zymurgy

2002 Rx300 - Huges Amounts Of Water On Floor/mold/smell

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I can really use someone's help here. I own a 2002 RX300 with 94,000 miles on it. I have really kept this car in great shape. I bought it up in NY and now live in S. Florida.

About 4 months ago we had a huge rain down here and there was an inch of water on the floor of the car, both front and back, driver and passenger. I vaccumed the car and took it to my mechanic who told me that I probably left the windows open (I didn't).

About a month later it happened again and I took it back to him. He "blew out the ac" something and said that there may have been a clog and the water was not sent out of the car, but was just shot back into the car. In the mean time my navigation system shorted and the engine started to "skip" a little.

A few weeks later I left town for a week and when I came back the car windows were all fogged up and I could smell the mold in the car from 10 feet away. I was horrified to find hairy mold all over the interior of the car along with tons of water on the floor. I brought it back to my mechanic who checked the A/c again, the rear tail light, moon roof and all of the other common areas for leaks, but he still could not find anything. After that I took it to Lexus.

First lexus told me that I had left the window open and this was my fault. I told them the above story and they continued checking but could not find any leaks. I refused to take the car back and told them to keep trying. Eventually they totally stripped the interior of the car out (seats, carpet, etc.) and ran it through the car wash and told me that there was a leak in the antenna. I told them that I find it hard to believe that the amount of water that was in the car came from such a small opening, but they are sticking to their story.

Anyway, I had my insurance company come to inspect the car for a claim along with a private adjuster. The insurance company has told me that this is a design defect of lexus and that they should replace the car for me. They said that it was not safe to drive with all of the mold.

Has anyone had this happen to them? Is it possible that the antenna is the culprit here and that the car has a design defect? What should I expect from lexus in return if my insurance company provides proof that this is a design defect and that lexus knew about it, considering that I am now sick from the mold?

Please help

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Their story is so fishy it smells like the fishing dock from here. The antenna is at the rear of the car, right? If the antenna is still at the RR 1/4 panel area I don't see how the water could POSSIBLY get to the front of the car. I have had the antennas out more than once and from what I remember the water would have to climb UP to get to the front of the vehicle. I did water leaks many years ago when I worked in a dealership and we could ALWAYS find water leaks. You worked till you found it, or it would simply be back to haunt you. with 1 person IN the car and one outside SOAKING the car with the water hose, the leak would ALWAYS eventually expose itself. it takes a little while sometimes for the water to LUBE it's own path, but when it does, it is generally essy to find. It doesn't take high pressure, just a regular garden hose, on full, but keep flooding till the leak shows itself. I do not believe it's the antenna, sounds like incompetent personel to me.

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Thank you for the reply. I guess the question is what should I do now? The car is essentially totalled. The cost to repair all of the damage and the mold remediation is around $7,000. The car is worth maybe $9,000. I have been told by several people that this is an issue in a small percentage of these cars and that it is a design defect. They told me that this is the responsibility of lexus and that they should replace the car.

I knew there was no possible way that this unbelievable leak was coming from a tiny hole in the back of the car. I have a feeling it is something different and they are not telling me what it is.

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If you have full coverage insurance then I think that the best thing you could do is to allow your insurance company to total if it is a total loss as you say or repair if not. But based on the damages I would say totaled! Then your insurance company will try to subrogate and get their money back from Lexus. Your carrier could try to say that it is not covered since it is a design defect but that should be provided to you in writing...although I don't think that they will deny it I think that they will fix or total and subrogate. If for some reason they do decide that they are not going to cover the loss they will provide you with a letter in writing denying the claim...if not ask for one...that would help your case with Lexus.

I am in the insurance business and I have had a number of claims regarding windows leaking after they have not been reinstalled properly. In everyone of them the GLASS company that did the repair is ultimately responsible for the damages however the insurance company usually will pay until the Glass company would assume liability for the damage. Same thing when someone hits your car...the other party was at fault and their company is responsible to repair your car however sometimes it is easier to file the claim with your carrier and let them deal with the other company...just depends on the situation and how easy the other carrier is to deal with.

Best of Luck to you!

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Could it possibly be the sunroof? Looks like there might even be a class action about problems with the sunroof.

http://www.kcrlegal.com/lexus-leaky-sunroof-investigation.aspx

I can really use someone's help here. I own a 2002 RX300 with 94,000 miles on it. I have really kept this car in great shape. I bought it up in NY and now live in S. Florida.

