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Lexus LS 400/LS 430



  • casino2casino2 Posts: 24
    First, ocaasionally check under the hood for leaks and so on. If you hear any unusual noises, talk to you mechanic about it. You should make friends with a knowledgeable mechanic and ask questions regarding your cars. Your mechanic is your auto adviser so your mechanic will be able to help you in anyway possible.
  • casino2casino2 Posts: 24
    I have the same paint color on a 2003 Lexus LS 430. I usually take it a car wash for detail.They have professional detailers who uses a machine buffer to detail the exterior. It protects the paint from being faded and of the rain, sun and wind. Unles not forget that the use quality waxes that professional detailer use to protect the paint and keeps your car shine for a long time.
  • tmundotmundo Posts: 2
         I have a white 1994 lexus LS 400, with a strange overheating problem, and it's gradually getting worse.  I bought this car from a man while he was in the process of dying from cancer.  It was winter when I bought the car.  The car handled fine all year and throughout the summer it was fine.  Another winter passed and all was good.  It wasn't until the weather began to get warm a second time, that troubles began to surface.

         This summer is a lot warmer than the last.  It got hot early in the spring, and I turned on the air conditioner, but after about 10-15 minutes I began to notice an overwhelming musty odor.  I would later realize it was the odor of an overheating radiator, but at the time I could not place the smell, an the engine was not smoking.  I stopped at a random repair station (lets call him mechanic R), and the mechanic R did me a favor and sprayed some anti-mildew spray in the air ducts.  This did not work, because the next time I used the air conditioner, the smell was back.  I was told by a fellow who worked for an air conditioner company, to change the air filter and let the air conditioner run for a while.  I let the car sit while turned on for a few hours, and let the air conditioner run with the windows open to avoid the stench problem.  This seemed to solve the problem, temporarily, as the smell issue went a way for a while.

         The next hot day I put the air on, about 10-20 minutes later the smell was back.  I drove around with the air on and the windows open, the smell went away.  I went to run a few errands and when I went to turn the car on again it began to stall.  I decided to take it to my mechanic (lets call him mechanic M), it took me about 10 minutes to get there.  As I pulled into the mechanic M's station, the car began to smoke like crazy.  I popped the hood and we let it cool.  I left the car overnight and  mechanic M said the radiator had a hole in it, he said he replaced it and that was that.

         Now when I drove the car, the engine was making a louder sound.  It was no longer quite and purring like a kitten.  It was sputtering and would seem to want to stall when I would start it and accelerate in the morning and after work. Yes, It had trouble accelerating, but it would be fine after I drove it for five minutes.  It would have trouble accelerating every time I used it, after a few hours of non-use.

         Any use of the air conditioner would produce the same overheating after 20 - 30 miutes of driving with the air on.  The fan clicked on when I used the air conditioner.  So it wasn't that.  I took it to the mechanic who repaired it for the original owner (lets call him mechanic O).  He said he had tried to figure it out but could not.  He said the original owner had given up on them and went somewhere else.  He took the car, said he ran it for 30 minutes with the air on, said he ran it in the shop with the air on as well.  He said he could not find anything.  He told me the radiator looked old, and like it was the one that came with the car.  I had suspected my first mechanic had not replaced the radiator, this confirmed my suspicion.  I also believed my first mechanic had not changed the oil much earlier.  This newer mechanic also did not have time to change the oil.  So how much attention could he have given the car, other than running it.  A friend had suggested that a lexus has a second speed setting on the fan that clicks in on extra hot conditions and is sometimes affected by the fuses.  This newer mechanic said this wasn't it.  But how much time could he have dedicated to it to know that.

         I was running out of options, the previous owner had experienced the same issues and had brought it to two different mechanics with no success.  I had brought it to two different mechanics with no success (although one had been used by the original owner and one simply cheated me.)  I thought about going to Lexus, but tales of high prices were discouraging me.  I drove another week with no air conditioner use and for the final 3 days of that week it was very hot outside.  A strange vibration was coming from the engine, I could feel it through the steering wheel when I started the car after work.  The temperature gauge always seemed in the middle so I figured I could get by for a while if I didn't use the air. I stopped at a store on my way home from work and the strange vibration I had felt through the steering wheel was back.  I shut the engine off, and as I began to walk from the car, I noticed smoke coming out.  I went and got some water from the store.  The radiator was so hot and empty if I added water it would evaporate and shoot back out.  I left the car at the store.  The store is close to mechanic R (who had first helped me with the smell in the air conditioner.  I now recognized this smell to be an overheating engine.  It must have sucked the vapor into the air conditioner system.


    - Initially the car would only overheat on a hot day when the air conditioner was in use, but now additional damage has been done with the engine being louder.

