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Just picked up my ES330 Sunday, March 28 (car had 215 miles on it). Vibration felt in the seat all the way home (2 hrs. from dealership). Gas pedal unusually hard to push. While speedometer shows 60+ miles per hour, I feel as if I'm doing 40 and car feels enormously heavy . . . previously owned Avalon's for the past 7 years - loved them - too spoiled? Monday car rode no better. Nor on Tuesday. Wednesday drove car back to dealer --- two service tech's test drove and said the tires probably have "flat spots." The car might also need to have struts rotated? Mild pulling to the left . . . They want me to wait until the car has 1,200 miles on it. On average I only put 20 miles a day on the car.

Salesman commented that he puts dry gas in his Lexus . . . on the way home on Wednesday the tank was 1/4 full - so I filled it up and put in a container of dry gas.

Here it is Friday and the gas tank is half full and there's a noticeable change in the drivability of the car. Much less vibration, smoother ride, more responsive gas pedal. Might there have been water in the gas, causing a problem with the fuel injection system?

Any thoughts?

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Maybe someone put regular gas in the car. It needs premium for flawless drivability.

Those 215 miles on the car might have been very hard demo car miles. Hope it wasn't driven too abusively by aggressive test drivers. Doesn't take much reckless driving to bend and stress stuff in the suspension and steering linkage which may end up being a source of vibrations or pulls.

Yeah these cars feel heavy and the speedometer can seem like it's lying. I think

one reason the car feels this way is because the ES330 is significantly better insulated that any Avalon or Camry. Notice, for example, there are auxillary lower door seals and inside the doors there is sound absorption material.

When I buy a new Asian car I always get one that was built in Japan within the past 2 months and one truly brand spanking new with just 4-8 miles on the odometer.

I've heard there is a TSB out that suggests rotating the struts to cure drifting problems to the left.

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Its entirely possible it got a bad tank of gas. Its also entirely possible that the tires have flat spots from it sitting for an extended period.

Why does it have 215 miles on it? Was it a dealer transfer or a demo?

The car feeling like its going 40 at 60 is a Lexus trait, it comes from it being so isolated from the road. Most people like it actually. Something you'll just have to get used to.

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The isolation is something that I find to be both good and terrible. On my way to the beach last week, me and my friend were driving my mom's ES, doin about 90-95, and my friend all of a sudden exclaims, "wow! feels like we're doin 70 man!" I've done the same thing many times myself. Lucky that a cop isn't the one that pointed out to me how fast I was actually going! I don't however like the degree of isolation when I'm on a twisty road because it can get you in trouble; the ES definitely has it's handling limitations and sometimes you can be going into a turn doing way more than you should be and won't realize it till you're about at the point of no return...this car just takes some gettin used to but I love it! ;)

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Just picked up my ES330 Sunday, March 28 (car had 215 miles on it).  Vibration felt in the seat all the way home (2 hrs. from dealership).  Gas pedal unusually hard to push.  While speedometer shows 60+ miles per hour, I feel as if I'm doing 40 and car feels enormously heavy . . . previously owned Avalon's for the past 7 years - loved them - too spoiled?  Monday car rode no better.  Nor on Tuesday.  Wednesday drove car back to dealer --- two service tech's test drove and said the tires probably have "flat spots."  The car might also need to have struts rotated?  Mild pulling to the left . . . They want me to wait until the car has 1,200 miles on it.  On average I only put 20 miles a day on the car.

Salesman commented that he puts dry gas in his Lexus . . . on the way home on Wednesday the tank was 1/4 full - so I filled it up and put in a container of dry gas.

Here it is Friday and the gas tank is half full and there's a noticeable change in the drivability of the car.  Much less vibration, smoother ride, more responsive gas pedal.  Might there have been water in the gas, causing a problem with the fuel injection system?

Any thoughts?

I read somewhere that a new Lexus might pull to the left because of the way the car was tied down on the boat over here from Japan. I think some tires develop a flat spot from sitting but as a rule after a few miles it disappears. I read the pulling may go away after a while by itself. Did you check the month it was made on the sticker inside the drivers side door?

I picked up my new ES330 3 weeks ago and it had 8 miles on it. I now have 740. I've been taking long rides to get up to the thousand mile mark as I have a long trip coming up that I want to be able to use the cruise control on.

