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Lexus SC 430

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Comments

  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    Here's what I know about handling the SC430 on wet streets.

    If your last car was front wheel drive, be especially careful. If your last car was rear wheel drive with at least a fair amount of power and torque, you probably will not have too much trouble.

    I don't think you need an advanced course, but you have to realize that this car has very wide tires and lots of torque. If you apply the gas going around a corner or coming out of a corner, you can loose traction on the rear wheels and the car can start to spin. That happened to me in an SC400 many years ago.

    I do not know how well the anti-skid system (which is different from the anti-lock brakes) will handle this situation. I can sometimes feel it working (and I think it beeps) when I take a corner very fast on dry pavement, but on wet streets I don't want to find out.

    I have had the car since March of last year and think it handles extremely well. With rear wheel drive and wide tires, it will not perform well in the snow, and with all that torque, you can make it loose traction on wet pavement if you don't know what you are doing. This is no fault of the car. You can do the same thing in a Porsche, and I see plenty of them in the body shop.

    In summary, I think the car handles better in wet weather than the SC400, and as well as any rear drive car (MB, BMW, etc). And whoever is out there saying drivers need advanced training is probably some wimp who spends most of his time tooling around in some mini-van worrying about rolling over if he takes the on-ramp too fast.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I can't necessarily speak for the SC430 specifically, but I think I'd wait a month and get the new model year for an extra $1,500, even if there aren't any changes. That's less than a 3% savings and I have to believe a 2003 will be worth at least that much more than a 2002 in resale (unless you plan to keep it for 10+ years). Heck, even my 2002 S2000 that I purchased last November is worth at least $2-3k more than a similar milage 2001 model and it's barely half the MSRP of an SC430.

    If you could save $3-4k (5-8%), then the decision is tougher.
  • bsklarbsklar Posts: 4
    As of this AM (8/01) Lexus is providing information that there are no changes to the 03 SC430 inside or out. The only addition is that you will be able to order Lexus Link on the 03 models as an option. The region of the country that I live in is not ordering that on their models as it requires an additional antenna on the rear of the car that their dealers did not like. The models are expected to be in dealer's hands by the end of August. There was no information from Lexus Customer Service on pricing. If anyone has any information on 03 pricing, I would appreciate a post.
  • I've been interested in purchasing the SC430, but continue to be confused about the tires. What is owner experience? What is expected tire life? How costly are the tires to replace? Replace in kind or upgrade? How is ride/handling impacted by the factory installed tires? I would consider it a major negative to have to purchase tires more frequently than once per year for >$1,000. Lastly, I spend time on the Big Island (Hawaii) where as of last spring there wasn't even a machine for replacing run flats! Tire and wheels and shipped to Oahu. What has been the experience with this issue? Many thank!!!

    Jack
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    A visitor at the Repair & Maintenance Board reports that the windshield on his SC cracked mysteriously and was wondering if anyone else had this experience?

    You can respond here or over at the Repair Board.

    thank you

    Host
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    That's really too many questions at one time, but I do know (more or less) the following:

    I know that I have no experience with replacing tires on the Big or any other island in Hawaii. You are on your own there.

    Most owners were told at purchase that tire life might be in the 10,000 mile range, but I am seeing many reports of owners hitting 10 and 15,000 miles with good tread left. I have 9,000 miles and my tires show no real loss of tread that I can see, and I often corner pretty fast, because it's fun.

    The cost to replace will depend on what's available at the time, and we don't know what that will be. Ask a local tire or Lexus dealer what that would be right now, but that will change. For example, the newly announced Cadillac hardtop convertible is designed to run on a new Michelin run flat, which will add a new competitor to the market for run flats. This will change price and availability in the next year or so. Both Caddy and Michelin say the new run flat is a great improvement over other run flats (so you expected them to suggest it would be not quite as good??).

    It's hard to answer the question: "How is ride/handling impacted by the factory installed tires?" because the car was designed for these tires, and it does pretty well. It's a harder ride than an SC400, but not as harsh as some hard core sports cars. Be sure you are getting the new rear bushings. I had this replacement done (free warranty work) and the harsh ride, which didn't bother me too much to begin with, was softened considerably. I have no complaints about the ride, and I have taken several 8 hour trips so far.

