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daxterec

Rx300 Auto Transmission Fluid, When to change?

88 posts in this topic

I personally will NEVER buy another Toyota product. My RX300 has had minor problems popping up more and more frequently. Luckily I haven't had any of the transmission probs (yet).

I have decided to buy an Acura TL, possibly a Type S. I knew they had a history of transmission problems as well. After researching, I found that Honda is offering a 100k mile, unlimited year warranty on transmission failure. Full coverage, parts and labor included.

Toyota will not even acknowledge a transmission issue. Honda has stepped to the plate and admitted their mistake. They are covering 100%. AND, from what I've read, trans problems are more prevalent in Lexus vehicles. Yet they STILL turn their heads to the issue.

As far as I am concerned, as soon as I sell/trade/burn my RX, Toyota is dead to me.

Consumer Reports continues to drool all over Lexus'. What they need to remember is that what works exemplary when new may be a rolling pile of attractive s**t at 60k+ mileage!!!!

I wish nothing but the best of luck to all Lexus owners, but to me, they are high-priced garbage. And I have a RX and an ES to back that up.

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I just had my transmission flushed at a Toyota Dealership. They used ATF Type IV - 16 gallons. I notice my transmission runs smoother, and no problems yet. 61K miles and going strong. I checked the fluid when i got home and it's nice and pink.

I am not sure what good a drain and fill would do if you are only changing 4 gallons of the ATF when there is about 16 total gallons in the system. I've had a mazda and had to replace the transmission twice. I am taking no chances with this one.

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I am not sure what good a drain and fill would do if you are only changing 4 gallons of the ATF when there is about 16 total gallons in the system.

Today lenore told us that the fluid capacity of the RX AWD transmission is 9.8 quarts and wwest told us that if both the transmission oil pan and differential drain plugs are removed, 5.0 quarts of fluid are needed to refill the tranny & differential. Therefore one drain and refill replaces about half the fluid.

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That's the whole point. It doesn't make a bit of sense to mix half old, dirty fluid with half clean fluid. It's like changing half your motor oil every 3k. How long would an engine last doing that??? The properties of synthetic motor oil breaks down after a certain duration of time from the constant high temps.. Obviously the synthetic transmisson fluid does the same.

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That's the whole point. It doesn't make a bit of sense to mix half old, dirty fluid with half clean fluid. It's like changing half your motor oil every 3k. How long would an engine last doing that??? The properties of synthetic motor oil breaks down after a certain duration of time from the constant high temps.. Obviously the synthetic transmisson fluid does the same.

Mercedes has a drain plug on their torque converters. How brilliant, I guess that is unusuall though. When I used to drain the fluid on the Mercedes I used to get about 3 quarts.

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Mercedes has a drain plug on their torque converters. How brilliant, I guess that is unusuall though.

But do Mercedes automatic transmissions last 450,000 miles? For 30 years Toyota has offered automatics that have lasted that long when the owner just periodically replaced the 2-3 quarts in the transmission oil pan. On this forum Bicolini has a troublefree 438,000 mile Toyota 4-speed automatic and here is another 440,000 mile owner testimonial: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y189/mastertech/475.jpg

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I am not sure what good a drain and fill would do if you are only changing 4 gallons of the ATF when there is about 16 total gallons in the system.

Today lenore told us that the fluid capacity of the RX AWD transmission is 9.8 quarts and wwest told us that if both the transmission oil pan and differential drain plugs are removed, 5.0 quarts of fluid are needed to refill the tranny & differential. Therefore one drain and refill replaces about half the fluid.

I have a 1999 RX300 AWD, and I'm confused here.

If I refill T-IV ATF at the tranny and differential this way (and using about 5.0 quarts) then, in the front of the car (not in the rear though), there is still another area called "transfer case" (or "front differential") that needs to have a fluid change too, using gear oil GL5 (the same gear oil for the rear differential)?

Please clarify this for me.

Thanks

Edited by lsrxlex

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Yes the front differential and rear differential use GL5 standard gear oil. I switched to synthetic myself. the transmission has a transfer case which gives drive to the front differential which provides power to the rear drive shaft. both the front and rear differential uses 1.9 pints fluid ( about a little less than a quart) So you would need two quarts to do both front and rear.

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Well as of today I have only 8 people on my list for transmission failures with another couple that I know personally. The list is growing but quite slowly, but on the internet their are a lot of different folks that have experienced the RX300 dreaded tranny failure. Lexus is not willing to back this product, and I dont see them doing so in the future. Many of these 8 folks are ready for a class action lawsuit to apply pressure, but I dont know how that is started and have never participated in one. Time will tell. Make sure you continue to file your complaints with the NHTS board and Lexus of America. Thank you Thomas Keen

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16 qts!? Are you sure? The old fluid in my car is black and a little thick. 4 qts of new fluid is not enough then. I don't want to flush it (bcs I heard bad news on flushing). I may need to drain it in a few days again. Right?

