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Just bought a 1997 LS400 with 111,000 miles any maintenance advise to start?

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Old 01-16-14, 12:14 PM   #1
Colington
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Default Just bought a 1997 LS400 with 111,000 miles any maintenance advise to start?

It all looks good (especially considering I'm a convert from BMW and I'm used to maintenance).
The car has 111,111 miles exactly and boasts one owner claiming to have done the timing belt and ALL scheduled maintenance at the dealer. In my excitement to pay only $3,900 I forgot to get or even look at the receipts. What should I look for on this car to make it a good daily driver? The tie rod ends are worn and the power feels a bit low for 260hp... Any help is great.
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Old 01-16-14, 12:37 PM   #2
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I would do the following:

● go to local Lexus dealership and give them your VIN and they will give you a record of all maintenance that has been done (timing belt, etc.) - if the timing belt was over 90K or more than 10 years ago, I would have it done now.

● read the LS400 FAQ here on Club Lexus

● replace caps, rotors, plug wires and plugs (genuine Toyota on caps & rotors, OEM Denso or NGK is fine on plugs & wires)

● replace Engine Coolant Temp Sensor (ECTS) with genuine Toyota part (big difference in mileage and power)

● fix your power steering leak (you very likely have one and it will kill your alternator!)

● clean throttle body, especially butterfly area

● replace air filter and PCV valve

● replace strut bar bushings if this has not yet been done

ECU capacitors (future very likely problem area and you get free low end power now and even nicer shifting)

● change oil (use a name brand full synthetic 5W-30 such as Pennzoil Ultra or Platinum, Mobil 1, etc.)

● change tranny fluid (do NOT have tranny flushed, just changed like the oil, use only genuine Toyota T-IV fluid and a new drain bolt and gasket)

● change differential fluid

● change coolant (be sure to use genuine Toyota long-life red)

● consider a new fuel cap, new coolant reservoir cap, and new positive battery terminal (use Toyota parts on all 3 of these)

● four wheel alignment

● a set of one of the following three sets of tires: Michelin Primacy MXV4, Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus, Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus

● inspect condition of main drive belt, all fluid levels and condition of all hoses

● inspect brakes


if you do these things, the power will be back, and you will have a reliable daily driver!

genuine Toyota parts are available online for ~25% discount from online dealerships such as Lexus of South Atlanta, Park Place Lexus, Lexus Parts Now, Sewell Lexus, etc.)

on outer tie rod ends, the Toyota ones are cheap enough at discount to go ahead and use those, on inner tie rods ends, I would probably save the money over the very pricey factory parts and use Raybestos Pro or possibly Beck-Arnley

Last edited by LScowboyLS; 01-16-14 at 12:52 PM..
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Old 01-16-14, 12:51 PM   #3
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Thank you cowboy, that's a pretty long list, but it shares most of what my untrained eyes and brain we're telling me to do. It looks like the ECTS sensor is an issue on these and I believe you are correct about a power steering seep. One drip on the garage floor after four days the valve cover (driver side) seems to have wetness at the rear bolt as well. Is that something that needs to be addressed? Also the lower pan gasket may be perished, but I'm no mechanic. Thanks. Do you feel it was a worthy purchase knowing what you know?
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Old 01-16-14, 12:59 PM   #4
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refresh this page as I have expanded my list - lol

the power steering leak may well be only a $3 dollar o-ring, if you do it yourself or have an honest mechanic, the o-ring between the pump reservoir and pump - but that o-ring will end up costing you a very expensive alternator if you put it off! (I put mine off ) - do not listen to crooked dealerships and mechanics that want to tell you that your pump or rack is leaking (they're not)

I would not worry about a small oil leak from the valve cover gaskets, just clean the area well and if it's not leaking enough to drip down on the manifold and cause an annoying burnt smoke smell then I would concentrate on far more important things in the list above
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Old 01-16-14, 01:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Do you feel it was a worthy purchase knowing what you know?
and yes, from what you have described, if the cosmetic condition is amazing which it looks to be (can't see interior condition) then you got a steal - this was the finest car in the world when it came out, and the only car I can think of that will be good for a reliable 450,000 miles +
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Old 01-16-14, 02:41 PM   #6
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welcome! she looks like a beaut and a steal of a price in my eyes. listen to cowboy, all good advice.
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Old 01-16-14, 05:57 PM   #7
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I made it through most of the inspection and fluids part today (all good). The sensors, suspension and perhaps rotors still need attention, but all in due time.
** premium gas in southern CA is 91 octane. Is that good, or do I need any additive?
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Old 01-16-14, 06:14 PM   #8
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i'm from socal. 91 oct works just fine.

where did you find this gem?
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Old 01-16-14, 08:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by timmy0tool View Post
i'm from socal. 91 oct works just fine.

where did you find this gem?
It was a craigslist gem of all places. I saw, called and immediately drove 45 min to claim it. I feel lucky because the sellers phone was ringing the ENTIRE TIME with other interested parties. The guy even discounted it $100 so I could fill the mostly empty tank and replace the rear floor mats.

