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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Thanks for your post...I am used to Mercedes cars that run for nearly 20 years without a problem. My brother still has an ancient 300D that runs like a charm. It hasn't needed much nor has his old 420 SE..He swears by these old Mercedes cars. Look at the mileage of this car: 96,000 miles. It's been garaged and babied to no end..I am just disappointed with the overall experience I had at the dealership today. They added in unnecessary labor charges (Overlapping jobs) and work that the mechanic said did not need to be done. Initially they told me $4200. After making an appointment to come and see the car they made me wait for 40 minutes while they aimlessly tried to locate the mechanic and then the car....Not what I'm used to, and I've owned Lexus cars since they came out..

  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Take a paper clip , straighten it out , bend in half , this is now your jumper, lift the cover on the grey diagnostic box and stick the two ends of the clip in the the positions previously stated do not make an error , now turn on the ign ( do not attempt to start ) . If you are not sure of your ability to follow this , perhaps you have a friend who is car savy and can help , the responsibility is completely on you . If there are codes stored in the engine computer the check engine light will blink out the codes . Do you know how to read them ? If you post the codes , someone one this board or myself will tell you what they refer to .
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    You seem enamored with Mercedes , and yes they are a good car , a great car , imo no. This comment is specifically referring to the two models you mention . Is the 300d you refer to an normally aspirated or turbo diesel ? You are talking dealer prices on the Lexus repair and independent prices on the Benz . If you have any Benz model ( not that 20 yr old stuff ) that is as sophisticated as your Lexus you will have to take it to a dealer also , as very few people can diagnose the problem , let alone fix it . ( try pulling the engine codes from a pre 1996 Merc , it will cost you at least a hundred at the dealership , with the Lexus you can do it yourself ) . Most Merc dealers have the customer hosing routine down to a science .
  • walkjcwalkjc Posts: 6
    Hello All!
    I'm thinking about buying a 98 LS 400 with 80,000 miles. I'd be getting rid of a passat to make this move. I'm a pretty tall guy and am excited about all of the leg room and decent 25 mpg HWY. I have a couple of quick questions:

    1. Is it relatively easy to find private mechanics to work on these vehicles (who actually know what they're doing)? I live in Houston and found that I have to get the VW serviced by the dealer since no one else will work on it and the dealer does an extremely pricey yet lousy job 98% of the time.

    2. I'm assuming the LS 400 will need the usual 80,000 - 100,000 miles tlc as I am buying it on ebay without maintenance records (CARFAX looks good). Any ball park maintenance figures out there?
    I found out that the complete VW passat 60,000 mile service was $1,100 (too much for that car). A passat timing belt (which I haven't done yet) is $800 - $900 and can only be done by the dealer since only they have the magic tool with which to do the job.

    3. Anything anyone can think of as words of caution/encouragement? I'm really looking for a classy, well made, reliable auto with relatively infrequent maintenance issues, but I also realize that this sort of car may sometimes have costly upkeep.

    Thanks for reading and if you would, please throw in your 2 cents, I'd really appreciate it.
  • I went and tried to jump it with a paper clip no nothing, question there is like some brown color grease glue all over that where you stick the clips at is that suppose to be there? how can I tell if the computer working or not.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    The grease is supposed to be there it is dielectric grease , it is there to prevent corrosion , it is non conductive . Double check that you pushed the jumper all the way down and turned the key until the dash lights are on . the check engine light will flash the codes and also the o/d light will flash In the grey connector box there is a two row set of pins and a three row set . Are you are jumping in the three row block of pins towards the firewall , In this three row block you will jump the center one ( TE1 )and the forward (front) one on the driver's side within this 3 row block E1 . Do not jump any pins in the two row block. If this doesn't work there is another round covered TDCL connector under the dash approx where your left knee would be in the driving position .. The pin locations are laid out differently in this connector ( layout on the cover ) but the procedure is the same . I always use the under hood one as it is easier to see but they both do basically the same function . If all your dash lights come on but no blinking you have not made proper contact with the pins or you may have more serious problems.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I suspect that should you take a good look at the ACTUAL factory scheduled maintenance requirements for your VW you will find that done "by the book" the cost for 60k service will be less than $100.