    I don't know what "replace in kind or upgrade" means. Surely you can replace worn tires with the same brand and type; if upgrade means replace with non-run flat tires, be sure you know all the consequences. For example, the spare will take up virtually all the space available when the top is down, and you will have to buy a 5th wheel, too. The tire pressure sensors will probably not work, although that may be a problem experienced with different wheels, not different tires, I forget. If the non-run flat replacement tires are the same size and profile, as they should be, you still have a low profile tire and ride harshness will not be improved as much as you probably think, since the sidewall is still small, although admittedly less stiff.

    Many of the early complaints of ride harshness that the first models had (sold during the first 6 to 9 months) have been dealt with by the new bushings. My guess is that the newly made cars have these installed on the line. Ask your dealer. Since this is a free warranty upgrade, have it done before you take delivery if your car was manufactured with the original style bushings.

    As for repair and replacement in your area, you will have to look around, but it is always a risk I take when I leave the big city and hit the road through rural areas with a new and relatively hi-tec and electronically sophisticated motoring machine. But I like living on the edge.

    Aloha, and happy motoring.
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    My windshield has been fine since I took delivery in late March of 2001. (Except for the bugs they have in Georgia!)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Jack,

    I currently own an M5, but previously owned a 540i and have a business partner who traded a GS400 for an SC430 recently.

    Although it is an exceptionally beautiful car, the SC430 is not a sports car. It corners slightly flatter than the GS400, but not as flat as a 540i sport and nowhere near as flat as an M5. The reason I point this out is that body roll wrecks havoc on low profile soft compound tires. My partner went through 3 sets of tires on his GS in less than 35k miles and he drives relatively conservatively (he mistakenly opted for the 17" rims and sport tires on the GS).

    If I owned an SC430, when it came time to replace the original tires, I would opt for longer treadlife "Z" or even "V" rated tires. The "V"'s would likely be cheaper and, IMO, not reduce performance to a noticable degree. They might even make for a smoother ride.

    Lexus still hasn't learned the lesson that you don't increase handling by forcing the tire to do more work than it should. You design the suspension and balance the car to corner flat. But, like I said, the SC430 is a work of art and you should have just as much fun driving and enjoying it with less expense using V rated rubber.
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    I agree with the above post, although I don't know as much about tires. I do know that on my old SC400, I replaced a set of tires with softer Pirelli's, and the performance, meaning cornering, was greatly improved. I was not happy, however, to find out that these guys were gone at about 10,000 miles or so.

    Everything is a compromise. Softer rubber grips the (dry) pavement better, but wears out quicker. And I think the whole SC430 is a compromise; it's not a Porsche, and it's not trying to be. It's more luxurious than that, and is not aimed at sports car buyers who will drive it like a Porsche.

    I'm very happy with mine, and it handles just fine for me, and I greatly prefer the luxury touches that are absent in "true" sports cars, including the BMW M and Z models. (I talked to a driver of a Z8 today, and we admired each other's cars a lot -- I know who's going to win in a race, and I knows who's going to feel better after a 400 mile drive to the beach.)

    Take your pick.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Desert SWPosts: 2,784
    ....about the SC. Many people criticize the look of the car (you either love it or hate it), and that it doesn't handle like a bimmer or Porsche. The car pampers you with comfort, luxury, and satisfaction and is spirited to boot.
  • rdbmsmrdbmsm Posts: 3
    Does anyone has problem with the radio ?

    I experienced when I turn on the radio, there is no sound to begin with, when I turn the volume up or down, all of sudden it wen to the MAX volume.

    I can't replicate the problem, I had been experienced this at lease 5 times already, each time I had to reset the volume level

    Please email me [email protected]

    Thanks a lot

    Regards

    John
  • rdbmsmrdbmsm Posts: 3
    Please don't get me wrong, I love my lexus, but I got stuck in the snow with very very poor traction control system from Lexus.

