no1sportz

2003 Lx470 Vibration Issue

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Here we go again! I am a relatively new LX470 owner. I have had this vehicle for approx 1 month now and am having an issue with a vibration. As I am typing this the vehicle is currently at the dealership for this problem. The vibration can be felt at all speeds and throughout the entire cabin. It does not cause any noise, just a feeling/mild shaking in the LX. At times it can be felt in the steering wheel. It is not major, but it is very annoying to me. I am a hypersensitive individual as well...little things annoy me like squeaks, rattles. I switched to Lexus for this reason...they supposedly had a great rep for quality and ride. My vehicle backgrounds consists mainly of BMW and Toyota. I even had a 99 LandCruiser which DID NOT vibrate...althoug it did have 16" wheels. My last M3, while it was far stiifer when absorbing bumps and irregularities, had a smoother ride on perfect asphalt...which to me makes no sense.

I have had the tires/wheels balanced...helped with slight pull to the left but did not fix the vibration. On the second trip in, a diagnostic code for a faulty ride height sensor pulled up...sensor was replaced...it did nothing for the vibration. It is in again today. Have had 2 different people drive and ride with me. First person didn't feel it, 2nd did. Said it was NORMAL. So I decided to drive other LXs on the lot. ALL of them have this vibration! What is going on. I feel like a !Removed! because I have been griping about it and it is normal! Why would this high end vehicle produce this slight vibe? Can anyone explain. I was beginning to think it was something to do with a bent driveshaft and here I find out it happens on all LXs I drive. Does this not annoy anyone else? The LX is staying at the dealership overnight with the Lead Diagnostic tech to see if there is anything he can do to reduce it. I have little faith. Any thoughts? I have had several peole say this is not normal and the dealership is just using this as an excuse. Then why does it happen all the LXs I have driven? HELP!

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I had the same issues on an 03 Landcruiser with 18" tires and a new 06 LX 470. Replacing the tires with Michelin Pilot LTX instead of the crappy Dunlops helped greatly. These trucks with the solid rear axle make any vibration seem extreme...also the great road feed back in the wheel can make a slight tire balance issue increase. Get you some great tires and a tech that can road force balance them and your problem will be solved.

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I had the same issues on an 03 Landcruiser with 18" tires and a new 06 LX 470. Replacing the tires with Michelin Pilot LTX instead of the crappy Dunlops helped greatly. These trucks with the solid rear axle make any vibration seem extreme...also the great road feed back in the wheel can make a slight tire balance issue increase. Get you some great tires and a tech that can road force balance them and your problem will be solved.

I wish it was that easy! It has practically new Michelin Pilot LTXs on there now. The latest...got a call from the dealer yesterday stating that during their testing they found that the left front tire had a flat spot and that they put a brand new Michelin on and the problem is solved. They said they tested it and it drove "beautiful." I got excited because I am so ready to be done with this. Picked up the truck, grabbed some new cabin filters from parts and took off home. At first I did notice something felt different...then I realized that before, my steering wheel was cocked to the left, now it was just to the right side. No big deal...didn't notice any vibration! A few minutes pass....and the vibration is back! I don't know what to do.

Also I am not sure what road force balancing is. I do know that the manager got a specific tech to do this job. Even heard him mention he wanted him and him only on it. As far as what he was supposed to look for...had something to with the way the surface of the tire actually mates with the road. I remember him talking about the number system they use with it...maybe the same thing?

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Do you have chrome wheels on the LX? Is the spare tires cranked down very tight? Email me no1sportz.

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Now that you mention you have new Michelin's, I'm not sure what the problem can be. I just bought a '03 LX and haven't noticed any vibrations on the test drive (could only go 60mph, as it was on city streets). I was looking for vibrations, since I was originally considering a 4runner V8/GX, and the 4runner V8's have been plagued with the vibration problem in the steering w/ no solution after 3 yrs. Some people claim it's the Dunlop tires that come on the 4runner (the dunlops seem problematic, prone to flat spots, etc.). I have bridgestone's on my LX, will watch out for any vibrations.

