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Lexus LS 400/LS 430



  • sfmartinsfmartin Posts: 59
    I agree with the above posts. When we bought our '91 LS400 with Nakamichi sound, it prompted us to upgrade our home system. In '98, I thought the Nav system was more important than the Nakamichi, but we really missed the good sound. So, when Nav/Lev was offerred in '01, we jumped for it. It is awesome, but you do have to crank the volume up to really get the full benefit. Imaging across the front of the car is amazing. I was not too impressed at first, something just didn't sound right. Then I checked the tone settings, and found the bass and treble were cranked all the way up. Setting them flat made things right, for me anyway. If the recording has bass, it's there, but none is added. Last time the car was in for service, someone messed with the tone settings. That should be a no no, and the customer satisfaction rep agreed. In over 8000 miles of driving with the Sport Suspension the CD has never skipped.
  • fabtfabt Posts: 22
    I agree with all the posts about the wonderful ML stereo, especially that it has to be played loud to really appreciate. Unfortunately though, when you do play it loud the sound totally leaks out of the car. If you're at a stop sign, red light or just coming back to your driveway anyone within 50 ft. will be able to hear the stereo as clearly as you do inside the car. I had a '96 LS400 with Nakamichi and the sound definitely did NOT leak out.

    Regarding Lexus link, bottom line is there was a factory recall for the antenna. It only affected certain cars based on their production date, so not everyone is affected, and it's too bad if Lexus sugarcoated the recall letter to the point of being ridiculous. The only thing I can figure the base package is good for is to automatically unlock your doors if needed, and more importantly, summon help if your airbags deploy and you don't respond to their voice prompt. The 'concierge' services cost extra.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    In my opinion, the stereo is the single best feature of the car. I am a stereo geek as well, and sold car stereo equipment for years in college and law school. This is the best sounding, most precislely imaged car stereo in existence, and it will almost certainly be better than the stereo you are listening to at home. This is not hype, it is simple fact. You might want to check out the review of the stereo in the last (?) issue of The Absolute Sound, a stereo mag that, in the same issue, extolled the virtues of a "value-priced" phonogrpah stylus cartridge (remember those?) that sells for roughly $3,000. I will say (1) that there is an annoying "honk" to the midrange on many recordings that has me fiddling with the "mid range" eq button more than I would have expected, and (2) as previously mentioned, and as an audiophile might expect, it sounds like just an "ordinary" radio unless you approach concert volume, but it is glorious when you are serious about listening. Insist on a substantial test drive (my dealer lent me the car overnight, and this was when the car was red-hot), take a few CDs with which you are very familiar (I would suggest at least one with unamplified music, like Modern Jazz Quartet or maybe Beethoven piano concertos, and at least one kick-butt CD -- my current favs are The Clash/London Calling and The Who/Quadrophenia) and give it a real workout. Then play the same material on the base stereo. Absolutely no comparison, and you won't have to be geeked up like me to hear the difference. Trust me, if you don't buy it, you will regret it every time you get in the car.
  • greasykid1greasykid1 Posts: 336
    After having had many `sport' cars over the last 30 years I like a really good handling car. As my LS430 came with the 16" wheel set up---which gives an outstanding smooth ride---I would be happy to trade if someone wants to get change from their 17" wheels.

    At present have approx 5700 miles on tires and they are wearing very well. Wheels in new condition. e-mail if you are interested.
  • In April I purchased the LS430, From the sticker the price was $55,795.00. I traded in an 1991 LS 400 with 140,000 miles, excellent mechanical condition, body had two small dents that would cost retail about $1500. to repair and match paint.
    After the salesman listed all the doc charges and others I told him I would go to a local bank and get a check for one number including any and all taxes and fees (sometimes referred to as the drive out price). I got a check for $49,000.00, traded in the 1991 and drove away. About six weeks later I received a check from the dealer for $65.00. They had estimated the cost of transfer at $120.00, this is the difference.

    Great car

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    1. An ABS that does NOT activate unless the VSC system senses that directional control is being compromised. It now appears that no one really knows whether ABS helps, latest information is slightly on the negative side, so why activate it unless passive steering inputs are needed or the operator attempts to change directions during extreme braking?

    2. A heated windshield through the use of "heated" airflow ducted from the radiator downstream side to the outside surface of the windshield.

