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Lexus Has Repurchased Our Rx330


donsuek
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Well, this will be my last post on this site. Last week Lexus completed the rupurchase of our 2004 RX 330 because of the well documented transmission isssues. Vehicle had about 15,000 miles and was almost two years old. Repurchased for $2,000 less than we paid, including taxes and fees.

My wife now has another SUV. She came home the the other day almost in tears of joy on how great it was to have a vehicle with a transmission the didn't hesitate and malfunction. She's starting to get used to not rocking back and forth with the shifting of the transmission.

Some may say live with it, but we disagree. Its like living with a tooth ache, you can do it, but when you get it taken care of it feels sooooooooooooooo good.

Good luck and good bye.

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Congrats, and glad to learn that your wife is secure once again in what she's driving now.

Although I've forced Lexus to perform and swallow over $9,000 worth of repairs to my wife's RX since September 2003 to keep it roadworthy for her, she strongly relates to what your wife went through. When I reach the financial formula of being willing to accept the depreciation and unload her vehicle (at 125,000 to 130,000 miles), she'll gladly be willing to dump her RX and move on.

Good luck with the new SUV, whatever it is.

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wow, transmission issues?? sounds like the same problem as the 2nd generation honda odyssey problem (because they were the first Hondas built in Canada)

Edited by denslexusgx470
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wow, transmission issues?? sounds like the same problem as the 2nd generation honda odyssey problem (because they were the first Hondas built in Canada)

oh boy! :chairshot: :rolleyes::wacko: That's why I asked the question, but not got the answer to yet........perhaps one should wait to find out the answer before assuming! :chairshot:

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Don't make the mistake of assuming that all transmission complaints in the RX series are drive-by-wire issues - my wife's 2000 RX300 AWD was living proof that the original transmission itself was failing at only 48,000 miles and Lexus technicians finally agreed after experiencing the symptoms for themselves. The replacement transmission fixed the intermittent and unpredictable freeze-up problem she was having, but it still shifts more like a $12,000 vehicle than a $35,000 one. We appreciate the replacement transmission gesture but hate the inherent shifting harshness. Several adjustment attempts have not improved the situation nor are any further attempts likely to. You can only put so much lipstick on a pig....

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Yes, I firmly believe that the DBW hesitation issue is the fix, patch job, that Lexus applied to the new RX330 as a result of the RX300's many reported premature transmssion failures.

My 2001 AWD RX300 has the trailer tow package and I removed the hitch within a few days of purchasing it new. There is no recommended transmission fluid change or flush in the owners manual so I would presume this to mean the fluid is good for the life of the vehicle.

At 38k miles my transmssion fluid was looking dirty and smelled slightly burned. I email Lexus about this and their response was talk to the dealer. I knew what the dealer would say regardless so I tried emailing again. Got the same result.

So I went, hat in hand, to the dealer. I was told that Lexus had revised the recommended maintainence schedule and I now needed to flush and replenish my transmission every 15,000 miles. I was assured that this was actually a factory directive.

So I drained 4 quarts of very dirty fluid and installed 4 new quarts purchased from Lexus.

Within a week the transmission fluid appeared to be just as dirty as before.

So now I have 4 more quarts plus a pan gasket out in the garage awaiting then time I have to do the whole job all over again, more thoroughly this time.

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RX- I'm not talking about your generation RX, I mean the 330s. The RX definately has some inherant transmission problems.

I think the poor shift quality though is a side effect of the DBW and something we're all going to have to get used to until the technology improves.

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Don't make the mistake of assuming that all transmission complaints in the RX series are drive-by-wire issues  -  my wife's 2000 RX300 AWD was living proof that the original transmission itself was failing at only 48,000 miles and Lexus technicians finally agreed after experiencing the symptoms for themselves.  The replacement transmission fixed the intermittent and unpredictable freeze-up problem she was having, but it still shifts more like a $12,000 vehicle than a $35,000 one.  We appreciate the replacement transmission gesture but hate the inherent shifting harshness.  Several adjustment attempts have not improved the situation nor are any further attempts likely to.  You can only put so much lipstick on a pig....

wow, i never experienced any transmission problems with my Rx300. well maybe not because it only had 33k on it. :rolleyes:

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Booyah,

You've been among the loudest of the RX-series cheerleaders on this forum since obtaining your vehicle last year. From your post above, it sounds as if you've done a complete 180-degree turnaround and decided to raise the white flag. When do you plan to dispose of your RX and obtain the BMW?

