Howdy, Stranger!

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

Lexus RX Transmission Problems



  • I have owned 9 new lexuses and have not written once about the other
    eight and their superior performance and longevity. Writer "332"
    suggests that used car buyers want to go to Edmunds to hear about
    good stories????

    Maybe I am far to educated than "332", but to take time to write
    success stories on a forum that chronciles car issues either needs
    a life, or sign up for Obama care.
  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    Why do you think this is not credible? I welcome anyone who has a success story with the RX300's to sound off if they are reading this board. There is enough doom and gloom on this board about these cars it wouldn't be so bad to hear some success stories!!

    People need to be more positive...You should have posted your Lexus jewel with over 300k miles. If not, we don't get the whole story!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Why do you think this is not credible?

    I don't think it's a matter of credibility. Some folks are simply pleased with their vehicles and like to write about it. On the other hand, it may not be particularly constructive to tell a person faced with a problem and looking for help that your own vehicle runs perfectly without offering either sympathy or suggestions for resolving the issue.

    In any case, let's get back to the topic at hand rather than questioning each others veracity or credibility. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • glenj1glenj1 Posts: 2
    My 2001 RX300 just lost its transmission yesterday at 127K miles. Might I ask who you took to small claims court, the dealer or Toyota? I understand that the technical reason for winning was the Toyota Camry vs a Lexus transmission. Is there any other information that you could share with me?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    At 127K miles I really doubt if any "court" will be sympathetic.

    Plus I don't think the more robust design, design flaw and all, of the RX300 transaxle was adopted by the Camry until about the '02 MY.
  • The issue is not warranty coverage, but rather were you informed
    in any way that you were not buying a Lexus transmission? If not
    you were defrauded and suffered damages as a direct result of
    the flawed product.
  • I took Lexus Corporate to small claims. however, you could file two actions, one against teh deaelr and another against Lexus corporate.
    Lexus corporate indemnifies the dealer so you basically could double down. By the way most small claims courts do not allow lawyers, so Lexus just sent in a manager to contest. The judge just asked two questions, can I prove that it was not a lexus transmission, YES and two did Lexus disclose this prior to purchase? NO Any AAMCO transmission shop can bringthe information up on their computers.
    By the way I paid $2,200 at AAMCO to get mine fixed and it is working greta!
  • glenj1glenj1 Posts: 2
    Thank you very much for the info. I wrote the dealer to ask them to share the cost of the repair. They sent that on to Lexus Corporate for an answer. The dealer performed all service on my car, including transmission service. I had taken it to them a few months ago when a new noise started. They did not connect the dots that this was the transmission. I await the dealer/Lexus response.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    According to the factory shop manuals the Camry used the A140E transaxle from 1994 until 2001. Whereas the 2000, 2001, and 2002 RX300 uses a U140E. The 2000 and 2001 ES300 also used the U140E until 2002 when the U150E was used.

    The only difference between the FWD and F/awd RX300 was an U140E vs an U140F respectively. No difference between the U140E & U140F until you get to the diff'l section.

    Looks as if AAMCO might have unwittingly pulled a fast one on the court.

    On the other hand Lexus was having so much trouble with the new design of the U140E/F series they may have taken the interim measure for the late 2000 models of using an A140E, Camry, transaxle. IMMHO most buyers having Lexus vehicles with the early versions of the U140E/F transaxle would have been much better off with the Camry transaxle.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    In 2002 the Camry w/V6 adopted the Lexus RX300/ES300 U140E transaxle.

    Thus began the episode of the use of DBW, E-throttle, in an attempt to hide the design flaw of the U140E/F series of transaxles from the buying public.

    While I now suspect that Lexus may well have used the Camry's A140E transaxle in late model year production of the 2000 RX300 I rather doubt, strongly so, that you will find a 2001 or later RX300 equipped with a Camry transaxle.

    Beginning with the 2001 MY Lexus had made a significant number of changes to the drivetrain that would certainly help to reduce the load duty-cycle of the U140E/F transaxle. The VC was made virtually non-functional, the rear LSD was no longer an option, and the only time engine drive torque was diverted to the rear drive was with TC activation, which included SIMULTANEOUS, SEVERE, ENGINE DETHROTTLING.

    No stress on the U140F to be had there.

    There is also some indication that the towing package with additional ATF cooling was included as standard equipment in all RX300 F/awd factory shipments.
  • REALLY! Would you like to see a copy of the Lexus check?
    Contrary to your thinking, or lack thereof, it appears that
    Lexus made the decision to not appeal as this would have
    only escalated their exposure of both the fraud and the poorly
    designed transmission. Class action attorneys would smell
    blood in the water, if it went to appeal and Lexus lost.