    John
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    I've had "traction control" in my Lexus for over 10 years (SC400 and SC430) and it will not get you through snow. I don't think it's designed for that. I'm not sure what it's designed for, but it's not like front wheel drive and it's sure not a substitute for 4 wheel drive.

    I've never heard of any such system that makes a rear wheel drive car go well in the snow. It's not the fault of Lexus; this is an inherent problem with rear wheel drive cars with big heavy engines in the front.

    If you are going to drive such a car in the snow, you need either 4 good ice/snow tires (with a compound that stays soft at low temperatures) or extra weight added to the trunk above the rear wheels, or both.

    Salesmen sometimes try to sell traction control as helping in the snow. Maybe it helps a little bit, but not so much as I can tell any difference.

    Or you can move south.
  • whothemanwhotheman Posts: 169
    NO RWD car with engines that powerful are going anywhere without Blizzaks, or the like!
  • exmoexmo Posts: 5
    I'm a few hundred miles short of 15,000 miles and still have plenty of tread left. The only thing I have noticed is that they seem to have gotten noisier with age. I just turn the Mark Levinson stereo up a bit louder and it doesn't bother me. :)
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    My tires get noiser with age, too, but my hearing is getting worse, so it sounds the same to me.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    If your hearing is aging at the same rate as your tires are wearing, I hope for your sake you are only driving about 1,000 miles a year!

    I'm in a similar boat. My Honda S2000 only has a highway range of about 250 miles, but it seems I now have to pee more frequently than that, so it doesn't matter.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Desert SWPosts: 2,784
    Hey other owners....I've got only 4200 mi. on the car and when I noticed a "shimmy" on certain roads and brought the car to the dealer, the tires were noted to have multiple "flat spots" on them. They were "fixing" them. Anybody else had the same experience with these Bridgestone "run flats" and are they defective and should they be replaced with or w/o pro-rating them? Squidd? Anyone?
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    I only have 9,000 miles so far, about half around town and about half on expressway runs, and have had no problems at all with the tires.

    The dealer rotated them a few months ago, and we both looked them over and agreed that there are no spots, no uneven wear, and they have at least another 10,000 miles or more left. To my eyes, they did not look very worn at all, but I'm no tire expert.

    Tires, however, are subject to bad batches, and it's not unusual to find some bad tires in a line that generally has a good track record.

    Bad luck for you.

    (Of course, I guess it might be something in the car that could be causing the tires to show that, which would also be bad luck for you, but from what I read here, tires have not only not been a problem, other than the harsher ride of the run flats, but their tread life is longer than we were lead to believe at the time of purchase.)
  • rdbmsmrdbmsm Posts: 3
    Hi all,

    Thanks for people respone my to my radio problem.
    Now I want everyone to know.

    It is documented and you need go to your dealer ASAP to fix the following:

    1. Radio AMP
    2. Suspension

    Good luck guys,

    [email protected]
  • The door panel says 32psi, but my car came with 45psi in the run flats. I took it to the dealer and they said run it at 40psi. The reason: you can get false readings out of the tire pressure monitors. I don't know if I believe them, but I am now officially curious about tire pressure. Anybody have any thoughts.
  • I was told the same 40psi story at Vista Lexus (Woodland Hills, CA). I have always maintained around 37psi and found that this provided a decent ride and handling. I currently have over 21,000 miles and the tires look good for another 5,000 or more.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    that the dealer is trying to make your tires last longer...

    me also thinks that the engineers who designed the car have a better idea of what tire pressures to run rather than the salesman...

    -Chris
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    My door label says 33psi for the run flats. Warning light doesn't come on until the pressure gets a lot lower than that. Don't know why you'd want to go to higher pressure.
  • After a few low pressure lights, I asked my dealer (a few months ago) and he said that the latest word was to suggest 40.

    I've had it there all summer with no lights, and the ride is fine.
  • I now have 11,000 miles on my SC430. Though the tire tread still looks good, I find that the ride (even though I've had the bushings replaced) is deteriorating. The vehicle does not corner flat or track well at high speeds and the dealer has indicated, after driving the vehicle, this infirmity attributable to the run-flat tires.

