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Should I buy this 1997 LS400

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Old 07-21-14, 06:28 AM   #16
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I bought a 1997 LS400 a little over a year ago. I did a couple of minor repairs when I first got it. I replaced the latch to open the hood, and I unnecessarily replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, and timing belt.It did not seem to want to crank. It would just keep turning over. The problem was I just needed to turn the key a tiny bit further when cranking. The Check engine light is on due to the catalytic converter per the code. once in a while I have to slap the dashboard for the odometer to work.I use Mobil 1 Synthetic oil and drive over 80 miles per day.I normally get around 500 miles per tank. No other problems with the car. It rides like brand new. I plan to keep it forever. It had 190,000 miles on it when purchased and has around 225,000 on it now. I have yet to give it its first tune-up. Everything including all electrical components work fine. No oil leaks, you can barely hear it run. No exhaust smoke. Id focus more on the condition of the car than the mileage. My 1997 Lexus LS400 almost looks new.I will replace the bad converter this year but it is giving me no trouble at all.
Originally Posted by GreatLS400 View Post
I've been looking for a used, but great condition LS400 (1997-2000) with less than 100K miles.

Found a 1997 with 94,000 miles for $4,000. The owner purchased it when it had 17,000 miles and had it until last year - when he gave it to his son - who used it until now.

The car is supposedly in very good condition with minor scratches and dents but has never been in an accident.

It does have the following things that need to be replaced:
1) Air Conditioner - do not know exactly what is needed or how much it will cost.
2) Oxygen Sensor.
3) New Fuse - the driver seat is not moving because of this.

Are the above problems typical for this car with the stated mileage or is it an indication that the mileage has been rolled back?

Are these problems an indication of other problems that could develop?

Could they be an indication of poor maintenance?

I've been told that the owner was changing the oil every 3,000 miles and that every time he saw his son over the last year he opened the truck just to check the oil. At first I thought this was a good thing but could it also be an indication of something wrong with the car and the father who owned the car for more than 8 years just checking it to make sure it doesn't progress?

I need to buy a car that would last me for at least 80,000 miles without any maintenance. I am hearing so many people driving these cars past 200,000 miles and still loving them.

I really need a dependable car for my family but have to make sure not to buy someone else's problems or a lemon.

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Old 07-21-14, 10:36 AM   #17
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I have owned a 2000 Gran Marquis, it was very smooth and I did love the car as I was commuting to work 2 hours each way (2x a week) and some of the rural Bennett county roads are for crap. It was a decent reliable car, fairly quiet, the 4.6L engine is a jewel for a domestic. I got 24-27 depending on grade and headwinds in the highway. I smacked a giant mule deer doing around 70mph and was able to continue the drive home, replaced a headlamp and drove it ugly for about 4 more months. Stout car. Surplus police cruisers as they have 3.55 rear gears and most others have the more highway friendly 2.73 (if mem serves me correctly). As you know the Mercs and Town Car have correct (rear) wheel drive. These are the last of the domestic full frame, V8, rear drive sedans. The newest Lincolns/Mercs have no such attributes. The lincoln Town Car is known to be one of the softest rides available but handling is not the sharpest to say the least. If its all about smooth you would be remiss not to consider a TC. If you are an abusive driver you will need one of these full-frame sweethearts.

I'm new to the Lexus LS400 but I LOVE THIS CAR. It is more refined with better thought out ergonomics, so far I would say MPG and acceleration would be comparable. Lexus has a tilt for more composed handling and a more quality feel. Better options package. Lexus has a very quiet cabin and the quad cam V8 is nothing short of wickid smooth and snappy! shifting is buttery smooth, it is a cut above but chances you will pay a little more and higher maintenance costs. Your Marquis/TC will have a timing chain rather than a belt like the lexus so you will save on maintenance there with Mercury, Parts for a Marquis/TC are so common you can damn nearly buy them at Safeway. In my estimation the Lexus will be worth the extra maintainance costs in enjoyment. In my sort time with it so far I would call it an extremely competent cruiser built with the best of everything, there is VERY little to complain about. It's just nothing short of excellent

I would suggest driving both, depending on your priorities I would say one will be a clear winner over the other. One of these fine sedans will hook you while its hard not to appreciate both for their own attributes.

My family has owned several full sized Buicks, mostly Park Avenue of the same vintage so I should weigh in here for anyone else thinking about one of these as an option.

Buick Park Ave
Decent fuel mileage 26-29 hwy.
3800 V6 is smooth and performance is adequate, best part of the car.
Front wheel drive is great in the snow, no fun anywhere else.
VERY cheap to buy as they were overproduced, trashing the book value (think, Lucerne).

Generic car, very unexciting inside and out.
Ergonomics suck
Squeeks, rattles, door handles break, trim peices fall off etc,
Fit/finish and build quality mediocre at best. Materials used are just cheap.
Floaty handling, downright scary for emergency maneuvers or panic braking. Not composed on the road for anything but nominal conditions. Spirited drivers need not apply
Excessive unscheduled maintenance and repairs.
200k miles and your on borrowed time, its worn out.
Front wheel drive is harder to work on.
Best to buy with low mileage and sell once things start going wrong, its downhill from there.

Mercury Marquis (2 owned)
Smooth powerful 4.6L
Decent highway mileage 25-27 usually.
adequate handling, great brakes
Handling good for a full size, reasonably composed at speed.
Ergonomics are good.
Build quality and materials decent, fit/finish decent (this is still a domestic so not like Honda or Toyota quality)
Smooth ride, mile eater.
NO unscheduled maintenance/repairs. Very reliable.
As I discovered this is a highly durable car.
Check the transmission, E4OE is is decent transmission if maintained but worth paying attention.
Cons are hard to find, an all around decent car and great cruiser, powerful and good MPG, cheap and reliable but less refined than an import. It's what we love about traditional American cars.

Town Car
Same as the Marquis except add some weight and nice option packages, remove a little performance and MPG, one of the smoothest cars known to mankind.

Lexus LS400 (short term ownership so far)
Excellent engine, quad cam 32valve V8, sweetly smooth and powerful.
Excellent quiet and smooth shifting trans.
Good MPG so far, not great in town but decent highway, there are some maint items I will be doing which may improve it further.
Very quiet cabin, excellent ergonomics, excellent fit/finish, excellent materials and build quality.
Fun to drive, very nicely thought out and designed car. Great options.
Timing belt every 90k is around $1200usd.
Aside from higher maintenance costs I'm pressed to find any cons.

There are a few small things I have to do since the car is at 170k whereas my Marquis at 170k was an oil change and a beating.

I will opt for Lexus from now on as I just love a car that was so well thought out. I have had several S class MB but reliability issues will prevent me from going into that.

Good luck with your choices!
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Old 07-25-14, 06:39 PM   #18
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When I was in Dubai, it' was common to see the 95-97 ls400's driving with 98-2000 front end clips and rear tails which I thought was interesting.
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Old 07-25-14, 08:28 PM   #19
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labor is very cheap in dubai and the tariff on cars is very high (as i recall). Hence such extensive modification is somewhat more common there.
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