne Denso US. These designs are inherently flawed in too many ways to quickly list.

    First, go to Lexus and have them set a few of the c-best options to other than the factory's (stupid Denso engineer's) default position.

    1. Set the C-best option that will give you the ability to indefinitely disable the A/C compressor's operation by simply turning it off one time. The A/C will not be enabled again, through multiple restarts, until you turn it back on manually.

    2. Set the c-best option that "unlinks" the A/C from operating automatically, with no indication, no indicator lit, in 3D mode, Defrost/Defog/Demist.

    For many years I always disconnected my A/C compressor clutch connection during the winter months. The possibility of the A/C being efficient in dehumidifying the incoming airflow during the winter months is a TOTAL wildcard. Actually WORSE that that, you're more likely to draw aces and eights than any safe hand.

    3. It is my understanding that as of more recent times, RX350, there is yet another c-best option that will help out. Apparently there is now a c-best option that can be set to prevent the system from automatically switching from heating mode (primarily footwell outflow with a goodly level of "leakage" of airflow to the windshield to help keep its interior surface above dewpoint), into cooling mode, cool and dry airflow to the face and upper body and NO warming airflow to the windshield, DANGEROUS, in a cool or cold climate, that!

    My most recent test drive of a new RX seemed to indicate that even more progress has been made. Unless I miss my guess it appeared to me that while the airflow temperature was not raised significantly the blower speed was raised when I switched into 3D mode after the system had automatically switched to cooling mode on a rather COLD day.


    1989: "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection."

    1999: "The Passionate Pursuit of Perfection."

    Soon after purchasing my new 1992 LS400 I learned that the best way to prevent the dirty gym socks odor from the A/C was to roll the windows down slightly each and every night as it sat in the garage.

    Over a period of time I made several modifications to the 92 LS that helped to prevent the odor problem, the propensity for the windshield to fog over suddenly, and increase, dramatically, the ability to more quickly defog/demist the interior surface of the windshield.

    The A/C in the 92 LS400 is disabled if the OAT declines below ~35F. I modified the OAT sensor such that at ~45F actual temperature its signal indicated to the climate control ECU that it was nearly freezing outside. MY 1992 LS400 therefore NEVER runs the A/C if the outside temperature is predominantly 45F or below.

    Since the stupid Denso engineers decided to use, EXCLUSIVELY, (??!!) the dehumidification capability of the A/C to prevent, or even remove, windshield fogging, and since having that capability was therefore an absolute wildcard, I had to come up with a more reliable method of accomplishing this.

    So I added a "hidden" switch that when flipped "on" adds a resistance, ~300 ohms, in series with the IAT sensor. If I notice that the windshield is beginning to fog over I first flip the switch and then activate the 3D mode. The additional resistance in the IAT circuit makes the climate control ECU "think" the passenger cabin has suddenly gotten colder and so it reverts to a SERIOUS level of heating, while simultaneously increasing the blower speed.

    Apparently the climate control firmware in my 2001 AWD does not allow (presumably some digital signal processing was added) "sudden" changes in the IAT sensor output. Additionally, modifying the OAT signal to prevent A/C operation during predominantly cool/cold weather also resulted in an incorrect OAT readout on the Nav display.

    So I have had to resort to other methods, modifications.

    There is now an additional microprocessor in my 2001 AWD RX300's climate control system. When I switch to 3D mode the up/down temperature set signals are "intercepted". When the new microprocessor "sees" that the system has been put in 3D mode it automatically raises the temperature setpoint to MAX HEAT. That, of course, results in the blower speed quickly going to maximum speed.

    So when, anytime, I put the system in 3D mode I virtually instantly get lots, TONS, of heated airflow to the interior surface of the windshield.

    Discomforting, yes, in spades, but much better then the alternative, possibly leading to an early grave, provided by Denso. Now I have the ability, once the windshield is mostly or completely defogged, to modulate the temperature setpoint while remaining in 3D mode.

    Once I return the system to normal mode the new microprocessor will return the setpoint to the temperature it was just before activating 3D mode.