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Do you have chrome wheels on the LX? Is the spare tires cranked down very tight? Email me no1sportz.

Hey. No chrome rims on the LX. Just the OEM 18s. Haven't checked the spare. What is your email address? I am just a regular member so I am not permitted to PM or find out your email through the forum. Thanks

Now that you mention you have new Michelin's, I'm not sure what the problem can be. I just bought a '03 LX and haven't noticed any vibrations on the test drive (could only go 60mph, as it was on city streets). I was looking for vibrations, since I was originally considering a 4runner V8/GX, and the 4runner V8's have been plagued with the vibration problem in the steering w/ no solution after 3 yrs. Some people claim it's the Dunlop tires that come on the 4runner (the dunlops seem problematic, prone to flat spots, etc.). I have bridgestone's on my LX, will watch out for any vibrations.

I sure hope you don't find it! It is driving me crazy. I am going to call (yet again) the dealership tomorrow and let them know it is still there. I have a feeling there is little else they can/will do. I don't think they are a crappy dealership, just that they don't know HOW to fix it. I guess my only option now is to call the service manager and get a Lexus Rep involved. I just have this feeling that LXs are not suppose to vibrate at all. I highly doubt the engineers who originally designed it would accept it.

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Well guys my LX is back at the dealer for the vibration. I contacted Lexus Customer Service and let them know about the issue and that it is not getting fixed. Whether or not they actually can put any pressure on the dealership is yet to be seen. I do know they have been in contact with them.

I was at the dealer this morning explaining (again for the 4th time) what the vibration feels like to the Lead Diagnostic Tech (again) and the Service Manager. They have decided to keep the vehicle several days so that the Lead Diag guy can drive it to and from work. I wasn't crazy about this but how else are they to fix it? I don't feel confident AT ALL that they are going to help me. I don't feel like they even acknowledge this as a problem.

We had 2 days of great weather in the high 60s. Both of these days the LX drove PERFECT. There was no vibration felt in the steering or seat. It was wonderful! But now that it is cold again, the problem comes and goes. Even after driving for 30 minutes the vibration will pop up to say hello. Since it is intermittent now and comes even when the tires are warm, I do not believe it is caused by a flat spot like they want me to believe. Today I almost became an a$$hole customer when the Lead Diag guy asked me what I wanted him to do about it. You could tell he was getting an attitude. This *BLEEP*ed me off so I had to "raise my voice"; he quickly reverted to trying to please me again. You know how they do...yes Mr. Smith, no Mr. Smith. I sure hope they can find it this time. If not...it's gonna get nasty.

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BTW, does the vibration gradually increase with speed or occur at certain speeds? Does it happen when the engine is cold, warm, or all the time?

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Jim, that is the part that is boggling my mind. The vibration can happen at any time. Usually when it is relatively cold outside the vibration seems to be worse regardless of whether the engine is warm or not. It doesn't necessarily increase with speed either. I have felt it at it's worst at only 35 mph on a very smooth road. Strange huh? I feel like it has something to due with the beginning stroke of the shocks. They absorb bumps great but when riding on a perfect road void of bumps or irregularities they feel as if they are constantly producing a bouncing effect. ??? As if they cannot remain still. Why that would translate into the steering wheel is beyond me.

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The only steering wheel vibration problems I've heard of are w/ V8 4runners and GX's. The fix on the GX was to install some kind of bushing. For the 4runner, there is no fix yet, and it's already been 4 yrs since the problem has been known. The vibrations occur at certain speeds, like when the engine hits a certain rpm or something. One theory is that the V8 engine causes some kind of resonance in the lighter 4runner/GX chassis/steering components. Nothing you can do with that other than to increase the mass of the components. I haven't heard of any problem like this with the LX/LC. Try posting to ih8mud.com in the 100 series section. There are some pretty saavy owners/mechanics who might know.

