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2005 Rx 330 Transmission Failure At Only 47,000 Miles


otisnlucy
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First, let me say I am a Lexus / Toyota person. I have owned 6 Toyota Motors products in my life. 3 Lexus and 3 Toyota. I currently own a Lexus LX 470, a Toyota Tacoma, and an RX 330. Today, I heard a grinding noise in my 2005 RX 330 which has only 47,000 miles. I call Nalley Lexus in Smyrna/Atlanta and they have no loaner cars available, so I take it to a Lexus specialty shop near my office owned by a technician who used to work at Nalley. The guy tells me it is the transmission and it has failed! I was shocked. This is not supposed to happen to a Lexus with such low miles. Good news is he said it should be under the 6 year, 70,000 mile warranty. So I call Nalley Lexus in Smyrna again, and they tell me it is just 90 days past the 6 YEAR warranty period. So I am now looking at a $6000 repair bill. I am bummed. I was actually looking at buying my 4th Lexus (RX350 - just test drove one at Nelley last week) and giving this car to my daughter who is heading to college. But I am having second thoughts. Has the Toyota brand been tarnished? I have always been a very loyal Lexus person, but am beginning to wonder if they are slipping. Any thoughts? Has this ever happened to anyone else? I am a little surprised Lexus won't step up and take care of this given that it is just barely past warranty and such low miles - not to mention my past loyalty to the brand.

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NOOO!!!! :blink:

RX330 you say?? Is it AWD or FWD?

This is a known issue with the previous generation Rx's, from 99-03, but we all thought the re-designed transmission for the 04-present Rx was fixed.

I hope this is only an isolated incident... I've never heard of a premature transmission failure on the 04-09 Rx330/350/400h until now. :huh:

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Transmission failure at 47,000 miles surely falls in the "Premature" category. Sorry for your loss. The transmission in my 2000 RX300 AWD failed last month but at 161,000 miles so it wasn't exactly unexpected. Lexus offered to install a remanufactured transmission for an out-the-door price of $5200. Through a reference from a good friend, I got in touch with an excellent independent transmission shop that is renown for doing great work and making it right whatever it takes. They've been in business for 30+ years and there aren't any 19-year old kids there working on transmissions for $10/hour. They had an A+ BBB rating with zero complaints within the past 36 months which is unheard of in the tranmsission repair business. Anyway, they did a complete overhaul/rebuild of my transmission for $3200 out-the-door and I could not be happier. It shifts as well as it ever did and I now expect it to outlast the rest of the drive train.

I said all that to say this: shop around for a good independent transmission shop. There are probably several in the greater Atlanta area. That $6,000 estimate sounds like a dealer-installed remanufactured transmission which, while good, will not perform better than a transmission properly rebuilt by a quality shop. Their BBB report and rating will tell you a lot of what you need to know. I'd be very skeptical of the chain transmission shops unless I was going directly from Aamco to the the trade-in lot.

I would also appeal Nalley's out-of-warranty decision to Lexus starting with the District Service Manager. This failure is too early and too close to the extended transmission warranty to not ask for some help directly from Lexus. What I would shoot for is to try to get Lexus to comp the parts and you pony up for the labor. The worst thing they can say is NO so I'd certainly try that first.

Let us know how all this plays out.

Oh, and like you, I'm beginning to have 2nd thoughts about what used to be Toyota/Lexus bedrock reliability.

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If you have had all service at Lexus chances are they will do a goodwill replacement...Work politely but firmly with the dealership as well as Lexus of AMerica...Tell them you are a good customer with several cars, and expect the right thing to be done....A month or so out of warranty is no excuse...

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My lexus 2002 Rx 300 transmission failed a couple weeks ago at 127,000 KM. Since I was not a gold card customer, they turned down my claim. These days, I found oil drip in my drive way, took in the transmission shop, they checked, and told me that it is engine oil. I'm really puzzled..

Good luck..

Burt

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My lexus 2002 Rx 300 transmission failed a couple weeks ago at 127,000 KM. Since I was not a gold card customer, they turned down my claim. These days, I found oil drip in my drive way, took in the transmission shop, they checked, and told me that it is engine oil. I'm really puzzled..

Good luck..

