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Lexus RX Transmission Problems



  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    la4mead: good insight indeed.

    I first drained and filled my 99 twice at 47k (did the second d/f 200 miles apart), and it was the first time it had ever been done. The fluid was a darker red and was certainly not considered pristine. Since then, it has remained cherry red but granted I only have a little over 1k on it since, so I guess time will tell.

    I also have an '05 330 with 30k on it and the fluid in that one is not perfect, but very close to cherry red...even though the 330's transmissions haven't experienced the hardships of the 1st generation, I am thinking maybe I do a couple of drain and fills on that one too.......sounds like cheap insurance for sure.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..but Lexus is not going to suggest it.."

    When I discovered, at only ~40,000 miles, the burned state of my ATF I immediately contacted Lexus corporate. They, in turn, told me to bring the subject up with my dealer. Lexus of Bellevue recommeded (opportunistically, just as one should fully expect) that the transaxle ATF be drained, flushed, and replenished every 15,000 miles.

    So I again contacted Lexus corporate who confirmed, in writing, the dealer recommendations.

    I understand that the recommedations have been modified to say that the ATF should be inspected at every oil change and only changed out if required unless the ATF has accrued over 30,000 miles of use.

    Due to the adoption of DBW to delay the onset of rising engine torque during a re-acceleration event the RX330 and later models do not share the premature tranaxle failure issues.

    Just the danger, HAZARDS, of having an engine that does not always respond, mostly unpredictable so, situationally, to throttle inputs.
  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    "F/awd RX300"

    Which is it, fwd or awd?
  • I did try to post that information, but this forum prohibits the posting of numbers due to the fact that numbers change and invalid information would be posted.
    I just went to the main Lexus website and contacted them by phone- not the dealer- and spoke with customer service. I talked to them on three different occasions. I took notes about each conversation and had my "talking points" ready. I explained my frustrations and what my mechanic discovered, and how it was definitely a manufacturer issue. (see details posted from others on this forum). I tried to be as civil as possible, even though I was very upset. At first, they "denied" my request- but I asked the representative to speak with his supervisor- He did. I feel blessed that they paid anything. Good Luck ! :)
  • We used our local mechanic- he did a great job! :D
  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    "Just the danger, HAZARDS, of having an engine that does not always respond, mostly unpredictable so, situationally, to throttle inputs"

    Unfair characterization. If you have driven one you would know that the 330 responds just fine - never have I ever been in a situation that has ever been hazardous because of this so called hesitation that is spoken of. The only hazardous situation I have ever been in that car if at all, was brought on by me, and me only.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Most "base" FWD vehicles that have the ability to couple engine torque to the rear wheels are either ALWAYS FWD torque biased or use ONLY front drive the majority of the time.

    I have not yet found, do not know of, ANY "base" FWD vehicle, cross ways mounted engine, with rear drive capability "add-on" that should not be referred to as F/awd.

    Of all these the Honda/Acura SH-AWD system comes closest to be a true AWD, even R/awd "situationally.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Then you must be one of the very lucky ones, VERY lucky. Via various TSBs issued since about 2002 Lexus and Toyota have both described with great detail the different circumstances under which drivers might expect to encounter the 1-2 second re-acceleration downshift delay/hesitation.

    And just look around you for the various owner posts, numbering in the hundreds (thousands..??) easily, complaining of this very problem.
  • mrbostonmrboston Posts: 43
    GREAT! - How pathetic taking the easy way out, you fell for the Lexus trap. They give you a bum product at a premium price and still make money from you from their mistake. You impowered the problem maker!!!!!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...How pathetic..."

    Until you've had the experience of having to deal, personally, with a long drawn out lawsuit as this might involve you shouldn't belittle those that chose an alternative path.
    Ouch! How sad that you feel the need to pass such harsh judgment on a case you know so little about. Did you decide to file a class action? We all have to choose what is best for our own situation. One correction- Lexus did not make the repair- they made no profit.
    Best of Luck to you- Cheers!

    Thank you, :) wwest, you are kind to respond and you are correct- our family is not in a position to endure any legal proceedings at this time.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..they made no profit..."