Good luck with yours,

Carl

:cheers:

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Thanks to all who have responded to my message! This forum process is an informal and informative method of "talking" to other Lexus owners.

The car is one week old today. I'm home with a cold and the car won't be driven today - however, snow is being predicted tonight and into tomorrow - so I'll be anxious to see how it handles in these weather conditions. I had snow tires on my Avalon and it was the most wonderful car to drive in all weather.

There is still a noticeable vibration in the car and it does pull to the left. My husband feels it on the passenger side more than he did on the driver side. He thinks it could be a tire with a broken cord? He is not a fan of Dunlop tires - he says we've had them before and that we've had problems.

I've read a few messages on the Mark Levinson sound system. I had a JVC system in the Avalon and it was the most wonderful sound system I have ever had in a vehicle. Are my ears deceiving me, but I'd swear the JVC system was better? There doesn't seem to be quite the depth of sound in the Mark Levinson system. Can't explain it better.

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I thought the Avalons had a JBL system?

I've had both JBL systems and now the Mark Levinson system. The ML system takes a little getting used to. For one the system needs to "break in" with a few hours of listening it'll sound better. The system is also very sensitive to the bass/treble controls. So play with those until it gets to where you like it.

One significant difference between the ML and the JBL systems is that the JBL is more of a "Rock and Roll" stereo. Generally tracks with vocals and bands and such will sound "better" on the JBL, where the ML really shines is instrumental and classical music. Its all getting used to, at first I thought the ML wasn't as good as my previous JBL system, but now I love it. It'll grow on you.

As for the vibration, what exact kind of Dunlop tires are there on it? I've never seen an ES come with Dunlop tires, they're always Bridgestone, Michelin, or Toyo. Like your husband I've had bad experiences with Dunlop tires and won't buy them again. If you were closer to your dealership I'd suggest you have them swap some wheels off another ES that are better (you'd want the Michelins).

Interestingly enough the main problem I always had with Dunlops is that they'd cup causing a vibration at speed.

My ES is smooth as glass at all speeds, and I have the Bridgestone tires which are terrible.

The ES should actually ride and drive pretty similarly to your previous Avalon, it should be a tad smoother and a tad quieter. The cars are platform mates

I'd guess its those tires. If you could go out to the car and write down the exact model name and size of the tire for me.

So the tires would read "DUNLOP SP SPORT 5000 A/S" and the size would be in there somewhere "P215 60R 16"

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Steve -

Thanks for the insight into the JBL vs. ML systems. You're right on about the tires! They're Dunlop's. With this information I'll be better able to talk intelligently to the folks at the dealership! It's a shame that I'll have to wait so long to get this matter addressed.

BTW - we almost got the same color car you did. We only saw the color chip at first - we really thought the color would be more black with a cherry or burnt orange hue. The Avalon was Cognac Brown and in the four years we had it we NEVER saw another brown Avalon. We like not seeing ourselves coming and going . . . the color we ultimately selected is dark blue. While it's not unusual, it's very nice and reminds me of our first "new" car: a 19651/2 Ford Mustang (with white leather interior) and an 8 cylinder - if we'd only knew then what we know now!

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nancyb: I would call the dealer up, arrange for a tow and have them look at it. You paid a lot of money for a new car they should make sure that everything is alright. George

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sw, the 2004s are being shipped with a variety of tires.

I was just at the dealership Sat. The 2004 ES had Dunlop 5000's on it but the 2004 ES SportDesign has the Bridgie RE92s. A left over 2003 had Michelins.

I must say, I am quite surprised with the Dunlop Sport A2's that I just recently put on. We have had rain every day since last weekend and these tires are awesome in the rain and on dry pavement. Time will tell if they hold true and how long their tread lasts.

steviej.

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As for the vibration, what exact kind of Dunlop tires are there on it? I've never seen an ES come with Dunlop tires, they're always Bridgestone, Michelin, or Toyo. Like your husband I've had bad experiences with Dunlop tires and won't buy them again. If you were closer to your dealership I'd suggest you have them swap some wheels off another ES that are better (you'd want the Michelins).

