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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • c2soxc2sox Posts: 19
    Thanks for the info! I'll try replacing the sensors this weekend. Oh one other question, any special tools needed and what do you think about using aftermarket sensors....bad idea?
  • tle104tle104 Posts: 5
    2 years ago,one O2 sensor of my 91 LS been replaced w/ one from Irontoad a little bit more than $100.My experience is do not throw away the damaged one and wait until the check engine light is gone, at least a day to make sure that the real damaged sensor been replaced.Some time the one we thought damaged is still good. My case, the mecanician already throw it away , but when I drove my car up to my office ,around 10 miles, the light is on again, so I know that he repaced the wrong one .Luckily he found it back in the trash can.Try to order at least 2 and if only one is used, you can return one left.Very hard to know which one or how many was bad.Do not use after market product but only from Toyota.They are'nt expensive it you got from Irontoad.
    It'nt the ad for them, but because I already ordered some parts from them and the price very good comparing w/ lexus dealer.Actually I had 2 lexus ,the Es 300 still under warranty and the Ls 96 is not.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    "Very hard to know which one or how many was bad."....O2 sensors.

    Easy as pie since inexpensive software can be pluged into a laptop/desktop and cable plugs into car] that reads all the diagnostic codes after 95 models.

    I would think that the second most expensive [maybe third since Americans are so over weight]item in your budget [a car] deserves some self education since you will probably have one till the nursing home calls!

    Great hobby but if you can afford a LS not a good way to make a living to pay for it!

    We get dozens per year where the owner tried to fix something minor [without any documentation] and ended up doing damage to inside trim/connectors or worse.

    Most bulbs require the manuals to change much less something associated with drivability or emissions.

    Owners time would be better served keeping the engine compartment clean so the techs assume that they care about their car and not expose it to exporation or worse. Think I'm kidding!

    Nothing makes their day like a filthy engine compartment.

  • crowbait1crowbait1 Posts: 15
    My 92 has developed the habit of thinking it is being broken into with alarm system triggering a few minutes after shut off and lock - not right away. Local Lexus dealer was unable to find cause. Also was not able to just disarm the system so I could at least lock up without keeping the neighbourhood awake all night. Has anyone had a similar experience? Is there a simple way to just disarm the system? Thanks.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    Besides removing the horn connection? Sound
  • 1991ls4001991ls400 Posts: 20
    I've a 1991 LS400, and I think the power steering is going down. While driving driving or in park, I can hear the sound eeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhh and also if I slightly turn the steering wheel in either direction. I drove to work one day, and while in park I experienced the sound as well as playing with the steering wheel. The noise is increasing as I drove home as well as steering the wheels. I've just checked the power steering fluid, and it's normal. What is the noise and how serious is it? Cost of replacing the rack and pinion power steering??? Thanks.
  • crowbait1crowbait1 Posts: 15
    Thanks q45Man - then again we have the flashing lights for the visually sensitive that would have to go also :) I suppose I could disconnect the battery each night but that's a bit inconvenient. What I'd like to know is whether there is a straightforward way to shut it off permanently without rendering the car inoperable. I'd risk not having a working alarm system at this age of car. Better still, has anyone seen this problem and figured out how to fix it? It's not posted anywhere I can see on this board. Thanks. Crowbait
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    Although there are sockets designed specifically to remove O2 sensors, they are not required. You can use regular wrench that fits.
    The data table stored inside the car's computer is calibrated to match with O2 and other sensors for a given condition. You may get away with using aftermarket sensors, but as for me I don't think the benefits of lower cost aftermarket O2 sensors outweights the their risks which may include driveability, emission, and efficiency problems and catalytic converter failures.

    If you decided to use aftermarket O2 sensors, let us know the results would you?
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    "Easy as pie since inexpensive software can be pluged into a laptop/desktop and cable plugs into car] that reads all the diagnostic codes after 95 models."

