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Lexus LS: Problems & Solutions



  • wuzie888wuzie888 Posts: 1
    I'm the original owner of a 1994 Anniversary Edition and I still love my car. Recently, I've been hearing a low creaking noise, which seems as if it's coming from the rear suspension. This only happens when I make left turns; the turn can be hard or gentle, it makes that creaking noise. Does anyone have any idea of what might be the problem?
  • rtboonrtboon Posts: 21
    I too have a 1994 Anniversary edition LS400 with 87,000 miles. Several dealers and mechanics have told me that you do not need to change the AS timing belt until 90,000 miles and none of them ever recall a belt breaking. I too also have a suspension noise at low speeds and especially first thing in the morning. Dealer assures me everything is OK. Have not had a single problem with this car other than replacing the center brake light bulb! What a difference from my previous BMW 540.
  • lx400chwlx400chw Posts: 3
    Hi - I have a 1990 LS400 and the rear power window seems to have a problem. It occationally works, but most of the time not. When it works, both switches (driver control and rear passanger) function well. When it doesn't work, both fail. I slightly opened it this morning, and it stops working. Now I have a LS400 without fully closed window. What seems to be the problem?? Do I need a new motor?? All those great handy guys, please help!!!

    Also the LCD for the temp and clock is not working (can't see the display clearly, though from certain angle you can see the temp move up or down). Is it just a bulb or whole LCD is no use?

    Thanks for all those who reposnd!!
  • stugstug Posts: 1
    Hi. Looking for some advice. I have a 1991 Lexus LS 400 with 108,000. It is clean and running good. Unfortunately, my A/C compressor froze and the estimated cost is about $1,500 to repair.

    Do you recommend I get the work done at the Lexus Dealership or would an A/C specialty shop be better. Please tell me "why" you made that recommendation.

    Is this a car a keeper or should I consider trading or selling it?

    Lexus Owners - PLEASE respond QUICKLY as it is getting hot!!
  • lexusgallexusgal Posts: 1
    You do have a challenge there. The 91-93 LS400s have R-12 refrigerent in them. That is a refrigerent that is very expense now due to low supply. Since R-12 is a natural resource that is almost complete depleted, many manufacturers switched their refrigerent from R-12 to R-134 around 94-95 (including Lexus). When you consider this repair, ask about whether they are retrofitting your a/c system to R-134 or leaving it R-12. Otherwise, if you have any other problems, you may 'have' to retrofit it later.

    We are actually looking at this situation for our customers right now. I'm researching what Lexus recommends for retrofit. As soon as I have info from Lexus, I will be sure to post it.

    As for whether to sell or fix your 91 LS400. I have several customers with this year/model, and I know how great these cars are (even though it was one of the first). They will last and last. You may have repairs, but even newer Lexus' have repairs, and you know the history on this one. That is a major plus for peace of mind.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You must be operating from a different chemistry book than I am. R-12 refrigerant is a man-made chemical compound of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) which has been proven to cause depletion of the Earth's ozone layer. It is absolutely not a natural resource. The Montreal Protocol, an international agreement originally signed in 1987, originally called for a CFC production phaseout by Jan 1, 1996 and total phaseout by 2020. Existing supplies will be available until then. The Kyoto Protocol of December 1997 further reduces allowable CFC'c.

    R-134A is a hydroflourocarbon which has no ODP (oxone depletion potential).
  • I noticed that message #126 was never answered, regarding the speedometer needle light going out. Does anyone know anything about how to go about replacing this? Do I need just a bulb for the needle or does the whole panel LED display need to be replaced (this is what the dealer says needs to be done... can't just replace the single bulb!). I have a '93 LS400. Thanks to anyone who can provide some insight!
  • The car is back for the fifth visit to the Lexus dealer. The last time, they replaced the TPS sensor for a second time, saying that the first replacement was defective. Now they have a mechanic driving it to work to try to get it to fail.

    Why? I guess they don't believe me.

    The VSC Off indicator no longer lights when the transmission stops working. But it still has the same problem - while driving (this time about 40 miles per hour,) the car suddenly loses power to the wheels, even though the engine is still running fine.

    It happens without warning, this time it was fine for three days before it messed up.

    Stop the car, turn off the ignition, turn it back on, and it runs fine for hours or days.

