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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • Folks, I have to confess -- I can't stand any rattles or noises in the car. That's why I am looking forward to driving a Lexus. Of course, I could probably afford only a used one, maybe 1995-1997. All cars I had until now (even new ones) literally drive me crazy with rattles, squeaks, and other noises. Lexus LS400 has a vault-quiet reputation. Is it true?
    Also, how was your dealer experience? I had awful experience with Toyota dealers, hope it's not the case with Lexus. If you can recommend a Colorado dealership I would be most grateful. Thank you.
  • Your dealer experience will vary one from the other, it depends on ownership and management. Yes, certain brands (i.e. Lexus) have higher standards and more training, however we all (I mean all) have had horror stories.
    Tight is right, Lexus are pretty much rattle and creak free. In buying a used Lexus do not purchase one from northern areas (Rust, inferior roads) where the cars take a great beating with inclement weather, pot holes and craters the size of ponds that will loosen up pretty much any vehicle. The Lexus used car certified program is fine one. I own a used 1997 LS 400 for almost a year now. This is the best used car I have ever owned to date. I am amazed at the build quality and the sheer reliability of this car, I love it and highly recommend it. Parts and maintenance are higher than your domestics, so beware.
    Good luck, Sheldon
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    I think that you have to press the odometer button as you switch the key to the ON position without starting the engine. Hold it there until the reminder resets. Please check for anything I may have missed against the owner's manual.
  • Just stopped by the local lexus dealership and saw a very nice 98 with 36k on it. I was browsing this topic and was wondering if the '98s have the power steering issue still? What other issues are there with the '98s? Will the lcd still be a problem? This car has the nak stereo, xenon lamps, cell phone, and chrome wheels. I think those are all the options. Will any of those cause me problems? The salesman knew the owner of that car and supposedly it had been fully serviced at the lexus dealership with full records. I will ask to look at them before purchase to confirm as well.

    BTW the tires are almost gone so what tires do you guys put on your ls400s for a nice lux ride with performance too. Will use the est of new tires to bring down the price somewhat.

    I couldnt read all the posts but I managed to read the begining and last few pages. Other than the power steering it seems these cars just have the normal issues that all other older cars will eventually have. This is a certified car with 3yrs/100k warranty on it.

    Well I think I want to go back at night to try some night driving to see how the lights are and maybe take it up to speed on the highway when less people are out n about.

    Thanks guys; I hope to be a fellow ls400 owner very soon.
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    I bought a used (22k) '98 LS400 last year and I'm extremely happy with it.

    First LS year with 290 hp and 5-speed auto; big differences from my '95 LS400.

    I tossed the Lexus phone and all its hardware; useless in the cellular market 5 years later.

    Great vehicle and with the cert warranty you can't go wrong. As for rubber, pick any Michelin or equivalent tire at $100 or more and you can't go far wrong there either. I put all-season Mich MXV4+ on mine; you can get more sporty rubber at the expense of durability. And don't go overboard on handling type rubber bec the LS suspension is not set-up for that and you'll be wasting money on the purchase and on the short life.
  • rjbusenitzrjbusenitz Posts: 13
    my check engine light was going on and off and finally has stayed on for a while so i decided to test it to see what the problem was. it came up with the number 71 which is listed or described as EGR System malfunction. i was wondering what that is and the seriousness of the problem. i reset the light and it came back on about 35 miles after resetting it. any help?
  • I dont think its too serious. my honda has had an EGR valve problem for a few months now. Drives normal but i think the gas milage suffers as the ecu goes into the safety mode.. am i correct on this?

    Well i gotta find some time to get this sucker fixed. Maybe when the LS400 comes home then I'll take my honda into the shop.
  • c2soxc2sox Posts: 19
    Geez this things driving me nuts.....
    I've checked the connectors and the harness and found nothing wrong with them. Unfortunately I can't locate a shop manual to better diagnose what the heck is going on. I've tried different things and have reset ECU, but it keeps coming back like a bad nightmare. She keeps sputtering and won't hold a consistent idle.

    The air flow meter is not a cheap part $664, what are the chances that the meter itself has crapped out on me? I would assume that these units don't really break down often since it only measures air flow. Any ideas.......anyone?

    Paul29-Thanks for the heads up on an earlier thread on this subject.

