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vilmosz

Rx300 Transmission: When Should I Start Worrying?

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Our CPO RX300 is under warranty through 2012/125k miles. The main reason I extended the warranty was the known and common transmission issue on these cars. So far, the dealer says, the tranny looks fine. I understand the problem usually crops up around 90k. (We're nearly there.)

What are the symptoms?

When should I expect to notice them?

Thanks, all.

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There is no single set of symptoms that I am aware of. I have 159,000 miles on my 2000 RX300 AWD and it's served me well. But, to answer your question regarding when you should start worrying, I'd say Right Now!! What you need to worry about is getting the transmission fluid flushed and the filter replaced since that is the life blood of the transmission. I just completed my 2nd fluid replacement and it's the cheapest money you can spend on an automatic transmission. Anything mechanical can fail at any time but if your transmission hasn't been abused and if the fluid is changed SOON, there is no reason to think it won't serve you well for many more thousand miles. I would have them drop the pan to do a visual inspection and be sure there is only the expected minor sludge adhering to the pan magnet. My transmission does not have a paper filter but has a metal screen that only needs to be cleaned and flushed with a solvent; blow dried and then reinstalled. Most transmissions have a paper filter and if yours has one, that filter will certainly need to be replaced.

I'd be more worried about the engine sludge problem. I bought mine new and since the warranty expired, I've been running Mobil 1 10W-30 and changing both oil and filter every 5,000 miles. The engine sludge issue seems to be tied to using non-synthetic oil and going too long between changes. As with the transmission, frequent oil service is the cheapest money you can spend on the most expensive component in the vehicle. Yours in a 2002 model and I can't remember if they resolved that engine sludge problem by that time or if it was later. Regardless, 5,000 miles is the change interval for all my cars.

However, your mileage may differ. Good luck.

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There is no single set of symptoms that I am aware of. I have 159,000 miles on my 2000 RX300 AWD and it's served me well. But, to answer your question regarding when you should start worrying, I'd say Right Now!! What you need to worry about is getting the transmission fluid flushed and the filter replaced since that is the life blood of the transmission. I just completed my 2nd fluid replacement and it's the cheapest money you can spend on an automatic transmission. Anything mechanical can fail at any time but if your transmission hasn't been abused and if the fluid is changed SOON, there is no reason to think it won't serve you well for many more thousand miles. I would have them drop the pan to do a visual inspection and be sure there is only the expected minor sludge adhering to the pan magnet. My transmission does not have a paper filter but has a metal screen that only needs to be cleaned and flushed with a solvent; blow dried and then reinstalled. Most transmissions have a paper filter and if yours has one, that filter will certainly need to be replaced.

I'd be more worried about the engine sludge problem. I bought mine new and since the warranty expired, I've been running Mobil 1 10W-30 and changing both oil and filter every 5,000 miles. The engine sludge issue seems to be tied to using non-synthetic oil and going too long between changes. As with the transmission, frequent oil service is the cheapest money you can spend on the most expensive component in the vehicle. Yours in a 2002 model and I can't remember if they resolved that engine sludge problem by that time or if it was later. Regardless, 5,000 miles is the change interval for all my cars.

However, your mileage may differ. Good luck.

The opinions I have heard to date are to avoid a 'flush' for the transmission: just change the oil and hope for the best. A flush may cause failure by moving pieces of metal to places where they shouldn't be.

As for the engine sludge problem - You have done what I did: change to Mobil 1 10W30 and change oil and filter every 5,000 miles. Any sludge should, slowly, be removed. (And slow, of course, is better than in gobs which may block too-thin oil ports). Some people recommended Pennzoil Platinum, which is said - not verified by me - to remove more sludge than most. Or, in some BMW blog where oil was not changed for 60K miles (!) and huge amounts of sludge were evident on removing the valve covers, an additive called (appropriately??) OilRX or something similar is said to help slowly reduce sludge. If you are really concerned, a simpler way is to remove a valve cover and check, but it is likely that, if you have been using M1 10W30 for a while, and continue using it and chnaging oil every 5K miles, nothing bad will happen due to sludge...

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If the ATF has never been changed and you are near the 90K mile mark, I would concur with the recommendation advising caution on doing a displacement flush. However, if it's still under warranty through 125K, I would let the Lexus dealer perform the flush if that's what they recommend. Any failures related to an ATF flush will certainly rear their head long before the CPO expires and the monkey would certainly be on their back. Regardless, whether you use a displacement flush or a couple of drain/refills, get that old fluid out of there and put some new T4 ATF in there.

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Yep absolutely do not do a flush....There is such a thing called fluid exchange where they use the transmission pump to force the fluid through, but most dealerships will not do this because it takes a lot longer than a flush...Do drain and fills and drop the pan and check for excessive metal debris...

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draining the transmission and replacing the filter is the best way to go, simple for a garage and the dealer but they prefer not to do it as it creates more sales and visits to the service center.

find a garage who will drop the transmission pan, replace the filter (genuine Toyota parts) and clean the sludge out of the pan. Just flushing it at Valvoline doesn't cut it. Change all the gear oil and transfer cases too. It'll last much longer

242,000 miles on my 1999 RX300, change the fluids

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