    But they did, maybe no in the $ sense, but....
  • dtjrdtjr Posts: 1
    2000 RX300 AWD First Trans went out at 75,000 miles. Had a rebuilt Trans put in by AAMCO it went out after 22,000. Had another local shop put in a rebuild after 14,000 noticed it starting slipping. Took and traded it in for a KIA Sorento Loaded. Almost $ 8,000.00 in transmissions. What a Lexus. I talked to my local Lexus Dealer about the problem with the transmissions to no solution unless I wanted him to do the repair work. Never again will I own a Lexus. I just read in a email that toyota has agreed to extend the warranty on the 2001-3 RAV4 for bad transmissions and ECU. Also have agreed to Reimburse owners that have paid for repairs. This for past and present owners. Just wish they would take care of LEXUS in the same matter. Maybe or Hopefully this will be taken care of.
  • mrbostonmrboston Posts: 43
    LEXUS quality has gone down hill fast. They have obviously cut costs in order to
    make their profit. Our family has owned seven Lexuses and will NEVER buy
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..LEXUS quality has gone down hill fast.."

    WENT down hill fast...!

    Slowly recovering.

    Transaxle change in the initial RX300 series was a BIG mistook.

    Some minor transaxle fixes by '01, more adequate fixes (DBW) for the RX330, and firmware revisions for the RX350. Transaxle problem, re-acceleration downshift delay, still exists today but at least the new 2010 RX350 has a more functional F/awd system, not yet adequate, but...

    What Lexus now needs is a relabelled Venza (RX225..??) F/awd, with the I4 upgraded to DFI.

    Maybe even an RX250h using the new F/awd system, the new I4 with DFI and the Otto/Atkinson multimode engine technique.
  • I could not agree more Lexus quality has gone downhill. I have a lot of experience transforming very large companies such as Lexus. I can tell when a company has a pattern of not serving their customers and putting profits before customers, as opposed to an isolated incident. They are very clearly making major decisions that cost customers major money, as purely motivated by profit and probably also brand (if we don't admit it, then there is no problem with our cars.) When you have systemic problems such as what I am seeing, the entire company needs an overhaul not a car or two. And frankly, they are not ready to admit that.

    My recent failed transmission on my RX300 at 90K alerted me to this issue. As I researched, I have found thousands of unhappy customers all in the same "premature transmission failure" boat. Once I realized it was a known design flaw on the part of Lexus, one for which they have refused to issue a Technical Service Bulletin or recall for, I was SHOCKED. First acceleration issues, now this. BTW there was a RAV-4 class action lawsuit for the same issue. Judging by how Lexus is handling my issue, my name will be at the top of one for RX owners.

    Also, since Tustin Lexus neglected to even check my transmission fluid at 60K miles, which my own mechanic found BLACK at 74K when I had him change the breaks (causing me to lose faith in Tustin Lexus--it is a 60K mile item) I am also going to file a complaint with the Bureau of Automotive Repair. At the least I paid for service I did not get. Worse, by this time, Lexus well knew they had transmission issues with this vehicle (mine is just low miles for age) and should have been extra cautious with my transmission.

    I escalated this through Customer Service at Lexus. I was given to someone named Paula in Torrance. When she listened to my story she said "wow" and they could only offer me 25% off a new transmission, reducing the total to $3,300. Some people may be happy with that, but I was outraged they would expect me to pay for their known design flaw. I asked to speak to her boss, which she on 7/8 promised me he (Terry Purlich) would call by the following Monday 7/12, and to this date Lexus has stonewalled & no call back. Don't LIE on top of everything else. She flat out said they were more than happy to let me pay for my repair somewhere else. Yeah, I bet they are. Another call on 7/13 informing Paula of her bosses failure to keep her promise has gone unanswered.

    I see from other people even showing up in person doesn't help. My car still sits at Tustin Lexus (been there for 2 months.) Thankfully I have a Silverado to drive which ironically has more miles than my Lexus, and I have spent less in repairs on. NOT what I thought would be the case (it's a towing vehicle, I have been pro Toyota/Lexus for 30 years now.)

    So, you are right. Both their quality and customer service have gone down hill. My only choice now appears to be a media campaign & to start the class action process. Anyone want to join me?? Unless they are forced to do business differently, it appears (just like BP) they are not going to.
  • mrbostonmrboston Posts: 43
    Yes, Lexus should be sued I agree 100%. Theri motto, "RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF PERFECTION" is a con job of the highest degree. Please emai me
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..RELENTLESS.." implies never actually getting "there" so the motto was changed to:

    Passionate Pursuit of Perfection.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Please emai me ...

