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Tranny Failure Rx300


lenore
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Good afternoon everyone, I just want to share some interesting information about the failures with the planetary gears. I stopped by an independent that I knew about 10 years ago and asked what his price was for rebuild and also what exactly fails. Being the very nice man he was he explained and showed an example of the failure. Apparently the original planetary gear had four gears mounted in an aluminum carrier... Who knows, heat, wear whatever the carrier fails and allows the gears to tilt, and then your tranny is toast.. The new replacement planetary gears are mounted in a steel carrier, with 6 gears instead of the original 4....very interesting.... and much stronger....see attached pictures of a failed 4 gear planetary gear....from a 140e tranny... this shows the theory of bad design issue, and what was done to make it stronger...Now the question is was this ever put in production or only on rebuilds...?????

post-12820-1232832024_thumb.jpg

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Tom,

Thanks for your continuing efforts to get to the bottom of this unfortunate saga. If the new design was indeed put into production at some point in time, somewhere out there is an RX300 with a VIN number where the risk of transmission failure in it and all following RX300s rolling off the assembly lines may indeed decline significantly. But alas, we'll never know because Lexus/Toyota will protect this information as a mother crocodile protects her hatchlings. A class action lawsuit would be the only way to force this information into the light of day but now that the early RX models are pushing a decade old, any successful class action activity's chances diminish with each passing year. But thanks again for the insight. The more fact-based knowledge you can uncover, the better decisions owners and potential owners of early RX300s will be able to make regarding their vehicles....

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Exactly RX, and it may give future failure replacement a decision to go independent if those shops are upgrading the parts. Knowledge is great, especially when it saves lots of money..... and reliability which gives peace of mind when the wife goes out the door in her daily quest...

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Great find on the planatery gear info. My rebuilder said that is what failed in mine. I think Toyota has a lot of failed transmissions out there that they are not stepping up to. If you check any of the Rav4 sites it looks like they had the same problem. Many trans complaints at this site:

http://www.aboutautomobile.com/Complaint/2000/Lexus/RX300

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I wish I knew. During our discussion he claimed he does a lot of RX transmissions and none of them return. He then went on to say a lot of the parts he was using were upgraded parts but we never got into what they actually were. If I had known about the planatary gear then I would have asked.

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Tom,

Thanks for your continuing efforts to get to the bottom of this unfortunate saga. If the new design was indeed put into production at some point in time, somewhere out there is an RX300 with a VIN number where the risk of transmission failure in it and all following RX300s rolling off the assembly lines may indeed decline significantly. But alas, we'll never know because Lexus/Toyota will protect this information as a mother crocodile protects her hatchlings. A class action lawsuit would be the only way to force this information into the light of day but now that the early RX models are pushing a decade old, any successful class action activity's chances diminish with each passing year. But thanks again for the insight. The more fact-based knowledge you can uncover, the better decisions owners and potential owners of early RX300s will be able to make regarding their vehicles....

I'm betting there is a chance that none of the 300's were ever produced from the factory with the updated steel/6 gear planetary. By the time they admitted to themselves that it was a weak design and actually incorporated the changes into production they were building the 330 and the 350. A lot of manufacturers do that. They may know they have a problem and what they need to do to correct it but to make the change at that time is an admission that they screwed up and everyone who has a car built with the problem will expect it to be corrected whether they ever have a problem or not. Too costly! Look at what it took to get satisfaction for those 3.0L Toyota built engines and the Fords with the spark plug blow out and the spark plug breakage problem. Toyota was forced to deal with the problem at least somewhat and Ford never has really admitted to the serious screw-up with the spark plug problems. Too costly! That's the bottom line.

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Just posted this in another thread that got jacked:

After seeing the aluminum carrier for the planetary gears, and understanding how aluminum can fail under load, especially if there is not enough support to distribute the load, Changing fluid is a necessity. Keeping it cool and with proper lubricating properties is a must. the replacement Planetary gear being all steel carrier and more gears shows me Lexus knows they have a problem, but wont own up to it. I know, everybody makes improvements, but in the case of this transmission with AWD and heavy loads the engineering wasnt there. By the way folks I am pursuing Lexus of America again with my claim which they denied when my tranny failed with this new knowledge... wish me luck. As for the flushing machine it is probably ok on a non contaminated tranny, but one with lots of debris, beware....

