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Transmission problems with Lexus ES?



  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    OK. So I tried experiment number one. Absolutely no change in behavior of the car whatsoever. And the car has been sitting in my driveway not being driven for at least 2-3 weeks. But...I got in the car. Both feet on the floor. Started the car. Left both feet on the floor for at least 30 seconds, probably more. Right foot on the brake, put the car in drive, and pulled out of the driveway. As I hesitated at the end of the driveway to be sure no traffic was coming, I let off then pressed the accelerator, complete and total delay that caused me to continue to press the accelerator. Then it finally engaged, with a lurching motion.

    Then, I drove the car approximately 200 miles, primarily in cruise control. When I got to my destination - same annoying reactions as before.

    Then, the next day, my husband drove the car around town with me for several hours - and the car reacted the same for him. I'd say over 5 hours, we probably drove only about 40-50 miles - exploring a new city. It never seemed to adjust to his driving, or else he has the same driving habits as me - not sure which.

    I had forgotten about experiment number two - I'll try to remember that one when I drive it next time.
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    I can confirm that my right foot is never resting on the accelerator when I shift into drive/reverse - because my right foot is always on the brake when I do that. And my brake and accelerator pedal are too far apart for me to have my foot on both (unlike the rental Crown Victoria I had last week, where I accidently thought the gas pedal was the brake pedal on several occasions - oops!).
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    I'm glad that worked for you - but didn't help me.

    I also have an 05 ES330, and I started with 93 octane and always used it until just recently (used it for at least the first 12,000 miles). And, I've always had the hesitation issue - from day one. I have noticed no increase or decrease in performance or the symptoms by using a different type of gas. Sorry :(
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    I had the same lack of response and issues from the dealer and even the customer service line, until I made a written demand letter as required by my state's lemon law. It was only then, that the Lexus Area Office has started to work with me. And I have now received an offer from them that is acceptable to me - albeit, less than I would receive under a successful lemon law claim. But, I'd rather have acceptable, and forego the extra pain and agony of the actual claim. So....barring some significant issue in the paperwork, I may be done with my ES.
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    Very interesting post, and rather consistent with what I have learned along the way....thank you for sharing.
  • annettegannetteg Posts: 1
    WE have a 2002 Lexus ES300 AND I find that the gas pedal is hard and this affects the pick up and makes it jerky. What can be done to fix this?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Purchased an AutoTap OBD-II reader/dianostic kit. Comes with OBD-II connector and USB adapter. Just beginning to learn how it works and what it can be do.

    Plugged it into my 2001 AWD RX300 and discovered a stored code, "bank #1 A/F ratio detector failure". I remember running with engine check light and VSC lit but since drive cycles "cured" it I had assumed it was the gas tank cap issue.

    2001 911 C4 has had several check engine indications but apparently those were due to the gas cap issue as no codes were stored.

    Funny thing is that I have disconnected the MAF/IAT module on the RX several times in order to disable VSC/Trac temporarily but no codes were stored to that effect.

    As soon as I know/learn more I'll volunteer my services to maybe help determine just what is causing the 1 to 2 second engine delay during downshifting.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Finally! User777 is going to be thrilled! Just need to find a volunteer hesitating Toyota/Lexus.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    dissapointed actually - he didn't buy the one capable of capturing the manufacturer specific data. ;(
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I didn't.....?

    Documentation indicates I can log any or all events..
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    nope. not events, parameters...

    go back to the site i pointed you to (you can find it can't you)?

    plzzzzz don't make me post it again! geesh.

    look for the toyota specific paramters which you can capture in real time with that device...

    now compare that really nice and apropos list (generic + specific datum) to the list of parameters the device you just purchased can read (and log?).

    i'm crying over here. i am.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I hate to think of a grown man crying, so...

    Tell me, again, which one I should have bought, along with emailing your address, and I'll send you one with my complements.

