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tslex

Transmission Problems/failures with RX300 awd/fwd

544 posts in this topic

I RECENTLY TOOK MY CAR IN AND FOUND OUT THAT MY TRANSMISSION HAD GONE OUT ONLY AFTER 89,000 MILES AND WOULD BE $5,000-$6,000 TO REPLACE NEW AND $3,500 FOR USED. AFTER RESEARCHING ABOUT THE LEXUS RX300 1999 MODEL I AM FINDING OUT THERE ARE SEVERAL PROBLEMS WITH THIS VEHICLES TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN. I AM JUST WONDERING IF THIS PROBLEM OCCURS MORE THAN IT SHOULD WITH OTHERS WITH THIS PARTICULAR MODEL?

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I RECENTLY TOOK MY CAR IN AND FOUND OUT THAT MY TRANSMISSION HAD GONE OUT ONLY AFTER 89,000 MILES AND WOULD BE $5,000-$6,000 TO REPLACE NEW AND $3,500 FOR USED. AFTER RESEARCHING ABOUT THE LEXUS RX300 1999 MODEL I AM FINDING OUT THERE ARE SEVERAL PROBLEMS WITH THIS VEHICLES TRANSMISSION AND DRIVE TRAIN. I AM JUST WONDERING IF THIS PROBLEM OCCURS MORE THAN IT SHOULD WITH OTHERS WITH THIS PARTICULAR MODEL?

Common problem. Do a search on "transmission" here and over at Club Lexus for info. Your transmission is not your only problem, your caps lock button is stuck.

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also as you read some of the repair posts, you will see that some people had help with lexus with the repair bill. if you have a good relationship with your dealer and a service history there you may get them to comp the labor and pay for only the part or vice versa. its worth a try and you wont know until you ask.

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lol ive always said the the transmissions are not the same on these japanese cars as they are in german cars. lol...so many problems with everyone model...even more risky to make an 8speed on the new LS

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To Teslex

The transmission problems you are having with your rx300 seems to be all to common....you did not list the symptoms or problems of the transmission.....

I have a 99 rx300 awd it now has 110k on it but at the 80k mark I began having transmission trouble I was told the same as you 4500 to5000 dollars to replace it .....I thought this is rediculous for this vehicle this is a Lexus the transmission shud never give us this kind of problem... after a lot a research and trying a few different avenues this is what I found....

If your symptoms are neutralizing, it is in drive or reverse yet acts like it is in neutral..... most likely the screen filter is clogged......if you dont mind getting under you vehicle and getting alittle dirty you can drop your own fluid and clean the screen yourself and replace with new fluid....note the dealer charges about 300 dollars to do this they will also flush out all the old fluid which is about 15 qts......when I did this it was good for about 8 to 10

thousand miles and my rx started doing the same thing again....what was happening is the metal clutches were not getting the proper lubrication and the torque converter was not either.....so I had the dealer flush the transmission again and clean the screen filter and this time when I had them replace the fluid I added a product called TRANSMATIC this product thins the transmission fluid to help it get to the critical parts it should. So far

I must say my transmission shifts like it was new.....

Now I admit we should never have had this problem until after many more miles but we have it and I hope this helps you and others out there....good luck..

roanokebarry

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I have a 1999 Lexus RX 300, and have had about 71K miles on it, and recently had the car breakdown about 240 miles away from my home. My car would shift to neutral gear at speeds higher than 45 mph, requiring me to turn the ignition off and back on to drive ( only at lower speeds). Any one seen this? The local dealer at the place where my car broke down wants to replace the entire transmission for 4K!!

We were not too sure about the cost and timeframe she proposed, and got it towed to our city for our local dealer and Lexus cust service to take a look at. I am surprised to see that RX300 had so many transmission issues, and am hoping Lexus will take a look at all the anguish the owners are experiencing and take some positive action.

Has anyone lodged official complaints with Lexus customer service, and how was the response? I Have reseacrhed on the net and saw many complaining about transmission issues with '99 RX. Shouldn't this be a recall? I was a die-hard Lexus fan, but now I am very disappointed with the transmission dying so early.

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I have a 1999 Lexus RX 300, and have had about 71K miles on it, and recently had the car breakdown about 240 miles away from my home. My car would shift to neutral gear at speeds higher than 45 mph, requiring me to turn the ignition off and back on to drive ( only at lower speeds). Any one seen this? The local dealer at the place where my car broke down wants to replace the entire transmission for 4K!!

We were not too sure about the cost and timeframe she proposed, and got it towed to our city for our local dealer and Lexus cust service to take a look at. I am surprised to see that RX300 had so many transmission issues, and am hoping Lexus will take a look at all the anguish the owners are experiencing and take some positive action.