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I had a dealer tech tell me they have had to loosen the engine mounts and exhaust connections then put the LX in reverse with the parking brake on and re-tighten everything to get rid of some harmonic vibration issues on some LX's.

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Thanks Jim. I just messaged a guy who was supposedly a district manager for Lexus and is a fellow enthusiast. Hopefully he will have some insight. Picked up the Lexus today and ofcourse...they state the vibration as normal and cannot find any "unusual" vibrations. But my steering wheel is no longer cocked to either side. Apparently they feel something and are trying to fix it...just won't admit there is a problem when they can't get rid of it.

Spoke again with the Service Manager and let him know I do not plan on giving in. But I sure feel like it. Honestly I wish they would take the vehicle back and I could be done with this.

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I would also like to get some more facts on the noise, does the frequency or amplitude vary with speed or motor RPM?

I'm guessing maybe something in the EFI system. Just a guess, but it could give random results based on how it adjusted the fuel mix and give a vibration that is hard to track down.

Can other people in the car feel the vibration and tell where it comes from. There is a certain road feel each vehicle has and there are certain very small vibrations I feel at different times.

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I was looking at the recommended maintenance for 60K mi in the owner's manual and it says to inspect valves by listening to them so see if there's excess tapping/vibration. It doesn't sound like your problem, though, but another suggestion.

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Check your fan clutch. With engine off, see if you can wiggle the fan front to back. If this moves, this is the cause of your vibrations. My mechanic wants to order the fan and clutch. I searched online and the clutch is about $100 and the fan about $50. Problem is he wants to order them for $250 + labor. Hate negotiating but with the discrepancy, it's worth it.

Good luck!

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Hate to even ask such an obvious question, but did you have the alignment checked? These cars are very sensitine to the slightest misalignment.

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All the LXs I can recall driving have had vibration in their ride, none have been as smooth riding as my RX or even the all trac Previa I had. The vibration level has varied on the LX/LCs I drove. Some of the newer ones I test drove were worse than my 01 LX. Even so, the LX is a truck in luxury guise with true 4WD, so the drive train and suspension have harmonic impact on the ride, even if the wheels are smooth.

I had an excellent alignment tech who is now retired, but he did an excellent job on my vehicles. I always took the LX to him after getting new tires (Michelin LTX M&S H-rated) and he would align and balance. Even with road force, each wheel would have a different balance characteristic, so he would place them at the locations where they would affect the ride the least. His alignments were so good I did not need to rotate the tires but a couple times before replacement at about 70k miles (mostly highway). Since his retirement the alignments and balancing have been more challenging for me in getting a reasonably smooth ride, I have learned that dealers do not routinely use road force balancers even if they are in the shop. Being within specs is not the same as being on target/ideal, and the LX responds to the difference. Wheel/tire combos can challenge an ideal balance based on their own individual variances. I had a dealer work multiple times on my latest set of tires for the LX, but then I took it to someone trained by my former tech, and they improved the ride in one appointment.

My conclusion is that the LX/LC is a luxury truck based SUV that is sensitive to both wheel alignment and wheel balance. Anything less than ideal will contribute to ride vibration even within specifications. It seems that some tire dealers get a premium line of tires from the mfg that have tighter specs than others; sometimes price is the guide here. I always thought that was a sales plug, but the variances my alignment tech would show me on the tires he balances seemed to support the scenario of a premium and lesser line of tires based on their allowable tolerances; though all would be within the broader specs for the specific tire. Other observations. New tires are smoother than old, and fresh AHC fluid is smoother riding than the old.

The LX is quite impressive on unpaved roads and for me, this capability allows acceptance of some vibration on pavement. In contrast, the RX is very smooth on pavement where it is at home, but not so smooth on unpaved roads where the LX is king.

 

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