    Good Morning....!!
  • elvis5elvis5 Posts: 1
    just got my 2003 es 300 about 2000 miles ago. the battery has been dead four times and needed a jump.i went to the dealer and they replaced the battery,they said i dont drive long enough to keep battery charged. twenty miles a day round trip. doesnt sound right to me.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    You may have better luck in another forum. This one is specific to transmission shifting problems.

    Try the general Lexus ES300/330 forum:!make=Lexus&model=ES%20300&ed- _makeindex=.ee9e7b7
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    Remember this link:

    And specifically the Toyota Parameters it can capture in real time:

    Compare the one you bought to this, and if you find yours incapable of capturing the data you know you should to deduce the problem, you can cry too if you like.

    If that's just too sensitive for you, being an engineer, do a little research and you can find a build-it-yourself kit, perhaps even hack the protocol.

    Hey, don't send me one, send someone with a car exhibiting the problem one of these. I drive Hondas. ;)
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    People experiencing a problem with hesitation: will you please read post #11643 in the Avalon 2005+ forum: hopefully this link will take you there including some of the more recent postings in that forum

    sofl06avalon, "Toyota Avalon 2005+" #11643, 17 Mar 2006 8:21 pm

    It appears for several owners that changing their foot position on the pedal has greatly improved operability of their vehicles.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I posted this link in the transaxle shift delay forum back before it was closed but it was pretty much ignored. Thought I would bring it back up now that the gas pedal is back in the discussion.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    i blew right over it i guess. sorry, and thanks for being vigilant and trying to help others. hopefully, this is the thing affecting most drivers.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    I missed it on the "other" forum also....must have been overlooked during one of the periods when personalities and motives were being discussed rather than tech issues.

    This would certainly explain why some drivers experience it and others don't! WOW!

    Why did Toyota/Lexus provide a TSB to change transmission programming?????
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    That post is VERY interesting....because I also gas with just my toe and am one who experiences the hesitation. But my problem is that I don't think I can change to whole foot since I wear high-heals over 90% of the time I drive my car. I generally use the heal of my shoe as a 'pivot' in between the gas and the brake so that I do not need to lift my foot, nor do I scuff the back of my shoe :)

    Further, I believe that I've been successful in getting out of this car....hope to pick up the new GX either today (fingers crossed!) or over the weekend.

    However, I will try this experiment on my way either to the dealer or to the airport tonight - I'll just drive barefeet (illegal I think, so don't tell anyone).
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    I read that post when you shared it earlier, but it did not resonate with me like this new one....especially given all the dialog from other people shooting down the idea. Interesting though, isn't it, if those two posts are really trying to say the same thing....

    I do appreciate you guys who share these other posts though - thanks!
  • jragosta1jragosta1 Posts: 49
    And why did the TSB transmission software update improve the performance for so many people? There was a definite improvement after they updated the transmission (although it's still not completely right). How would the gas pedal explanation cover that?
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I think it was probably right before the board closed, so you are probably right.

    Several responders to that link could not find a similar part on their gas pedal.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    wwest has suggested that there is more than one hesitation problem occuring in these vehicles. The one that is designed in to protect the drive train that results in a fairly small to negligible delay then the other one where it becomes downright dangerous. Could it be that the software update was done to address the designed in delay, thus some people reporting some improvement while the other more serious delay is getting ignored. There just seems to be several recent posts lately that are pointing to the accelerator pedal being involved, whether it be foot position or some piece on the pedal or the design of the accelerator or some combination of above.

    To shepali, I would think driving in high heels and pivoting on your heel between the brake and accelerator would be more of a problem than driving barefoot regardless of laws. I don't think it is against the law to drive barefoot in every state.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Your comment regarding barefoot driving piqued my interest since I do it frequently in the warm months when wearing flip flops (probably worse than high heels for driving). Found this, so I say take off those shoes and see if there is any change in the hesitation:

    American States
    Barefoot Driving: Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is permitted. Exception: motorcycle rider.

    Barefoot Driving: Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is permitted but not recommended.

