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Transmission Flushes Vs. Drain/fill


tmastres
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The general consensus in this forum is that drain-and-fill trans. fluid replacement is the way to go. Not taking sides here but I found this link interesting. Truth be told though, they may have a vested interest in the flush process so take it for what its worth.

http://www.toyotechs.com/autologic-news/le...ission-failure/

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it also shows the lack of service as stated on some dipsticks that could cause the failure...I wish my didstick said 100k miles that, i would have a lawyer in a moments breath.... As I posted earlier today the real problem is a substandard design problem.... the Planetary gears mounted in aluminum are a very weak point for such a heavy vehicle. the rebuild part is a steel carrier with 6 gears instead of 4

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And what type fluid are they suggesting? Why Dextron 3 transmission fluid flush then a BG shift additive. Once you do this Toyota will never help you with the failure. For a shop they should be analyzing what is causing this debris that clogs the filter not trying to sell you something that may or may not work. lenores trans guy is doing the right thing by finding what might be the cause.

Jeff

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Yep, keep your negotiating rights with Lexus protected by staying with Toyota Type T-IV fluid in your transmission for as long as you intend to do battle with Lexus if your transmission fails. I don't believe T-IV is any better or worse than any other decent fluid you could pick and choose in the open market. But I DO believe that you should stay with it for the sole purpose of protecting your wallet in the event of failure. Once you reach that magic odometer reading of whatever it is for you, you may indeed get a better fluid if you choose Amsoil or the like. But if you do switch to Amsoil or anything else, you've just severed your ability to fight Lexus for a transmission rebuild. Keep that in mind....

My wife's 2004 RX330 AWD is pushing 87,000 miles. I change the T-IV in it every 30,000 miles and yes, the owners manual for that model year proclaims that the factory fill in this vehicle is "lifetime". I'll stay with fresh T-IV every 30,000 miles for as long as we keep the vehicle, probably 140,000 to 150,000 miles barring no accidents or other catastrophic failures. Would Amsoil be a better option in this transmission? Maybe, but I won't run that risk and lose my rights to negotiate if her transmission fails as it did in her previous 2000 RX300 AWD at 48,000 miles. That unfortunate event caused me to stay with T-IV as the best wallet protection possible....

Drain-and-fills for me. My periodic research on flushing always confirms that it simply carries too much risk, especially for the already suspect weak-trannied RX....

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My wife's 2004 RX330 AWD is pushing 87,000 miles. I change the T-IV in it every 30,000 miles and yes, the owners manual for that model year proclaims that the factory fill in this vehicle is "lifetime". I'll stay with fresh T-IV every 30,000 miles for as long as we keep the vehicle, probably 140,000 to 150,000 miles barring no accidents or other catastrophic failures. Would Amsoil be a better option in this transmission? Maybe, but I won't run that risk and lose my rights to negotiate if her transmission fails as it did in her previous 2000 RX300 AWD at 48,000 miles. That unfortunate event caused me to stay with T-IV as the best wallet protection possible....

Wow, that is weird. My '04 RX owners manual (supplement maintenance schedule) says to change the ATF every 60k miles. I wonder if they publish different versions of the manual for different parts of the U.S. I am in Calif. Or maybe because we purchased in 4/03, they modified the manual for your vehicle.

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2004 RX330 here, purchased new, now have 105,000 miles ... I use an independent that charges $129 ($109 if I can find a coupon) for a fluid exchange (technically a flush) using Type IV.

The first flush was at 60K ... it desperately needed changed. After seeing that fluid, I now do flushes every 30K. I had another flush at 90K, the fluid looked a lot better.

The next one is scheduled for 120K, again I will do a flush .... YMMV.

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Yep, in the old days you left your transmission fluid alone. Maybe you topped it up every now and then, but you sure didn't run the risk of changing it. Transmissions were simpler and built with heavier and stronger metals in those days....

My 1999 Ram pickup still has its factory fill of ATF+3 transmission fluid. The truck turns 10 years old next month. The ATF is still sparkling clean at about 54,500 miles. I check it regularly, but I leave it alone other than that. The transmission shifts are still smooth as glass, much moreso than either of our RX vehicles ever were or are. I'm sticking with the factory fill in my Ram until I begin to notice diminishing shift quality. I won't be surprised if I never do....

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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....

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Good luck on that claim/lawsuit.

I admit that I do not know the scope of the issue like you guys do, but that redesign certainly passes my school-of-common-sense engineering "this was a crap-design" test.

I mean that aluminum carrier rig just asks for trouble with a vehicle this heavy.