    After doing quite a bit of research I discovered the run-flat tires produce 5 times the rolling resistance as compared to conventional tires. The sidewalls are 6 times thicker producing a harsher ride and the run-flat tires in general are considerably heavier per tire. Tests conducted on a 3 series BMW showed an increase in slalom times by over two seconds when shod with run-flat tires.

    The conslusion being to put run flats on a high performance vehicle is to hobble it. Run flats provide an element of security at the sacrifice of comfort and handling.

    For all the above reasons I'm changing over to the Bridgestone S03 Potenza for a considerably smoother ride and better handling. In lieu of a spare, I've decided to carry a couple cans of aerosol inflator and sealant.
  • I struggling to come to grip with the claim that a run flat could produce 5 times the rolling resistance of a conventional tire. I've had the wheel and tire off the car and as a combination, it doesn't feel materially heavier than any other 18" wheel and tire. I'm not disputing that it is heavier, just that the weight alone doesn't seem significant enough to make that much difference. Is there something else contributing? And back to the tire pressure question, would 40psi negate some of the rolling resistance? ???
  • If I put 19 inch wheels on the rear and changed the fronts to 17 inch wheels, would the car be rolling downhill all the time?

    This would save on gas.
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    Is there anyone out there who has replaced their run-flat tires with Potenza S-03s?
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    dang, i wish i had thought of that! :) think of how much money i coulda saved on gas by now...

    i don't have a sc430, but i DO have s-03's (and had s-02's before that, i'm a bridgestone type of guy)... there is no doubt in my mind that the
    s-03's will give you a MARKED improvement in handling/roadfeel over the runflats...

    that being said... if this car wears tires the way that anecdotal reports seem to indicate, you might want to think a little bit before dropping 250 (or so) apiece on the s-03's... or at least be mentally prepared for the fact that you are going to be dropping better than a grand every 10k or so...

    -Chris
  • After complaining about the rough ride experienced at the wheel of my SC430, my local Lexus dealer has agreed to replace the run flat tires with new S03 Bridgestone Potenza tires and install a spare tire kit at no charge.

    However, one of the chief mechanics advised me about a bulletin he'd received from Lexus advising the increase of air pressure from 33 psi to 40 psi. I tried this tip and much to my amazement, the car runs so much smoother and handles more sportscarlike. Instead of a hard slam over railroad tracks and pot holes, there is now an uneventful "thud" when hitting those irregularities in the road.

    Not having tried this vehicle with conventional tires, I am now wondering do I bother making the switch. Will the ride and handling be that much better considering the new tires, though not as stiff in the sidewall, still have a narrow sidewall and presumably a stiff ride.

    Has anyone driven the vehicle without run flats? If so, is there an appreciable difference?
  • I've had my tires at 40 for a few months, and have no complaints.

    Also, there is a new generation of run flats, especially one from Michelin (originally designed for that new Caddy convertible to be out next August) that have a softer sidewall. These tires are standard on the 2003 SC430.

    So if you think the ride is close to being what you want, maybe you should hang in there because when the time comes for you to get a new set of tires, the ride will improve.

    That's my plan.
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    I wouldn't want to give up the trunk space for a spare tire. That's a good reason to not give up on the run flat tires.
  • Learning of the new generation of run flats from the previous posts, I went to my local Lexus dealer to see what kind and brand of run flats are being shod on the latest SC430. Contrary to the post above, the '03 SC's are shod with Dunlop run flats and not the new Michelins.

    The Dunlops have a much more aggressive tread design than the Bridgestone. The sidewalls of the Dunlops are also more rounded and not as sqaure as the Bridgestone's. I would presume that the Dunlops must run smoother.

    I am attempting to determine if the Michelins are in fact available yet for the SC. Will keep you posted when I find out.

