Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Think about your comments, if the ecu shows no fault in memory then then power is being cut to something just like if you turned the key off.
    Corrosion, loose wire, intermittent connection.
    Time for the old wiggle test on everything plus a keen eye. Many techs fail if the test equipment shows no faults because it can take hours and hours to check every connection.

    On a Q similar age related problems are intermitent connections on MAF and crankangle sensor but never seen these on an LS. In fact can't think of any common problem causing the engine to die radomly......keep us informed as to solution.
    We have about 105 94 LS customers and never seen what you describe.
    Even on a car as fine as Lexus you should always buy the factory extended warranty.
    The timing belt, waterpump, plugs, brakes, fluids are normal maintenance items on any car.
    The PS and AC were the result of not performing maintenance on these systems.
  • dealerfloridadealerflorida Member Posts: 50
    Sorry, I am not the expert you describe, the knowing ones here are Q45MAN & RODMOD11.
    Rod does not frequent the site as much.

    You have a needle in a hay stack problem. There seems no obvious code, reason or worn part to create the engine cut off. I personally would not replace the vacuum part unless I was sure this is the cause!.

    As for your husband being disgusted, the car is now in the stages of requiring more attention and maintenance. There are people who desire trouble free ownership, and this is for newer cars with lower miles. The items you replaced are common for age / miles. The auto has a good resale value especially if it is aesthetically in good shape, perhaps it is time to sell or trade. Go to for a true market value.

    You can try independent shops in your area if they specialize and / or have experience with Lexus, this can be a less costly alternative and you could have a closer relationship with shop owner or manager versus large dealer. Check in your local yellow pages under auto repair and browse to see a shop which says they specialize in Lexus, or even Toyota. Visit the shop and meet with persons to decide if you are comfortable with them.

    Good luck

    I will call the service manager here in my area and ask if there is a common problem with 94 LS that would cause engine cut off.
  • ferraro1ferraro1 Member Posts: 44
    Hello ~
    I have a 1994 LS 99,000 miles on it and I have just noticed today when brakeing, then when movieg forward I applied the brakes and when I do I hear this sound from under the car that sounds like a soda can being crunched or a metal sound , what could this be ??? If anyone has any idea please post. The sound comes when both in reverse and in drive but mostly in reverse or at least that is what i noticed, all at LOW speeds, Hope someone knows whats up maybe before i take her in .
  • lexie88lexie88 Member Posts: 6
    I noticed recently everyday after I started my 91 LS400 (68k mi.)I hear air releasing from the right front air suspension; but never happen to the left front suspension. I wonder the right front suspension is going bad, or is it normal ?
    Another questions is I notice the LS400 engine compartment gets extremely hot when driving and I think the black plastic cover underneath the engine help trap the heat inside the engine compartment and last week I remove the cover to see whether it helps to get rid of the heat faster. What is your thought on that ??
    I really appreciate if any one could answer my questions?? Happy holidays.
  • blkmgkblkmgk Member Posts: 54
    I am not a tech, but after reading your problem it reminded me exactly of a problem that I had with an acura legend back in the days. My car would shut off just as you described your case. My problem was fixed with new spark plug cables.
    Or maybe you used contaminated gas?
    Just a thought?
  • drivinfooldrivinfool Member Posts: 10
    Thanks for all the input from Sheldon and Q45 on cutoff problems. I think we have decided to trade the car. I don't have much confidence in the dealer's ability to fix the problem and I do too much driving to keep taking chances with it.

