I currently have a '97 LX450 which I am getting ready to sell because it's gutless, gets 13mpg and just simply not utilizing an SUV even though I live in CO. The car I have always really liked but haven't even driven yet is the LS400! I have been reading through this forum for a few days now but I still have lots of concerns that I am hoping you guys can help me clear up?
Considering something in the '96-'00 range depending upon condition/price.
How are these in the snow?
Like how they look slightly lowered > Difficult or expensive to achieve?
I have heard Extremely expensive to repair (I can turn a wrench but not a full blown mechanic, did plenty of repairs on my LX450 myself)
Mechanic told me the stock air suspension has issues > $5k to fix >Really??!!? Seems a bit nuts???
Many threads I have read I have noticed people are impressed with just how simple the cars really are to work on, True??
And yes I will INDEED have a pre inspection done before pulling the trig on one!
You guys have all the experience and I haven't even driven one yet so I am hoping you wont mind giving me your honest opinions and advice!!
Thanks in advance!!
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'98-'00 are going to be different beasts than the '96-'97, what with 30 more horsepower, VVT-i, an extra gear in the tranny, and dozens of other upgrades.
My '97 goes fine in the snow when equipped with its stock 16" wheels and all season tires. And I live in Illinois where we get a lot of it, so I've had plenty of opportunities to test it.
Real world MPGs? In the city, I'm between 18-20, on the the highway, I've been able to achieve 26, though 23-24 is more realistic. And I drive with a fairly heavy foot.
Powerful? I believe the as-new 0-60 on the '95-'97 was 7.6 seconds. There are performance upgrades available, but most are very expensive. Most guys on here you'll see running with custom exhaust and not much else; you can perform the Lexkost intake mode (search for it: I've done it, took all of $2 and 5 minutes) for at least a louder sound. Regardless, it will pull like a champ all day long. Check the F.A.Q. for more on performance mods.
Lowering these beasts is a common thing (see the "post pics of UR car thread" for tons of examples) and cost will be determined by if you choose to go air, coilovers or just springs/shocks. A set of Megan Racing coilovers can be had for I *believe* $700 or so from some of the vendors on here - even cheaper used. Many of us who are running them, including myself, have been very pleased and no really mentionable negative experiences, especially for that price.
The 90k maintenance can be expensive, and I had to replace the fuel pump on mine (roughly $700 for parts/labor), but other than oil changes, this car hasn't cost me a dime in maintenance.
Other than that, just browse the forum and you'll learn a lot.
If you get one in good shape, I would roughly budget about $500 annually for repairs. This seems to be my average when factored out the last 9 years of ownership. Some years it is simple oil changes, but I've had 2 starters, alternator, PS rebuild, brakes...then the small fluid changes.
In all, unless you are ready to spend on maintenance, I'd look for a newer car if the budget allows.
Personally i prefer 98-2000 model which i have now. V8 dont do justice in city but on hghway it can go up to 500++ km which is ok for me considering its V8 4000cc.In terms of service and repairs it is expensive here i.e. sometimes 300-400% more than from the states. But luckily with guys from these forums help alot how and whereabout to solve mechanical issues. Good luck with youre hunting
I have a '99 so I'd definitely recomment a 5-speed VVT-i if a good one falls in your price range, but I'd still take a well maintained older one over an abused late model. Don't expect sudden G-force acceleration, the tranny is programmed to 'gracefully' accelerate, so while there's plenty of power on tap, it's not dramatic. It's soft & comfy, not sporty. But like you, I recently got rid of a large SUV and the LS400 feels much sportier and in control. Some parts are pricey but many are no more expensive than any 'mid-priced' sedan. Even at 12 to 15 years old they're shockingly quiet & smooth if they're well maintained. We recently took a 200 mile vacation trip and keeping the cruise at 70 mph averaged about 24 mpg. I don't know of any other v8 sedan over 12 years old that can beat that.
If you can get the VIN of a potential used car purchase, register it on the Lexus website and you can pull all the dealer service records, or get a carfax report. I found mine at 120k miles hadn't yet had it's 90k mile service (that's the biggie that includes the timing belt), only oil changes so I was able to get the seller down another grand to cover maintenance. I found an independent shop that did my timing belt & water pump for about $700, the same job at the same shop on an Accord was only $100 less.
Some great points and I was hoping to hear that they weren't a whole heck of a lot more to repair than a typical large sedan. Plus, I really don't think parts for my LX450 could be much cheaper, it's fairly pricey to work on but not insane like the mechanic spoke of. Plus I rarely take my vehicles to mechanics, I do most of the maintenance/repairs myself.
I appreciate you guys taking the time, it's helping me feel a bit better about my instincts to go this way. I mean, I just can't see myself buying a used Accord or Camry over a 400!! Not saying those aren't good cars, I just have always liked the styling of the 400's.
I really like your white LS (shown in your sig), for me it's as low as I would ever want to go and really what I had envisioned, for me it will be my DD and want to remain pretty usable. Can I ask what size rims/tires and how you dropped to that level shown??