    You should note on the Edmunds blog that there are a number
    of people raising the issue of a class action lawsuit.

    What kind of law do you try to practice?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    What kind of law do you try to practice?

    Did somebody claim to practice law? It would be better to use the "reply" link so people can tell whom you are addressing rather than creating a new thread.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..may have taken the interim measure..."

    I take that back...

    Lexus would have been commiting fraud on the EPA and CARB were they to have substituted the old style Camry transaxles for the newer, more fuel efficient U140E/F.

    Plus the engine/transaxle ECU firmware would not have been able to operate the Camry's A140E transaxle.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It just occurred to me that something rather strange (does not compute, need more input) is going on here regarding the use of a Camry A140E transaxle in a Lexus RX300. The A140E Camry transaxle control functions, solenoids, etc, are completely different from the RX's U140E/F RX300 transaxle.

    In order to use the A140E in the RX300 you would have had to also change the engine/transaxle ECU module, along with the wiring harness and connections. Or maybe even the engine itself altogether with the module AND the transaxle.

    103,000 miles when yours failed...bought it new or used..??

    Used might mean a previous DIY owner could have dropped the Camry system in, or maybe even an actual Lexus or Toyota dealer. I doubt of you would have gotten compensation if a third party made the change.
  • Hi,
    Thank you for the great info, I have same problem with my RX300 2000 with 120K and I live in the area,
    Do ou remember rep's name at Lexus of Riverside? or who I should talk to? I'd appreciate it!
    I'm hoping I can get the same treatment. Thank you so much, Justin-
  • When I come to a slow or not so moderate stop i feel a bump int the transmission downshifting into first gear. I have noticed that when i slam on the brakes in an immediate stop it does not bump so to speak. I have recently replaced the front motor mount and had the transmission rebuilt. The tranny guy says its not the transmission. There are no codes stored in the computer. HELP PLEASE!
  • My 2001 RX300 transmission failed at 81,000. I had a local shop repair it for $4000 instead of the $6000 that Lexus estimated. Although the local Lexus service manager knows there's a problem with these transmissions they say that there's "nothing they can do." According to them, Lexus Customer Assistance usually contributes $1000 towards the $6000 rebuild bill. I've added my complaint to the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation list and encourage everyone else to. This is the tool that puts governmental pressure on the manufacture and gets recalls initiated. It only takes a couple of minutes.
  • The following letter to the editor will be published in two of our local Cincinnati area newspapers. If more of us do the same it might cause some Pulitzer prize seeking journalist to take up our cause.
    Watching Toyota trying to squirm and spin there way out of the gas petal sticking fiasco I can only say, they are getting what they deserve. I bought new 2000 Lexus RX300 because I was tired of the continue recalls and quality induced failures of the American brands I owned and believed that Lexus provided the best product available. I was wrong. When the transaxle in my RX300 had a massive internal failure at 92,000 miles (not a lot of miles for a Lexus) Lexus, manufactured by Toyota, showed me the same contempt they showed the Toyota owners who complained about the sticking gas pedal. The Lexus dealer wanted $6000 to replace the transaxle but eventually settled for $4000 which is still more then their cost. In researching this failure on my RX300 I found that this is a common problem on the 2000 Lexus RX300 and that Toyota has know about it almost from day one but has stone walled the RX300 owners in our attempts to get a recall to correct the problem. And as part of my claim to get Lexus to replace the transaxle at no cost I presented them with a documented history of this type of failure on the RX300. I reported this defect to the Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) at, case no. 10125165. Even though ODI has a significant number of complaints about this defect of the RX300 transaxle nothing has been done about it. I can only conclude that unless someone dies from an event, nothing will ever be done about it, if even then. I also presented Lexus with the results of a search of Edmunds CARSPACE that list hundreds of complaints of the type of failure I had on my RX300 and the horror stories the the owners faced from the all to smug Lexus (Toyota) dealers. My experience with Lexus has soured me on the Lexus and Toyota brands and will drive me back to the last of the truly American auto manufacturers, Ford, for my next vehicle.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Would you believe that your experience, premature failure of your '00 RX300, and '99 moreso, transaxle, is the base reason Toyota adopted (under duress and therefore maybe too quickly??) DBW thruout the fleet by 2002. DBW is used to overcome, protect the drive train, once the flawed transaxle design was adopted widely.
  • avery1avery1 Posts: 373
    I bought a Lexus for the same reason, perceived quality, and while my transmission failed at 150,000 miles which is a heck of a lot better than 92,000, I still think it shouldn't have. I also have a 2006 Sienna and have been following a thread reporting problems with the side doors in older models. With the number of people reporting the exact same problem there is obviously a design problem. Toyota has done the same thing that they have done with our transmission problem, stonewalled. So I have lost a great deal of respect for Toyota and will probably look very closely at other brands before buying another Toyota product. Any company can have problems. It is how they deal with it that defines them.
  • The failure is due to Lexus using a Toyota transmission not a quality Lexus product. This fraud, you think your are buying and paying for a premium brand is not the case of the RX 300.

