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Old 07-28-14, 10:02 PM   #1
tobi
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Default Keep it or Sell it

I would like to hear your "what would you do?" opinions.

My 1999 LS400 needs the repairs listed in the below.
I'm trying to make a decision whether I should fix these and keep the car, hoping it will last another 5 years OR I should get rid of it and buy a new $25,000-$30,000 car.

Current Status:
- Current odometer: 420,000 km (= 262,500 miles)
- Canadian Lexus living in Los Angeles
- Good Exterior/Interior conditions
- New genuine catalytic converter was installed in 2010 (~$4000)

Now, repairs to be done: (all below prices are part + labor)
- Front upper control arms (excessive movement): $1320
- Front lower control arm ball joints: $560
- Power Steering rack & pinion (fluid leak right side): $1175 w/ alignment
- Driveshaft flex discs (drivelibe/driveshaft vibration exists, deep cracks in rubber): $830
- Valve cover gaskets, spark plug seals, seal washers: $750
- Rear struts & coil springs: $1222
- Front struts & Strut Mounts & coil springs: $1430
- New Tires: $1000

Thanks,
Q
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Old 07-28-14, 10:19 PM   #2
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Some of those prices quoted look very very high. And why did you pay 4k for a cat replacement? With all the site knowledge and resources you could cut most of those in half or more.
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Old 07-29-14, 01:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobi View Post
I would like to hear your "what would you do?" opinions.

My 1999 LS400 needs the repairs listed in the below.
I'm trying to make a decision whether I should fix these and keep the car, hoping it will last another 5 years OR I should get rid of it and buy a new $25,000-$30,000 car.

Current Status:
- Current odometer: 420,000 km (= 262,500 miles)
- Canadian Lexus living in Los Angeles
- Good Exterior/Interior conditions
- New genuine catalytic converter was installed in 2010 (~$4000)

Now, repairs to be done: (all below prices are part + labor)
- Front upper control arms (excessive movement): $1320 ~$800 OEM
- Front lower control arm ball joints: $560 ~$300 OEM
- Power Steering rack & pinion (fluid leak right side): $1175 w/ alignment ~$650-800 rebuilt
- Driveshaft flex discs (drivelibe/driveshaft vibration exists, deep cracks in rubber): $830 ~$250-450 aftermarket
- Valve cover gaskets, spark plug seals, seal washers: $750 ~$300 OEM
- Rear struts & coil springs: $1222 ~$400 kyb/oem (do not need to do springs)
- Front struts & Strut Mounts & coil springs: $1430 ~$400 kyb/oem (do not need to do springs)
- New Tires: $1000 ~$600 oem spec

Thanks,
Q
you need to find a new mechanic, one that's not trying to screw you so hard.. I've corrected with actual approximate prices (parts and labor), and a lot can be done together to save further on labor cost.

Can't stress enough how botched these estimates are. Dealer-esque with massive parts markup. MASSIVE.
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Old 07-29-14, 06:19 AM   #4
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IF someone quoted me those prices I'd be asking the same question you are...
But the main question is... where in the world are you getting those quotes from? You need a new mechanic.

Are you going to be happy with the car if you do all these repairs? And at this point in it's life does it have to be perfect?
If you do all this work and you're still pining for a newer ride... then that answers your question...
Always cheaper to repair than replace to the level you're talking about. But if money is no option, then go get a newer car.
Good luck.
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Old 07-29-14, 06:27 AM   #5
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I'm with PD on the prices and would like to know who is giving that quote. Sure sounds like a dealer. Even with PDs prices that's about 4k. Personally and speaking from experience I would fix everything and ride for another 5+ years instead of buying a new car. I've got more than that invested in my 98 spread out across the last 2 years and still have to put new paint.
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Old 07-29-14, 09:20 AM   #6
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Depends how happy you are with the LS. In the end, moving into another new car brings with it monthly payments and higher insurance. You'll have less maintenance so that's a decision to ponder.

If the car has only taken simple fluid changes in all this time, you have done well so putting this $$ back in isn't bad. The parts listed for the LS are wear items. Like PD posted, you'll save significant $$ with a better shop and to me that looks like they are trying to rip the wallet.

Are you getting thumping-clunking from the front suspension over bumps and when stopping?

Are there signs of PS fluid leaking on your garage floor-driveway?

If the springs are rusted out as seen in snowy conditions where salt is used or seaside living, maybe they can be replaced. Generally you'd see lots of other rusted parts. Doubtful they would need to be replaced.

