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01 Rx300 Transmission Problem - Code 0770 Shift Solenoid Malfunction E


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#1 Lesley1020

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 08:34 PM

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and posting for some advice after reading through many of the (very helpful) threads.

About a week ago when my husband was out of town, when starting my RX300 (2001) I noticed what I can best describe as a "whirring" sound. No other symptoms when driving. Three days later, it seemed to struggle when shifting in lower gears. Yesterday morning it wouldn't reverse. I turned it off, back on again and it reversed no problem. Today, each time I drive it - shifting problems. At one point while I was driving around 45mph it was revving and seemed to be in a lower gear than it needed to be. Pulled over, turned it off, back on again and it was okay.

This evening, the check engine light came on. When my husband came home he used his code reading computer and it came up with Code 0770 - Shift solenoid malfunction E.

Earlier today, I called Lexus dealer locally and without seeing the car they told me I needed a new transmission, cost $4,000 + or pointed me to another transmission shop and said I could get a rebuild for around $2,000. I was in total shock, mainly because I know there is no way we can raise that kind of money immediately. My husband got laid off from his job of 10 yrs and only just started a new one.... medical bills etc etc... so we are torn as to what to do.

Relucant to drive it to the Amco transmission shop as I am afraid it will die completely...

However, since the code diagnosis 0770 and doing some research, it seems it's possible that replacing the shift solenoid would only run around the 500 mark.

Has anyone else run into this code and been able to simply replace the solenoid?

Thanks in advance for any responses.

Lesley

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#2 lenore

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Posted 07 May 2008 - 11:15 PM

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and posting for some advice after reading through many of the (very helpful) threads.

About a week ago when my husband was out of town, when starting my RX300 (2001) I noticed what I can best describe as a "whirring" sound. No other symptoms when driving. Three days later, it seemed to struggle when shifting in lower gears. Yesterday morning it wouldn't reverse. I turned it off, back on again and it reversed no problem. Today, each time I drive it - shifting problems. At one point while I was driving around 45mph it was revving and seemed to be in a lower gear than it needed to be. Pulled over, turned it off, back on again and it was okay.

This evening, the check engine light came on. When my husband came home he used his code reading computer and it came up with Code 0770 - Shift solenoid malfunction E.

Earlier today, I called Lexus dealer locally and without seeing the car they told me I needed a new transmission, cost $4,000 + or pointed me to another transmission shop and said I could get a rebuild for around $2,000. I was in total shock, mainly because I know there is no way we can raise that kind of money immediately. My husband got laid off from his job of 10 yrs and only just started a new one.... medical bills etc etc... so we are torn as to what to do.

Relucant to drive it to the Amco transmission shop as I am afraid it will die completely...

However, since the code diagnosis 0770 and doing some research, it seems it's possible that replacing the shift solenoid would only run around the 500 mark.

Has anyone else run into this code and been able to simply replace the solenoid?

Thanks in advance for any responses.

Lesley

I doubt, that the shift selonoid is the problem, I got the same code when my tranny failed. The Whirling noise is not good. However you could try swapping the speed sensors on the tranny to see if it will go into reverse. Removing the Air cleaner box will give you access to these parts and should be real cheap, just swap the two sensors and see if conditions change. My next question is did you have the Lexus serviced only at Lexus dealerships? If yes, than many on this site have received a good will replacement of the tranny or at least only been charge for the labor (around $1700) which would be a lot cheaper than the $4300 or more. I would call Lexus of America and ask for their assistance, you might be lucky or get the usual sorry its past warranty, eat it answer. Also file a complaint with the NHTSB online, you will need the vin number of the vehicle, We are trying to force the government to do a recall, probably wont happen unless every tranny failure gets reported. The shift solenoid not working is probably due to debris in the valve body, not allowing movement of the solenoid plunger. Many have reported major amounts of metal debris in the tranny pan when having the transmission problems, (mine did) and was probably the result of a planetary gear or bearing failure. If and when you do get it repaired give us feedback, and make sure to service the tranny every 15k miles with a drain and fill routine to alleviate further failures. Good luck, I am very sorry to hear of your disaster, been there and felt the same way. There are a lot of posts on this problem on the RX300 on this forum. If you want a good cry, read it and learn the misery. Sorry, again good luck.

