Lexus LS 400/LS 430 Starting Problems

cneumancneuman Member Posts: 55
edited March 2017 in Lexus
Please help!

I tried posting this problem on the "electrical problems" board, but since there's been no action lately on that board and with the new set up, I really didn't quite know where to post this. I have been having a problem with my 2002 LS. It does not start sometimes after sitting in the garage overnight. There have been times when after waiting for a half an hour or so after the initial try, I will try it again and it will start. Other times, I have gotten a jump and it will start. Has anyone had a similar problem? Can anyone give me any ideas of what might be the cause?




  • jensadjensad Member Posts: 388
    Dear cneuman

    My first thought was maybe your battery is flat. A 2002 Lexus battery may be at the end of the road.

    Good luck to you

  • cneumancneuman Member Posts: 55
    Thanks jensad. I'm sorry, I forgot to mention in this discussion, replacing the battery was the first thing I did.

    I appreciate your response.

  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    A "flat spot", open segment, on the starter commutator will often have this effect. If you hear the "click" of the starter solenoid each time you turn the key to the start position the above is most likely the case.
  • cneumancneuman Member Posts: 55
    Thanks wwest. No click. No sound at all that I could discern. However, I wonder now, if I'm missing that sound due to the sound of the steering wheel moving when I turn the key. If/when this happens again, I will pay closer attention. Anyone have any idea of what else it could be if there is indeed no sound at all?

    Thanks to all.

  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    the Alternator? Have you had it checked for output? Because obviously, your battery has been draining, if a jump will start it.

    If not output, then you have some device on the car draining the battery overnight, like a radio that stays on constantly, or light somewhere. IF anything is hot in the car, that's your problem.....
  • cneumancneuman Member Posts: 55
    Thanks nvbanker,
    My mechanic has checked for what I'm told is called "parasitic drains", as you mentioned. The Lexus dealer and my independent mechanic both agree that if the problem is not happening when they check the car out it's very difficult to diagnose. This is very difficult, because, even if I had the car towed, it still might start, once it reaches the mechanic. However both also agree that if I hear a clicking sound outside of the car, which is very hard to do, by the way, when you're alone, that it could probably be the starter. In spite of knowing very little myself about the mechanics of a car, I too also thought that it could possiblly be the altenator or the starter. Since I was able to finally have someone else present when the car wouldn't start, so that they could attempt to start the car, I did hear a clicking sound while standing outside the car. I'm taking it to the mechanic today and hopefully this will be the end of this episode. I will keep you all informed, in case this experiece might help someone else in the future, as you have all helped me and many others with your knowledge and experiences. Sorry for the lenghty post.

    And again, thanks to all.

  • 2driveright2driveright Member Posts: 3
    Does anyone have experience with the first generation Lexus LS400 driving in snow? I'm considering buying one to be a 3rd car that will be a winter car. I understand the early 400's were derived from the Toyota Cressida and if so, I do have a lot of snow/ice experience with that car as I had a new one in 83 - 87 and found it to be very good in the winter here in NH. The Cressida was also a rear wheel drive car and with only a limited-slip differential, it handled deep snow and icy conditions very well. It was a rare car having an inline 6, a 5-speed manual trans, and 4 wheel disc brakes - really a great, reliable car.
    So are the early Lexus 400's ok in the snow?

    Thanks, driveRight in NH.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Stop by the general Lexus LS 400/LS 430 discussion and use the Search This Discussion feature for snow. You'll find a number of posts worth checking out. That's also a better place for your questions since this one is about starting issues.

    Welcome to CarSpace! Let me know if I can help you find anything, or with anything at all. You can get my email address by clicking on my name. Have fun!
  • furneefurnee Member Posts: 3
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Clicking sound not "click", as in a single click?

    Clicking (continuous for as long as the key is held in the start position) is usually the result, A) low battery charge, B) poor connections from the positive battery post to the starter solenoid or the "ground" return from the starter to the negative battery post, or, C) an internal problem within the battery.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706

    Piece of cake..
  • furneefurnee Member Posts: 3
  • cneumancneuman Member Posts: 55
    Thanks wwest. If my memory serves me correctly, if was a single click, that seemed to be coming from the small box like fixture on the drivers side, far back in the engine compartment(near windshield). However, I took my car in more than a week ago, to have the Lexus suggested, Lexus Link removal. I haven't had the problem since. I don't know if these two things are related or if I've just been lucky so far. In the meantime, I also stopped setting my alarm at night. Don't know if this has anything to do with it either. Will keep you guys posted, in case anyone else ever has this problem.

    Thanks again and Happy Holidays to all.

