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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • crowbait1crowbait1 Posts: 15
    Just to contribute to the "what to expect" thread: Over the last 4 years I've put 100K miles on a 92LS I bought with a little over 100K on it. Beyond normal wear and tear items this car has been very reliable. I replaced the A/C (not uncommon for any car of this age) and had a few minor electrical issues, all with well-known fixes either in the connectors under the rear seat or in the trunk hinge wiring. There are a few petty annoyances like a leaking time / temp LCD that I decided to live with and a very, very slowly "weeping" power steering pump that has responded well to a periodic flush and top up. I have been so pleased with this vehicle that I just purchased a '98 with, yes you guessed, it 100K, and look forward to doing it all over again. One added thought - four years ago for the same money I could have purchased a two or three-year-old minivan or a brand new Chevy Cavalier (yipee). All in, either would have cost me as much or more to own than my LS. The LS is a great car, as or more reliable at 100K than most cars are brand new.
  • macbeansmacbeans Posts: 1
    My 1998 LS400 w/95K miles has been meticulously maintained from day one. The ride feels "rougher" than normal- especially when fully loaded. Car has been driven about 50-50 highway/city miles. How many miles can I expect to get from struts/shocks etc?
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi Macbeans,
      I had to replace my strut inserts around 78K on my 92 LS400. I think the Suspension on this car allows for the replacement of the insert rather than the whole entire strut. It was about 1.5 hrs of Labor for each one, and the total charge was $325 for rear replacement at the Lexus dealer. Hope this helps

  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    It seems to me that the driver's seat bottom cushion on my '01 LS430 has gotten harder over time. I don't think it's my imagination, because my wife has complained about it, too. Has anyone else noticed this? Has anyone tried to do anything about it? I recently sat in an '04, though, and it seemed about the same. Confusing.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Or as we grow older our bottoms get "softer".
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I have one front strut that goes down when the car isn't on, the rest are fine. Any experience on replacement options, or recommendations would be helpful. Are there any aftermarket units that would be cheaper than the Toyota parts? My dealer is quoting me $1000 per corner. 91 LS 400.
    130,000 miles.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
      Is it possible to have an non-Lexus shop do it for you? The Lexus dealers charge outrageous labor rates, and I suspect you'd be able to get the parts fairly cheaply at I believe they're a Lexus dealer in the Carolinas that sells genuine parts at discounted prices. I've used them in the past, and they are pretty prompt with getting back to you.

    How is your LS treating you? My 92 just hit 90K. I've been entertaining some thoughts of replacing it (it's my second car), but hesitate to do so. The build quality of this car is better than anything I see out there today.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The leak turned out to be a hose/line, not the strut, so I dodged the bullet this time. I've been putting a lot of money into it lately - I'm thinking it's time to upgrade. It's a fine car, and the best looking of the model, IMO. But lots of things are wearing out now.
  • Passenger door lock failed today. Had to exit car through passenger side. Lock partially unlocks, will not unlock all the way.

    Failed California smog as a Gross Polluter. Mechanic (heretoforth trusted) replaces two catalytic converters - smog actually got WORSE - all for $1000.

    Now searching for a new mechanic... (sigh) ....
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The computer isn't throwing a code?
  • My Bud has a 1993 LS 400 with the fluorescent lights flickering, dash is now dark. It would be shame to change the whole unit!, is it needed to change the whole cluster? Does any one know of a rebuilt unit being available? (Like Mikado, for the climate controls!).
    I would think a junk yard unit (like wwest put in) is very risky (Who knows age and it if will last!) to purchase and install.
    A new unit (Just put in a request @ for price) is possibly a small fortune.

    Is there a fuse or loose wire here, or a dead dash ? please advise.
    Also, if I need a new whole cluster is it a complicated unit for me to install myself?

    Thank you , Sheldon
  • lex-pertlex-pert Posts: 1
    Hello Sheldon. The flickering dash light (instrument cluster) problem is very common on the 93/94 LS400 cars. I know because I have one!

    Mine was doing that a couple years ago so I took it to the dealer. They wanted $1400 to replace the circuit boards that are contained in the instrument cluster. They also wanted several hundred to then correct the odometer to reflect the true mileage. The mileage is stored on a chip on one of those circuit boards.

    Well, I went home and thought about it. I decided to just live with the problem. Then the problems began to get worse and other things began to fail. The fuel gauge was at first inaccurate then just quit operating altogether. Other lights on the center console began failing as well. The speedometer was working but you couldn't see it. After my wife ran out of gas, and then got a speeding ticket, I decided to have a look at it myself.

    I'm an electronics engineer by trade, so I decided that I was determined to find and fix this problem on my own car then offer help to others with similar problems.

    Well, I did just that. I have now repaired hundreds of these from all over the world!!!

    It is not a simple fix that I can tell you to replace this or that part and it's cured. It's just not that simple. There are a number of things that can and do go wrong on the circuit boards and cause several different symptoms. The most common symptom is the blinking needles and back-lighting on the instrument cluster. Second most common is the fuel gauge not working or not accurate.