    And if you're gullible enough to swallow that $1,100 60k story from VW you absolutely don't want to ever hear a Lexus dealer's "recommended" 60k service.
  • I tried again under the hood applying pressure to the clip ends till it was a firm postion and turn the ignition to on, (not cranked) and the check engine stays on but do not flash I repeated this several times and the same out come. I tried inside the car but the space is to small for me and I can't get the clips in there. if i'm not getting any power to be able to check the codes what do that mean? Is there fuse/or circuit related to this that maybe blown?
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Do you have a multimeter ? If so check voltage between TE1 and E1 with the ignition on . You should show 4-6 volts . If not ,then check for continuity between E1 and ground .
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    I got the Lexus XM installation, and I observe that the "TEXT" display that shows the names of the song and artist is only 10 characters, even though there is space for many more characters. Is this normal? I have an aftermarket XM installation in my LX470, and it displays many more characters. Incidentally, I had the antenna installed in the middle of the front edge of the trunk lid, even though the service advisor swore that the accuracy of the nav system would be affected and strongly advised against it. (The recommended location is on the left side of the trunk lid, which as far as I'm concerned is aesthetically unacceptable.) As far as I can tell, there is no problem with the nav. It seems to be accurate to about 50 feet most of the time, which is about the same as the LX470's nav.
  • hello I went out there fooling with my timing belt trying to line it up as those picture on the website that was given to me and I guess those other 2 mechanics who previously tried setting it did it wrong the first guy said no compression after he was done, second guy said no spark after he was done so I sett it and it cranked.
    now i'm trying to put everything back together now which I just about did. my problem is I forgot which atf hose go where there is a big hose coming from the driver side of radiator and a smaller hose right in front of the place where you plug the 2 atf hoses which hose go on the transmission fluid connector the smaller hose or the bigger hose
  • 98 LS400 80,000 miles Buy It You'll never regret it. I have one with 300,000 miles and I wouldn't think about trading. Great Car
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    The limited text display is normal for the LS430. I had the antenna moved from the left side of the trunk lid to top center about 18 months ago and did not notice any difference in the quality of XM reception or NAV operations. Left side of the trunk lid looks awful.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    There are two metal pipe connections at the front of the engine one supplies fluid to the rad and the other returns it to the trans . From what you said I do not know if you have the flex hoses attached to the pipes or the rad . Any way the passenger side flex hose attached to the pass side metal pipe on the engine attaches to the pass side of rad . The flex hose with the protector covering ( large longer hose ?) attaches to the driver's side metal pipe at the engine and the driver's side of the rad . Just remember from the engine pipe connections out the hoses do not cross each other.
  • after setting the timing and I putt everything back together got the atf hoses right and refilled the car with transmission fluid I let the car run to warm up and to burn off old gas/fumes out of the exhaust it didn't stall. the car while in park no more overheating, the engine wasn't shaking or making no noises. I put the car in drive and eased my way pressing the gas and at that slight touch I started hearing a sound excuse my grammer like a farting sound puut, puut, puut it soon stop pushing the gas pedal further down but the car wasn't picking up. I'm at a stop sign it stalls but starts right back up pu,pu, pu sound then I get on a straight away trying to build speed up which it did after easing my foot on the gas pedal slowly if I pushed hard it would slow the car up and probably would shut off but I didn't let that happen, and coming up on a hill forget it a turtle would of beat me in a race! each light it would stall but it would start right back up. These two situations may have something to do with those symptoms I'm not sure this is why i'm asking but while taking off the mass airflow unit I broke a small connecting hose. also when I went to a lexus site showing me the spark plug connecting diagram 1990 to 1994 it showed on the right cylinder head front to back 2-4-5-8 on the left cylinder head front to back 1-3-6-7 which after seeing that I changed mines to that before it was 2-4-6-8 right cylinder head and the left cylinder head 1-3-5-7 so basically I switched the #5 wire on right cylinder head with the #6 wire on the left cylinder head. which way is correct? The car didn't get hot, it didn't jerk no loud popping noise
  • I glued and taped that broken plastic connector with hose on mass airflow unit which the puut, puut stopped and the power is alot better but I need to replace that part asap cause its not sealed well. but I'm still concern about the spark plug wires I switched
  • dhanks2dhanks2 Posts: 1
    Recently on a long trip the lexus slowed to a stop and died. waited 20 minutes trying to call out of the desert, with out success, the car started and I slowly made my way to Kingman Arizona. Had the fuel filter changed. Car ran like normal for about a month, and I returned to California. Then after twenty minutes driving in the city it started hesitating, chugging and I slowly made it home. Any ideas what could be wrong. check engine light did not come on. Many thanks Del
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    On the driver's side ( left ) the cylinder numbers are the odd ones ie. 1-3-5-7 front to back , on the pass side ( right) are the even numbered cylinders 2-4-6-8 front to back, all v engines are laid out this way . Now using this layout of the cylinders and you are standing in front of the car , start from the driver's side and go across both dist caps , you see ten terminals , eight are for plugs and two are for the coils . The first terminal wire from the driver's side ( on the driver's side cap ) is # 1 cyl , second is #7 cyl , third is the left coil wire , the fourth is #6 cyl, the fifth is #4 cyl that's the left dist cap , now continuing in the same direction on the right cap starting on the driver's side ( of the pass side cap) the sixth wire is #5 cyl , the seventh is #3cyl , the eighth is a coil wire , the nineth is #8 cyl , and the tenth and last is #2 cyl . It can be confusing as these twin dist systems fire alternately . The actual firing order is 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2.