I think one of the contributing factors to the plan gears failing, that you can add to your claim with LofA, is that the passageways are too small to provide adequate flow for proper heat transfer. Good luck, and of course we'll be waiting for the outcome.

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Please can someone comment if Tranny failures are "mostly" seen on AWD. Or 2WD are also similarly prone to tranny failure with the same high probability. :(

My 2WD RX300 (2001) has 95K miles and these Tranny failure postings are making me nervous. I already got the engine replaced at 65K miles for the sludge issue which was fortunately done by Lexus free of cost.

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The failures from what I have seen are tend to be the AWD ones. Yes there are some FWD failures, but not like the numbers of AWD. However I would highly recommend replacing the filter and do drain and fills on both Transmissions.,

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The failures from what I have seen are tend to be the AWD ones. Yes there are some FWD failures, but not like the numbers of AWD. However I would highly recommend replacing the filter and do drain and fills on both Transmissions.,

I would also bump up the service schedule. Do the drains (incl engine) at three quarter to half the manufacturer's intervals.

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by the way I contacted Lexus of America to ask about this change and requested some assistance in my tranny replacement costs. They acted very diligent until I told them it was done 4 years ago. She repeated twice "do you really want assistance for a transmission change 4 years ago?" I said yes very politely and gave the reason of customers being missinformed for the maintenance schedule, and Lexus hiding the fact of a engineering mess up that they didnt want to address. She said she would send it to the technical department (dead file department) that was two days ago....Kind of funny but disheartening.....

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by the way I contacted Lexus of America to ask about this change and requested some assistance in my tranny replacement costs. They acted very diligent until I told them it was done 4 years ago. She repeated twice "do you really want assistance for a transmission change 4 years ago?" I said yes very politely and gave the reason of customers being missinformed for the maintenance schedule, and Lexus hiding the fact of a engineering mess up that they didnt want to address. She said she would send it to the technical department (dead file department) that was two days ago....Kind of funny but disheartening.....

Don't be too discouraged. When I raised the issue of the Lexus Repair Manual being incorrect regarding the IACV electrical specs/check-out, I was told that the problem will be referred to the "technical department". Two days later I got a call confirming my request. Two days after that another call back confirming my request. Two days later a third call back. This time it was a customer rep who had a "regional technical manager" on the phone with her. They acknowledged the error and gave me a full refund for an OEM IACV I unnecessarily bought. On all 3 call backs I had to repeat the entire story. It took patience and tongue biting, but it finally worked. Of course, an IACV costs a whole lot less than a new tranny!!

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Well as expected the news was negative from Corporate Lexus....They denied my claim for assistance on my transmission because of my new revelatiions of why they fail, and that they failed to provide proper maintenance schedule. I asked for further assistance in when exactly the changes or modifications were done on the transmission ie production date etc. She said they will get back with me. She said I was denied because of my relationship with Lexus (even though I bought all parts at Lexus unless they do the service you have no relationship) I asked whether my relationship of giving them the business for the transmission failure was significant over using an independent and she would not comment. I told her I could have saved at least $1000 over their business price. I find this just a continuing failure for Lexus to not stand behind there product unless you pour every dollar there way... I love the vehicle and bought it over a Mercedes, but deep in my gut, I find it distasteful in how they gave me no assistance after being promised assistance verbally (my bad). I will continue to help fellow owners,but I will not give Lexus of America my support for customer relations. I have over 90 owners emails of their failures which is not a lot, but it shows the frustration of folks that thought they were buying a touch of class with reliability. Again, as I have said before file your complaints with the NHTSA and also a new address: Lexus of America 19001 South Western AVE. Torrance, CA attention AL SMITH

Good morning everyone, have a great day...

