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Lexus LS 400/LS 430



  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    I said: "I agree that some are overly defensive and overly confident about Lexus."

    You said: "bitkahuna ... still evidently believes that cult exists here (or at least in me)."

    I rest my case on the defensive part, since I said nothing about a cult.

    Based on studies though, overall clearly Lexus makes the highest quality, most reliable cars out there.

    My beef was with a slight air of smugness in some posts on here and on the other boards, seemingly taking some delight in the problems people are having with S-Class vehicles.

    And now you and ljflx doubting some poor guy's account of his LS430 problems, which sounded like you were doubting this could possibly happen to the LS430 altar.

    On as well, there are some stories of horrendous problems (paint peeling off factory spoilers, major brake problems, cars that are impossible to balance properly, very shoddy dealer AND Lexus corporate treatment), etc.

    We just need to all be humble, respect all opinions (even ones as badly presented as bolony's) and recognize that while most of us love our Lexus cars, some owners have bad experiences, and in fact, everyone's ownership experience is unique, depending on so many factors like expectations, perceptions, dealers, the vehicle, how it's treated by the owner, so it's pretty hard to generalize at all. I'm sure some people had a great experience owning a Yugo.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Since I started all this let me appologize to dzhango for the doubts I expressed. I said I would feel bad if it were true and I do. I hope you can resolve your problems. You shouldn't have them on a car of this caliber and if I were you I'd write a strong letter to the Lexus USA ceo if you keep getting a run-around. The dealer should also go to bat for you as he should know it will help him retain a customer.

    Bitkahuna - if you want to see a cult go look at the S board this past winter. When you see comments like "heaven forbid you're going to buy a Lexus" you know that is a cultish arrogance that doesn't exist here. I think you mistake confidence for arrogance. Despite what I read here I still expect the car to remain as close to flawless as possible provided I maintain it properly. Why? - because I'm defensive of Lexus or my purchase? Hell no. I've had over 6 1/2 years of perfection so I have a lot of confidence that it will continue. On top of that my mom just went 7 flawless years and 96k miles in a v-6 xle Camry so I got her a 2001 in January which has continued her perfection. Do I have a guarantee that my Lexus perfection will continue? No. But I like my chances with this company and this car better than any other car in production. If something does go wrong they will still have a great batting average based on my experience. I'm pushing 12k miles on the pine car which is probably more than most people on this board and it is letter perfect. I honestly don't know anyone in a Lexus (or a Toyota for that matter) who doesn't rave about its reliability and great service, both from the dealer and the company so this coupled with the posts so eloquently written by flint350 who stated things better than I can are what led me to the doubts. Those things coupled with bolony's recent posts - and please I hope you don't take any of his instigating nonsense seriously - raised questions about a post I was dead wrong about. Remember we all took a long hard look at the S and rejected it. And I'll do it again when my lease is up. If we were such Lexus loyalists we would never have set foot in the Benz dealership in the first place.

    See you guys in a few weeks I'm vacationing from here.
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    Again I didn't say anything about a cult.

    As for confidence vs. arrogance, there's a different factor on the S board, and that's SNOBBERY, the worst type of conceit. Thank goodness I don't see that here.

    Anyway, I'm really not trying to stir things up here...

    Your humble contributor.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    I have a couple of thoughts about the exchange between Dzhango (BTW, I think it was Django Reinhardt, not Dzhango) and the others regarding "perfect" Lexi, about Lexus relaibility, and about this board. My LS 430 has less than 5000 miles on it and it has already required more non-routine trips to the service dept than my 90 LS 400 did in 125k. My groan is back (after the dealer has done everything they can think of to make it disappear), I had a creak in the door panel where my arm tends to rest (I'm tall and the arm rest is too low), and a creak in the rear suspension. The dealer and Lexus' Cust Service are still uncertain as to when the phone problem will be solved. I did not expect these experiences when I bought the car.