    3. In leu of the above a climate control system that ALWAYS routes hot airflow to the windshield if the OAT (see 6, below) sensor indicates the need when defrost/defog/demist mode is activated.

    4. AWD, with rear wheel drive remaining predominate.

    5. A six cylinder 3.4L 300HP engine, if Porsche can do it why can't Lexus?

    6. OAT Signal processing or signal conditioning (OAT signal "validated" by 5 minutes having passed with the speed above 20MPH) such that the climate control is not "fooled" into activating the wrong mode. For instance when driving from a warm heated garage into a cold winter morning and the A/C enters cooling mode for the first few miles until the OAT acclimates to the colder environment.

    7. An exterior climate condition MRT (Mean Radiant Temperature) sensor, or sensors, input to the climate control system so that it remains in "heating" mode when the human body is experiencing a "cool" environment even though the interior cabin air temperature is at a comfortable setpoint, 71F. The radiant temperature of our "surrounding" environment, everything, objects, night sky, etc, that the body "sees" has an equal or greater impact on our comfort level than does the temperature of the atmosphere surrounding us.

    8. A measurement each quarter hour, regardless of vehicle movement, of the interior temperature of the cabin from which is computed the overall MRT of the cabin interior and used as a "weighted" input to the climate control system when it becomes active.

    9. A Nav DVD with only regional information so more rural information can be included. The current "national" coverage DVD could be provided at no charge on request. How many of us actually travel outside of our regional areas on a regular basis?

    10. A Nav screen that avoids needlessly distracting the operator by remaining always off, "blank", unless approaching a decision point.

    11. Flat tire detection through the use of individual wheel speed sensors as in the Olds Alero.

    12. A climate control system that, when the car has been setting in the hot sun for hours, detects that the interior temperature is higher than the exterior temperature and initially puts the system in flow thru mode until the temperature is equalized and then only converts to recirculate mode until the interiro has cooled down to exterior levels. I am continually frustrated that the current design attempts to use the A/C to cool down the air inside the cabin rather than purging it in favor of bringing in fresh outside airflow which is already significantly cooler.
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    ljflx - sounds like you're looking at the right cameras to me. Maybe even a little more than you need (Oly 3040). All the ones you mention are getting great reviews. Just remember, the more pixels in the camera, the more memory each shot will require to store - depending on your selection of in-camera compression. Just as an example, a raw .tiff file photo can be over 7-10 megabytes EACH, uncompressed. But for point/shoot, etc., you can choose in-camera compression that will reduce each to about 600k-
    800k each, giving you storage of about 60 to 70 shots on a single 64MB card. As for the wide angle, I'd say yes. I have one and use it often.
    As for the Mark Lev. - I agree with all above. It is awesome, but does beg for high volume (i.e. no wife present!)
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    Good suggestions. Not surprised a bunch relate to your 'passionate pursuit' of the perfect climate control system.

    Couple of comments...

    "5. A six cylinder 3.4L 300HP engine, if Porsche can do it why can't Lexus?"

    Since I believe you're an engineer, I'm sure you know it's not that simple. Factors like noise, emissions, fuel economy, and compression ratio have very different priorities in the LS vs a Porsche.

    "10. A Nav screen that avoids needlessly distracting the operator by remaining always off, "blank", unless approaching a decision point."

    I don't know if you have the nav system, but in 'guide mode' the screen shows a STATIC picture of the next turn instead of a moving map, which is hardly distracting.

    "I am continually frustrated that the current design attempts to use the A/C to cool down the air inside the cabin rather than purging it in favor of bringing in fresh outside airflow which is already significantly cooler."

    You need to chill out :-) :-) More seriously though, I often tilt the moonroof to let the heat out (it will vent like a chimney quickly of course). Or, I use the key to lower the windows as I approach the car across a parking lot, so the trapped heat is all gone by the time I get in the car.

    Anyway, thanks for your suggestions.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    On the Oly 3040 you can only get a 64mb card. They now are bringing out the 4040 which is 4.1 megapix and would absolutely require a 128mb card. Someone at work brought me in pix from the Oly 2040 (I believe that was it - but it was the one between 2-3 meg) and the pix were superb so I can imagine the quality of the 3040 or even the 4040 which comes out this month and is about $200 more than the 3040. The 3040 is in the $600-900 range depending on what you add. Likely to buy the 3040. I'll let you know if I do and how well it performs. Anyway that's just another 2-3 months of lease savings vs. the S-500 ($350 per month). Between that and the TV's I've still got 22 months of $350 per month to amortize plus I've got the better car with the best sound system in the world. My next project is the radar detector but I'll wait till August when I get back from vacation. Hope all is well and don't let that golf game frustrate you.