    There is no need for fancy computer/software to read diagnostic codes. A simple jumper(eg. paper clip) on the diagnostic port will do the trick.
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    If the problematic alarm is OEM, there is a way to disable it by grounding one of the wires. Get the alarm schematic first and I'll see if I can help you locate the wire.
  • crowbait1crowbait1 Posts: 15
    Sadly, this is the system shipped with the car in 92. The Lexus folks were working on diagrams also in search of an elusive wire to ground but could not find one. Crowbait
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Try this: First lock then unlock the drivers door with the key (theft alarm light on dash should now be off and will stay off). Open trunk and remove the trunk light cover and then the trunk light bulb (under rear shelf). Remove plastic trim at base of trunk opening to reveal catch and push button switch for trunk light (beside catch) Ground the single wire to this switch. The "Theft deterrent system" will not arm with with this wire grounded. Everything else works, locks , remote etc. except the trunk light and alarm system. (leave bulb out or it will stay on and drain battery).This can be done another way and retain the use of the trunk light,but is more involved.
  • pontoiselepontoisele Posts: 16
    My son had an accident to my wife ES 300 -97 w/ 27,000 miles on it last Sunday morning,The car still under warranty.The impact so bad the whole front and side is gone.Luckily no bad injuries to my family.And so amazing, both airbags,driver and passenger side do not work.Stayed peaceful in their enclosures.It happened once during last year w/ my brother 91 LS 400 accident.The car was totally lost and the airbag still intact.So this time I want talk to the Lexus people before bring it up by my lawyer.Some one have Lexus representative in US email, phone # so I can call or email to them w/ all supporting pics.
    Thank you- Can email me @ :""
  • pj2323pj2323 Posts: 43
    go to napa auto parts and buy a bottle of lucas power steering fluid stop leak and rack and pinion lube. cost is about 9.00. it worked wonders for my rack and pinion.
  • c2soxc2sox Posts: 19
    Originally I was convinced that the problem was my O2 sensors. But prior to working on my car I found my owners manual and double checked the error code. To my surprise I was getting the error code "31" (air flow meter signal), what exactly is this and what do I have to replace? Oh and just an FYI my car is a 1990 LS400.

    Any suggestions hyperopt or anyone else? Again thanks in advance!
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Code 31 is telling you the ECU did not get an air flow signal for 2 secs at an engine speed above 300 rpm and is now operating in fail safe function . Engine is now running from a constant set of values stored in the computer. Do you have an "owners" manual or a shop manual,codes are not normally in any owners manuals. The shop manual will give you the check procedure to isolate your problem. Could be just a harness or connector glitch. Good luck
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    Airbags are designed to deploy in types of accidents where certain parameters are met. The facts that they didn't deploy in accidents did not necessarily imply that they didn't work.
  • pontoiselepontoisele Posts: 16
    Thanks for your thoughts hyperopt.
    As a car owner, I thought when someone purchase the car, he think about safety first by always picking the car w/more safety feature if they can afford it.Basicly seat belt first and after came air bags .Driver air bags,next is passenger side airbags side airbags. No one told me that in order to make airbag working, the car must met a certain parameters as you said.Only they said that to provide more safety for oeople.Luckily no one want have opportunity to test the functioning of their airbag by involving into an accident.If not lucky, during a bad accident like mine, they lost their live and no one complains that his air bag do not meet some parameters to deploy and he not here either to understand why.
    I'm not against Lexus,actually I driving a LS 400, and I still planning upgrade it to LS 430 this coming september.But before that,I will pursuit this matter till it's solved friendly or legally.
    It's nt first time, it happened once w/ my brother 91 LS 400 last year which is totally lost and airbag not deploy.He got a 97 LS and forgot it because may be it's too old so airbag can be mal functioned.
    Mine is different, it had two,driver and passenger side and none is deployed.
    My goal is very simple, just to get the refund of the non functioning air bags when they are not working as advertised , secondly want lexus people provide some place, some way to test the air bag functioning of mine and other lexus owner (including you too,if you own a lexus.) So every one will be sure that their car are reliable and SAFE.
    I don't want make any money on them.We are so lucky that no serious things happened to us.If some one tell me how to post pics in this page I will post them so lexus owner will understand why I wrote these lines. Thanks.
    This accident happened during a curved turn in a 2 lanes drive, to avoid an other car head on us, we moved to the right and lost control, hit to a tree, bounced to an other tree......
    Is it the purpose or airbag to protect us in these circumstances?
  • pontoiselepontoisele Posts: 16
    Thanks to Alpha01 for your thoughts in ES 300 topics.
    Yesterday I already talked to Lexus satisfaction department and they will send some one to inspect it within 2 WEEKS.I'm not yet know what's decision of my insurance 'bout the car now,only 2 days after the wreck, the appraiser back from towing yard, give me call telling that my car might be totaled.So you can guess what kind of impact the car already suffered.I'm waiting on Lexus inspection results and I guess will be similar with your opinion.Think about Ford Explorer problems , do they accept their mistake ? Obviously,never they recognize their mistake .They afraid of their consequences. My case very simple.Good things ubder God protection no serious things harm us.What I'm asking for very simple and easy too.My goal is for the safety of myself and all other Lexus owners.My self I'm a Lexus fanince 91, my actual car is a LS 400-96, 3rd revised model,my 1st was a 91 LS 400. Because they are so great, I got a ES 300-97 for my wife and planning trade mine in to get a LS430.Never checking paper work to find out air bag problem or some thing else, because I trust on their reliability and their safety.Thanks to GOD.Since 91 till now, no accident to me.And I'm sure that no body wish to have an accident to test the functioning of their air bags,so they can examine point by point as your opinion if they do not deploy.Remenber that, can test once only, second time if they are lucky enough to survive.Last night on TV there is an ad for a car, I forgot the brand name, the car just been hit by an animal, and driver airbag, passenger airbag, side air bag, every thing deployed.They do not mentioned anything 'bout accelarating or decelerating. Just saying to protect people . An other gentleman told me that in order to get it work, the speed must be 15 miles/hr min.Actually on the roads now , none driving that speed, may be in parking deck or garage.
    I want mentioned one more time that never I want make money on this matter.God already gave me enough so I enjoying luxury cars now, not a Yugo.Just to ask Lexus to act now, how? don't know beside What I'm asking.Do not wait until dozen of lexus owner been killed or recall required by National safety Transportation Board or some thing else happened.Do we need bring cars within a certain years old in for inspection or ...
    My ES 300 still under warranty.I copied these line for info to all actual or furure Lexus Owner.
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    It's a good thing that your party didn't get hurt in the accident. I understand your concerns that the airbags did not deploy in an accident and wondered if mine will when in need. I am afraid the only way to find out if they are working is to be in a wreck where all parameters are met and that doesn't leave much room. Fortunately, cars equiped with airbags have circuitry to test for airbag failures every time the ignition is turned on. Whether or not this detection circuitry can detect all airbags failures is questionable. To make matter worst, 20/20 reported that there are quite a few cars on the road today with "dummy" airbags. These "dummy" airbags (eg. scrap papers) are used instead of real airbag by crooks who steal airbags and dirty repair shops that cheat their customers. Not a comforting thought is it?
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    In some circumstances the deployment of airbag in an accident decreases injuries. In others, it increases injuries or even kills.
  • ruby01ruby01 Posts: 1
    Has anyone replaced lower ball joints on a '91 LS400? Would this be considered a do-it-yourself task? Your comments are greatly appreciated.
  • 1991ls4001991ls400 Posts: 20
    Would someone please tell me where to fill radiator coolant fluid? The instruction on the coolant reservor says something like "remove the filler plug front of engine and fill up the radiator. Replace the filler plug when done."