    As to P/S pump, a/c etc failure due to maintenance problems, it would seem that the car was not properly serviced by the dealer. The car was in for all of the 30M intervals as well as at other times for smaller jobs. I would certainly buy a Lexus again, but our confidence is certainly not at it's highest level with this service dept.
    Another sidebar...I also asked about the suspension at the time of service because the ride in the backseat is terrible. Very hard ride especially when you hit a bump. I was told everything was fine. Funny to me that I get told this everytime I inquire about the rear suspension. To my knowledge, nothing has ever been done to the susp. system.
    I live in Orlando area, any comments from anyone else out there with similar problems? I hate being held hostage by the only dealer in town.
    Q45, I don't think this is a wire problem, the car always immediately cranks up again on the fly--I throw in neutral and restart. There is no sputtering or anything to indicate that the car is about to lose power. It's a very weird feeling. One second you have power, the next you don't. We are completely at the mercy of a mechanic here--all I can say is that I know every little noise and foible the car has, and this is a strange thing! The service advisor had not seen this problem either on a "94 model, so we are on very shaky ground here.
  • ekalilekalil Member Posts: 1
    At least once a week the car dies when coming off the freeway. My local Lexus dealer in Santa Monica is without a clue and suggests chaning the air idle control value for over $800 just for the part. Can this valve be cleaner or serviced instead of replacment, based on dealer's guess? I read through all the posts and never saw any resolution to this problem when others reported it.
  • brucer2brucer2 Member Posts: 157
    The AICV regulates the amount of air that enters the engine, when the throttle is closed, to maintain idle speed. The fat that the engine dies when coming off the freeway suggests that it is not responding fast enough (opening) when the throttle closes. One way you can test its operation is to let the engine idle (at normal operting temperature) with the AC/climate control off, and then turn the AC on. The idle should (might) dip for a moment and then go back up. If the idle does not immedatly go back up, it is probably dirty. If the idle doesn't go back up at all then it is not functioning either due to an electrical problem, or it's very dirty. Its electrical condition can be checked with an ohm meter (I don't understand why the dealer's techs don't just look this up). If it's dirty it can be cleaned (some mfg's say just replace and don't clean). It would also be useful to check the connections going to the valve and also the MAF.
    (I have no idea why the part alone would be $800. $100 should be more like it: call another dealer's parts dept.) It sounds like your service dept leaves something to be desired.
  • don1414don1414 Member Posts: 2
    As a new member I would like to extend a heart felt thank you to everyone who has contributed to this site. I have been a Lexus enthusiast since its conception. My wife had previously worked for the Toyota corp. for 16yrs, so I was privy to its evolution from concept till the 99-model year when relocation of my employment forced her termination. We have always wanted one and know I am pleased to say that we are the proud owners of a 96 LS400. We purchased the vehicle with 62K miles from a second owner with all service records, which brings me to my question. The records indicate, or neglect to prove that the 60K service inspection/maint. has been performed. I have always purchased the repair/shop manuals and performed all maint and service on the vehicles we’ve owned. I am looking for a used set of shop manuals for a 96 LS400. The set consists of a 2 volume set and 1 electrical manual. Any help in locating these manuals would be greatly appreciated.
  • dealerfloridadealerflorida Member Posts: 50
    Thats a tough one "Used manuals" try e-bay, good luck. For the more expensive but easier route go to and Ryan could quote you prices for new ones.
    For the 60.000 mile service, if it was done at a Lexus dealer it will be on the computer system they use to track a vehicles history. A friendly service rep will check this history for you if you provide him with VIN No. I have done this many times, I do go to the actual dealer in person and review it right there on screen with the rep. There is no reason why they would not allow you to be previed to this info. The only glitch is if your previous owners used independent shops, in that case you should find the paid receipts in glove box or elsewhere.

    Congratulations ! and enjoy your new auto.
  • lexie88lexie88 Member Posts: 6
    Hi, I'm new here. Having read thru all the postings, I learned a lot about my LS. Can anyone answer my question #505 I posted earlier this week? Thanks a lot.
  • djr7399djr7399 Member Posts: 24
    Was just wondering if anyone has had a pinging noise coming from their engine after bad gas, I have had a strange pinging noise during driving at speeds up to 30 mph and above, never had before, was wondering should I stick to premuinun to get rid of this sound or add some sort of additives(stp treatment) to get rid of,
    yes, I have had the oil changed.

