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Lexus LS 400/LS 430



  • erad98erad98 Posts: 23
    My '03 LS 430 started to have squealing brakes about 2 weeks ago without any noticeable fade. Suddenly stopped today. Anyone else experience this? I have an appointment with the dealer (extended warranty) but I'm not sure now if I should waste my time...
  • Just purchased a 2005 LS430 and I am finding the drivers front seat very uncomfortable. I don't know who the previous owner was, but it seems like the middle part of the seat was overstressed and sinks down more than the passenger seat. I am tall and have to splay my legs out, and since the bolsters are overly firm, they dig into my legs and are very painful. It gets worse the longer I sit in it. It is like sitting in a vise with the jaws closing slowly on the hips as I sink further into the seat.If the bottom would not deflect downward as much as it does, the seat would be fine. Brought to Lexus of Wilmington and a 5'7" service advisor jumped in and out and said it was fine. Nothing wrong. Got the Service Director involved and he said nothing was wrong and he couldn't do anything. I want to contact Lexus Customer Service but wanted to get suggestions on how to approach this with them from this group. Any suggestions on best strategy for serving up this issue to them? Any others have problems with their seat? Is there any recourse beyond the Customer Service group? :(


    Sounds like others have not had much success in dealing with Lexus Customer Service
  • I have a 2005 ls and I agree with you about the seats. I also bought mine used with 35K miles and I find that the seats are not good for long drives. My back starts hurting after 1+ hours of driving. My 05 Taurus had more comfortable seats. I also dislike how long it takes for the seats to warm up. The seat heaters take 7-10 minutes to warm up. That's crap if you ask me. My body naturally warms up the leather faster than the seat heater. I am definitely disappointed with the seats. You can try extended the bottom out, which will provide more support for the thighs but then I think it looses support for other parts of the body, like the back. I also hate the steering, which is all wobbly and takes a lot of effort to keep straight, even after numerous trips to the dealer. :( Not a happy Lexus owner.
  • Mr. Muchogusto:
    1 - everything you wrote is TRUE . on the 2001-2006 LS430
    model , it seems to me , that there are two outsources for seats . ( that is a guess ) why a guess ? because some Ls430's have seats that fit my butt perfect , and some hurt
    as you described . I tried swapping seats from car to car when the car was brand new with zero miles , foam rubber material on the seat , etc.
    2 - the way to know if your LS430 has the wacko seats ,
    is place your fist between the seat bottom and seat back . if your fist goes through from front to back , you have the dud . the seat bottom and seat back should be so tight they rub together with NO space between them . LEXUS even alloed
    for ZERO tolerance , because there is a whitish colored strip of cloth sewn into the seat back and seat bottom where the two pieces meet and rub as they are adjusted and
    give during driving ( operating ) conditions .
    FIX : there are 4 bolts that hold the seat to the chasis floor . 2 in front , 2 in back .
    remove the 2 bolts in back ( move the drivers seat all the way forward , so you can work , place several "o ring" metal washers ( spacers ) on the male bolt coming up from the floor , place the seat on the two bolts in the rear , place the nuts on the bolts and torque the bolts .
    now the rear of the seat is higher than it was before , and your posterior is more level with the anterior .
    simply put , you place yourself on a level playing field .
    DISCLAIMER : i have had dealer service people tell me that void's the warranty .
    i do not own any LS430's anymore . I removed the o ring washers before trading or selling the cars . it is the next guy's problem now .
    NOTE : the seats made by this outsource for lexus are great if you are 6' 5 " , and weigh 350 lbs , and carry lead in your pants .
    for the average 5' 8" person , they can make you feel like you have a serious bladder infection knawing away at your lower back .
    Further Disclaimer : the above is not a scientific endeavor. it was strictly done for MY comfort . whether it is true or not true remains to be proven .
    mitchell rowe
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I had an 02 LS430 - and experienced the seat phenomenon mentioned above in that one. I never really got comfortable in that car - and was disappointed. I guess, it had the "crappy seats" in that one. Then one day, I happened to drive a new 05, with Air Conditioned seats, and noticed that the seat was much, much better than my 02 was. Based mostly upon that one fact, I traded my 02 for the 05 and have been pretty happy with the seat in this one. They do take longer to warm and cool than others, because they use a different device than just a heat coil for heat, due to the cooling function. I can live with it. While I admit, a Mercedes seat is better, as is a Volvo, and a Ford Explorer - it is satisfactory. I believe, after test driving the 06, the new seats are much better. Perhaps they checked out a Volvo seat to copy finally, instead of the seat from a 59 Jaguar sedan....