Burt

Given the age and mileage (kilometerage :rolleyes: ) a good bet on the oil leak would be the valve cover gaskets. If that's what it is, the leak should only be enough to create a nuisance but it will not get better. My Lexus dealer wanted about $700 to install new valve cover gaskets. My independent Lexus shop did the job for $350. Shop around for this service as any good independent Lexus or Toyota shop does this job on a frequent basis.

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NOOO!!!! :blink:

RX330 you say?? Is it AWD or FWD?

This is a known issue with the previous generation Rx's, from 99-03, but we all thought the re-designed transmission for the 04-present Rx was fixed.

I hope this is only an isolated incident... I've never heard of a premature transmission failure on the 04-09 Rx330/350/400h until now. :huh:

"..re-designed transmission.."

Sorry, no, NOT.

DBW was adopted so rising engine torque could be delayed until the transaxle shifting could complete. Mostly downshifts for acceleration so it was important that the clutches be firmly and fully engaged before the engine began producing a rising torque level.

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  • 4 weeks later...

2003 Rx300 AWD complete transmission failure at 84,000 miles.

I bought this car b/c of its reliability - can't believe the transmission's shot so soon. It will cost $5,300 for a new one, the auto shop said it will need 16 hrs of work. Seems like I'm not alone, do we have any recourse?

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2003 Rx300 AWD complete transmission failure at 84,000 miles.

I bought this car b/c of its reliability - can't believe the transmission's shot so soon. It will cost $5,300 for a new one, the auto shop said it will need 16 hrs of work. Seems like I'm not alone, do we have any recourse?

I would take to an independent tranny shop, that quote is real high...should be able to get done for around $3000....

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thanks lenore. based on your post, I called a tranny shop and they are going to tow it to their shop and see what they can do it for. he thinks they'll be able to do a rebuild vs get a new one which is what the auto shop was going to do. keeping my fingers crossed for the new price estimate. thanks again.

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Transmission failure at 47,000 miles surely falls in the "Premature" category. Sorry for your loss. The transmission in my 2000 RX300 AWD failed last month but at 161,000 miles so it wasn't exactly unexpected. Lexus offered to install a remanufactured transmission for an out-the-door price of $5200. Through a reference from a good friend, I got in touch with an excellent independent transmission shop that is renown for doing great work and making it right whatever it takes. They've been in business for 30+ years and there aren't any 19-year old kids there working on transmissions for $10/hour. They had an A+ BBB rating with zero complaints within the past 36 months which is unheard of in the tranmsission repair business. Anyway, they did a complete overhaul/rebuild of my transmission for $3200 out-the-door and I could not be happier. It shifts as well as it ever did and I now expect it to outlast the rest of the drive train.

I said all that to say this: shop around for a good independent transmission shop. There are probably several in the greater Atlanta area. That $6,000 estimate sounds like a dealer-installed remanufactured transmission which, while good, will not perform better than a transmission properly rebuilt by a quality shop. Their BBB report and rating will tell you a lot of what you need to know. I'd be very skeptical of the chain transmission shops unless I was going directly from Aamco to the the trade-in lot.

I would also appeal Nalley's out-of-warranty decision to Lexus starting with the District Service Manager. This failure is too early and too close to the extended transmission warranty to not ask for some help directly from Lexus. What I would shoot for is to try to get Lexus to comp the parts and you pony up for the labor. The worst thing they can say is NO so I'd certainly try that first.

Let us know how all this plays out.

Oh, and like you, I'm beginning to have 2nd thoughts about what used to be Toyota/Lexus bedrock reliability.

Have you done transmission Fluid Change?

For RX330, it is recommended every 15000 or 30000 miles because of the notorious transmission of the previous generation.

I do drain and fill every 15000-20000 miles to prevent mine from failing :) I use REDLINE DF-4, which i think is the BEST :cheers:

If you call up Lexus HQ and complain about the transmission and make a big deal out of it saying you are a loyal customer and ETC, they will waive the $5200 charge most likely.

My Lexus dealership is changing my roof rack for me for FREE even though i am out of my 4 year/ 50000 mile bumper to bumper warranty because it is notorious for paint chippings :cheers:

Also I got the Lexus Platinum Extended Warranty and got my money's worth! They changed my rack pinion which would have costed me $2000.

Hope it all works out for you!

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