Recommended Posts

Hi All,

I'm a new joiner and would like to know if anyone can help with this one;

I bought an RX300 (2004) about a month ago. Everything's been running well and I've covered about 300 miles so far with no gearbox problems.

Before I put it into my local garage for a full service 2 days ago, I checked the engine oil and gearbox fluid levels.

Both were fine and I noted that the gearbox fluid level was at the max mark. Following the service, on a short drive the following day, I noticed the usual 'kangaroo' effect that you get when the gearbox fluid level's low so I checked it. It was at the 'min' mark. I called the garage (thinking that they must have changed it but not filled it up enough). They informed me that they only checked the level on the service and didn't change the ATF. They told me that the level was ok when they checked it. We arranged that I take it back today for them to look at. This I've now done, and the mechanic noticed the 'kangaroo' effect when he drove it into the inspection bay. On checking the level, he couldn't see any fluid level! He's topped it off with about 2 pints of ATF and it's now just below the max mark. I'll be keeping an eye on it over the next few days. I've got no leak marks on my driveway and no smoking or smells when driving. Where's the ATF been going to? Any suggestions? TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Hello and welcome to the LOC.

Seems a bit of a coincidence that the level was OK before the service and then suddenly drops, was the correct procedure followed for checking the level which is normally with the fluid hot and after moving the selector slowly through all positions twice before checking the dipstick level?

Also did the garage use the correct fluid which is normally only Toyota type IV?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep a close eye on the level. If you are losing fluid from the casing or external oil cooler then it will be easy to spot under the vehicle but there is also an oil cooler built into the radiator so fluid loss will go into the coolant. If too much is lost and the pump can no longer circulate fluid around the cooler then coolant could come back into the transmission which you really don't want to happen.

Always use Toyota T-IV fluid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The garage didn't change the fluid, only checked the level. I'm unsure what they've topped it up with although I can guarantee it won't have been with Toyota fluid. I was present for the procedure and it came out of a very large 'ATF' container! I didn't realise that the ATF manufacturer was that critical on these vehicles. I'm going to monitor the level over the next week or so and I'll get back to you! Thanks for the welcome & reply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, so I've been out again this morning and the ATF level was about midway between full and empty. I took it for a spin and used the kick-down. I noticed a large cloud of mist coming from the rear of the vehicle, seemed to be from the nearside underneath somewhere, so wouldn't seem to tie in with the exhaust which is on the offside. Needless to say, the level has dropped! Any suggestions as to what's happening/at fault greatly appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check the coolant to see if it looks clean or contains transmission fluid in there. Also get someone to put it in drive, with the brakes on, rev the engine just a little and see if you can see fluid coming out under the vehicle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, update!

My garage informed me that the gearbox sump gasket needed replacing. They did so.

However, the following morning, I woke up to a pool of ATF under the car. They informed me that the gasket they used looked as if it had perhaps been stored for a long time (they could only get it from Lexus) and they ordered a replacement. They once again replaced the gearbox sump gasket, allowing adequate time for the sealant to take effect..

This morning, just for the hell of it, I checked the fluid level cold. It was halfway between the marks. I then went on a 20 mile round trip. When I got back, I left it idling on my level driveway for 5 minutes while I unloaded shopping from my car and then checked it again. The dipstick wasn't even damp. Not a sign of ATF, no gearbox overheat warning light, nothing. Why would it be venting it, and how? I'm not even sure who to go to for answers except the experts on here, so all help & advice continually appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'd be going to an automatic transmission specialist if you have one local to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, GeoffBrown said:

This morning, just for the hell of it, I checked the fluid level cold. 

With the engine running?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, the engine was off and cold (I'm aware that it should be properly checked when up to temperature and having gone through all the gears). I just wanted to give myself an idea of what it would measure cold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, GeoffBrown said:

No, the engine was off and cold (I'm aware that it should be properly checked when up to temperature and having gone through all the gears). I just wanted to give myself an idea of what it would measure cold.

It should always be checked with the engine running though, otherwise you get an inaccurate reading, whether you use the cold or hot markers (if it has both).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your input everyone. It would appear to now be fixed. The garage ordered and replaced the gearbox sump gasket and found the old one to be very old which had caused it to split. No longer losing ATF.....yay!

However.... the garage reckon they've put 8.5L of oil into it (it now reads up to the top mark when hot). The mechanic reckons it only takes about 5L and suggested that perhaps someone's fitted a larger torque converter? My Lexus book tells me it only takes 3.6L... Does anyone have the correct figure for an RX300 2004 gearbox ATF capacity?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, GeoffBrown said:

Thanks for your input everyone. It would appear to now be fixed. The garage ordered and replaced the gearbox sump gasket and found the old one to be very old which had caused it to split. No longer losing ATF.....yay!

However.... the garage reckon they've put 8.5L of oil into it (it now reads up to the top mark when hot). The mechanic reckons it only takes about 5L and suggested that perhaps someone's fitted a larger torque converter? My Lexus book tells me it only takes 3.6L... Does anyone have the correct figure for an RX300 2004 gearbox ATF capacity?

Glad it is fixed :smile:

The drain/refill capacity is the 3.6l stated in your book. If you need a dry refill, where the torque converter isn't holding any fluid, then you will need around 8.5 to 9 litres.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit surprised it took 8.5L to refill the transmission when only the sump was dropped which usually results in a 2L drain, also did they refill with Toyota type IV otherwise I would be worried.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember using kick-down and seeing a large plume of something disappearing out of the rear nearside. Perhaps that was the torque converter spitting it out. I did ask the mechanic (ex Mercedes mech) if he had the Toyota type IV and he said that it was the equivalent ATF. Is the Type IV that critical?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GeoffBrown said:

I remember using kick-down and seeing a large plume of something disappearing out of the rear nearside. Perhaps that was the torque converter spitting it out. I did ask the mechanic (ex Mercedes mech) if he had the Toyota type IV and he said that it was the equivalent ATF. Is the Type IV that critical?

I'm no mechanic but in my opinion, yes. Automatic transmission fluid contains various friction modifiers and lubricants for the seals - how do you know that the 'equivalent' contains the exact chemical makeup of friction modifiers and lubricants needed in our transmissions? These cars, if looked after, should be good for well over 200,000 miles and maybe even closer to 300,000, so if you want to get as much longevity out of it as possible, I'd use the recommended fluids.

I wouldn't bother buying 'Lexus' tyres/batteries/exhausts and the like but I do use the Toyota fluids as recommended in the owners manual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I need to start getting my service at a Lexus garage? I've only recently bought my first, an RX300 2004 with 83k on the clock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, GeoffBrown said:

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I need to start getting my service at a Lexus garage? I've only recently bought my first, an RX300 2004 with 83k on the clock.

No, no, theres (apostrophe not working on keyboard) no need for that. It may be a Lexus but its still just a car and as such, any good and trusted garage with competent mechanics can work on it. I think I remember reading on here somewhere that Lexus dealers charge about £130 per hour labour - unavoidable if you have a new(ish) car and want to keep up the stamps in the service book but when cars reach the sort of age yours is, its just not worth it. Up to the beginning of February Id had an 05-plated RX300 for two years and it never saw the inside of a Lexus or toyota garage while it was in my ownership.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now