    Thanks in advance!
  • marwankwmarwankw Posts: 6
    Hi, I'm interested in installing the original park assist sensors kit from Lexus, the dealer told me that the sensor kit include 2 sensors for back only, anybody know if I bought 2 sets of sensors will I be able to put them in the front also? will it work?
  • lxusruleslxusrules Posts: 33
    I have 91 LS400. My driver side headlamp is out. I tried to replace it but I couldn't get it out. I was able to take out the fog lamp but couldn't get to the headlamp. Do I have to take out the battery to get to it?

    Where do they sell a service manual for my model? I couldn't find it at the local auto part store.

    My yellow engine light have been on for last 4 month. It seems to drive just fine thought. Any diagnostic tips on this?

    I just had my 100K service from independent shop 5 months ago.

    Thanks for your help.

    Danny from SoCal
  • imagine24imagine24 Posts: 3
    Danny, the lights are easy to remove but it helps to have the manual. Send me your fax number and I'll fax you the pages you need. My 91 LS400 has 205,000 on the clock and keeps on ticking. Had it since new. All dealer maintained (expensive at times) but overall, the repair costs (11 years) have been a better alternative to a new car.

  • lxusruleslxusrules Posts: 33

    Thanks for your help. I will email you with my numbers.
    BTW, how much did you pay for your manual? Any chance I can find one from local book store?

  • imagine24imagine24 Posts: 3
    No sweat Dan - the manuals were GIVEN to me by the dealers parts manager when he saw me lusting for them in the parts cabinet! This was in 1991 when the dealer was VERY new. They had three service advisors and, I think, only six bays. Today, they must have fifteen writers and have two buildings of bays and building another! To say things have changed would be an understatement. I have to have one of the oldest single owner cars in their system. I still receive free oil changes (every 3,750) and get a loaner at any time. We traded my wife's LS400 (91 model) on an RX-300 about two years ago. I was all for keeping it but the ashtrays were full and it had to go!! (kidding).
    One point on older LS400's. At the 60,000 mile check, have them change out the water pump! The pump isn't that expensive and when it goes, isn't cheap to fix. Mine went out at 99,000 (under extended warranty) and the 91 is a "zero/zero" engine. The new ones aren't and will trash the engine when the piston meets the valves! No where in ANY service manual will you find a recommendation to change the water pump. Just do it every 60,000 and you never worry. Also, I had the fan pully go out around 195,000. Expensive (got to remove timing belt). Should have replaced at the 180,000 (part cost only) and saved the money but was unaware and the normally excellent service advisor (same one for years) was brain dead that day.

    Another tip. The power steering pump can get stiff and groan. Have them clean the screen and flush with fresh fluid. Mine is still running fine. Have done this trick twice.

    Overall, the car is a tank! Keeps on ticking day in and day out. Only other expensive repairs have been 1) new A/C compressor and 2) rear engine seal. If I sold it, I could only get $6-$7k and would have to replace so why??

    Anyway, some common sense in the 60,000 mile service on over 100,000 mile LS400's will really pay you back!
  • lexus_fanlexus_fan Posts: 6
    Anybody have any idea whether 15mpg (urban stop start driving) is normal for 92 model in UK? That's probably equivalent to about 18 mpg in the US, as US gallons are larger than UK gallons.

    It has always been serviced at Lexus and has 155,000 miles.

    The only time I get decent consumption is when I drive at 65mph with cruise control set, when I get around 30-32 mpg.

    However, driving without cruise on roads with traffic lights at an average speed of 40mph, I struggle to get past 18-19 mpg.

    Is there anything I can do cheaply to improve mpg on this model?


  • For repair manual (Factory, by Lexus) go to I purchased mine for a 97 LS 400, at cost of $130.00. There is a wealth of information contained therein and well worth the investment.

    Weight: 3759 lbs, or 1705 Kilograms
    For fuel consumption, 18-19 gallons is excellent.
    Consider the weight of your vehicle and the size (4.0 liter) of your 8 cylinder motor. Only a miracle could help bring higher MPG in everyday city driving. I would like to point out the brilliant efficiency of the motor at highway speeds, I do not know of another vehicle with same weight and engine size to duplicate this feat (30-32 MPG!). By the way, the LS 400 motor is approved in the USA for aviation use in small aircraft, what do you think about that?