    By the way, there is a new replacement center cap for the stock wheels. They are pictured in the '03 SC catalog. They look pretty sharpe; much better than the stock garbage can lids.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Have any of you tried 40 psi in the rain? I'm thinking about aqua-planing, etc issues.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    i cannot imagine that there's not some type of disadvantage to running 7 pounds over in terms of "gription" in the wet...

    ummm, zuma? what you got rid of is "sportscar-like" ride and replaced it with "buick-like" ride... :)

    theory - lexus misjudged the desired "roadfeel" amoungst their target market, and are now bloating the tires to make up for it...

    -Chris
  • I just came across this news item in the auto related news regarding the prediction of Michelin, which now, as we know, makes run-flats, regarding the future of the spare tire:

    ===========

    MICHELIN: NO MORE SPARES
    Most new vehicles sold a decade from now, especially premium vehicles, will not carry a spare tire, said Michelin Group chairman CEO Edouard Michelin Wednesday at an industry event sponsored by J.D. Power and Associates and Automotive News. "The spare tire is prehistoric," said Michelin, who says it will take another decade for consumers to accept not having a spare. "Most people do not know how to change a tire anyway," said the Michelin scion. The Renault Scenic in Europe is one car, noted Michelin, that does not carry a spare. "Look at the size of the spare tire sitting under the trunk in a Mercedes S Class, and how much room that opens up," said Michelin.The costs of a run-flat tire are still higher than traditional tires, but the costs are coming down, said Michelin, and there is clearly interest at the consumer level and by regulators, especially in the U.S.
  • Lexus Tech guy says that Technical Service Information Bulletin(TSIB) PG 005-02 recommends run-flat psi at 38. He adds that there are other "interesting" things in that bulletin. Haven't had a chance to check it out....How about the next one going to their dealer look into it and report back to us??
  • jbradbjbradb Posts: 39
    I read on the web (don't remember where) that the outside mirrors are supposed to tilt down while car is in reverse to aid your view....or is that just on the new 2003's?
  • jbradbjbradb Posts: 39
    I don't have one, but a friend's SC430 does. I read some posts from earlier this year about some owners with these that were difficult to reproduce at the dealer. One guy had to replace the whole lining of the roof? Any input?
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    Regarding the outside mirrors: as stated here many times and in the owner's manual, the outside mirrors will tilt down when the car is put in reverse if the mirror selector is placed in either the left or right position. If this switch is parked in the center position, the mirrors will not tilt down when car is in reverse. This is a handy feature, but not unique to this car by any means.

    As for rattles and squeaks, I have not had any in over 18 months, although some have. Most have been traced to the front passenger seat back.

    In no instance have I heard of the lining of the roof squeaking. Maybe it was a mouse.
  • exmoexmo Posts: 5
    I picked up a screw in one of my tires just before going in for my 15,000 mile maintenance work. I decided to replace all four run flats. There was some tread left but they had become so loud and the ride had become very hard. I looked around and all I could find were Bridgestones or Goodyears. Much as I wanted to put on Michelins, they were not available in a size that would fit on the stock SC430 wheels. I would have had to change the wheels out in order to put on the Michelins so I settled for the Bridgestones. The dealer recommended I inflate the tires to 37 psi.

    The ride is much improved and the noise level is back to where it was when the car was new. Maybe Michelin will come out with the right size for the SC430 before I hit 30,000 miles.
  • jbradbjbradb Posts: 39
    thanks for the info, squidd99! will try it.

    any feedback about folks' having problems with rattles or squeaks would be appreciated.
  • ben54ben54 Posts: 5
    I have had my share of little rattles, and strange squeaks..but since last week, when I hit 17,000 and I raised the psi from 33 to 36, I haven't heard a peep!!! Not sure I can "connect the dots"...BTW, anyone out there who has converted from run-flats to conventional....what did you put out $$ for the "spare tire conversion kit"??
  • spudgalspudgal Posts: 35
    If it's not too rude to ask, is anyone leasing an SC430, and (roughly, of course), what does it cost?