    The dealer doesn't want to change the computer, obviously,

    The car is under warranty, so it isn't costing me anything - but who cares? It's lucky that no one has been hurt.
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    R-12 is also a hydroflourocarbon and does have ODP.
    It's production begins with methane and subjects to series of chemical reaction with halogens to produces R-12. The raw materials are abundant and cheap. R-12 is costly because of government regulations as well as heavy taxes.
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    If you are confortable with going to the dealer for services and willing to cough out big $, then dealership is not a bad choice; otherwise, take your car to an automotive shop specializing in AC which can perform exceptional work for substantially less than a dealer.
    If possible, you should replace the AC pump that is compatible with R-134 and retrofit your AC system to R-134 - it will cost less in the long run if you decided to keep your car. You should also look into replacing the high&low pressure AC hoses which will eventually leak after 10 years of service. Don't let anyone sell you new set of hoses, but rather, have an AC shop rebuilt the hoses at a fraction of the cost of a new set. While you're at it, change the o-ring at the hose connectors to R-134 compatible o-rings.
    Sound like alot? Well, these services are not that atypical for a 10 years old AC system.

    It is important to run the AC system at least once a month for at least 5 minutes to keep the system lubricated and prevent the seals from drying out. Good luck!
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    Dirty and worn switches could also cause power windows failure. It requires more current to bring the window up than down, and as a result, the up switch will definitely go before the down switch which is probably why you could bring the window down but not up. As for the intermittent window problem, this may be due to dirty/worn switch contacts and not a dead motor. A dead motor will most likely remains that way and not come back to life intermittenly except for worn brushes.
    Don't let them sell you new motor until you're convinced that the motor is dead. Just runs 12v through the motor to see if it turns - this is how diagnose motor problem.
    As for LCD problems, read previous posts on this thread and you may find your answers.
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55

    How did they change the transmission fluid to factory fluid? Did they drain the fluid via the drain screw? How much fluid(quarts) did they use to refill?
  • Purchased my "92" Ls400 pearl white, in May "99" with 91,000 miles. Since October of "2000" till present 108,000, have dished out $4,000+. Rebuilding power steering pump, master cylinder replaced and all around brake repair, front-end work, struts, bushings, upper control arms, brand new!
    Just had timing belt and water pump replaced with 15,000 mile service. Replaced LCD for temp control and clock from Mikado, thanks for the tip! saved $200 easily. Still looking at AC work! Don't know how much yet, but with my luck lately. Still, after all is said and done, I'll be driving a new car, and what a great car it is!!!!!
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    Currently R12 is still available but the costs are between $750 and $850 per 30 lb container when you purchase at least 180 pounds at a time. Our cost are roughly $30 per pound with shipping your systems use a little more than 2 pounds so you may be charged $100 retail for a recharge but due to EPA regulations a leaking system cannot be recharged until the majority of the leaks are fixed.
    If you have to change a compressor, dryer, and evaporator you might as well convert to R134A which cost about $5 per pound.
    The question is how long will R12 still be smuggled into US and when EPA will outlaw it completely my guess is after J Bush leaves office.
    Vote for a 2nd term and save money.
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    It is just amazing to me how so many people had the fore thought to keep millions and millions of pounds of R12 stored away in their basements just waiting for a shortage to occur. Distributers always seem to find a hidden cache every year and the labels still look brand new but the dates of manufacture all seem to be about 6-8 years ago.
    Guess we're just lucky to have so many thoughtful people.
    T3 Automotive Atlanta , GA.
    South's largest independent Lexus and Infiniti Repair
  • These belts rarely ever tear or fail. Actualy service rep's at dealers have almost never seen a torn one, but have changed many at customers request. I personally will just wait until it fails, because this will cause no harm to motor. When replacing a water pump I would certainly spend the extra few bucks and replace the belt.

    1991 that needs A/C, I would change system to new style refigerant and keep car. The suggestion that you know the car is correct, purchasing another one is so risky, I know first hand I am in the business.. The advice that after 10 years A/C will need rebuild is fair. I would also use reputable A/C specialist shop (Non Lexus) that has been, and will be around to honor the warranty you should receive with a rebuild. I would also shop, shop and shop around over the phone questioning and learining from all the shops I called.

