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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • jo49jo49 Posts: 1
    97 LS400 w/ 90k...whenever I go over a sharp bump/turn into driveway, car feels/sounds like its "bottoming out." Also, at times, sounds like a "creaking noise" from front end. NTW told me it does not need new shocks. Have taken it to dealer w/ vague description of above to no avail. Re-reading "blkmgk" #1069, am wondering if issues are related. Any ideas/suggestions? Help!
  • rocklandrockland Posts: 6
    I have a 1999 Lexus LS 400 and in the past few months, occasionally at first but more frequently recently, on attempting to start the car, turning the key results in the car just clicking and the dash fading to black. On repeated tries, the car "catches" and the engine roars to life. The battery is a year old. It seems to occur when the car has sat for at least a few hours, however, days can go by with longer intervals between use and no problems. Suggestions, PLEASE. Thanks.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    both battery terminals, clean and burnish them and the battery posts thoroughly, reinstall, tighten, drive happily.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    Your creaking problems sound similiar to mine. My 92 LS just went through it's 90K check (@84K incidentally) and has been experiencing the same problem. The dealer says it's definitely the ball joints. I'm also told, this problem is very common on this car. They wanted $500 to do both.

    As to whom should service these cars, I'd reccommend the dealer. You'd be surprised how willing they are to negoiate on price. I've been doing this for over 8 yrs. Simply call the local Lexus dealers (if possible) and get your favored
    one to match.

    This is my first post on this board. I'm interested to hear 1990-1994 LS owners experience with their cars in terms of long term reliability. Do you all feel that cars this old are worth keeping?

  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    As a 2 shop large independent we service around 1,000 Lexus 400 I have never seen [even the worst ones] require more than $2,800 per year prorated service, maintenance and repairs. We have a few customers with over 270,000 miles.
    Even if you have to replace a poorly maintained engine the cost approximates only $5,500 [used wreck take out]. The trannies almost never fail if maintained same with diff and drive shaft, the AC is good for 200,000 miles if maintained.

    They are the least expensive of all the big V8 lux cars to maintain and HOLD for almost forever.
    But you must spend at least 11 cents per mile from brand new.........Hondas cost around 7-8 cents for wear items [tires, brakes, shocks, belts], maintenance and repairs based on 200,000 miles of use.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
      Thank you for your informative post. My '92 LS w/ 84K just went through the 90K service. Surprisingly, the power steering pump had to be replaced adding an additional $700 to the bill.

    My dealer informed me to expect these frequent costly repairs as the car gets older and basically told me to get rid of it. To date, this is the only thing that has gone wrong with the car in the 8.5 yrs I've owned it. I'm interested to hear from the Forum about their opinions on owning a LS for the long term.

    My personal preference is to keep the car. But if I have to budget $2,000 yearly for a car worth about $7500 then reality sets in.

    Your opinions would be greatly appreciated,

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    $2000.00 annually for maintenance is not nearly as costly as the payments on a new LS430.

    Isn't that your real choice?

    I take it from your statement that replacing the power steering pump came as news, a surprise, to you. Other than income, $$$, what was it that led the dealer to think your power steering pump needed replacing?

    Sounds to me that if you could avoid being scammed by the dealer then the $2000 annual maintenance fee might be lower, a LOT lower.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Thanks for your post wwest,

     Actually I have a new LS430. I bought it b/c I craved all the new electronic toys that my older LS's didn't have. I traded in my 98 LS400 for the new one. But I've always kept the '92 as it really has a timeless design. The car still looks great and has the flair that the new cars lack.

    The power steering pump had developed a leak and was leaking right over the alternator. They showed it to me and it was blantantly obvious that I needed to replace it. The surprise came, as the car has been flawless for the 8 1/2 yrs I've had it.

    I suppose keeping the '92 has always been an emotional decision. I still love it, but $2K a year seems to be excessive. Nothing is meant to last forever, but if it behaves, I'm inclined to keep it.

  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    I have a '98 LS400 as well (only 39k) and I've been thinking about moving up to a LS430 like you did.

    I'd like to know your evaluation of the differences between the two. In advance, thanks!

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My 92 LS is still in the family too.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    It's a substantial improvement..The LS430 is wider and has one monster of a V-8. (but you already know that since you've got a '98) The ride is about the same unless you get the Sports Suspension. Then there is a noticeable improvement in handling during high speeds..

    If you're looking for the latest and greatest offering of features the 430 has the edge. The touchscreen and Voice activated NAV system is a tech junkie's dream. I love fiddling with the Heated/Air cooled seats. The Mark Levinson stereo system is amazing. If you want a toy, this is it!