    Go to and read up on their EED, Electronic Evaporator Dryer. Many Ford dealers, due to A/C odor complaints such as yours, will modify, with Ford's blessing and expense, the A/C system using this same EED.
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    Tjinla, I've only experienced that unpleasant
    smell once in my RX350, and I've had the car
    since August. I was on vacation in the mountains at the end of October and I believe
    I was trying to "defog" the windows when I got
    a whiff of that nasty smell.
  • Had the filter changed on the last RX and that lasted for a couple of weeks before it started smelling again.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I think I saw somewhere that the newer LS series has a UV light within the A/C plenum area to "kill-off" the microbes that cause the mold and mildew odor due to the "leavings".

    I have a 12 volt version, UV light source and air circulation fan, in our MH for the same reason. About the size of two cigarette packs end to end.

    Seems to work.
  • rpacrpac Posts: 83

    Hello Steve - I'm kind of new to this forum stuff but I really desperately need some help. I originally posted some of my problems in post#1356, 1363 under the RX330. Now I am back to square one.
    Just a week ago I traded in a blue RX350 for a bamboo RX350 with full entertainment system. Something I have wanted for a long time and I sunk every dime I had into this car. Now I find that some of the same things are happening that have happened to my previous RX330's. (My previous blue RX350 ran perfectly). I would take it back but I think they sold it.
    This is what is happening. During the day, (I live in L.A.) warm climate the car runs perfectly. No problems. As soon as the weather changes, i.e.: I park the car and go to a restaurant for dinner. The temperature when I come out is about 65. The car runs smoothly but now a louder than normal groan/humming sound is coming from where I don't know.

    Until I tried switching off the a/c. The noise stopped. I took it to dealer. I asked if it was a serious engine problem or perhaps the a/c condenser? They didn't know because it was warm and they could not duplicate the noise, but would check with a fact rep soon. I am really worried this time. If it's the condenser, hell I'll pay for it. But why does this happen when outside temp changes? Next week we are supposed to have cooler weather and I expect this problem will continue all the time then. It's very embarrassing to listen to this noise when passengers in the car ask what is wrong. I really love the car but cant see living it with this problem forever.
    I just don't understand I guess. I mean when I switch the a/c off it stops. So I guess it may be the condenser. I don't know. Yet while listening very carefully I think, I mean I think it is coming from the right side if the engine. This is just a guess is all.
    One other strange thing. When I sit in the driver's seat of course I hear the noise. If I put my head down like trying to get underneath the instrument panel I cannot hear the noise! So maybe it has something to do with other components near the top of the engine. I just don't know.
    I hope I am emailing you in order and I am sorry for taking any of your valuable time, but I am really at the end of my rope now. Considering I am 73 and somewhat sick I thought this car would last me until I die, but I don't know. I just don't know.

    Thanks so much Steve, for any help you can give me, and I am very sorry to be bothering you like this.
    Ron (rpac)
  • rpacrpac Posts: 83
    Mr. Wwest - Please be so kind as to view my post #198. I emailed Steve and he suggested I post in this area for possible answers. I will also post in the RX350 Climate Control area as well.
    Thanks so much for any help you may be able to give me as it is much appreciated.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    What you are most likely hearing in your NEW Lexus is the air conditioner's compressor. Lexus has recently switched compressor types/designs. The new one is of a variable displacement using a "swash plate" concept to continuously vary the pumping volume within the range of minimum to maximum.

    So while this new compressor still uses an electromagnetic clutch to engage/disengage engine drive, it does not use the clutch to cycle the compressor on and off as a function of refrigerant "demand", useage.

    The old style compressor's output volume increased with engine RPM just as does your power stearing pump, usually creating TONS more volume/flow that was really necessary.

    The new compressor's pump volume/flow can remain constant virtually regardless of engine RPM, increasing the efficiency substantially.

    On the other hand your power stearing pump's fully pressurized excess volume/flow must be bypassed back into the sump, wasting HUGE amounts of energy at sustained high engine RPM levels.