  • fxashunfxashun Member Posts: 747
    94 LS400. I hate that blown tailight light marring my display.
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    Hello to you, I have no experience with the Lexus air suspensions, I do know the Lincolns very well, I know when I get into my Mark the pump pumps up the left side to compensate for my weight and when I get out the left air valve opens to releases air to correct for the proper ride height, your system might just be compensating, I would let things go until your air ride fault light goes on, unless your in a hurry to give the dealer your money.The main thing that fails on the Lexus air systems is the air struts, they should be changed in pairs...front ....back.
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    You have to remove the beauty covers in the trunk you will see how they overlap and remove as needed to gain access to the back of the lamp assy, then you should have to twist and pull to get the lamp holder out, replace lamp and re install in reverse order.Your owners manual should have some info on this.
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    Here is what I do I buy my brake pads at Napa they have a lifetime warranty, the fronts are avialiable in the ceramix type, the rears are standard, if you are into removing Brake Pads, you can replace before they hit the sensors,or the rotors and save lots o money on brake work, you must check them every 30K or less if you are hard on them, it takes me 1/2 hour per wheel to replace the pads one of the eaisist cars I have ever done.
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    This is just a guess but I would have the TPS (throttle position sensor) checked for the proper setup or it could be bad, if anybody messed with it it could be out of adjustment.
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    How do you know you had bad gas? Does the pinging sound like marbles rattling or clicking noises?
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    If when you get the beauty covers off, which means popping the fasteners off, there is a tool for this at your local any parts store, and if the light assy does not have access to the lamp holder from the rear you may have to remove some screws that hold the lens assy in and pop it out from the body, it depends on witch lens has the bad bulb in it.I have been gone and just finished building this computer a P4 1.8G with a INTEL D850MV motherboard,512K RAMBUS this thing flies.
  • lexie88lexie88 Member Posts: 6
    I really appreciate your time. Have a happy new year.
  • djr7399djr7399 Member Posts: 24

    it sounds like a clicking noise, I just figured it was bad gas, but it does have a somewhat clicking noise when acceraltor is pressed at speeds moving up to 30mph and above.
    dosen't sound like marbles at all, any suggestions?

  • petrojeffpetrojeff Member Posts: 4
    I have spent the last day looking through all the information on this site. I am impressed with the level of knowledge and the facility of its distribution. I bought a 92 all Pearl white LS400 in August and have been restoring it to its original condition, So far, it has proven prototypical, as it has had the PS pump failure, the upper control arm failure, the rotors warped, and the trunk wiring harness failure with three separated wires. Every single failure was covered in this forum. I have fixed each part myself, and even put new leather in the interior. It is almost done. My final problem with it involves an electrical failure. The illuminated key entry feature does not work, the dome light will not come on when any door opens, the front floor lights will not come on when the doors open, and the ignition light does not illuminate. I have the repair manuals, and it appears that I either have a harness failure somewhere or the integration relay is bad. I have not checked the integration relay yet. Does anybody out there have any experience with this interior lighting system?? I read on another Lexus board, that the interior wiring harnesses are prone to failure. Thanks in advance for any advice.
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    Can be tough without isolating by being there,the most common problems would be Injector clicking, Lifter clicking,Belt Idler clicking, even the belt itself. You did not say how many miles are on the car if over a 100K you might want to consider a valve adjustment, these can cost around $400.00 to $500.00 at the dealer,if you have a higher mileage like 150K or more you might want to live with it as you get closer to the 200K range the clinking can mean changing the valve lifers and this can get expensive. Some spray the belt with water to see if the noise goes away, this would be a quick check of the belt, for the other problems a technician should look at it. Good Luck and let us know what happens.
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    I know you are looking for someone to tell you were the break in the wiring is and I don't know but in case no one comes up with the info I will give my 2 cents,as you can see in the manual if you would pull the interior bulb and check for 12 volts on one side of the interior bulb holder and it is not there you can guess that the 12 volts is missing from the integration relay as this is tied to the same 12 volts though the two fuses. Then if the 12 volts is there, I would put the bulb back in and ground the other side of the bulb that did not have the 12 volt feed and see if the bulb lights, if the bulb lights you can be pretty sure it is the integration relay. This may not make sense at first but if you look at all the lighting circuits the odds are against other circuits causing the problem, and it sure beats digging around under the dash. Good Luck and let us know.
  • petrojeffpetrojeff Member Posts: 4
    Yup, as I thought someone came up with a logical simple test procedure for testing the integration relay without digging it out first. I have already made sure the dome light has 12V and I will check the driver and passenger step lights within the next 4 days. Hey, tomorrow is New Years! I will let you know the outcome. Is the integration relay prone to failure?? Has anyone seen it fail before?
  • hyperopthyperopt Member Posts: 55
    I assume the pinging sound described by djr7399 is due to engine knocking. This pinging sound is quite distinctive once you know what to listen to. Knocking tends to occur upon hard acceleration and disappears on deceleration, whereas clicking sound due to valve lifter failures(or misadjusted valves) tend to be periodic and can be heard when the engine idles.
    Does anyone know if the LS400 engine uses valve lifters or shims?

