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Old 05-14-09, 01:21 AM   #1
Terry007
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Default Suspension question and which year to buy 96 97 or 98

Hi i m new to this club so still learning about the LS 400
so I have 4 questions ;

- When purchasing a Lexus LS400 how can I tell if the suspensions are gone?
- And , do All LS400 between 96-98 have air suspension ? if so how do I know that but looking at the car is there something inside the car like a switch or something ?
- If so should I stay away for the ones with air suspension?

AS I said I m new to this club .

I am still looking for a nice low mileage 96-98 in CA ,though not sure if i should go for a
1996
1997 or a 1998
Any thoughts and why? i have 8 k
Thank you
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Old 05-14-09, 07:59 AM   #2
steveski
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Welcome to CL. As with any suspension, remember the purpose of the strut is to dampen. T most common way to test is to push down on the hood and trunk and to get it bouncing. If struts are bad then the car will continue to bounce up and down. If strut is good then it should bounce once and then stop.

Other ways:
Drive it to see if it bounces
Check for irregular tire wear
Check mileage - if over 100,000 miles and they are still OEM then they are getting close according to mechanics.

The LS either came with air or standard strut/spring suspension. I don't have air but I believe there is a switch on the center console. Many prefer air because you can lower it with aftermarket air ride controller versus lowering springs and/or coil-overs.

It's a start brother
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Old 05-14-09, 08:38 AM   #3
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problem with the OEM air is that it is known to die with ~80-110k miles give or take 20-30k miles.

oem replacement airshocks are ~$1,100/each from the dealer. also, if you get a controller for the OEM airsusp. you can't drive low as it will wear the shocks out VERY VERY fast, and most guys who use controllers drive at a normal/high ride height and park very low.
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Old 05-14-09, 08:53 AM   #4
JBrady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry007 View Post
Hi i m new to this club so still learning about the LS 400
so I have 4 questions ;

- When purchasing a Lexus LS400 how can I tell if the suspensions are gone?
- And , do All LS400 between 96-98 have air suspension ? if so how do I know that but looking at the car is there something inside the car like a switch or something ?
- If so should I stay away for the ones with air suspension?

AS I said I m new to this club .

I am still looking for a nice low mileage 96-98 in CA ,though not sure if i should go for a
1996
1997 or a 1998
Any thoughts and why? i have 8 k
Thank you
First of all... Lexus made multiple upgrades in 1998 including 30hp and 30tq increase, VVTi, variable intake manifold, 5 speed transmission (vs 4 speed), HID option, wood wheel and shifter option, built in garage door remote, built in key remote. Go to the following link for a full list including generational changes (great info)
In fact the 97 is better than a 95-96
http://www.lexls.com/info/lsgenerations.html

I think more cars were built without air suspension than with it. There is now an aftermarket rebuilder reducing the costs of replacement. They also offer a conventional coil replacement for factory air suspension cars.
http://www.arnottindustries.com/part...id7_pid47.html

At the above site you will see pictures of the coil vs air shocks. On a used car simply turn the front wheels all the way and look at the front shock area. You will easily spot whether it has coils or air.

Coils



Air

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Old 05-14-09, 11:18 AM   #5
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Was air an option on 99 and 00? Because my 00 has coils, all this time I thought I had air. Go figure.
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Old 05-14-09, 01:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrm7885 View Post
Was air an option on 99 and 00? Because my 00 has coils, all this time I thought I had air. Go figure.
Air suspension was an option on the years mentioned 96-00
page 3 of the specs / pricing sheets shows it

http://www.lexus.com/contact/model_s...ricing_ls.html

I haven't seen those years with air suspensions but I live in the southern midatlantic.
LS430 ultras have air suspension and you see very few of those in the states surrounding me and a much higher persentage in CA, so there may be more LS400's with air suspension in CA where Terry007 lives..
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Old 05-14-09, 02:54 PM   #7
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thank you guys
so i guess the air suspension ones have a switch on the center console correct ?

Terry007
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Old 05-14-09, 05:29 PM   #8
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yes, if your car has OEM Air Suspension it WILL have the "Height" button on the shifter console.

it was widely available in 89-94 but due to its apparent unreliability it wasnt nearly as popular in 95-00.
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Old 05-15-09, 10:04 AM   #9
Terry007
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Smile Found a car but need advice

hi
i found 2 cars
is it best to buy a
1997 with 121 k for 5700 dollars
or a
1998 with 75 k for 7700 dollars
thank you
for your thoughts
T
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Old 05-15-09, 11:13 AM   #10
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the 98 is a much better buy.
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Old 05-15-09, 12:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureDrifter View Post
the 98 is a much better buy.
definitely. 98 is an uograde from 97 in features and appearance and it has less miles. more like 3 grand diiference.
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Old 05-15-09, 01:28 PM   #12
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just keep in mind that the 90k service is approx $800-1000 and WILL need to be done on time as the 95-97 AND 98-00 are both Interference engines.
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Old 05-15-09, 04:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
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... the 95-97 AND 98-00 are both Interference engines.
I didn't know that. I thought interference engines were a thing of the past. I had my changed at 90k, though.
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Old 05-15-09, 09:07 PM   #14
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all LS430s are interference as well.

basically, any lexus VVTi V8 is interference, with the 95-97 LS400 being an addition since lexus changed the head design to up the compression a bit and get some more power out of the 1uz.
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Old 05-15-09, 09:59 PM   #15
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Definitely go with the 98. I bought one about 3 years ago and could not be happier. I do have the air suspension option and it is still working flawlessly even after 140,000 miles. From what I've read people say that the coil setup has better driving feel (more responsive). When I bought mine I did not realize I had air suspension until I got it home, but it handles decently for a 3900 lb sedan.

The motor is still silky smooth and strong (VVT-i is awesome) and has required nothing more the recommended maintenance. I get about 22 mpg average, but on long highway trips I can easily get 28 mpg. The transmission is smooth and solid.

Good Luck
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