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Es300 Engine And Transmission Changes


99lsguy
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Hey Es owners,

I've noticed the posts referencing older transmissions breaking down. So, has Lexus changed the design on the newer models - and corrected the deficiencies? Looking for a kind of 'TIMELINE" of events and Lexus made "good" to owners of faulty transmissions..

Also, same type of info on the "engine oil - sludge" problem in Camrys or the ES.

Just curious and would love to hear the expertise...

Thanks :D

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92 -93 junk ,engine and tranny became noticable in the engines in 97 or so tranny in 99 for breaking down

94-96 engine bullet proof, tranny not as great for 94 - 01 same became noticable in 99 for most owners

97-01 engine is great but has a tendency for gelling from under maintance

02-03 time will tell but the tranny is still kind of being worked on

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The 5 speed started in 02, but its a completely different transmission from the LS. The LS is a rear drive car while the ES is front drive.

I'm still a little on the sidelines when it comes to these "transmission problems" the ES is "plagued" with. Sort of like the shift hesitation on the 02-04, I believe some owners experience it and of course it must be terribly annoying, but I don't believe most owners do and I think that hanging around Lexus forums will make you believe otherwise. I think the same is true of the transmission failures. The transmission is a hot topic on here, and people "feel" all kinds of "problems" that in reality are simply normal operating conditions for the transmission because of all the hype they're reading on here. More discussion of "transmission" brings more web hits for the term "Lexus transmission" thus you get an unrealistic proportion of owners that have problems vs owners that don't. I've talked to a lot of Lexus owners, I know a lot of people with Camrys and ES300s, and I know a lot of people in the auto repair industry, and none of them would characterize the ES as a vehicle that they see a lot of transmission problems on.

Now engine gelling is a real problem with the ES, but not if you change the oil properly.

You can really see this phenomina with the 02-04 tranny lag. Wasn't a big deal until Lexus sent out that letter informing owners that a "fix" for the transmission had been introduced, then all of a sudden you had people that had never even noticed a problem going nuts and suing Lexus in class action suits over the transmission, which they had no problem with until they saw an "in". If I were Lexus I wouldn't even have released that letter, just left it up to the dealers to communicate the issue to owners or simply make it a TSB and perform the upgrade if customers complained. IMHO I think Lexus' desire to treat their customers right backfired in their faces big time on this one. I actually think some of the issues with prior transmissions sprung up because of the 02-04 tranny lag, owners of older models jumping to the same conclusions owners of newer models did. Again, the more we talked, the more web hits and the more transmission problem people showed up...

THATS why you can't really tell whats good or bad about a car from whats said on an Internet forum. Both the good AND the bad get exaggerated way out of preportion. Yes Lexus is a great car, one of the best, but its not perfect, its not completely silent (it is still a machine hurling down the road at 70MPH, albeit a quiet one), it DOES require maintenance (Toyotas wont run any further without maintenance than anything else), when cared for they will last a long time, longer than other cars, but they don't last forever, your 14 year old LS400 WONT drive like a new one and there's no point in spending twice its value to replace every component in the undercarriage, and new car smell fades in a Lexus just like a Chrysler...

THATS the facts :D

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and people "feel" all kinds of "problems" that in reality are simply normal operating conditions for the transmission

Steve, when you have some time, do this little experiment for me and let me know if you consider this normal.

Drive the car and then slow down to almost being stopped(about 2mph). Then try to accelerate normally. Does your car go right into a lower gear at this point or does it hesitate slightly until it figres what gear to go into.

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Oh no, I'm not saying the hesitation isn't there, I can make my car experience the hesitation I'm just saying that for more drivers than not they either don't experience the problem, or it doesn't mesh with them as something thats not right. When they got the letter however and were told there was a problem, these drivers suddenly became plagued for this hesitation that they were told was there.

The way I drive normally I never experience the hesitation, I dont know if that comes from the speed at which I get on the throttle in those situations or what...

I do however consider it normal for a Lexus, my dad's 98 was the same way, as is his 04, the GS's I've test driven are the same way as are the RXs I get as loaners. Thats why I think it has more to do with the throttle than the transmission.

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Now engine gelling is a real problem with the ES, but not if you change the oil properly.

