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What To Do Next? Transmission Problem - '99 Rx 300


bucko918
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I have a newly discovered transmission problem with my daughter's '99 RX300 AWD. When the transmission is shifting from 3rd to 4th gear (about 55-60 mph), the rpm stays high (approx. 4000+ rpm) but never makes the final shift. I notice that this only happens when accelerating quickly from a dead stop and only when the car is not completely warm. Otherwise, it's shifting fine. I bought the car used from a private party last April and it now has 87,000 miles on it. I bought it with 80,000 miles.

I've read this entire thread (hey, it's the holidays and I've got some time on my hands) and I'm impressed, and thankful, for all of the feedback on this forum. Had I known about this website, and these problems with the early models of the RX, I most certainly would have opted for something else. And, as an owner of a GS300 (which I've had virtually no problems with), I'm disappointed in the response by Lexus to something that's clearly a problem. Hardly a company that's living up to the "relentless pursuit of perfection" tag line.

So, a couple of questions. Is this the beginning of all the transmission horror stories I've been reading about? If the answer is probably yes, is there anything I can try (drain & fill, flush) that might delay the inevitable? I checked the transmission fluid and it's definitely got some darker color to it, and while the smell wouldn't be described as burnt-like, it's definitely not the smell of regular transmission fluid. I don't have any idea whether the transmission fluid has ever been changed, but I'm willing to bet it has not.

Thoughts/suggestions?

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The car when cold will generally not shift into overdrive, it has temp sensors monitoring that prevent this until the engine has reached temp. This usually takes some time. I would definetly change the transmission fluid and do it again about a week later. I suggest a drain, not a flush, just do the drain two or three times in the next month. It takes approximately 4.2qts. here is a good posting on how to do it.....

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220061

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My '05 330 won't shift into the upper gear until the engine has warmed up. If I go above 45 mph it will shift into the higher gears but it won't if I stay below 45 mph until warmed up.

As suggested though, a transmission fluid change should be in your future. There have been reports that you can disconnect the transmission cooler line going to the radiator and put the end into a bucket. Then you start the engine and let the transmission pump the fluid out while a helper adds fresh fluid. I haven't done that but I might try it on the next transmission fluid change. Don't know why the previous poster said not to do a flush. A flush is the only true way that I know of that guarantees 100% fresh. That said, this year I dropped the drain plug on my trans, drained the fluid, and added fresh fluid, about four quarts. Drove for a couple of days and then I repeated this. I did this procedure three times. This is time consuming and I will consider taking my fluid to a transmission shop to see what they would charge to do it for me. I will also look at dropping the cooler liine as I suggested.

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My '05 330 won't shift into the upper gear until the engine has warmed up. If I go above 45 mph it will shift into the higher gears but it won't if I stay below 45 mph until warmed up.

As suggested though, a transmission fluid change should be in your future. There have been reports that you can disconnect the transmission cooler line going to the radiator and put the end into a bucket. Then you start the engine and let the transmission pump the fluid out while a helper adds fresh fluid. I haven't done that but I might try it on the next transmission fluid change. Don't know why the previous poster said not to do a flush. A flush is the only true way that I know of that guarantees 100% fresh. That said, this year I dropped the drain plug on my trans, drained the fluid, and added fresh fluid, about four quarts. Drove for a couple of days and then I repeated this. I did this procedure three times. This is time consuming and I will consider taking my fluid to a transmission shop to see what they would charge to do it for me. I will also look at dropping the cooler liine as I suggested.

If his fluid is real dark, a flush may disturb debris into the valve body assembly and cause a failure. Flushing the fluid by unhooking the hose sounds OK. But mutiple drain and refills at least gets the fluid looking better. And safely....

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I have a newly discovered transmission problem with my daughter's '99 RX300 AWD. When the transmission is shifting from 3rd to 4th gear (about 55-60 mph), the rpm stays high (approx. 4000+ rpm) but never makes the final shift. I notice that this only happens when accelerating quickly from a dead stop and only when the car is not completely warm. Otherwise, it's shifting fine. I bought the car used from a private party last April and it now has 87,000 miles on it. I bought it with 80,000 miles.

I've read this entire thread (hey, it's the holidays and I've got some time on my hands) and I'm impressed, and thankful, for all of the feedback on this forum. Had I known about this website, and these problems with the early models of the RX, I most certainly would have opted for something else. And, as an owner of a GS300 (which I've had virtually no problems with), I'm disappointed in the response by Lexus to something that's clearly a problem. Hardly a company that's living up to the "relentless pursuit of perfection" tag line.

So, a couple of questions. Is this the beginning of all the transmission horror stories I've been reading about? If the answer is probably yes, is there anything I can try (drain & fill, flush) that might delay the inevitable? I checked the transmission fluid and it's definitely got some darker color to it, and while the smell wouldn't be described as burnt-like, it's definitely not the smell of regular transmission fluid. I don't have any idea whether the transmission fluid has ever been changed, but I'm willing to bet it has not.

Thoughts/suggestions?

O/D is locked out until operational temperatures are reached, about two miles from my house generally.

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You might take it to a REPUTABLE transmission shop for a "power flush". It is supposed to get rid of almost all of the debris in the transmission. Not sure of the price or even if it can be done on a Lexus.

I had a transmission in a 99 Ford pickup burn up and the shop mentioned some advantages of a "power flush". It was after the fact so was not likely a big sales job.

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If his fluid is real dark, a flush may disturb debris into the valve body assembly and cause a failure. Flushing the fluid by unhooking the hose sounds OK. But mutiple drain and refills at least gets the fluid looking better. And safely....

I have heard this arguement for over 30 years and I still have a difficult time believing it to be little more than an old wive's tale or urban legend. Maybe in the old 1960-70's GM Turbohydromatic but I really question whether anyone has personally experienced this or it just keeps getting passed down over the years. The "I have a friend" anecdotal evidence doesn't count. ;)

Gary

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