    It's a bit disappointing that the finest car on earth, has a crummy seat, isn't it?
  • Mr. Banker : As mentioned earlier , I believe the genius's
    in Japan use two sources for the LS seats from 2001-2006 .
    It's pot luck which one a customer is blessed with. the "pain" didn't show itself to sensitive person's for 300 to 800 miles ?
    In re : to your comments about seats in "other" brands , vs. LS seats through 2005 :
    I am extremely happy with the seat in my LS 460 SWB .
    it is flat , conforms to the proper seat bottom length , and it is very wide at the same time , accomodating my butt . additionally , the seat back and seat bottom , actually fit together in all settings ( amazing ) .
    whoever is building the 2007 seat , has heard the call from the american car buyers .
    air / heat - seats : yes ... it is a different system of heating , as was my 2006 LS . However the 2007 LS 460 SWB that i own heats up in seconds ( i like it - we've had very cold temperatures here lately ) .
    mitchell rowe
  • Hi Mitchell,

    Does your reference to 2001-2006 models imply that the 2007 seats are more comfortable than the previous ones? That would be really good news for me, because I have found the seats in both my 2001 and 2004 LS430's somewhat uncomfortable too. Not as bad as some previous posters indicated, but definitely below par.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    implying that the 07 is better. On my test drive of an 07, I felt they were definitely superior to my 05, which is infinitely superior to my 02. Odd that so many of us suddenly confess that the seats in the LS are sub par.... My Ford Explorers have had the most comfortable seats I've even had - it's a shame my Lexi have not. Perhaps now - they finally have that right.
  • famwaldfamwald Posts: 114
    "You can try extended the bottom out, which will provide more support for the thighs but then I think it looses support for other parts of the body..."

    ITA with you about the seats. We, too, have an '05 LS430.

    I'm tall and find that extending the bottom out (forward) makes the seat even more uncomfortable in that "sitting" area, as if the padding has been compressed in a car with 200k mi. on it. Feels like I'm sitting on a wooden bleacher. Ugh.

    Seat heaters in front really do take forever to warm up. I think it is because they "blow" instead of radiate. My Volvos were much faster (well duh- they're from Sweden), but the LS is faster than our old '98 Toyota Avalon was.
  • Mr. Bosch :
    Direct Answer : YES . the driver's seat in the 2007 LS460
    ( i have full time knowledge of the SWB only ) , is
    "THE CHAMP " .
    Lexus can do it . THe seat in the "original" gs300 + GS400
    were superb for the average size person .
    the GS , as you know , came out as a 1998 model .
    REPETITIVE : the seat in the 2007 LS460 is flat , wide , and the seat bottom meets the seat back tightly at any position , even with the seat bottom extended or retracted . there is nothing in the seat back that hits the "nerve" in the lower back , that signals "pain" , and
    causes language either thought or spoken sending the seats to an early demise in the graveyard of car parts in one's mind .
    Not all LS430 seats have this insanity . I believe Lexus used two outsources , and one of the sources thought americans were 6' 5" tall , weighed 350 pounds , and ate Micky D's all day while driving , to add another 40 pounds .
    These are unscientific Opinions only . The opinions expressed here are from Personal experience , and there has been no survey to back up these statements .
    mitchell rowe
  • I have the same problem with my 2001 LS 430 trunk struts. I have called and visited 5 different auto parts stores and the struts are only available through the dealer. The trunk lid has fell on my head numerous times. It is indeed a safety issue and not of Lexus quality. The trunk struts/shocks are labeled as "1FE28 W676". Let me know if you have found any aftermarket alternatives. I do not want to buy new ones from Lexus if they are only going to fail again in a short time.

