97 Lexus's Painful Repairs But Still Love Her - ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion


LS - 1st and 2nd Gen (1990-2000) Discussion topics related to the 1990 - 2000 Lexus LS400

97 Lexus's Painful Repairs But Still Love Her

Reply
 
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-22-17, 12:23 PM   #1
Superfast1
Driver
Thread Starter
 
Superfast1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: CA
Posts: 126
Thanked 13 Times in 9 Posts
Post 97 Lexus's Painful Repairs But Still Love Her

I have a 97 Lexus LS400, bought it when it was a year old so I have it for 19 years now. Car has been great with zero defect for so many years but now being a 20 years old car and at 235K miles, a lot of parts have finally reached their end-of-service life. Last week, the power steering pump leaked then it took out the alternator too as it's mounted right underneath the pump. Toyota makes great cars but they have such a screwed up design in the Lexus by having the alternator placed at the wrong location. Since the car is old, I couldn’t justify spending over $800 for OEMs so I went with aftermarket parts & sorted of paying the price for it. It took me the entire day to remove/replace both components & prime the pump only to find out the newly installed pump was defective so I went & got a replacement & wasted another half day to remove & install it again. I was nervous about the 2nd pump but it works fine but then the next day, the starter crapped out on me. Most auto makers would place the starter underneath the engine right next to the flywheel so when the ignition key is turned, the signal triggers the starter solenoid then the 12v from the battery is routed via the solenoid to the starter to engage the pinion then turn the flywheel & start the car. Once again, Toyota stupidly placed the starter on top of the engine but underneath the plenum & the upper intake manifold. In order to get to the starter, all of these parts plus many of the vacuum hoses, cruise control, throttle cable, throttle body, fuel injectors & fuel rails had to be removed. I was tired of working on the car the day before so was going to take the car into a shop but couldn't get it started & stuck in the garage so I had no choice but to do the tear down myself. This turned out to be a major job. The canister that you see in the 2nd photo is the infamous starter. This sucker is mounted so close to the firewall w/ two 14mm bolts facing the wall, in order to get to it, I had to lift the rear water bridge, EGR pipes & came up w/ some custom made tools to slip them through the little crack to remove the bolts. The disconnecting & re-connecting of the rear water bridge & EGR pipe #2 (there are 2 of them), the one that connecting between the plenum/upper intake manifold & the exhaust, was such a pain as there was no space at all to place sockets & wrenches to remove the nuts & bolts. Since I have already tore down the top half of the engine, I went ahead & did a major tune up by cleaning the fuel injectors, replacing all w/ new spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor caps, rotors & ignition coils. It took me the entire week after work to complete this job. I've finally got her back in 1 piece last night. It was such a major tear down w/ so many hoses, nuts & bolts laying around for the entire week (I only bagged the nuts & bolts for the plenum & upper intake), the rest were put back together by memory. I was concerned & nervous but excited at the same time before I turned the key but she fired right up. What a wonderful feeling & a sense of accomplishment when I heard that beautiful sound coming from the engine so thought I share w/ you guys. Just to give you an idea of how difficult this job was, the dealer wanted to charge me $800 just for the labor alone. If I had known, I would be more than happy to pay them to do it for me even if it's going to cost me $1000 in labor. All these years, I have done most of the maintenance on all of my cars & my kid's cars, I've gained so much knowledge & saved lots of money at the same time but the sense of accomplishment is priceless!

I've considered myself a car guy & currently own 5 cars including a Mercedes Benz CL500 & a C6 Z51 Vette, bought it brand new & both still in pristine condition. Each car has its own personality & it's a pleasure driving all of them but out of all, I have to say I love my 97 Lexus LS400 the most. At 20 years old, she's timeless, a beautiful piece of artwork, still run so silky smooth & handling like a new car. I've promised myself to keep her forever.

John






Superfast1 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Superfast1 For This Useful Post:
BNastee (05-04-17), notguilty (05-10-17), UNCNOR (01-22-17), wnyjazz (05-04-17)
Old 01-22-17, 02:14 PM   #2
Banshee365
Lexus Test Driver
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 871
Thanked 65 Times in 54 Posts
Default

Great job on the repairs. Many manufacturers put things in spots that turn outs not to be the best as time goes on. The Cadillac Northstar V8 also has its starter in the valley. Just so that you don't feel alone thinking you have some sort of awful engineered car that you love, I'll give you another example. On a gen 1 Ford Edge it's a 12.1 hour job to replace the water pump. The pump is driven by the timing chain. If it leaks out of the shaft seal the coolant goes directly into the oil pan. You have to remove the engine to replace the pump.

As far as you starter, you can replace the contacts without removing the starter. That is usually what fails rather than the starter motor itself.

Keep that car in great shape and on the road. They really are classy machines.
Banshee365 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-17, 03:14 PM   #3
SW15LS
Lexus Fanatic
 
SW15LS's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MD
Posts: 20,423
Thanked 209 Times in 183 Posts
Default

Good work. Yeah that starter on that car is a killer.
SW15LS is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-17, 03:38 PM   #4
hotdawwg
Pole Position
 
hotdawwg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ca
Posts: 360
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Man, what a week and half of hell. But the good thing is that your car is set for another 20 years
hotdawwg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-17, 04:26 PM   #5
RA40
Moderator
iTrader: (6)
 
RA40's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: California
Posts: 17,766
Thanked 30 Times in 29 Posts
Default

Good job! Very rewarding to have DIY'd this.
RA40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-17, 07:25 PM   #6
sha4000
Lexus Fanatic
iTrader: (1)
 
sha4000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: N.Y.
Posts: 5,188
Thanked 22 Times in 22 Posts
Default