    I suggest you take the cheapest diagnostic route by using the highest brand-name octane gas you could get your hands on and run a few full tanks. Let's know if the pinging persists.
  • hyperopthyperopt Member Posts: 55
    I have owned a '90 LS400 for more than a year and I must say she is a beauty and she runs so fine. She is the cheapest and most reliable car I have ever owned (no insult to anyone) - no problem whatsoever except for a failed LCD (which I would live with) and a dead Pioneer CD changer (replaced with a $140 aftermarket CD changer). All she need is periodic lubes and away she goes.
    I hope 2002 will not bring any surprises.
    Happy New Year!
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    What I would try is to keep pushing until it comes out one more time, then get your hand to have a grasp of it palm facing up and pull and wiggle until it comes out completely, then look for crud around the plastic gear rack, take a spray lube, and lube up the sliding parts, there are electrical connections to the tray but they have to due with the heated seat buttons and the lighter (1st gen) the in out part is all mechanical, if this does not work you may have a broken plastic part.If you cannot get it out one more time you could try to spray the lube in the cracks on the left and right side, this may loosen it up enough to pop out.
  • bouelletbouellet Member Posts: 4
    Hey Rod , Thank you so much for your response to my problem. I will try spraying WD 40 in tonite and try to reopen tomorrow. Meantime , I called Lexus Service about it and they said it was probably a broken spring but that they do not sell parts to repair. The only fix was to replace the unit for the astonomical price of $235.00! Absurd methinks! $235.00 to open the ashtray of a $55,000.00 car thats only 4 yrs. old. why did'nt they just make a nice slideout ashtray that would never break down. Thanks again for your help! will post results as soon as i know. Eureka Rod ! I sprayed WD 40 on both sides in slots and then tried to pry open with cloth covered screwdriver from right side. On doing so the whole door slid a little to left and Voila!! it opened !! Now I know the secret if it ever happens again. Of course I closed it up to see if it would reopen and it did! Incidently, if you have an LS400 and have'nt cleaned AC filter I have done that and am now an authority. I'm sure you have discovered that already but if you have'nt I'd be glad to assist. Thanks again.
  • djr7399djr7399 Member Posts: 24
    Hey Rod,

    I did forget to say I have 129k on the LS400,
    I have filled the tank up twice with the highest octane possible(93). I didn't hear the sound described by hyperopt while the car is idled, doesn't sound like the values need adjusting,
    I will definitely have to say that the clicking noise disappears after 40mph or so,

    I will keep trying the gas option, will let you guys know if any changes.

