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Old 04-19-11, 09:03 AM   #1
Nightbird
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Question Should I Buy This Used LS?

Hey Guys,
I'm currently looking at a 1995 LS400 with 245k miles on it. The inside and out seems to be in good condition (it's in another state so I'm going by the pics), with a few stitching repairs on the leather drivers seat needed. They are asking $3k for it.

Is this a good price for this year and mileage? I spoke with a Lexus mechanic the other day, and he said they rarely get them in with this much mileage, and that repairs are expensive.

So what do you all think? Too much money for such an old car? To big of a chance that something is ready to brake down? I just don't want to buy something that is going to break down on me. Thanks!
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Old 04-19-11, 10:33 AM   #2
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I recently picked up a 91 with 300564 on the clock the day I got it. ot has been about a month since i got my car.
I paid $1900 for it.my car with mileage,condition, had a kelly bluebook value of $1985. I in no way got a screaming deal, bit I did get one of the best cars ive ever owned.

I had to replace the trailing arm bushings, poly urathane....50 bucks per side, 2 sets required. had to machine the front rotors for a brake pulsation.....free...or typically if required to pay, about 20 bucks to machine at checker or a shop. my rear main seal is leaking, its up in the air on a lift right now as I type this.......the seal...20 bucks, book labor, 5.5 hours...or...$450 to a paying customer. im trying to get myself to pull my tranny, but ugg, I just dont want to.
oh,the timing belt is due, I have that here as well, and again, if I stare at the car long enough, maybe it will fix itself....but that would cost a paying customer another couple hundred dollars too.


since you can only see thecar from pictures, its a very strong suggestion that you go and check it out.

things to watch for.....smoke at start up,if any, what color and how long........check condition of all fluids. power steering should be red to pink. if it is dark, not really a big deal, just flush it and its done...also listen for a graoning noise while turning the steering wheel, this sound would be an indication of a bad pump or one going out. and it should be buttery smooth.
tranny fluid should be red to pink as well. check the fluidwith the car off first. note the color, then start the car,foot on the brake,run the car through the gears,then recheck the condition AND the level.
if the fluid is black...DO NOT FLUSH, you may not have a tranny anymore if you make it a couple of blocks.
check the coolant level and condition. should be either red or green. those 2 are compatible.

take it on a decent test drive. any vibration at idle and in gear? if so, indication of bad motor mounts. how do the brakes feel while stopping? a pulsating pedal is an indication of warped rear rotors, a pulsting steering wheel is an indicator of warped front rotors. does the front of the car brake before the rears at speeds of 30 mph or more? indication of bad trailing arm bushings on the rear suspension. also associated with an on/off acceleration thump, could be bad rear diff carrier bushings, 3 total
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Old 04-19-11, 10:51 AM   #3
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make sure ther are no warning ligjts on the dash after about 5-10 after starting the cacheck the condition of the belts and hoses. give the fan blade a couple wiggles, if there is any play, indicator of the water pump bearing going out. you will notice that the pulley will move with the fan blade.

ac work and cold? better hope so buddy. ac compressor should be dead nuts silent while cycling off and on. all you should hear is a "click" from the compressor clutch engaging on and off.

and check for any fluid leaks....period.

3 grand seems decent enough for that car providing you dont have to put money into it right away. typically if you buy a 20 yr old car, and only have to invest 500-800 bucks total to get it in to ,by your standards..tip top shape, then its a fair deal.
but 3 grand is a lot of money in general, make sure your new investment, is the right investment.


I got lucky with mine, 300k on the clock, and im spending 300 bucks to make it near perfect....by my standards, and mine are kinda high.



last but not least, timing belt.
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Old 04-19-11, 11:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightbird View Post
Hey Guys,
I'm currently looking at a 1995 LS400 with 245k miles on it. The inside and out seems to be in good condition (it's in another state so I'm going by the pics), with a few stitching repairs on the leather drivers seat needed. They are asking $3k for it.

Is this a good price for this year and mileage? I spoke with a Lexus mechanic the other day, and he said they rarely get them in with this much mileage, and that repairs are expensive.