    Having said all that, I am likely to buy a Lexus again when I am back in the market (although I will shop around, as I did this time). The dealer has been extraordinarily conscientious in dealing with these minor problems, and generally the car has been a joy. I want these problems fixed (and the groan is REALLY starting to get under my skin), but I expect that they will do so and that I will be pleased. No car manufacturer can achieve perfection, and perhaps Lexus has grown faster than they should have, but everything I hear about the dealer-and-service experience for the cars even marginally competitive with the Lexus convinces me that if I am annoyed about Lexus, I would be apoplectic about BMW or MB.

    Finally, I enjoyed reading how intelligent and well-mannered individuals could reach agreement (after a rocky start) or at least an understanding on this subject. Makes reading the board a pleasure. Boloney, take a lesson.
  • sfmartinsfmartin Posts: 59
    Have you tried the "limits check" outlined in post #1601? My car's groan was "fixed" by the dealer, then started coming back. I went through the "limits" exercise and haven't heard it since (nearly two weeks, now).
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    First, let me emphasize that I enjoy the heat of the "debate" itself, while I present my own opinions. So, please take nothing I say personally. Now then, to your points.

    w210 used the description "like a cult" to which you replied "I agree some are overly defensive and overly confident". My statement lumped these together to say you and others believe there is "some sort of cult following" behind Lexus. I don't believe this is inaccurate. I believe the two opinions stated together were characterized correctly. I didn't say you used the word "cult". Now let's not get too heavily into semantics, but I believe my characterization was accurate. You and I have had this discussion before and we still don't (and probably won't, which is OK) agree.

    So, I believe you "rested" your case too soon since you based it on the fact that you just didn't use the word "cult" when you go on to repeat your contentions that many of us are "overly defensive" and re-iterate your earlier assumption that we "seemingly take some delight" in the S Class problems. You certainly imply, if not directly state, there is a contingent (cult?, following?, group?) that does feel that way. I believe that to be inaccurate and said so earlier. No one was taking "delight" in the problems, it was more of a "there, but for the grace of God, go I" kind of thing. Yet you repeat it, hence, possibly you still believe it. You add another comment about the "Lexus altar". So it would appear,to me anyway, that you do indeed believe in our cult-like following, as stated by w210. You may find this "defensive", but in my opinion, you rest your case on unstable ground. Whether you personally used the word "cult" or not is not the point.

    As for my doubts about dzhango - I'll say it for you one last time - in my FIRST post on it, I apologized in advance in case of my assumptive error. In my second post on it, I apologized again and explained why I first had doubts. I strongly agreed with him and others that Lexus had screwed up and should take forceful action. I admitted then, now and always that Lexus is not perfect, yet you and others continue to imply that this is how I (we) feel. No one said this couldn't happen to dzhango, but we had doubts that were expressed. They were wrong. Now, how much more humble need I be?

    I believe I do respect others' opinions, though I will not agree with you on bolony. As far as I'm concerned, he/she forfeited any respect from me with his/her outrageous comments. You are free to differ and respect them as you wish.

    And while your last paragraph is nicely said, it is not new - we have been saying these things all along. Only, within that context, we have pointed out the differences and reasons why we chose Lexus over Benz or Bimmer or whatever. That is the purpose, I think, of these boards. The fact that one is most likely to experience less problems with a Lexus is not arrogance or pompous or conceit or snobbery, etc. It is a statistical fact, for which we should not be made to feel "defensive". Friends still, I rest my case. Ray
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    Yes I did try that technique, and thanks for posting it. (You learn the most interesting things here.) Unfortunately, although it did give me more travel in the wheel (a good thing by itself) it did not solve my groaning problem. My 9-yr old has taken to imitating the noise as he gets out of the car. My next suggestion to the dealer is going to be to disable the tilt-away feature until Lexus can figure this thing out. I had the feature on my 90 LS and kept it turned off most of the time. Fortunately, neither girth nor age prevents me from getting out of the car with a stationary steering wheel. I am delighted, however, that the trick worked for you, and hope the solution is permanent
  • ifpskenifpsken Posts: 39
    I experienced a similar noise on both my 98 LX470 and 99 LS400. The noise was resolved during one maintenance visit with the LX but the LS required a part order which took awhile to arrive.
    Anyway, the dealer was able to rectify the problem, the repair orders stated a rebuild. If your dealer cannot resolve the noise why not request a visit from the factory rep. I had an alignment problem on a previous LS ('95), requested a visit from the factory rep and was given four new tires, as well as an alignment, as an apology!! The factory rep was an extremely pleasant individual and definitely wanted to please the customer. This service sold me on Lexus and was the primary reason I went with the LX470 instead of the Toyota Landcruiser.
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    I meant the snobbery was on the S board, not here.
  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    Since I was the one who first used the word 'cult', perhaps I should say a few words.