About 4 months ago we had a huge rain down here and there was an inch of water on the floor of the car, both front and back, driver and passenger. I vaccumed the car and took it to my mechanic who told me that I probably left the windows open (I didn't).

About a month later it happened again and I took it back to him. He "blew out the ac" something and said that there may have been a clog and the water was not sent out of the car, but was just shot back into the car. In the mean time my navigation system shorted and the engine started to "skip" a little.

A few weeks later I left town for a week and when I came back the car windows were all fogged up and I could smell the mold in the car from 10 feet away. I was horrified to find hairy mold all over the interior of the car along with tons of water on the floor. I brought it back to my mechanic who checked the A/c again, the rear tail light, moon roof and all of the other common areas for leaks, but he still could not find anything. After that I took it to Lexus.

First lexus told me that I had left the window open and this was my fault. I told them the above story and they continued checking but could not find any leaks. I refused to take the car back and told them to keep trying. Eventually they totally stripped the interior of the car out (seats, carpet, etc.) and ran it through the car wash and told me that there was a leak in the antenna. I told them that I find it hard to believe that the amount of water that was in the car came from such a small opening, but they are sticking to their story.

Anyway, I had my insurance company come to inspect the car for a claim along with a private adjuster. The insurance company has told me that this is a design defect of lexus and that they should replace the car for me. They said that it was not safe to drive with all of the mold.

Has anyone had this happen to them? Is it possible that the antenna is the culprit here and that the car has a design defect? What should I expect from lexus in return if my insurance company provides proof that this is a design defect and that lexus knew about it, considering that I am now sick from the mold?

Please help

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I can really use someone's help here. I own a 2002 RX300 with 94,000 miles on it. I have really kept this car in great shape. I bought it up in NY and now live in S. Florida.

About 4 months ago we had a huge rain down here and there was an inch of water on the floor of the car, both front and back, driver and passenger. I vaccumed the car and took it to my mechanic who told me that I probably left the windows open (I didn't).

About a month later it happened again and I took it back to him. He "blew out the ac" something and said that there may have been a clog and the water was not sent out of the car, but was just shot back into the car. In the mean time my navigation system shorted and the engine started to "skip" a little.

A few weeks later I left town for a week and when I came back the car windows were all fogged up and I could smell the mold in the car from 10 feet away. I was horrified to find hairy mold all over the interior of the car along with tons of water on the floor. I brought it back to my mechanic who checked the A/c again, the rear tail light, moon roof and all of the other common areas for leaks, but he still could not find anything. After that I took it to Lexus.

First lexus told me that I had left the window open and this was my fault. I told them the above story and they continued checking but could not find any leaks. I refused to take the car back and told them to keep trying. Eventually they totally stripped the interior of the car out (seats, carpet, etc.) and ran it through the car wash and told me that there was a leak in the antenna. I told them that I find it hard to believe that the amount of water that was in the car came from such a small opening, but they are sticking to their story.

Anyway, I had my insurance company come to inspect the car for a claim along with a private adjuster. The insurance company has told me that this is a design defect of lexus and that they should replace the car for me. They said that it was not safe to drive with all of the mold.

Has anyone had this happen to them? Is it possible that the antenna is the culprit here and that the car has a design defect? What should I expect from lexus in return if my insurance company provides proof that this is a design defect and that lexus knew about it, considering that I am now sick from the mold?

Please help

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there are drainage holes near the front of the sunroof, which can get clogged with debris. When clogged, these tubes cause a leak INTO the car. They should be blown out from the top, and then see if the leak occurs again when it rains.

If you open the sunroof, climb on the "running board" and look where I mentioned, you'll see the holes on either side.

I'm surprised that noone else has mentioned this as a possible cause of such a leak.

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there are drainage holes near the front of the sunroof, which can get clogged with debris. When clogged, these tubes cause a leak INTO the car. They should be blown out from the top, and then see if the leak occurs again when it rains.

If you open the sunroof, climb on the "running board" and look where I mentioned, you'll see the holes on either side.

I'm surprised that noone else has mentioned this as a possible cause of such a leak.

Check post # 5 above.

