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Newbie: Possible Rx300 Purchase...


quadzillabill
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I find myself in need of a car for the first time in many years due to a job change. Not sure how its going to go financially, so I'm looking to pay cash and get something that I could use for hopefully 75k miles before having to invest a lot of money in repairing or replacing it. Locally, a '99 RX300 FWD with 75k miles - originally a Texas car showed up in the paper today. Think I can get it for right around $10k.

Owner is a local corporate employee, originally a Texas native (and Clemson grad) who is being transferred to India. Almost all work done at Lexus dealerships and well documented. $60k mile service was performed for $800. Car has only been driven 13,000 miles in the last 3 years since that major service.

At around 65k miles, the 3.0L 24v V6 engine was found to have a 'common' head gasket problem during routine maintenance and Lexus replaced the short block, oil pump, timing belt and some other items at that time under goodwill warranty and according to the owner extended the warranty on the engine to 100k miles. 24 hours of shop labor on that service. While they had it apart, he had them replace the water pump and a couple other minor things. Anyone know anything about what sounds like it was a recall-type problem?

Drives solid, looks good and hasn't been out in the Michigan weather much during the 5 years (and 30,000 miles) they've been here. Seems like a lot of car for the money - and based on Lexus reliability, I'd expect it to last for many more miles. It does need some new tires, so I'm figuring $500 for a good set.

I'm hoping to get some guidance from the experts here. If I get it, you can count on me hanging around and soaking up all the good stuff in your forum. In the mean time, tell me what you think of my plan and the RX.

Thanks,

Q

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Search this forum and others like it for "RX300 transmission failure". Granted, the incidents seem to involve primarily all-wheel-drive 1999 and 2000 models, so you may be better off if you decide to purchase the vehicle you're considering because it is front-wheel-drive only. But you should still do your homework since these early RX300s do have a number of flaws.

We sold my wife's 2000 RX300 all-wheel-drive a week ago today at 128,400 miles. But it had to have over $9,000 worth of warranty work between 2003 and 2005 to keep it roadworthy (which fortunately didn't cost us a penny). Nevertheless, it was still by far the worst vehicle I've owned in 37+ years of driving and I'm glad it's gone. Based upon what we went through, I would never recommend a 1999 or 2000 RX300 to anyone. And yes, I disclosed all of the problems we had with the vehicle to our buyers last week and provided them with copies of all Lexus warranty repairs. They still bought the vehicle which surprised me somewhat, but she wanted it more than he did....

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I don't recall hearing about many head-gasket problems onthese vehicles, so that to me sounds suspicious. But hey , it sounds like its got a lot of new parts so why not? Check the condition of the transmission fluid and have a local mechanic give it the once-over. Unless they replaced the entire engine that model v-6 is likely to be prone to sludging so IMHO you'll want to use a good synthetic oil only. (sludging may have been what prompted these repairs inthe first place!) You can read endless amounts of commentary on the dino-vs syth and sludging issues on this site so I'm not going to go into it here. As RX mentioned, the 99 and some 00 models seem to have transmission issues, but they may just be the AWD versions. I say may only because a relatively small percentage of RX's are 2wd so it could just be that a proportionately small number have had the failure but its definitely something to consider. I've got a 00 AWD with 98kmi and love it. I've been fortunate to have not (yet) experienced the problems some others have (Transmission, oil seal and sludging to be the major ones I remember). I have had a dead electric antenna, a drivers door lock that wont work with the remote and 2 ignition coils go bad so it hasn't been trouble free but I like the car so much I just grit my teeth and bear them. good Luck!

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Search this forum and others like it for "RX300 transmission failure". Granted, the incidents seem to involve primarily all-wheel-drive 1999 and 2000 models, so you may be better off if you decide to purchase the vehicle you're considering because it is front-wheel-drive only. But you should still do your homework since these early RX300s do have a number of flaws.

We sold my wife's 2000 RX300 all-wheel-drive a week ago today at 128,400 miles. But it had to have over $9,000 worth of warranty work between 2003 and 2005 to keep it roadworthy (which fortunately didn't cost us a penny). Nevertheless, it was still by far the worst vehicle I've owned in 37+ years of driving and I'm glad it's gone. Based upon what we went through, I would never recommend a 1999 or 2000 RX300 to anyone. And yes, I disclosed all of the problems we had with the vehicle to our buyers last week and provided them with copies of all Lexus warranty repairs. They still bought the vehicle which surprised me somewhat, but she wanted it more than he did....