    If you are experiencing the same problem w/the trunk struts/shocks, I want to encourage others to respond to the message posted by "slexy1" (Msg. #8044)or this message, to voice your concerns to your local Lexus dealer, and finally to contact Lexus by the 800 number for customer care.

    Maybe we can get some positive responses if we all complain together.


    Matthew Manning
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38

    Thanks for the post and backup of my (and some Lexus Master Mechanics that I know) contention that the weak trunk struts are a known safety problem that has been reported on the NHTS web site. I sent you a copy of my e-mail that I just sent "Lexus Customer Satisfaction" (to I basically found out from the dealer I bought the car at in 10/00 that the part number for those trunk struts was changed from ending in "30" to "31" sometime after 2001. Lexus keeps the reasons for these changes a secret even from their dealers, so I could not find out "why" for the change. But, I'm requesting that Lexus Corporate allow my dealer to install the "31" trunk struts, as I'm fairly sure that the new ones have been "beefed up". Good Luck.
  • I have a 2002 LS and also experienced the trunck lid falling on my head. About a month ago I had the struts replaced under my extended warranty, so far I have noticed a definite marked improvement. Of course a month is not a long time, so the jury is still out. I don't know if the replacemt struts are "31" or not. Would it be easy to tell if the struts are indeed "31"?


  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    Yes, "cneuman", it would indeed be easy. Just call your dealer and ask someone to look at their records of the part # used. But, I can pretty much tell you (from what my parts manager told me) that you do have the part number ending in "31", since from 2001 to 2006 that part number is all that any Lexus dealer is using to replace whatever was on the trunk lid from the factory. Lexus doesn't even let the dealers know the date of the change in part number, so it could be any time between 2001 and 2006.

    Lexus Corp. is not giving the dealers any info as to why the change in part #. I think they want it that way, since Lexus can always say that "It was just due to a change in vendor-supplier". That way, Lexus never has to admit that there was a problem to begin with, and therefore avoids the possibility of any public "recall" happening. But, don't get me wrong, I don't know what the real reason is, and I still love Lexus as my number one brand of car (I have two of them). I just don't think that Lexus has handled this particular situation with the consumer's best interest at heart, and that is not up to the kind of Lexus quality standards that I am used to (my opinion).
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    I just got back from my local Lexus dealer where I bought my 2001 LS 430. The service and parts managers along with everyone working there are very nice and helpful (Park Place Lexus of Grapevine, Tx.) This matter is over their heads, as the problem lies with Lexus Corporate, IMO.

    Here is some VERY INTERESTING NEWS! A nice new car salesman showed me the trunk mechanism on the brand new 2007 LS 460, and "lo and behold" Lexus Corporate decided to stop using struts to hold up the trunk lid, and go back to the same type of mechanism that was used in my 1990 Lexus LS 400! For lack of specific terminology, I'll call it a "swing-arm with counter balance" mechanism. That might not be accurate, but the point is that for SIX YEARS (2001 TO 2006) Lexus used struts. This tells me a lot that for their newest flagship model they went back to the same basic type of mechanism Lexus used 17 YEARS AGO!

    I could be wrong, but this appears to be more "circumstantial evidence" that Lexus is very aware of the problem of weak struts, and/or the problem of even stronger replacement struts (# 31's) wearing out over time. My 17 year old 1990 trunk mechanism is still working perfectly after all these years!
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    After I found out about how much less trunk space the LS 460 can have vs. the LS 430, I had to blog about that, and the fact that Lexus no longer uses trunk "struts" to hold up the trunk lid. I wonder why?
  • slexy1

    Great job!


  • lexuslxlexuslx Posts: 18
    I recently had my '01 LS 430 serviced. It has 103,000 miles on it. The timing belt service has not been done yet. They recommended that I get the following things done:

    60k Timing Belt Service $1,500
    Transmission Flush $190
    Fuel Induction Flush $160
    New front and rear brakes $700

    I am wondering if I could get the same things done at a Toyota dealership for much less $$$$.

