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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    As long as you continue to maintain it TO SPEC.
    Get the transmission flushed [not just a 25% pan drain] and check all the suspension pieces for wear [shock, tension rods, upper/lower a arms.

    You have to expect some AC work, alternator, belts, timing belt, coolant system replacements brakes, tires.

    30k dealer service would be the minimal......budget at least 10 cents per mile for the next 100,000 miles assuming everything is perfect now! The 95 were pretty good!!!!!!

    Always have the dealer or a real expert give it the once over 2-3 hours including an alignment with print out to find those silent problems to use to drive the purchase price down.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    I have been surfing the E-bay for 96-98 MB E320 or 95-97 LS-400. I love these two cars for what they are. Excellent in their own ways.

    These cars are becoming very affordable in $13K to $18K range. It is like New Chevy Cavelier/Malibu or a used LS-400 /E320!!!

    What are the areas to watch for in the LS-400? Does the 4.0L engine use timing belt or chain? How durable is the engine? Do you have to use synthetic oil or the regular oil will do?

    I have a 96 Toyota Camry V-6 XLE. Toyota has done an exceptional job with smoothness in the 3.0L V-6, I can just imagine how great the Lexus V-8 could be.

    The LCD display on Lexus worries me. I read a lot about lights going out or LCD leaking!! I much rather have the conventional analog gages on cars.

    Did 95-97 have traction control?
    How is the traction on ice and snow without the TC?
    How durable is the paint & leather in 95-97?
    What is the HWY gas mileage?
    What are the most worn items? tires, brakes, door rubber seals?

  • Well I have a 95 w/150k right now, I have had to replace ps/pump,lower egr pipe,both strut bars assbly,frt brakes,. I don't have tc,paint and leather very good,HWY mileage about 22mpg, never any LCD leakage. Will have to say that beside that normal wear and tear, I still get great enjoyment driving in the Lex,(wonderful car)you
    couldn't go wrong, highly recommend one,plan to drive at least another 100k, actually cousin bought a 98 LS after driving mine.
    hope that helps in your decision.

  • Say there dj what are strut bars? Did you change your struts? what prompted you to change them?
    I have heard of strut plates and I am not sure what they are and if they need to be replaced when I change the struts. I have uneven tire wear. I am going to have car aligned this week and will ask for all suspension components to be checked.
    For response to jodar 96
    Paint is excellent !
    I achieve up to 25 MPG highway, I am still amazed at highway mileage.
    Read old posts, problems are pretty typical for all owners (read and see).
    I have had no problems 1 year 10K miles. I am now experiencing tire wear problems, I do not consider this a defect I consider this age and routine.
  • Well dealerflorida,

    I had the strut bar assbly changed left and right, Whenever I ran over a bump or pothole the steering wheel would shake or rattle, also has a clump feel to it. At first I thought it was my front brakes but it was a totally different feeling, dealer lifted the LS showed me the worn strut bars(rubber bushing shaking inside)had replaced, definitely fixed the problem what a difference. You definitely will know the feeling, also my cousin's 98 LS was doing the same thing, had his replaced also.

    Another note didn't have to replaced anything til after 120k.
    Again when your mechanic checks for alignment have him check the strut bar assembly, not the plate(also have him show u what it looks like)that probably will be the culprit if you have the thumping feeling going over bumps.
    I had the uneven tire wear also but that fixed the problem(bought new Bridgestone Turanza) remember the Lexus is so sensitive to everything (just like my girlfriend)but if you
    take care of them they will treat you RIGHT!!

  • Thank you for advice, much appreciated!
    I just went into the shop manual and observed the strut bar. It is part of the lower assembly. I will have this checked.
    For the "plate", I do not see a component with this name in diagram? Could it be the "Suspension support"?
    Also should I change the "spring bumper & Insulator"?
    I have also felt a sort of bump steer, when auto goes over bumps at high rate of speed I feel a slight pull of the wheel and a quick self correction, I thought this was a characteristic of car, now I am thinking it is due to worn parts.
    Story goes like this. I want to keep car and maintain it properly. I have read in earlier posts that people have had to take new struts out and change the "Plates" (Or whatever they are called) and wish they new about this before the strut replacement was completed. I just want to do it right and do it once.

    As far as girl friend goes, I have a wife 10 years married we have a 13 month old girl.

    Thanks again & Best regards
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    The upper and lower A arm suspension [rubber bushings] fail [noisey clunks knocks] anywhere betwen 100k and 200 k depending on roads. As do the tension rod inserts and the shocks.

    The LS is so floaty that owner don't understand that shocks rarely meet specs after 60,000 miles and need replacing.

    Kind of normal but expensive items.......never buy one with air lift suspension.

    Traction control is needed in snow as the differential is not limited slip.

    The 98 is the year with 5 speed AT and the newer VVT engine plus improved 4 caliper front brakes. The 95,96,97 are pretty identical.
  • Great to see you are still reading and involved in town hall!
    Do you know what the strut plates are?
    Are tension rods same as strut bars?
    I am surely changing the shocks, however I wish to also replace other components at same time and get it over with at once.
    My 97 LS 400 is a Florida only car, we have silky smooth roads. I have 85K Miles so I can see shock replacement, I am a bit surprised that so many other suspension components are bad at this time.
    Than Q! Sheldon
  • Well Dealerflorida

    Far as the strut plates I'm not sure about, dealer never said anything pertaining to a strut plate,just both strut bar assemblys were bad, as Q45 stated I determined I have a problem when I felt or heard the noisy clunk knock,also vibration in steering wheel, you definitely will know the difference, haven't had the shocks replaced told their were still good (that was at 120K). Since I have a 95 with 150k and you a 97 w/85k you probably will be ok until after the 100k mark, plus I live in Michigan, Our roads are horrendus compared to Florida.(snow etc..)
    My tension rods were fine also.