Interestingly enough the main problem I always had with Dunlops is that they'd cup causing a vibration at speed.

My ES is smooth as glass at all speeds, and I have the Bridgestone tires which are terrible.

The ES should actually ride and drive pretty similarly to your previous Avalon, it should be a tad smoother and a tad quieter. The cars are platform mates

I'd guess its those tires. If you could go out to the car and write down the exact model name and size of the tire for me.

So the tires would read "DUNLOP SP SPORT 5000 A/S" and the size would be in there somewhere "P215 60R 16"

I have had 4 sets of Dunlop tires on my '95 ES with no problems whatsoever. No uneven tread wear, warping or cupping has ever happened to the Dunlops on my car.

I would also find it hard to believe that the tires got flat spots from sitting too long. The car itself isn't too old. If someone slammed on the breaks at 60 MPH or more, that could cause a flat spot.

I am also suprised that your car has any noticeable vibration at all. One would think that Lexus would want their demo car operating flawlessly in order to sell more of them.

Wait until the 1200 mile mark. If it is not operating flawlessly, take it to the stealership and tell them you don't want it back until it drives flawlessly. Plus, you can then drive their loaner ES and see if it handles the same.

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For the record ---- I live 100 miles from the dealership. The car now has 800 +/- miles on it. Only 585 are my miles.

Just tonight I've emailed a lengthy note to the salesperson and two of the service consultants re the increasingly aggrevating vibration. Not only does the car pull to the left even more than it did before - the alignment of the steering wheel is not straight or level to the eye. When I am going straight down the road, the steering wheel is slanted slightly to the left.

I have high expectations that the dealer will make it right! The salesman is terrific!

Many years ago I had a beautiful 1988 Pontiac Bonneville SSE. I had snow tires mounted on the car and when I left the garage the steering wheel was so cockeyed I couldn't tell whether I was going straight or turning a corner . . . YIKES!

Needless to say, I've been very sensitive to this kind of problem. Never happened in any of my cars since - until now.

nancyd

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Steve- How did the SportDesign look in person? I've yet to see one. Interesting about the tires. The Dunlops I've had were a good smooth quiet tire, but they were very sensitive to not only sitting for long periods but they wore fast, which is why I think they cupped so easily. I has SP5000s.

Nancy- I have another idea. Check the tire pressure on all the tires, check it when the tires have not been driven on, when they're cold. Make sure ALL the tires are right at 30psi. The ES is very sensitive to variations in the tire pressure. One side a little off and it'll drift. all a little low or high and it'll ride poorly. Dealerships are notorious for over-inflating the tires.

I was going to get that blue too except I had to have the black interior and the blue isn't availiable with it. I love the color of my car, very unique and really looks great when the sun hits it.

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Steve -

You're so great for trying to help! My husband will check the tire pressure in the morning. The tires will be COLD!

I have to share a funny story with you about the day we picked up the Lexus: The car was in the showroom and I was sitting in the driver's seat and my husband was in the back seat while the sales person was "introducing" us to all the features. The salesperson was called away so my husband came to the front seat and when he opened the passenger door it creaked . . . we had the same creaky door in the Avalon and my husband found a loose screw on the door hinge . . . when the salesman came back to the Lexus, my husband showed him how the door creaked upon opening and closing. The salesman was suprised as "the cars go through a 120 point check." My husband asked the salesman to get a wrench and he'd fix it. The salesman actually tightened the screw and was dumbfounded that it worked!!! I suggested to the salesperson that this creaky door problem be added to the 120 point check process.

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sw, I was not impressed with the SportDesign. Something about the wheels turned me way off. I'm not a fan of wheels color that matches car color. However, the black marble trim is very very nice. I mean real nice! Other than that, it's the same car.

nancyd, are you dealing with IRA Lexus in Danvers?

Tires with nylon belts will get flat spots if they sit long enough, but are a minute or so of motion, centrifugal force trues the tires right up.

Also, ask the dealer to do a wheel alignment. Most new cars are delivered to the dealer without an alignment. Maybe yours didn't get one, or the tech rushed the job......maybe he was backed up. They can also level the steering wheel at the same time. It all comes down to customer satisfaction. Push that at them all the time. Enjoy the ES and maybe I will run into to you at an area meet sometime.

steviej

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Steve:

The psi is at 28. My husband said if we put air in up to 30 the ride would be harder.