  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    US gal larger than UK gal ? Do you use imperial measure in UK ?
  • lexus_fanlexus_fan Posts: 6
    I suppose what you are saying makes sense, as it is a 10 year old car. When I read car magazines in the UK, and they talk about cars such as Jaguar's 2002 XJR only returning 23mpg(27.5 US mpg) and that has 370 hp. WHen I think of my LS400 with it's 240 hp engine, I think that I should perhaps trade up to a newer model for better fuel consumption.

    Yes, US gallons are larger than UK gallons. Multiply UK gallons by 1.2 to get the equivalent in US gallons. That means I'm getting the equivalent of 37 US mpg on my long highway trips with cruise on. Has anyone ever got more than that on a 92 LS?

    One thing that is odd with my LS is that after cruising for about 90 miles with the cruise set at 110mph one night, I found that I had got 19mpg (US 23mpg). That means I get better mileage driving at 110mph than I do when driving in city traffic.

    Is the LS400 engine optimised when driving at that speed then? Sure makes a strong case for staying in the fast lane!
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    1 US gallon = 3.8 liters approx.

    1 UK (Imperial Gallon) = 4.5 liters approx.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Correct , or in a more direct way 6 US gal. equal approx 5 Imperial gal , or a US gal = 5/6 Imp. gal , or a US gal is approx 83% of an Imp gal. Lexus_fan your conversion factor of 6/5 Imp to US is correct , just your observation of the relationship is off. Picky we are.
  • I have a 96 LS 400 with 95,000 miles It is certified to 100,000 (about two months given the miles I put on it). Over the last 7,000 I have noticed a problem with my power steering.

    After I have been traveling at high speeds, and when i exit a highway, my power steering locks up. I can turn the wheel with two hands, however there is no power and instead it feels like manual steering. Very often once I come to a complete stop, the steering seems to break free and I once again have power steering.

    I have brought it to McGrath Lexus in the Chicago area and they say they can't find or duplicate the problem.

    Anybody have any similar problems or possible solutions? All assistance is appreciated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Hmmm...I wonder if the power steering fluid is cavitating (foaming up with air bubbles) and thereby loses the ability to act hydraulically. I suggest this because it only happens at very high speeds you say. Not sure why this would occur however.

    Seems like the pump would either work or not, so only other thing I can think of is a valving problem in the ram itself.

    You may just have to wait until total failure on this or take your best guess and replace something.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Mr Shiftright is probably on the right track. Check for leaks at the return hose from the steering gear to the pump. A leak on the pump suction side will quickly aerate the fluid.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Oh, that's right! It will suck in air on the return (non-pressure) side. Do indeed check that out.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Yep, just like trying to sip through a straw with a pinhole in it. Something else to check for is a restriction in the return hose; kinked, tight radius turn, breaking down internally, etc.
  • I have a 1999 Lexus LS 400 with 55000 miles on it. I have been getting a vibration or shudder at about 74mph up to 85mph. I had the tires rotated and balanced twice with no help. Could this be a drive shaft problem with the drive shaft being out of balance? Has anybody experience a similar problem
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    All the Lexus have small fine screen in pump and rack to act as filters if you havent changed flushed the PS fluid every 50k, the screens will clog restricting the flow....ultimately causing the pump to wear and fail. The pressure build up can cause leaks on the alternator causing it to fail.
    Changing all the fluids annually is the key to getting 300k out of them.
  • lexus_fanlexus_fan Posts: 6
    anyone know of any non-lexus dealers that can service 1992 LS400 in the UK?

    Now that the car is so old, there doesn't seem a point to paying £90 per hour labour prices at Lexus dealers.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    Wellenberger -- I would say that your problem is being mis-diagnosed regarding balance. Driveshaft problems are invariably low rpm problems before they are high rpm problems, that is, you'd notice vibration at much lower speeds, not just suddenly at 70 mph or so. Also, driveshafts don't usually just "go out of balance" on their own. They would have to be removed or damaged first.

    I would suggest looking at rear wheel balance or damaged wheel or out of round tire. If that doesn't work, you could look at components that SUPPORT the driveshaft, such as a worn center support bearing, or a binding U-joint that looks and feels fine but in fact cannot flex properly due to rust or a bad needle bearing.

    If none of that shows up anything, you could be in for a hard time.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • mjgoldmjgold Posts: 5
    An independant mechanic told me that I can use regular gas instead of premium in my 1992 LS400 with no harm to the engine and loss in performance. Any opinions?
  • mjgoldmjgold Posts: 5
    My coolant tank is leaking. If I find the leaking hole or the crack in the tank, can it be permanently sealed?
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