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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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So Lexus made a steal replacement part for the transmission?

My 03 rx300 awd has ~78k miles on it today. I had the transmission fluid flushed by toyota (replaced with oem fluid) last year at 60k miles. The fluid still looked and smelled brand new but i decided based on all the info here that it would be a good decision.

Well today the fluid still looks and smells brand new. No signs of failure.

Would it be recommended for someone in my position (with nice fluid and who's planning on keeping the car for many years ahead) to have this "new" steal part replaced now while there's not much debris in there? Would this be less costly than having it fail later on? Maybe replacing this part with the steal one would prevent the total failure further down the road?

What do you think?

BTW the car was purchased jun '05 as a CPO and we added an additional 2 years to that at purchase. So the car's covered until jun'10.

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So Lexus made a steal replacement part for the transmission?

My 03 rx300 awd has ~78k miles on it today. I had the transmission fluid flushed by toyota (replaced with oem fluid) last year at 60k miles. The fluid still looked and smelled brand new but i decided based on all the info here that it would be a good decision.

Well today the fluid still looks and smells brand new. No signs of failure.

Would it be recommended for someone in my position (with nice fluid and who's planning on keeping the car for many years ahead) to have this "new" steal part replaced now while there's not much debris in there? Would this be less costly than having it fail later on? Maybe replacing this part with the steal one would prevent the total failure further down the road?

What do you think?

BTW the car was purchased jun '05 as a CPO and we added an additional 2 years to that at purchase. So the car's covered until jun'10.

Very good suggestion. :cheers: If you're planning to keep the car, I think you'd be proactive to do preventative maintenance/replacement. Always a good idea with any parts that have a higher than normal failure rate. Initially it might be a bit more expensive, but cheaper in the end.

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So Lexus made a steal replacement part for the transmission?

My 03 rx300 awd has ~78k miles on it today. I had the transmission fluid flushed by toyota (replaced with oem fluid) last year at 60k miles. The fluid still looked and smelled brand new but i decided based on all the info here that it would be a good decision.

Well today the fluid still looks and smells brand new. No signs of failure.

Would it be recommended for someone in my position (with nice fluid and who's planning on keeping the car for many years ahead) to have this "new" steal part replaced now while there's not much debris in there? Would this be less costly than having it fail later on? Maybe replacing this part with the steal one would prevent the total failure further down the road?

What do you think?

BTW the car was purchased jun '05 as a CPO and we added an additional 2 years to that at purchase. So the car's covered until jun'10.

I doubt very much if you could find someone willing to replace just the plantary gears with the upgraded part without rebuilding the whole trans while it is apart and out of the car. It just doesn't make good sense. If you insisted I am sure someone would do it for a price amd most likely want you to sign something noting that the trans is your responsibility.

However, if your trans made it to the first fluid replacement at 60K with the fluid looking new and again to 78K, I would be willing to bet that you have a good trans and maybe even already have the upgraded part. Most of us with failed transmissions in 2001s and older noticed that the fluid was dirty and smelled burnt by 40K. If yours is clean you may have something there. I would just keep an eye on it and do a fluid replacement about every 30k just to be sure.

I know the transmissions are failing in 2001 and older and believe that they will continue to fail in 02 and 03 years but I could be proven wrong.

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The unknown is that we dont know when the part was implemented, and even if Toyota/Lexus uses it. It may just be aftermarket when shops rebuild it. Mother Toyota is not giving me any information. To replace the Planetary gears would be just as much as to probably rebuild the transmission. I know the gears run around $900 and a rebuild kit is around $260. But without knowing when and what, it would be a waste until your transmission failed. The labor to remove and install alone would probably be around $1800 to $2000 at most dealerhips. That is how much mine was. I guess what I am saying is who knows if your 2003 already has the gears and that is why we havent been seeing the failures.....

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GRRR.. i guess the problem is that we just don't know. :(

At those prices... i'd may as well just keep my transmission the way it is and pray for no failure.

Hopefully if it ever does decide to fail, Lexus will help with the bill, maybe offer something from their "good will" charity based on the fact that the car's been babied and i had the fluid flushed by toyota (kept the paperwork ;) ). although, i highly doubt it based on all of your stories :(

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So Lexus made a steal replacement part for the transmission?

My 03 rx300 awd has ~78k miles on it today. I had the transmission fluid flushed by toyota (replaced with oem fluid) last year at 60k miles. The fluid still looked and smelled brand new but i decided based on all the info here that it would be a good decision.

Well today the fluid still looks and smells brand new. No signs of failure.