I'm positively sure. I just had mine flushed about a month ago and the fluid looks like new, pinkish in color. I did some pretty extensive research on this matter and found that the only way to completely change the transmission fluid is to have it flushed. Not only does this completely replace the existing fluid, but also cleans the wire mesh filter inside the transmission. Make sure you replace the fluid with the right type of fluid which is clearly marked at the top of the dipstick. You should also have your differential and transfer case gear oil drained and replaced every 30k mi.

The reason your transmission fluid looks dark is because you've just been having a portion of the fluid drained out and new fluid added. The new fluid just mixes in with the dirty fluid, so your fluid just keeps getting dirtier and dirtier. Any qualified mechanic will tell you that the drain and fill performed by Lexus and Toyota is useless and a waste of money. I take my cars to a place called Mostly Toyotas and they say that they haven't had any problems with the cars they have flushed. They 100%, absolutely recommend flushing the transmission every 30kmi.

I had my local Toyota dealer flush and fill. It was called a BG machine flush. It took 12 qts and cost $125.00 parts and labor. I plan on having it done every 15,000 miles. I know it was done right and with the correct ATF. I'll pay the $125 every 15,000 but do not want to pay the $4,000. plus for a new trans.

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This a an interesting thread, and not because I have just started to experience a split-second hesitation when moving the gearshift from P or N to either R or D, when the engine/transmission is cold. By cold, I mean parked for more than a couple of hours.

If someone knows about this behavior, please let me know what I'm in for. I am going to 'schedule' a visit with the dealer this week, though being in Lost Wages, I'm leery to have pretty much anything done here. Highly transient populations will make you more than a bit paranoid about someone doing something correctly, as they may be gone in 10 days.

Funny someone mentioned Mercedes torque converters having a drain plug, as more vehicles used to have these. I fully understand the logic of not 'flushing', as in reverse flushing, 'cause if you've seen an engine oil pump screen, you'll understand why. Keep the bad things trapped where they are, they're not going anywhere if you leave 'em alone.

Back to the Mercedes. My wife had an '81 240D from new, and the odometer stopped working at around 170K miles. She drove it for another 8-10 years, and that transmission, the car in general, was pretty much indestructable. You could even push-start the diesel using the automatic, if you got it going fast enough, and the directions were given in the owner's manual.

I'm actually happy the torque converter anti-drain back valve in our motorhome's Allison 4-speed trash truck transmission has failed. There was a recall on it, but this way, I can drain 90% of the 5W-30 engine oil which it uses.

16 quarts... Pffft. The Allison takes 4 *gallons*. Granted, I use synthetic diesel oil, but still, you ought to try finding a drain pan which will catch that much.

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I had my local Toyota dealer flush and fill. It was called a BG machine flush. It took 12 qts and cost $125.00 parts and labor. I plan on having it done every 15,000 miles. I know it was done right and with the correct ATF. I'll pay the $125 every 15,000 but do not want to pay the $4,000. plus for a new trans.

Just curious, what Toyota dealer in NJ did you use that had a flush machine? Most Toyota and Lexus dealers seem to be offering drain and fill only.

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I had my local Toyota dealer flush and fill. It was called a BG machine flush. It took 12 qts and cost $125.00 parts and labor. I plan on having it done every 15,000 miles. I know it was done right and with the correct ATF. I'll pay the $125 every 15,000 but do not want to pay the $4,000. plus for a new trans.

Just curious, what Toyota dealer in NJ did you use that had a flush machine? Most Toyota and Lexus dealers seem to be offering drain and fill only.

James Toyota in Flemington. I've been happy with their service overall. They recommended the flush but would have done just a drain and fill if thats what I wanted.

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Interesting, for some reason Lexus is not getting on the bandwagon with these transmission flushes. I did a search for locations with BG flush machines within a 50 mile radius (which includes a lot of Lexus dealers in NJ, NY and PA). There were over 500 locations with a BG machine. Many of these were Toyota dealers. There were no Lexus dealers with a transmission flush machine. A few Lexus dealers did have BG machines but only for coolant and/or fuel.

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I use the drain and fill method, started at 50,000 miles, the first drain was brownish in color, i kept a small sample of fluid in a clear bottle, i filled with 4 qts type IV fluid and drove the rx for a week, did another drain and fill, and kept another sample, looks much more red, no brown at all. drove 1000 miles and did a tranny filter change, this procedure is very simple, there are posts on how to do. another small sample taken and looked very good, almost good as new, when compared to new sample. i now have 84000 miles on my 2000 awd rx with drain and fills repeated every 15,000 miles, latest was last week and the tranny fluid was slightly darker than new. this process works for me.

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Typically all you are doing is draining out the pan and the ensuing lines. You aren't getting all of that in the torque converter and the cooler. Other discussion boards for other brands suggest draining your trans pan and driving it for 100 or so miles. At your next convenient time, do another drain. Drive for another 100 miles or say and do a third drain. Just by the law of averaging you will have changed most of your fluid out. Somebody else suggesting removing the line going to the transmission cooler and let the trans pump it out. I couldn't bring myself to do it this way though.

Gary

'05 330 just about ready for its first change at 30000 miles.

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I went to a shop that specializes in Toyota/Lexus and they did a flush on 2004 RX330. At the time, it had 62,000 miles on it and it currently has 75,100 miles. The flush ended up using 14 quarts of T-IV to get the system with fresh fluid.