    The car is immensely luxurious. The leather, wood trim, and other refinments ooze with luxury. Essentially the 430 is a substantial upgrade in those terms. Ride and feel are essentially the same. The only thing that displeases me is the exterior of the car. It's destined to look "old" within a few years. As I've constantly lamented, it lacks the flair of my '92 LS. But if you don't care, then I'd highly recommend getting one.

    Reliablity is good, but I've had issues with the steering wheel motor (Auto retract) and assorted annoying things like the Auto wipers coming on during 90 degree days. All were fixed under warranty.

    The car is set for a minor refresing of styling next year '04 and a major one in '06. If money isn't a factor, then go for it. But waiting for the '06 might be worth waiting for.

    Hope this helps,
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    Good analysis. I'll probably pick up a CPO or private party '01 or '02 off lease within a year. Good tip on the sports suspension - is there an easy way to tell its installed on a used LS430- like larger rims or perhaps the "summer" tires? Of course those could be gone by the sales date.

    Thanks again - and I agree on your styling analysis!
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    So the PS pump lasted only 8.5 years because you didn't change the fluid......that's your fault!

    $2,000 per year is cheap obviously you are not maintaining the car to as new standards: tires, brakes , shocks, suspension rubber bushings, total fluid changes etc, alignments.

    Of course I am assuming 15,000 miles per year usage.......something like 13 cents per mile.

    I see you only drove 84k in 11-12 years,you have yet to reach the 150,000-200,000-250,000 mile marks when my numbers apply.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
       Actually I Have been keeping up with the maintenance. I've followed the factory schedule religiously. The PS pump issues were not known to me, so that probably is my fault. Why isn't it in the factory schedule? Just put on new Michelin MXV4's 10K miles ago, but the tires are swapped off in the winters anyway. Brakes are updated when needed, and I've replaced the rear shocks. All the fluids are changed when need be. The car is garaged and polish/waxed every 2 months and washed/cleaned once a week. Believe me, I have not shortchanged on maintenance in any way.

    The A/C is rarely used, and I only drive 5-7K per year. I use the LS430 for most everything else. Within the next year, I'll probably get a little Toyota as a winter runner so I can keep this one in the garage during the harsh New England winters.

    My point about $2K a year is simply this: It doesn't make sense to spend that sort of money on car worth $7.5K at the most. But I think 2K might be a high estimate considering the conditions this specific car is operated under. I certainly appreciate your post Q45man and I feel that you feel the same enthusiasm for these cars as I do!

     The sports suspension features 17 inch wheels and Dunolop tires (I don't remember the specific ones, I'll go look at the car and check) Also there are little decals on the side that says "Sports Suspension" on the front fenders near the drivers and passenger doors. I'd get a '02 if possible. They have the voice activated controls that the '01 doesn't. Plus whatever issues with the initial production were probably resolved in the '02.

    Happy Motoring!
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    We repair a lot of them every day [we have 3,140 Lexus customer between two shops- 73% are second owners].
    Remember the factory fluid replacement schedule is created to get the car thru the warranty period!
    The early models were pretty bullet proof, the later ones are subject to more stress as the suspension has been tightened up.

    It's a shame they didn't create a schedule to make sure the car lasts 300,000 miles with no/few hard part replacements......but since most only keep the car 60k that would help few new buyers.

    The 2nd and 3rd owners would bless you however.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    When I look at my 92 LS I don't think of what I could get if I sold it, I think of what it's worth to ME!
  • blkmgkblkmgk Posts: 54
    Since no one seems to have performed this operation of replacing a ball joint, I would appreciate it if q45 man would answer this question. Is this something I can do myself or does it HAVE to go to shop?
    Lower right side ball joint.
    Thanks for your response.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I have all four shocks/struts, protective boots, and two lower front ball joints, all ready to install as soon as I find the time. Used 92 LS, 150k, I purchase in PHX in May.

    The shop manual calls for a "special" tool to extract the ball joint from the steering arm and the lower wheel mount. I plan to rent that and the spring compressor.

    Oh, 959 isn't so HOT, desireable, with the C4S now available.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    There is nothing on an LS 400 that you can't change if you have the correct tools and a lift. {I hate the thought of jacks and jack stands but few people die each year from improper use....maybe an arm or a leg.}
    The upper/lower control arms [bushings] and tension rods wear on all high mileage units.
    Same with rear suspension.

    To me a high mileage unit has at least 200,000 miles......that's when things really start need replacing.
  • rocklandrockland Posts: 6
    Thanks to wwest for the tip of cleaning the battery terminals since my 1999 LS would not turn over despite a newer battery (the car sporadically would only click when the key is turned in the ignition, but with repeated tries, eventually "catch" and roar to life - see posting 1071). Sadly, the problem persists despite the now very clean and lightly greased posts on my battery. Any other suggestions please.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Pull the starter and have it bench tested. It sounds like it's drawing too much current. Starters can work intermittently when they're going out.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I have had an instance when the battery post/terminal was broken down inside the battery so sometimes it wouldn't start until I "jiggled" the post.

