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Ooooh, Am I Angry...transmission Revisited


mckellyb
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Took my wife's ride, a 2002 AWD down to Lexus of Las Vegas, yesterday, told them, in detail, about the funky neutral or park to drive partial shift then full shift, and extended holding of 1st gear.

Today I get a call saying, "we didn't feel anything out of the ordinary." Then the 'service advisor', AKA middleman to the mechanic, claims the fluid was really burned. A 'flush' is $260. I can buy 10 qts. of fluid for $70, change it myself, and be done with it.

Here is the question. Anyone know how long it takes to circulate the 4 quarts from the pan to the system and refill the pan with 4 qts. of the old, supposedly burned stuff? More than anything, I do not trust them, given the answer I received. Plus, I smelled, felt, and did all but taste the fluid, and it did not seemed at all burned to me.

I've actually tasted transmission fluid in the past, but it was completely accidental.

Thanks for any help, even SWAG's. I personally figure 12 second would do it, based on what I've seen other pump out of the transmission cooler with the engine at idle.

Also, how imperitive is it to clean the screen? I consider the screen superior to the new fiber one, IMHO. I figure I can check to see how clean the fluid is getting by sucking, carefully, on a small clear tube shoved down the trans dipstick tube, to see how much cleaner it is from the start. If still funky-looking, repeat. I may only change the fluid once or twice, then go to changes every 10K indefinitely.

"The transmission fluid does not need to be changed under normal operating conditions."

Let's see, it doesn't have a trailer hitch, has been to the Rockies once, in the winter, and has seen full-throttle probably 15 times.

Grrrrrrr.

edit: my other option is to get 15 qts. of fluid and change the fluid three times, running the engine with the shift ever in reverse, neutral or drive, to get everything intermingled. It probably circulates normally in park, but I'm not taking a chance at this point.

Gotta love it when a $40K car makes you paranoid about non-essential maintenace, according to the manufacturer, before 50K miles.

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Took my wife's ride, a 2002 AWD down to Lexus of Las Vegas, yesterday, told them, in detail, about the funky neutral or park to drive partial shift then full shift, and extended holding of 1st gear.

Today I get a call saying, "we didn't feel anything out of the ordinary." Then the 'service advisor', AKA middleman to the mechanic, claims the fluid was really burned. A 'flush' is $260. I can buy 10 qts. of fluid for $70, change it myself, and be done with it.

Here is the question. Anyone know how long it takes to circulate the 4 quarts from the pan to the system and refill the pan with 4 qts. of the old, supposedly burned stuff? More than anything, I do not trust them, given the answer I received. Plus, I smelled, felt, and did all but taste the fluid, and it did not seemed at all burned to me.

I've actually tasted transmission fluid in the past, but it was completely accidental.

Thanks for any help, even SWAG's. I personally figure 12 second would do it, based on what I've seen other pump out of the transmission cooler with the engine at idle.

Also, how imperitive is it to clean the screen? I consider the screen superior to the new fiber one, IMHO. I figure I can check to see how clean the fluid is getting by sucking, carefully, on a small clear tube shoved down the trans dipstick tube, to see how much cleaner it is from the start. If still funky-looking, repeat. I may only change the fluid once or twice, then go to changes every 10K indefinitely.

"The transmission fluid does not need to be changed under normal operating conditions."

Let's see, it doesn't have a trailer hitch, has been to the Rockies once, in the winter, and has seen full-throttle probably 15 times.

Grrrrrrr.

edit: my other option is to get 15 qts. of fluid and change the fluid three times, running the engine with the shift ever in reverse, neutral or drive, to get everything intermingled. It probably circulates normally in park, but I'm not taking a chance at this point.

Gotta love it when a $40K car makes you paranoid about non-essential maintenace, according to the manufacturer, before 50K miles.

10 qts of the same fluid should be less than $50 at the Toyota dealer. I would buy 14 qts and do 3 drain and fills (4.5 qts each) a couple of weeks apart.

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10 qts of the same fluid should be less than $50 at the Toyota dealer. I would buy 14 qts and do 3 drain and fills (4.5 qts each) a couple of weeks apart.

I was thinking that, but I'd like to get it all out as quickly as possible. Here in Lost Wages, land of Southern Cali prices, the Toyota dealer has trans fluid @ 6.47/qt. Still way, way less expensive than the $11/qt. as the sole Lexus dealer in town.

So...whatcha think about the filter? Drop the pan and clean it, just for good measure, or leave it be? Those of you who have tackled the filter, is the pan gasket reusable? It should be, but y'never know....

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Talk about irony. This morning, when returning the '05 or '06 RX330 loaner, which neither my or my wife liked, to the scam-artist dealer, I noticed the newer car, with 18K on it vs. my wife's 46K has the EXACT SAME behavior. I even experimented at a stoplight, after it was good and warm, 15 miles of city/highway driving, put it in neutral, turn the engine off, let it sit for 15 seconds, restart, shift from neutral to drive, and sure enough, it shifts twice while engaging first gear.

I'm baffled. It might be an actual "they all do that" kinda thing. Of course, it does not make it right, but....