  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239

    Are you kidding? You have to move the Power Steering pump first, don't you? It's certainly doable, but I wouldn't put it in the POC category.... :surprise:
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    The alarm is most likely your problem..... Sounds like your starter interlock is failing...
  • rgswrgsw Member Posts: 333
    suggest you access the last forum subject on this page
    Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions
    and do a search. Lots of postings in that forum regards starter problems.
  • cneumancneuman Member Posts: 55
    Thanks nvbanker and rgsw. I will do the search, but nvbanker, are you saying that even though, I can put the alarm on durning the day with no adverse affects, putting the alarm on at night would cause the interlock failure, only in the mornings. Also, I hope I'm not tempting fate, but I haven't had the problem in about two weeks. Is it just a matter of time?

  • furneefurnee Member Posts: 3
    to nvbanker so it's going to be difficult to repair myself?
    do you know of any website that might have a a step by step illustration of how to install the alternator. desperate in la california. furnee
  • blk99lsblk99ls Member Posts: 4
    My LS 400 will start after the 3rd or 4th attempt. Could it possibly be just the starter? Should i turn the radio switch off at night. I thought the radio was off when the car goes off or could be a drain on the alternator?
  • brichwallbrichwall Member Posts: 2

    Was it the interlock failure or the removal of the Lexus Link that corrected the problem? Please let me know as soon as possible.

  • cneumancneuman Member Posts: 55

    Not sure how much this will help, still not sure why I had this problem. All I can tell you is that after having the Lexus Link disabled per Lexus and also I stopped setting my alarm at night(it's garage kept, but I just had this habit), I no longer have the problem. I have not tried setting the alarm just to see if I would still have this issue, after having the Lexus Link disabled. I just haven't had the time to mess around with the chance of it not starting. I do plan to do this at some point. It may have nothing to do with either situation, I just can't be sure. Of course I'm just happy not to have the problem. :)

  • paul83paul83 Member Posts: 3
    Have a 1990 LS 400. Had Engine problems and had mechanic replace engine with a 1992 LS 400 (low miles 20,000). He also put a new alternator. Ran for 150 mile and car stopped because was running on battery only. He did not hook a wire on the alternator. All the lights went on on the dashboard. Fixed the alternator. He took cable off battery and lights went off. Charge battery. Drove car. Next day battery was dead and all lights were back on. Do you think it could be faulty battery cables. Car runs perfect but lights will not go out on dashboard and I can not get it inspected with all the lights on the dashboard lite up. Do all the lights go on on the dash board when the alternator goes bad. Any suggestions. I appreciate any help. Thanks, Paul
  • allen46allen46 Member Posts: 3
    Paul, I am not a mechanic, but I know that many old cars has electric leaking problem. One of quick and cheap way is to spray some electric insulation liquid onto all electric wires. They are sold in auto stores. Try it first. If not work, replace any possible wires will be the next easy job to try. Let us know your result.
  • allen46allen46 Member Posts: 3
    Hello everyone. Glad to join this club.

    I bought this 1998 LS last year with 105K miles on it. Everything looks great, except there are couple of times it wouldn't start. Most of time it happened on raining days or very cold days. But after couple of hours, it can start without jump cable.

    I heard a clicking sound when it had problems. I asked a guy in auto parts store. He told me that it should not be alternator or start motor problem. He think the electrical connection on alternator or start motor is loose since my battery is brand new and connection on battery looks very good.

    I asked my lexus dealer, they want me to replace start motor, which cost about $1000. I really don't trust them. When I bought this car, they asked me to replace brake pad and rotors for $750, but my mechanics told me the rotors are almost new.

    So if you have any experience on this model, please help me to make a right decision. I don't depend on this car so I try to find the best way even if it take some time.


  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Replacing the battery (Costco) is a very cheap trouble-shooting technique.

    The clicking sound is most likely the starter solenoid picking up the starter load and then quickly dropping out, repeating rapidly, since the battery (or cables/connections) cannot sustain the load.

    Were it me I would first remove the battery terminals, clean and burnish the connections and the posts, reconnect and then try if for a time. Also check to be sure the heavy duty wire from the negative side of the battery is well grounded/connected to the engine. The cable from the positive side of the battery connected to the starter solenoid is nice and tight as is the cable from the other side of the solenoid to the starter itself.

    If the problem repeats replace the battery.

    It is not unusual for a battery to be intermittent due to metallic debris piling up in the bottom and sometimes temperarily shorting out a cell or two.
  • anellis7anellis7 Member Posts: 1
    Hello everyone this is my first post. So here goes nothing.

