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New to Lexus need advice, bad deferential


Susan85
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Hello I’m new to your lovely community. My mother passed away two months ago. Her car is all I have left. It’s a 2015 Lexus nx200t. She was always good with the maintenance. It’s only at 99995 miles but once I had it transported it’s been making this horrible whirling sound. I got two mechanics (one being Lexus) to take a look. They both said it’s odd but her back differential needs to be replaced. Regular mechanic quoted $3100, Lexus said today $5200. Is this normal for a Lexus, to go so quickly? It’s never been in an accident. Her warranty expired at 75k. Does one need to get it fixed at Lexus? I know Lexus cars last but now I’m worried about the upkeep and wondering if she got a lemon.

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Alas, entirely possible that the differential needs to be replaced.

 

NO NEED TO GO TO THE DEALER.  In fact, do not go to the dealer -- what you need is to replace the entire unit, as in used part.  Thanks to the internets, and lots of wrecking yards nationwide posting as to parts available, bet you could find a complete good used unit for $500.  The Fedex weight limit is 150 pounds, so you will be okay.

Don't even attempt to have the existing unit rebuilt.  These go bad (noisy) usually due to a bad bearing.  Gear interfacing gear is usually no longer on the centerline.  Bearing can correct this, but now the gears have worn off center.  YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A QUIET GEARSET.

I've rebuilt every component on automobiles, having over 60 years experience.  I warned a neighbor about this problem when his Pathfinder differential got noisy.  He replaced all the bearings, some gears, and wasted nearly 6 mos of effort while the vehicle sat.  His main issue was that this is a common Junksan issue, few junkyards nationwide have any good ones.  Lexus?  These almost never go bad -- unlucky you I suppose.

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7 hours ago, 300EChuck said:

Alas, entirely possible that the differential needs to be replaced.

 

NO NEED TO GO TO THE DEALER.  In fact, do not go to the dealer -- what you need is to replace the entire unit, as in used part.  Thanks to the internets, and lots of wrecking yards nationwide posting as to parts available, bet you could find a complete good used unit for $500.  The Fedex weight limit is 150 pounds, so you will be okay.

Don't even attempt to have the existing unit rebuilt.  These go bad (noisy) usually due to a bad bearing.  Gear interfacing gear is usually no longer on the centerline.  Bearing can correct this, but now the gears have worn off center.  YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A QUIET GEARSET.

I've rebuilt every component on automobiles, having over 60 years experience.  I warned a neighbor about this problem when his Pathfinder differential got noisy.  He replaced all the bearings, some gears, and wasted nearly 6 mos of effort while the vehicle sat.  His main issue was that this is a common Junksan issue, few junkyards nationwide have any good ones.  Lexus?  These almost never go bad -- unlucky you I suppose.

Thank you. Dealer said it’s an internal error however it was checked prior to getting transported so could a transportation truck damage the under carriage? The first mechanic said it’s damage not wear and tear but I agree with you cost wise, I understand it’s more important to replace the unit.

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Was it transported on a flatbed or a tow truck? If it were towed with a tow truck, which end was lifted? 

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2 hours ago, RX400h said:

Was it transported on a flatbed or a tow truck? If it were towed with a tow truck, which end was lifted? 

It was brought on an 18 wheeler. They drove it down the ramp and it was already making an odd noise and a light was on. Before it was transported it was checked in Texas at the Lexus/Toyota dealer and they said it was the fuel valve. Then they said it was all fixed and it got loaded. But if everything was fixed why did it come to me damaged? 

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If it was transported in an enclosed auto transport truck then it must've been driven in. Consumer Reports indicates that your year of Lexus has much better than average drive systems, as far as reliability goes. Therefore, your issue is a bit puzzling.
Regarding Chuck's comments, I am a bit concerned about using a used unit unless it comes with some sort of guarantee. Did the independent mechanic quote you for a new differential? If so, that may be your best bet, considering your vehicle is almost certainly worth more than double the repair cost.

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2 hours ago, RX400h said:

If it was transported in an enclosed auto transport truck then it must've been driven in. Consumer Reports indicates that your year of Lexus has much better than average drive systems, as far as reliability goes. Therefore, your issue is a bit puzzling.
Regarding Chuck's comments, I am a bit concerned about using a used unit unless it comes with some sort of guarantee. Did the independent mechanic quote you for a new differential? If so, that may be your best bet, considering your vehicle is almost certainly worth more than double the repair cost.