So far so good. In fact I even discovered the change trey has $8.35 in coins lol.
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Old 01-16-14, 08:19 PM   #10
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Welcome and congrats on the LS400.
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Old 01-16-14, 08:54 PM   #11
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Great looking car! I like the white-silver combination.
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Old 01-17-14, 04:38 PM   #12
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Well, the plot thickens...

Finally got her up on a rack (i work at a Honda dealership) and it is really oily down there under the skid cover. I went to look for the thunking sound in the strut bar/control arms and was told the "A arm" main bushing (where it attaches to the frame) is shot and metal on metal...
Valve covers are all leaking, not seeping
transmission pan is leaking and could use a drain/filter and and gasket (looks like silicone though)
timing tensioner is leaky
engine oil pan needs a gasket
unknown number of rubbers and or suspension pieces may need attention.
May need a timing belt due to age of old one
the bill has eclipsed $2500 and rising...

Is there a good way to do these items for less than the Stealership charges? can an independant be trusted. I dont feel good trying to do any of this myself.

** Sad thing, is the car drives like a creampuff!!!
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Old 01-17-14, 06:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colington View Post

Finally got her up on a rack (i work at a Honda dealership) and it is really oily down there under the skid cover. I went to look for the thunking sound in the strut bar/control arms and was told the "A arm" main bushing (where it attaches to the frame) is shot and metal on metal...
LS400 does not have an "A" arm, they have a strut bar and upper and lower control arms, on each side, tell the mechanic to use proper Toyota terminology please (I think he is likely referring to the upper control arm) - search this forum and read all of the upper control arm threads and choose the aftermarket brand that people are having the best luck with - I do agree that this is likely worn out though. (the factory upper control arms are $825 for the pair, and that is with a nice discount online)


Quote:
Valve covers are all leaking, not seeping
clean the valve covers and surrounding area, usually this area does not leak sufficiently enough to worry about, until the car has 300K+ miles, so I am skeptical

Quote:
transmission pan is leaking and could use a drain/filter and and gasket (looks like silicone though)
a fluid and filter change is always a good idea - it's not exactly silicon, it's FIPG, a silicon derivative


Quote:
timing tensioner is leaky
timing tensioners - never seen one leak - sounds BOGUS
PS - when you do the timing belt - you get a NEW one anyway! (if someone competent does it)


Quote:
engine oil pan needs a gasket
I highly doubt it - far more likely that it is either oil or power steering fluid that has seeped there from elsewhere, could even be oil just spilled when someone added oil to the crankcase.


Quote:
unknown number of rubbers and or suspension pieces may need attention.
now this is one part of this diagnosis that I strongly agree with! - the most neglected part of LS400


Quote:
May need a timing belt due to age of old one
what is the mileage and the age of the current one?


Quote:
the bill has eclipsed $2500 and rising...
Is there a good way to do these items for less than the Stealership charges? can an independant be trusted. I dont feel good trying to do any of this myself.
good mechanics are hard to find, dealership or independent - dealership is more competent on average, but these are all fairly easy repairs, we aren't rebuilding the engine here!

I would try and do most of these items (the few that are truly necessary) yourself! - you will save a ton of money and it will be done right and you will end up with an awesome factory service manual set and some new tools in addition to the money savings!

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Old 01-20-14, 10:19 AM   #14
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Congrats on a sweet find and welcome to the club...Gotta love the pearl white ones... I know I do.
Just follow the instructions from above and your 'new' lexus will last you a long time.
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Old 01-20-14, 12:36 PM   #15
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what you have listed isn't anything out of the ordinary. i always expect to spend upwards of $1000 or so to get a used car up to my standards.

if you work at a honda dealership, you can tackle all of what you've listed fairly quickly. listen to cowboy, he is a resident guru!
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Old 01-20-14, 12:36 PM
 
 
 
 
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