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Gs300 2006 Brake Caliper Malfunction

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Vehicle: GS300 2006. Delivery Date: 06/20/05

I hope the following history will bring some light for people facing similar symptoms.

January 16, 2009. Lexus call for special service campaign (SSC) 9LB, Rear Brake Caliper Inspection.

February 10, 2009. Lexus of West Kendall Miami, conducts service campaign on vehicle with 58.904 miles. It list in final invoice that part 04007-49330 was used as part of the repairs. However, the service campaign is clear on the fact that vehicles delivered before December 2005 should use part 04007-49230. The difference is the boot shape used to cover the slide pins. Of course, I did not know that at the time the repair took place.

April 2011. I start hearing a solid noise in the back of the car as I go through rough pavement. The noise will go away if the break pedal is pressed.

April 29, 2011. Car is at 91.455 miles. The noise becomes more noticeable so I decided to take the car for service at the same location. The final invoice quotes: "Cust states there is a ranoise as if something loose from rear when going over bumps. Found something loose in trunk, secured item in trunk - noise went away". As I drove out I noticed the noise again. However, I was convinced that something was loose in the rear back of the car. So for the next few weeks I went from body shop to another trying to figure out what was loose.

May 25, 2011. I notice a reduction on braking efficiency so I decided to take the car to the dealer again. This time a different mechanic inspects the car. The final invoice quotes: " Cust states there is a noise from rear suspension area. Advice: Found left rear caliper assy locking up. Necessary to replace left rear caliper assy.". Cost of repair: $459. The locking up was basically the slide pin not moving at all because of excessive rust.

September 3, 2011. Started hearing a similar noise in the back. Took the car to the dealer for LOF. The noise was not too bad so I request the service consultant to inspect it. After a few minutes he comes back and tells me that the rear brakes do not have shims and that is what is causing the noise. I accept the fact that I did the brake pads the last time in a local shop near home and they might have forgotten to put on the shims. Shims are ordered and the car goes into service. When I about to leave I see the same mechanic that did the left rear caliper back in May so I ask him if he can go and check it. After a few minutes he comes back and tells me and the service consultant that the right rear caliper is broken. Final quote states: "Found right rear caliper broken. Needs caliper. Cust declined work at this time. Veh is not safe to drive". It was a weekend and the service consultant said he did not have loaners. So I decided to go home and wait until they have loaners. In the mean time I started investigating more the issue.

September 7, 2011. With 98.570 miles, the car is repaired and in the mean time I have long conversation with the service manager and Lexus corporate trying to find an explanation on how the campaign carried out in 2009 to prevent the caliper slide pins from frozen due to rust did not do anything to prevent my both rear calipers from doing exactly that. I was told several times that the malfunction was due to normal wear and nothing to do with the campaign. At the end, after a long discussion and really poor and rude customer service from the dealer, they agreed to lower the bill to $291.75.

January, 2012. With 103.000ish miles, I start to hear a weird noise in the front left wheel as I break. It sounds like when you open an old door with rusty hinges. After a few days, braking efficiency drops considerably. Today, February 18 2012 with 106.512 miles I decided to take the car to a honest mechanic known by the family. After the last confrontation with the dealer I decided never again to take the car over there again. He services the front brakes and the first thing he founds is that the slide pins on the left front caliper are frozen due to rust. The slides pins in the front right caliper are barely moving but also heavily rusted. Instead of suggesting to change the whole caliper housing (as the dealer did in both cases) this guy takes a heating device and manage to free the slide pins. Next he brushes out the rust and add plenty of Glycol grease and replace the boots. Problem solved. Final invoice including resurfacing the rotors and installing new pads (which I provided) : $100.

GS300 2006 Lexus owners beware. There is something wrong on the design of the calipers that result in severe rusting of the slide pins. Make sure that the slide pins are serviced every single time you replace your pads (that is, removed, brushed and greased). Otherwise you are doomed to problems. As for Lexus, they could care less. For a $54000 car, you should consider normal that your four calipers malfunction at around 100K miles. And at the end of the day, it is not like is a critical component of the car. Its only the mechanism that keep you and your family safe.

Other minor issues on my history file (most covered by warranty)

*11/08/07 40K miles: Both passenger mirrors failed to operate. One is replaced the other not because is not "totally broken".

*11/27/07 40K miles: Car is flooded and all carpets stained due to a clogged evap hose.

*02/10/09 58K miles: Headlights aim too low.Charged $60 to raise level. To this day this is still an issue.

*04/16/2010 75K miles: Cam gears started making noise again (after campaign). Replaced again.

*04/16/2010 75K miles: Leak on heater water pump. Pump replaced.

* 08/24/10 77K miles: replaced idler pulley and tensioner (not covered by warranty)

* 08/24/10 77K miles: replaced drivers seat belt due to lack of re tractability.

Other little malfunctions:

* VSC engine light came up and was charged $$$ for performing gas tests to later find out it was the gas cap.

* At 80K HID lamps started to flicker. Ended up changing both myself after dealer wanted $$$$ for the job.

* At 100K perforated leather of driver seat gives up. Even though I always put leather conditioner at each car wash.

* Since about 60K miles a loud metal rattling noise coming from the back window becomes my companion every time the weather changes abruptly.

This is my first and last Lexus vehicle. I guess the search for perfection is still in progress. My next vehicles: Acura. Reliable as a tank.

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I had both my rear calipers replaced by Lexus FOR FREE after a writing a letter to customer service. They original calipers were fine and pins replaced via the 2009 service campaign. Less than 2 years later both calipers supposedly remedied by the service campaign failed for the exact reason the serivce campaign was intended. Lexus is aware of the poor design of the lower caliper pin on the rear units.

Simple resolve for me is to grease these pins well 2x a year when I swap my summer wheels for winter wheels and back. It is very easy to grease these pins.

You have the same model as me, a 2006 which was the first year of this generation. It is expected to have some flaws. I do agree maybe more than other Lexus models. My 2002 ES was great and didn't have near as many quirks. But you will find that in any make, Acura included. Look back to the 2002 TL with close to a 33% failure rate on the triptronic transmissions. Every manufacturer has growing pains.


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