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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Digital signal processing.

    Instead of moving the OAT sensor away from the radiator/condensor where it is influenced by radiant heating effect from same Lexus decided to use some DSP, adding a significant delay.

    The OAT is also used to heavily influence the climate control operation and the radiator heat was fouling things up.

    Right after I bought my new 92 I moced the OAT sensor into the right front bumper area.
  • tntitantntitan Posts: 306
    I wonder if the 430 wheels are causing the vibration. They may need "centering rings" to fit properly. It would be worth checking into since this would be a cheap cheap fix.
  • :sick: Anyone had this experience or something close?
    Driving city streets when radio cut out and then went off. Dash lights went out including gauges. Car continued to run OK. Shut off car, re-started and everything worked OK. Later that day same thing happened. This time I could not put the car in PARK before shutting off the engine. Charged the battery all night and the next day ran fine. Charged again overnight and this morning, the battery warning light came on twice when stopped at a light. What component of this fine car being going bad?
    1996 Lexus LS400
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Let's hope that's it. When a battery goes bad a lot of crazy stuff can happen. My mom had a battery go bad a while back and it drove her "mouse belts" crazy. Try a new battery first. And let's hope it didn't ruin the alternator.
  • Bad news. Pwr Steering pump leaked into the alternator. Battery is cracked and positive lead highly corroded. New battery, new alternator, new pwr steering pump, new serpentine belt. And as long as your in there, new timing chain.
    $3100 bucks to dealer: Ouch!! :mad: .
    Lesson. If your having to add pwr steering fluid it may be wise to see if it is leaking into your alternator.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    $3100 sounds like too much to me. The Alternator Job itself is around 1,000 but they take apart a significant part of the engine to do it. The Power Steering Pump is $525 or less at I had my Power Steering Pump, and Timing Belt along with the 90K service done for $1300 here in Boston. Shop around and get the best price.

    Sorry to hear about that,
  • My car was driving great I noticed anti freeze under the car one day so I put some stop leak which it worked for 1 week. I was at a light the car was hot making that winding /clicking noise when it get hot but not smoking and the temp gauge was normal. The car stalled on me and wouldn't start back up. I let the car roll back to the curb and parked assuming if I leave and come back it should cool down and start back up, which it didn't just cranking but won't start. I towed it to midas they only mentioned that the timing belt was popped and saying my car was an interfrence engine and that 99% chance that the valves were bent. after telling that and the price to just fix the timing belt $550 never mentioning anything about the leaking anti-freeze I had it towed to my house. The next day I had it towed to another shop and they said the waterpump had seized up popping the belt so I paid him to replace the belt/ waterpump and it wouldn't start, he then said this was an interfrence engine that my valves could be bent but i did a lil research and found out my car isn't a interfrence engine they didn't start that until 1995 ls 400 My lexus dealer confirmed it so my valves should be fine. He said he did a compression test and the left side had none . I had got another opinion saying he may of not set the timing right to read no compression. I had this guy resett the timing which the other guy was off he showed me the marks. He reset them and had me try to start the car it sounded better trying to start then before but it wouldn't start. he tested for fuel delivery that was fine, he tested for spark which it had none at all. he suggest me changing one of the ignition coils which I did today but it still won't start. Any ideas,suggestions that may help get my car started?
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    Timing that engine ( cams -crank ) is a big job are you sure they have it right? The replacement belt has the timing marks on it . Are they using the Lexus shop manual ? Has your mechanic checked for any engine codes ? As for the coils check for 12 volts at the coil + terminal with the ign on to see if power is supplied , those same coils are on many Toyotas a 94 4 runner v6 uses the same one as your Lexus . Check for spark using the coil high tension lead disconnected from the dist cap and held about 1/2 inch from body grd. Good luck
  • hello, the timing marks up top was lined up and he had the bottom on "0". my car is at my home now which there isn't any way to check codes no tester. my check engine light has been on for long as i had the car 8 mths but the car drove super! just before the waterpump went bad and the overheating came into the picture. I noticed the car had stalled on me a couple of times while low idled foot on the break but started right back up which it never did that in the earlier 8mths. Question if there is a bad sensor would it prevent the car from restarting if it failed competely paul29
  • I had a '90 LS400 that I sold last year with 200K+. Awesome car.

