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General Advise For 01 Rx300 Fwd Owner


Brian in AZ
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I purchased a pre-owned RX300 Silversport FWD about 1.5 years ago for my wife to haul the kids around in. It is a sharp vehicle (silver w/black leather and 18in Voxx sport wheels) and she likes it. Knock on wood, we have not have any problems with it yet.

I come to this forum and read about all the sludge and transmission issues on these and makes me wonder if I should keep this thing. I do change the engine oil every 3k miles and the transmission fluid was flushed by the previous owner at 45k mile and again by me at 66k. It now just turned over to 70k on ther clock.

Since it is an 01 and not an AWD can I realistically breathe easier on the transmission issue from what I read? How long should one expect the tranny to last on this thing? Is there anything else I can do other than change the fluid once/yr to help the tranny situation? Maybe I should consider purchasing an extended warranty on this? Are there any good firms for that out there?

I appreciate your advise!

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Spend more time on this forum and others like it and you'll learn that the vast majority of RX300 transmission failures occur in the 1999 and 2000 all-wheel-drive models.

Change your oil routinely, change your Type T-IV transmission fluid at least every 30,000 miles, avoid towing anything, and check the conditions of your fluids regularly. With a 2001 front-wheel-drive version, your chances are very good that you'll be okay.

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Ditto everything RXinNC mentioned (and he knows firsthand!)

I personally reccomend using Synthetic oil as an added precaution, since these engines are pretty hard on oil. If not be sure you're VERY diligent in keeping a 3-4k mi OCI. The sludging issue appeard to again be with earlier models, but why take chances, its not that tough to use synth oil an/or change it regurlarly. I use Mobil 1, 5-30 and change at 5k.

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Ditto everything RXinNC mentioned (and he knows firsthand!)

I personally reccomend using Synthetic oil as an added precaution, since these engines are pretty hard on oil. If not be sure you're VERY diligent in keeping a 3-4k mi OCI. The sludging issue appeard to again be with earlier models, but why take chances, its not that tough to use synth oil an/or change it regurlarly. I use Mobil 1, 5-30 and change at 5k.

Thanks for the feedback. I take good care of my vehicles and change all fluids regularly regardless of whether the manual says that they are "lifetime". I am from the old school and feel that there is nothing that lasts forever.

I have read many of the forum strings on these transmissions and the ones who are having problems do not always identify if their model is fwd or 4wd. I see mainly complaints of the 99 and 00 models but have also seen some 01's surface too. I was wondering if the 01's are the same old tranny and the miles are just now hitting the mark on the 01's to now start showing it's true colors?

To-date I have been happy with the vehicle but this stuff that I read about the earlier models makes me wonder "for how long"? I hope that the fact that I have an 01, a 2wd, I do not tow anything, and my changing of the fluid will be on my side. I hate to see the trouble that the others have been having with this as it is such a big ticket repair. I do not wish this upon anyone. I chose this vehicle over the Pilot and I hope that I made the right decision.

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The only point I would add here is that since you live in Phoenix you already know that you're in one of the toughest climates in the U.S. as far as engine and transmission heat-related wear-and-tear is concerned. So stay diligent with checking and changing your fluids on a very regular basis. Good luck to you.

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I live in Sacramento, where temperatures are quite hot in the summer, I would suggest a 15k change on the tranny fluid in your neck of the woods. I do that here in Sacramento and the fluid retains its color and lack of burnt smell.

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WWest has posted some very detailed descriptions of the differences between the 99/00 and the 01-03 trannys. There are differences. I'm sure if you search for them you'll find all the details you could possibly want. My understanding is that the mileage wasn't really the issue with the 99/00 trannys. I remember a lot of them (99/00) failed in the 50-80k mile range with some even sooner.

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Yep, the original transmission in my wife's 2000 RX300 AWD began showing signs of failure at about 48,000 miles. Lexus had changed the Type T-IV transmission fluid as part of the 30,000-mile service that the original owner had them perform.

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Ok, I haven't posted in awhile, but I'll give my take on a 2001 RX-300. I purchased an AWD 2001, in

2003, used off lease. Figured since my son was out of college, finances were good, my wife could afford

a nice vehicle (traded in a Pontiac). It's been an excellent choice, minimal problems really, and as it's

now close to 90K, it's really the first car I haven't looked forward to trading in!

I agree with RX in NC, DO the maintainance. I have a friend who purchased a Mercedes about the same

time, and his vehicle seems to be for repairs almost quarterly. Loaned him my car over the last vacation too,

since it was just going to sit in my garage. If he buys anything, I know it's not going to be a Mercedes.

Drive careful and best of luck,

PharmGuy (Paul)

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Thanks. I hear you on the Mercedes. A number of years ago I was a service advisor for a MB dealership and they are nice cars but require tons of expensive maintenance. They also have a lot of parts that break that really surprises the owners. And all the electronics - forget it. Over-engineered is a word that comes to mind. The ML's are the worst with the S class in a close second.

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