Personally, I have not heard back from the salesperson, or the dealership re my email of yesterday. My husband said he called the salesperson and has already mentioned "getting out of the deal." Gosh, I'd hate to go to this extreme over tires?

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You'd think so, but for some reason 1-2 PSI low REALLY makes the car ride poorly. Mine were down to 28 and I just aired them up to 31 where I keep them and the car rides SO much smoother and quieter. Its like night and day. Try airing them up to 31 when cold (33-34 when warm) and see how that works. Its only air, it can always be taken right back out. I think it will make all the difference. All day today I was like "Wow, its such a difference".

See thats the thing about Lexus' vs more "American" cars like Lincolns, Buicks, and even Avalons (which are built to be a "Japanese Buick") everyone thinks these cars are so softly sprung, but they're really not, the suspensions are pretty firm. A LOT of the ride comes from the bushings, isolation mounts, and the tires. Thats why Lexuses are smooth without being boaty or floaty like a Lincoln, Buick, or Avalon. Those cars get their softness from the springs, not the bushings and tires. On a Lincoln or your old Avalon you culd put any old tire on there and the PSI didn't matter, it would always ride the same. Not so on a Lexus, it needs really good tires, balanced aired and aligned JUST RIGHT to get the perfect ride. One hair out of alignment, balance, or 1 PSI low and it will ride very differently.

Trust me, I've put 20,000 miles on this car I know how she rides best ;)

I also think it would be premature to back out of the deal. I really think its a simple tire or alignment problem.

If you were anywhere near me you could drive mine for comparison, it rides great at any speed, its so smooth its hard to imagine that the wheels are actually turning underneath the car. Any shimmy, vibration, or shudder is 100% abnormal, and usually its something really simple that wouldn't effect another type of car nearly as much.

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Gang: If she can see a visible lean of the car and it is real hard to turn the wheel and it vibrates I think it may be more than just tire presure. It maybe something with the suspension. Seriously, I would think tht the dealer would send someone out to check it out. Hope all is resolved. George

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I just went over all her posts, and didnt see her say anything about having difficulty turning the wheel or the car leaning to the left...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello!

Sorry I've been away from the forum for a few days! I've been extremely busy at work. I've been driving a 2003 ES300 dealer loaner for the past week. What a difference in the ride!

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am once again picking up my "new" Lexus from the dealer. I was told by the salesperson that the vehicle has four new tires on it (two of the original new tires could not be balanced, so they were removed), it's been aligned, and the front struts? were rotated - and the steering wheel is straight. The cosmetic blemishes that were on the car when we picked it up have also been taken care of.

I cannot say enough about the efforts being made to resolve the issues with the car. Nor to the kind and thoughtful suggestions from all the nice folks who have responded to my posts.

I'll let you know how things go . . .

nancyd

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Well, I picked up the car yesterday, Saturday the 17th. The car was aligned, the steering wheel is straight, the car does not pull to the left and the cosmetic "blemishes" were fixed.

Wheel vibration . . . still there, but not as pronounced. All four tires were supposedly replaced - with yet more Dunlops. My husband is convinced that what I am feeling is the tire design and that until they wear some, I'll continue to feel this vibration.

I'm a big girl and perhaps my butt is ultra-sensitive? Anyway, if the "new" tires need to have some mileage on them before I sense a smoother ride - so be it. I'll be patient and bide my time until the 5,000 mile service check; at the rate I put mileage on the car it will be time to put snows on the car before this!

This is all so strange to me. My husband and I have bought new so many cars: Volvo's, Toyota's, an Audi, Buick, Mazda's, Honda's, Pontiac's, and now a Lexus - and this is the first new car that I've had to break in the tires!

I'll stay in touch. Love to see what everyone has to say about their cars. Sorry to hear about Stevej's car getting hit - IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE!

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Weird...

It must be the Dunlops, or maybe one of the wheels is bent. My dad's previous 98 LS400 came with a bent wheel from the factory that had to be replaced.

Again though, what are the tires aired up to, are they a couple pounds high or a couple pounds low? I would air them to 30 and see what that does.

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