So what do you all think? Too much money for such an old car? To big of a chance that something is ready to brake down? I just don't want to buy something that is going to break down on me. Thanks!
Hi there and welcome. Over Many years I've had Volvo, Saab, BMWs, Mercedes, Jag, Porche, Mitsubishi, Bentley, now an Acura in Chicago and a 1997 Lexus in Louisiana. The Lexus, w/200k miles was on the lot for 9k. I checked CarFax, a MUST DO! to see if it had airbags deployed, meaning a wreck, any reports on mileage turnback, flooding, etc. I was lucky, I actually found the original owners name & adress in the glove box, (they listed the car as a 1 owner) which turned out to be true. I called him and he told me where he had serviced it. I called the dealership and they gave me all info. During my (2 hour) test drive I took it to 2 random mechanics to check it out. All I've had to do in the 1 year I've owned it was timing belt kit w/water pump, which should be done every 100k miles and power steering pump. Just don't take it to the dealership (2-3x price) It by far is my fav car so far. DON'T buy sight unseen. God bless and good luck. P.S. I got it for 5k.
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Old 04-19-11, 08:16 PM   #5
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Thank you guys for all the great info..I really appreciate it! I appreciate all the things to look for..but the problem is the car is several states away..about a 12hr drive which I cannot do right now due to work obligations. So basically I am just going by what the seller is telling me. The seller is a vice president for a financial advising firm (this info and his website was on his business email to me) and he told me he had the car serviced at a local shop and always told them to do whatever the car needs, no questions asked. He told me he just bought his wife a new LS..so he no longer needed this one. He certainly sounds like he could afford the repairs and took care of it..but since I'm several states away I can't physically go look at it and would be buying it blind. I also realize people lie..so anything is possible with the car..though he states everything is working with the vehicle.

I currently own a 1985 Mercedes Benz 500SEL..and while I love this car..I have recently put a lot of money into repairs on it to the point I just can't afford to get another car that will do the same to me..even though I was lucky and found an independent mechanic who charges me about $60 an hour..which is way less than the dealership charges of course. Basically I want the LS to take over the place my MB has as my daily driver. I don't want to sell the MB because as you can imagine no one will pay me anything what I have put into fixing it (rebuilt engine, tranny, ac/heat, new brakes, tires, windshield, etc)..so it will become a Sunday driver.

As for repairing the LS..is this something I can just take to an import or toyota indy mechanic..or does it have to go to a Lexus dealership?

By the way..if anyone has a Carfax account and can run the VIN for me I would really appreciate it. The Lexus mechanic at the dealership I spoke to ran the VIN through Lexus' system and told me what had been done to the car up until it was sold by the first owner at 60k miles..till then all work was done at a Lexus dealership.

I really would prefer an LS430..but I know I won't find one..even a high mileage one..for 3 or 4 grand which is all I can afford now.


Thanks again for all the great advice and help guys.
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Old 04-19-11, 10:29 PM   #6
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your mb and the lexus will balance each other out, meaning its all going to cost about the same. the leus repairs dont come fairly cheap unless you know a guy...which apparrently you do, that being said...dont expect greater things from the lexus over the benz. the ride,silence, overall workmanship and the gas mileage are about equal. the repair costs are about equal, though the ls with have a head start on reliability.

trusting a stranger, given the beniit of the doubt, could go either way. he could be blowing as much smoke up your tail pipe as his ls is putting out. if you can,try to get away to go see it, if you want to trust your gut and go sight unseen,best wishes to you. not everyone is a liar, and just to be fair...he may actually be honest.

it is your money, and your choice.



and a side note, next year at tax season,im looking for a mb s600. they are super sexy
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Old 04-20-11, 12:41 AM   #7
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I wouldn't do it unless you can do a fair amount of the work yourself... otherwise spent another grand or two and get one with much lower mileage
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Old 04-20-11, 01:20 AM   #8
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Welcome.

At this stage, they are nearing EOL for the most part. If you are handy and or have a good independent to work on the car you might be ok. Lots to verify first to make sure it will be the car you desire without costing your lots of $. In those cases and while any used car is a gamble, the higher the miles with unknown care leaves many ???? Browsing the recent discussions will give you an idea of some issues we are seeing lately.

