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'02-'05 ES Transmission Fix!

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Old 06-20-03, 01:56 AM   #1
kreativ
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Default '02-'05 ES Transmission Fix!

Lexus released the first transmission software update for the '02-'03 ES300 on August 4, 2003 (TSB # TC004-03). This update has, for the most part, been unsuccessful in alleviating complaints about the shift behavior. And the complaints have continued through the current '05 ES330 model year. On April 1, 2005, Lexus released new transmission software updates for the '02-'05 ES and revised the original TSB with the new Calibration IDs.

If you would like this software update, go to your local Lexus dealer service center and request TSB # TC004-03 (Revised on April 1, 2005) be done. This update is covered under the Lexus Federal Emissions Warranty, which is 8 years or 80K miles (whichever comes first).

There is an April 12, 2005 news article from the Post Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA) addressing this recent update: Link

Original post from 2003 is below. The fix mentioned below was available to Canadian customers, but was never made available to US customers - likely due to it not meeting US emissions requirements. ULEV compliance and/or emissions requirements in the U.S. are what is believed to be the stumbling block for Lexus in coming up with software code that provides more acceptable shift behavior. For example, you wouldn't find the same transmission behavior that many find unacceptable with the ES sold in Japan (a.k.a. Toyota Windom).

Quote:
Candian '02 ES300 owner 4ali on Edmunds.com posted the following:
Quote:
#3783 of 3784 2002 Transmission Success by 4ali Jun 19, 2003 (10:56 pm)
I called Lexus Canada's 800 number and I told them of my lazy transmission and hesitation problems. They contacted by dealer and they ordered a new computer chip that is a temporary fix until the "true fix" comes out in January. Lexus Canada representative made clear to me that this is not a "defect".

The computer part number is "89666-33442 Engine Computer". I had to wait about a week, but the replacement took about 12 minutes.

Thanks akw3 from Canada for the advice from an earlier message. (I think we both bought our ES300's from the same batch at Don Valley in Toronto).
This is good news for all '02/'03 ES owners.

My guess on why it's considered a temporary fix is that it might make the car no longer ULEV compliant, one of Lexus' selling points when it introduced the new ES. And according to a tech., getting the car to meet certain emissions standards (for ULEV compliance I suppose) was the reason for the "lazy" transmission behavior. So I'm guessing legally they can't roll out a permanent fix that goes against their claims of this car being an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle. Of course, just a guess.
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Last edited by kreativ; 04-26-05 at 06:18 PM.. Reason: New Information
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Old 06-20-03, 03:17 AM   #2
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This is great news! i'm wondering how the car drives w/ this new patch.
i encourage those that do not like the way their 02+ ES drives, to ask ask ASK their dealer now.


edit- here, stickied for a while!

Last edited by meZoom!; 06-20-03 at 03:18 AM..
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Old 06-20-03, 01:00 PM   #3
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I received a letter from Lexus yesturday that states they are working on the problem in the states and the reason why there is no fix here (US) is exactly that. With all fixes that they have come up with, none of the cars passed the US emissions requirement set for the car.

I will post the letter.

I wonder if we can get the part number anyway.

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Old 06-20-03, 01:14 PM   #4
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As soon as i read this, I contacted my dealership.
This part number is avaiable in the US and lists for $1700.
I am awaiting a call back from the service manager to find out if this is covered by Lexus Warranty.
IT SHOULD BE. I will let you know.

As meZoom! said, get in touch with the service manager at you Lexus dealer and 1-800-25-LEXUS and nag them.

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Old 06-21-03, 01:16 PM   #5
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meZoom!: I suppose it drives like a '03 ES300. I've driven the '03 ES300 loaner of my dealership for several times and the transmission is so noticeably smoother and more responsive than my '02.

This is great news and I'll contact my dealership too to see if it can be covered under warranty.
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Old 06-22-03, 06:05 AM   #6
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The service manager from my delearship called me on Saturday. He said he doesn't think that it will be a problem to cover the cost of the part plus installation. He catuioned against the use of warranty work because Lexus is adamant that it is not a defect and that all their work is for customer satisfaction.

The letter that I received DOES state that the "fix" for the transmission problem will be offered at no cost to those that have reported this/or complained about this "problem".

I will keep you informed.

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Old 06-22-03, 04:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by steviej
The service manager from my delearship called me on Saturday. He said he doesn't think that it will be a problem to cover the cost of the part plus installation. He catuioned against the use of warranty work because Lexus is adamant that it is not a defect and that all their work is for customer satisfaction.

The letter that I received DOES state that the "fix" for the transmission problem will be offered at no cost to those that have reported this/or complained about this "problem".

I will keep you informed.

steviej
Thanks for finding out the good news, steviej!
So is that letter official from Lexus? How come you, not the dealer, received it?
Thanks.
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Old 06-22-03, 07:25 PM   #8
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It is an official letter from Lexus dated 6/10/03.
My guess it is only going out to those that expressed a displeasure with the performance of 02/03 transmission and have a complaint on file.