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McBride v. Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., 2013-0445/JAX (Fla. NMVAB March 10, 2014)

The Consumers complained of a mold or mildew odor from the air conditioning vents in their 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE. The Consumers first noticed the odor around the time of their 5,000 mile service, but attributed it to the fact that there had been a lot of rain in their area; they assumed the odor would go away after the rain subsided. The odor remained, however, and worsened. The odor was described as pungent, and became worse as the outside temperature and humidity increased. The odor occurred when the vehicle was first started in the morning, lasting for 40 to 60 seconds. The odor would recur if the vehicle sat without the engine running for approximately one and one-half hours, although it was not as pungent later in the day as it was first thing in the morning. Mr. McBride acknowledged that he declined to have a cleaning and filter change performed that was recommended in a Toyota Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) related to HVAC odors, because he felt that he should not have to pay $300.00 for the service, particularly since the service was intended only to improve, and not to eliminate, the odor problem. Mr. McBride pointed out that the 2011 Toyota Sienna he and his wife traded in for the 2013 Sienna did not exhibit a similar problem. Mr. McBride testified that the odor was a health problem for him, because of his allergies, and he was concerned about the health of his three-year-old and one-week-old children.

The Manufacturer, represented by Southeast Toyota Distributors, asserted the alleged nonconformity did not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle. In addition, Southeast Toyota Distributors stated, “[f]urthermore, the customer declined the dealer and manufacturer the opportunity(ies) [sic] to perform the Technical Service Bulletin that would minimize what the customer is experiencing.” A Senior Field Technical Specialist with Southeast Toyota Distributors, testified that Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., had determined that HVAC odors were not covered under its warranty, and were therefore the responsibility of the Consumer to correct. He indicated that he has frequently smelled the odor in question in other Toyota vehicles, and believes it was not mold, but simply “stale air.” He acknowledged he had no personal knowledge as to whether any tests were performed by the Manufacturer to confirm that the odor was not caused by mold. The Board concluded that the mold or mildew odor from the air conditioning vents substantially impaired the use, value and safety of the vehicle, thereby constituting one or more nonconformities as defined by the statute and the applicable rule. Accordingly, the Consumers were awarded a refund.

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REASONABLE NUMBER OF ATTEMPTS §681.104, F.S.:

What Constitutes a Reasonable Number of Attempts §681.104, F.S.; §681.1095(8), F.S.

Browning v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., 2012-0347/FTL (Fla. NMVAB February 15, 2013)

(See “Nonconformity” above)

The Manufacturer stipulated that the vehicle was presented to an authorized service agent for repair of the air conditioner odor nonconformity on September 12, 2012 (no repair order given to Consumer) and September 13, 2012, when water was found around the evaporator core, and an air conditioner mist service was performed. The Manufacturer stipulated that it was afforded a final opportunity to repair the vehicle after receipt of written notification from the Consumer. On October 10, 2012, the vehicle was presented to the Manufacturer's designated repair facility for the final repair attempt. At that time, the evaporator was cleaned and the Consumer was instructed to set the air conditioner to outside air prior to turning off the vehicle. The Consumer again brought the vehicle in for repair of the foul odor on October 27, 2012, and November 17, 2012. The evidence established that the nonconformity was subjected to repair by the Manufacturer’s service agent a total of five times. Under the circumstances, the Manufacturer had a reasonable number of attempts to conform the subject vehicle to the warranty as contemplated by the Lemon Law. Accordingly, the Consumer was awarded a refund

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Karp v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.-Lexus Division, 2012-0270/FTL (Fla. NMVAB January 30, 2013)

In a third air conditioner odor case, the Consumer complained of a foul odor from the air conditioner in her 2012 Lexus IS 250. According to the Consumer, the smell was “vinegar-y” and offensive, and was worse when the vehicle was first started in the morning, so much so that she would leave the door open when she started the car, and started her drive with the windows down in order to air out the vehicle. She testified that on some days the smell tapers off after approximately 30 minutes, but on other days – particularly very hot days – the smell would last all day. The Manufacturer asserted the alleged nonconformity did not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the motor vehicle, because the “concern had been repaired and the customer’s vehicle was currently up to the manufacturer’s specifications.” The Manufacturer’s witness testified that the odor complained of by the Consumer had to have been caused by micro-organisms on the air conditioner evaporator, but because neither he nor the authorized service agent had ever been able to recreate the odor, the problem had to have been corrected by the repairs that were performed. The Board found that the foul odor coming from the air conditioner substantially impaired the use, value and safety of the vehicle, thereby constituting one or more nonconformities as defined by the statute and the applicable rule. Accordingly, the Consumer was awarded a refund.