    The bug has bit me again and I want another LS. I've been looking at '95 & up models for the past month and haven't seen anything I felt I wanted to make an offer on until yesterday.

    The car is a silver 1996 LS with only 75K. Seller is asking $13K.

    The Good: the car had 1 local elderly owner and who put on 75K. Drives very well. Very smooth. Clean and sharp looking with chrome wheels.

    The Bad: no moonroof and no CD (odd for an LS), one minor 5" scrape on the front, a couple scratches on the rear bumper, and a couple missing pixels in the radio LCD. Big-O tires. Hmmm.

    The car seems to have been serviced at an independent, but not one that really knows the LS. This is my biggest worry about the car. There's NO repair work that's been done.

    So I'm thinking - at 9 years old this car could need some work in the near future.

    I'm thinking:
    Timing Belt Change (past due in terms of time, if not mileage)
    PS Pump
    Lower Ball Joints, Knuckle Bushings
    EGR Pipe

    The likelihood that all these things will crop up soon is low, but I want to think about what the car might need in the near future so I can plan ($$$) accordingly.

    I'll get the car inspected at the dealer or a Lexus specialist, but I'm kinda worried about seeing no repairs done on the car.

    Also, the price seems high - I think $11K is about the most these cars fetch.

    What do you guys out there think?
  • lsitzerlsitzer Posts: 1
    HI, my name is Les, I just recently bought a 1993 Lexus 400. I was hoping you may be able to answer my question. I had a flat tire, had aaa come over to cahnge the tire and cnat find the key for the lugs, is there anywhere special that it is kept. Thanks for the help.
  • bildowbildow Posts: 100
    I read different messages about people having water pump problems I have found that I use the Toyota antifreeze mixed with distilled water mixed 50/50 every two years I dump the water out of the radiator and out of the engine block. I always empty both and just refill both and you have to be careful not to get an air bubble in the system. There is a bleeder valve on the front of the motor for this purpose. Also I see a lot of you folks complaining about the power steering pump leaking. Yup they do and the reason is the fluid gets hot and most people never change the power steering fluid. I change it every 30-40 K and I use Mobil one
    synthetic transmission fluid to keep the seals soft and keep down the heat. I also saw someone was told that the older Lexus engines would break a valve if the timing belt broke no not normally I recommend changing the timing belt at 90,000 miles with the water pump and the idlers pulleys and all fan belts this way you take care of everything at once. Another tip use the two dollar car wash to clean out your condenser and radiator
    to help run your car cooler during the summer don't spray the engine with water it goes down into the spark plug tunnels and shorts the electric system. Just spray the outside of the radiator and condenser a lot of junk comes out. Remember always change the water pump when changing the timing belt needed or not change it or it will go out a few thousand miles later and the cost is big then it will rip the timing belt to bits. Happy motoring.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    You do not need a tester to get the engine codes , on the left ( driver's side ) front top of the engine is a grey box , lift cover and a pin diagram is shown under the cover . turn the ignition on and Jump E1 and TE1 . Read the code/s from the blinking check engine light on dash . For your interest only , go to to see how the timing belt is changed and the timing marks on the belt and related parts . There is no recommended replacement interval for that belt unless in your case "damage" or the vehicle is used in specific extended low idle conditions . These are not the same belts as used years ago this engine uses a "HSN " type belt (highly saturated nitrile) As for a sensor causing a no start it depends on which sensor so the ans is yes/no . I would advise anyone with a check engine light on to get the codes read.
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    I have always found my lug key under the trunk floor, to the left of the spare tire, where the tire tools are stored. It is usually found in a little black plastic/vinyl bag. Good luck.
  • rgswrgsw Posts: 333
    Excuse my double post. I have always found my lug key under the trunk floor, to the left of the spare tire, where the tire tools are stored. It is usually found in a little black plastic/vinyl bag. Good luck.
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    In the LS it originally comes in the drop down tool kit on the left side of trunk .
  • n16ueln16uel Posts: 7