    The thought came to me after seeing a few of fellow Lexus enthusiasts suspecting a member of making up stories of problems with his Lexus. Perhaps it's a harsh word but it came to my mind at that moment as I was quite shocked and overwhelmed.

    Now I understand the situation better as apparently there is a story behind.

    Lexus should be glad they have such a passionate group of followers, my apologies in advance. In fact, they should recruit some of you to work for them as part time consultants!

    However, I must disagree with bitkahuna on the snobbery on the S board though.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    I will try the factory rep route. Odd (and disappointing) that the problem surfaced on an older model of the LS and wasn't remedied this time around.
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    Great post! Highly useful and effective for "groan" problem.

  • robh3robh3 Posts: 157
    It's too bad, and a bit surprising, that there is not only this seemingly unfixable problem with the steering wheel groan, but you can't program the exit position of the wheel yourself, without having to take it in to have the dealer do it. What a pain in the butt regardless of the groan.

    All those things, steering wheel exit positions, doors locking when you put the car in drive (or otherwise), unlocking when you put it in park (or otherwise), horn sounding or not sounding when you lock the car with the key fob, lights flashing or not flashing, etc. should be easily programable and changeable by you, not the dealer, on a $60k+ luxury car. Really. If I traded in my STS for a Lexus, I would find that to be a glaring missing function that I would have expected to be there. Not everyone programs these things once and then leaves them there forever. Case-in-point among some of you.

    My steering wheel made a noise too when it tilted up upon exit. No excuse for that to begin with, but at least they fixed it the first time. It was the hard rubber or soft plastic gasket inside the steering column.

    I have noted from reading the Lexus LS and GS topics, and the Toyota Avalon and Sequoia topics that there are some pretty glaring problems the owners are experiencing with these supposed "perfect" cars. Not only that, but I have seen a common element in that these owners with problems are often (NOT ALWAYS) getting the runaround from the dealers, often being told regarding the problem claimed that "that's normal". Hmmmm.....
  • robh3robh3 Posts: 157
    It's too bad, and a bit surprising, that there is not only this seemingly unfixable problem with the steering wheel groan, but you can't program the exit position of the wheel yourself, without having to take it in to have the dealer do it. What a pain in the butt regardless of the groan.

    All those things, steering wheel exit positions, doors locking when you put the car in drive (or otherwise), unlocking when you put it in park (or otherwise), horn sounding or not sounding when you lock the car with the key fob, lights flashing or not flashing, etc. should be easily programmable and changeable by you, not the dealer, on a $60k+ luxury car. Really. If I traded in my STS for a Lexus, I would find that to be a glaring missing function that I would have expected to be there.

    My steering wheel made a noise too when it tilted up upon exit. The fixed it the first time. It was the hard rubber or soft plastic gasket inside the steering column.