  • I was jumping it wrong with the clip but I found a diagram on how to jump it here are the series of the check light flashing 1time-2time-1time-3time-1time-4time-4time-1time then it start over again.what does this mean?
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    You have 4 codes 12,13,14,41 . The first three relate to RPM signal and ignition , no doubt caused in your attempts to start/run the car after the botched repair by the mechs . The fourth is a throttle position sensor problem which you probably had originally . Now you want to erase the codes , At the fuse box in front of the radiator fill tank ( the rad cap is on the rad fill tank ) and behind the battery , loosen the two screws with a penny or coin of some sort remove the cover and turn over, inside you will see a diagram of the fuses/relays and a white fuse removal tool setting on a mount . Use this tool to remove the EFI fuse ( 20amp yellow ) for twenty secs or more with the ignition switch off . then reinsert it . Now start and take the car for a drive if you can . When you return , do the code reading again . Are you having fun yet !!
  • this time the codes came back 13 and 41, you said the 13 is ignition related I believe my intial timing is off making the car lack of power retarded timing if so how do I correct that
  • It just spin over and over no start
  • I redone the code check and only code 24 comes up, well the last time it was started for like 15 seconds I had the mass airflow sensor unit off then I cut it off but now it won't start up again with the mass airflow sensor on
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Code 13 refers to a problem in the engine speed sensor area could be an open or short in the circuit , or speed sensor plate on backwards ( concave side should be to the front ) or teeth missing/bent or connector not on properly , or even a problem with the timing belt which you have replaced , etc. The plate and sensor can be seen in the link in post 1657 on page 36 the plate and teeth are self evident , the pickup and connector are at the bottom right corner. Now each time you think you have found or fixed something , cancel the codes and re try the car , then reread the code/s. The event which caused code 13 could be related to the belt coming off maybe damaging the sensor or teeth , or the parts were not re installed and connected correctly as more than one person has been playing with it .
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Get your damaged air flow/mass unit repaired/replaced before you do anymore and a tip , do not start the car unless you have every thing hooked up , you are generating codes which have nothing to do with your original problem .
  • I took off the crankshaft pulley and timing cover and the round metal plate is bent I think i put it on backwards was hard to get off. is it best to replace it are they expensive? I'm trying to understand why my car won't start, when it was starting and I was driving it yesterday the car wasn't having power which I think it was retarded timing which has something to do with the ignition timing would driving it or running it like that can make the ignition timing worst to the point it won't start? do code 41 or 13 has any link to why it won't fire up
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Yes , can be related , replace the timing disk behind the pulley it has 12 teeth and must be mounted mounted with the concave ( dished ) side out . The teeth should align approx with the center of sensor at the bottom right of the picture , but not touch it of course and it is positioned by the key on the crank nose . Should not be expensive but you may have to order as there would be no call for it normally . When taking mechanical units apart I use a "marks a lot " or similar felt marker to identify and indicate position of the removed pieces to facilitate reassembly , some times you are days before you get back to the job and can forget . This part is no doubt the cause of your code 13 . The code 41 is related to your tps - throttle position sensor , this is the main tps not the sub tps ( your car can have two tps's if it has traction control), this is probably why your car was stalling/stumbling /hesitation - poor idle before the tim/ belt failed .You will need a new one , don't pay to get it diagnosed , the diagnosis will cost more than the part , about $80 range ..There is an upgraded tps available for your car , it is part # 894520-22090 , make sure this is the one you get at a dealer , the number is on the head of the tps. As far as installation of the TPS , I would get a dealer to do it as the adjustment procedure is critical . Some have just put it on in the same position but that is not the way to go . It must be adjusted properly and you should have a good multimeter to do it , a Fluke 88 or similar is what a good shop would use . Forget using any local mech for this one as they don't have the manuals .After getting the disk and air flow sensor repaired/ installed and everything buttoned up , disconnect the battery for a few minutes , then reconnect and then try your re start . The car ran with the original tps so it should also run now at least enough to get it to the repair shop.
  • My 1990 lexus LS400 has no heat, the air condition is cold as ice, but the heater doesnt work, the local mechanic said the hatch would not open to let the hot air in, does anyone have an idea to what might be the problem? Im hoping this is just a common problem that is easy to fix, if not then I will probably have to go to a dealer, thanks alot.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The hot water flow control valve is mounted under the hood at the top center of the firewall. The same servomotor that moves the mixing vane (hatch...??) also opens and closes the hot water flow valve via a cable coupling.

    If you look at the push/pull cable on the water valve it should move from fully open at max heat to fully closed at max cooling.
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