Lexus RX300 Transmission Problems & Cost | U140E / U140F

The Lexus RX300 was equipped with the U140E and U140F transmission. But they aren’t without their problems though, so let’s look at some of the most common Lexus RX300 transmission problems, look at cost estimates and figure out what you can do about them. The first generation Lexus RX 300 was immediately embraced by luxury car buyers. It was filled with high-end materials, the ride was butter-smooth, and the 1MZ-FE 3.0L V6 provided effortless power. The Toyota U140E 4-speed automatic handled shifting duties, and did a good job of putting power to the ground.

Need a replacement transmission? Quality transmission suppliers can be hard to find. Have your 17-digit vehicle VIN# ready. Free estimates sent via text and email.

Lexus RX300 Transmission Models

Lexus RX300: U140E Transmission
Lexus RX300: U140F Transmission

Lexus RX300 Transmission Replacement Cost Estimate

Pricing varies by model. To be 100% sure on pricing, have your VIN# handy and use our Get An Estimate feature to look up your transmission by VIN#.

What are the DTC codes related to Lexus RX300 transmission problems?

P0766 – Failed Shift Solenoid D – This DTC can be stored when there is a problem with a shift solenoid or the valve body.
P2703 – Failed Friction Element D – This trouble code can be triggered by a failed friction element like a clutch disc.
P0720 – Failed Input Speed Sensor or Output Speed Sensor – This trouble code is caused by a bad speed sensor on the transmission.
P0730 – Incorrect Gear Ratio – This issue could be caused by a number of problems, including a fault in the transmission control module, dirty transmission fluid, or a bad transmission solenoid.
P0657 – Voltage Problem in the ‘A’ Circuit – This transmission problem is often caused by a short, or bad ground on the PCM or PCM wiring harness.
P0700 – Malfunction in the transmission control system – This DTC is often triggered when there is a problem with the TCM, a wiring harness, a solenoid, or the valve body.
P0715 – Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Malfunction – This code typically gets stored when the input sensor cannot read the engine RPM, which can prevent the transmission from appropriately shifting gears.
P0717 – Input/Turbine Speed Sensor No Signal – This trouble code is generated when the PCM does not get a signal from the input speed sensor, which will prevent the computer from being able to determine when the transmission needs to shift.
P0791 – Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor ‘A’ Circuit – This error can occur when there is a problem with the intermediate shaft speed sensor, most likely due to a bad sensor, wiring problem, or a failed shift solenoid.
P0793 – Intermediate Shaft Speed Sensor Circuit No Signal – The computer will generate this DTC when it cannot communicate with the intermediate shaft speed sensor.

Lexus RX300 Transmission Recalls

None Found

Lexus RX300 Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)

1999 RX 300 – TSB TC002-99

Problem:

Certain 1999 Lexus RX300 models may experience an intermediate shudder or shake during the 2-3 shift under light throttle, once the transmission has reached operating temperature.

Solution:

This problem was caused by a design flaw in the valve body, which was corrected in later models. To correct the problem, a revised valve body will need to be installed.

1999-2003 RX 300 – TSB TC002-03

Problem:

On all 1999-2003 Lexus RX300 models, owners who have had their transmission repaired, overhauled, or replaced, may experience rough or erratic shifting, along with other drivability issues immediately following the repairs.

Solution:

These drivability issues occur because the engine computer (ECM) is still using the old “Learned Values” that were saved prior to the repairs. To clear the old parameters so the ECU can ‘learn’ new ones, a mechanic or Lexus tech will have to reset the ECU using a Lexus diagnostic tester and program card.

1999-2003 RX 300 – TSB L-SB-0082-14

Problem:

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide precautions to follow when installing an automatic transmission/transaxle assembly to avoid MIL (Malfunction/Check Engine Light) “ON”, shifting issues, and/or transmission damage.

Solution:

After installing a U140E transmission, the technician must confirm the following:

  • Both alignment pins are present on the engine block.
  • ATF lines and cooler have been flushed with the appropriate ATF type.
  • Correct torque converter bolts and washers are used.
  • All ground straps are in the correct locations and are connected properly.
  • Correct shift cable adjustment.
  • Correct park/neutral position switch adjustment.
  • Transmission fluid level has been set properly.
  • Transmission learned values have been reset and/or the compensation code has been input (if applicable) and proper initialization has been performed.

NOTE

Not all applications will use washers on the torque converter bolts.

