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LS400 differences in years

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Old 01-24-15, 12:01 PM   #1
HamandTurk
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Default LS400 differences in years

Hey guys,

I just heard about and joined the Club Lexus site and I am really hopeful that I can get some help from you guys! I have been looking into purchasing an older used Lexus, but I have a few questions as I have never owned anything other than Chevy.

What I am looking for is the most reliable, yet easiest to repair personally, Lexus between the GS and LS models. I am looking at spending $6-8k US dollars on the car. I have been told the LS400 model is the way to go, but I just want to hear what you guys have to say about the different models.

If in fact the LS400 is the way to go, then what year(s) were the best for that car.

I'd love to hear anything and everything about these cars as I am really intrigued and I really like what I have heard about these 90's Lexus' so far. Advice, opinion, information, anything about these cars so I can learn about them a little more and hear what you guys have to say as to what I should look for would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-24-15, 01:08 PM   #2
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My advice is, no matter what year you decide on. If you are one that has to do major modifications look for one that has had some of them done already. Its more cost effective since ones modified are always cheaper than ones that are good new like factory stock.
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Old 01-24-15, 01:51 PM   #3
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If your coming from GM to Lexus you will be VERY pleased with the results. It's like going from a Harley to a K bike. Over the years I had test driven some Lexus vehicles and ended up buying S class or 5 - 7 series. I felt that Lexus was nice and well thought out but over rated... Until last year I test drove a 96 LS400 just for fun. I was coaxed by the seller to give her a shot, I had all day open so I did. I bought it on the spot, I was very impressed with its composure on the road, the overall smoothness and absence of squeeks/rattles/things that dont work/design flaws. I recommend this model over the others, although if I need an full size SUV I would not hesitate to do an LX470. In my opinion and experience the LS is smoother and more solid by a fair margin than it's smaller counterparts.

I bought that 96 LS400 on the spot, during the test drive I identified a couple minor issues I knew I would have to deal with, but it has nearly 180k on the clock but still in remarkable condition and drove soooo nice. Just as a point of reference I live in South Dakota and paid $4000, and maybe another $500 into it before I'm completely done. I think in your price range you will be able to find a decent low mileage example. It is still possible to overpay so shop around.

Do look for service history (being a recovering German car guy I learned this). These engines DO have a timing belt and it's a fairly expensive piece of maintenance so budget for it if you cant ascertain when it was last done. When I bought mine the timing belt had JUST been done prior to trade in so that pushed me over the edge, I knew I would spend very little after that and thats only because I'm OCD about having everything proper.

There is a write up here on the differences between generations. Many of the common issues are covered nicely in this forum, most of which are pretty minor easy fixes. I'm still shocked that everything in this car works flawlessly (former S class owner here). Power steering is one area to look at, check for leaks, they tend to leak into the alternator and kill it. Check for PS rack leaks. A few other things I'm forgetting, engine and transmissions are regarded as extremely reliable and durable, also stupidly smooth and pretty free revving.

If you do a lot of highway travel you might look into a 3rd generation which has a 5 speed auto instead of the 4 speed. I have taken a few very long road trips and the 4 speed was still excellent, got high 26-28 mpg average on the highway at 75, but it would very comfortably travel well into triple digit speeds. Variable Valve timing came in later on to. I'm pretty new here to so I stand to be corrected or elaborated upon. Go test drive one, if your particular about build quality and function you will LOVE it, seriously. I have already managed to get two other family members off the Buicks simply by tossing them the keys.

Good luck.
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Old 01-24-15, 02:24 PM   #4
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You might find this helpful:

http://www.lexls.com/info/lsgenerations.html

and this

http://www.pindelski.com/Cars/Lexus_...400_buying.pdf

Last edited by statman24; 01-24-15 at 02:34 PM..
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Old 01-24-15, 02:44 PM   #5
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Thank you very much for that link! It was super helpful! I am still figuring out this website so I am sure I probably could've found this easily if I knew what I was doing ha. Thanks again!
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Old 01-24-15, 05:47 PM   #6
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in terms of "bang for buck" i'd certainly have to say the 98-2000 LS is one of the best choices anyone can make. with its vvt-i engine that constantly tunes itself as it drives along and 5-speed vs 4-speed, these model years are not only more efficient but quite a bit faster. i mean 0-60 in nearly 6 seconds flat and about 30 mpg highway?!? i cannot lie, before inheriting my grandparent's 1999 LS, i probably wouldn't have ever given one a 2nd look. once you're inside it however and have been driving it for quite some time, you'll find that other cars simply won't be as nice to use anymore! our family has recently been graced by a new E63-S AMG and even as a performance enthusiast, i'd still take the 16 year old Lex over the brand new Benz. just such a more comfortable, easy to use car. in 1998 the LS also got toyotas ACIS which is their variable length intake manifold. combine that with 6 bolt main bearings, hypereutectic pistons, and an oversquare design, the LS is basically a race car
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Old 01-24-15, 06:23 PM   #7
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http://www.mr2.com/files/mr2/techinf...uz-History.pdf

more info here on specific differences than can probably be found anywhere
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Old 01-25-15, 06:24 AM   #8
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I just picked up a 2000 with 177K miles on it for $4750. It was/is in primo shape. Always Lexus serviced and timing belt service just completed. Owner also recently installed brand new (original) lexus wheels back on the car (original owner had changed them out early in it's life).

Click the image to open in full size.

Be patient. For $6-8k, you should be able to buy any LS400 out there. In fact, for that much money, I personally would not consider anything under a 2000... unless, of course, it's one of those Palm Beach editions, which I seem to love :-) But that's just me!



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Old 01-26-15, 02:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by statman24 View Post
If you are dealing with a person out of your area, be sure to ask personal questions like home address, work name, address, and phone. Then, Google the person's name and research Property Appraiser records, Google Map Street View the residence, search for mugshots and jail records.

Also, Google the VIN to see if it's offered other places for more or less, and check the info to see if it's the same as what your ad states. Lexus.com the VIN to see service records.
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Old 01-26-15, 02:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daspyda View Post
If you are dealing with a person out of your area, be sure to ask personal questions like home address, work name, address, and phone. Then, Google the person's name and research Property Appraiser records, Google Map Street View the residence, search for mugshots and jail records.
Great advice... given today's news:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/26/justic...issing-couple/
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Old 01-26-15, 03:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by statman24 View Post
this link should be stickied for future buyers (of any car really)!
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Old 01-26-15, 03:00 PM
 
 
 
 
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