    Do any of you use a Toyota dealership for your Lexus LS? I had a Toyota dealer do the timing belt service on my 99 LX 470 as it is practically identical to the Toyota Land Cruiser.

    Regarding the brakes, would it be safe to buy the Lexus pads, shims, and fits and have a brake shop or Toyota put them on?

    THANKS in advance!
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    I hope that $1,500 Timing Belt Service incudes an new water pump!
    Fuel Induction Flush would especially be a good idea if you live in an area of the US that has 10% Ethanol at all the gas stations like mine do. Ethanol can clean the fuel lines of gunk that gets caught in your fuel filter (which may need changing too)
    I swear by these ceramic brake pads on TireRack by Akebono ProAct at $74 a pair (available now for front and rear). They are long lasting, don't squeak, dissapate heat for better braking under heat stress, and I think cost less than the dealer pads. I also think that Akebono does the OEM ceramic brake pads for Toyota that cost more. ar=2001&autoModClar=

    I would get a second opinion from a Lexus Independent Service and Repair shop in your neck of the woods before I did anything. But, I used to use a Toyota dealership to get my 2001 LS 430 serviced, since they used to send me discount coupons for the 30K, 45K, etc. major service intervals that represented big saving over the local Lexus dealerships. Just call the Toyota Service Mgr. and ask him if he would agree that all that work needs to be done (don't say who told you that it was reccommended to be done), if he would do the work, and at what price would he do it all for.

    I blogged about the E-10 Ethanol situation here:
  • jfzjfz Posts: 45
    Lexus of Fort Wayne posts a cost of $490 for timing belt and serpentine belt service. FWIW
  • afiber2afiber2 Posts: 8
    Lexus of Fort Wayne also quoted me the $490 figure for a timing belt & serpentine belt change. I have an appointment next week for this with my '01s 75000 mile service. Amazing what some other dealerships charge.

    Northwest IN
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    You are soo right about the differences in what different dealers charge. I've noticed from my experience with dealers in Ca., N.Y., and Texas that it definitely has something to do with the amount of "other dealer owners" competition within a short drive of where that dealer is located. The more the competition, even from good Independent Lexus Service & Repair shops, the lower the prices tend to be, IMO.
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    I have been in touch with a manager of the California Online BBB (since Lexus National Headquarters is located in Torrance, Ca.), and it appears (not so sure yet!) that "Lexus is willing to work with the customer to repair his vehicle, if desired." My request was to have those new replacement trunk strut part numbers (ending in "31") installed on my car at no charge.

    Here is my new blog post with more details:
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    Here is what I just sent the NHTSA:
    "I just had my trunk struts replaced after Lexus National Headquarters told me 2 1/2 weeks ago that they were willing to work with me. My dealer said they never contacted him to give him the go ahead to do the "no charge" work, so I had to call Lexus HQ's again and complain.

    I now am convinced after seeing my trunk lid go up on its own, once it is past the "half way point" in opening, that the replacement trunk struts that have a part # ending in "31" are definitely improved over the old ones (ending in "30") that came on my car in 10/2000 (even though Lexus HQ's has put it in writing to me that they have not changed or improved those trunk struts). My wife agrees that they are improved, and that Lexus has done a "Quiet Fix"! The Lexus mechanic (4 + years with Lexus) who just installed my new struts said that they have been improved over time!

    I have my old trunk struts now, and I am willing to mail them to you, once you e-mail me back letting me know that I am not wasting my time and money. Please have your engineers evaluate these old "30's" (taking into account age usage) vs. the new "31's".

    I know the NHTSA is very busy, but there are a lot of 2001/2002/2003 or more LS 430 owners who are paying out of their own pockets ($469.64) for replacement struts, since there are no aftermarket ones available. Some owners may not be able to afford replacements and are leaving their trunk lids a safety problem!"

    I will be blogging on this eventually, but I wanted to get the word out to "lexuslx", "cneuman", and anyone else with the old (vs. new replacement ones) trunk strut safety problem. But, keep in mind that all struts wear out over time, so only time will tell how long these new stuts will be safe. My gut tells me that they will at least last longer than the ones that came on my car.