Common Problems with the Lexus RX300 Transmission

Lack of Response
Leaking Fluid
Low Fluid
Burning Smell
Grinding or Shaking
Whining, Clunking or Humming
Refuses to Go Into Gear
Torque Converter Issues
Valve Body Issues
Transmission Noisy in Neutral
Gears Slipping
No 3rd or 4th Gear
No 1st or 2nd Gear
No Reverse
Dragging Clutch
Trouble Codes / Check Engine Light

Can I drive with a transmission problem?

If your Lexus RX300 can still make it up and down the road, you might say “It’s fine, I’ll just drive it until I can get it fixed”. But that is not always a good idea, depending on the symptoms. You see, there are a lot of (very expensive) moving parts inside of a transmission, and if something isn’t right, continuing to drive with a transmission problem could damage something else.

How often does a Lexus RX300 transmission need to be replaced?

The overall lifespan of a Lexus RX300 transmission largely depends on how well it was maintained. Factory design flaws also factor into this equation, along with how/how hard you drive. But on average, we’ve seen the Lexus RX300 transmission last for between 130,000-180,000 miles. A high quality replacement transmission however, can last considerably longer if all of the factory design flaws have been addressed and the vehicle has been maintained.

How are Lexus RX300 transmission issues diagnosed?

It is fairly easy to guesstimate what the root cause of your Lexus RX300 transmission problems might be, but you won’t truly know unless you have the right tools and experience. A good mechanic or transmission repair center will be able to connect your truck to a computer and find out which diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) have been stored. Once they know what to look for, they can perform a visual inspection to verify the problem.

How is a Lexus RX300 transmission replaced?

In order to replace your Lexus RX300 transmission, the truck has to be lifted from the ground in order to gain access to all of the parts that will need to be unbolted. Then the transmission can be lowered to the ground (typically with a transmission jack), so the new transmission can be installed.

Recommendations for Lexus RX300 transmission issues?

To save time and get back on the road faster, have your 17-digit truck VIN# handy and you can get an online quote for a reman Lexus RX300 transmission here, then find a local shop using our Find a Shop guide to install it for you.

How to Solve Lexus RX300 Transmission Problems

Solution A: Buy a Used Lexus RX300 Transmission

The quickest way to fix your transmission problems is to simply buy a used transmission or used transmission. These can be found at most junk yards, and they often come with a 30-90 day warranty. However, there’s no way to determine the actual condition of the internal components, so you could be spending a bunch of money to have the exact same problems. Plus, that warranty only covers the transmission if it’s defective, not the labor costs that you’ll have to pay.

Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Lexus RX300 Transmission

Another option would be a rebuilt transmission or rebuilt transmission. A local repair shop will remove your transmission, then install a bunch of new parts during the rebuild. The problem here is, the skills and experience of each transmission rebuilder will vary widely from shop to shop, so you could have problems from something that wasn’t adjusted properly. And the 1-2 year warranty might only cover you at certain transmission repair shops, in a specific geographical area.

Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Lexus RX300 Transmission

Many owners depend on their vehicle to commute and get things done. Their gasoline engines are designed to go 100’s of thousands of miles, so it makes sense to invest in a remanufactured transmission.

Fair Replacement Transmission Cost by Vehicle

  1. Find your transmission model in the table below for fair prices from reputable suppliers. Also fair labor cost for local installation at a local auto repair shop.

  2. Get a free estimate on a remanufactured transmission by email.

Fair Remanufactured Transmission Price Ranges by Transmission Model Updated for 2019

transmission repair cost
Download Replacement Transmission Cost Guide PDF

What Problem Does Your Lexus RX300 Have?

Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!

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Leave a Comment

Bruce

So, 2002 RX300 with 240K miles, transmission has failed. Will not move. Repair estimates run from $3k to $4k to rebuild. Debating on whether or not to bite the bullet and repair it or junk it and move on. Opinions? Anyone dump that amount of $ in a high mileage vehicle?

William Jones

I have a 2001 RX300 with 230K miles – trans has been repaired twice by dealer – first time at 70K, last time at 150K. Currently trans runs fine at initial start-up. However, after coming to a full stop, it will not engage 4th gear. I can get it to re-engage by stopping, turning off vehicle, and then restarting – it then shifts thru all gears until it comes to a full stop again, when the problem resurfaces – any thoughts as to the problem?

magic

Hello. I’ve got the same problem did you find out what was the problem with transmission?

Wayne

My 1999 Lexus RX300 sporadically has a slipping reverse, put in drive and back to reverse and all is fine.