#3 mikey00

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 07:39 AM

Definetly try swapping the 2 speed sensors, it fixed my problem. However don't just swap them, but also clean them while you have them out. The sensor removal is a pretty easy job and my cleaning just consisted of wiping with a q-tip.
I suspect these sensors have something to do with the large number of transmission failures. Once they get dirty the transmission starts to have the reverse problem and the 2nd to 3rd shift problem. If you catch it early enough and clean them you may save your trans. If you continue to drive your trans in this condition, you will eventually destroy it.

#4 Lesley1020

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 07:57 AM

Thanks for the advice! He is going to do that this evening. It only had a problem that one time with reverse though - it's been fine since then.

He did make it to work with this morning but its getting worse (thankfully work is only 5 mins away). He also bought new fluid etc and is going to do a flush and clean the filter off. We talked to a transmission shop recommended by the Lexus Service Manager (who denies any knowledge of ANY problem with the RX300 transmissions :rolleyes: ) who are willing to come and tow it for free to their shop and run a free diagnostic etc. tomorrow if the same problems continue. The whirring sound is intermittent today.

Thanks again!

#5 lenore

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 08:14 AM

Please dont do a flush, just a drain and fill, You could drop the tranny pan and see if there is metal in there. If there is, move to the next step. Some light debris on the magnets is normal. See this post for more info than you want to know, great pictures and what to expect:
http://www.clublexus...ad.php?t=220061

Make sure to use nothing other than Toyota Type IV fluid, there are no substitutes.

#6 Lesley1020

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 01:43 PM

[/quote]
My next question is did you have the Lexus serviced only at Lexus dealerships? If yes, than many on this site have received a good will replacement of the tranny or at least only been charge for the labor (around $1700) which would be a lot cheaper than the $4300 or more. I would call Lexus of America and ask for their assistance, you might be lucky or get the usual sorry its past warranty, eat it answer. Also file a complaint with the NHTSB online, you will need the vin number of the vehicle, We are trying to force the government to do a recall, probably wont happen unless every tranny failure gets reported. [/quote]

I did make an official complaint online as you suggested and I have informed 2 more people to do the same thing (I work in a hospital and word gets around, so far have run into 2 other nurses with the same problem.)

Also, I did not have the vehicle serviced at a Lexus dealership. It was always done timely by my husband or our local shop when he didn't have the time.

Lexus Memphis service manager told me he is completely unaware of any problems with this transmission in 99, 2000 or 2001 models and regardless of whether it was serviced there or not he would offer absolutely no discount.

Haven't called the Customer Care line yet. Will do that tomorrow if tonight's efforts fail.

#7 Lesley1020

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 09:43 PM

Please dont do a flush, just a drain and fill, You could drop the tranny pan and see if there is metal in there. If there is, move to the next step. Some light debris on the magnets is normal. See this post for more info than you want to know, great pictures and what to expect:
http://www.clublexus...ad.php?t=220061

Make sure to use nothing other than Toyota Type IV fluid, there are no substitutes.



Update: Did the drain and fill, changed filter/gasket, dropped the pan and there was some slight debris, nothing more. The whirring noise is completely gone, code 770 is gone. Just took it for a relatively short drive. Reverse is working and it's only lunging slightly between 2nd and 3rd now. Also noticed on the dash display, light does not display when it's in drive. All others work.

I'm relieved to see the code and the noise gone at least. Obviously still concerned about the lunging between 2nd and 3rd and I guess we wont be able to trade it in like that (and get a decent price anyway). I will get to the tranny shop at the weekend for a diagnostic and see what they say.

Thanks so much for your help!

T

#8 lenore

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 07:20 AM

Those speed sensors could still be your shift problem. Also dont forget to do additional drain and fill on the tranny fluid.

#9 mikey00

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 08:58 AM

I would definitely try those sensors on my own before I went to any "Trusted" transmission shop. Of course I don't have any facts but I would bet that 99.999% of cars diagnosed at a transmission shop need a rebuilt transmission. They are in business to make money and also to have satisfied customers. It hard to make either target by cleaning/swapping/replacing sensors that are questionable. Time is money. If you had a diagnostic code that indicated a sensor failure, that is a different story. You don't have a code, so we are dealing with questionable parts. The sensors list for about $100 each. So if a shop were to change both and also charge $100 to $200 labor and it did not fix the problem, you would not be happy.

#10 Lesley1020

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 12:24 PM

I would definitely try those sensors on my own before I went to any "Trusted" transmission shop. Of course I don't have any facts but I would bet that 99.999% of cars diagnosed at a transmission shop need a rebuilt transmission. They are in business to make money and also to have satisfied customers. It hard to make either target by cleaning/swapping/replacing sensors that are questionable. Time is money. If you had a diagnostic code that indicated a sensor failure, that is a different story. You don't have a code, so we are dealing with questionable parts. The sensors list for about $100 each. So if a shop were to change both and also charge $100 to $200 labor and it did not fix the problem, you would not be happy.


