RX300 Mega Thread. Start here if you have a problem
The purpose of this thread is explained in the Title.
Please contribute and help build it. Members who have encountered problems and if they dont know the solution, should post one or two liner question. I hope over time they will be answered by another member. Savvy members can post the problem and its solution.
One question per post please.
If the question has been answered/discussed before, lets restrain ourselves in rehashing it here and use hyper link to an existing thread.
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Please read the Owners Manual and in doubt call your nearest Lexus Dealership or Toyota dealership if Lexus dealership is not in your town [Lexus of USA is a different company than Toyota of USA] Lexus of USA Phone number needed ...Other countries too
Owners Manual should have been supplied to you at the point of purchase. You can contact local dealership.or Lexus of USA to get a personal copy.
Is the manual available in downloadable form (pdf)? Not that we know of. On line?https://secure.drivers.lexus.com/lex...-manual-search [Thank you hypervish] Service manuals are available from dealerships and are sold privately. Material is copy-righted.
Vol2 is worth its weight in gold and covers engine/transmission/suspension/body/electrical/heating-cooling On line service manual used to be available Toyota TIS (Technical Information System) Website is the best source for "How to's"... it contains Service Manuals, Wiring Diagrams, TSB's (Technical Service Bulletins), etc... for every Lexus, Toyota, Scion model vehicle available in North America.
This thread has free enthusiasts reply of common issues. Please use them for educational purposes. People who post here, do not assume any guarantee of remedies and procedures. Since we are discussing RX300 vehicle, any work, exploration, testing can impact the safety/road-worthiness of the vehicle and safety of the owner, occupants including life and property, it is recommended that readers and members take their vehicle to professional mechanic. Even a well intentioned work can lead to property damage and or serious injury or even death.
Please do not take the above lightly as RX is equipped with air-bags and they can be activated.
Club Lexus and its members would not be liable in any sort of way for the posted advice.
Your RX (along with other vehicles produced after 1995) have an on-board computer to determine operating conditions of the engine. As the computer senses trouble, it logs a pending error code and if the error does not go away the Pending code becomes active code and the Check Engine Light (CEL) is turned on . Some of the pending codes may go away on their own without you knowing about the fleeting problem.
The error codes can be read by a device called OBDII (name of the protocol reader. For RX the port is below the steering wheel, and looks like a miniature form of printer port ( for old foggies who used printers before the usb port).
A frill free OBDII reader can be purchased for $30 and you can also drive to any of the auto-shops and they can read the code for you and it will be P#### or C####. There may be multiple codes too.
More advanced readers can make real time measurements from sensors, but you need the skill to interpret it. Smart phones with the right application can be used as a reader.
Flashing CEL indicates that you should pull over in a safe place and avoid driving.
CEL and VSC. We have not discovered what extra meaning should be inferred when both lights are on.
Can you drive with CEL (and VSC) on? Other than the flashing CEL it is OK to drive with CEL on, but the problem should be looked into.
What should you do when the CEL come on? At the first opportunity have the CEL code read. Log the error code and if possible have the CEL reset. Do not jump to repair immediately. After resetting the CEL run the RX and on first on set of CEL have the codes read. If you get the same code as before, then make arrangements for repair.
How to reset the CEL? Reader allows you to reset the code. Practically all codes can be reset by removing the battery power for about 15 minutes.
Should you ignore the CEL? Simple answer is No. Your vehicle is deemed unworthy of driving with the CEL on. Money can be tight and the repairs can be expensive, but keep in mind that with CEL on, you could be wasting fuel. In about 2 tanks full or gas, you could have repaired the vehicle.
Side affects of CEL: Based on the error code, your RX may end up in a limp mode. Limp mode lets you get from a point A to B by locking out some gears.
Can I fake/cheat the code:
All sensors produce a signal for the ECU. If you find out the right voltage and feed it to the ecu, the ecu will think that everything is OK. Please check with your local codes if it is legal to tamper with this. Please do not sell-trade your vehicles without full disclosure. As an owner, having the repair done is the best financial decision. You will recoup the repair cost by fuel saving and create less pollution.
Some misconceptions about CEL: CEL points out to all problems with the vehicle. NO. Mostly emission related problems are flagged by CEL.
I can drive indefinitely with CEL on. NO. Read above.
If I have a CEL on, it is problem with fuel cap. Maybe, but not always.
I just cleared (reset) my CEL, and with the light off, I will pass emission. NO. The inspector will connect the reader and it would say "not ready" meaning enough data has not been accumulated. You will be asked to come back after driving for couple of days.
I have a CEL that means the sensor is bad. May be and most likely (specially if vehicle is 10+yrs). But the CEL is lit because of abnormality in the system. It can be in the terminals or wires too.
If you get multiple error codes then all the errors need to be fixed. Maybe and maybe not. Address the first CEL you get on the second read. It is possible that the other codes are due to first malfunction
Sorry this is incomplete description of the problem. Starting the vehicle requires charged battery, tight and clean clamps, solid wire, solenoid, starter, spinning of the engine at speed, fuel delivery and proper timing of spark.
Please find the right or closet description below.
