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Lexus RX Transmission Problems



  • mnfmnf Spokane WaPosts: 405
    A Toyota dealer can do all the same service but cheaper as the RX300 AND lexus is built by Toyota and is the same as a Highlander. Maybe there is a Toyota dealer a little bit closer... good luck

  • stephie1stephie1 Posts: 15
    After reading this discussion thread I am getting very nervous about my 1999 has been rattling, making a strange electrical smell at times and the check engine recently came on. Got the oil checked, transmission fluid checked, blah blah...just basic diagnostic yet. But it only has 56,000 miles and it is acting like my Ford Winstar did when it hit 130,000 miles. I bought a Lexus thinking that since it is in the Toyota family it would give me a long, quality life for the investment. But now I am worried that I might have a transmission issue or something equally horrible. :lemon:

    I was going to just trade it in for a new 2006 or 2007 RX350, but now I am wondering if I should go for something else like an Acura MDX?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My advice would be to take a really serious look at the Acura RDX.
  • singarajahsingarajah Posts: 1
    Just to add to the data, I had the same problem, sudden failure, a $5K estimate for repair, the car has been fully serviced etc. The website also has several reports of similar failures. I am waiting to see what Lexus will do if anything.
  • 1carioca1carioca Posts: 1
    My 99 RX 300 had a transmission failure this week on the highway with 127,000 miles. I did the 90K service and spent $2,800 in maintenance at the Lexus dealership for that service. Now Lexus wants $5K to replace the transmission. I called a transmission shop and they said they can do it for $3K. I had to spend $650 to have my car towed. I don't think I am buying Lexus again. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • pv001pv001 Posts: 3
    I bought a used 2000 Lexus RX300 from a private party about two months ago. It has 82,500 miles. About 15 days ago the check engine light came on and I took it to the local Toyota Dealer. They said O2 sensor was bad and replaced it and the spark plugs. Cost $677.00. Last night check engine light came on again and it appeared that transmission was not shifting properly. The engine was revving up without much movement of the car itself. Got it towed to the same dealer. Now they say transmission has gone bad. Cost $4,600 to new one. I am shocked! I had a perfectly good Camry which we bought new and sold it after 120,000 miles in excellent condition when I bought the Lexus. Now I am wondering what to do. I have asked Aamco to take a look at the transmission and let me know if it could be salvaged. What an idiot I am to sell a perfectly good Camry to go for a lemon lexus!
  • We have had the exact same issue with a 1999 RX300 that we bought used. To save yourself a whole lot of anguish, before you have ANY repairs done, have the check engine light coded to see if your knock sensors are bad. Our Lexus would not shift into overdrive, the engine light would stay on, and would take off sluggishly, had poor gas mileage, etc. The Lexus dealer diagnosed the code was a bad knock sensor, one of the service advisors said this would cause the transmission problems,another service advisor (same dealer) said it would not, so we took it to Aamco. The price for aa new trans was considerably less at Aamco, $3000. vs.$6000 @ Lexus. Aamco put in new trans and the next day the light came back on. The transmission would still not go into overdrive. It was exactly the same as before we replaced the trans!!!! We replaced the knock sensors and it did fix the shifting problem, bad news is, a few weeks later, light is on again, and codes bad knock sensor, bank 2. We did research online and found out there was a redesign on the wiring harness for the knock sensor and we had to tear the intake off AGAIN!! Do not buy a trans,before checking this out. I wish we had known all of this before. Knock sensors are $500/parts,$400 labor. Good Luck!
  • beacatjerbeacatjer Posts: 3
    I originally posted this thread and now that i have seen the feedback from others, i think i will be buying a new non lexus suv instead of holding onto the one i have. It now has 88k miles on it, still running like a top,but the repairs described by others are shocking my system. I have had 4 other Lexus autos in the past and they all ran like new right up until I sold them,but I'm not taking a chance with this one, especially with my wife driving it on local 2 lane rural roads in the middle of nowhere, AAA notwithstanding.
  • gitmogitmo Posts: 23
    I'm curious as to what model RX you have. Is it 2 whl drive, or 4 whl? I have a 2000 as well.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Were I you I would buy my wife a good cell phone, presuming it to be viable on those rural roads, and keep the RX300 until it breaks, if it ever actually does.

    ~$4,000 for a rebuilt transaxle is lot cheaper than a new Acura RDX or BMW X3.

    I fully intent to keep my 2001 AWD RX300, now at 65,000 miles, until it breaks, even until 200,000 miles. At that point it will get a DIY rebuild and a PTO modification to covert it to "solid" RWD and with (only) VC coupling to the front.