    Electric power stearing is now putting that loss to bed.

    Variable displacement A/C compressor will also reduce energy losses.

    Ford has just announced that the new Ford Edge will even have a variable displacement ATF pump for solving the FWD throttle lag, 1-2 second downshift delay/hesitation, while at the same increasing the transaxle's efficiency greatly.


    Oh, you might want to go to your dealer and have them remove/change some of the factory c-best settings such that A)the A/C can be disabled indefinitely, B) and is unlinked from automatic operation in defrost/defog/demist mode, C)and prevent the system from automatically switching into cooling mode when the "human comfort equation" resides on the coolish side already.

    This latter one will not only remove the discomfort resulting from coolish and dry airflow blowing into your face it will also help to keep the interior windshield surface warm, hopefully always above dewpoint.
  • rpacrpac Posts: 83
    Thank you so very much for your most detailed answer to my a/c noise. However, I have one further question that puzzles me. Why does the noise appear ONLY when the temp outside starts to drop to the 60's?
    Hot outside, no noise!
    Thank you again - you are one in a million! Make that $64 million
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    When its coolish outside the variable displacement compressor probably runs at it lowest volume, at least most of the time. Also there could be some sort of mechanical resonance, sympathetic vibrations, involved. Anti-resonance tuning (balance shafts..) is relatively easy when "noises" follow the engine RPM as it rises and falls, but when it doesn't...

    The climate control ECU "wants" to keep the A/C cooling evaporator as close to freezing as is possible, typically ~35F, without actually reaching the 32F freezing level. Obviously this would take less refrigerant flow as the OAT gets lower and lower and/or the system blower speed is reduced due to the passenger cabin being (already) near the setpoint and thereby not really needing much cooling capacity.
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    I have not encountered this noise, such as you
    describe, in my RX350, and I've been driving
    in some cooler temperatures.
  • Okay! What happened to the edit button?
    Anyway, I wish to add that I have not noticed
    any type of noise whether it's been cool outside or hot.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Your missing edit button is probably related to the user name bug that crops up now and then - note that your first post has no byline. Apologies - this has been an especially difficult bug to figure out.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Sorry, an oversight on my part...

    "....not really needing much cooling capacity."

    Unless you over-ride the A/C to off or have had the dealer remove the default c-best settings the A/C compressor will operate all year around except at OAT's of 35F or below.

    "...not really needing much cooling or heating capacity."
  • Wwest... remember you from ClubLexus and your encyclopedic knowledge of RXs.

    I have an RX300 AWD 2001... looking at RX 350,Tribeca, RDX, CR-V as replacements...

    What is the RX300 AWD setup? Is RX 300 FWD fulltime, with torque moving to rear as needed?(Subaru is 55/45 r/f split, obviously variable, CR-V is fulltime FWD, with power to rear "as needed"). Has that changed with current RX?


  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your's and my 2001 AWD RX300, are equipped with a simple open center diff'l but with a VC, Viscous Clutch/Coupling, mounted acrss the center diff'l. The strange thing is that if you have VSC/trac as I do then I think some of the aspects later touted for these features are actually included in the 2001 model. The result of that is that with front wheelspin/slip (90/10 F/R torque distribution) modulated braking is quickly applied as is engine dethrottling.

    Absent an extended period of wheelspin/slip the VC will never come into play.

    As of the RX330, apparently as a result of the above VSC/Trac functionality, the VC was dropped for the entire RX330 product run only to be re-introduced with the RX350 series.

    My RX300 has 1.5" inch wheel spacers all around so as to allow the use of wider wheels, 17X8, more tire tread, and best of all, tire chains on the rear only, first, and then added to the front if/when.

    If you have been watching the weather news here abouts you will know that I'm about to go out and install all four chains before leaving the nice warm garage.