My starter is spininng the engine, but it fails to catch
Make sure the engine is being spun at normal speed (based on your recollection of normal spin rate). Also check if your CEL is on. If it is then fix the code.
This confirms, starter, solenoid, battery and cables are all good.
No Fue or bad fuel: Check the level.
Air -fuel. . Try holding the gas pedal about 1/4 to 1/3 down to introduce more gas. If the engine catches and dies as you lift the foot off the gas, then look up idle air control valve (IACV) in the DIY section.
Imobilizer: The magnetic code in your Key allows generation of spark. Remove other smart keys to prevent interference.
Spark: Remove the vbank cover ("L" logo and 3 bolts). Pull out plug #2 (or any) and lay it on the engine block. Ask an assistant to try to start the RX and observe the absence or presence of spark.
If you are not getting a spark, you have to check coil packs or the engine imobilizer.
Timing For this you will need to an inductive timing light and a will have to check the strobe flash to see the mark on the main pulley
As I try to start, I hear a single click and nothing spins
Usually this is an intermittent fail to begin with but as time goes on it becomes a hard fail.
Getting a jump start usually does not help.
If I try to start repeatedly, it does start, but progressively it fails more times.
These are classic starter solenoid problem. Which are wear or pitting of contacts. At minimum the contacts and the plunger needs to be replaced.
Solenoid is the relay that is attached to the starter. Remember to disconnect the battery, before you mess with the starter.
My RX does NOT have a problem, but I am worried (xmission)
Note: This post is a placeholder. Please do not use this space to discuss transmission issues.
There is chatter on the net about auto-transmission of RX300, a bit more for AWD and a bit less for FWD and less evident in later models. Keep in mind the base warranty for trouble free service (or fix at Lexus expense) is 60k miles or so. There is no hard data available on percentage of failed transmissions.
Speculations range from:
Under design transmission.
Size of the pump.
Extended time the O/D is locked out (high rev during warmup)
Driving habit (changing direction of travel gears without coming to a full halt).
Improper service (flush instead of drain).
You may find an abundance of posts about transmission problems, but keep in mind there are trouble free transmissions but the owners dont post about them. Lexus has not done any recall. If you have properly maintained your RX, and have transmission problem, please approach you dealership and Lexus.
General consensus seems to be that do a drain fill every year. (15k miles).
Folks take jump starting a casual event, but I have come across more than a few posts when the jump start has been unsuccessful and folks find out that damage to the electrical system has occurred. Once, I almost made the error too. Read the warning below:
WARNING: The - Ground terminal on your RX may have a RED mark on the flat. The standard color coding of power supply cables is .. Red + voltage and Black - voltage [This standard is for low voltage application]. The + terminal does have a red plastic shield, which must be pushed off to expose the terminal. Once the cover has been pushed off and if you try to blindly match colors, you can mistake the Ground as +
Do not trust the color you see and look for the markings on the battery terminals. As a backup, look at the color coding. As a second backup remember most of the modern vehicles have - connected to the chassis.
Here are the steps when you are trying to get a jump to your RX.
1. Turn off all electronics [radio, cell-chargers, inverters etc]
2. Turn off auto headlights.
3. Turn off AC and fan
4. Put your RX in Park and apply the parking brake.
5, Figure out which vehicle has a convenient - Ground spot that you can access easily with your jumper cables. This spot needs to be away from the battery. [This will be the last connection you make and the first connection you will break at the end]
6. Maneuver the vehicles, such that your cables can reach both batteries.
7. Identify + an - of both vehicles.
8. To avoid confusion use the red of the jumper to connect the + terminals of both vehicles.
7. IMPORTANT The clamp you will use for ground in 5 above needs to be isolated. Use a plastic bag or ask some one to hold it away and dont let it dangle and touch anything.
8. Connect the other end of clamp to - [this you can connect on the battery terminal].
9. Check the three connections you have made are secure by wiggling them. Adjust as needed.
10. Start the donor car, turn off all the electrical load. Engage parking brake and lift the foot of the brake pedal.
11. With a deliberate action make your final clamp connection. Dont get alarmed as some sparks would fly..You may hear a drop in rpm of the donor car. Ask the donor to rev up a slight amount.. This happens because you battery has lost a lot of charge. You may like to let it charge for few minutes.
12. Now try to start your RX.
13a. If it fails to spin your starter, stop and disconnect the last connection and examine all clamps are secure and have large contact surface and force to hold. Go back to 11
13b. If the starter spins and the engine turns but fails to catch, You can stop and try to start again. After a few attempts you have to entertain the thought that there is/are additional problems.
13c. Your RX starts up.
14 Disconnect the last connection and make sure that the dangling clamp does not touch anything.
15. Disconnect the ground clamp (other end of the dangling clamp)
16. Disconnect the + jumper cable ends
Explanation: When ever a circuit is completed or broken, sparks fly. When batteries are charged they produce hydrogen and oxygen. In this case the donor battery is being charged by its running engine and your battery is being charged by the donor. The point of last connection you make (and the first one you break) needs to be away from either battery, Access to the + of both batteries is on the battery itself, so we use the - (ground) as last connection. You can choose - spot away from the battery on both vehicles, but remember the last connection is where the sparks fly.