    Oh yeah - almost forgot - have you ever used
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I have the Nav only in the RX300 and I assumed, wrongly, that the operational aspects were the same.

    Didn't Mazda a few years ago have a solar powered exhaust fan for this purpose? Removing heat, that is.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    That dirt eating glass is number 1 on my hit parade. I'm frustrated cleaning the glass all the time. Plus it will be wonderful in the winter when it is all the more harder to clean the windshield. Went to the website you noted for the camera and according to it the 3040 can handle a 128mb but I was almost certain that the Olympus website only said a 64mb. Thanks for your help.
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    The reason for the memory limit is that the OLy, fine camera that it is, uses Smart Media cards instead of Compact Flash. I personally would really recommmend a camera that uses Compact Flash I and/or II - results in much more memory capacity which is often important. I think this may become a Beta vs. VHS battle one day with Compact Flash the clear leader. No, I haven't used ofoto.
  • feverhartfeverhart Posts: 144
    For those interested in in-depth technical reviews and evaluation of digital cameras try
  • fabtfabt Posts: 22
    bitkahuna- how do you use your key to open the windows from across the parking lot? I thought the only way to do it was by inserting the key into the lock. Thanks.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    OK folks, I need your help. I am taking my car in on Monday for the 3d time to have the groan fixed. The service writer says they are aware of the problem, but are receiving no real assistance from Lexus as to fixes. The first time the dealer had it, they claimed they couldn't get it to act up. When they had it last time, they lubed the gears (?), but it groaned the first time I took the key out after getting it back. For those who have had the problem fixed, what did they do? I recall a post months ago which quoted from the service ticket explaining what was done, but I can't find it. Are there other recidivist steering wheels out there? I really would like to have someone relentlessly pursuing a solution to this problem!
  • bongerbonger Posts: 16
    I too had the groan and wasn't sure what it was until I read about here in the Town Hall. It sounded like my home computer shutting off and at first I ignored it.
    My Lexus service dept replaced the power tilt motor ( part #8923150050 ) to correct the problem and its been silent since.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    You da' man! Thanks very much I will call the dealer this afternoon, and will report back on Tuesday whether I am happy or irate!
  • sfmartinsfmartin Posts: 59
    See message #1319. It has happened once in 800 miles since the fix. When I took it in to be fixed, the service advisor said, "Maybe" they could fix it. In my case, I consider it fixed, but the success rate may be less than 100%.
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    I actually have a GS400 and not an LS - but on my key fob if you hold down the unlock button for a few seconds, the windows roll down and if held down longer, the roof retracts as well. Does the LS not do this!?
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    Best factory-installed system ever placed in a lux car short of Rolls or Bentley...maybe better then theirs too. I do set the bass and treble a little higher than flat, but that's just personal preference.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    LS-430 improvements...Bitkahuna

    "Noise, emissions, fuel economy, compression ratio, have different priorities in the LS versus the 911/996"


    My 2001 AWD 996 gets more than 25 MPG cruising at 75-80 MPH. 20MPG on the autobahn averaging more than 100MPH.

    I have no doubt that both the 911 and the LS use different engine control dynamics depending on the operator's immediate driving style. My wife was quite surprised at how quiet and comfortable the 911 was when simply cruising down the autobahn or US freeways. She didn't take too kindly to the use of cruise control above 100MPH on the autobahn however.

    The 911's engine performance is quite docile and quiet unless you put your foot in it.

    Emissions rules are set by the US goverment and I doubt if they vary from one manufacturer to another.

    Fuel economy: The only issue I can think of here is the manufacturer's, BOTH, interest in meeting US designated fleet average requirements, and avoiding the gas guzzler penalty.

    Compression Ratio: both require premium unleaded fuel and both have engine knock detection if a lower grade fuel is inadvertantly used.

    I find that as long as I drive my 911 in a sedate manner, it sounds and performs very much like the LS. Why shouldn't I expect Lexus to be able to use the very same techniques, engineering design tools and methods used by Porsche to achieve the same result?