    I cannot find the filler plug anywhere on the radiator.

    Thank you!
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Assuming you are refilling your whole system? To fill coolant system close engine and rad drain cocks . Turn ignition on, A/C blower motor on, set the temp to highest setting( this opens the valve to the heater core). Remove rad cap on reservoir, now remove plug on thermostat housing ( at top front of engine), slowly add coolant through this opening until full. Install plug and finish filling coolant reservoir . Keep adding coolant until level no longer drops. Start engine and add coolant as needed for ten minutes, up to four liters/quarts.Fill to bottom of overflow pipe. Take vehicle for a 5 minute drive then top up again. Monitor for a few days and thats it. If you are just topping up your coolant , add to the reservoir only.
  • tuttietuttie Posts: 4
    I have a 98 Lexus LS400 and everything on the panel shut down. All of the gages. Everything is reading 0. I can not even tell how fast I'm going. Temp, Oil, nothing is moving. It's as if the car is turned off. The radio and everything still plays and it runs fine, but I can't tell anything by looking at the gages. Is anyone familiar with this? Is there a recall on anything with the 98 LS400. If no recall for this problem, how much money am I looking at. It's nice to have a good looking luxury car, however, the maintenance to keep up a car of this standard can be a @#!$%$. Please help
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Did you check the guage fuse, should be under dash on the driver's side. It is # 3 on the older LS in block #1B
  • 1991ls4001991ls400 Posts: 20
    Thank you, Paul! Yes, I was planning to flush the system and refill it but couldn't find the refill plug. I just located it and will follow your instruction. Thanks!
  • crowbait1crowbait1 Posts: 15
    Thanks. Great tip. Neighbours are happy and car is locked up again. Crowbait
  • 1991ls4001991ls400 Posts: 20
    Is is Okay to use Dexron III Mercon tranny fluid for a 1991 LS400? Someone in post # 201 said that it will destroy the tranny!

    I've just drained, replaced tranny filter & gasket, and put in Valveline Dexron III Mercon in my car. I drove the car for about 80 miles after putting in new fluid.

    Someone please clarify this for me as I am getting mixed messages. The owner's manual suggests T-II, and I guess Lexus only has T-IV right now, and I put in Dexron III!!!!!!

  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    You are well beyond any factory warranty, unless this is a recent factoy rebuild, you only put in maybe 2 to 3 liters/qts with a filter change and ,although you haven't gone any great distance , the dexron has now mixed with the rec. Toyota fluid. Call the 800# for Lexus and ask to speak to the techinical people for an opinion on what to do , if anything , you have nothing to lose. Many Toyotas use dexron ie. the 94/v6/4runner auto, but the front differential uses one type of gear oil and the rear uses another , if you are doing your own maintenance the owners/shop manual is essential for the proper info. Mistakes of this nature are made many times daily , you are not alone.
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