Has anyone lodged official complaints with Lexus customer service, and how was the response? I Have reseacrhed on the net and saw many complaining about transmission issues with '99 RX. Shouldn't this be a recall? I was a die-hard Lexus fan, but now I am very disappointed with the transmission dying so early.

As of 2004 the RX330 uses DBW, e-throttle, to prevent the engine RPM from rising, regardless of accelerator pedal position, while the transaxle is changing gears. With the advent of the RX300 Lexus began using a few new techiniques to improve FE in the range of 9.8%

Those techniques involved quicker, earlier upshifts, use of the O/D lockup clutch in lower gear ratios, and lastly, shifting into neutral as you coast down to a stop and then only shifting into 1st after coming to a full stop. Given that all this often resulted in the transaxle being in the wrong gear when/if the driver suddenly decided to go from coastdown to acceleration, or from low speed cruising to accleration, the likely result was a doubling of wear rate of the transacxle's clutches.

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I have a 1999 Lexus RX 300, and have had about 71K miles on it, and recently had the car breakdown about 240 miles away from my home. My car would shift to neutral gear at speeds higher than 45 mph, requiring me to turn the ignition off and back on to drive ( only at lower speeds). Any one seen this? The local dealer at the place where my car broke down wants to replace the entire transmission for 4K!!

We were not too sure about the cost and timeframe she proposed, and got it towed to our city for our local dealer and Lexus cust service to take a look at. I am surprised to see that RX300 had so many transmission issues, and am hoping Lexus will take a look at all the anguish the owners are experiencing and take some positive action.

Has anyone lodged official complaints with Lexus customer service, and how was the response? I Have reseacrhed on the net and saw many complaining about transmission issues with '99 RX. Shouldn't this be a recall? I was a die-hard Lexus fan, but now I am very disappointed with the transmission dying so early.

Rather than repeat my thousands of words on this subject go to the RX300 Forum and type transmission. You will find a lot from RX NC and Lenore (Me) Lexus of America could give a damn about your satisfaction or dissatisfaction on this problem. I Wrote 5 pages of explanation why they should recall and support their product and all they would say is too bad, its past warranty, and basically suck it up. I personally am disgusted with Lexus, and will never buy again, I have played phone tag and been thoroughly messed up by the dealership ( Roseville Lexus) the worst dealership on the face of earth. I am on my third tranny and the damage done by the dealership installing them was beyond belief. Good Luck

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I have a 1999 Lexus RX 300, and have had about 71K miles on it, and recently had the car breakdown about 240 miles away from my home. My car would shift to neutral gear at speeds higher than 45 mph, requiring me to turn the ignition off and back on to drive ( only at lower speeds). Any one seen this? The local dealer at the place where my car broke down wants to replace the entire transmission for 4K!!

We were not too sure about the cost and timeframe she proposed, and got it towed to our city for our local dealer and Lexus cust service to take a look at. I am surprised to see that RX300 had so many transmission issues, and am hoping Lexus will take a look at all the anguish the owners are experiencing and take some positive action.

Has anyone lodged official complaints with Lexus customer service, and how was the response? I Have reseacrhed on the net and saw many complaining about transmission issues with '99 RX. Shouldn't this be a recall? I was a die-hard Lexus fan, but now I am very disappointed with the transmission dying so early.

Rather than repeat my thousands of words on this subject go to the RX300 Forum and type transmission. You will find a lot from RX NC and Lenore (Me) Lexus of America could give a damn about your satisfaction or dissatisfaction on this problem. I Wrote 5 pages of explanation why they should recall and support their product and all they would say is too bad, its past warranty, and basically suck it up. I personally am disgusted with Lexus, and will never buy again, I have played phone tag and been thoroughly messed up by the dealership ( Roseville Lexus) the worst dealership on the face of earth. I am on my third tranny and the damage done by the dealership installing them was beyond belief. Good Luck

I respectfuly disagree. Lexus of Wilmington, DE is the worst dealership on the face of the earth. I have bought two new vehicles from them - 95 LS400 and 99 RX300. I won't bore you with the details, but both vehicles sucked and the dealership is pathetic. Ironically, I still believe deeply in Toyota as I now drive a 99 Avalon while my wife still drives the RX. I think that Lexus is just an overpriced Toyota and the "relentless pursuit of quality" is a freaking joke. Yes, I get free coffee and a fresh rose, but the Lexus dealerships & mechanics I have seen are no better than any other dealership. I could tell you many stories, but the one I like best is when I had the RX in for the free 1k oil change and they put three deep two foot long scrathes on the hood. They denied doing it and said "we can't prove you did it and you can't prove we did it." They offered to have my hood clear coated and split the cost. I told them to go screw themselves.

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Lenore - you are right. Lexus is just not the company that backs up their product - the little hope that I had and expected with a luxury car and Toyota as a brand is gone!!!!! I am so *BLEEP*ed having to go from one customer service person to another.