Carfax requests are no-no's, this is violation of the Carfax user agreement.

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Old 04-20-11, 01:37 PM   #9
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i'd try to lower the price a little bit....miles are good with the LS but some of these parts that go bad with age and mileage could be costly.
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Old 04-20-11, 01:50 PM   #10
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Those s class's were also fairly reliable i thought? We have a 91 560 sel with 15,560 miles and is one of my favorite generation s class'. Back on topic, it seems like a decent deal and while repairs are expensive, it is still a fairly reliable car, even at that mileage. Also, 3 grand isn't that much, thats almost what we paid for a lawn mower
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Old 04-20-11, 07:52 PM   #11
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I have an old lexus 1991 with 260,000 I have replaced the rear bushing starter done by lexus with new injectors and seals did my own altanator mas sensor all new akibono brakes and rotors upper and lower bushings front all new bilstien shocks and when I replaced the timing belt which inlcuded the fan bushing and all seals and every thing around the belt plugs etc and I now have about a total of around 5k in parts and labor I have a car that will go another 200,000 miles and I now keep my foot out of it so I can get 24-26 MPH on the highway and no car payments.
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Old 04-20-11, 09:08 PM   #12
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Those s class's were also fairly reliable i thought? We have a 91 560 sel with 15,560 miles and is one of my favorite generation s class'. Back on topic, it seems like a decent deal and while repairs are expensive, it is still a fairly reliable car, even at that mileage. Also, 3 grand isn't that much, thats almost what we paid for a lawn mower

its all in how you take care of it. the old school mb, and bmw go for ever if properly maintained.
pretty much anything foreign from 1995 and prior were built to last and nearly bullet proof......with proper care.

aside from my ls, I also have a 91 toyota camry with 277000 miles on it. original motor and trans. it has the 5sfe 4cyl in it. plug wires have been changed once,5 years ago. and the tranny screen was replaced for the first time a year ago.

oil change every 3k and tranny flushed every 30k. timing belt due again at 300k.
other than that, a couple door handles and a right front brake line...oh, a ac control ****.
and the rear strut mounts are noisey over bumps. and still get about 25 mpg.


drive a car like its was designed to be driven....it will last forever..

just I got off topic
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Old 04-20-11, 09:34 PM   #13
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I think the car will be a money pit just like your Mercedes was unless you have the knowledge, time and desire to frequently visit boneyards to pull all the parts that will need replacing.
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Old 04-21-11, 05:18 AM   #14
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Welcome.

At this stage, they are nearing EOL for the most part. If you are handy and or have a good independent to work on the car you might be ok. Lots to verify first to make sure it will be the car you desire without costing your lots of $. In those cases and while any used car is a gamble, the higher the miles with unknown care leaves many ???? Browsing the recent discussions will give you an idea of some issues we are seeing lately.

Carfax requests are no-no's, this is violation of the Carfax user agreement.
I never had much of an opinion on carfax til I started shopping for a used Lexus. Went to my local used car dealer to check out a rough RX300 that appeared to have poorly repaired rear end damage. When I pointed it out the saleman emphatically said that they never sell wrecked cars, then offered to show me the carfax. And the carfax said it had been involved in a rear end collision in Florida. I was impressed enough to pay for a carfax report on the LS400 I wound up buying, and all the dealer performed maintenance that was available from the Lexus dealers database was also in the carfax report, even the quicky-lube oil changes it got later in life.
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Old 04-21-11, 07:09 AM   #15
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give the fan blade a couple wiggles, if there is any play, indicator of the water pump bearing going out. you will notice that the pulley will move with the fan blade
I'm not trying to be contrary, but wiggling the fan a few times will tell you NOTHING about the water pump. If you take off the drive belt and spin the fan and it "grinds" to a halt instead of leisurely losing energy until it stops, then you have a bad fan bearing and you will have to replace the fan clutch bearing bracket. By the time you get to the bearing bracket, you're 90% of the way to the timing belt/water pump, so you might as well do it all. Just sayin'.
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Old 04-21-11, 07:09 AM
 
 
 
 
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