    Barefoot Driving: Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is not prohibited.

    Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware,Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming:
    Barefoot Driving: Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is permitted.

    District of Columbia
    Barefoot Driving: Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is permitted.

    American Territories
    American Samoa, Peurto Rico, Virgin Islands: Barefoot Driving: Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is permitted.

    Driving Barefoot: No information.

    Canadien Provinces & Territories


    Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, New Foundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory: Barefoot Driving: Operation of a motor vehicle by a driver with bare feet is permitted.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I have also suggested that "dithering" of the accelerator pedal, maybe even unconsciously, might lead to the transaxle having an extended shift delay. If the driver happened to have a nervous foot (toe??) it is entirely concievable that would have more effect at the "long" end of the level/fulcrum, than at a mid-point.

    We've all seen that RLS, restless leg syndrum commercial, right?

    Suppose, for instance, based on the "current" accelerator position, the transaxle has just begun a downshift into 4rd gear. Now, just as the transaxle begins the downshift procedure, a procedure that cannot be interrupted (must run to completion before a new shift command can comince), the driver nudges the accelerator pedal downward ever so slightly.

    Oops, wrong gear, shift into third instead.

    How could this problem be alleviated via software? think of using a dampening "shock" absorber to prevent dithering of the accelerator pedal. Within the firmware the programmer could easily implement such a feature.

    And please keep in mind that these are effectively 7 or eight "speed" transaxles (torque converter lockup clutch usd in gear ratios other than O/D), so the accelerator pedal "notches" for upshifting or downshifting will be much narrower.
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    OK - I tried it last night on my way to the airport (GX didn't come in :(). My experience was not as significant as the Avalon guy reported, but I definitely noticed a difference. Unfortunately, my foot is too short for what I would call the 'perfect' position - which is where the connection behind the pedal is directly under the arch of your foot. My leg got tired holding my foot up that high :)

    But in any case, with my foot up higher on the pedal, I had noticeable increased responsiveness of the car - and I was in a fair amount of stop and go traffic. As my leg got tired, or I unconsciously reverted back to my own habits, the car would noticeably exhibit the original symptoms. Then I started to experiment using my toe only, and noticed the delayed reaction of the gas pedal.

    So - I really believe there may be some merit to this otherwise crazy sounding solution.

    Having said that - I have also asked around to other people who say that they also drive with their foot pivoting off of their heal between the gas pedal and brake pedal, so that they don't have to completely lift their foot each time (both men and women, so not all wear high-heals - I hope!). So, I'm not sure how that impacts why I experience this phenomenon, and others do not - but it is definitely VERY interesting.

    Also, seems like there could be a relatively easy fix for something like this - just by changing the way the pedal is connected, or something. So that too makes me wonder if there is more factors going on - maybe a combination of all the things we've discussed here....
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    jragosta1 - I don't know the answer to your question, but that upgrade did nothing for me. As a matter of fact, my car got worse for me after the update. So, you're right, that is somewhat confusing. The other replies to your message make sense though - maybe we just have multiple forces and factors going on that are all either interrelated, or affecting each other; that would also explain why it has taken so long for it to be fixed.
  • shepalishepali Posts: 72
    scoti1 - I actually find driving with high heels and pivoting between the brake and gas to be very efficient and effective, and have never experience any 'problems' - hey, don't knock it until you try it ;) And, I would have to agree that flip flops can be problematic at times :)

    As for driving barefoot, the research you posted here was very interesting - I really did think it was illegal in most states, and come to find out its expressly legal in most. I learn all kinds of things on this board :D I also find it very interesting that Alabama is the only state to mention its illegal to drive a motorcycle in barefeet. Being that I have a motorcycle as well, I can tell you that barefeet (and flip flops too!) would definitely be problematic for me on my motorcycle! :P
  • dennydenny Posts: 17
    Folks, have you forgotten that this is an electronic drive by wire system? I don't see how where you place your foot on the pedal could possibly affect an electronic signal.
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