I've never been too active on any car forums but after I bought my LS 400 in September 2012 for $1900, I fell in love with it. And after doing lots of different things to it, I thought I would come and post some of the problems I have had, some that I have now, and my general overview of this model. I had trouble finding some of the things I have run into on my car in the forums, so I am hoping that this helps someone out eventually.
When I bought my car, the issues were: no power steering, RPM gauge not working, Faded/ripped leather seats and console, driver window motor was bad, needed a tune up and some other miscellaneous but simple things.
The day after I bought my car, the starter went out. That was the first thing I fixed on it. After that I went through and did a tune up that consisted of an oil change, air filter, NGK spark plug wires, new spark plugs (don't remember brand), new serpentine belt (VERY easy on this car), new battery and a radiator flush (took hoses off, dumped fluid, reclamped, refilled).
The original spark plug wires:
The next thing was rebuilding the rear brakes completely; rotors, calipers and pads.
I do have some advice regarding calipers here: if you still have original Toyota calipers on it, KEEP THEM. The calipers that you would buy from an auto part store are always rebuilt and remanufactured. The finish on the Toyota calipers will prevent rust forever. The new ones--will not. I bought both rear calipers and ended up returning both because the pistons inside of them were scratched and damaged. Instead I bought a caliper rebuild kit for both of my calipers and cleaned them up and reused them.
The worst part of my car is the leather. Unfortunately, how it looks now is how it looked when I bought it. The previous owner did not take good care of the car. I did completely remove the back seat and scrub it down real good with cleaner, but the front seats are ripped to shreds.
I am investing in seat covers, but haven't found leather ones that I like yet.
Most recently, the weekend of May 19, 2013, my car broke down for the first time. After much trial and error, I discovered that both of my catalytic converters on both sides of the exhaust had broken up and sent honeycombs into my exhaust, blocking one side and dropping debris into the rear pipes. Also, I had one coil pack go bad, and one of my rotors inside the dsitributor cap had literally exploded.
After replacing both distributor caps and rotors, and the coil pack, I ended up having to hollow out the catalytic converters (we have no emission standards in Florida). This was a temporary fix and I plan to replace the cats with new ones soon, either OEM or aftermarket. While having the exhaust down, I replaced all the old steel bolts in the exhaust so that it would be easier to take down later on. I also did the fuel filter at this time, and I think it may have been an original Toyota part that had never been replaced. It was pretty nasty when I took it out.
I plan on doing the timing belt next, as it hasn't been done during its time with me, as well as the other coil pack, a transmission flush, the front brakes, and I also need a new radiator overflow (mine has a very, very small hole at the top, but doesnt leak).
Now for the problems I have right now: my right brakelight switch is acting up, the tail light works, but the brake light does not; my RPM gauge still does not work, still no power steering, its either the pump or the EasyAssist motor that is installed on these models; No A/C, the air compressor is bad; my struts and strut mounts are bad and the shocks will be replaced when I do those too; when I hit second gear my traction control system acts up and turns off and shows up on my instrument panel; my acceleration is not very good, may be from the cats being hollowed out.
Thats all that I can think of right now, but there are two things that I need help with, as I can't find anything on the forums about them:
one of the vacuum hoses coming off of my power steering has been cut and I cannot find out where it originally went to. If I can find that, I can replace the hose with a new one.
I found a valve on the back of the headers on the direct opposite side of where the non-cut vacuum hose is, but there is a rubber cap on it, so I am not sure if that is where the hose goes or not.
My other problem is, I am missing part of my air filter:
Does anyone know what this part is called and if I can buy it on ebay or something? Or will I need to go to a junk yard?
Overall, I absolutely love this car. It gets great gas mileage, about 21-24 and I do a lot of highway driving for school. It is incredibly comfortable to ride in, front and back, and rides very smooth. It also drives and runs great even with the issues that I have. The engine and transmission are so strong and that is what sold me on this car when I first bought it. If you are ever considering buying this car, if it has been taken care of, and if you have a little money to do all the necessary maintenance, I would certainly recommend choosing this one. I plan to have this car for a very long time.
This concludes my very first post on Club Lexus, and I hope that this helps someone in the future! Thanks for reading!
1993 Lexus LS 400