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wwest,

When you drained your fluid, did you also remove the differential plug (located vertically just behind the transmission pan) and thoroughly clean the "gunk" accumulated on and around its inside threads and magnetic tip? If you'll routinely treat this step as part of your standard drain-and-fill, I believe you'll find that your fresh fluid will stay much cleaner for far longer. That has certainly done the trick for my wife's RX. I changed her fluid at 75,000 miles (at that time the replacement transmission had about 28,000 miles on it) and now at about 85,200 miles her fluid is still clean and pink. I think we'll be okay with 30,000-mile fluid change intervals, which means I'll have to do two more of them before we jettison this albatross....

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RX in NC...

Boy did you PANIC me!

Now my turn??

"remove the differential plug..."

My first thought was "how could I have missed that?".

But then I went and checked the Lexus RX300 shop manuals... QUITE thoroughly.

The FWD RX300's differential runs in transmission fluid, ATF.

The AWD RX300's differentials, front and rear, run in 90 weight.

I hope you haven't drained the 90 weight from your front differential...??

But if you only cleaned the differential "plug" and the two systems are fluid isolated I don't see how that can help.

What have I missed?

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LOL, RX in NC

I do love my RX but when we went looking for a new vehicle the wife has always wanted a Beemer and I steered her away and we settled on the Lexus! We both enjoy it alot but she is always harping about a BMW..bla..bla..bla! a Sporty car too, So I said why keep paying the money on a car she is only so-so happy with?

Since we always have purchased cars it always has been me saying I want this or that! So I got the vehicle I have always wanted for years which is a 99 Limited 4-Runner(love it to death) and I kind of pushed the Lex on her, because of BMW reliability is not the hottest! Im hoping that has changed?

Oh well it wont be for another 6 months minimum before we sell it--could be longer. I just took the lex out to the store for the first time in 2 weeks---forgot how nice she is:) smooth and quite compared to the Runner.

And yes our tranny has the 1-2 sec lag if you catch it right at a slow rolling start:(

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LOL, RX in NC

I do love my RX but when we went looking for a new vehicle the wife has always wanted a Beemer and I steered her away  and we settled on the Lexus!  We both enjoy it alot but she is always harping about a BMW..bla..bla..bla! a Sporty car too,  So I said why keep paying the money on a car she is only so-so happy with? 

Since we always have purchased cars it always has been me saying I want this or that!  So I got the vehicle I have always wanted  for years which is a 99 Limited 4-Runner(love it to death) and I kind of pushed the Lex on her, because of BMW reliability is not the hottest!  Im hoping that has changed?

Oh well it wont be for another 6 months minimum before we sell it--could be longer.  I just took the lex out to the store for the first time in 2 weeks---forgot how nice she is:)  smooth and quite compared to the Runner.

And yes our tranny has the 1-2 sec lag if you catch it right at a slow rolling start:(

Given the choice today, I'd still go with another Lexus over a Bimmer personally......I've driven several Bimmers in my time & I got to be brutally honest with you......a highly over rated cars/suv's :wacko::ph34r: But in the end, it all comes down to personal preference UI understand that. Reliability on BMW has improved to be sure, but still lags far behind number 1 rated Lexus (as well as many other brands for that matter). On an expensive brand like BMW, that would make me nervous. Just my 2 cents. B)

:cheers:

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wwest,

Thanks for your concern as well as doing the research on this issue. I'll fill you in on what I learned from talking fairly extensively with several Lexus transmission techs last October. I don't have a shop manual, but you apparently do, and that could prove to be very important for both of us. Keep in mind that our particular vehicle is a 2000 RX300 AWD. The following paragraph is essentially what the Lexus transmission techs told me to do, step by step, in order to ensure the cleanest possible drain-and-fill:

"Your 'front differential' runs Toyota Type T-IV transmission fluid and in fact shares its fluid supply with the transmission pan. The 'front differential' has a capacity of approximately one quart. In order to obtain the most effective drain-and-fill, pull the transmission pan drain plug, allow it to drain as much fluid as possible (usually between three and four quarts), clean the plug, and replace it. Then find the 'front differential' drain plug located behind your transmission pan, pull it, allow it to drain its contents (about a quart), clean the magnetic tip of the plug thoroughly, and replace it. At that point you're ready to pour your fresh T-IV fluid into your transmission dipstick tube using a small clean funnel. Four quarts into the procedure, begin checking your transmission dipstick to see if you need to add any more fluid. When the engine is started and you move the gearshift lever through its positions, your fresh fluid will begin mixing between the transmission assembly and the 'front differential' since they share the same supply and are both filled from the transmission dipstick tube."

So at 75,000 miles early last November, that's exactly what I did. She's now at about 85,300 miles, the fluid is clean and has remained at proper cold and hot levels according to the dipstick, and the transmission performance has been acceptable (other than the typical harsh shift points that seem to be inherent in these vehicles).

