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'97 es300, should I buy?

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Old 02-11-13, 11:51 PM   #1
RalfyVA
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Default '97 es300, should I buy?

Hows it going everyone, looking for a new car and was hoping some nice people could give me some feedback.

I came across a '97 es300 with 106,000 miles on it for $3900. It looks very clea, inside and out, and it only had one owner. Have not talked to the owner yet and am not sure why they are selling. But for lets assume the owner wants something new for now I currently own a 2000 Honda Accord coupe with around 160k miles on it. This particular model had a design flaw in the tranny but im way past the recall qualifications.

Basicaly, I am wondering what some of you experienced Lexus owners think. I bought the Honda for my first car and was convinced of Honda's reliability and durability. Come to find out the model had a recall on the transmission as well as atleast one other part. My transmission now is pretty ****ty and do not want to deal with the costs of repair while im in school.
I've done some research on the '97 es300(which i failed to do before i bought the honda) and i haven't found anything alarming. The Lexus came up clean on multiple review forum sites whereas many owners of my same honda experienced similar problems as me.

If i can let my honda go for $2000 and spend another 2 grand and get the lexus, would that be a wise decision? Im just a young guy trying to prepare for the future and i know nothing about cars, thanks!
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Old 02-11-13, 11:54 PM   #2
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** bought honda 2.5 years ago at 125k miles for $6800
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Old 02-12-13, 03:36 AM   #3
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Speak to the owner of the ES, see why he's selling. Don't expect him to be honest though.

Has the timing belt been done on the ES?
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Old 02-12-13, 04:24 AM   #4
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If the car is in a very good condition, yes, that would be a wise decision even expecting to spend 1 K more to do the timing belt job, plugs, filters and fluids.
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Old 02-12-13, 04:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RalfyVA View Post
I've done some research on the '97 es300(which i failed to do before i bought the honda) and i haven't found anything alarming.
Well, there was that issue with engine sludge on the 1MZ-FE...
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Old 02-12-13, 08:33 AM   #6
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Sounds like a good price for a very clean one owner. Check for leaks, leaks, leaks. Camshaft seals, valve covers, rear main seal, crank seal coolant leaks. Especially the coolant bypass hose that you cant see below the intake manifold plenum. $20 hose but a ton of labor cost involved.

I paid $2900 for my 96'/ 210K miles one owner recently beautiful car in and out. Old lady paid $37k for it new. chrome wheel optional upgrade i am doing all this preventative maintenanace myself and i suspect the cost wouls run $3K + at the Lexus stealership.

Very happy with what i have purchased considering the junk that is out there for sale.
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Old 02-12-13, 09:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by speedkar9 View Post
Well, there was that issue with engine sludge on the 1MZ-FE...
My dad told me a buddy of his had a lexus like this (didnt know exact model) and he said he had to run it on premium gas or it ran like crap. Is this standard on the models, or could it be related to this engine sludge thing?

and yes, timing belt was replaced. at 7k miles a year, seems like it should have some life left.
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Old 02-12-13, 10:17 AM   #8
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It all depends on the condition of the vehicle. If it is maintained as per maintenance schedule and operated as per owner's manual, the vehicle should be in good condition.

I have a 97 ES300 with +280k miles and still runs good in this cold Canadian weather. Still on original engine, transmission, starter, alternator, etc.

The problem is most owners don't change the oil, timing belt, fluids, etc when they are supposed to be changed. Most owners don't check the tire pressure regularly. And when the vehicle breaks down, they blame the vehicle but when in fact it is the owner. You will always hear "my friend said this, or my dad's friend said that...."

Bottom line is that the 97 ES300 is very reliable provided the owner follows the maintenance schedule and owner's manual. If you are interested in the car, ask for proof of maintenance. And if you still interested, take it to a Lexus dealership to have it impacted (i.e. remove the front valve cover to impact sludge, compression test, etc....).
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Old 02-12-13, 11:38 AM   #9
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They run fine on regular unlead 87 octane fuel. Sludge thing occurred as a result of infrequent oil changes.

I pulled the VC off my 96 with 210K miles and no sludge issue. Get records for the TB change and have the owner meet you at a Lexus dealer to inspect. Take cash money with you for car and inpsection fee.
Buy the car. You will not regret it.
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Old 02-12-13, 10:44 PM   #10
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so i got it checked out at meineke. not a Lexus dealership obv but had a buddy working there who checked it out with about 3 other people. Told me everything i wanted to hear. Just a couple motor mounts are cracking, one of which i can do myself easily. A buddy of mine has a '96 with 286k miles on it, still on original engine and tranny and no major breaks or replacements done. I went ahead and bought it! with the low miles and the quality, it should be on the road another 15 years. Hopefully buying this car based on its reputation serves me better then when i bought my honda. thanks for the help to all and look forward to posting on the forums
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Old 02-13-13, 04:37 AM   #11
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Glad to hear and Congrats!
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Old 02-13-13, 04:37 AM
 
 
 
 
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