hi guys, after a month of loosing the front power door lock on my 2004 RX330, i decided to take it apart and deal with it. With the wonderful help of this thread, i proceeded and hoped for the same internals as the gs. Unfortunately, it isnt. But luckily it was a similiar motor and basic principles. I did screw up majorly however, after taking apart the actuator, it is completely different than the ones on the gs and 1st gen RX. On the 2nd gen rx, the actuator and latch is all within an enclosed unit. I had to take it apart and pull the motor out from inside. However when i put it back together, i forgot the screw back on the 2 screws i took off, 1 being the very important one that held the latch to the rest of the actuator! It was still held on by the case but it wasnt secured. After installing everything back, and trying the door a few times, the actuator finally popped loose from the latch on the 10th or so closing of my drivers door.... this caused neither of the door handles to work and i was unable to open my door..... after a few days of frustration and messing around, it was concluded that the only way to get my door open now was to either 1, tear open my door panel from the inside and gain access from within or 2, cut open my door skin, fix the latch and pretty much get a new door + repaint + blend fender + rear door. New door panel = $960 from dealer, and new door skin + paint + blend = $1000+
In the very end, someone above must of been really looking after me and decided to give me a break and send my body man friend over. I told him the situation and after spending an hour looking at it, both of us still decided the only way is to rip open either side. However at the last moment he thought just to try something for *BLEEP*s and giggles. I lowered the window and stuck a badminton racket down the crevice and started to hammer and push at the loose actuator towards the latch, hoping it would catch and be able to engage it again. after about 5 mins of hammering and finding the correct angle, the door popped open! I was so relieved and felt like i had wings because it saved me a crap load of money for some stupid mistake. I couldnt believe it and carefully made sure the door didnt close, took off the panel right away and actuator out and screwed in that bolt. Now the door and lock works perfectly as new and i've got a reservation booked to treat my buddy and his wife to a nice dinner :D
here's some pix to the 2nd gen RX's actuator for those attempting the fix:
take off the door panel via phlfly's (clublexus) instructions:
once off, the inside looks like this, it's a bit different than the rx300 where the handle/lock mechanism is on the metal door and not pane. the actuator is located on the left side of the image behind that piece of metal. It is also different than the ones in the rx300 and gs models:
actuator, this unit is 1 confined piece with the locking and power door actuator motor in 1 piece. It doesnt look like there is a way to retrofit a piggy back actuator. We're stuck with the crappy rc motors =( The actuator is held on by 3 bolts where the latch is on the edge of the door, remove those, then unscrew the bottom bolt of the left window rail so the actuator and be pulled out. Also remove the plug on the top.
the back, the colored circles correspond to the ones in the picture of inside the door. The red is the key control and blue is the handle mechanism. The green arrow points to the very important screw that i forgot to screw back causing the latch to disconnect from the rest of the actuator and causing me to be unable to open my door.
inside of the door. the left is the side towards the inside of the car and the right is the door skin.
the actuator taken apart. to do this, you need to remove a clamp piece at 1 end (pulls off) 2 screws, the large one holding the latch to the actuator (dont forget to put back in!) and another small one holding the body of the actuator together. Then carefully pop all the tabs and pull the thing apart. Insides look like this:
notice the RC motor. The shaft is a bit different than the ones in the gs. It's slotted and not tappered so the screw thing slides off easily and dont need to be hammered/pulled out. I didnt replace my motor as i didnt have 1 ordered, i was planning on taking it apart to pull the motor out and see if i can source one from a local RC shop. Since i had it apart, i decided i might as well pull the motor apart too and see if i can fix it. I popped the peened tabs on the RC motor holding the plastic white cap and pulled that off and took apart the internals. I then sanded the brushes and the copper conductor shaft inside the motor. It had this black residue on the conductor shaft from the years of spinning against the brush. Once i sanded off the residue, i put it back together and into the casing again. Clamped the 2 shells together + screw back the screws (which i forgot the first time) and put it back in the car. Now it works like a charm! hope this helps anyone with a 2nd gen RX with lock problem.
It took me a total of 20 mins to remove door panel and take out the actuator the first time. 1.5 hours from start to finish first time. The next one im sure i can do everything in under 30 mins.