    I have 2003 LS 430 that I just bought. My navigation al system is outdated. I went and bought the DVD Navigation Map that just came out. I bought off a guy who had a GS. The DVD is in perfect condition and my screen keeps saying that it cannot read the DVD. Someone let me know what to do. The guy promised me it would work. If need be I can bust his face up for lying. But, I think there might be something wrong with my DVD player but it plays the older version just fine what should I do. Also can that DVD player play regular DVD's?
  • vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    What you need is the map update for a Gen III Nav Unit which is what a 2003 car would probably have in it. I think that 2004 to 2006-7 cars use the Gen IV Nav system and have different update part numbers. What year (and version) was the GSthat donated the DVD?
  • jkr99999jkr99999 Member Posts: 1
    Did you resolve this issue? I have the same problem with my 1998 LS400.
  • strozierstrozier Member Posts: 3
    my 94 LS400 windows will not go down, all windows
  • gilligan1gilligan1 Member Posts: 1
    twice in the last year on a cold mornings the motor cranks...won"t start (floods) let sit for 1-2 hours starts right up. Is this a bad cold start solinoid? or? Thanx for any Input.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    On a car that old it's important to check your records for basic tune-up maintenance before you get into esoteric reasons for a non-start in cold weather. A strong battery, good spark plugs, the right weight oil, can all make a big difference. Also if you still have your owner's manual, check on the recommended procedure for cold starts.
  • baguayo1baguayo1 Member Posts: 1
    I've been having starting issues with my 2003 LS430 for a few months now and have gone as far as to have the battery, spark plugs and starter replaced within the last month. I thought that would take care of it, but I was wrong. My car starts most of the time, but sometimes when I turn the key nothing. At these times, I have to turn and hold the key in order to get it to start. Once the car starts, everything is fine.

    I spent a lot of $ having the starter replaced. What else is there? A few days after having my starter replaced, I turned the key to start the car and while the car started, it took a few seconds for the engine to turn over. Before I started having these issues (months ago) all I had to do was turn the key and the car would instantly start. Now, it always seems to take a second or two from when I turn the key to have the engine turn over.

    Any suggestions or hints would be greatly appreciated. I've tried everything and I really like the car and don't feel like getting rid of it.
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    Ignition switch? Relay? If you changed the starter and the battery, and the alternator is doing its job, it has to be another electrical component.
  • allen46allen46 Member Posts: 3
    Yes. It was starter. Replaced it by my mechanics. $200 parts, $500 labor. The starter locate inside engine, that's why it cost more to repair.
    My LS400 98 has 162K now, no any other problems. It is the most economical car I've ever had, yet most luxury, powerful and comfortable.
  • mike1981mike1981 Member Posts: 1
    I have an 04 LS 430 .. Does anyone know where relay for fog lights is located ...
    Thank you
  • alpopalpop Member Posts: 2
    I have the same problem with my 2003 Lexus LS 430. When I turn the key to start the engine I have to hold it in start position for a few seconds (while there is no noise from the starter, initially I thought the battery is dead), and then it starts. When I bought it, a month ago, when I was turning the key all the way it started, without the 2-3 seconds of delay. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • alpopalpop Member Posts: 2
    cneuman, could you tell me how much you got charged to remove/disable the Lexus link? I would like to try it, too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Engine Room Relay Box #2, just behind the left side (driver's) headlight.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Clean and burnish the battery posts/terminals.
  • 95lexus194995lexus1949 Member Posts: 2
    1995 LS430 with 170,000 miles. Normal maintenance has been given but now it's dead. Put a new battery in it on Monday but it still wouldn't even turnover, oh and by the way, it won't jump start either. It's a great old lumbering beast of a thing, but it has been a very good car. What else should I check - don't want to spend a ton!
  • 95lexus194995lexus1949 Member Posts: 2
    I just checked and when the new battery was put in apparently the burnishing and cleaning was done.

    Any other thoughts - besides that really expensive option - new starter?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Do your headlights go on?

    If NO, then you still have a cable or possibly a fusible link problem

    If the lights DO go on, you could have a bad starter, starter relay (solenoid), ignition switch, or perhaps another fusible link to the starter relay.

    If you had a test light you could test for voltage from the igntion switch to the starter relay--probably requires a lift to do this.

    A new starter motor is nothing more than an expensive guess at this time.
  • dandydon2dandydon2 Member Posts: 77
    Just recently, my 2004 LS430 dashboard trunk release switch has stopped working. Any suggestions ... fuse, loose wire, etc.? Car is in top shape otherwise, with only 48K miles.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Probably the first two things to check are a) fuse and b) get a test light, open the trunk with the key, and test for voltage to the trunk lock solenoid when someone else works the dash switch.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Be sure the valet PB isn't depressed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Ah, great thought there!
  • dandydon2dandydon2 Member Posts: 77
    Bingo, Mr. Shiftright,

    The problem was exactly as you suggested, I had inadvertently pushed the lockout button. Didn't even realize there was such a button there.

    Thanks to all for your suggestions.

  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,134
    rest assured that you are admired, wwest, even though not every poster gets the threaded or accreditation right. :)

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, console yourself---think of those rare occasions when YOU got credit for my suggestions--LOL!

    Remember, being a genius is a thankless task -- and yes you can quote me.
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