Ok, i've finally figured it out. If I understand it correctly, the problem lies in the slow initialization of the drive's firmware to be ready to be scanned by the usb_storage kernel module. If you look at the output of "cat /sys/module/usb_storage/parameters/delay_use" it shows the value "1" (second). The default value for the kernel 3.3 should be "5"
My old LXDE has a value of 5, my newer LXDE has a value of 1, as you mentioned.
All my USB's are working at the value of 1 as well as 5.
I've read where future kernel adjustments would be changed from 1 to 5. They called
it "precharge should be changed from 1 to 5" in their changelog. Hope that is the
same and pertinent info req'd for your hardware, and would give the best permanent