We were just talking about this, this morning and discussed the sensors. It got so late last night when we started this, it was too dark to do more than just the drain and fill etc.

So, we'll do as you suggest and try the sensors on Sunday. Do you still suggest switching them (wasn't sure, since the reverse problem is gone), or just cleaning them off with a qtip and then replacing them if that doesn't work?

Micah (my husband) has done all kinds of repairs on our vehicles through the years, but he is a little nervous of transmissions other than the basic maintenance... and we just weren't sure what to expect as far as how complex (if at all) this is and how long it will take etc.

Thanks again for your continued advice. This is a great place and we've found some wonderful tips on other more minor things regarding this vehicle which we would dearly like to keep if at all possible.

#11 mikey00

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 05:28 PM

It's really no harder than an oil and filter change. Maybe easier. I would swap the sensors as long as you have them out already. I only had the reverse problem. My logic in swapping them was that if a sensor was bad the symptom should change. But cleaning fixed my problem. I will list the steps from memory.
Remove air box top cover. You need to remove a couple of electrical plugs and 1 hose connection to do this.
Remove air filter media.
Remove 3 bolts at inside bottom of air box (note 1 is longer)
Loosen clamp, left side of air box.
Air Box can now lift out (notice grounding wire under front right bolt that grounds to trans)
1 sensor is directly under air box the other faces the battery at a 45 degree angle.
Remove the sensor electrical connector.
Remove the 12mm bolt that holds in the sensor.
Twist and lift the sensor (it is only an o ring holding it at this point)
You should find some metalic fuzz on the end of the magnetic sensor. Clean this off.
Lube the o ring with a little trans fluid and replace.
Reverse above steps to put back together.

Check this link out. Lexmex posted a picture of the sensor on a removed transmission. Also read my post at this link about different versions of this sensor.
http://www.clublexus...ad.php?t=354197

#12 jgr7

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 09:24 AM

I don't have to worry about this any more I hope as I traded my 2000 in for a 2008, but if it is this easy to clean these maybe it should be a job done more often by the home DIYer. I would have no problem doing this at the 20-30K tranny oil drain and refill. Just a suggestion to those that still are worried.

#13 Lesley1020

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 08:10 PM

I don't have to worry about this any more I hope as I traded my 2000 in for a 2008, but if it is this easy to clean these maybe it should be a job done more often by the home DIYer. I would have no problem doing this at the 20-30K tranny oil drain and refill. Just a suggestion to those that still are worried.


It was definitely easy to do! Unfortunately we are still having the 2nd/3rd problem, but it's not as bad and we're going to order the replacements tomorrow and get them put in ASAP.

Thanks again to all who responded and helped us!

#14 miller5

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 07:15 AM

I don't have to worry about this any more I hope as I traded my 2000 in for a 2008, but if it is this easy to clean these maybe it should be a job done more often by the home DIYer. I would have no problem doing this at the 20-30K tranny oil drain and refill. Just a suggestion to those that still are worried.


It was definitely easy to do! Unfortunately we are still having the 2nd/3rd problem, but it's not as bad and we're going to order the replacements tomorrow and get them put in ASAP.

Thanks again to all who responded and helped us!

What replacements did you order and how is the car running now?

#15 miller5

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 07:32 AM

I am new to this forum and am not quite sure how to post these things so bear with me ;)
My wife has a 200 RX 300 and a few months ago it wouldn't go into reverse either. It did it a few times with her and then stopped. I went and had the transmission flushed (not at a dealer) with the assurance and promise from the service tech that I wouldn't have any transmission problems because of the flush. This was done Back in May.
A few days ago I noticed that it would shift hard between 1st and 2nd gear before the engine got warmed up. After the engine warms up it shifts fine. Then yesterday it slipped slightly (again when cold). The check engine light also came on for @ 5 minutes then it went off (wasn't flashing). I have a mechanic friend who works at the Toyota dealership as a technician and he said that the flush probably is the culprit and the tranmission is probably going bad because of the flush.
The car has 130k on it and has never given us any problems until now. Could it be:
-the knock sensor
-speed sensors
-that they didin't put the type IV fluid in it that is required? I called them to see if they put it in Lexus' when they flush them and the man said "they can.....but they need a heads up before the work is done so they can get the fluid in"......


HELP......

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