Would it be recommended for someone in my position (with nice fluid and who's planning on keeping the car for many years ahead) to have this "new" steal part replaced now while there's not much debris in there? Would this be less costly than having it fail later on? Maybe replacing this part with the steal one would prevent the total failure further down the road?

What do you think?

BTW the car was purchased jun '05 as a CPO and we added an additional 2 years to that at purchase. So the car's covered until jun'10.

Very good suggestion.:cheers: If you're planning to keep the car, I think you'd be proactive to do preventative maintenance/replacement. Always a good idea with any parts that have a higher than normal failure rate. Initially it might be a bit more expensive, but cheaper in the end.

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So Lexus made a steal replacement part for the transmission?

My 03 rx300 awd has ~78k miles on it today. I had the transmission fluid flushed by toyota (replaced with oem fluid) last year at 60k miles. The fluid still looked and smelled brand new but i decided based on all the info here that it would be a good decision.

Well today the fluid still looks and smells brand new. No signs of failure.

Would it be recommended for someone in my position (with nice fluid and who's planning on keeping the car for many years ahead) to have this "new" steal part replaced now while there's not much debris in there? Would this be less costly than having it fail later on? Maybe replacing this part with the steal one would prevent the total failure further down the road?

What do you think?

BTW the car was purchased jun '05 as a CPO and we added an additional 2 years to that at purchase. So the car's covered until jun'10.

Very good suggestion.:cheers: If you're planning to keep the car, I think you'd be proactive to do preventative maintenance/replacement. Always a good idea with any parts that have a higher than normal failure rate. Initially it might be a bit more expensive, but cheaper in the end.

If you're sure you have the part prone to failure then assess whether it's cost effective to do early replacement. Check the TSB's and find out what upgrades are available for your car . If you had an older unit and wanted to keep it, you'd have to cost it out as uyou would any service. As you have an '05, it prolly has the upgraded parts in it. Something you can do as an alternative is to bump up the service schedule. Preventative maintenance is something you always do with keepers. Just depends on your budget. As an extreme, in F1 racing for an example, engines are routinely torn down after each race, whether it performed perfectly or not, because many of the parts would not survive another race. Also some systems in the car can adversely affect other parts if not serviced at the first sign of probs. The notorious p/s pump in the LS as an example. In this case you know the history and failure rate of alt's as a direct result, so you pre-empt the additional costs by replacing it. With the RX, replacing the pl gears is not going to be cheap as posted above. You have to determine if you already have the upgrade, and if not, decide whether you want to wait until it fails?

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My advice, given your experiences and lack of failure symptoms at this point, is to continue to change your fluid every 30,000 miles and monitor its condition regularly. Don't tear down a properly-functioning transmission. But stay with Toyota Type T-IV fluid to protect your interests, and keep all service records for the duration you own the vehicle....

Good luck to you - hope you never have to deal with this issue....

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GRRR.. i guess the problem is that we just don't know. :(

At those prices... i'd may as well just keep my transmission the way it is and pray for no failure.

Hopefully if it ever does decide to fail, Lexus will help with the bill, maybe offer something from their "good will" charity based on the fact that the car's been babied and i had the fluid flushed by toyota (kept the paperwork ;) ). although, i highly doubt it based on all of your stories :(

Just be aware that Lexus cost minus Lexus goodwill equals the cost at a reputable transmission shop. And Lexus rebuilds do not have that good of a track record. After going through all this with both Lexus and Toyota I ended up using a local shop.

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GRRR.. i guess the problem is that we just don't know. :(

At those prices... i'd may as well just keep my transmission the way it is and pray for no failure.

Hopefully if it ever does decide to fail, Lexus will help with the bill, maybe offer something from their "good will" charity based on the fact that the car's been babied and i had the fluid flushed by toyota (kept the paperwork ;) ). although, i highly doubt it based on all of your stories :(

Just be aware that Lexus cost minus Lexus goodwill equals the cost at a reputable transmission shop. And Lexus rebuilds do not have that good of a track record. After going through all this with both Lexus and Toyota I ended up using a local shop.

My experiences with both Toyota and Lexus dealerships have been consistently terrible. I have only used them for warranty work but they screwed up everything they did. Some things I fixed myself, some things I took back and they fixed, some things I had to take back two times and one thing I had to take back three times (leaking rear CV boot covers on the RX). I've posted a couple examples over the years and have several more. Hopefully my experiences have been atypical but they do cover two separate Lexus dealerships and one Toyota dealership, so draw your own conclusions.

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