    I have noted from reading the Lexus LS and GS topics, and the Toyota Avalon and Sequoia topics that there are some pretty glaring problems the owners are experiencing with these supposed "perfect" cars.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    I can't disagree with several of the points you make: the groan problem is annoying, and Lexus should have found a problem by now. I also agree that more control re: programability would be a good thing (and I might feel more strongly about it if I didn't live 2 miles from my dealer, who has made these changes instantly when I have asked). But I must disagree, strongly, with the comment about dealer runaround. Perhaps others on the Toyota boards have had this problem; I don't visit those boards so I can't say. But I don't remember A SINGLE poster here saying they got a "that's normal" response to a problem from a Lexus dealer. And other than Dzhango, I can't remember a poster claiming to have received the runaround in any sense. That is not to say that it has never happened, or that everyone here has been entirely satisfied with the car (some have had very disappointing stories to tell), but with respect to dealer inattention or indifference, you must be doing research elsewhere because that has simply not been the expereince of those here.
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    Like Nealm1, I share your desire for more owner ability to change the C-Best settings (tho' I believe you can at least turn the beep volume down manually for door locking/unlocking).

    As for the "glaring" problems, those that I have read about here (I don't read the Toyo boards), while annoying and problematic, have been quickly addressed in most every case that I recall. Dealer service doesn't seem to be an issue, even with poor dzhango. Even he said his service dept was helpful or attempting to be helpful. And no one has called these cars "perfect". There is no such animal. It HAS been said by many that they are closer to perfect than most of the competition, and I think that's true. Now that doesn't, in any way, mitigate the problems some owners are experiencing. I'm glad to read about those problems because it keeps me alert as to what to watch out for, just in case. I never knew about the steering wheel limit switch until reading that problem - even though I don't have the groan (yet!?). Your own experience with your service dept. seems to me to be more the norm than your implied indictment of Lexus service in general.
  • robh3robh3 Posts: 157
    Not trying to indict Lexus service, just sharing some facts as I understand them as an "outsider".

    Folks over on the Lexus GS board especially have shared stories of getting the run-around from dealers when they have brought their car in with problems. Examples being hesitation in acceleration, excess wind noise, and steering vibration that come to mind immediately. Many of them have been told "this is normal on the GS". A cop-out answer from the dealer, to say the least! Then, later on, these problems are fixed via a tsb or something.

    I think in the case of many of you who have brought your LS in to have the steering wheel groan fixed, and had the car returned to you being told it was fixed, and it WASN'T; that's not JD Power's rated #1 service in my book.

    Don't take me wrong on this, but I have sensed for quite some time now as though many Lexus owners are under some type of "Lexus spell", being mesmerized by some intangible "myth" about Lexus and its perfection, because when seemingly inexcusable problems do arise, many of you pass it off as some minor, forgettable hiccup in life and say things like "it's OK because the car is so enjoyable to drive otherwise..." or words to that effect. I mean, shoddy welds in the rear wheel well? How can that happen in today's computer/robot operated factories?! On THE top of the line Japanese car model, no less! Yet, that same problem on a domestic car and you'd be lambasting it as a POS that you will NEVER buy again. There just seems to be a lot of "denial" going on among some Lexus owners, and I wonder if the JD Powers ratings are not skewed because of that.

    Just an observation, here, and not aimed at anyONE in particular...

  • Did someone have their driver's side seat cushion replaced? I find the seat most uncomfortable. This is my third Lexus and all were most comfortable but even with 14 settings I can't seem to find a good fit. Seems like some padding is missing and the seat tilt is very limited. Only have 800 miles on the car and haven't been back to the dealer yet. Thanks in advance for your input.
  • carlo7carlo7 Posts: 7

    I have the same problem with my 2000 ES. I'm thinking of buying a 2000 LS to solve the problem. After 2 or so hours of driving the ES my right leg hurts enough to give me a little limp for while. It seems to be because the seat bottom won't tilt enough. My last car was a Diamante and the seat was fine. Is your LS a 2001? Do you feel this seat thing would not be a problem in a 2000?


  • rennyboschrennybosch Posts: 329

    When I first got my LS430, I too found the seat uncomfortable, too firm, not enough padding. However, I found that I got used to it, and after a long drive my back never was sore, as it used to be in my much more comfortable Cadillac seat.

    Of course in your case there might really be something wrong with the seat, so by all means have the dealer check it out. But if he gives you the "They're all like that" story, in this particular case he might actually be right.