However, your shop manual seems to indicate that the AWD version's 'front differential' DOES NOT run Type T-IV fluid and therefore DOES NOT share its fluid supply with the transmission pan. If this is true, then it is probable that my wife has been driving around for more than 10,000 miles with a 'front differential' that may be nearly empty of fluid.

But here's the real head-scratcher: When I drained the 'front differential', the fluid that poured out of the casing was definitely pink, it looked to be the general consistency of Type T-IV, and it certainly had me believing that it was T-IV (but I had no reason at that time to believe it was anything else based upon the advice I had been given from what I assumed to be the ultimate source - experienced Lexus transmission techs). I've never held a capful of 90-weight oil in my hand, but I assume it would be more towards the lightweight motor oil color spectrum (amber) and not colored so it could be confused with transmission fluid (pink or red). Is my assumption correct?

We really do need to get to the bottom of this dilemma. I know I'm not the only AWD owner on this board who has performed this drain-and-fill procedure exactly as described above. If the AWD versions truly do not share fluid between the transmission pan and the 'front differential', there may be a boatload of owners who are driving around with nearly-empty 'front differentials' thinking that they are in fine shape.

Part of the problem may stem from the names we use to describe our various components - I remember a big argument last autumn centered around this subject. Some say that the 'transmission' and the 'front differential' together are appropriately called the 'transaxle'. If the 'transaxle' indeed shares its common T-IV fluid among all of its components, and the 'front differential' is one of those components, then I was instructed correctly and my wife's vehicle is just fine.

But your shop manual seems to indicate that FWD and AWD are completely different animals - I had no way of knowing that, and would never have expected that to be the case. If I remember correctly, your vehicle is a 2001 AWD. Ours is a 2000 AWD. I suppose there could be some transmission design differences between them as well but I do not know.

I'm certainly going to attempt to get ahold of those same Lexus transmission techs today. In the meantime, I'd appreciate any additional research or clarification that you can offer from your shop manual, and I know there are others on this forum who would as well. Thanks for your response.

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wwest,

I just had an extended phone conversation with the transmission specialist from one of the more prominent (and costly) Lexus/Infiniti independent repair shops in our area. He confirmed that the procedure I've described above is EXACTLY how a transmission drain-and-fill should be performed on a 2000 RX300 AWD vehicle. The two systems do indeed share the same T-IV fluid, and unless you pull that 'front differential' drain plug and clean the accumulated 'gunk' from its magnetic tip thoroughly, the fresh fluid that you pour into your dipstick tube is going to get dirty again relatively quickly.

As I mentioned in my post above, perhaps the confusion here is solely due to the terminology that we're using. Maybe the correct term for what I'm calling the 'front differential' is actually the 'transaxle'. If your shop manual can clear up any terminology issues, please chime in here.

But the bottom line is that if you desire to have the cleanest possible drain-and-fill, you absolutely MUST pull both drain plugs, allow as much fluid as possible to drain from both drain holes, and clean both plugs thoroughly before !Removed! them back into place.

And by the way, this particular shop's preferred RX300 transmission fluid drain-and-fill interval is 15,000 miles although they also admit that 30,000 miles is acceptable under 'normal driving conditions'. Being quite familiar with the known transmission problems inherent within the RX series, they laugh at the Lexus owners manual's claim that the factory-filled fluid is sufficient for the life of the vehicle.

I plan to stick with 30,000 miles - given my wife's current driving pattern, that means that she'll need a drain-and-fill every November. That has certainly worked for us thus far since the replacement transmission was installed in November 2003.

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First, I was so unsure of myself I had one of my engineers crosscheck the information in the manuals.

I know that the rear differential runs 90 weight and had assumed that the "front" one did also. And I have no doubt of what the shop manual states...before beginning work on the front diff'l....

1. Drain ATF

2. For U140F

Drain gearoil

This is from memory so its probably not exacting.

U140F is the AWD transaxle.

Also in looking at the pictorial representations of the transaxle vs the front differential case there isn't any obvious channel for interconnecting fluid flow.

Have we somehow stumbled on how and why these RX transmissions are failing. Dealers are draining the 90 weight and not replenishing it?

Thinking that in filling the ATF they're replenishing the diff'l lubrication?

I will check the manuals again when I get to work this morning....

I did use the 2001 manuals yesterday except for the separate transaxle shop manual but only referred to that for pictorials. Because I first owned a 2000 AWD RX300 I also have the 2000 shop manual set and will see if they differ. When I went to buy the 2001 set I was told that the separate transaxle volume had not changed so I could continue to use the 2000 volume.

Worrisome, very much so.

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