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91 LS400 How hard should turning be?

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Old 08-01-14, 03:32 PM   #1
lluahs
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Default 91 LS400 How hard should turning be?

Hello everyone, I recently purchased a 91 LS400 in excellent condition from the local Lexus dealership with 125k miles. Now I've never driven a 1st gen LS400, only a 03 LS430 before and was wondering if my steering is not up to par. The wheel is harder to turn than my 92 ES300, which makes me believe that something is wrong(unless however the extra weight of the LS400 is in play here). My ES300 turns like butter, with very little effort. While my LS400 is very easy to turn at higher speeds, but takes a little effort at crawling/lower speeds(that feeling that your driving a boat on wheels). Here is the maintenance the dealership gave me:

2001 84,000 miles - power steering rack and pinion, pump, and high pressure hose all replaced
2007 108,000 miles - lower ball joints(left right) replaced and a 4 wheel alignment was done

One issue I found while searching the net could possibly be the filter in the power steering reservoir, which in all likelyhood was probably replaced with the pump at the dealership(looks new too).

So it normal for the LS400 to have a heavier feeling steering than the ES300, or is something off here?
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Old 08-01-14, 03:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lluahs View Post
Hello everyone, I recently purchased a 91 LS400 in excellent condition from the local Lexus dealership with 125k miles. Now I've never driven a 1st gen LS400, only a 03 LS430 before and was wondering if my steering is not up to par. The wheel is harder to turn than my 92 ES300, which makes me believe that something is wrong(unless however the extra weight of the LS400 is in play here). My ES300 turns like butter, with very little effort. While my LS400 is very easy to turn at higher speeds, but takes a little effort at crawling/lower speeds(that feeling that your driving a boat on wheels). Here is the maintenance the dealership gave me:

2001 84,000 miles - power steering rack and pinion, pump, and high pressure hose all replaced
2007 108,000 miles - lower ball joints(left right) replaced and a 4 wheel alignment was done

One issue I found while searching the net could possibly be the filter in the power steering reservoir, which in all likelyhood was probably replaced with the pump at the dealership(looks new too).

So it normal for the LS400 to have a heavier feeling steering than the ES300, or is something off here?
Have you sat in P and turned the steering wheel? Can you hear the power steering groan when you turn the wheel? Does the fluid look new (should be bright red atf fluid)? The ball joints were replaced, what was the condition of the steering knuckle?
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Old 08-02-14, 06:08 AM   #3
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No noise or whine from the cabin when turning the wheels.
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Old 08-03-14, 08:13 PM   #4
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You should hear the engine rev a bit and see the tach go up a few 100 rpm when turning the wheel at a stop because of the ps idle up valve. If not there is an issue I would think
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Old 08-04-14, 12:25 AM   #5
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On LS400s, you should be able to turn the wheel with just one finger. On a first generation LS, it likely is the screens
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Old 08-04-14, 07:27 AM   #6
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take the return hose off...turn the wheel back and forth with the hose over the reservoir and watch the fluid..should be a steady stream.if not u have obstruction issues. best to have the front end off the ground
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Old 08-04-14, 12:02 PM   #7
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On LS400s, you should be able to turn the wheel with just one finger. On a first generation LS, it likely is the screens
Yes, most dealerships don't know about the solenoid filter screen that you can access after removing the left front wheel. Search on here and you'll find how to carefully remove and clean it. It made a night and day change on my '91, and clearly had never been touched when I first did it.

And to answer your question title, "How hard should turning be": It should be so light that any other car you drive will feel like it does not have power steering.
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Old 08-05-14, 12:11 AM   #8
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I have noticed my power steering is a little heavy to the touch as well, its solid and still has a quality feel so I figured it was the nature of the beast. My PS also had a slight whine to it and fluid like chocolate milk. I flushed 8 qts dext III through it according to the link here. The fluid turned golden brown again when I rechecked it a few days later, and the whine remains along with the heavy steering.

I was unaware of a screen accessible under the car until I found the pics in the search just now, only the one in the reservoir which was quite clean. I'll try it this week, I need to lighten it up a little if I can lest I exacerbate my shoulder injuries. I'm VERY sick of hearing the pump, however faint it might be. I was ready to replace the pump but maybe not necessary...

Will post the results in hopes that it helps.
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Old 08-11-14, 03:05 AM   #9
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The idle rpms do not go up when turning the wheels in park. I will try to look at the filters sometime this week, is the solenoid right behind the passenger or driver's side wheel?
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Old 08-11-14, 07:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lluahs View Post
The idle rpms do not go up when turning the wheels in park. I will try to look at the filters sometime this week, is the solenoid right behind the passenger or driver's side wheel?
Drivers wheel.
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