    For a full tranny fluid change draining from the plug will not suffice. For a full fluid change you must drop the pan and drain. Check out and you can purchase the proper gaskets, screens and fluid. I would purchase the parts from the toad and bring it to a proffesional tranny shop who has seen and touched LS 400 tranny's before, and have them flush and replace fluid. I have also read in prior posts that there is a Toyota type IV fluid (new type) which is excellent for this car, good luck.

    My LS 400 did not sell on e-bay, there was more bidding on a 200,000 mile car. This really suprised me, both that people would purchase a 200 k car and that mine was passed over with under 100 k and a true one owner??. I have serious considerations of just keeping her, we will see.

  • ferraro1ferraro1 Posts: 44
    Hello ~
    My 1994 LS's Ivory Leather interior has a few discoloration areas like on the center console (armrest) it is RED !! under the leather that is not due to wear but I used a HARSH chemical and put to much on that area of the leather , and the passenger seat has a few things, I need to know how to get this fixed , I dun no where to look , by no means do I need the WHOLE seat to be re-colored , do places sell like a bottle of the dye ? or is it much more complicated than that any place on the net , and if I go to Lexus I will just be forking out the $$ left and right so.... if anyone can help please let me know .
    (Long Time Lexus Fan),
  • brucer2brucer2 Posts: 157
  • I need some help. I've been using Eibach springs for the LS400 for some time and I now could use some shocks. However, it appears that there are not too many aftermarket suppliers for the 1995 model year.

    This is what I found:

    KYB sells only the fronts
    Tokico lists shocks from 1990 to 1994; but lists the shocks to 1997.
    I believe Bilstein does not offer any.
    I'm sure Tein from Japan makes them but I didn't want to go that extreme.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  • fkavanaufkavanau Posts: 1
    I'm frustrated with my dealer and with Lexus consumer service. At 40,000 miles my 1998 LS400 front brakes give an audible pop the first time that they are applied after getting underway. The dealer says it is the brake pads shifting in the calipers. They say it can be fixed but it not covered by the warranty or certification and is considered normal wear and tear. Since my front pads have at least another 20,000 miles on them I cannot see how this is normal wear and tear. Lexus in California was no help and simply deferred to the dealer. Am dissapointed to be treated this way - no more Toyota products for me. Frank
  • pj2323pj2323 Posts: 43
    i think i would ask lexus to replace the computer. i have a 1996LS, after driving 75 -100 miles,when coasting to a stop, the engine would go dead.turn the ignition key to off, and it would start right back up.they tried replacing sensors, but nothing worked until the computer was replaced. i was told by an atlanta dealership that there was a tsb out on my problem. maybe you should check with different dealerships to see if they know of your problem.
  • Yes I too have the popping brakes. It seems there is a fitting kit, and shims used on these systems. These 2 items help put the pads in place inside the caliper. I was quite taken aback as I have never heard of fitting kits or shims for disc brakes before. I wish the car did not have them, because as you say the pads (Mine as well) are still good! with much "meat" left on them. The popping noise is nasty, not appropiate for a car of this caliber. You can purchase the fitting kits and shims at for a resonable price. Maybe then you can have a shop (Non Lexus) replace them for a fair cost.

    For the Gentleman with the shock issue, I suggest trying advice from Ryan at he know quite a lot about lexus parts and sells factory parts way below retail prices.

    Good luck
  • m81m81 Posts: 1
    The remote entry key on my 1990 LS 400 seems to have failed. The key worked until I replaced the battery. Is there some kind of reset procedure?
    How can I determine if the key or the receiver has failed, and what is the best option for repairing or replacing the key.

    Thank you!
  • kimsingerkimsinger Posts: 12
    The only problem, such as it is, that I have with my LS400 concerns its behaviour immediately upon starting from cold, especially in winter, and I'd be very interested to hear any views or, ideally, any solution people might have.

    As soon as I start the engine each morning, the revs rise immediately to around 1500 rpm (1200 or so in summer). They do come down fairly quickly as the car approaches operating temperature, but during that initial 4-5 minute period during which the idle speed is raised to that level, the process of engaging Drive is, as you might expect, a bit clunky. The problem is made worse by the fact that I live in a fairly built up area and I almost always have to stop the car about
    40 yards from my house at the first set of traffic lights. At that point, I engage neutral - simply because I don't like having to hold the car stationary on the brakes against the urging of the engine. And so, of course, this clunky, jerking process of engaging Drive is repeated at those lights and at every other stoppage I encounter until the car has warmed up. I suppose it's not really a major problem, and to my surprise, I've been told many times by various people whose opinions I have sought that it may not actually be a fault at all but simply a design feature. However, I do find it very irritating and would love to get rid of it if at all possible.