  • don1414don1414 Member Posts: 2
    I have recently purchased a 96 LS400 with 66K miles on it. I am about to change the oil for the first time and I'm considering synthetic. I know this is an age old question with varied opinions, but really what I need to know is whether any harm will result ie. seal failure. I would appreciate any assistance or guidance on this subject.
    I am also getting ready to adjust the valves. How difficult is this task? The maint. schedule indicates 60K for valve adj. but I have read in earlier posts that the adj. can be performed a much longer interval.
    Happy New Year,
  • woodspiritwoodspirit Member Posts: 1
    Reading about all the problems reminded me of the problem I THOUGHT I had with my clock, temp, navigation screen. From Feb until the middle of summer the read outs looked fine. Then all of a sudden all the LCD readouts looked really strange. What was worse about it was that I only saw it from the drivers seat.. Everyone else in the car saw everything fine, so I figured it was the angle that I was looking at the read outs. I was all ready to take the car into the dealer when I remembered that I had bought Polaroid Sun glasses and since I wore them every time I drove I could not read the screens hardly at all. If I on reg glasses no problem. but watch out for those Polaroid they can really screw you up...
  • ferraro1ferraro1 Member Posts: 44
    Hello ~
    Well i was in the process of changing the burned out light bulb (ECT pwr) and well I had it all opened and unscrewed the four screws that hold the gear selector in place, and the screw fell in the only place where i cannot see it, down where the chrome shifter goes i guess to the transmission ? Do I need to worry , I mean I bought a magnetic finder and i just cannot find this screw. Will it mess anything up if i leave the screw like cause something to break , get clogged I dunno , I just dont like knowing I have a misplaced screw deep down in my car , will everything be ok ???
    Thank You,
  • poliwhirlguypoliwhirlguy Member Posts: 21
    On my 95 LS with air suspension i have noticed that the car has a lot of play in the steering. When i purchased the car in august, the camber was replaced and the car aligned. I've had it aligned 2 more times since then and the ride quality is horrible. My question is what does the camber do? And, since the camber was damaged when i purchased the car, could it have caused any damage to the steering/differential that would make the car need these mechanic--without having looked at the car yet--suggested that the struts have gone bad and need to be replaced but i am unsure. the car did have some corrosion/rust in it which made removal of the camber difficult. Could something else be rusted which makes the car drive "not straight" and sloppily? Thanks.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    "Camber" is not a component or part. Camber is a wheel alignment measurement, specifically the outward tilt (positive camber) or inward tilt (negative camber) of the top of the wheel relative to true vertical as viewed from the front, measured in degrees. A vehicle will lead toward the side with the most positive or least negative camber setting. Used mainly to prevent drift to the right due to crowned road effect, and to reduce understeer on some FWD vehicles. Typical settings (if adjustable, not all are) are 1/4 to 1/2 degree less negative or more positive camber on the left front wheel. If excessive, will cause wear all around inner or outer edge of tire tread and a pull to one side. Suggest you have the front and rear suspension inspected by a qualified alignment tech.
  • lexor2lexor2 Member Posts: 11
    Hi Guys. I'm having a problem with intermittent lights on the inst. panel. Could this be caused by the integration relay? My car is a '94 LS400. Where is the integration relay on this model? Thanks for your help. Also I've seen posts on pinging. I use high test and also throw in a bottle of STP Carb and Injector Cleaner every couple of months. I know this stuff works as it has performed great on other cars I've had.
  • poliwhirlguypoliwhirlguy Member Posts: 21
    thanks alcan,

    the dealership said that in order to fix my camber they had to remove some parts so i figured it was a component. what kinds of things lead to camber offset? i'm just curious because of the 3 alignments i've had. my mechanic says probably weak struts but he wont know till later when he looks at it on friday.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Weak springs causing low ride height, worn upper strut mounts, control arm pivot bushings, ball joints, a shifted cradle (will cause SAI problems too) are some of the more common conditions leading to camber offset. Some unibody cars also can have inward unibody sag. That's what the brace between the strut towers on some cars is for.
  • bluex19bluex19 Member Posts: 10
    I have a 95 LS400 and it needs 60,000 miles maintenance. I called two Lexus dealerships and they were not consistent on what needs to be done. They also quoted different prices. One quoted in the $500 range and another around $800. So what should be done? I plan to keep the car for a long time and want to have things done right. Any need to adjust engine - valves etc?
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Member Posts: 811
    I had a '95 LS before purchasing a '98 LS last year.

    The difference in prices quoted to you for the 60k service probably have to do with replacement of the timing belt - that's a big deal and a lot of labor.

    When I had this replacement done at 66k, the old belt looked great. I understand that in later LS models, the timing belt replacement was pushed back to 90k miles or so; anyway, the V8 in the LS is the type of motor that won't be damaged if this belt breaks. Of course you will need to be towed...