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  • 2 weeks later...
Well as expected the news was negative from Corporate Lexus....They denied my claim for assistance on my transmission because of my new revelatiions of why they fail, and that they failed to provide proper maintenance schedule. I asked for further assistance in when exactly the changes or modifications were done on the transmission ie production date etc. She said they will get back with me. She said I was denied because of my relationship with Lexus (even though I bought all parts at Lexus unless they do the service you have no relationship) I asked whether my relationship of giving them the business for the transmission failure was significant over using an independent and she would not comment. I told her I could have saved at least $1000 over their business price. I find this just a continuing failure for Lexus to not stand behind there product unless you pour every dollar there way... I love the vehicle and bought it over a Mercedes, but deep in my gut, I find it distasteful in how they gave me no assistance after being promised assistance verbally (my bad). I will continue to help fellow owners,but I will not give Lexus of America my support for customer relations. I have over 90 owners emails of their failures which is not a lot, but it shows the frustration of folks that thought they were buying a touch of class with reliability. Again, as I have said before file your complaints with the NHTSA and also a new address: Lexus of America 19001 South Western AVE. Torrance, CA attention AL SMITH

Good morning everyone, have a great day...

I moved from UK to Canada. When I was living in UK, I bought an imported(from Japan) Toyota Landcruiser. I had some problems with the odometer and got absolutely no help from Toyota UK. They refused to even look at my vehicle since I did not buy it in UK.

So I wrote to Toyota HQ in Japan and they replied that the UK dealers are refusing because it was an import and they could give no warranty on it. But they also helped me by giving me some contacts in UK who were able to sort out my problem.

So it may be worthwhile writing to Lexus in Japan.

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That sucks! :( Sorry about that news.

What's next? Small claims? You seem to have a valid and reasonable case with your already assembled documentation.

Who knows, they may settle when forced to court.

Unfortunately, the only thing large corps respond to is ... C L A S S .. A C T I O N !

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That sucks! :( Sorry about that news.

What's next? Small claims? You seem to have a valid and reasonable case with your already assembled documentation.

Who knows, they may settle when forced to court.

Unfortunately, the only thing large corps respond to is ... C L A S S .. A C T I O N !

I am trying to tow flat a rx300 2001. all manuals including lexus indicate can be towed without any special equipment. does anyone have experience towing flat a similar model? will tow behind motorhome.

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That sucks! :( Sorry about that news.

What's next? Small claims? You seem to have a valid and reasonable case with your already assembled documentation.

Who knows, they may settle when forced to court.

Unfortunately, the only thing large corps respond to is ... C L A S S .. A C T I O N !

I am trying to tow flat a rx300 2001. all manuals including lexus indicate can be towed without any special equipment. does anyone have experience towing flat a similar model? will tow behind motorhome.

You do not want to tow Lexus 300 behind anything flat. On the platphorm only. It is front wheel drive bias vehicle and lubrication of the fron differential is heavily depends on the egine power and everything else. Two flat you have to disconnect drive shafts from the front wheels which is not practical, or put a vehicle on the free wheeling platform or half platform. None of the FWD cars should be towed flat. Damage to the drive train is almost guaranteed...just when?

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x2 on do not tow flat. My manual (99) gives no alternatitive for towing flat, except in an emergency, and than they state damage can result....

You either have to put it on a flat bed or not tow at all. If it is AWD than even the front trolley is not an option.

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  • 1 month later...

Well out of the blue, got a call from Lexus of AMerica today, Carlos called, but when I returned I talked to some one else. Anyway long and short of it is that LEXUS refuses to give build date of upgraded tranny parts. They said it was propriority info. Yea, so that they dont have to admit they had a problem...Same old Lexus of America, crappy answers when the getting gets tough....So I have no info as to when the strong Planetary gear assembly was incorporated....Sorry guys.

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I've got a question... I've read where our transmissions are either U140F (AWD) or U140E (FWD), with the U140E being used in the '02-'03 Camry, '01-'03 Highlander, and '99-'01 ES300. I'm not sure what other vehicles the U140F is used in, but one can guess it's in the RAV-4 somewhere as well as many Highlanders. Question is: how many of these other vehicles suffer from the same failures we've all had to struggle with? These are widely used trannies.

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