Wayne

My 1999 Lexus RX300 sporadically has a slipping reverse, put in drive and back to reverse and all is fine. Thoughts?

Mike

Have you find out what was the cause,
I have same issue with my 2001
Also sometime gear not engage smoothly, slow down a bit during driving & backto normal
Any idea what the problem could be?

Debra Mora

2001 Lexi’S300 JUST quit moving one day came home set for couple days now it goes until you come to stop then you have to shut off and then start again and it will go

Femi Adedeji

I have July 2000 RX 300. At take-off on drive, it gives a hard forward jark. The reverse doesn’t connect on time. Sometimes I need to first engage the drive, then the reverse before it can engage. While in drive, it doesn’t seem to change from gear 3 to 4. I notice this on rpm indicator. At some other times every thing seems normalised. Sometimes I experience a delay in moving from gear 2 to 3.
At one time, the RPM was just dancing between 1 and 5 while the gear was on neutral.
What do you think is wrong and what’s the way out?

Markanthony Kenechi

I have RX 300 of 2001 model. the transmission just quit while I was driving without any warning. It did as if jerking and after sometime it stopped working in any gear except park. When put in gear it acts as if in neutral but the engine is just running. the gear fluid checked and found full. When i start the engine I hear little noise momentarily. Please what can i do?

robin leflore

exact thing happened to my 99 rx300. before hand was having to push shift lock button to shift out of park. help, please?

Shannon Snyder

2000 rx300 with 198k miles, transmission just quit with no warning while driving. It did a slipping like action for about 5 miles and slowly just quit until all power was gone and would no longer move in any gear. No D R 2 or L. When put into gear it acts if it’s in neutral. Fluid is full. Starts fine and runs fine just doesn’t move at all. Any suggestions?

Bruce

What have you done? My vehicle is in the same situation.

Elizabeth S.

2000 Lexus RX 300 Transmission is too small to handle the car’s weight – Manufacturer’s design error; Dealerships did not do proper major service though they were paid as though they did….
Transmission was not serviced properly by the dealership at 90K miles. All they did was drain the old transmission fluid and replace it with new. No one EVER cracked open our transmission until two days ago at 117K miles. If they had, we could have had it rebuilt or re-manufactured without a catastrophic failure.
Surprise… the planetary gear was cracked. The sheet metal hub was torn up and lots of metal pieces had been captured by the internal magnets. We were informed that our transmission case had never been opened.
It is a “folded” transmission that is too small for the weight of the vehicle, hence well-known transmission problems have been reported.

Dan

Rpm fluctuation when driving. Goes from 2,000 to 3 or 4,000 then back and forth and shifts at odd times depending on rpm.

Dayna

Is there a problem with the rx 2002 Lexus transmissions

Yahya Muhammad Ondigo

I am Yahya Ondigo in Namibia have a similar problem with Lexus RX 300, 2003 model, 221000 reverse not functioning and gears 3 through to 6 not functioning. What do I do? This is really stressful.

John

We have a 2002 Lexus RX300 with only 205,000 kilometers. Same thing, transmission problems. This truck has been babied at a Lexus dealership, spending a small fortune on maintaining and flushing all the fluids when required by the owners manual. To think
I had a Chrysler Intrepid for 10 years that lasted over 350,000 kilometers with no issues. Kind of embarrassing for a luxury brand like Lexus to be upstaged by Chrysler. I hope someone at Lexus read these posts and they do right by their customers and recognize that there was and still is an issue with the 1999 to 2003 RX vehicles. Do the right thing and recall the remaining vehicles to get the transmissions fixed. That is my thoughts.

Duffy1922

I have a 2003 Lexus RX300 that has 204,000 miles. Three days ago I discovered that it was sluggish going into reverse. I contacted my mechanic, who has done most major repairs & oil changes on my car for at least 5 years. He told me to bring it in but I ended up having to have it towed. Diagnosis: needs a new transmission.
Question: should I have heard something before this happened. How could I have prevented this?

Peggy

I have a 2003 Lexus RX300 and am having transmission/torque converter problems. I will briefly go over what I mentioned previously to you.
My car has been missing for quite awhile. When it got up to higher speeds it would operate more normally. Before the breakdown, it was missing more. We towed the car home and had it towed to Lexus to run a report. Before it was towed I started it and if I put it in gear it died. Lexus is guessing it is the Transmission and will cost around 5,000.00 + . That is about all it is worth.
A dilemma.
Thanks, Peggy