Howdy, Stranger!

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

Lexus RX Transmission Problems



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The "prescriptive" maintainance of the transaxle in my '01 F/awd RX300 was none, ZERO, for the life of the vehicle. That was before Lexus came to the realization that these transaxles, like the '99 & '00, were still prone to premature failures.

    It was only with the adoption of DBW with the RX330 series that the design flaw was more properly addressed. Traded one problem, design flaw, for another.
  • lserlohnlserlohn Posts: 10
    I think maybe it is a good start to try. I am curious that have you just replaced torque converter and pump, instead of the whole transmission? How is going after that?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    He only said "wear" indicated for the torque converter and pump, ONLY for the TC and pump. I'm curious how someone could honestly come to that conclusion absent opening up the patient.
  • mrbostonmrboston Posts: 43
    Any transmission specialist will tell you that there is more metal in the trasmission oil of a RX 300 AWD than any car on the planet. Lexus redesigned the coupling that wears out pre maturely.

    The transmission cannot handle AWD especially if you do a lot of around town driving.


  • jbl85jbl85 Posts: 49
    Strange...I don't have any in mine. Magnets and screen were pristine.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited May 2011
    Mine wasn't "pristine" either time it has been opened. But the only "debris" was a fine powder-like substance 1/8" thick, which I attributed to clutch frictional surface wear. Looked more like ground-up pencil lead, graphite, than anything else.

    A whole LOT like the debris that gets deposited on my front wheels due to brake use, brake pad wear.

    No metallic "fines" on any of the 3(?) magnets.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...Lexus redesigned the coupling..."

    You COULD say it that way.

    With the advent of the initial introduction of the RX series Lexus adopted a new ATF line pressure control system/technique, a "real-time" line pressure control technique wherein ATF line pressure is "relaxed" unless a shifting procedure is in process. FE gains resulted.

    That new technique, now put behind the curtain, out of the public eye, via adoption of DBW, has now been adopted THROUGHOUT the industry.

    So the instantaneous clutch coupling for some downshift sequences was not firm enough initially. That "flaw" is now being "masked" via DBW, the engine torque will not rise in accordance with gas pedal position until the downshift clutches are fully and firmly seated.
  • bendorrx300bendorrx300 Posts: 11
    edited June 2011
    We are on our third transmission with our 2000 RX300, at 84,000 miles. The original transmission made it to about 67,000. We split the cost of the second transmission with Lexus, and they paid for the third transmission since #2 failed within the 12 month warranty.

    With the third transmission, we began sampling the transmission fluid over time and the data now shows an exponential increase in aluminum at 20 months since the replacement. Earlier samples confirmed this trend, even at 1-month of the replacement event.

    View the data at this link:

    Aluminum is the only metal observed to be increasing in this manner, of 10 metals assayed. We have solid data supporting the pending failure of this third transmission. ">
  • flsjr55flsjr55 Posts: 16
    My RX transmission went out at 145,000. After it was replaced Lexus agreed to pay 35% 0f my $3700 repair bill. A recall could have solved a lot of problems. Not sure why some attorney didn't file a class action.
  • 119kk119kk Posts: 1
    My 2002 RX300 is in the shop being rebuilt for the same reason. It's been well maintained and only hass 115k on it.

    Glad to hear you got some help with the costs. Who did the replacement work? Who did you call to get Lexus to reimburse you?
  • I'm in Columbus, OH - the dealer contacted Lexus about 'good willing' half of my Lexus rebuilt tranny. I am nervous though, my tranny fluid is more red than purple & smells burnt. I haven't taken it back to be checked yet.
  • The Lexus dealer did the replacement work, replacing the entire transmission, not just the TC and pump. That second transmission failed within the one year warranty period, and Lexus followed the warranty to the letter. The local Lexus shop was very professional and the experience was painless. The original transmission failed a few thousand miles out of warranty, hence the "good will" gesture of cost sharing.

    The analytical lab stated on the analysis results that wear was "severe", and posted a red stop sign on the form. This analytical lab is accustomed to performing spectroscopic engine oil analysis of piston aircraft engines wherein the engine block is aluminum. Fortunately, our RX stays on the ground.
  • flsjr55flsjr55 Posts: 16
    My transmisson went out when I was visiting out of town. I was close to a Toyota dealer who replaced the transmission. When I contacted Lexus Customer Service they wanted repairis made at my local dealer but did not want to pay $500 for towing. Afer repairs were completed I was instructed to fax the bill tp a certain person at Lexus Customer Service. It was several weeks befor they called and advised the amount they would pay.
  • angela_dangela_d Posts: 1
    hi, can you please inform me on how long your Lexus was running without problems after you changed its transmission at 145K point? you think it's worth to change a transmission in Lexus and go on with the car?...pls advise/share your experience..thanks
  • flsjr55flsjr55 Posts: 16
    I only have about 6000 miles on the rebuilt transmisson.
  • treelady8treelady8 Posts: 2
    My RX 300 has almost 140,000. (It's a Silversport, if that makes a difference.) I have NEVER had anything go wrong with it (except the usual wear and tear, brakes, etc.) until just recently. The driver's side door remote key would not open or close. Needed actuator (sp?) $400. I have never brought the car in for service. My husband always changed oil. We have NEVER had the tranny fluid changed. In the past, it seemed like ever time I brought a car in (not Lexus) something else would go wrong with it. I feel I should change the tranny fluid. They recommend it at 60,000 and 120,000. I'm afraid if I change it, something will go wrong with it! I just bought my 3rd Lexus. 2008 RX350. I hope I have as much lucky with this Lexus as my previous ones. I think they are GREAT vehicles!!
  • The RX 300 tranny problem is certain model years - what year is yours? I've enjoyed mine too, but with such a big tranny problem & they didn't issue a recall - what a joke. My driver's side lock also won't work with the key - so I lock it manually. My passenger rear door lock also has a problem - can't open the door from the inside & must manually unlock it - real handy. I've replaced 2 O2 sensors - $500 each!!! Lexus is just too expensive to maintain.
  • Sounds familiar. I just had the same episode and $4100 repair on my son's 2001. The transmission repair shop found it nearly disintegrated inside with metal throughout the cooler. A total rebuild by hand with improved parts and a new larger cooler. The other cooler had an inadequate flow and thus on a long trip it gets hot and fails. I am drafting a letter to Lexus and will use this forum as proof the problem is not isolated and if not satisfied will look into reporting to federal agency in charge of recalls.