If you haven't received it, call the 1-800-255-3987 number and request that a copy be faxed and mailed to you directly. I have spoken with 2 customer service reps (Elstan and Laura).

Here is the letter word for word:

June 10, 2003

Mr. Stephen M. Johnson
Address

Dear Mr. Johnson

Thank you for contacting the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department regarding your 2002 ES300, VIN ######. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts. As you requested, we are responding in writing.

In a constant effort to listen to customers and improve our product, we have become aware that some 2002 and 2003 ES 300 customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the responsiveness and the shift feel of their vehicles. In the interest of satisfying customers, Lexus is working hard to address and resolve this situation and provide ES 300 customers with a satisfactory resolution. Lexus engineers are currently developing driving responce and shift feel improvements. These improvements must undergo extensive testing , to ensure they meet Lexus performance targets under a broad range of driving conditions and driving styles. As soon as the development work is complete, Lexus will make the update available through the Lexus dealerships. As there is much work that needs to be done to achieve this goal, the resolution may not become available until late 2003. When this update becomes available, customers with affected vehicles will be notified by mail, and Lexus will make the update available at no cost.

Please contact your Lexus dealership, or the Lexus Customer Satisfaction Department at 1-800-255-3987, Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, if you require further information or assistance.

Sincerely,

Elston E. Gentle, Jr.
Customer Satisfaction Representative


As always, I will post with any updates.

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Old 06-22-03, 08:14 PM   #9
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Now that's what I call a very nice letter. Yay.....
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Old 07-04-03, 11:37 AM   #10
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Lexus is really good at fixing things right at the first time. I talked to the engineer and He doesn't have a clue when they will come up with something. It's more like a hardware than software problem.
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Old 07-08-03, 07:29 PM   #11
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Default UPDATE 7/8/2003

I recieved a call today from my service manager. He was informed that the part:

#89666-33442 "Engine Computer" is infact being offered to owners of the Canadian version 2002-2003 ES as a no cost item under customer satisfaction guidelines. Lexus still stands by the fact that the tranny problem is not a defect.

He also assured me that a fix or a similar ECU release in the US is very very close. The problem is in fact that the product mentioned above will not allow "at this time" the car to meet ULEV guidelines and emission requirements.

I must say, I am impressed by the effort Lexus puts into customer satisfaction.
Soooo, if you are not satisfied with your tranny's shift logic or hesitations, report it to your dealer and go on record as reporting it. Report it to Lexus.com and/or 1-800-25-LEXUS cutomer service.

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Old 07-08-03, 09:05 PM   #12
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Thanks for the update Steve. I am putting my car through it's paces as I travel around the USA.
Here are a few things about the 2003 ES that I've discovered on this shakedown cruise:

I switched from Premium to Regular fuel and I haven't noticed any appreciable difference in performance.

Travelling on the turnpikes at speeds of 65 to 75 MPH I average about 27.5 or 28.5 MPG.

I like the Bridgestone tires that were equipped on this car. They are very quiet and smooth running especially at high speed.

I noticed a slight rattle in the dashboard when driving on a back road in Wisconsin. This only happened once because of the type of road that I was traveling on. I can't bring this problem to my Lexus dealer since I can't replicate it.

The Navigation was worth every penny I spent on it. It worked flawlessly in all types of situations.

The transmission still has the shifting quirks that I complained about originally, but I guess I'm getting used to it. When they come up with a fix I'll definitely be on line to get the upgrade!

All in all I'm loving the performance of this pretty new automobile in every respect.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 07-08-03, 09:19 PM   #13
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Wow Alan, I wish I could have the time right now to travel around America with my ES. It's such an awesome entry-level luxury vehicle, in every sense of the word, that I can't really ask for much more (hmm, well maybe an LS430 ). Still, it looks like you're having a lot of fun out there. I like that Minnesota picture Take more pics of your ES in different parts of the country!
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Old 07-16-03, 11:35 PM   #14
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I have a 1993 ES300 and my transmission keeps slipping and wont go past 4000 rpm's. I was wondering if anybody has anything they would know on why that would be happening. please send me a message.
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Old 07-17-03, 12:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by eslex30
I have a 1993 ES300 and my transmission keeps slipping and wont go past 4000 rpm's. I was wondering if anybody has anything they would know on why that would be happening. please send me a message.
your tranny is going to go soon, i think. happened to me on my 95 ES w/ 100,000 miles. i tried many things-tranny fluid change every thousand miles (the fluid got black again in maybe 2 weeks' time at this point). if you want more info, i posted my tranny stories around....late last year, you can do a search w/ my name.
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Old 07-17-03, 12:32 AM
 
 
 
 
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05, 9805, calibration, es300, es330, failure, fix, g35, gs300, hesitation, infiniti, jerking, lexus, problem, shift, tach, transmission

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