  • feverhartfeverhart Posts: 144
    I guess there is no perfect car. All brands can and often have problems from time to time. However, my limited experience with automobiles (having owned Lincolns, Cadillacs, Fords, Chevolets, a Saab9000 turbo, Chryslers, a Dodge, a Mercury, a Plymouth, Hondas, and a GMC Suburban, 3 Lexus LS's) my most perfect car, before my current LS 430 was a'90 LS 400, bought in August '89 and driven for 11 years. My experience with Lexus has solidified my commitment to the brand.

    robbh3, you may want to experience that thrill of ownership yourself. Comparatively, I believe, is a superior product.
  • beltfedbeltfed Posts: 3
    I'm looking into the LS430 for my oldman, he has a 00 S500....which is not living up to its $$$ tag, this is his 3rd MB- but probably his last.

    So, I went to go look at the LS430...nice car, question though- the sticker said the wood trim is "genuine" (while I'm sure they aren't lying)...the light colored wood looked sort of fake.

    Also, by opting for the Ultra Lux the door armrests/dash get stitched in leather/vinal (as shown in the brochure photos)....the one in the showroom was rubber/plastic (didn't have the UL package).

    The choice is either going to be the LS430, or the 03 745i BMW (questionable looks in photos, will have to see it in person).
  • rindgerindge Posts: 9
    My pioneer(am/fm/cassette) set-up in the 92 LS400 does not have cd option. So I installed a cd-player in the trunk that has to be tuned in via fm radio. BIG MISTAKE. Sound quality is crappy. The radio dealer says I can tear out my dash and put in a cd player that gives me better sound, but I like my dash as is, I just wish it had a CD-button. Can I bring it to the delaership and get it refitted with a cd (in the trunk)/am/fm/cassette setup?
  • rindgerindge Posts: 9
    The seat in my 92 LS400 is the worst ever. I love the car albeit the seat issue. Has anyone ever re-upholstered or added cushions to the 92 LS-400 seats? How much cash are we talking?
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    Since your factory stereo is not designed to accept an additional audio input (CD), it may be difficult to add one in a seamless way such as you'd like.

    The dealer would charge you an arm and both legs to incorporate a CD changer into your setup.

    Suggest you find a good after market audio place to incorporate one - I'm sure it can be done. I agree that those FM radio setups are crap.

    As for the seat - I'm not sure if you're saying the seat is just shot, or you think even a brand new one would be as bad. You might consider just getting a replacement seat from either a crashed car or the dealer. Sure won't be cheap to get a new one from the dealer though ($1000?).
  • Considering '98 LS 400 vs '99-00 E 320 or 528ia - my local dealer has a '98 black ls 400 (cpo) w 33,000 mi. Car has all options (nav, hid's, chrome wheel) xcept nakamichi - Asking $36,900 - what should retail be for this car given that '98 is now another model yr older with '02 models coming out? - Thx
  • bitkahunabitkahuna Posts: 206
    Suggest you check Edmund's and other pricing for comparison, but that sounds a but high to me for a 98.

    CPO gives you a warranty, but doesn't really say anything about how the car was driven or maintained.
  • did ck edmunds - had $37,490 as price for a cpo '98 ls 400 w/ these options - but agree w/ you still seems a bit high - thx
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Answers for you...

    1. Yes, all of the wood in every LS is real. Some do look weird though (like the grey wood on the Ultra, but it seems other cars like Jaguar are doing this also).

    2. I do believe the only way to get the nicer leather door trim and console is with the UL package.

    Hope this helps.
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    Yep, even Benz has announced (I believe) that they will offer a wood trim in a marble-grey like color, just like the LS. Mine is the ecru birds eye (grey) and it does look like marble to me and is elegant looking in its understatement, I now think.

    And I hope merc1 isn't lurking over here - heaven forbid he should read that Benz is copying something else from Lexus, given his intense dislike for Lexus copying from Benz. Who cares.
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