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? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

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.

Need a replacement transmission? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

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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Ron
1 month ago

Starts off in 2nd gear, won’t shift into overdrive. Because of this, sets knock sensor codes( engine is pinging)

Ed Hartigan
1 month ago

After transmission get to normal temperatures it loses all gears. I just got the car, I check the fluid an it reads a lot over full not sure if that could be the problem

Amanda Lea Sanders
2 months ago

I have a 1999 Lexus RX300. It’s a v6 3.0L. It has the U140F transmission. I recently had both knock sensors replaced. It had been limp mode for about 3 months off an on. I frequently had to clear the check engine light to make it run right. After replacing the knock sensors I drove it home (lenoir, nc) from Charlotte NC. It done GREAT. Next time I go to drive it, it preformed perfect as it did the night before on the way home. But when I go to back up from where I’m at, reverse sounds like it explodes and just stops pulling. When in drive, it has to almost redline before it will pull.

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