If you accidentally make the wrong connections (+ donor -> - and - donor -> + .... both connections have to be made to complete the circuit) ... then you will most probably pop the main fuse in the RX at minimum. This fuse is bolted on and is not one of the easy replaceable kind.
If you think I made this over complicated ... remember the dreamliners got grounded for charging issues.
Congratulations and we hope that this RX lives up to your expectations.
1. Get familiar with your RX. Read the Owners manual end to end. If you dont have one .. look at the post #2.
2. Please make sure you have at least one Master key and it is preferred that that you have 2 master keys. So without delay have a duplicate key made and have it registered as master key (with RX ECU). You need a master key to do it, If your sole master key is lost, it will be a major pain/expense to have one made. New RX came with 2 master keys, 1 valet key and 1 flat key.
3. Visit your local Lexus dealership and get a history dump of your vehicle and discuss what service items need to be done to bring your RX upto date. It will be your choice to have the service(s) done at dealership, at shop of your choice or even as DIY with a friend or at home (or shade tree).
4. Become a member of CL or simply browse a guest. You will have the urge to post (we certainly dont want to discourage you), but please read the rules and browse for a day or two (to understand the culture and tone of posts). Try 'search' for a couple of times, as it will be your best buddy.
Once again a warm welcome. Post often and help grow the knowledge base.
First check that the red led on the key shell, lights up when you press any of the remote buttons. If not then you need a new battery for the key.
If the key lights up and the led's intensity does not suffer if you do repeated remote function then your key battery is good. The next step would be, to engage the key in the lock and operate the lock. After unlocking the door (wih the key and not the remote), you can try the remote and see if things are back to normal. If they are, then you can attribute the situation to 'secure mode' of your RX. The RX gets into secure mode when the remote receiver senses signal of the right frequency but with a non-matching personalized (memorized) code. This can happen if another RX owner uses his/her remote key in your RX's vicinity or some one with a scanner/transmitter blasts a signal. In a way the receiver turns itself off and the receiver will turn on after key unlock/lock action.
Note: People who rely on remote to unlock the door can be locked out of their RX and will need the key to unlock the door.
If after the wake up, they remote still fails to operate, then you should try to power-cycle the RX by disconnecting the battery for about 10 minutes.
If that does not work then try the second master key to narrow down the problem .. is it a particular key or the receiver.
If it is a particular key, then you can try to reprogram it.
If it is the receiver, there are instructions posted in CL to test it.
Oh, if you take your RX to the dealer due to remote problems, remember to take all the keys.
Your Lexus provided key remote has a specialized magnetic piece in it, which communicates with the ring around the ignition key. This special magnet is NOT energized by the remote battery. The magnets unique magnetic flux is registered in your RX's ECU and in conjunction with imobilizer will allow your RX to be in run (sustained ignition) mode.
The engine in RX is transverse ... the front of the engine is near the passenger wheel and the rear is near the driver side wheel [US/left hand drive].
This arrangement positions the odd cylinders [1, 3, 5] near the firewall and even [2, 4, 6] near the radiator. Along those lines, the right of the engine would be cylinders #1, 3, 5 and the left is left as an exercise for the reader. Front would be where the accessory belt is.
Bank 1 is near the firewall [has cylinder 1, 3, 5] and bank 2, has the evens and is near the radiator.
Once in a while (very infrequently .. once in 2 yrs) your display may go blank etc.
Usually the system resets after you turn off, pull the key out of ignition and restart the RX. But once in while things do not reset.
The solution that works is to disconnect the battery for about 15 minutes. When you do that, you will loose all memory settings (except home-link). Pinch protection system for the windows and sun-roof may require to be reprogrammed.
Toyota is the parent company and most likely your OEM part will come in a Red Toyota Labeled box.
There a few options (certainly limited)
Give your VIN and purchase through Auth Lexus retailer will guarantee a perfect fit. Some of the failing part will come as an assembly and you may have to buy more than what is needed. Local dealer will most likely sell at retail and may give you a discount, so ask. I still think you should call your local dealer for price. Convenience of immediate availability and no shipping/handling may be cheaper. You can purchase through on-line dealerships. Here in Club Lexus, we would highly recommend buying through CL sponsors. Most members purchase through Sewell Lexus (Texas) or Carson Toyota (California).
You may find identical part offered by Toyota dealerships for HighLander. The part number may be different.
Part is a part and nothing wrong with one you get from amazon/ebay. Just make sure you are not duped by inscrupulos seller. Also we should not buy stolen goods.
Lexus/Toyota has many parts made by a third party like Denso, Aisin etc. If you do your research, you can buy such things and they will not come in Toyota box. There is a possibility of getting second quality products so do your research.
This is some what limited but growing segment. Usually they are of lesser quality but some items like bushings may even be a superior product. As vehicles age, people opt for cheaper alternatives. My personal suggestion would be stay away from it. If you must then ask if they are essential to the drive or the feel. Things like after market whip antenna would be OK and sensors (even made by Bosch) would be a no no.