Did you take the intake out in one piece or split it in half? It really is heavy! The first time was very time consuming for me but in a nice day I would be able to change it in 2 hours tops with a couple of breaks in between. I know that feeling of accomplishment your talking about though. Congrats....
sha4000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-17, 07:44 PM   #7
Superfast1
Driver
Thread Starter
 
Superfast1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: CA
Posts: 126
Thanked 13 Times in 9 Posts
Default

I have 2 LS400's, one is a 1997 & the other is a 2000. I've recently replaced the starter on the 2000 as well. For the 97, due to the 2nd EGR flex pipe, the plenum & intake manifold will need to come out in 2 separate pieces along w/ the fuel rails & fuel injectors. For the 00, Toyota modified the design & re-located some of the components so replacing the starter is easier. The plenum & intake manifold can be removed as 1-piece.
Superfast1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-17, 11:38 PM   #8
sfearing
Driver School Candidate
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Virginia
Posts: 14
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Good job! I don't feel competent for such an operation so I'll gladly pay someone else to do it. Surely the service manual offers a better way to get to those nuts and bolts?
sfearing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-17, 07:20 AM   #9
lextout
Lexus Test Driver
 
lextout's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: seattle,wa
Posts: 951
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Default

put it this way, the engine n tranny will remain untouched for the life of the car, replacing consumables is a given.
lextout is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-17, 10:10 AM   #10
Banshee365
Lexus Test Driver
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 871
Thanked 65 Times in 54 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextout View Post
put it this way, the engine n tranny will remain untouched for the life of the car, replacing consumables is a given.
What do you mean?
Banshee365 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-08-17, 11:40 PM   #11
LexusNAZ
Driver School Candidate
 
LexusNAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Arizona
Posts: 22
Thanked 4 Times in 2 Posts
Default

The design of the engine and transmission with regular maintenance and care will last a very long time. I just bought a 1995 LS400 and it needed work done as well. Second owner had it since 1999 before I bought it. Someone tried to repair the power steering pump without new crush washers. I was very fortunate *knocking on wood* that the alternator works. The car's undercarriage is covered in fluid since the guy let it leak all over for what appears to be along time. Not only that but the protective under plastic was a power steering fluid lake that would dump out fluid. In your case with a car with over 200k miles to only have the starter and power steering/alternator go out is not bad at all. It really is amazing that on an american car an owner would probably go through 2-3 alternators and maybe 1-2 starters or power steering pumps. Those three components are working hard all the time and of course get worn out. I have ordered a rebuild gasket kit and I am hoping to save the pump I currently have.
LexusNAZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-17, 04:03 AM   #12
Banshee365
Lexus Test Driver
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 871
Thanked 65 Times in 54 Posts
Default

I beg to differ on the transmissions. I've overhauled two of them and there are two recent threads on this board with symptoms that sound like their units require overhauls as well.
Banshee365 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-17, 07:15 AM   #13
SW15LS
Lexus Fanatic
 
SW15LS's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MD
Posts: 20,423
Thanked 209 Times in 183 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banshee365
I beg to differ on the transmissions. I've overhauled two of them and there are two recent threads on this board with symptoms that sound like their units require overhauls as well.
Seeing that the newest LS400 is now 17-18 years old even if some transmissions require overhauls I would still classify the transmission as lasting a long time. You also have no idea how the transmission has been cared for over the many years, perhaps decades it's been around and multiple owners it's been through.

If you owned one from new and maintained it scrupulously I would bet it would operate just fine today.
SW15LS is online now   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to SW15LS For This Useful Post:
UNCNOR (05-09-17)
Old 05-09-17, 09:12 AM   #14
Banshee365
Lexus Test Driver
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 871
Thanked 65 Times in 54 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW15LS View Post
Seeing that the newest LS400 is now 17-18 years old even if some transmissions require overhauls I would still classify the transmission as lasting a long time. You also have no idea how the transmission has been cared for over the many years, perhaps decades it's been around and multiple owners it's been through.

If you owned one from new and maintained it scrupulously I would bet it would operate just fine today.
I'm not saying they are bad units. They are great. But, when I asked the question as to what that post meant about never having to touch it, I disagree.

One of the overhauls I did was on a 96 that has been in my family since 2002 with 70k miles. It was meticulously maintained at the dealer prior to that and I maintained it after that. It failed at around 220k. It's more of an age thing and we are starting to see more and more A340's fail as they age. You, in fact, do have to touch them sometimes.
Banshee365 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-17, 10:30 PM   #15
Superfast1
Driver
Thread Starter
 
Superfast1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: CA
Posts: 126
Thanked 13 Times in 9 Posts
Default

Banshee is right. As stated at the beginning of my post, I bought the car when it was a year old so I have it for 19 years now. I have been taken great care of it & have regularly drained & refilled the tranny at every 25K miles interval. After 19 years, the Shift Solenoid E finally worn out so I replaced it w/ another genuine Lexus solenoid. If the design is robust, the components will last much longer but they still degrade & fail as a function of time. Nothing will last forever.
Superfast1 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Slow Oil Leak 2003 IS300 SotoK IS - 1st Gen (2001-2005) 2 11-05-17 12:40 PM
FR500GT's RC F-Sport Build Thread FR500GT Build Threads 168 07-23-17 08:16 AM
Mirror Tap ES300H for Radar Detector caboal ES - 6th Gen (2013-present) 0 06-02-17 05:53 PM
21337's LS460L AWD 213374U Build Threads 10 02-01-17 10:38 AM
★★★★★ Official TSW Owners Thread ★★★★★ FSportIS IS - 2nd Gen (2006-2013) 35 04-16-16 10:08 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:40 PM.


Copyright © 2000-2017 Internet Brands, Inc. All Rights Reserved We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: