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Lexus RX 300



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Which issue was that and how did you resolve it?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    I was wondering the same thing...

    How did you resolve your issue? :confuse:
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    It was post 9321.

    I got better response after the resolved post than the original one. lol

    Not really a solution, rather a decision to go ahead and do the belt and pump now. And wait on the starter and alternator.

    Should have just said what I was going to do rather than resolved, sorry.

  • sailsouthsailsouth Posts: 1
    does anyone know where i can find a diagram for the rx300 dash-i want to remove the radio so i may attach a fm connector for my sirius radio
  • tsabtsab Posts: 2
    Im looking for my 1st car and have enjoyed test driving the 1999 - 2000 rx 300's. Most Ive looked at are around 120-130k miles. What do I need to be aware of besides potential transmission failure? Is this a good first car? How long did the 99-00 last you? And for thoose of you who had to replace the transmission, how much was the shop bill?
  • txgal1txgal1 Posts: 14
    I bought a 2001 RX300 in May of 08. The only problem I have had was with a sensor which I replaced. I haven't heard or had any transmission problems. I know the timing belt is due to be changed and that is about a $700 job which usually also replaces the water pump while they have it off. I would find out before you buy if it is original parts as in timing belt, sensors, ect., because anything you have done on a Lexus is very expensive esp. if it is done at a dealer. Most people sell them at 120 or 130,000 miles as that is when you need to start replacing the original facory parts. I may be incorrect but I believe you can tell if they are the original factory parts as they are color coded. Hope this helps!
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    Ditto on Laura's comments.

    My 2002 is still running as brand new.

    127k and I just did timing belt and water pump. $450 at a good local mechanic.

    Pay close attn to the xmission changes. See if they have records. I do mine every 25k and it needs it that often.

  • txgal1txgal1 Posts: 14
    Ken what do you mean "pay close attn to the xmission changes?? Are you talking about changing the fluid regularly?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    As of the RX330 series DBW is used to somewhat alleviate the potential for transaxle failures.

    $3200 seems to be the "bottom" for a rebuilt transaxle other than Ebay.
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133

    Yes! On my first check of my transmission around 25k, my mechanic said it looked burnt. They run at high temps and I firmly believe in changing (not necessarily flushing) it every 25k. I run castrol synthetic oil and change it every 5k. The oil is still light and clean after 25k. I don't know if they have maintenance records to verify these intervals on the car you like. But, would recommend asking. These are great vehicles and I plan on seeing 300k on mine. other than routine maintenance and cleaning out the IAC at 100k (I believe that is right term) it has been perfect thru now 128k. I have also found the higher end Michelin tires run great on this car and I got 85k out of my last set.

    Good Luck,

  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Yes, like all the same that's been posted before (keyword search is helpful). Most of the first ones built (1998 for 1999 model year) had bad trannies to start with. My original burned the fluid quickly indicating wear, even tho not part of recommended maint, I changed it about every 25,000 and it was pretty beat up by that time. It also had some quirky shifting problems since new. The dealer just played dumb to my concerns and to the tech service bulletins. Just before the 70,000 mile standard warrantee expired I asked a different dealer to service it and check it. Their response: "if you can leave it with us, how about if we just replace the transmission under warrantee?". They finally got auth from Lexus for a brand new one (after trying two factory rebuilts on the shelf).

    The new one made to more modern specs does not burn the fluid at all like the original did. The shifts are precise, smooth, and enthusiastic with no hesitation. I still change the ATF at least every two years (always specify the type IV fluid, not an additive "mix"). As extra insurance I also added a redundant cooler in the fender with a thermostatic fan (in addition to the factory "tow package" cooler and the radiator cooler).

    Mine was first year, and had a variety of minor issues that Lexus took care of under warrantee, sometimes to the extreme that other makes would not have done. But now that it's getting older and doesn't get used as often, I can report minor trouble with door lock solenoids that are very un-Lexus or un-Toyota like.

    A properly maintained RX300 that was not used for an idling air-conditioner waiting room/rolling phone booth is bound to last a long time, and be worth fixing minor glitches. One with few but all city miles, lots of soccer mom/dad air conditioned idling (which eats up lots of cars), or a smell of burned fluid when you check the dipstick should be avoided. Look for signs of excessive "city" wear (I call it the "air-conditioned shopping cart")... rusted muffler, door dings, worn brake pedal, are all indicators of a rough life regardless of mileage, and easy to spot.

    And have the transmission serviced, not flushed. The service is important because contaminants (worn stuff) suspended in the fluid get removed with the filter, cleaning the magnetic pan, etc. Make sure they use the correct fluid.

    Good luck! ;)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Beginning with the RX330 Lexus used DBW to prevent the engine from rising in RPM until a previously engine/transaxle control ECU "commanded" transaxle downshift ran to completion.

    Since the earlier RX300 used a mechanical coupling between the gas pedal and throttle plate the same technique could not be used.

    On the other hand my '01's TC, Traction Control, dethrottles the engine via EFI fuel starvation control. Why couldn't Lexus use this same technique to "hold off" rising engine RPM/Torque for downshift delays...??

    The throttle plate would still open, just as it does/is with TC activation, but the only harm in that is the engine ROARING to life once the downshift is completed. On the other hand there are circumstances with my RX300 wherein VSC activates and I am forced to completely release and the re-apply pressure to the gas pedal before the engine will respond at all.
  • melanjianmelanjian Posts: 31
    dear la4mead... can you please tell me Exactly what i should tell the dealer in detail
    what they should do on a transmisson service for my 2001 rx awd 300 ???
    new gasket?? cleaning the pan??? clean the screen (if there is one), new trans filter??.. of course using only type 4 fluid. thanks... but also i am confused about how much fluid gets replaced, about 4 quarts according to the manuel or is it more like up to 15 quarts based on some posts here???. mine has 102,000 miles , never
    towed anything. thanks!!!
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    I would ask the dealer to drain the fluid in the pan, install a new filter (I believe it is an actual filter, screens were on early models and the replacement part is a filter) and the new gasket comes in the set. They should clean and inspect the pan when it's off. They should report the condition of the fluid and any debris (indicating wear) to you. This is preferred over "flushing" the fluid, even though less fluid is exchanged than a flush.

    The manual lists less fluid than some actually hold. My 2WD model needed more than 6 quarts to get the fluid level to be correct, the manual calls for 4. If you're having it done at a Lexus or Toyota dealer, they will make sure to top it to the correct level. 15 quarts doesn't sound right. Perhaps that's what the whole unit with 4WD needs during assembly, but don't worry about that.
  • melanjianmelanjian Posts: 31
    thanks a million!!!!!
  • melanjianmelanjian Posts: 31
    i called my lexus dealer, the highest volume lexus dealer in michigan, and they do not perform transmission service as maintaince, only flush with the flush machine
    at cost of 210.00. what do you think?? the wont drop the pan unless there is a gasket leak or already a problem with the transmission!!!
  • irishcaseyirishcasey Posts: 36
    I am considering buying a 2002 rx 300 awd from someone I know with about 40K miles. Price will be what dealer will give on a trade, which I expect to be lower than I could get elsewhere.

    I stayed up way too late last night reading posts in this thread and the rx 300 transmission thread. (Did Lexus make any rx 300's that didn't have trans problems? ;-) But seriously, the post seem to heavily include 1999 and 2000 with trans problems. I didn't see many 2002's.

    I plan on taking it to a Lexus dealer and having them look it over expecially inspect the rear seal, check the trans fluid and if possible check for gelling.

    I would appreciate hearing any of your thoughts on this. Thanks.
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    Thoughts: Get it checked out by an independent (not Lexus) shop that specializes in Toyota/Lexus or other trusted mechanic, rather than the dealer.

    Note that the posts on this forum are only usually from owners with complaints looking for resolution. Owners without complaints rarely have a reason to post. Yes there are owners who did NOT have transmission problems. I know of a close friend whose '00 RX is a good example at 199,000, no hesitation, and the fluid runs pink.

    OTOH, there seem to be more reports of out-of-warrantee RX trouble from those who have low mileage. It could be that many high-mileage owners experienced trouble which was resolved during the long warrantee. But '02 model with 40k miles seems like either mostly city/traffic mileage contributing to the type of wear that could be trouble, or the vehicle was not used for extended periods which can also potentially be hard on the car.

    Road test the car extensively. Look for any disagreeable shift anomalies under light load, downshifting, and any possible disagreeable hesitation. Not all models experienced this trouble either.

    Check the fluid condition for burned color and/or odor. Clean, it should be clear pink with a petrochemical smell without a burned smell. Also consider if the purchase price is good enough, you can still end up OK even if you have to have the transmission rebuilt later. Plus you can control the transmission service interval, because dealer "service" packages based on their recommended schedule don't usually include any transmission service or concentrate on areas that are prone to failure.

    With frequent oil changes, it's unlikely gel/sludge is a problem, especially '02. Any blue smoke from the tailpipe on cold initial start? Oil changes should have been done ahead of schedule in the Lexus manual, or for low mileage go by the "severe use" schedule. Mine called for 10,000 mile oil changes... In my opinion that's a bit too long, and I've always done 3-5,000 max.

    Check that all the power door locks work properly. Sometimes the solenoids can get sticky if the vehicle is used infrequently. If that happens you have to lock the affected door manually or the security system doesn't work right. Again, it's not a deal breaker, either, if there's room in the price to have one fixed. Check the power antenna. If it's hit tree branches, low garage door, or car wash it could be bent and not work properly.

    When considering price, do not add for low miles on this car. It's very easy to argue that low miles on an RX indicates "severe usage" even (especially) if only used a few miles at a time to go to church on Sunday.

    Let us know what you find out. Good luck!
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    I thought others would share their view, but I'd pass on the volume dealer that will only "flush" the transmission at $210.

    I'd try either a trusted local Toyota dealer or

    A local trusted transmission shop. I would offer to get the type IV fluid from a Napa or Toyota dealer and bring it with the car, if they don't have it in stock (most don't. They use generic Dextron and add an additive). Bring 6 or 7 quarts with you.

    My third choice would be a different Lexus service department, one who offers individualized service.

    Here is a link from another user who shows some DIY instructions, to familiarize yourself with what the mechanic should be doing. When they service the transmission (and replace the filter) they can check for unusual wear.

    Flushing can cause more problems than an improperly installed pan gasket. And the dealer's service department should be able to install a gasket without problems. But I'm not surprised the "volume" dealer deals in volume, quick in & out. I'd definately avoid them, and go out of my way for good service.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    By the 2000 RX300 model year Lexus had already "applied" the first of what was to become many "fixes" for the design flaw they (inadvertently..?) incorporated in their transaxles beginning in '98.

    It is today my firm believe that this particular "fix" involved reprogramming the transaxle control firmware to hold the ATF line pressure at a higher pressure level than previously, and/or even installing a higher volume ATF oil pump.

    In any case the result appears to be localized(***) overheating of the ATF since the addition of the external auxillary ATF heat exchanger does not seem to have helped.

    If the vehicle you are considering does not have the external ATF cooler (UNLIKELY) then I would PASS.

    Even if it does I would want to know the maintainance history in great detail and upon purchase I would monitor the ATF condition like a HAWK. Every oil/filter change.

    *** For instance, the gear type ATF oil pump itself overheating due to having to sustain a higher ATF oil pressure than the original design called for, or a higher volume oil pump than the original design allowed for. The external cooler results in the AVERAGE ATF temperature remaining in bounds but not that flowing through or just leaving the ATF oil pump.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My '01 F/awd RX300 is now at ~75,000 miles and I have no plans for doing ANYTHING with/about the transaxle unless the ATF again begins to look and smell burned.

    If I wasn't a DIYer and the ATF again looked burned the flush machine would likely be my choice. There is no filter, just a screen, and mine showed NO evidence of clogging at 40,000 miles. There was debris, ~1/8", in the bottom of the pan which I cleaned out. The three magnets had some minor level of "fines" but nothing in my opinion to give worry.

    ATF is specifically formulated to allow such debris to settle onto the sump bottom where it does not create a concern.
  • txgal1txgal1 Posts: 14
    Does anyone know how to update the GPS in the RX300? Mine is pretty useless as it doesn't seem to find many places and is very difficult to use. I live in an area with alot of new streets, stores, neighborhoods.
  • sam421sam421 Posts: 14
    Either the dealer will do it for $500-700 or you can find someone on here for a fraction of the price. I would like to do the same but cannot afford it right now. My GPS seems to be 99% accurate anyway ;)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Even with all the current updates, $250-300 each, DIY install, the nav in my '01 RX300 does not even come close to measuring up to my 2 year old Garmin NUVI. First NUVI update is free but I haven't yet seen the need.
  • txgal1txgal1 Posts: 14
    Thanks for the info. I won't bother to update it. You can buy a hand held for much less than that. If I didn't live in the Dallas area where everything is new, I probably wouldn't have a problem with it but it can't find anything here! Thanks!
  • pam1999pam1999 Posts: 1
    I have a chance to buy a Lexus rx300 with 206000 miles on it. I haven't seen records yet but it was a used car but not Lexus, dealer's wife's car, and he maintained it for her. Drives well and a mechanic will look at it Monday. They want $7000 taxes and tags. I think that is too much. First would anyone buy a car with over 200000 miles on it and second what would you pay if you did. I did appraise it on Kelly and Edmunds, it came out in the high $4000 or low 5000. Does any one have a Lexus with over 200000 miles on it?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    It's a bit hard to believe that a car dealer would "force" his wife to drive a car over 200,000 miles when there are so many new (and good) used cars passing through the dealer's lot everyday. Did you see a Carfax on it? (most dealers subscribe to Carfax and they should be willing to show you a report). Not saying it's not possible, but it's probably not typical.

    That's a lot of miles for any car.
  • txgal1txgal1 Posts: 14
    I have a 2001 with only 125K and it runs good, although I just spent $1400 on timing belt, tune up, other maintenance. I also have alot of things on the vehicle that already do not work such as various dash and interior lights, garage door opener buttons, one door lock, GPS sucks. The problem is that any small thing you want to repair costs hundreds of dollars so I don't bother! I would be leary unless I had clear records of maintenance and Carfax info. Also they have the worst turn radius! Good luck.
  • dear w west.. my excellent 2001 awd fan and blower doing fine but no heat even at max heat setting... any thoughts???
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