    Thanks to those who responded to the recent posting about brake and bushing problems on my 91 LS400. A $4,000 donation to the Lexus dealer has fixed the bad bushings, but the dealer failed to follow my instructions to install all the bushings I had bought from them earlier and provided them before they started the job. Turning the rotors has fixed the brake pulsating for now. They replaced the seized A/C compressor, and pretty much everything else, saying there was contamination downstream from the compressor. I looked at the removed parts and their tiny openings and cannot fathom how they ascertained there was contamination. Another Lexus dealer told me they had never seen contamination from a seized compressor. Any comments? Car was running like new until today, when a turn of the key elicited nothing more than a click from the starter motor. Cleaned the battery posts and clamps, but still nothing more than a click. Spent a while trying to locate the starter and finally found it lurking at the back of the engine beneath the intake manifold. I see from another LS owner site that replacing the starter cost one owner $1,600 -- at the dealer most likely. I plan to remove the intake manifold myself but am wondering if, after all that work, I should install a complete remanufactured Nippondenso starter or just replace the contacts in the existing 15-year-old starter. Any guidance from owners who have already faced this decision would be much appreciated.
  • I had planned to locate and buy an early series LS, or anything up through about '99, but the comments, complaints and problems described in this forum have all but turned me off. I have been unhappy about expensive maintenance expenses on my 2001 Sienna, but they are nothing compared to what I've been reading here.
    I sold my 1993 Buick Park Avenue 2 years ago with 189k on it, and all it ever needed was struts, front brakes, and an alternator. The guy I sold it to now has 260k on it and it works fine. I guess I'll start shopping for a low-mile Buick. I guess Lexus is just too rich for my retired blood.
  • I need to see how this belt on a lexus ls 400 is correctly installed
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    Rule of thumb...Many cars that start out expensive to buy, aren't cheap to run. Lexus's may have a stellar reputation for reliability but when repair or maintenance is required it's not gonna be cheap. Especially not Buick cheap when the 3.8 has been around since Methuselah days. There is no foriegn "premium" luxury car that's as cheap to keep on the road as a GM machine that shares parts from Chevy to Cadillac.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    My personal one, a 92 bought new, had a failed oxygen sensor at about the five year mark (DIY) and otherwise only brake pads, oil and filter changes. No ATF, no brake fluid, no diff'l 90 weight. Only exception was OEM anti-freeze was removed about 2 years ago due to being a bit murky. Alternator failed just a few months ago but leaking PS had nothing to do with that failure. Soft slip rings was ther apparent problem. Both solved DIY.

    Three more LSes in the "family", two more 92's and a 95. Same story with those xcept the intake manifold exhaust line broke, another DIY.

    One of the 92's was totalled by the insurance company and I repurchased it and it is being repaired for about $8,000.

    Personally I would buy a used 98-2000 LS before even considering a new one.

    Even if you use the dealer for scheduled maintenance the expenses can be kept well in line by forcing the dealer to abide strictly by the factory recommendation guidlines.

    Don't let the do ANYTHING (scheduled) that isn't recommended in the owner's manual, PERIOD!
  • paul29paul29 Posts: 178
    There should be a diagram on the underside of the hood , just behind the grill . If your's is gone go here
  • I fully understand the cost of repairs would be on the high side, as well as parts, but the fact that they seem to need so much fiddling around with is what bothers me. Indicator lights that fail, and little things like that don't strike me as quality built to last. Even when I was working and had to tolerate a new Taurus company car every other year, I never had an indicator light failure of any kind, but transmissions were another matter. The piddly, annoying failures in Lexus' systems seem inappropriate for a car of it's perceived quality. Why in hell would it be a design advangage to locate the steering pump above the alternator when it is known that frequent pump seal failures would result in replacing both parts? Why is the water pump such a weak link it is suggested it be replaced with every timing belt change? Maybe I expect too much, but I have been turning wrenches as a hobby for over 40 years, and seldom hesitate to question engineering anomalies. Common sense just doesn't seem to be in fashion these days.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I've been a DIYer since learning to drive a Ford Ferguson (then Farmall, John Deere, etc.) back on the farm in the fifties.