And they wouldn't reimburse me because the last service was done at another service center than Lexus dealer. Ridiculous reason, as this is not a question of warrnty. This is a question of quality that went wrong. A design that was flawed.

They just lost one of their very faithful customers, and hopefully many more if I can tell my friends of all the crap I dealt with.

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I have thought about this for a year and a half, It is too bad that we owners with the failed trannys could'nt get together and get a true feel for the number of failures. I was going to write a questionare up and every time I saw a RX300 in a parking lot I was going to leave one on their windshield to contact me and give me any feedback on transmission problems or failures with their car and join me in assaulting Lexus of America to try and get some response back other than sorry, its past warranty. They know they have a problem and will not address it, unlike Honda/Accura which recalled their failures on the Odessey and MDX showing that they are truely a company that believes in customer satisfaction. I am sorry your dealership measures up to the Roseville Lexus Standards which is right below Bull Crap. If anybody wants to Email me at tskeen@surewest.net with their car and particulars concerning the transmission I will compile a list and see just how bad it is and submitt it again to Lexus of America. What a cheap !Removed! bunch of American/Toyota /Lexus liars. It makes me sick everytime some one new comes on the site with the same results that many of us have experienced. Tranny failures at less than 100k miles is rediculuous with the engineering that is available today. But not standing behind your product is criminal inlight of selling John Q. Public that they are the premium company, and elite product compared to the rest out there. I have lots of time to fight this, but one voice is not enough. Not servicing at Lexus is no excuse for early failure, and besides it is against the law to demand that. Good morning and best of luck to all of you.

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Anyone else find it odd that in the Consumer Reports annual car realibility survey the 00 through 03 RX receive the highest possible rating in the transmission catagory?

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I feel exactly like that. I want to talk to more and more RX owners, and make sure this issue with their Gen One model is known to all customers and fight this out with Lexus.

We should start a campaign similar to what Acura and Honda customers did. One other place I will place my review is autos.msn.com.

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I would support any campaign to fight Lexus on the transmission issues. They need to hear it collectively from all of the owners of the failied trannys. I know I submitted complete dissatisfaction with consummers reports in their annual survey, but maybe there are not that many owners that do Consumers Reports.

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I drive by a couple transmission shops every day, and judging from the number of newer cars outside, I would say that there are many makes and models of cars that experience premature transmission failure. The number one reason being that most people never have their transmission serviced until it fails. That's a fact.

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I understand, but why is it that some of the trannys in many American cars and trucks and Nissans seems to go forever without any intervention of changes at 15k miles? I am telling you Lexus has a engineering flaw in their designs, for whatever reason. You would think after building such nice cars that the transmission would have the same reliability as the engine. What gives?

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I drive by a couple transmission shops every day, and judging from the number of newer cars outside, I would say that there are many makes and models of cars that experience premature transmission failure. The number one reason being that most people never have their transmission serviced until it fails. That's a fact.

Unless there is daily "rough" useage, a design or manufacturing flaw in a modern day automotive transaxle/transmission there will be absolutely no reason to "service" the transaxle or transmission in less than 100,000 miles.

And that's a FACT gleamed from over 55 years of driving and DIY experience.

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I agree totolly with you West. And that is why Lexus is deficient in their design. What a wonderful company, they find their flaw and change it in the RX330 but refuse to admit any flaw in the RX300.

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I drive by a couple transmission shops every day, and judging from the number of newer cars outside, I would say that there are many makes and models of cars that experience premature transmission failure. The number one reason being that most people never have their transmission serviced until it fails. That's a fact.

The demographics of the surrounding neighborhood determine where that transmission shop is located. So yes, anywhere you see a transmission shop you are highly likely to see a number of newer cars outside. The only conclusion one should draw from that is that the owner was very astute in choosing the location for the shop.

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I definitely support all of you in the fight against Lexus regardig your trans failures but I'm wondering what the numers of failures are percentage wise on 1st gen RX's? I'm guessing we hear of a fair amount of failures here on the list because its the first (and natural) inclination when facing a problem: See if someone else has experienced the problem as well.

Let me say right now that I really do believe there is some kind of problem with these transmissions, the key would be to figure out what brings out the problem with some and not others. To boot , my money's not on frequent changes of trans fluid! Mine hasn't been changed in 40k miles (although it will be very soon) and I only did it once before that. It still runs great with no problems at all (LOUD knocking on wood there!) . Moreover on this list I've read accounts of people who do frequent changes still having failures. There's got to be some key connection between the failures, driving style, driving conditions, climate, build date or location??

You could really make a heck of a case to Lexus with some imperical data like that.