    -The water level must be dropping, but my ride two and from work is not filled with traffic.  I must have slowly been loosing water for the car to overheat without the air on.

    -The car doesn't overheat when I am driving.  Only when I stop and turn the car off.  Then the fan is off too.

    -The oil needs to be changed

    -Mechanic R is close to the store I left the car at, but I am confident when I fill the car up with water, I can drive to the lexus dealer.

    -It is a busy summer season where I live, and mechanics are busy making fast money on out of town customers, not spending time on people from the area who have problems that don't have a simple solution.

    -I don't have a lot of money to burn.

    Any hints or suggestions or solutions are welcomed at this point, I believe I will take it to the lexus dealer.

    -Thank you
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited July 2012
    1992 LS400 "drinking" PS fluid.

    I am/was well aware of the propensity of the PS "idle up" valve sucking PS stearing fluid into the intake manifold so the first thing I did was close off the tube to the intake manifold.

    Fluid still seemed to magically disappear, no serious visible leaking anywhere.

    Finally dawned on me to check the idle up valve atmospheric inlet tube downstream of the MAF. Sure nuff, PS pump pressurizes fluid and forces it, via the valve internal leak, out the inlet tube. No manifold vacuum "sucking" required.

    Next up, replace the idle up valve, dirty greasy job I'm not looking forward to.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    $90.00 new, Carson, $40.00 used, Ebay, $0.50 pipe plug...

    Guess which I'm going with.
  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    Hi, I am the original owner of this car ( White/Silver 1990 ) and have had nothing but dealer or independent Lexus/Toyota service shops working on the car for 22 years. I have a spread sheet of every bit of work that was done on the car with dates including Mobile One oil changes. It has only 190,000 miles on it (always garaged) with new shocks, brakes, radiator, A/C repairs, etc. (all verifiable). While the photo is 5 years old, it still looks this good! Don't you agree with me that eventually this "Mercedes/BMW Spoiler" will go up in value, as it is the 1st year model of the Lexus flagship that took a nice share of the luxury car market? I may be looking to sell it soon, but I want someone who appreciates the "Classic Car" aspect, as I do. It runs and rides beautifully, has Nakamichi, CD Changer, Leather seats with Sheepskin Covers, and Chrome Mags, and I use it for local travel here in SC."
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    edited August 2012
    That is a beautiful car, and a beautiful home behind it!

    I would agree that "eventually", the car may appreciate, but not if you keep driving it. In fact, you are probably already WAY over the mileage limit for a classic. Condition is great, but use is also a factor. How many miles do you see on your average Pierce-Arrow or Duiesenberg in collections? Also, how long is "eventually"? Right now, it's worth $3850. If you keep driving it, it won't appreciate. With 200,000 on the clock, probably never will. Enjoy the car - it's worth more to you than to anybody.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    I'd have to agree---there's virtually no chance of this car appreciating as a classic. Historically, very very few modern 4-door sedans of any stripe or vintage have appreciated in value since 1990....perhaps the Impala SS of 1994-96 (and it's pretty much shot its bolt on the value curve). Given that your car is already 22 years old and shows no signs of going up in value, I'd say it's not going to happen.

    However, it has real value to you, and would probably command a premium price as a used car--but even that premium price is not likely to warrant holding onto the car for value. If I were you, I'd use the car up and enjoy every minute of it.

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  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    Thanks, nvbanker and Mr. Shiftright, for your compliments, good evaluation and advice. I'll probably wind up doing what you both suggest, unless the "on sale date" of Nov. 2012 for the 2013 LS 460 tempts me to buy another 1st year model Lexus. I also have a 2001 LS 430 EuroSport, so I guess I have a thing for Lexus flagship 1st year models. If that does happen, what would anybody here recommend as the best way to advertise to get the best price for my 1990 (I don't do Ebay). Whoever gets it will get a great car that should last with proper care for a lot more mileage! I sure won't be able to replace the colder freon that cools this hot car (with smaller cabin) off faster than the newer, less cold refrigerant models, IMO.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Lexus uses an EPR valve to regulate the level of cooling provided by the evaporator so I doubt that going to r134 would make a difference.

    If you want to see the effects of "wasted" cooling capacity have a look at the return line to the compressor just under the bottom of the radiator after a long drive on a hot and humid day. Up to 1/2" of rhime ice.

    As of ~95 Lexus moved that line to the firewall behind the engine in order to improve the compressor life, engine heat "absorbs" the excess cooling.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    I think an ad in is your best bet for attracting the type of buyer you want. Unlike Craigslist, which usually caters to bottom-feeders (like me :P ), with Autotrader they offer plenty of sophisticated search functions, so that buyers can isolate cars by zip code. So you can get local buyers even though you have a national ad in place.