  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    It's not my lowered Civic. But I'm not needing sea sick medicine either. What kind of aftermarket shocks if any are recommended for the LS?
  • I ordered 4 new struts today, and for the front the 2 Suspension supports as well as the spring bumbers and insulators.
    Also have 4 bridgestone Turanza's LS-T's coming. I will update the hall after install as to ride and sound.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    Do 95-97 LS-400's have the problem with bad power steering pump that leaks and before you know it, it will take the alternator out with it??

    I am not used to pay $2-3K a year in maintenance/repair and feel great about driving a LS-400 or a MB E-320. I have no trouble with regular maintenance though.

    If high repair cost is something that is associated with a 4-5 year old great looking car like these two, I am rethinking buying one of these. I might be better off sticking with my flawless 96 Camry XLE V-6 that has 73K and has had a cracked $34 coolant expansion tank after 6 years and keep appreciationg these cars'looks.
  • There are ways to avoid PS pump failure, read earlier posts about changing fluid.
    maintenance is high for the LS 400. we must remember these are auto's costing over 50K thousand dollars new! The parts and engineering are first class.
    I must say though, the ride, the reliability, and the sheer joy of owning one justifies the extra cost. I now own my third Lexus and I will soon purchase one for my wife. If you drive one you will understand what everyone is raving about.
    I suggest seeking out a mid 90's with very low miles in A-1 condition you will love it.
  • I just purchased this '95 LS 400 with 140K miles and drove it about 2K trouble free miles. Then the other day it stared idling rough at a light. When I resumed highway speed, the check engine light came on as did the 'traction off' light. It ran very poorly. Took it to an independent shop who ran the codes. He said it showed it was missing in two cylinders, but he could not tell me why. I then changed the plugs, wires, caps and rotors, all with genuine factory parts. No change in condition, perhaps even worse.

    When removing the number seven plug, drivers side rear, I noticed anti-freeze in the spark plug tube. The spark plug boot looks like it had anti-freeze fluid on it for awhile. That plug was the only one that did not look perfect, it has some black soot on the tip, and the outside looked to be in bad shape. Compression varied from 220 to 240 in all eight, with number seven being on the high end.

    Ever heard of this condition? Do the tubes ever leak, or must it be a cracked cylinder head? If the seepage is slight, can it be ignored?

    Thanks so much for any advice or suggestions.
  • From various Lexus forum, I'm aware the air shooks of the '91 LS air suspension is very expensive to replace. Would you tell me other than the air shooks, what else will fail within the air suspenion components? compressor, sensor....etc?
    Also which drive mode : sports or normal put more stress to the air shooks?
    Thank you very much.
  • madijomadijo Posts: 30
    I have a 1996 LS with 98k miles and have just started to experience some problems mentioned here. My Nakamitchi stereo loses the right channel intermittently. So far I am able to get it to return by cycling the power button on and off a few times. The other problem is, after a drive of about 10 miles or more at highway speeds the car will not hold an idle. It will just drop down and stall. If I let it die and restart it, it idles fine. Anyone with any ideas on solutions will be greatly appreciated
  • Installed this past Friday:
    4 new shocks/struts. In front I also replaced the "Support assembly" rubber insulators, and bumper springs. Ride is now stiff, I liked the softer ride prior to changing. Purchased OEM Bridgestone ER 33 tires, the ones that came with auto originally. Nice quiet ride, so far.
    For the clunking noise, which was supposed to be from suspension I could not find anything worn, or loose, I was unable to emulate the noise on lift. I decided to change the shims and springs in front calipers. This was a big suprise for me, the brakes perform 100% better, better pedal feel and noise is gone (Toyota "Fitting Kit" & "Shim kit anti squeal"). I also changed the oil pan seal as there was small leak & the "V" belt along with tensioner. The tensioner turned out to be some job as many parts and covers had to be removed to get tensioner off. Tires, parts, labor & alignment came to approx. $1500- (Tires alone are 150 ea. or 600- total). I now realize the wires, plugs caps and rotors are original so I might replace these parts next.
    Best regards
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    Clean the throttle body and the EGR port and the plenum ....usually a real mess in there...idle stall problems.

    As to air ride 100k is good life depending on local roads. The compressors do fail.

    If new is too stiff you really do like a floaty wallowly car ugh!
  • Not so much stiff, rather I feel all road imperfections, old ride, car just glided over road, like soft turbulence on a airplane. I assume it will soften up with time & break in.
  • lexor2lexor2 Posts: 11
    I have a '94 LS400 and I went through the instrument and console lite problem. There is no easy fix. Dealer said I needed a new circuit board and despite my feeling that it was just a quirky connection, diode or whatever I finally bit the bullet and had them fix the damn thing. $900.oo for the part and $200.00 labor. Now it works like a charm. This is a fault in the '94s and the factory and dealers are making money off it. I also had them give me the old boards (2) in the hopes that some one out there could find the problem on these mothers.
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