    The dealer won't know to add a different cooler and may be why others' replacements have re-failed.
  • flsjr55flsjr55 Posts: 16
    My Lexus was a 2001 and not AWD. Also replaced 1 02 sensor and radio. I don't believe 2000-2002 were good years for the RX
  • treelady8treelady8 Posts: 2
    Mine is a 2001 RX300 Silversport AWD.  I couldn't find any info on changing the tranny fluid in the manual. My  husband was changing the tranny fluid when it said on the tranny dip stick that it never needed to be changed. I called the Lexus dealership they said it should be changed at 60,000 and 120,000. Makes you wonder if they say that to get more business. Also my husband changed tranny fluid on his Highlander. It had the EXACT same tranny!  Same model number. Interesting...  As I said in earlier post my 2001 RX300 has almost 140,000 miles. I have NEVER brought in for service. And have never had anything go wrong with it except usual brakes, battery etc. And the driver foot actuator needed replacing just recently.  No complaints, that's pretty good for car with 140,000 miles.  My husband does all maintence!
  • rquinn55rquinn55 Posts: 1
    My RX 300 only had 64000 when the transmission blew. Has anyone had any luck contacting Lexus and getting some satisfaction?. The cost of repair was $4200
  • flsjr55flsjr55 Posts: 16
    Contact Lexus Customer Service. Save all your receipts. Lexus paid 35% of my $3700 repair bill.
  • lserlohnlserlohn Posts: 10
    just learned that rav4 owner had a class action on its bad transmission, I am wondering why there is no action from lexus owners. 001-3-rav4/
  • slsrmeslsrme Posts: 2
    I just had Lexus service my 99 rx300 tranny in March 2011. This past weekend while driving back from vacation my transmission starting whirring and slipping. It would only shift through the gears after turning it off and letting it sit for a few minutes then starting it back up. This has continued since Saturday and so I took it to my Lexus dealer and they are telling me I need a $4500 transmission. It does seem odd that there are so many of these exact same problems accurring even after Lexus services the tranny. Isn't it their job to inform you when they service your car of any impending damage that may need addressing? I certainly am all for a class action if enough people come forward. Since last year I have spent several thousand dollars in repairs with Lexus, and now they are milking me for more.
  • Sorry to hear you are joining our RX 300 Tranny club. You want to fell better about yours ...mine cost me $5500. Needless to say I will never deal with this dealer again ( I purchased two Lexus from him). Mine happened a year ago and is still working. Many crap out a second or third time. Good luck
  • flsjr55flsjr55 Posts: 16
    Call Lexus Customer Service and explain the problem and ask why no recall? These vehicles should have been recalled since there was a design flaw. Lexus has known about the problem and done NOTHING.
  • lserlohnlserlohn Posts: 10
    edited July 2011
    Can anybody answer me: WHY NO CLASS ACTION??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think any owner who suffered such experience is willing to pay some bucks on the class action. Toyota will definitely loss, see what happened to RAV4 Owners.


    (I am not a lawyer, otherwise, I would probably take the head of this action)
  • flsjr55flsjr55 Posts: 16
    I also wondered the same. My only thought is there are not enough vehicles involved to make it worth an attorney geting involved?
  • slsrmeslsrme Posts: 2
    I called Lexus and they are forwarding this issue to a higher up. I informed them of the knowledge that this issue is not an isolated incident and has occurred it seems in all 99-2002 RX 300 owners’ vehicles. I am going with my employer to see his lawyer tomorrow and taking the documentation where Lexus completed "preventative maint." on my transmission in March of this year. I am most assuredly going to mention this site to my lawyer and also the site which also has a plethora of complaints of the exact same nature as the ones posted here. I will certainly keep you guys posted as to the outcome. The dealership actually has my car as we speak, so the main branch of Lexus stated they would do all they could to keep me and the dealer happy.....we'll see.
  • garingerbgaringerb Posts: 1
    We just bought a used 2000 RX300 from the dealer less than 3 months and 2000 miles ago. They claimed their mechanic went through the whole car, made some repairs and it was in great shape. Now my transmission is busted and its going to cost $4500 to fix. That is about 50% of the price we paid for the vehicle. It has about 122,000 miles in total on it. I find it hard to believe their mechanic couldn't have seen an issue within such a short period of time. They indicate its my fault for not buying the extended warranty, but what product breaks down like that. And even if it does, wouldn't you want to help a customer somehow to keep them loyal? I'm all for a class action suit.
Sign In or Register to comment.