LS 400 430 or ES 350 Buying decision - ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion


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LS 400 430 or ES 350 Buying decision

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Old 02-05-17, 03:37 PM   #1
jgcec
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Default LS 400 430 or ES 350 Buying decision

I leased a 2010 ES 350 and have been looking for an older LS or ES.
I live in the San Francisco area and I am not in any hurry to buy.

I really love the ride of the 430 and assume that 400 ride is equal to or better.

I have a budget of 8-$10,000.
When I read through the maintenance histories of of LS 400 or 430 I see some expensive repairs.
Which makes me feel as though I would be better off with an ES 350.

I was wondering what LS 400 owners pay in repairs in an average year?

I know that a under 100k mile LS 400 is desireable,
but what do you look out for the most when shopping for a 400?

From what I have read the LS 400 is more reliable than the 430,
other than routine maintenance, what fails the most often on the 400,
and at what mileage?

How long can shocks / struts be expected to last on the 400?

Last edited by jgcec; 02-05-17 at 03:41 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 02-05-17, 06:28 PM   #2
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I think with the Lexus LS400, as with any car, it depends on how well it was taken care of before you bought it. Mine had 109,000 miles and every service record since new, so I knew what I was getting. In the 3 years I've owned it, the only problem I've had outside of routine maintenance is a tail-light bulb burned out and I changed out the trunk seal to stop a leak. With your budget, I think you can afford some of the best used LS400s available.
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Old 02-05-17, 08:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aptoslexus View Post
I think with the Lexus LS400, as with any car, it depends on how well it was taken care of before you bought it. Mine had 109,000 miles and every service record since new, so I knew what I was getting. In the 3 years I've owned it, the only problem I've had outside of routine maintenance is a tail-light bulb burned out and I changed out the trunk seal to stop a leak. With your budget, I think you can afford some of the best used LS400s available.
How many miles a year do you drive it?
Where is the best place to find a good LS 400?
Do most LS 400 owners just use it as a weekend car or is it also a commuter car?
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Old 02-05-17, 11:07 PM   #4
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for $10,000 you can get a GREAT condition 98-00 LS 400 with relatively low miles, not that high miles are really a worry with this car. i'm partial to the 400 mainly because it's what i was given lol and i much prefer the styling of it, i don't like the 430 (especially 01-03 models) more bubbly looks as much

maintenance on this car is also really not so bad, it mainly depends on how good condition you want the car to be in and how much of the work you can do yourself. genuine parts can be VERY expensive, like shockingly expensive at times. for instance... a genuine toyota oem HID headlight assembly (81150-50172) will all in all cost about $2,000 if you directly buy the factory part from the dealer, but if you're ok with aftermarket parts it's not nearly as bad. not everything is that expensive but some of the major parts can get very pricey

as for the car itself, i really can't say enough good things about how well it rides and drives... being a toyota salesman and throughout various escapades in my life i've gotten to drive many many different cars, but at the end of the day nothing beats winding down in the LS. certain cars might do 1 particular thing better, but i don't think i've yet to come across anything that is quite as consistently well performing in just about all aspects of being a car. i once saw someone on the E63 AMG forum describe their former LS 400 as "like a rolex on wheels" which is honestly a great way to describe it lol... and truthfully, the LS is just a nicer car to drive than even the E63. it doesn't give you giggle fits like the AMG does but you can only take so much adrenaline at one time before you get tired and just want to chill and float along, which the LS does better than just about anything

of the main components to go, the power steering pump and rack can start to leak and the LCD for the radio will frequently look like hieroglyphics if it's never been changed, but a replacement is still available from pioneer (CWM5077) and costs about $130 and can be changed by yourself in only like 45 min. if it's the nakamichi then idk, but those don't seem to fail as often. truthfully, i don't think there's anything i've absolutely HAD to replace on this car just to physically keep it going, but of course i've done preventative maintenance here and there on much of the rubber suspension parts and i've replaced the pads and rotors once in the past 5 years and 65,000 or so miles. the telescoping electric motor for the steering wheel adjustment was also broken when i got the car, and that was about $900 including labor at the dealership, but that didn't really need to be replaced
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Old 02-06-17, 02:44 AM   #5
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These LS400s 95-2000 are probably your best bet, that included the updated body style with more rear leg room, better engine 290hp 300tq (98+) and MUCH better 4 piston 12.5" brakes up front. The ES350 won't feel anything special, just a camry with nicer trim. The LS430 is too big and heavy and has a lot more electronics to go wrong, so that alone might be costly if anything were to fail.

The most common things to fix are the strut rod bushings, motor/tranny mounts, ECU capacitors leaking, and lower balljoints. The OEM shocks can last a surprisingly long time, I'm at 277k and I think I now need replacement on my 97' due to the amount of miles, still don't see any leaking from the front yet but I can tell its a bit too soft now. But i live in AZ where the roads are wide open and not very bumpy so they tend to last here.

Also, you'll want to make sure the timing belt service is completed recently and make sure they replaced the Crank and Cam seals, now any LS400 would be 17 years old at least and any rubber seal would be on its way out (I had to replace a crank seal on mine resulting in a timing belt/water pump job basically). But an independent mechanic can do it anywhere from 400-550 and a RockAuto Aisin kit is about 175-200 depending on the components you get with it.