Thank you. It was an open truck but yes the type to drive it in. I found out today the dealership in Texas that fixed the fuel valve said it was ‘fixed’ but then left for the day and put the car keys in the gas cap. The transport person then drove it on. When it arrived to me it was the same mileage as on their repair receipt but you could hear the noise and the P light (power steering?) was on. I really appreciate all the advice. I would assume it wasn’t properly fixed the first time. Can a bad differential make the car stall or sort of lag in power? Is it best to keep her car and get the local mechanic to fix it (new differential) or sell it?

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Susan, did you explain to the service representative who handled your car at the dealership, what you heard when the vehicle was moved? I would verify whether anyone there heard the differential while moving your vehicle. I really doubt the differential would fail while being transported.

Early in 2020, Lexus recalled many vehicles to replace a fuel pump. That should not have anything to do with the differential. Perhaps your mother did not take her NX in for this recall. A faulty fuel pump could cause acceleration/drivability issues. That may be what was replaced, recently.

I recommend that you do not try to sell this vehicle if the rear differential is bad. I would have the differential replaced, not simply repaired as Chuck warned against.

Here's some relevant information.

Symptoms of a Bad Rear Differential: Causes and Fixes – Rx Mechanic

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On 6/21/2022 at 9:55 PM, RX400h said:

Susan, did you explain to the service representative who handled your car at the dealership, what you heard when the vehicle was moved? I would verify whether anyone there heard the differential while moving your vehicle. I really doubt the differential would fail while being transported.

Early in 2020, Lexus recalled many vehicles to replace a fuel pump. That should not have anything to do with the differential. Perhaps your mother did not take her NX in for this recall. A faulty fuel pump could cause acceleration/drivability issues. That may be what was replaced, recently.

I recommend that you do not try to sell this vehicle if the rear differential is bad. I would have the differential replaced, not simply repaired as Chuck warned against.

Here's some relevant information.

Symptoms of a Bad Rear Differential: Causes and Fixes – Rx Mechanic

Thank you. Yes I did mention this to them. They are still trying to blame the transport driver. Today they wouldn’t return my phone calls. The last time I talked to the manager and asked if they had done a full inspection he said yes. When I asked about noticing the damage to the differential he got quiet. He brought up the transport guy again and said he probably did it. He also told me that he had to leave before transport got there and put the fob in the gas tank. I thought that was pretty dumb. I don’t know if I have any recourse now to get them to pay for the differential? I think they fixed the wrong part and put the car on that truck knowing it wasn’t repaired..

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Didn't put the FOB in the tank, I rather imagine they opened the gas tank door and set the key next to the tank opening.  If the FOB ended up IN the tank, you've got some serious problemos.

Sometimes poo happens,  I've never bought a car over the net, had it transported, or flown to a city 1000 miles away for a neat little Benz with some hidden damage, etc. that there wasn't an unexpected "surprise."  Ain't no used car, or non-museum car actually, that an expert mechanic couldn't put on the lift and start legitimately twisting wrenches.

Diff torn up while loading or unloading on the transport would be my guess.  Just add the cost of diff replacement (I still say online junkyards -- have had good luck with them) put onto the cost of the car.  Make friends with a good mechanic in your area.  Diff replacement shouldn't be outrageous.  THIS IS A JAPANESE CAR. This is a quality Japanese car.  Designed to be repaired.  Read:  un-German.

Life is short.  Hell, you could own a Chrysler 200 where the trans blows one month out of warranty.

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If they in fact did a full inspection, then it had to be the fault of the transport guy, as Chuck mentioned. I think I would also look in the owner's manual which may include advice about transporting the vehicle. There is a Bureau of Automotive Repair in California. You should be able to ask someone there if it is possible that an incorrectly loaded NX on a transport vehicle can cause differential damage.

Here's some potentially relevant information:
Rear differential damaged by towing - Maintenance/Repairs - Car Talk Community

According to one person, the transportation person should document the method of towing/transporting the vehicle.

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