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Browning v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., 2012-0347/FTL (Fla. NMVAB February 15, 2013)

This Consumer complained of a foul odor emanating from the air conditioner in her 2012 Toyota Venza when the a/c was first turned on, and often times while the vehicle was being driven. The Consumer’s husband testified that an “unpleasant, obnoxious smell” started coming from the air conditioner vents about one month after they took delivery of the vehicle. The odor did not go away but started to get worse, and the hotter the ambient temperature, the longer the odor would last. When he entered the vehicle, he turned the air conditioner on, put the windows down, and held his breath while he blasted the air conditioner to blow some of the odor out of the vehicle. Nevertheless, sometimes the foul odor lasted 20 to 30 minutes into the drive. The Consumer testified she was the intended driver of the vehicle, but after the odor problem arose she started having allergy issues and she began driving her husband’s vehicle instead. She testified her allergy issues stopped with the change of vehicles. A service writer at one of the Manufacturer’s authorized service agents, told the Consumer nothing could be done and they would not even attempt a repair. The Manufacturer asserted the alleged nonconformity did not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the motor vehicle; and the alleged nonconformity was the direct result of “environmental conditions.” The Manufacturer’s representative testified he conducted the Manufacturer’s final repair attempt. He acknowledged that, when he turned on the air conditioner, he experienced an odor that was “not desirable.” When he drove the vehicle the odor began to dissipate. He explained that the evaporator in the air conditioning unit was warm, and when the air conditioner was turned on it blew cold air on the evaporator, causing condensation to build up in the unit. Therefore, when the vehicle was shut off, the air conditioner should be switched to outside air for the air to circulate in the unit and help dry out any water that has accumulated; otherwise, the accumulated water can start to smell. Following that practice will not eliminate any air conditioner odor, but it will lessen it, and, according to him, this problem was more prevalent in South Florida because of its wet environment and high humidity. The Board found that the foul odor emanating from the air conditioner substantially impaired the use and value of the vehicle, thereby constituting one or more nonconformities as defined by the statute and the applicable rule. Accordingly, the Consumer was awarded a refund.

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NONCONFORMITY 681.102(15), F.S. (2012)

Rue v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., 2012-0352/STP (Fla. NMVAB February 10, 2013)

The Consumer complained of a foul odor of mold or mildew intermittently emanating from the air conditioner vents in her 2011 Toyota Camry when the vehicle was first started or after the car had been sitting for a few hours. The Consumer testified this odor sometimes lasted for two to four minutes before dissipating. During that time, she rode in the vehicle with the windows open, because it was not convenient to employ the procedure suggested by the Manufacturer’s authorized service agent, which was to get into the vehicle, open all the windows, turn on the engine and air conditioner, get out of the vehicle and let the air conditioner blow for two minutes, and then get back into the vehicle and drive away. None of the repairs corrected the problem. The Manufacturer asserted the alleged nonconformity did not substantially impair the use, value or safety of the motor vehicle. The Manufacturer also asserted that any alleged odor in the vehicle was “the direct result of environmental conditions.” In support of that assertion, the Manufacturer’s witness testified that he experienced a “faint whiff of something” for “one to two seconds” on two of the repair visits; however, he acknowledged he did not know how long the vehicle had been sitting after the Consumer dropped it off and before he performed his test. In his view, “you will smell something for a brief moment in any air conditioner.” The Consumer’s vehicle was dropped off the night before the final repair attempt in order to try to duplicate the conditions under which the Consumer experienced the intermittent air conditioner odor. According to the Manufacturer’s representative, “it is not uncommon to notice a somewhat musty odor” upon initial start-up in any vehicle; however, he stated that he did not notice this odor at all in the Consumer’s vehicle. A majority of the Board concluded the evidence established that the intermittent foul odor substantially impaired the use and value of the vehicle, thereby constituting one or more nonconformities as defined by the statute and the applicable rule. Accordingly, the Consumer was awarded a replacement vehicle.

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