..yada...yada...yada...

Everytime I come to this forum, you're here bi!tching and moaning about the worst car you've ever owned and now you don't even *own* it any more and you're *still* here b!tching and moaning. Do you think you might just have a little bit of a problem?

Have you considered anger management courses? You remind me of a guy that used to hang out on a vintage watch forum and every time someone would post about possibly buying one of these watches he would jump in and whine about how the stem fell out of this supposedly high end watch and how horrible the service was and how expensive everything was and he could never recommend this watch because of all the problems he had with it...and he hadn't owned one in years!

He became such a joke he finally got embarrassed and went away...think about it.

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Search this forum and others like it for "RX300 transmission failure". Granted, the incidents seem to involve primarily all-wheel-drive 1999 and 2000 models, so you may be better off if you decide to purchase the vehicle you're considering because it is front-wheel-drive only. But you should still do your homework since these early RX300s do have a number of flaws.

We sold my wife's 2000 RX300 all-wheel-drive a week ago today at 128,400 miles. But it had to have over $9,000 worth of warranty work between 2003 and 2005 to keep it roadworthy (which fortunately didn't cost us a penny). Nevertheless, it was still by far the worst vehicle I've owned in 37+ years of driving and I'm glad it's gone. Based upon what we went through, I would never recommend a 1999 or 2000 RX300 to anyone. And yes, I disclosed all of the problems we had with the vehicle to our buyers last week and provided them with copies of all Lexus warranty repairs. They still bought the vehicle which surprised me somewhat, but she wanted it more than he did....

..yada...yada...yada...

Everytime I come to this forum, you're here bi!tching and moaning about the worst car you've ever owned and now you don't even *own* it any more and you're *still* here b!tching and moaning. Do you think you might just have a little bit of a problem?

Have you considered anger management courses? You remind me of a guy that used to hang out on a vintage watch forum and every time someone would post about possibly buying one of these watches he would jump in and whine about how the stem fell out of this supposedly high end watch and how horrible the service was and how expensive everything was and he could never recommend this watch because of all the problems he had with it...and he hadn't owned one in years!

He became such a joke he finally got embarrassed and went away...think about it.

Actually IMMHO it would be much better if the naysayers with absolutely no experience of problems, actually a good thing, otherwise, would GO AWAY...!

At this point there can be NO QUESTION that the early RX300 models are highly subject to premature transaxle failures, engine sludging. Additionally there are the issues of poor climate control design, and for the AWD models simply inadequate AWD capability.

Not to mention the requirement for use of tire chains only on the front, a patently unsafe procedure even by the standards set forth in the vehicles owners manual.

When folks come here seeking purchase advice it does them no good to read advice passed through rose-tinted eyeglasses.

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Richard Carver,

People ask for assistance, experience, and opinions, and I have plenty to offer from personal experience. It is up to them whether to accept my advice or disregard it. Notice that I've also recently asked for assistance, experience, and opinions on the 2004 RX330 AWD that my wife purchased. And again, it is up to me to decide whether to accept the advice from others or disregard it.

This has nothing to do with anger management. It has everything to do with my own experiences from having to maintain what I would consider to be a pretty lousy vehicle, one that unquestionably gave me the most problems of any vehicle I've ever owned.

If you ever have occasion to come to North Carolina, let me know. I'd welcome the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with you and have a little meeting of the minds....

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Richard Carver,

People ask for assistance, experience, and opinions, and I have plenty to offer from personal experience. It is up to them whether to accept my advice or disregard it. Notice that I've also recently asked for assistance, experience, and opinions on the 2004 RX330 AWD that my wife purchased. And again, it is up to me to decide whether to accept the advice from others or disregard it.

This has nothing to do with anger management. It has everything to do with my own experiences from having to maintain what I would consider to be a pretty lousy vehicle, one that unquestionably gave me the most problems of any vehicle I've ever owned.

If you ever have occasion to come to North Carolina, let me know. I'd welcome the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with you and have a little meeting of the minds....