I did have a transmission lockup solenoid go bad on mine, which runs about 300 but I sourced one from a JY for next to nothing, I think 10 bucks since the lady didn't know what it was.

Other than that, I've put in just basic maintenance since I purchased mine 10/15, air filters, oil changes every year with synthetic 7.5k miles, cabin filters. Nothing mechanically has gone wrong in the 22k miles/ 80 miles/day I used to drive it. Its still extremely reliable at 277k miles and I wouldn't hesitate to drive it cross country tomorrow.
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Old 02-06-17, 07:46 AM   #6
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Chalk and cheese.
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Old 02-06-17, 08:39 AM   #7
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i would never buy a 6 cylinder toyota product, let alone a front wheel drive, the UZ motor is the only way to go folks.
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Old 02-06-17, 09:01 AM   #8
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The ES350 will be the cheapest to own and operate. Thats the big reason why I went to the ES in 2003, because I wanted something cheaper to maintain and operate. The LS is a great car (I've had the 400, 430 and now the 460) but parts are more expensive than on the Camry derived ES for sure. Its also a much better car to drive, but the ES is no slouch. Reliability wise the 430 is just as solid as the 400, little more complex but if you look at the 430 forums you see the common fail areas, air suspension (which is more common as a feature on the 430 than the 400), ML audio amps and issues (similar to Nakamichi issues but you can still get parts), the rogue door actuator or something. Big weakness in the LS400 is the starter, and the difficulty replacing the starter, don't have that issue in the 430. Ride and drive between the 430 and the 400 is almost exactly the same. Styling wise, my favorite is the 98-00 LS400, then the 04-06 LS430 and I dislike the 01-03 LS430.

Unless you can afford to spend $1k+ on a repair without much notice, I would get the ES.

Last edited by SW17LS; 02-06-17 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 02-06-17, 09:45 AM   #9
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I'm not sure about the fear here... In reality, any car with 100k miles on it is going to have some problems. Even Lexus has been known to have some lemons. I don't prefer to live in fear of having major repair. Any car that you buy used is going to have that opportunity to let you down and have a failure. In my experience, some are worse than others. I arrived at Toyota/Lexus have horrible repair experiences with GM products.

What we have learned on this forum is that
1. The Lexus flagship model is well designed, manufactured and has great reliability numbers.
2. As a used vehicle they are much more likely to have proper service and maintenance due to their higher initial costs and initial ownership behaviors.
3. Easier to find clean, garaged specimens, again due to initial ownership behaviors.
4. At less than $10k for a used vehicle beat a similar priced anything else.
5. $10k for a used vehicle that started at $65k is better option than paying the same for a vehicle with initial price of $25k, in my experience.

If you can't afford repairs and maintenance on a car, just because things happen, then you probably need to stick with the bus... or just lease one with a warranty and let the dealer take care of it.

We have 6 LS models in the family from 220k down to 55k. With my current repair history on these cars for the last 5 years... I'd buy another one before I'd buy anything else.

There are no guarantees in cars, but if I was playing the odds, I'd stick with the LS. ES vs LS is basically the style and size, If you can live with the ES ( I, can't), then by all means get yourself one.
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Old 02-07-17, 05:21 PM   #10
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i'll put it this way: all things being equal the ES will no question be the cheaper car to own, because it's a plush V6 Camry. if your choice is solely based off of running costs, then the ES (all things being equal and assuming you don't get the least reliable ES ever) will likely keep your bank account fuller.

but, if you want LITERALLY THE BEST toyota had to offer, it's gotta be the LS. as good a car as it is, the ES can't compare if you're looking for a truly luxurious experience.
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Old 02-14-17, 09:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroock639 View Post
for $10,000 you can get a GREAT condition 98-00 LS 400 with relatively low miles, not that high miles are really a worry with this car.
What do you mean by the statement that high miles are not that much of a concern?
Since you are so knowledgeable about Toyota products,
could you compare the major components of the LS400, to a Camry of the same year, and an average american car?
For example, here are my guesses, based on reading clublexus.
This is supposed to be 3 columns.

LS ------- Camry ----- Average Car

shocks struts replacement
200k ------- 120k ------------- 70k

transmission / engine
500k -------- 250k -------------150k

timing belt / water pump
100k or 10 yrs --100k or 10 yrs -- 80k or 8 yrs

brake pads and rotors
80k ----------- 60k ------------- 40k
additional categories

Last edited by jgcec; 02-14-17 at 09:46 AM. Reason: formatting
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Old 02-14-17, 03:16 PM   #12
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i mean that when well maintained (and even not necessarily) these cars will run for a LONG TIME without having to worry about any serious engine or major mechanical issues, apart from maybe a power steering pump / rack


i'd say you might be overestimating the brakes and shocks, depending on what kind of driving primarily gets done but overall they have great longevity. the LS is the original relentless pursuit of perfection after all...
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Old 02-16-17, 04:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stroock639 View Post
i mean that when well maintained (and even not necessarily) these cars will run for a LONG TIME without having to worry about any serious engine or major mechanical issues, apart from maybe a power steering pump / rack


i'd say you might be overestimating the brakes and shocks, depending on what kind of driving primarily gets done but overall they have great longevity. the LS is the original relentless pursuit of perfection after all...
Also, brakes and shocks are rather inexpensive to repair as well and good Japanese aftermarket replacements can be had for a very reasonable price from sources like RockAuto.
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