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If the pan filter has not been changed do it. It is real easy and has a drain plug so most of the fluid will be out. also inspect for major metal fillings on the magnets in the bottom of the pan. You will see some, so dont be alarmed. A new gasket is probably a good idea. the cost of the filter and gasket is around $60. It will take about 4.3 quarts for a drain and fill. Dont forget the plug on the axle takeoff directly behind the pan toward the back of the car. More fluid will come out there. When you fill the transmission that area automatically gets replenished. Then drain the fluid on the next three oil changes and hopefully you will have non burnt, red fluid showing on your didstick. Good luck

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At ~40k miles the ATF in my 2001 AWD RX300 smelled burned and looked dirty. I drained the transaxle and installed the 4 qts of ATF Lexus sold me as adequate. Shortly thereafter I again noted that my ATF was looking dirty and smelled slightly burned. It was at this point that someone on one of these forums informed me that the diff'l also runs in ATF and has a separate sump drain. Back to Lexus, purchase 5 qts, against the advice of parts guy who still insist only 4 qts required.

This time I not only removed both drain plugs I also dropped the sump pan. The bottom of the sump pan was covered with about 1/8" of debris that looked like ground up pencil lead and was not magnetic. I cleaned out the pan and filter, installed 5 quarts of ATF and now at ~60k miles it still looks pristine.

I was suspicious that heat from the VC operation within the PTO was contributing to the ATF burning so I checked the gear oil condition which was okay.

I have become convinced that the overheating of the ATF in my '01 (possibly '02 & '03 also) is the result of Lexus upgrading the ATF oil pump to a higher volume capacity to overcome the transaxle failures in the earlier RX models that resulted from the FWD shift pattern/schedule change made late in the last century.

In '04 they went to DBW to "protect the drive train" and were able thereby to go back to the low volume ATF oil pump and avoid overtaxing the ATF.

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At ~40k miles the ATF in my 2001 AWD RX300 smelled burned and looked dirty. I drained the transaxle and installed the 4 qts of ATF Lexus sold me as adequate. Shortly thereafter I again noted that my ATF was looking dirty and smelled slightly burned. It was at this point that someone on one of these forums informed me that the diff'l also runs in ATF and has a separate sump drain. Back to Lexus, purchase 5 qts, against the advice of parts guy who still insist only 4 qts required.

This time I not only removed both drain plugs I also dropped the sump pan. The bottom of the sump pan was covered with about 1/8" of debris that looked like ground up pencil lead and was not magnetic. I cleaned out the pan and filter, installed 5 quarts of ATF and now at ~60k miles it still looks pristine.

I was suspicious that heat from the VC operation within the PTO was contributing to the ATF burning so I checked the gear oil condition which was okay.

I have become convinced that the overheating of the ATF in my '01 (possibly '02 & '03 also) is the result of Lexus upgrading the ATF oil pump to a higher volume capacity to overcome the transaxle failures in the earlier RX models that resulted from the FWD shift pattern/schedule change made late in the last century.

In '04 they went to DBW to "protect the drive train" and were able thereby to go back to the low volume ATF oil pump and avoid overtaxing the ATF.

I really appreciate the info. I remember when we bought the car, it had about 30K miles on it. As a result, I changed everything "needing" synthetic fluids (rear diff & "T-case", PTO is more accurate, thanks for that usage) to just that. Well, save for brake fluid.

I learned at the time, the front diff is a unit configuration with the transmission. No problem, motorcycles share engine oil with transmissions, it's not any big deal...if you keep an eye on them, at least initially, to determine if there are any signs of trouble.

I keep referring to the RX as my wife's car, it's HER'S, not mine...might be a hand-me-down to me in another 15 years...might not be, she really likes it. I figure it has an easy 200K in it, maybe 300K, if I keep it ultra-maintained.

I'll drain both reservoirs, pull the pan, clean the screen (um, what should I use...I don't want to sound boneheaded, I've worked on cars going on 25 years, but this one might be "delicate"), refill, run it 20 minutes, drain, repeat one more time. I have 13 quarts. I wonder if it would be wise to drain the front diff every time. Can't hurt...what can it hold in there, six ounces...

I can dig the clutch leavings in the pan. This is normal wear, and people with manual transmissions would see it, but it blows away. Lotsa metal is bad, but you're gonna see some. Wear is natural, if it occurs nice and slowly.

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My filter screen wasn't dirty enough to require any special cleaning solvent or effort. There are three (4?) small magnets laying, magnetically "attached", on the bottom of the sump pan which in my case had some small amount of metal filings attached, not enough to worry about IMMHO.

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My filter screen wasn't dirty enough to require any special cleaning solvent or effort. There are three (4?) small magnets laying, magnetically "attached", on the bottom of the sump pan which in my case had some small amount of metal filings attached, not enough to worry about IMMHO.

Way cool, West. I'm glad to see you're still around...it's been a couple of years since I've been here. The car was in storage for a while during our world travels, so the only issues it had was my mother banging the driver's side with her car door, about 25 times. I'll need to get lower cladding for the front and rear doors someday. It was better in her garage than leaving it outside...especially as our Intrepid was stored outside, already.

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Update:

I almost do not believe this, but it seems the slightest incline which makes the nose lower than the tail will allow the funky first shift behavior.

Playing around some more, if it's parked ever so slightly 'nose up', it's fine. The tiniest bit nose down, it "shifts" twice going into first.

This is downright odd.

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