    As for the valves, that's another area of contention. A good LS mechanic can hear whether or not they need adjustment (done via inserted shims).

    Good luck and enjoy your '95!

  • hyperopthyperopt Member Posts: 55
    LS timing belt is homungus and can easily reach 100k+ miles before needing replacement if the belt isn't contaminated (eg. oil, coolant,gas, ect.). I replaced my belt at 90k and the belt looked like-new. Save yourself $$$ by extending belt replacement from 60k to 90k(that's 50% longer). Your call!
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    I know someone that waited until his LS had 173K on it before he change the belt. I guess he will wait another 173K before he changes it again.This was on a 1990!
  • paul29paul29 Member Posts: 178
    The owners manual for a 1991 LS400 states that only under severe operating conditions and then only in conditions of extensive idling and/or low speed driving for a long distance such as police, taxi , or door to door delivery service does the belt need to be changed at 60k. For the average driver there is no recomended change interval The Lexus belt is a HSN (highly saturated nitrile) type and is very durable.I haven't seen a post of a Lexus LS timing belt failure so must be rare (the LS engine is non-interferance so there would be no damage anyway). If someone is telling you the belt must be changed always check to see what interval the manufacturer recomends don't trust the dealer blindly.
  • gino1208gino1208 Member Posts: 1
    hi i have a 93 ls 400, and the leather has gone pretty bad, the driver's seat has some cracks, i was wondering if anyone knew how much it costs to get it completely re done, and if anyone knew any place in Florida.
  • bill90ls400bill90ls400 Member Posts: 2
    I bought a 90 lexus from my new employer with 165,000 miles on it two years ago, immaculate and always dealer-serviced. It had a driveline harmonic vibration in the back(made the rear seat hum at freeway speeds). He thought it was related to tires, so I lived with it until I recently had new Michelin Pilots put on..vibration still there...just had 185,000 mile BIG flawless except for that nagging says they hear it, don't know what it is...not bearings in back..I thought it might be u-joints until service manager hoisted it up and showed me Lexuses don't have ujoints, just a big bushing. Could it be related to drive shaft?..sound is definitely in the back but I wonder if it could be related to driveshaft imbalance. I LOVE the's a great high speed cruiser, and would be SILENT except for the "magic fingers" massager (set for "light massage") going on rearward..what the h*&% is it? Thanks for any suggestions....
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    I guess I am surprised the dealer didn't sell you a new drive shaft, should be just under 1K $$$$$
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    Alternator dies on the way home, nothing like working under your Lex with salt drops in your eyes and ears,frozen [non-permissible content removed] cheeks, wet everything(from the melting snow all over the garage floor),and as long as I'm under hear lets change the Power steering pump,which now means power steering fluid in my hair and down the arms,thinking of the lucky dealer techs with a nice lift and dry working conditions,OOOh well they say what doesn't kill you will make you stronger.
  • bill90ls400bill90ls400 Member Posts: 2
    I just read back through all the messages...seems some owners had vibration solved by replacement of half shafts/cv assemblies...I know SOME things about cars..always associated those terms with FWD cars..does Lexus use them in their rear drives? That would explain a lot, since I had a Dodge Caravan with similar vibration in front solved by replacement of half shaft on driver side. And if so, WHY didn't the ever-so-kind service manager tell me so??
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Member Posts: 55
    they have independent suspension in the rear unlike the solid axle found in some cars and trucks.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    because you didn't flush you PS fluid and clean out debris which turns acidic and eats up the hoses which leak and then destroy alternator.

    Dealers don't point this out since they need a few things to fail to keep the service department can't keep techs who make no money on factory warranty work, tire rotations, brakes, and have to wait 30k, 60k for profitable services [somthing they can do faster than the book].
    Luckily Toyota redesigned a few things to fail sooner to increase service revenue [techs annual income]. Many were going to BMW and Jag where they could make a living.
    Used to be that the ES250/300 failed enough but the RX300 became the big seller luckily that engine is the same so life continues to be good [decent] for techs. Thank goodness people still think these are off road vehicles and suspension and oil pan work can pay the bills.
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