    Let's keep the discussion here so everyone can benefit. We ask that you not include email addresses in posted messages. Thanks!

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Hi,
    After posting on the Facebook Lexus forum today, someone from the Excutive office at Lexus finally called me back. So, we'll see what they will actually do. It remains to be seen, especially because they didn't do the dealer service right.

    I'll keep my posts here. I will probably create an informational site for this regardless so people can get to this & other forums like this discussing the issue. On the Facebook page, it is interesting other people knew the RX series has transmission issues (and honestly while it may have changed this still doesn't sound resolved...craziness.)

  • wuchenwuchen Posts: 3
    I traded my car in after two transmission failure. I rebuilt mine last year after 100,000 mile. Within a year, the transmission started to failure again. The shop has one year warrant, but they took the car back, and spent one month and still couldn't fix problem. I am tired of arguing with the shop, and traded in my Rx300 (2001), and bought a new Volvo XC-60. No more Lexus car or Toyoto car.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited July 2010
    "...especially because they didn't do the dealer service right...."

    Actually the dealer did do the service right, by the book.

    According to the owners manual and the dealer information available at the time of purchase my '01 F/awd RX300 did not require transaxle, ATF, service for the life of the vehicle.

    Apparently that changed after the fact, first to every 15,000 miles and then to "check the ATF condition" at each engine oil change period. All of these latter changes done on the "QT" so as not to alert the RX300 owners that the vehicle had a problem.

    Not surprising that some dealers didn't get the message.
  • My 2002 Lexus RX300 transmission died at 88,000 miles. Transmission was hesitating in reverse for a while and had the transmission fluid recently changed. I had to get the car towed 50 miles back to my house. Called Lexus corporate and the dealers. Lexus customer service was not much help. After reading all the blogs about the transmission problems in the RX, I might sell the car for parts. Any suggestions?
    If their is a class action law suit, count me in.
  • mrbostonmrboston Posts: 43
    LEXUS motto "Relentless Pursuit of Excellence" is a lie.

    They are defrauding everyone. I say take them to small claims court and make them pay for their poor quality control. After driving 50 years this is the first transmission I ever had fail!

    I will never buy Lexus again.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Parts..?? Nearby Seattle...? F/awd...???

    I might be interested.
  • travelguy1travelguy1 Posts: 2
    edited August 2010
    I had to replace my transmission around 85K. Dealer stated that this problem "never" happens, and that they had never replaced one. Of course this is what they have told me at each repair that has been made on the vehicle. I would like to say be happy with the 3300 cost - mine was 4500 after had negotiations ( I should have traded it off ) but, any cost for the companies problems carried by the consumer is wrong.

    I would be happy to join the class action. Let me know when and how.

  • I have a 200 RX 300 with 126,000 miles. It has been serviced at Firestone since the Lexus 100,000 mile service. I recently had the ignition coil and spark plug replaced, but when I drove away the car had an obvious transmission issue. I immediatley returned to Firestone, where the manager looked it over and told me that the transmission fluid had recently been replaced and the new fluid had damaged the transmission. I didn't do it, and no one has touched this car except Firestone. There are no records of any transmission work, and no one is volunteering that they made a mistake.
    Has anyone ever heard of this?
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    edited August 2010
    Sorry to hear about your problems.

    "...told me that the transmission fluid had recently been replaced and the new fluid had damaged the transmission."

    What a line of BS. New fluid (as long as it's the correct type IV) does not damage the transmission. At 126,000 miles perhaps wear and/or lack of previous transmission maintenance (again using Type IV fluid) and heat had a negative effect on the transmission.

    Was it done at Firestone? I don't trust transmission "flush" and I'd have my service done by a qualified, trusted mechanic who specializes in Asian transmissions, not a Firestone dealer.

    It may be time to start shopping for a mechanic who specializes in transmissions for Asian cars, or maybe a Lexus or Toyota dealer. You may need a replacement of an updated design since some of the original transmissions may not wear too well, especially without common-sense transmission maintenance in addition to what Lexus recommended in their owners manual. Some other owners report trouble with third-party rebuilt units. My theory (opinion, not fact) is that some third-party units may have been rebuilt without all the current updates.

    Good Luck!
  • Thanks for the feedback. I have talked to Firestone again this morning, and they are involving a claims person now and are paying for Lexus to look at the car and investigate.
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    That's great. Good luck... and keep us posted.
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