    Small claims court is the only remedy Lexus understands. The ydeny and stonewall as they have doen for years and now is coming to light.
    You have been defrauded so the warranty is not the issue.
  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    I have no doubt that many of the first generation RX owners are having these issues. I apologize for not knowing where I read this, but it has been said that approximately 10% of RX owners (in this case the 1999 RX300) for instance have had problems. Again for this model year, with a little over 90,000 of these cars made, that would mean that that around 81,000 are not having issues.

    I am not defending Toyota/Lexus, am merely trying to note that the majority of owners are not having issues.

    Just the other day I actually stopped someone in a parking lot and asked them what year and how was a 99 with 170k on it and they never had transmission problems with it.

  • avery1avery1 Posts: 373
    10% with catastrophic failure is unacceptable in any business. The cost of replacing the transmission is close to 50% the value of the car for a '99. Again, it isn't that they had problems it is that they refuse to acknowledge the problems until forced to.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..not a quality Lexus product.."

    I thought we had put this issue to bed...

    The Camry A140E transaxle cannot be used in the RX300 without a complete swap of the engine, transaxle, engine/transaxle ECU control module, and the entire wiring harness.

    The U140E/F ("F" for F/awd) used in the RX300 from the "get-go" has a completely different transaxle control setup, solenoids, etc, plus the transaxle internal structure is quite different mechanically.

    My guess is that if you found an A140E transaxle in an RX300 it wasn't shipped from the factory that way.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Again for this model year, with a little over 90,000 of these cars made, that would mean that that around 81,000 are not having issues.

    I agree with avery1. A 10% failure rate of an essential component with a huge replacement cost is unacceptable and rather astonishing, IMHO.

    Just the other day I actually stopped someone in a parking lot and asked them what year and how was a 99 with 170k on it and they never had transmission problems with it.

    That is certainly impressive but a sample size of one is just too small to be meaningful. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..not knowing where I read this.......10% of RX owners....had problems..."

    Wouldn't it be just as valid if I stated that I had read "somewhere" that the actual number of premature transaxle failures for the '99 RX MY was closer to 50%...??

    "..trying to note..."

    Good try...But....
  • Whether 10% or 40% failure rates is not the real issue.

    Fraud is the question. Where Lexus buyers who thought they were paying for a luxury car defrauded by being sold toyota major components like the transmission which then failed. AT $40,000 +
    plus for an RX 300 that sure sounds like a luxury price to me.

    Who can trust Toyota anymore after they spend years denying they had an accelerator problem and tried to off load it on a floor mat!
  • 3 years ago I bought a 99 RX300 with 68k on it. It had been taken care of (all service etc) at the Lexus dealer for it's life. With 88k .... on Friday all of a sudden I was hearing the transmission pump whine, and lost all power, no reverse, nada. After cooling off for two hours I was able to drive home before the whining started up. Dealer quoted 6000.00, independent quoted 8k - something about a new ECU? Transmission fluid had been changed at said they don't bother to replace the screen cause if it's clogged the tranny's dead.
    Long story short.... Bought a Fram filter kit, 5 qts Valvoline MAX... the magnets looked like flowers, and the screen was full of gunk. Car drives fine again, so I'm looking to trade it in.... I think I'm on borrowed time. Thoughts anyone?
  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    I agree with avery1. A 10% failure rate of an essential component with a huge replacement cost is unacceptable and rather astonishing, IMHO.

    I don't necessarily disagree.

    Just the other day I actually stopped someone in a parking lot and asked them what year and how was a 99 with 170k on it and they never had transmission problems with it.

    That is certainly impressive but a sample size of one is just too small to be meaningful.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that this is the answer you will get with the overwhelming majority of folks with regard to their RX300's of that year.

    If we had all of the folks that came to this and other boards to express how they have NOT had problems with the transmissions in their 300's, your server just might crash...
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    this is the answer you will get with the overwhelming majority of folks with regard to their RX300's of that year.

    Isn't that exactly what you would expect with a 10% failure rate? 90% might be regarded as an "overwhelming majority" but that does not make the 10% figure acceptable.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
Sign In or Register to comment.