    If I were currently in the market (which I am, sort of) the BMW X3 with manual transmission would be first on my list, with the Acura RDX second. The downside of the BMW is that you cannot purchase the factory shop/repair manuals, and for the RDX the owners manual indicates that tire chains should only be used on the front. I have had numerous conversations with Acura about this tire chain issue and it may well develop that the front only tire chains bit is simply a typo.

    I have been thinking about purchasing something that could be towed 4-down behind our MH and right now the new Suzuki SX4 is at the top of that list, provided they actually produce the stick shift model.

    Last night we got caught out in this snowstorm and the old reliable AWD Ford Aerostar came to our rescue yet again, even with no chains installed.

    The RX350 keeps haunting me, in the back of my mind, and I suppose that if I wanted or needed to replace the 2001 AWD RX300 I would seriously consider the RX350 provided I could get one with the air suspension. If I should go that route the RX350 would immediately get wheel spacers, and would likely go directly to an aftermarket shop to convert it to 10/90 F/R torque distribution.
  • rpacrpac Posts: 83
    Further to my noise issue on the RX350 a/c. I notice that while parked I also seem to be getting a noise from the power steering as well when I turn the wheel while standing still. However, the biggest discovery I have made is after driving maybe 10 miles on the freeway,temp about 55 degrees F. After leaving the freeway all noises seem to disappear, and engine idles extremely quietly! So something is happening that I am not familiar with re ambient temperature. Hope this has nothing to do with engine??? What could be happening? And thank you all so much for your answers. I appreciate your time very much.I would like to add also that at this point I am ready to pay the dealer to replace a/c compressor and/or power steering pump or whatever. Sounds silly I know, but I worry for a living. Incidentally this car only has 700 miles on it. Maybe I am not giving it enough time to 'break in' so to speak. I just don't know. :confuse:
  • The test drove the RX350 today. I liked the ride and smoothness. However, the arm rest bothered me quite a bit. You can not adjust the angle of the arm rest. I like to drive with my seat reclined quite a bit. Consequently, the arm rest is not horizontal to the ground anymore. It now points slighly upwards .. I would say at an angle of 15 degrees from the ground. So turning the steering wheel was a problem as my right elbow would keep hitting the arm rest. Finally I pulled the arm rest back up and test drove like that. I am surprised they didnt design the arm rest like mini-vans where it clicks and locks at whatever position you want to keep it. So much for a luxury SUV.
  • cwaynecwayne Posts: 81
    When will the Lexus 350 change body styles?
  • I took a short test drive in the RX 350 AWD with NAV on Saturday, and I have to say I was impressed. (I drove the Subaru Tribeca a couple of times and was leaning toward it, but then... ) 350 Seemed to drive much more solidly than the RX300, suspension seemed tighter with less "wallow", and it was plenty peppy. Ergonomics and driving position were as good as the RX300, with the power tilt and telescope wheel a nice touch. (Tribeca's driving position, sweeping dash and tall "center stack" felt more minivan-ish).

    Think I'm on the road to leasing if I can get a decent deal and a decent trade on the RX.
  • pschiffepschiffe Posts: 373
    The RX300 was originally introduced around March, 1998 if I remember correctly; and has morphed into the similar RX330, RX350 and RX400h versions. I don't have any information on this, but seems like it should be about due for re-design!

    Pete :)
  • rpacrpac Posts: 83
    I am told by those who know that the next major body style change will be done in the 2010 models.
  • I thought I read on Edmunds Inside Line that the completely redesigned 2008 Lexus RX would debut near the end of 2007, which would sound about right. A new generation of a particular model usually goes in a four to five-year cycle.

    I found the article when I typed in 2008
    Lexus RX350 on the search line.
  • This may have been brought up several months
    ago, but I wasn't sure. I like to keep the
    console/cupholder for the rear seats in the
    down position, as I think it looks really
    classy with the wood panel that covers the
    cupholders. But I've noticed since I have done
    this that I hear some squeaking or rubbing
    noises, which appears to be the leather possibly rubbing against the seams or something.

    I was wondering if anyone knew what I might
    need to get rid of the annoying noise, aside
    from putting the rear console back up into
    the rear seat!
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