    And be sure and check the other end of the battery cable connections.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi all,
    Just took the 1992 Ls back on the highway post 90K service. It drove just like the day I bought it!! I'm surprised how a 11 yr old car can make so little noise at 80 MPH. The Lexus dealer did an outstanding job on the car as there was a dramatic improvement in performance.

    The outstanding quality of the ride alleviated some of my concerns about getting hit with nasty repair bills in the future. Hopefully the car behaves so I can justify keeping it without the Mrs. locking me in the garage. :P I suppose at 84K the car isn't too old, so I'll just hold my breath for now.

    In other news, the LS430 has developed this habit of making a shrill tone at me intermittently. They had to replace the rain sensor b/c the wipers would come on for no reason during warm weather.

    I also had to get the steering wheel inner assembly replaced b/c it made a racket when I first bought it..It really seems like the LS430 wasn't built as well as the original LS400's. All of this was done under the warranty, but I never had these issues with the '92..Weird..

  • pcolamanpcolaman Posts: 2
    My 98 LS400 is approaching 60,000 miles. Can anyone provide me with a detailed list of things I need to have done to keep this fine car running forever? Please inform me what fluids need to be replaced at this time (tranny, A/C, brakes, etc). If I take my Lexus to the dealership for the 60K service, will everything that should be done be taken care of? Are there any additional items that should be serviced?

    Thank you for any ifo you may be able to provide.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Has anyone replaced the Lexus 400 struts (non Sports Suspension) with aftermarket struts??? Is there a demonstrable difference in the quality of ride and handling???

  • 98ls40098ls400 Posts: 2
    1998 LS-400 w/o Air Suspension with 43,500 miles.
    Recent alignment values and shifts. Problem is that the tires are wearing on the outside edge. Are the Toe changes typical (both after four months of normal driving) ? If not, what could be the reason ?

    Dec. '02
    LF Actual RF
    0.1 Camber 0.2
    6.8 Caster 6.8
    0.14 Toe 0.17

    LR Actual RR
    -0.7 Camber -1.0
    0.08 Toe 0.10

    Apr. '03 (4 months after aligned)
    LF Before RF --> LF After RF
    0.1 Camber 0.1 --> 0.2 Camber 0.1
    7.0 Caster 6.7 --> 7.0 Caster 6.7
    0.23 Toe 0.21 --> 0.16 Toe 0.16

    LR Before RR --> LR After RR
    -0.8 Camber -0.9 --> -0.8 Camber -0.9
    0.06 Toe 0.06 --> 0.11 Toe 0.09

    Currently Aug. '03 (4 months after aligned)
    LF Actual RF
    0.7 Camber -0.1
    6.9 Caster 6.6
    0.25 Toe 0.00

    LR Actual RR
    -0.6 Camber -0.8
    0.35 Toe 0.30

    All tires have significant wear on the outside edge. The front left tire is starting to show the second ply. Now am getting ready to install Michelin MXV4+. Very concerned that the expensive Michelin's might get ruined on the outside edge too. Dealer is telling me the car need to be aligned every 6 to 12 months. Help ! I am very frustrated with this problem ! ! !
  • ltsengltseng Posts: 9
    If you're still reading this topic, please tell me what brand it is the aftermarket cd changer and model number you memtioned on message 537 to replace your 92 LS400 OEM CD changer? Thanks.
  • My 99 LS 400 is close to 60K and I'd appreciate feedback from members on
    (1) whether to get it done at DEALER or LOCAL SHOP
    (2) How much a DEALER [ in NJ ] typicaly charges
    (3) What are some of the items the Dealer adds-on
        that are not REALLY necessary for 60 K service
  • jeffmust2jeffmust2 Posts: 811
    Anyone with experience replacing a dead rear door speaker in a '98 or similar LS400?

    Hope it's the speaker and not the head unit or amp. Dealer wants $300 to replace the Pioneer speaker "assembly" and that's too high.

    In advance thanks for any advice.
  • I recently bought a 94 ls400 with a driver door dead speaker, it is a 4 and 1/4 inch,very hard to find a new or used one except dealer,but it cost to much.So I bought a pair of Polk Audio 4 inch and changed on both front doors. The pair I bought sound even better than the original. The original was Nakimichi. The Polk Audio was coaixl
    speaker. So if you know how to remove the door panel you can up grade and change both doors and save you money. The pair I bought was top of line and cause me $80 some only cause $20 a pair.By the way I have one Nakimichi door speaker for sale if any one interest.
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