You can really see this phenomina with the 02-04 tranny lag. Wasn't a big deal until Lexus sent out that letter informing owners that a "fix" for the transmission had been introduced, then all of a sudden you had people that had never even noticed a problem going nuts and suing Lexus in class action suits over the transmission, which they had no problem with until they saw an "in".

I can see how it must have "hit the fan" when Lexus sent those letters out.

As for the exaggerations; they could (and probably are) a little rampant.

I remember reading (here on LOC) about the engine "gel" problem that was caused by neglecting the oil change for 25,000 miles :o

Even though we hate to admit it, even the Lexus is a "depreciating machine" and will wear out.........

SWO,

Good point about repair bills that are equal or greater than the value of the car - just have to let them go sometimes...

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What I find funny is I've heard of people buying 1990 LS400s and attempting to restore them. Its not that kind of vehicle lol, take the money you would have spent to restore it and buy as new an LS as you can afford.

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Steve, I completely agree with you about each person's shift logic. I can make my '94 shift like a dream, or it can shift poorly...I've learned over time in the car how to get around this. In stop-and-go traffic it will lurch foward when I step on the gas a half a second after I let off the brake....I guess it's deciding whether or not it needs to down shift. Solution: I just wait a second before pressing the gas, and the car doesn't jump....it just makes life easier ;) .

Roy (it's good to see you over here ;) ), the powertrain in my '94 is simply outstanding! I haven't ridden or driven a car that came close...except for maybe a '93 LS I test drove and my neighbors GS430 (I've driven a few expensive cars...MB, a few Lincolns, several high end Ford SUVs, Nissans...they just are no match! IMO Chevy probably has the worst powertrain ex. our Suburban; the tranny is horrible and you can literaly feel the engine rumbling under your feet...punching the accelerator is a nightmare for your neck as well as an unexpected rebuild at 60k miles:(I've ridden in an 03 Tahoe and the engine and tranny could easily be mistaken for those in our 99 Suburban). Ford's are getting better to me. The LSV8(very fun car!) & 03 TC(most comfortable I've ever been in!) as well as the New Expeditions and F150's that I drove were all reasonably smooth and quiet(for a domestics!)...good job Bill Jr.!)! The engine(in the ES) is silent around town, but when you punch it, the sound is just gorgeous B) . Also, I love punching it to feel how transparent the tranny is...downshifting to second can't even be detected unless you watch the tach soar to 6k rpms! I'm not at all worried about sludge because I visit Bohn Toyota every 4k miles for fresh oil and filter! I expect the wheels to fall off of the ES before the engine ever skips a beat!

Here's as much of a Timeline as I could think of: In 94, Lexus introduced the 1mzfe(3.0 24v V6) with aluminium heads(vs. iron in 92-3) and a new 4spd tranny...both are revised versions from the 92's-93's; 95-98(redesign in '97), I think little intake tweaks and such were made here and there that uped the fuel economy. Somewhere along the way the hp jumped from 185 in '92 to 188('94) to 200(97?), and then to 210(? in '02?)?? I believe in '99 VVt-i was added; the ES has a redesign in '02 with the same(or similar?) engine as in '99 ,but the new 5spd tranny came into being with the infamous hesitation problem; in '04 the ES330 was introduced with a revised 5spd and a larger 225hp 3.3V6, but I think the few 330 owners say the hesitation problem still exists. I hope you can make sense of all of this!

Sk, I'm a little confused :blushing: with your post...can you please explain?I finally put the squakers in; they sound great...thanks! :D

:cheers:

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I can't imagine putting 20+ grand into a 14 year old car. You couldn't possibly restore it to"NEW" for that anyway.

To be honest, I can't understand putting that much money above and beyond the purchase price into ANY car, new or old. When you're talking about that much money you're never going to see it again with the sale of the car, you've really got to have a love for the modification scene lol...

I'd always rather buy a $20,000 more expensive car ;)

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Sk, I'm a little confused :blushing: with your post...can you please explain?I finally put the squakers in; they sound great...thanks! :D

:cheers:

sure which part?

glad the squakers worked as mint as they did 5 years ago the last time they were used before storage

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