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Old 07-09-14, 10:33 PM   #1
Caseyjones
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Intro: I'm a 45 yr old RN and car nut with lots of scenic open road around me and a little extra time on my hands. I reside in the Black Hills of SD.

I did not mean to buy this car, I was looking for something with FWD/AWD and gentle on fuel, I just sold my mildly tuned 2005 Saab 9-5 ARC 5 speed 2.3T to buy something my wife could drive as well, and to get out from under the payments... and to avoid getting another ticket.

I found this black/black 1996 LS400 online at a car lot with 175k on the clock, but in remarkable condition inside and out, not mint but excellent would be fair to say. Even the drivers seat is perfectly intact.

I drove it just for fun and as an excuse to drive two towns away. The quality feel was immediately apparent. I pulled the door shut behind me and it reminded me of my classic 126 Benz with that solid decisive thunk devoid of rattles and drama. The drive is impressively smooth and acceleration is adequate. Ride quality is considerably better than the saab although performance notably less. I have a long history with Euro cars. It might feel strange to have a car this opulent without worrying about what expensive thing will fail next. It's a bit slower and a bit thirstier than the Saab but looks like quite a win on all other counts.

I checked all the systems I could think of and nearly everything works perfectly. I'm impressed after spending 3 days driving other cars in this price range and return to the lot and give him his $4k asking price after he would not budge.

Services just done this month with service receipts;
Timing belt and all other belts. Fluids changed, VC and oil pan gaskets and several other things I cant remember but it was around $2000 at the local Toyota dealership. I think I am the 2nd owner, lots of service records present.

The only thing I'm on the fence about is fuel MPG, but no payments will more than make up for it. At any rate this is by far the most car for the $ I have seen in recent history. I'm very excited to get it home tomorrow. I couldn't use it to tow my Samurai home so had to leave it there for now .

Here is what I found that might need attention.
1. Brakes under high speed hard braking will pulsate a little, maybe rotors...
2. The switch that tilts and extends the column seems like it works when it wants to, when key out the column pulls in and up find so thinking switch.
3. Memory switches for seats, maybe I need to set them before they do anything so not sure if this is an issue but they did nothing on a quick check.
4. Sunroof slightly slow during the last inch or so of fully open position, otherwise works great.

This is splitting hairs for a $4k car considering I could have paid lots more for a throw away domestic or Korean car.

I cant help but feel that this was easily the best bang for the buck I could have expected, especially from a lot. My goal for this car is to simply care for it as intended and drive it gently until it belches hot oily pieces all over the road. Maybe some better speakers and a bluetooth input but nothing to involved. I may look into mods to improve MPG if it's feasible but performance is fine, it will work quite well but does not beg to go faster, thankfully.

-/rant mode off. I expect this side of the fence will be a nice change.

Tony
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Old 07-10-14, 06:22 AM   #2
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congratulations on your Lexus autos, you will never be sorry.... I believe they are the best made cars you can have. And will keep on impressing you as you go forward and care for them... My wife and I have owned 12 of them and would not even consider any other brand... the 95-97 models (as I have said on CL many times) are the "toughest" ones ever made, less things to fail, easiest/cheapest to fix of them all.. personally we like our 99's the best, for comfort and performance qualities, plus we think the 98-2000 are the best looking of them all. Have driven later models but was not impressed to trade up... the wifes has 185k on it and mine has 240k.. you can see them here: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/ls40...000-miles.html
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Old 07-10-14, 07:10 AM   #3
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I spent hours and hours searching over car lot inventories online and CL private sellers. I see a whole lot of lesser cars available for more money. Around here a good Honda or Toyota are sort of hard to find in my price range. The market is saturated with throw away cars so I just couldn't walk away from this one for the price. Oddly the blue book comes up at an average of around $3500, it defies explanation.

Ride and build quality of a MB with Toyota reliability. Count me in!

It wont get near the MPG the Saab did but at least I wont have to burn premium fuel.... will I?
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Old 07-10-14, 07:32 AM   #4
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Congratulations... and you've quickly assessed what most believe here. As used cars they are the absolute hidden gem in the market and the most bang for the buck. When you can pick up a $60k car for $4k...with the engineering and design that went into this vehicle, and the proven track record. There is no better deal.

And we do use premium fuel in these cars.. sad to say... you can use regular if you want as the ECU will degrade the timing to avoid pinging... but that is a whole 'nuther debate that you can find elsewhere on this forum. Enjoy the ride and awesome part of the country you live in.
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Old 07-10-14, 07:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caseyjones View Post
I spent hours and hours searching over car lot inventories online and CL private sellers. I see a whole lot of lesser cars available for more money. Around here a good Honda or Toyota are sort of hard to find in my price range. The market is saturated with throw away cars so I just couldn't walk away from this one for the price. Oddly the blue book comes up at an average of around $3500, it defies explanation.

Ride and build quality of a MB with Toyota reliability. Count me in!