    I have compiled an informational email that tells you exactly how to remove the instrument cluster from the car and then how to remove the circuit boards from the instrument cluster. I also have a more comprehensive description of all the symptoms. Last, but not least, I have information on how someone can get those circuit boards repaired.

    If you will Email me at I'll email you all that information.

    Jim Walker
  • kimsingerkimsinger Posts: 12
    I would like to ask if you ever solved this idle problem because my 1995 LS has the same issue. It's fine on short journeys, but anything over around 30 or so miles at highway speeds and it's likely to stall when you lift off the gas pedal. It restarts fine and otherwise runs great. Any comments please?
  • kimsingerkimsinger Posts: 12
    Forgive me if this has been covered before. (I searched but couldn't find anything helpful.)

    My 1995 LS400 runs great on short trips, but it does have a tendency to stall after it's been driven for more than 30 miles or so at highway speeds. It re-starts OK, but will continue to stall thereafter if you lift off the gas at speed and thereby allow the revs to drop right down.

    If anyone has any ideas, I'd be delighted to hear them. Thanks.
  • kimsingerkimsinger Posts: 12
    Thanks for the spam tip, aggie76, but I thought my email address was designated as "private" for the purposes of this forum. Am I wrong about that, or are you referring to an old post?
  • aggie76aggie76 Posts: 266
    Sorry, meant to reply to "lex-pert" on his post about the dash lights flickering and responded to the wrong e-mail. My error in not reading closer.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
      The Lexus dealer informed my that the Strut Bushings on my 92 are cracked and need replacement. They quoted $550 for the repair. I'm not familiar at all with suspensions, but will they be able to replace the shocks at the same time? Given the age of the car, they're probably due for replacement as well. Also the prices for the shock inserts are reasonable at $63 a piece.

  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,094
    Posting your email address is not a good idea on a public message board as the spybots that troll through will pick it up and you will most likely begin receiving spam email. As only Town Hall members can access other member profiles, you can make your email address public and then reference members to check your profile for your address. If you wish, you can always delete your post and re-post without the address.

    If you have any questions/concerns, please let me know via email. Check my profile. :-)

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  • Removed cluster, took less than 30 min. Very few screws, a little tricky with removal of wire connectors (particularly due to broken tilt steering column which did not allow wheel to move out of way!). Sent unit out to repair for under $300 arrived back today, in same week and I will install by weeks end. Will follow up on how it goes. Most handy persons could do this repair by themselves, rebuilder in CA. is very helpful and always available to answer my questions, so far so good!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,111
    I think our 1990 LS 400 Lexus is a fine riding and handling car. I think it is more prone to troubles than it should be. It has been serviced every time at the dealer my wife purchased it through. We now have 79,993 miles.
    The airbag light came on about 50k miles dealer wants $2000 to repair. Rearview mirror went out at about 55k miles repair estimate $1200. Gas gauge quit at 65k miles $1200 estimate. To me that is an outrageous amount to pay for repairs on a vehicle with less than 100k miles. My Chevy trucks and Suburban are much more reliable and less expensive to repair.
  • In 14 years of ownership you have 3 major issues..None of which you have felt a need to repair and none that will leave you stranded.

    Amortized over your 14 years of ownership that would amount to $366 per year if you fixed all three....That doesn't sound so bad to me.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,111
    You may be right. It just seemed expensive to spend $1200 for little problems. It is like Lexus has a standard charge for every little repair $1200. Service was never cheap either. I think over the years it averaged over $400 per visit to the dealer. Our old Mercedes 300sd was not as expensive to maintain.
  • Mercedes were fantastic 15 years ago...Electronic's in todays cars have pretty much distroyed their bullet proof reputation.

    Maybe a new LS430 in your future?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,111
    NOt unless they re-design. They are not very attractive to my wife or myself. Of course I still think the SC400 is the best looking car Lexus ever built. I just do not like the new ones. We would probably buy the MB E320 CDI if the LS400 has any serious problems.
  • I agree with you on the SC 400.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Especially the first couple years when they had the black underchin spoiler in the front.
  • kl3415kl3415 Posts: 12
    My master key is damaged around the top where you hook it to a key ring. The remote works but I can no longer place the key on a ring as the top is broken. I went to the dealer and was told to get a new one would require a kit that changes the chip in my car to match a new key ; all total 500 bucks. Does anyone know where I can find a replacement housing that allows me to move the electronics from my existing key into it? I like the ability to unlock my car from a distance but not enough to pay 500.
  • You could contact a local Welder or maybe a Jeweler, and have them fix the top part. I was told the master keys were $300 for a new one.

    A fix would probable be $20 or $30 bucks.
  • aggie76aggie76 Posts: 266
    A couple of months ago I had to replace the battery in my GS key and found several reference to buying new keys on the Lexus Club board. You might search there for some alternatives.
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