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Engine Sound During Idling


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OK, another gripe about my 2010 ES 350. My odomoter reading is only about 5,500 miles now. I have noticed that when the car is idling (i.e., when the gear is engaged in Drive, foot on the brake, and the car is not moving, such as when it is stopped at the traffic lights), there is a low frequency pulsating sound similar to what you might hear on a ferry boat. Sort of a low "whup whup whup whup" which you can certainly hear coming from idle trucks, buses, taxis, and such. It is not loud, but definitely noticeable, well at least to me. I am sure the Lexus people will say this is normal and acceptable, but I find it to be rather distracting and embarrassing when I have passengers in the car. I would turn on the music to mask it so my friends won't notice this idle sound! For a "luxury" car, this idle sound is simply too loud. My old 1994 (!!) Infiniti J30 was MUCH quieter. All you would hear is an even-sounding low frequency "hum" of the engine, no pulsating "heartbeat" sound. When the car is cruising on the highway, this pulsating sound disappears, I guess because now the engine is revving at a higher speed, thus causing the engine sound to be more uniform and evenly smoothed out. So yes, when the car is moving, it feels luxurious, smooth, and "quiet"--like what you would expect. But when the car is stopped, with gear engaged in Drive, it is rather disappointing. :angry:

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I'm not sure mine exhibits the same noise as yours, but it does not idle as smoothly as the 2003 does. I think its probably the timing chain vs the timing belt. Supposedly thats why Lexus resisted going to the chan from the belt for so long.

It certainly isn't anything embarrassing or that would cause me to turn up the radio though...so maybe its a separate issue with yours...

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Not sure if mine was the same as yours but after I took my car in for the 5k maintenance, I noticed a noise coming from the engine similar to what you have described. The car still ran well but I knew it didn't sound the same as before. I expected the service department to say it was "normal", and they did, but the driver knows the difference! My Lexus rep was great and took a look at my car to see where the noise was coming from and after I got the car back, it sounded pretty much normal, i.e. brand new normal. I was happy. My Lexus rep was happy too although the mechanic said he "didn't do anything" to fix it. He just checked and ran diagnostics on it. I sort of knew there was no problem with the car, just the settings needed to be adjusted, and I think that was the case.

I'm glad I went back with the noise concern and was fortunate that the service department looked into it instead of saying it was just in my head :-)

Good luck!

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  • 3 months later...

Not sure if mine was the same as yours but after I took my car in for the 5k maintenance, I noticed a noise coming from the engine similar to what you have described. The car still ran well but I knew it didn't sound the same as before. I expected the service department to say it was "normal", and they did, but the driver knows the difference! My Lexus rep was great and took a look at my car to see where the noise was coming from and after I got the car back, it sounded pretty much normal, i.e. brand new normal. I was happy. My Lexus rep was happy too although the mechanic said he "didn't do anything" to fix it. He just checked and ran diagnostics on it. I sort of knew there was no problem with the car, just the settings needed to be adjusted, and I think that was the case.

I'm glad I went back with the noise concern and was fortunate that the service department looked into it instead of saying it was just in my head :-)

Good luck!

It's been almost a year now of driving my 2010 ES 350, and I must say this 'noise' issue is still perceptible. I leave my office very late in the evening and when stopping at traffic lights during that time of the night when there is not much traffic, this "whup whup whup whup" low-frequency engine "heartbeat" can be quite noticeably heard (with audio system and A/C turned OFF). I will raise the issue when I next bring my car in for an oil change at the Lexus service center, but I have a feeling they will say "it's within acceptable thresholds."

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I'm not sure mine exhibits the same noise as yours, but it does not idle as smoothly as the 2003 does. I think its probably the timing chain vs the timing belt. Supposedly thats why Lexus resisted going to the chan from the belt for so long.

It certainly isn't anything embarrassing or that would cause me to turn up the radio though...so maybe its a separate issue with yours...

I guess I'm the odd man out. I haven't had any engine noise issues with my 10' ES. I am just passing 1700 miles and there has been no piston slap nor any low cycle rumbling at idle like you described. My 330 was a little quieter at idle when you stood outside the car, but thats all. Everyone that rides with me always remarks on "how quiet your car is!"

Paul

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