LOL! That would be nice. :D

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Richard, I understand your feelings about RX, The constant RX bashing becomes a bit tedious but Irealize that its tedious to me because I make it a point to read almost all of his posts. I do that because he's owned the absolute worst RX 300 ever produced and been near 100% effective in getting that thing taken care of by Lexus at every turn! Thats no mean feat and that provides a heck of a lot of information to this group as well as the confidence for others that they can do the same.

Believe me Richard, I understand where you're coming from but RX has provided this forum with a HELL of a lot of good info over the years and while I may disagree with some of his opinions and I'm not a fan of his editorializing (usually:-), I respect the integrity of his information completely and I trust his facts to be truth. Period!

I don't know if RX and I would be friends if we knew each other personally (each too Alpha, I bet) but the fact is, this isnt a dating service, its a forum on Lexus RX's and there are a few people on this list that KNOW RX 300's. RXn NC "IS" one of them. You don't have to like him but you'd be a fool not to listen to him.

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Well spoken, tmastres. None of us have to like each other or share the same belief systems, but we DO owe it to each other to "tell it like it is" and stick to the facts as we see them or experience them. The last thing I want to do is to mislead anyone with incorrect information. There are pros and cons to every situation - for me, our RX300 unfortunately wound up completely in the "con" dumpster. I realize that's not the case for many of you, and I'm happy that not every RX300 owner has had to go through what we did during the time this vehicle resided in our stable. Many of you forget that I've stated several times that from early 2005 to early 2007, once we got through most of the major failures, the vehicle essentially got my wife through her driving requirements with little more needed than routine maintenance. But getting it to that point was a world-class pain in the @ss all the way around, no question about that....

As for owning the "absolute worst RX300 ever produced", I don't think I can lay claim to that crown. My vote would go to LOC member "lenore" in Sacramento. Keep in mind that his wife's 1999 RX300 is on its THIRD transmission in what I believe is about 135,000 total vehicle miles, plus he paid out of his own pocket for at least one of those replacements. I think he's got me beat hands down....

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Richard, I understand your feelings about RX, The constant RX bashing becomes a bit tedious but Irealize that its tedious to me because I make it a point to read almost all of his posts. I do that because he's owned the absolute worst RX 300 ever produced and been near 100% effective in getting that thing taken care of by Lexus at every turn! Thats no mean feat and that provides a heck of a lot of information to this group as well as the confidence for others that they can do the same.

Believe me Richard, I understand where you're coming from but RX has provided this forum with a HELL of a lot of good info over the years and while I may disagree with some of his opinions and I'm not a fan of his editorializing (usually:-), I respect the integrity of his information completely and I trust his facts to be truth. Period!

I don't know if RX and I would be friends if we knew each other personally (each too Alpha, I bet) but the fact is, this isnt a dating service, its a forum on Lexus RX's and there are a few people on this list that KNOW RX 300's. RXn NC "IS" one of them. You don't have to like him but you'd be a fool not to listen to him.

As I mentioned in my original post there seems to be a personality type that "gets off" on the possibility of negatively affecting someone's decision to purchase an item, it's a control issue for them. Every board seems to have one. There are two or three posters on this board who are so unrelentingly negative it makes it unpleasant to even come here.

Reality is, the RX series is the most successful mid-sized SUV on the market. There are hundreds of thousands of them out there since '99 and obviously, *most* people are having a good experience with them or they wouldn't occupy the place they do. I think *most* of the people here are having a good experience with the cars and the unbelievably prolific output of the ones who had some trouble with them is completely out of proportion to the experience of the majority of owners.

I think it's telling there's a new thread by some guy who has become spooked by the negativity of these posters and want's to dump his RX for a Range Rover and guess who the last post is by warning him about RR!

Obviously, I'm not a regular poster here and don't plan to be and if I ruffled a few feathers too bad. When the reaction of someone who has been criticized is to to offer to get together personally and have a "meeting of the minds" I have to think my original assessment was correct, there's some control and anger issues at work here.

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You attempt to read far too much between the lines. "A meeting of the minds" means exactly that - I welcome a good face-to-face debate with someone who is equally informed on the topic. It is invigorating, refreshing, and a great way to expand one's knowledge base, pro or con. You may or may not be equally informed on the subject - at this point I have no way of knowing.