    Kim Singer (Mr.)
  • brucer2brucer2 Posts: 157
    Just about all cars have a high idle speed when cold to help them warm up faster to help meet emissions laws. This causes the harder shift. You don't say if your car is new, or what the milage is. It is my understanding that the LS400 uses synthetic ATF from the factory. Synthetic ATF maintains its viscosity at low temperatures (doesn't get as thick). This helps prevents the harsh shifts when cold. If your transmission has had its fluid changed, perhaps conventional fluid was used instead of synthetic. The other thing you can do is just not shift into neutral. I always did this too for 30 years, until it was pointed out to me that wear of the transmission parts takes place every time it is shifted. Leaving it in gear, at least for the first couple of lights, will cause the transmission fluid to come up to operating temperature faster.
  • kimsingerkimsinger Posts: 12
    Thanks for your advice, Bruce. The car is actually a '95 Mark III with less than 30,000 miles.

    I know that some cars do idle faster when cold, but the reason I am seeking a fix for this is that, firstly, I know someone with the same model who doesn't have the problem and, secondly, I find it hard to believe that Lexus would build a car that is so smooth in practically every other way, but so jerky in this one respect.

    As it happens, I did have the transmission fluid changed a year or so ago, but the idle problem has been with me since before that.

    The point you make about the merits of leaving it in gear is interesting, and I, too, have heard that it's OK to do this. I must admit, though, that it's hard to believe this can be true - especially when you're waiting at lights with a powerful engine revving so fast that you can hear the brakes creaking under the strain of holding the car in place. Apart from the strain on the brake system's components, how can this scenario be seen as anything other than a major waste of the engine's energy and, of course, fuel?
  • rdwcdwrdwcdw Posts: 8
    My LS also has a long time before it drops down to normal idle, the dealers service writer told me this is normal, I also have seen a update on the computer for the 1990 LS and something about Idle was was listed, I to would like to know if all the 1st gens have the high idle on start up or all the LS have the problem.
  • kimsingerkimsinger Posts: 12
    Jonathan: Your car revs at 1,700 rpm when cold? Wow - that seems fast to me. How do you manage? I mean, would I be right in assuming that, if you don't press down hard on the brake pedal prior to selecting Drive, you'd be in serious danger of sustaining whiplash injuries as the car hurtles out of your driveway? Don't you have to let it warm up a bit first or something?
  • q45manq45man Posts: 416
    The ecu controlled idle speed is a function of the coolant temperature as are all newer cars to some degree, the colder the ambient the faster it idles when first cranked and the idle slows down progressively as the coolant warms.
    Normally a lux car would be in a heated garage and then allowed to warm up 5-7 minutes before one would drive away, this way all the fluids -trans, power steering, oil, coolant would warm up to operating temperature to extend the engine and transmission life. Driving away cold is a sure way to stress the components.
    T3 Automotive LTD, maintains over 400 LS 400 in Atlanta as well as Infiniti models over 3,000 clients.
  • hyperopthyperopt Posts: 55
    I don't have the patience to sit in the car for 7+ minutes for every cold start. Instead, I installed an aftermarket alarm with remote start working in conjunction with factory alarm (not too difficult). This helps quite a bit, but on some occasions, I had to start the engine cold.

    One should avoid engaging the transmission when the idle speed is high. Doing so will create sudden high stress on the transmission, U-joints, differential, CV-joints, mounts, etc...

    One way to reduce transmission engaging stress at high idle is to engage the transmission without pressing on the brake(watch out for objects or people in your path). Once the transmission is engaged, gradually apply the brake to slow down or stop the car if necessary.

    Here is my procedure:
    1. release the parking brake
    2. apply the brake to allow shifting lever to get out of park.
    3. move lever to R or D and immediately release the brake(before the transmission engages).
    4. let the car move a bit(~3 feet).
    5. apply the brake if necessary.
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