How to Remove the Transmission in a Lexus ES 300by Shari Caudill
The Lexus ES 300 was the primary test-drive vehicle for Lexus dealerships from 1992 to 2003. It is the company's entry-level sedan. Lexus equipped the mid-size vehicle with a five-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed automatic transmission optional. The luxurious ES's manual transmission is known for smoothly shifting while driving in normal traffic. However, if you shift the transmission aggressively, it responds with harsh upshifts and delayed downshifts, prompting some drivers to switch to the automatic transmission.
Remove the battery, air filter and air filter housing from the vehicle.
Find and disconnect the throttle cable at the side of the intake plenum on the top of the engine. The aluminum plenum is silver. Remove the cruise control actuator cover and disconnect the actuator.
Remove the ground straps and the starter.
Find and disconnect the two speed sensors on the transmission. Unhook the neutral safety switch.
Disengage the solenoid connection and the shift cable. Both are on the same bracket.
Disconnect the coolant lines from the transmission. You can easily trace these as they run to the radiator.
Remove the front transaxle, both engine side bolts and the shift control bolts on the front of the frame. Remove the starter wire on the front of the frame.
Unscrew the exhaust manifold mounting bolts. Find and remove the five bolts connecting the transmission to the engine.
Raise the car on jacks and support it with the proper jack stand, a solid ramp or both. Remove the front wheels and unbolt the exhaust pipe.
Drain the transmission fluid into a container. Avoid spilling the fluid on the ground or into any nearby drains. Take the old transmission fluid to a local auto-parts store or repair shop for disposal.
Remove the side and lower engine covers. Disconnect and remove the CV axles.
Detach the exhaust and support bracket from the front exhaust pipe and the torque converter cover.
Disconnect the two hoses at the oil cooler. Remove the rear engine mount bolts and the stabilizer bar nuts, brackets and bar.
Unbolt the two steering-gear mounting bolts. Support your steering rack and pinion with mechanic's wire. You can substitute rope if you are unable to find suitable wire.
Raise the engine with an engine hoist to lessen the weight on the mounts. Remove the front inner fender liners.
Remove the six bolts and four nuts from the engine subframe and detach the subframe.
Place a transmission jack under the transmission for support. Unbolt the torque converter and the remaining transmission-to-engine bolts. Lower the transmission from the vehicle and remove the torque converter.
Place a straight edge across the front of the new transmission's torque converter. Measure from the front surface of the torque converter to the straight edge to measure the depth. The proper distance is 13.7 mm. Adjust the torque converter until it is correctly seated.
Install the black torque converter belts and then the rest of the belts.
Reverse steps 1 through to 17 re-install the transmission.
Refill the transmission fluid and check for leaks.
- It's always a good idea to have your alignment checked when you've worked in the area of your front end.
Items you will need
- Transmission jack
- Engine hoist
- Mechanic's wire
- Straight edge
- Container for transmission fluid
- Edmunds.com: Lexus ES 300 Review
- Interview: L. Jeffrey Caudill; ASE-Certified Technician & Owner; Precision Automotive Diagnostics & Repair; South Shore, KY
- "Mitchell on Demand Repair Manual"; 2010