    Also if you have a highly reputable broker in your area (someone who sells "classics" or special cars in a nice indoor showroom and who takes perhaps 15% off the top), that's a good way for a hassle-free sale.

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  • slexy1slexy1 Posts: 38
    I'm sure you're right about the EPR valve, wwest, but all my wife and I know, for many years now, is that we both get "brain freeze" a lot faster with the freon than the r134. I'm not sure, but it appears that the 1990 has a smaller cabin interior size than our 2001 LS 430. Maybe that has something to do with it?

    Mr. Shiftright, thanks for the great, specific suggestions, in case I want to sell the 1990 eventually. Your suggestion actually reminded me that I have a friend on the west coast who is a manager for It will be great to touch bases with him again.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    yeah, if you want bang for your buck (dollars spent per viewer), Autotrader is hard to beat. Plus you get print and internet ads in a package. I've sold 2 cars for friends that way, and got a good price, too.

    Craigslist is nice because it's all local, but some of the people you attract, plus all the scammers, makes it a tedious enterprise.

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  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The "brain freeze" in the early models isn't the result of the different refrigerants but a change in the design of the climate control system.

    Up until ~95 the system would go into rapid cooldown mode, close to the maximum level of cooling when you initially started the car on a HOT day. Apparently this was deemed somewhat discomforting for some buyers, northernish buyers(?).

    When we purchased our '00 F/awd RX300 I was mildly surprised that I now had to "manage" the system on my own if I wished to more rapidly cool the cabin down to our comfort level.

    Turn the system to MAX cooling, or closely thereby, lower the blower speed to a more comfortable, more quiet level, until the cabin was more comfortable.

    THEN you can put in fully automatic mode.....EXCEPT...

    Being extremely careful to not allow the system to switch into cooling mode automatically on the coldest night in the dead of winter. Somewhere about '05 Lexus came out with a C-BEST option that when set other than the factory default would force the system to stay in heating mode when the OAT was coolish/COLD.
  • saeed4saeed4 Posts: 1
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  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I sure won't be able to replace the colder freon that cools this hot car (with smaller cabin) off faster than the newer, less cold refrigerant models, IMO.

    au contrare - my 2009 LS460's A/C blows ice cubes. I'll put it up against your old R-2 system anytime....
  • erudyerudy Posts: 1
    Just recently had my driver's side HID lamp changed. When the bulb was screwed in by the mechanic (not Lexus dealership) it was not seated correctly; only one of the "nubs" was in, the other was out. I think this caused a short or arcing in the receptacle. It doesn't look like the black receptacle can be changed as it's attached to a cable. The Lexus dealership tells me the cable assembly is "the computer" and it will cost around $900 for a replacement part. Has anyone had any experience with this? Is there an aftermarket cable assembly for less money? Is there another solution rather than this costly one?
  • I had the same problem with my 2003 LS 430. The cushions are flatten after a short time. I had a upholstery guy replace both front cushions plus added more in so the seat wouldn't be so flatten. The cushions for the LS 430 is low quality made. I have also a 2001 RX 300 which I purchased brand new, the front cushions on this truck is better and still holding its thickness. I still drive this truck.
  • rennyboschrennybosch Posts: 329
    My friend has a '04 LS430. Recently he has been sick and his car was only driven about 10 miles per month. Three months ago it was dead. The dealer said the battery was bad and replaced it under warranty. Yesterday it was dead again. Now the dealer is saying you have to drive a car at least 20-25 miles per week or else the battery will need a charge. He recommended a trickle charger to be installed if the car is driven less than that.

    Is there an authoritative source of information on the minimum amount a car needs to be driven to keep the battery healthy?
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    I can tell you that my Mother's 2006 Lexus ES330 must be driven at least an hour once a month...she is retired and may not use the car for a few months, and the battery will be dead...the dealer did change the battery once (bad cell) but the problem was still there...when we took the car back to them they noted that she had not put 200 miles on it in the LAST TWO brother now "borrows" the car one week a month and drives it like his own car, to keep the battery up...also, he turned off almost all of the possible power-draining accessories...

    As long as he drives it once monthly, all is OK...I have never seen that with any other car...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,504
    It varies from car to car depending on what equipment the car uses and even how it is stored and what climate it is in. But as a rule, after 2-3 weeks of non-use, you are pushing your luck.

    But the recommendation of a "maintenance charger" is a good idea---this may not be the same as a simple"trickle charger"----a "smart charger" maintains a battery at an optimal level by use of a microprocessor, while cheapo trickle chargers may not have a microprocessor at all.

    Here's a REVIEW OF BATTERY CHARGERS that might help you decide which is best.

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