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Back To The "mixing Bowl:" Handling And The Es330


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A few months ago I was on the site and discussed the problems which I had with my new commute, which included a counter-traffic rush-hour ride (read mandatory high speed (because everybody's doing it and there's no place to to drive at a slower pace)) through the "Mixing Bowl." The Mixing Bowl is the place in VA where the Washington Beltway intersects with North/south 95. It has been under construction for years and will be under construction for another 4 years.

Because this is a construction site, the zigs and zags in the highway are abrupt, rather the smooth type turns which you find in a highway or even on a well designed rural road. I drive with the traffice because I feel this is the safest, and there simply is no room to go at a slower speed. Unfortunately, the usual speed is 60-70.

On my old commute, which included several stretches of difficult road, the ES330 handled just fine. The mixing bowl, however, pushed it over the brink. I have tried increasing tire pressure, as several posters suggest, but this has not been enough. What's next? Do we change the wheels and tires (17 inch wheels with all weather tires)? Do I go for new shocks (a friend has suggested Bilsteins)? Maybe both? :wacko:

Would appreciate your input. I don't want to find myself "floating" into a Jersey wall.

Thanks, Jeff

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I don't know that new shocks are going to help you much. The ES' shocks are already pretty firm. First thing I would do is move up to a 17 inch wheel. If you want to keep Lexus wheels the wheels from the IS will work. Then you might want to look at stiffer anti sway bars as a naxt course of action. I really think your problem is wheel/tire related because the Michelins you have are a really soft touring tire. You might want to try getting some more aggressive 16 inch tires first from somewhere you can return them to and swap them for 17s if you don't like the change.

Good to see ya again Jeff!

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is a new route to work out of the question until the construction is over?

The ride I got on my 18s compared to the stock 16's I do not think will make a major difference if I were there, so I am thinking that 17's may be a bit of money to drop for something that my not yield the improvement you are looking for.

Also, keep in mind the higher you go, the more potential damage you may suffer due to the construction condion of the mixing bowl itself.


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No way to avoid it, if you are commuting up 95 into that area or down 95 out of that area you have to go through the mixing bowl.

Traffic is so bad there is a backup to get onto 95 off of 495 (the Beltway) almost 24 hours a day. It can be 2AM and there is still a backup.

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Steve is right: there is no way to avoid the Mixing Bowl. The move further south has already pushedy commute from 30-35 minutes to 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. Alternate routes would make the situation worse.

I appreciate the input on tires v wheels v anti sway-bars. Lexus is absolutely no help (at either the dealer or customer service level). Their attitude is that we will make no modification to the vehicle which is not in the Lexus regs , which were handed down on Mt. Lexus (or was that we will sell no wine before its time?). Their advice: Go west young man (we won't do the mod, go find someone who will). I feel like I am in limbo with a 100,000 warranty with no assurance that they will not disqualify a future expense. As Stevie said, a stiffer suspension may cause damage to the vehicle.

Steve, I was curious that you would say that the shocks are firm when the ride is so smooth. Such is life.

Can people advise me what tires (with sizes) they are using when they replaced the original, and how they like their replacement tires? Perhaps there is an older discussion site which already has this information.

Thanks for the input, Jeff

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