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Lexus LS Rear Wheel Drive System

stephenabelsonstephenabelson Member Posts: 23
edited May 2014 in Lexus
i am thinking about getting either a 2000 ls400 or newer ls430 i live in manhattan. wondering how the rear wheel drive system works. i know it has stability control, and i think has a slid control thing as well. anyone live in a cold snowy place and know personally how the car behaves?


  • aggie76aggie76 Member Posts: 266
    It performs fine with dedicated snow tires in place on my '04 LS430. I live in the far north of Minnesota on Lake of the Woods and just moved here after having my LS in NW Illinois past several years. Since arriving here in a new job transition the end of November the roads its either been snowing or the roads have snow/ice cover every day. I run the Dunlop M3's on dedicated wheels and they work terrific moving around the area now and did the for the past three winters on the Illinois roads which I imagine have similar periods of snow that you will see around Manhattan. I spent many days in and around Chicago with similar success in large city driving too.

    We've had low temps in the 25 below range so the roads just don't get a chance to thaw one bit and the tires work fine. For instance, it was 15 below this morning and about 2 inches of fresh snow and I had no problems getting to a restaurant and church early today. I'll may switch to the Nokian tires when these wear out next year since I hear we've got snow and ice from October to May up here.

    The various systems, like VSC and antilock brakes, work fine to assist me and I do run the transmission in SNOW mode to help in moving away from a stop.

    Go for it, the LS is a great all-weather ride.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Driving any RWD in adverse conditions is more of a matter of the driver "mastering" driving techniques in those conditions than otherwise. Once mastered, RWD & R/AWD vehicles are much safer overall in those conditions than FWD & F/AWD.

    Like a 4WD/4X4 vehicle, FWD & F/AWD is virtually perfect for initially getting up and going in adverse roadbed conditions, but patently UNSAFE once underway with the diff'l remaining locked.

    On an adverse roadbed it is best to have the rear wheels driving and reserve the fronts for directional control.
  • stephenabelsonstephenabelson Member Posts: 23
    I am considering buying a 2004 lexus gs300 rear wheel drive car. it has traction control, and also 4 winter tires, but how well does that all work? I live in Minnesota, so we tend to have pretty decent winters.
  • rennyboschrennybosch Member Posts: 329
    "I live in Minnesota, so we tend to have pretty decent winters."

    We know all about your winters, from Garrison Keillor's conscientious reporting. We admire you, but we don't envy you.

    Best regards -- Renny
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Traction control is an excellent indicator of slippery road conditions that one might otherwise be unaware, but as an aid in driving in those conditions it SUCKS, big time.

    You are best off learning to feather the throttle yourself right up to the point of loss of traction.
  • aggie76aggie76 Member Posts: 266

    I had a GS300 with Blizzak's before I got my LS and it did great in NW Illinois in all types of winter weather. Go for it.
  • harry29harry29 Member Posts: 5
    My wife's car is front wheel drive and we are considering purchasing a rear wheel drive car. Would welcome any comments on how rear wheel drive acts in snow conditions.
  • aggie76aggie76 Member Posts: 266
    If you do a search I think you will find that there are numerous topics concerning this fact. I've had both fwd and rwd and find that using snow tires makes all the difference. I'm up in N. MN now as I've said before and find it no problem to drive my LS430 in any conditions. Icy roads are a whole different game, as they are for fwd as well.

    Don't the rwd overly influence your decision, dry weather its the way to go over fwd for driving dynamics and again, do a search across all the different forums. Lots of conversations and whole forums devoted just to fwd vs. rwd vs. awd.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    A mixed "bag", a VERY mixed bag.

    Since the engine/transaxle weigh is mostly carried by the front wheels FWD will almost always have better traction for getting you up and going, moving, initially on the slippery stuff.

    But once you're moving the rules change just a bit. Any 4WD/4X4 owner will tell you that it is not wise to have the 4 wheel drive system engaged once you are in roadway or hwy cruise mode. Not only is there little or no need for "drive" to those front wheels that "drive" can quickly lead to loss of directional control.

    An ideal drive system would be to engage the drive to all four wheels, or even biased toward the front, just as long as there are small or no lateral forces on those front wheels. Once you need to turn, or use the front wheels to correct the direction of the vehicle, it is unwise to have engine torque, leading or lagging (compression braking) coupled to them.

    For what I consider an ideal AWD "compromise" study the Honda/Acura SH-AWD system.
  • lexx2lexx2 Member Posts: 5
    I had the same concerns when I purchased my 2002 LS 430. I spoke to other owners at the dealership. All said the same thing, "don"t worry about it".

    I live in Cleveland where it is snow on top of ice on top of chuck holes.
    I run the tires it came with, summer tires, push the "snow" button on occasion, and drive off. The LS handles better than my wife's Honda CR-V, but not as good as my 2003 ES 300. In any event, don't worry about it.
  • ls96ls96 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 96 LS400, 154,400. 2nd owner, purchased at 98,000 miles. Have not had to do any major maintenance only oil changes. Was recommended last oil change that I needed a transmission flush due to dark fluid. I have been getting mixed opinions..most friends say don't???? Any opinions/recommendations. I'm confused? thanks.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Hmm...second owner...

    Abusive first owner, used as a taxi, or for towing..??

    If the ATF actually is dark it might also smell burned in which case a flush would be appropriate.

    Check it yourself, it should be pink and transparent.
  • ryguy4ryguy4 Member Posts: 1
    i have a lexus gs 400 rear wheel drive.I live in western new york and it isnt very good in the snow its a bit more powerfull than the 300 but i wouldent think the 300 would be much better in the snow .Hope that helps you .
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    '92 LS400 with 155,000 miles. Runs perfect, just passed WA state emissions test with flying colors. driving along at ~40MPH there is a rare "tug" feeling, and sound, as if the brake were applied just for an instant. Cannot readily duplicate. Sometimes "tug....tug...tug" and it seems anything I do, change, (a little less throttle or a little more, etc, etc) and it goes away

    Car pulls STRONG, transmission seems to be fine, shifting okay, etc. ATF okay.

    Suspecious of trac system triggering briefly and haven't had a chance yet to run with it turned off. Will also try running with OD off.

    There is only one U-joint in the drive/line, shaft, anyone had one fail in this manner..?
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Problem turned out to electrical. The ignition timing sensor wiring from the driver's side engine bank was just barely "touching" the accessory drive belt. Shield braid was worn through as was one of the two sensor wires. Don't now understand why the engine ran at all. Especially don't understand why, as much as I drove the car in the TDCL check mode, no sensor error was recorded.

    Looks as if the mechanic who replaced the timing belt missed putting the sensor cable back into the restraining clip.


    If it ain't broke don't FIX it....

    The nice aspect of all this is I inadvertently discovered a way to "fix" the traction control system. The major complaint I have had in the past is how long it takes to "unwind" the dethrottling aspects of the TC system and regain control of the engine RPM.

    There are two screws that hold the (separate) TC throttle plate in place and I simply backed them out and removed the TC throttle plate. Now when/if teh TC activates the engine will no longer get dethrottled at all.
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