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I don't believe that driving style is a major factor in some of these RX300 transmission failures. My wife is among the most conservative drivers you'll ever encounter out there on the roads, yet her transmission failed at only 48,000 miles.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I'm an aggressive, fast driver and tend to select primary vehicles that match my style in terms of horsepower and suspension capability, yet I've never had a transmission fail me in more than 36 years of driving. I kept one of my vehicles for over 16 years and 250,000 miles. The transmission never even burped and I changed the fluid perhaps three times, total, in that vehicle.

There are definitely design flaws buried in these RX transmissions. Some attribute it to excessive clutch and band wear, some attribute it to poor fluid cooling capability, some attribute it to a combination of the two. Lexus Corporate continues to bury their heads in the sand regarding this issue and pretend that all is rosy.

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[There are definitely design flaws buried in these RX transmissions. Some attribute it to excessive clutch and band wear, some attribute it to poor fluid cooling capability, some attribute it to a combination of the two.

OK but what is it that causes those things to fail in some but not others? I'm probably more agressive than the average Lexus driver but not really bad (compared to most of the other So Cal drivers) and I do tend to drive a bit more than average 16-17k a year with a good bit of city driving. While I dont tow a trailer or sport one of those big toy-boxes on the roof, I'd say my RX gets at least an average workout. The only maintenace I'm very meticlous about is oil-changes, do them myself every 4k with syn oil. Biq question is, whats different about my RX than those that have failed tranny's. Of course, if we knew that we wouldnt be talking about it , right?

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OK but what is it that causes those things to fail in some but not others?

My belief, based on 33 years of Toyota specific automatic transmission experience, is that failures would be zero if owners drained and refilled the 4.9 quarts of fluid in the transmission oil pan and differential every 15,000 miles AND removed the transmission oil pan every 2nd or 3rd pan drain to check the filter screen for signs of clogging.

In other words, I believe an RX AWD transmission that is always properly lubricated with fresh fluid AND never suffers from lubrication starvation due to a blocked filter screen will survive 300,000+ miles because wear of the internally lubricated transmission parts will be minimized.

I believe the internally lubricated transmission parts of the AWD transmission are the same design and quality as the FWD transmission and therefore have the same durability potential IF, and that's a BIG IF, kept lubricated with fresh fluid. More frequent fluid changes appear to be necessary on the AWD model because the fluid temperature appears to run hotter in some driving situations such as (apparently) when stuck in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic.

Historically, Toyota's AWD models (which date back to the late 1980's Camry and Corolla models) have needed more frequent transmission lube changes in order to = the durability of the FWD and RWD models.

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that may be true Monarch, but the fact is that other vehicles transmission are much more reliable without the frequency of 15k fluid changes, which if the vehicle had been sold with that definition of required tranny fluid change probably would never had made it to the market. Toyota/Lexus has a major problem when even 5, 10, 20, whatever number it be in percentage failures is occuring with fluid changes of even 30k miles which is what i was doing them at when my transmission failed. They have covered it up and the dealers and the owners book do not even agree on what the frequency should be, probably because Lexus knows they have a problem but are not willing to step up to the bat and support their product. It is because of this and Toyota's known reliability that when it does happen to us poor customers it is such a disaster in customer relations. I love my RX300, but hate Lexus and the tranmissions (two) that had to be put in my car. How sad, I turned in a MERCEDES because I felt Lexus was a superior product and would stand behind their product. Well They DO NOT. And their customer support folks at the 800 number are just pawns of somebody who will not give in to customer pressures. I have said this before and I will repeat it again, I will not give up this forum on this subject until Lexus relents and I have personally warned all potential buyers that they will not get the product that Lexus is trying to sell. Your continual support of toyota is admirable, but the support Lexus gives their customers sucks. Plain and simple they do not do what Honda and Accura do better. That is give customer satisfaction. For every *BLEEP*ed off customer I guarantee you they will loose ten potential customers. Lexus was the first toyota product I ever bought, and I am very dissappointed. Right fully so after spending $4300 dollars to replace the transmission which should never have failed at less than 100K miles and quite frankly should have gone at least 250k like most luxuary cars of that caliber. So there be it. Lenore (tom)

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[My belief, based on 33 years of Toyota specific automatic transmission experience, is that failures would be zero if owners drained and refilled the 4.9 quarts of fluid in the transmission oil pan and differential every 15,000 miles AND removed the transmission oil pan every 2nd or 3rd pan drain to check the filter screen for signs of clogging.

Seriously though,

15,000 is NOT a normal fluid change interval for an auto tranny of any manufacture. I certainly havent changed mine that often and would never expect to have to on any vehicle I owned. That is essentially the same as saying you should change your oil every 1500 miles! Thats not nomal, it may be what needs to be done (I doubt that too) but its not what would be expected of a vehicle of this caliber and cost.

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