It wont get near the MPG the Saab did but at least I wont have to burn premium fuel.... will I?
Welcome. I have owned my 98 LS400 since new and find it to be highly reliable. If maintained well you should see about 25 mpg on the highway. The recommended fuel is premium. I would continue using premium. The price difference vs performance is worth the extra money. If it has not been done yet change the timing belt and water pump every 90k.
If you need to replace a starter it will set you back about 1200+ at the dealer. If you are handy you can do it yourself like I did. Spend the extra bucks and get it from Lexus. It's about 255 after core charge. That's all I have had fail on Lucy. It was even used for two years as a police car when I was a cop in NYC. Detective work and no high speed chases! Lol
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Old 07-10-14, 08:47 AM   #6
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Thank you for the warm welcome!

If I need premium then I'll use it. I never got far enough to see fuel rating but I'm not going to cheap out here. It's hard to find fuel in this area that's not tainted with ethanol (even premium) so I may have no choice but to burn it. I'm sure burning 87 would hurt MPG enough to eat up any savings anyway.

The Lexus is so composed and surefooted whereas the Buick is downright frightening if you enter a corner a little to fast or need to panic brake. It's so floaty and vague, definitely a pucker factor. Not to mention the Park Ave build quality is better than average for a GM but still shameful. I know we'll be enjoying the Lexus massively, it seems vastly superior in every regard to the Buick and definitely fits my needs better than he Saab. I am very critical of cars when I drive, I do a running review in my head. This is a HUGE upgrade for her and sure a step up for me as well.

I see timing belt and water pump are due at 90k, the car has 175k and the PO just had the full service with timing belt done before trading it in. I should be good for another 90k. I do turn all my own wrenches so a starter fail I could address right here on the cheap. It just got a clean bill of health from Toyota so I'm fairly confident I'm good for a while.

Wifey has not seen it yet and was actually a little put off at the thought of another big thirsty car, shes the one that has been driving the Buick mentioned above, I hate that car, it's a dumpster fire of an automobile. I am confident she will love this Lexus, if not I will love it by myself and she will get a Civic (also a great car) or something.

I'm very excited and will be picking it up soon, I'm sure I will have a few questions and have much more reading to do here. My excitement now mirrors that of the kid that came and bought the Saab from me a few days ago. I'm jazzed!
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Old 07-10-14, 10:58 AM   #7
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Technically the recommended spec is 91 octane gas, while most premium today is 93. I believe 93 has no added benefit over 91 for us, while using lower octane gas will result in poorer mileage. When I'm feeling especially miserly, I fill with 2/3 93 and 1/3 87 to hit the 91 mark at the lowest price.
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Old 07-10-14, 01:31 PM   #8
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Let us know what your wife thinks... and if you get to keep the new car and she can downgrade to a civic... If I was a betting man, I'd bet she's going to hang on to the Lexus.
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Old 07-10-14, 02:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mappo View Post
Technically the recommended spec is 91 octane gas, while most premium today is 93. I believe 93 has no added benefit over 91 for us, while using lower octane gas will result in poorer mileage. When I'm feeling especially miserly, I fill with 2/3 93 and 1/3 87 to hit the 91 mark at the lowest price.
IDK for you, but here in QC(Canada) 87 have up to 10% ethanol in it. So I avoid it like the plague and only use 91.

Caseyjones, I'm sure your wife will love it. Once you tasted power under your right foot it's hard to go back to smaller less powerful car (like the mentioned Civic)
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Old 07-10-14, 02:53 PM   #10
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Welcome and congrats. This will possibly be the best car purchase you will ever make.
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Old 07-10-14, 04:18 PM   #11
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glad to read about a person not in the know about these cars, jump right in, and fall in love. as you will see in the upcoming weeks spending time reading up on all things LS400 you will see that these are pretty much the most reliable pieces of machinery on earth today. a huge plus for you that you found one with all the necessary maintenance taken care of.

there are small nuances that abound, what car doesn't, however they are very minor compared to the grand scheme. this board will provide you with the most information out there outside of the factory itself. most are covered in the FAQ section. if you know how to turn a wrench, then you can do pretty much all of what is necessary to keep this car going to 300k miles and beyond!

welcome and enjoy the car!
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Old 07-10-14, 07:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lchouinard View Post
IDK for you, but here in QC(Canada) 87 have up to 10% ethanol in it.
Here in the US it's pretty much all 10% ethanol - there's no escaping that garbage at any price. I think only marinas sell pure gasoline now.
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Old 07-10-14, 07:53 PM   #13
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Thanks folks!

Yup, wife loves it!

We found the mem seats priceless, shes 5.1 and Im 6.2 so that makes it easier.

I have to read further through the forums to find solutions to a couple little things I found but thus far it looks like I a long term car.

Tony
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Old 07-11-14, 05:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Here in the US it's pretty much all 10% ethanol - there's no escaping that garbage at any price. I think only marinas sell pure gasoline now.
In some areas of NC you can get ethanol free fuel at Resco stations. I use it in my Lexus and my motorcycle. The only drawback for some is the price. $4.20 a gal for premium
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Old 07-11-14, 07:34 AM   #15
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There are a couple places here, the price is quite high as well, I do buy it for my small engines, mowers, line trimmers and saws but the location really makes it a PITA. It looks like I will probably be stuck burning the tainted stuff. We filled up last night and it's running very well.
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Old 07-11-14, 07:34 AM
 
 
 
 
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