    Not altogether sure I'll wait much longer before doing the PTO modification, maybe before the next snow flies.
  • pv001pv001 Posts: 3
    Mine is a AWD. Please read my other email for the latest on what is going on with my RX300.
  • pv001pv001 Posts: 3
    The code was something to do with cellonoid (Spell??) PC165??. AAMCO opened up the transmission and they said it was shot. Apparently something had clogged up and the transmission fluid was not being circulated (did not go back and forth from the external cooler?) and got burnt up. AAMCO quoted me the same as Toyota Dealer ($4550) to rebuild the transmission since they said a lot of parts have to be replaced along with the external cooler which it self is nearly $400. I have no choice now because if I pull out the car from AAMCO I have to pay $785 for the labor so far. And then I have to take it to the dealer and get it fixed. I went ahead and asked AAMCO to fix it. They matched the dealer warranty (1 year, unlimited miles). I asked for 3 year, 50,000 miles but they would not agree for that. So, so far in three months since I bought my 2000 RX300 I have (would have spent) $5,227 and I had paid $12,000 for the car. So, brand new cost, $17,227 for a used 2000 RX300 with 85,000 miles and I am not sure what is next? The 90,000 miles service will come up (if this car runs until then!).

    I will check in the knock sensor code and see if it also was listed. Thanks for your advice.

    Sorry to say this, but nothing but bad luck so far. Hope you guys understand my frustration!!!
  • I have a 1999 RX300, all maintenance was done. At 75,000 tne transmission had to be replaced. $4500.00 later and although the dealer stepped up to 10% off. Lexus says nothing. I am still waiting foir a call back from their DEpt Specialist to respond. Any suggestions? :sick:
  • I got my RX300 1999 with 103,000 of mileage. I didn`t really pay much attention to some delay when on reverse after having warmed up and some delay when shifting from 2 to 3. Now it doesn`t shift to 3 at all, so I have to drive at DR2 fixed. But the reverse hardly moves the car now and the engine revves up. So in the transmission shop here in Brooklyn NY, they said it would cost me 2500 plus tax, wich comes to 2700 fixed to a new condition. Which is a good deal after I read all of these posts. I was advised not to buy one used on-line myself, since there is no guarantee it has a mileage they say it has, and that it`s in a perfect working order. So I have to shell out and have it fixed in a russian transmission shop. Oh, also, the engine light came on and after having been coded it said-the solenoid B malfunction, so the mechanic said it might solve the problem. I got it replaced for 470$$, but nothing has changed. Not it adds up to another 2700$. I checked on-line searching for a used tranny and was shocked-how much cheaper other trannyes were compared to Lexus RX300. Even Acura MDX`s cost 1500$$ straight up compared to 2500 of Lexus. And for that price there is no guarantee it`s gonna work as new. They say they provide a carfax report, but I think that`s a big deception, a trick to get me pay. How can it be only 30k of mileage? What, it`s been sitting on a shelf waiting for me in the recycling shop all these years??? I strongly doubt it.
  • Actually cheaper in Southern CA! $1500 for a new tranny from the dealer.... Lexus made me :)
  • ktcktc Posts: 30
    I have a 2001 RX300, I used to take some long trips and flushed all transmission fluid at a Toyota dealer at 40,000 miles odometer. After that I used my new Chevy Malibu Maxx for long trips (much better highway mileage than RX300), and wife drives RX every day for local commute, typically 7 mile each way. I lived in Portland, OR so the weather is not hot generally. In this case with all the short drive, does the transmission fluid still get overheat? Maybe WWEST has some insight on this? :confuse: Thanks.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You asked this the day before its 100F in Portland??

    Every oil change I'm watching the color, clarity and odor of my 2001 AWD RX300, I expect that at 80,000 miles it will again be dirty and burned as it was at 40,000 miles.

    Our commute is also 7 miles each way on the Seattle eastside (97F today?) but rarely any serious traffic to contend with.
  • ktcktc Posts: 30
    Thanks, WWEST,

    My 2001 RX300 is approaching 60,000, so I guess I better change all transmission fluid every 20,000 miles.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    While I fully intend to change mine as soon as it starts looking and smelling burnt I'm fairly certain that doing so will only delay the eventual failure, PREMATURE failure, since changing the fluid out does not address the actual causative factor.

    What is going on inside our transaxles that results in the ATF being overheated?

    My guess is the same as the reason for the 1-2 second delay/hesitation in later DBW RXes. In our case the engine is able to develop a significant level of torque before the transaxle fully completes the downshift required when we return to acceleration shortly, QUICKLY, after a lift-throttle event.

    At certain roadspeeds, approximately 40-30 & 10-0, the RX300 shift pattern calls for an UPSHIFT upon a lift-throttle event. I suspect that once that upshift begins if you now quickly return to acceleration mode, with the engine now at idle, there will be insufficiant ATF pressure to support the following, REQUIRED, downshift.

    Resulting in severe slipping of the not-yet-fully-seated downshifting clutches and thereby overheating of the ATF.
  • slandyslandy Posts: 46
    Well here is the latest of my tranny problem. To get yall updated, my 01 AWD tranny failed at 160k miles. Independant shop replaced it. Ever since they replaced it the engine light is on. Code for solenoid E malfunction. They have replaced the valve body, etc and it still wont go off. The tranny runs fine. I am lost as too what to do next. I am so tired of leaving my car there for 2 weeks and nothing getting done. I guess I cant complain, this is the only problem I have had with this car. It now has 205K miles on it. Not even a light bulb has gone out on this car, just tranny problems.
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