    Yes, at full throttle the 911/996 does sound and perform much like an F86D on afterburner taking off. If I put my foot down in my LS why would I expect anything less? I wouldn't expect to do that very often in the LS, but when I do I'm doing so becuase I want to MOVE out, and on these rekative rare occassions I would accept whatever level of noise it takes to get me out into the passing lane and around the slower vehicle and back safely into my lane quickest.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    You've surfaced! I was getting awfully worried about you. How the heck are you?

    bitkahuna - the 98 LS400 rolled down the windows, not sure if it also slid the sunroof open though I thought the dealer said it did at the time I leased it - but I never did try to do it. Haven't tried either on the new model as I tend to forget about these extras but I guess i will have to.
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    On my Ultra, if you hold the open button down longer than about 3 seconds, all the windows and the moonroof open/retract. I thought this was a standard on all models, though, not just the ultras. They also stop in their current position if you let up on the button, so you can open them just partway to let the heat out, or all the way if you wish.
    As an additional wishlist item, I would expect a nav upgrade to include Canada and Alaska. I thought the original brochure said the nav. already did, but mine does not. AND WHERE'S THE DAMN PHONE????? This is probably the most blatant and inexcusable issue that Lexus has dropped the ball on, in my opinion. Truly inexcusable in a car of this caliber.
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    "I find that as long as I drive my 911 in a sedate manner, it sounds and performs very much like the LS."

    Always a challenge, huh? :-)

    I can drive a Chevy Lumina sedately too and it's very quiet, but that doesn't mean it's even REMOTELY like an LS430.

    There's no way your Porsche engine is as smooth as the V8 in the LS430.

    Getting back to the original point - you said if Porsche can make a 300HP 6 cylinder engine, why can't Lexus do the same... so would you really prefer your Porsche engine in the LS430?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    flint350 - agree with you 100% on phone - only real disappointment in this car. I never got the groan did you?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I don't see why not....

    The 911 engine is the boxer type, left side cylinder travel is 180 degrees from right, perfect balance, maybe more so than the Lexus V8.

    Smooth and quiet operation, less weight, equal power, fewer displacement liters equals better mileage in simple cruise.

    I have always thought that a small displacement "boxer" engine with a variable rate positive displacement super-charger to add extra horses when needed would be the best overall answer to the fuel economy versus performance (Torque, HP) issue.

    At simple cruise, or really anything less than WOT, the super-charger turns only at a rate high enough to supply just the right amount of airflow with no over-pressure. Only at WOT does the super-charger spool up to maximum boost.

    Also, maybe you have missed something important. Porsche 911/996 engines are now water cooled and that has resulted in a much quieter operation of the engine.

    I have the engine speed, torque, HP curves for the 911, are they available anywhere that you know of for the LS430?
  • darbhdarbh Posts: 51
    flint & ljflx: Yes. Phones, phones, give us phones!! Integrated phones with voice activation, antenna connections, and 5 watt booster amps.
  • trentpatrentpa Posts: 26
    Talked with Lexus customer service yesterday, and they said they're still working on the phones, and don't have a roll-out date yet. I'm not holding my breath though.
  • barry5barry5 Posts: 49
    Dear Lexus enthusiasts. Despite all prior promises the Phone is nowhere in sight. Lexus has betrayed us and I believe we should revolt at least send off a letter of condemnation. If only Lexus did not remain mute on the subject and expressed their responsibility for a bad design and informed its customers of when a fix will occur. For purchasers of a Luxury Vehicle we are receiving a peon treatment.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Check-out the S-class board if you want to see bad treatment. They deal with everything from popcorn making dashboards to foul odor smells coming from vents to lopsided cars to electrical warnings going off on a whim and then some. Then the dealers tell them nothing is wrong which makes people over there think the dealers are so inudated with service issues tha they can't keep up with the volume. That's bad treatment. The phone is a nice thing to have and I hope they do something about it but I don't lose any sleep over it. I must say my dealer experience and treatment from Lexus direct(they've always waived things for me on lease payments, went out of their way to let a friend buy my 95 LS400 at a time that the market value was noticably higher than my buyout etc.)has been so good that its hard to express dis-satisfaction on any part of the ownership experience. So - they got one wrong - they are still closer to being perfect than anyone else, that's for sure. Phone or no phone - I wouldn't trade this car for any other car in this class.
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