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'02 Es 300 Tranny Feedback


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All,

Back in November '06, I purchased a used '02 ES300 with 45k miles on it. What I didn't notice when I test drove it were a few tranny quirks like jerking when slowing to 10 MPH and accelerating again. I discussed much of this on the forums at the time and I had found out about the flash upgrade. I had decided *not* to do the upgrade, but since the upgrade didn't address my biggest complaint, I asked my Lexus dealer about it (the 10MPH jerk thing) before the 30 day dealer warranty was up (I still have powertrain covered).

Anyway, they looked the car over and said that there was a newer version of the software for my tranny available and that I had the early "update". It seemed that the car had been flashed with the TSB everyone talks about here but not the latest (presumably the "R" version). They finished their check and the guy came back and said he flashed the car. I figured that since the car had received the early update (some of you suspected this based on my tranny's behavior) that it made sense to just let them give it the latest one.

Well... At first it was OK. It just shifted at higher (about 1k RPM higher) shift points than it did before. I really didn't care for this as the car wasn't as quiet as before, but I could learn to live with it. However, over time the tranny just started to degrade in performance. Shifting became worse and worse. Sometimes the car wouldn't upshift until nearly 6k RPM. I drive fairly conservatively, so this was happening with light to moderate throttle. Very odd. Also, I could be in bumper to bumper traffic moving at about 30 MPH and then give it a little gas and it would downshift, not one, but 2 gears down. This of course made the engine scream and the car lurch. Not good. The shifting in general just feels odd now and I've gone 1k miles since the flash was done. It's had plenty of time to learn my driving and adjust, so back to the dealer I went.

The service supervisor test drove the car with me for about 10 miles. Of course, the car didn't do any of it's drastic nastiness but it did enough that the supervisor said it didn't "feel like a Lexus" and he wanted to do diagnostics on it. They gave me a 2007 ES to drive (the bastages!) and they kept the car 2 days. Apparently they had some kind of new device to hook up to it while they drove it around. I kept in contact with them. I asked them if they could simply roll back the flash by replacing the computer. They got back to me (they had apparently been talking to a Lexus technical hotline about the car constantly over the 2 days) and said that replacing the computer wouldn't help because they all had the same new flash (what's in the TSB) that I had. They said that even the new cars made in late 2003 got it off the factory line (interesting). He then went on to say that the flash isn't the cause for my issues and that the computer was fine.

Now, they finally finished their diagnostic and told me that they wanted to REPLACE the TRANNY! Holy Smokes! None of this started until the flash was done (save for the 10MPH jerk thing) so it seems strange that it would be the tranny itself. They said they didn't want me to suffer through repair attempts and that even Lexus recommend a new tranny (apparently Lexus has to approve such repair anyway under warranty).

Has anyone else had to have their tranny replaced at 46k miles?!? Could there have been a problem that the flash brought to light? The tech said that right now, it doesn't seem to be failing but it's not behaving like a Lexus should, so he wants to change it out. Also, it will be a remanufactured tranny which makes me nervous (though they said Lexus does this at the factory and not to worry).

I just bought this car from their dealer 2 months and 2k miles ago. It just makes me sick... *sigh* :cries:

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Great! I wouldn't worry about a Lexus factory remanufactured transmission, and the fact that it's being done under warranty, even better. The ball is now in their park. ;)

Yeah, my brother is a Master ASE tech and he is saying the same thing. I must admit I have me reservations about it but he tells me that by replacing the trans, they basically have admitted a problem and are obligated to fix it properly.

I wonder what years this trans covers. Meaning, I wonder how many model years it was used for and if they made any improvements to it in later years that the new trans would have. I guess it's wishfull thinking, but I am hoping that the new trans will work better with the new programming.

In the meantime, I get to drive an '07. I would almost rather drive a lesser car than what I own than the reverse. The '07 has substantially more power than my '02, so I'm driving it extra conservative so I don't spoil myself!

Well, hopefully this work out for the best.

R

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Well, I picked up the car today. They said it would take about 2k miles to break in and for the computer to adjust to it and my driving style. The drive home showed promise though the shifts are more firm than before. I assume this is because it's new. They're not bad mind you, just more firm, especially noticable when it downshifts during deceleration.

I do, however, need to take the car back to them. I guess they must have had to remove the steering linkage or something because my once dead-center steering wheel is decidedly turned to the left. I hate that. I like my steering wheels centered when the car is driving straight down the road. Anyway, I called them and they apologized and said they would fix that on Monday.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this whole thing. Hopefully it will all turn out well.

R

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Thats awesome that they're giving you a new tranny. We had my mom's 02 re-flashed, and thats the first thing i noticed was the higher shift points. My first concern was how mpg was going to be. I drove it the other day and just happened to check the gas mileage on the in dash comp..... 14.5 MPG!!! Can you believe that? She didn't even have 200 miles on the tank and it was almost empty. I understand its driven probably 90% city but my 4Runner 4x4 V8 does better than that in the city. The air filter is fairly new, and i've run fuel injector cleaner through it. My mother is definitely not one to hot rod either... so what gives? Should we be worried? It's still under the CPO warranty.

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Well, I got it back. I almost wish I had said no.

The new tranny so far hasn't done any of the freaking out the old one did, but it shifts very abruptly. Hopefully it will smooth out in time.

However, I got the car back with lots of fun new problems. The steering wheel is sitting off center by 45 degrees, I have a loud clunk in the front end whenever I hit a road bump (I can hear and feel it in the steering wheel), it's rattling like mad (I noticed several screws weren't installed on the plastic panels under the car, hopefully it's that simple) and it seems to want to stay in 4th gear for only about 2 seconds before shifting to 5th.

This... is... really... ridiculous... It's a Lexus for god's sake!

Back to the shop it goes...

:censored:

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