As far as control issues are concerned, I have no interests or expectations in "controlling" who purchases what vehicles outside of my own household (and I even lost that latest battle recently, which I readily admit). I simply state my experiences and opinions based upon what my personal involvement has taught me. When folks ask for such, I believe that's pretty much what they expect. Anything else would be a falsehood and/or a disservice on my part.

If you don't like it, then in your own words, "too bad"....

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You attempt to read far too much between the lines. "A meeting of the minds" means exactly that - I welcome a good face-to-face debate with someone who is equally informed on the topic. It is invigorating, refreshing, and a great way to expand one's knowledge base, pro or con. You may or may not be equally informed on the subject - at this point I have no way of knowing.

As far as control issues are concerned, I have no interests or expectations in "controlling" who purchases what vehicles outside of my own household (and I even lost that latest battle recently, which I readily admit). I simply state my experiences and opinions based upon what my personal involvement has taught me. When folks ask for such, I believe that's pretty much what they expect. Anything else would be a falsehood and/or a disservice on my part.

If you don't like it, then in your own words, "too bad"....

LOL, do you offer to "have a little meeting of the minds" with all your corespondents or was I just special? :D

At any rate, I'll let you get back to "helping" folks make their decisions. :D

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Obviously, I'm not a regular poster here and don't plan to be

Thats too bad actually because this is the perfect arena to contradict and/or respectfully disagree with someone. Everyone has the same access to make statements or comments here. I've followed up RX on numerous occasions stating contrary opinions and I believe that can be quite helpful. If you've had a great experience with yor RX then why not chime in with your experiences when someone on the forum asks?

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Mine, a 2001 AWD RX300, is a KEEPER...!

BUT.

With all these modifications.

1, Crossbars and tow hitch removed and stored.

2. 1.5" inch wheel spacers all around primarily so tire chains can be used at the rear first, initially. Wider, +1, 17X8 wheels and tires for improved stability and wider stance against potential rollover.

3. Moved OAT sensor to left front away for radiant heating influence by condensor/radiator.

4. DRL modification, eliminate HB from circuit in favor of new "DRL" relay that energizes street/parking/tail lights and forward facing high power white LED with collimated lense. No more melted HB bulb glass encapsulations.

5. LED lamps for all street/parking/tail/stop/turn lights. Involved modifying bulb failure sensor current flow detection electronics and turn sensor flasher current flow sensing.

6. Changed wiring so that fog lights can be turned on and used independently of main beams and still turn off automatically

7. Replaced OEM fog light bulbs with 9006AW, all-weather.

8. Changed out rear dome light with Ford model so that passenger map/reading light projection was from the rear, over the shoulder, and did not interfere with driver's forward night vision as much.

9. Added electronics, additional ECU, detecting airflow outlet servomotor feedback sensor "target" as soon as servomotor started moving. That was so heat and blower would come up to maximum the instant defrost/defog/demist was activated.

10. Now in process of removing internal red lens from all four rear lights.

11. Removed rubber one-way flow control "flapper valve" within the exhauster port to provide more flow-through capability and reduce "helicopter" throbbing with rear windows down.

12. Experimented with MAF/IAT modification to provide richer mixture, more torque/HP, but discovered that was defeated by downstream A/F mixture control via the oxygen sensor.

Oh, 13, Had dealer set C-best options, 1, such that the A/C could be indefinitely disabled throughout the winter months. And 2, to unlink the A/C from operating automatically in defrost/defog/demist mode. Newer models even have a feature that automatically raises the blower speed in defrost/defog/demist mode. And even later models have yet another C-best option that can be set so the the climate control does not automatically switch from heating mode, footwell airflow, to cooling mode once the cabin temperature climbs to within a few degrees of your comfort setpoint.

In cooling mode absolutely no warming airflow is routed to the interior surface of the windshield. If the system remains in heating mode you will not be discomforted by cool and dry airflow to your facea dn upper body but more importantly the windshield will be kept warm against the possibility of fogging over.

Mostly but not fully in chronological order.

A couple more..

14. Monotone burnished gold paint supplied by the dealer as a purchase term.

15. Tail lights in rear door are disabled (not stop lights) in order to provide a more pronounced indication that the brakes are being used.

Should the transaxle ever fail I consider it worthwhile that while it's out of the RX to remove the center diff' spider gears and weld the rear drive sidegear in place so the vehicle has a SOLID drive coupling to the rear and only the VC for front drive.

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