    For those interested in my last blog post on this (before I do an updated one), here it is:

    "NHTSA LS 430 Trunk Strut Investigation"
  • ok guys here is my situation and i am in dire need of some help, I totally understand that lexus is an expensive car peroid. I just got a 93 ls 400 and it needed inspected, well I take it to my shop i usually go to and they fix everything for inspection but it fails the emissions test, now my shop cant fix that since they dont have teh software to plug into it, so I take it to a Dealer to have them work on it and so far they have changed my spark plugs, wires, pulled the exhaust and im at $670, and now they want to do a compression test on the engine, I am new to owning a lexus so any help would be great, well the car like i said wont pass emission and feels like there is very little power when you step on the gas, I am just lost here, what could be causing this and why does it seem like they are just takin my money for this car, I mean cant they find out whats wrong with it so they dont have to keep guessing on whats wrong, please help!!!!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Insofar as rate of acceleration the early LSes at 248HP were not stellar performers. Put on a lot of miles, say 150,000, and the torque converter is getting a little tired.

    I think you're being "jacked" around on the emissions fix but I don't have any answer otherwise.
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    The Los Angeles, Ca. online BBB: was a big help. I recommend them to anyone who is not getting satisfaction through the dealers or the Lexus Customer Satisfaction 800#. But, to be fair with Lexus HQ's, make sure you have a legitimate situation (as I believed).

    While Lexus Corporate denies improvement of the engineering of the LS 430 trunk struts (more "gas force pressure"), my wife and I both agree that the old struts never lifted the trunk lid on its own, once past the half way point of being 100% raised. In fact, my wife said that she always had to lift the heavy (for her) trunk lid all the way up right from the beginning with the old struts (ANYONE HERE THAT HAS A 2001/2 LS 430 REMEMBER IF THEIR ORIGINAL "TRUNK LID LIFT" EXPERIENCE WAS SIMILAR TO OURS?) I must admit, that I did find it interesting that the seasoned Lexus mechanic who installed the replacement trunk struts said that they (the sturts) have improved over time.

    While I am appreciative of my free replacement struts, I told the NHTSA: "There are a lot of 2001/2002/2003 or more LS 430 owners who are paying out of their own pockets ($469.64 Dealer Price) for replacement struts, since there are no aftermarket ones available. Some owners may not be able to afford replacements and are leaving their trunk lids a safety problem!"

    I'm hoping that if the NHTSA investigation doesn't warrant a "recall", then at the very least Lexus will do a "SPECIAL SERVICE CAMPAIGN" with letters sent to all Lexus car owners that have trunk (and hood) struts like the ones originally put on my 2001 LS 430.

    For more details, see "Lexus Customer Satisfaction - A Vehicle For Brand Building?"
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    I agree with "wwest": "I think you're being "jacked" around on the emissions." But, I wanted to add that your local "shop" does not represent all Independent Lexus Service & Repair shops. Many do have all the equipment needed to figure out why your car is failing the emissions test. These reputable independents owned and/or operated by former "Lexus Certified Master Mechanics" would probably charge you less money, overall, than dealers would.

    One suggestion: Before you buy any previously owned vehicle, take it to a reputable independent shop, or a dealer and have it thoroughly checked out. While you would have to pay for this, it might save you a lot of money in the long run.
  • i def appreciate the advise guys, and I am going to have a fit about all these dumb tests they keep doing and is costing me over $1000, to be honest the car was given to me for free so I can complain about that, but I just had no idea what I was getting myself into, is there anywhere I can find these little independant shops? Everywhere I tried to take the car was like, oh Lexus no dont work on them. Again thanks guys....any other help is much appreciated
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    Try the Verizon Online Smart Pages using "Lexus Service & Repair", but they don't make themselves easily findable. Try your local Chamber of Commerce web site and e-mail them where you can find one.

    Of course, you could always give away on chat rooms the town that you live in and maybe someone already knows of a good one there. Good Luck.
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