I have heard of horror stories when people don't change their ATF until 100,000 miles and then they flush it, but in my experience (on our both 99 ES300 and 04 RX330), as long as you do it every 60,000, the flush seems to be fine.

YMMV.

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Could any one advsie me on the recommended mileage or period to change the auto trans fluid of my RX300? Bought it new July2002. Manual says no change unless used under heavy duty, so rather confused?

Replacing the fluid prior to 30 K is extreme overkill. I've been working on trannys for years and VERY RARELY do you see and distinct build up within the fluids before 25 or 30 K. DO NOT change the fluid every 15 - 20 K UNLESS you are doing CONSTANT stop and go driving.

Note, unless you have a flush machine, just draining the fluid from the pan will not cycle out the entire amount of fluid.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you have note EVER changed your fluid and you have high milage, you are possibly doing yourself a dis-service by changing the fluid....WHY you ask.....the particles from the clutch plate in the worn transmission and transmission fluid ACTUALLY ADD to the friction needed during shifting. When you add fresh fluid, the worn particles from the plates are drained and the plates begin to slip little by little as the NEW fluid acts more as a lubricator compared to the older fluid with the loose particles in it.......BUT IT IS ALWAYS reccomended to change fluid on a regular interval basis from the begining of ownership.......problems can arise though if this has never been done due to the clutch plates being worn due to particle erosion in the tranny, ironicly this erosion actually aids the clutch plates over time....the trick is to keep the fluid fresh enough to not allow particle build up which will wear down the clutch plates to begin with. A friend just replaced my tranny in his 99 RX shortly after changing the fluid, which he never maintained......I told him it would happen and he didn't believe me (he had over 100K on it).

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However if you do commutes that envolve a great deal of city driving and in the heat of summer, these trannys suck....The cooler is located in the wheel well with poor cross ventalation. I am planning to move the cooler to the front of the vehicle where it can be effective. The tranny in overddrive is constantly searching for top gear below 40 miles per hour even in commute traffic. poor design and poor ecu design.

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oh goodness.. i just bought a 2001 lexus rx300 with 90,000 miles on.. the transmission fluid looks like it's never been changed. i'm going on a roadtrip next week and was planning on having the transmission flushed prior. would it be safer to just have the fluid changed? i was going to have it flushed somewhere other than the lexus dealership.. now i'm considering paying the extra $$$.

any advice would be much appreciated!

heidi :)

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Hi all, I was wondering how much insurance coverage is reasonable, I looked over my policy carefully and the liability for bodily injury is $25k per person and max. $50k per incident. Property damage is $50k per incident.

I have been having this coverage on all of my cars for years, this is what my agent put in for me.

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I have a 2000 RX300 AWD and the Lexus dealer suggests a total drain and flush every 30,000 miles for about $300 and a half drain and refill (4 quarts) in between the total flushes. The half drain is $150 at the dealer. I find the dealer prices and recommendations to be outrageous.

The local Quicklube will do a flush for $80 with Valvoline transmission fluid and the proper additives to bring it up to Lexus specs. I question whether they can do it right that way and the Valvoline web site does not suggest a transmission flush for the Lexus. The Lexus dealer charges over $10/quart and $450 per 30,000 miles for their recommended transmission maintenance.

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I have a 2000 RX300 AWD and the Lexus dealer suggests a total drain and flush every 30,000 miles for about $300 and a half drain and refill (4 quarts) in between the total flushes. The half drain is $150 at the dealer. I find the dealer prices and recommendations to be outrageous.

The local Quicklube will do a flush for $80 with Valvoline transmission fluid and the proper additives to bring it up to Lexus specs. I question whether they can do it right that way and the Valvoline web site does not suggest a transmission flush for the Lexus. The Lexus dealer charges over $10/quart and $450 per 30,000 miles for their recommended transmission maintenance.

The fluid is $5.00 a quart at toyota dealerships. The only alternative is Amsoil, however somewhere somebody found other alternatives, but I cant find them. Definetly do not have Quicklube do your flush, Get a 10 mm allen wrench or socket allen and change it yourself. Drain and refill with 4.2 quarts by dropping the fluid from the tranny pan and the transaxle. Both require the 10mm allen. get a funnel that fits the dipstick and refill and you are done... $25 bucks top... do it again in a week and a third time a week later. The fluid should return to its pink/red brightness. It is not that difficult.... then change the fluid once a year or every 15k miles.

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lenore:

I did as you said........you know the drain and fill must help.......there can not be a debate on this....first, yes your not pulling out all the old oil.......but your adding good to make a improved ratio. Do this three times at appox 4 quarts times 3 equals 12 quarts........go buy 13 quarts at $5.00/each equals 65 bucks BIG DEAL........do it every 30k and the tranny should last........its when you never touch the tranny for 100k that bites ya. This is where Lexus has let us down.

oh BTW.....becareful about taking the plug off/on.......last time I didn't have it torqued all the way and leaked. How tight do you toque it IF I don't have a torque wrench?

bill

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