$1K on tires depends what tires you prefer. Plenty of quality tires that are wallet friendly. The Continental Extreme DW in 245/40-18 mounted and rolling down the street cost me $610.
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Old 07-29-14, 12:26 PM   #7
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i feel if you can afford a $30k car you can afford the cost of fixing the LS, of course not all at once. tackle the important issues first like suspension and timing belt which should have been replaced twice already (every 90k miles).

it all depends on your love for the car. how happy are you driving it? that's what matters. most new cars do come with insurance premiums and monthlys but they are more reliable and more gas efficient. only you can weigh those options for your lifestyle and cost. in LA a reliable car is a MUST!
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Old 07-29-14, 12:53 PM   #8
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If you like the LS you might be able to find a low mileage example with services done for a helluva lot less than 25-30k, maybe more like 3k-6k for some darn nice ones. But first bring the prospective Lexus for a full checkup to a DIFFERENT tech than the one that tried to lean you over the back of the couch.
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Old 07-29-14, 01:37 PM   #9
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The LS430 may be a consideration. That will move you into a nicer car while not having as large an expense as a new car. The other consideration is the safety standards of the more recent models.
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Old 07-29-14, 04:27 PM   #10
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If you do most of the work I would say keep it but it looks like you will have all work done by a mechanic so I would sell it. Hope your mechanic knows what he is doing. You can't rule out mechanic error either. I've had plenty experiences with bad mechanics so I now to most of the work on my cars. If I was OP, I would feel better with a new car with a payment. Just my 2cents
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Old 07-29-14, 06:12 PM   #11
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If I were personally in your shoes, I would keep it only because I absolutely love the LS. But one must always remember that everything considered luxury becomes standard in a minimal amount of time. I remember when backup sensors and rain sensing wipers inspired awe and shock in normal folk. Now those things are on a TON of cars, especially backup sensors. I mean Mercedes Benz created the vast majority of "standard" safety features decades ago (safety belts, ABS, etc).

My point being that if you don't love your LS, move on. Get something that can be considered luxury by 1999 standards, which is almost anything these days, and get considerably better gas mileage at the same time. Gas will never go back to being $.75. Not to mention a warranty from a dealer if thats the route you choose to take.
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Old 08-05-14, 09:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobi View Post
I would like to hear your "what would you do?" opinions.

My 1999 LS400 needs the repairs listed in the below.
I'm trying to make a decision whether I should fix these and keep the car, hoping it will last another 5 years OR I should get rid of it and buy a new $25,000-$30,000 car.

Current Status:
- Current odometer: 420,000 km (= 262,500 miles)
- Canadian Lexus living in Los Angeles
- Good Exterior/Interior conditions
- New genuine catalytic converter was installed in 2010 (~$4000)

Now, repairs to be done: (all below prices are part + labor)
- Front upper control arms (excessive movement): $1320
- Front lower control arm ball joints: $560
- Power Steering rack & pinion (fluid leak right side): $1175 w/ alignment
- Driveshaft flex discs (drivelibe/driveshaft vibration exists, deep cracks in rubber): $830
- Valve cover gaskets, spark plug seals, seal washers: $750
- Rear struts & coil springs: $1222
- Front struts & Strut Mounts & coil springs: $1430
- New Tires: $1000

Thanks,
Q
I agree with everyone else. If you like the car go ahead but stay away from the dealer. Those catalytic converters coulda been changed much cheaper like for 500 I had mine done with manga flow and you prolly didn't even need new ones, just new gaskets or oxygen sensors. Just because check engine light code says they are inefficient doesn't mean change them. Usually another issue.

Tires. BF Goodrich at SAMs club. 600 installed v-rated
Struts: kyb struts and mounts same springs. Maybe 600 for all 4 and 400 labor
Valve cover gaskets. Is it leaking that bad, do you see engine oil all over your engine? Did this car ever heat up? You aren't trying to make this car new showroom. Dealers job is to make money and point out things which aren't perfect but can still enjoy the car as is for YEARS without fixing.

Flex disc I am unfamiliar with. Did they show you it directly. Was it really cracked. Is there a horrible vibration on the highway that goes away at 70 mph when you put the car In neutral?

Rack and pinion get an autozone one for 200 and install it at a toyota dealer if it is leaking that bad. Looking at 300 labor with power flush and alignment If not leaking on the ground don't change it

Lower ball joints yes change safety issue. Uppers. Find a good junk yard one if they are so bad
Aftermarket ones aren't so good

If you drive a lot sell it and get a gas saving car.
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Old 08-06-14, 12:19 AM   #13
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If you can swing a wrench, you should be able to do 90% of that list for under $1500 in parts with good aftermarket parts.
UCA's can be had for ~$130/ea
LBJ's are ~$75ea
You can buy quality Coilovers like BC's brand new for <$1000 front and rear, instead of springs/shocks
Depending on the PS leak, it could be as simple as a couple seals that cost $30 for all of them. Could also be nothing wrong with it and you are wasting your money even with the $30 in parts
Drive shaft flex discs are about $75-120 each and you need two. If you have wrenches, a prybar, jack and stands... This is job a child could manage in simplicity. Shouldn't take more than 2-3hours on your back.
Iirc, my valve cover set cost me $65 for both sides with boot seals. Again, not a hard job but since you are in there, change your plugs at the same time.
You can find cheap tires for as little as $250 mounted and balanced for all 4, OEM for ~$600 as mentioned, and everything in between.


Even if you do have to go to a shop to do this, the spring/shock install overlaps with the UCA and LBJ jobs and might add an extra hour to the job in total. 5-6hours of labour and prices as I posted above if you supply your own parts..



Find a new mechanic, you are getting raped by your current shop!
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