    Hubby has fallen in love, and although I too adore the car, I have serious sticker shock. We won't be looking to (maybe, dear, maybe!) get one until April, so there's little or no point in talking numbers at the dealership. Plus they wanted a deposit to test drive the only one they had left last Saturday - but I can't blame them for that :)

    Also, how ARE those tires holding up? I don't want to be shelling out more money to replace tires if they're going to wear out fast. Or have some of you been showing off at the lights? ;)
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    The tires were projected to last maybe 10,000 miles, and all early purchasers were warned of this.

    Now it seems that many owners have twice that many miles on them and they are still going fine.

    My car has 9,000 miles (after 18 months) and I just had the dealer rotate the tires. My inspection reveals little wear, and I do show off at lights any time I can, not to mention tearing around corners just because I can.
  • I've had my SC430 since April. Just had it in for the 5K checkup and too have a few problems resolved. I was told most of the "problems" were "normal operation" I love this car, the way it rides, the interior appointments, the top that "disappears", the power, the look, etc. However, I would like some other owners to tell me if the minor problems I have are normal. 1)I often get the sulphur smell caused by unburned gas in the catalytic converter. This is almost always after heavy acceleration. Dealer says this isn't a problem, it's probably caused by the fuel I burn. I run Union 76 supreme. 2)The wipers on this car are really noisy. I'm not talking about the blades on the window, I'm talking about the drive mechanism under the dash. Again, the dealer says all SC430's have noisy wipers. 3) This is really a nit but it bugs me. The trip computer, when recording MPG, will only change in three tenths increments. In other words, when I driving along averaging 19.8 MPG after 300 miles it will all of a sudden change to 19.5. The computer is supposed to update every 10 seconds according to the owners manual. That means that I had to burn a quart of fuel in 10 seconds to get the average to change that much in one reading. While it is, as I said, a nit, it really bugs me because I think something isn't working properly. Any one with a 430 that can tell me if your car does the same???? Thanks.
  • Can they be turned off/ on?
    Or must they be preset either off or on by the dealer??
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Perhaps just a coincidence. But I was riding in a business associates SC430 the other day when it started to rain. She set the wipers to intermittent and I noticed a much louder motor noise than in my car. I didn't say anything, but I'll ask her about it next week.

    As for the trip computer's MPG readings, I have never found anyone's to be particularly accurate. My M5 is slightly improved over my previous 540i, but it's still not that accurate when I check my own math. As best I can tell, the sensors that calculate the remaining fuel left in the tank are only calibrated to be accurate to within about 1/4 to 1/2 gallon, so that leaves a lot of room for "rounding" error. On my last highway trip, I actually averaged 23.2 mpg, but the computer said 22.0.

    Can't help you on the sulpher smell.
  • squidd99squidd99 Posts: 288
    I have had my car for 18 months, and have never put much faith in the three little trip computer readouts. The MPG average stays at about 18 or 19 in the city, and about 21 or so on the highway (pretty high speeds). This is probably about right, and I could do my own measurements from the odo after each fillup, but I just don't care to get more accurate, as I have a general idea and don't put all that many miles on the car anyway.

    As for the average MPH, who really cares?

    And the range reading I find to be very misleading, but on the conservative side. If you are getting 18 to 20 mpg and you have (about) a 20 gallon tank, your range should be about 360 to 400, but my range readouts on a full tank are about 280; I don't think I've ever seen it over 300, and I know it should be about 400.

    With a quarter of a tank left, it says about 50 miles, which is only 2 or 3 gallons, but there are about 5 gallons in the tank. I consider this readout to be just a VERY EARLY warning system regarding low fuel. As I recall, the range warning comes up by itself at a certain point, then flashes, then finally, when you get really low on fuel, the red light comes up on the dials in front of the driver. I don't put much faith in the accuracy of this readout, but I do appreciate the several different notices of low fuel.

    The only really accurate readings come from the NAV system. Miles to destination is very accurate, and time to destination is usually pretty accurate also.

    The windshield wiper noise does not bother me; I haven't realy noticed that it's louder than it should be. It's certainly not louder than my previous cars.

    But, of course, the rain is making a lot of noise at the same time.
This discussion has been closed.