    Water pump failures have been a constant, persistent, failure in all cars for as long as I can remember. Drive belt side pressure on the one single shaft bearing is a part of the failure mode as is the rubber seal that prevents the water pressure from getting to the bearing.


    The PS stearing pump location and the fact that it develops a leak has absolutely NOTHING to do with the alternator failure!

    Until the alternator failed in my 92, and the PS was leaking, I assumed that the leak story was well founded.


    Having been through a few a alternator "failures" previously I purchased a set of slip ring brushes for it at the same time I purchased the PS overhaul kit. In the end I could have left the PS pump intact, leak and all, and it wouldn't have mattered.

    It turned out that the slip ring brushes were in quite good shape but the slip rings themselves were worn through all the way down to the metal shaft.

    I suspect Lexus would very much like us to believe that these alternator failures are due to PS leaks. Other than a manufacturing flaw how is it possible for a set of "soft" graphite slip rings brushes to wear the solid copper slip rings out in ~100,000 miles?
  • It makes sense to me. Misinformation seems to run on about almost everything, which leaves only the water pump issue. I haven't replaced a water pump on any vehicle since I had a 1969 International pickup, so I'm lucky, I guess. I was in the auto parts business during the '60's, and at least at that time water pumps were a real weak spot on everybody's engines. Most failures are due to over-tightening of the belt, in addition to a too-small bearing. I never could understand why manufacturers used such tiny bearings for water pump shafts. I never saw the data but I imagine there exists load versus failure frequency on those things. Cost savings at the manufacturing level, I presume.
    I have done a lot of reading over the years about Lexus, and until reading this forum was under the impression they are nearly fault-free if maintained properly. If I do eventually buy one, I can look forward to it being at least a little like working on my old motorcycles; a hands-on bonding experience.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    But expensive to get to. I know on Hondas they are driven by the timing belt and will ruin the engine if they sieze. So as a rule of thumb, you replace the water pump with the timing belt. On the LS, the timing belt is not even a wear item. At least not on my '94. So if I decide to change the timing belt , I might as well change the water pump, seals, tensioners, and all related parts since it may be a one time service.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    My wallet sure took a beating at the dealer today...I have to spend $2500 on the 92 to replace the following things: Upper Control Arm (Right Side) Strut Rod Bushings, Power Steering Rack, Power Steering Pressure Hose, Rear Assembly Bushings, and possibly some more depending on whether they can find what is causing the clunking noise in the front side suspension...Initially they quoted me $3700 and I promptly told them where to go..Their attitude was beyond comprehension, "We have customers that spend $9-10,000 on these cars..It depends how much you really like the car.."

    I told them that this was one of the most absurd things I've ever heard...What is the point of purchasing these cars if they fall apart within 13 years? They gave me a 15% discount on parts so we agreed to $2500. Maybe it's time for a Mercedes. There are plenty of Independents who can fix those..

  • I took that grey diagnosis box off and seen the codes under the cap, what do you use and how do you get the codes to flash on the dash once the car switch is on?
  • mfprmfpr Posts: 41
    I understand that spending $2500 on auto repairs can get someone upset, but after all, your car is a '92. Maybe you should read your own post once again, especially "What is the point of purchasing these cars if they fall apart within 13 years?". Then re-read your other statement 3-4 times, "Maybe it's time for a Mercedes" then go to the Mercedes forums and check out their reliability (on NEW ones much less 13 year old cars) and the cost to repair them.
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