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2004 possible purchase

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Old 08-16-17, 07:08 PM   #1
mykvr6
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Default 2004 possible purchase

Been looking for a nice LS430, keeping my eye on the dealers and craigslist. Lots of cheap early cars with unknown histories, etc. Guys selling off cheap auction cars, etc. Anyway I found a nice 2004. Owner has had since 2007, maintenance up to date including timing belt. Its Briarwood with tan interior. Only things I'm worried about are factory nav screen with touch controls and chrome 17's. Wheels would have to go, I don't do chrome and would rather have the sport 18's or something aftermarket. Or maybe trade for non-chrome 17s. Also just how problematic is the NAV touch screen? I hate that the ac controls and everything go through the screen. I'd rather have a non-nav car and upgrade the audio but this car looks pretty clean so I'd hate to rule it out over a couple of simple things if the car is overall a nice car. I'll probably try to go look at it in person tomorrow. Car has 103k miles. He's asking $8099. The local dealer had a 2004 pearl white with almost the exact same mileage, but it had scratched up front and rear bumpers and sold before I got to see it. They were asking $10500 for that one. I also found a nice 2005 with sport suspension, carfax is clean but its got 139k miles, asking $8700 and its at a small used car lot. Not sure if its worth my time to check out.
Long story short, should I really be worrying about the nav screen? Otherwise I have a pretty good idea what Im getting myself into with the LS and I really want one!

Mike

Last edited by mykvr6; 08-16-17 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 08-17-17, 08:18 AM   #2
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I wouldn't worry about the Nav screen. I wanted it mostly for the backup camera. The down side is no real audio upgrade without spending so $$$ to get it there and personally I don't like the looks of another screen down low.

With that being said, you can add a bluetooth device that will allow you to hook up your phone and play Pandora, Spotify, etc.

I never use the Nav as true navigation but I did spend the $10 and got the last maps DVD off of eBay just because it's so cheap. For navigation I just use my phone.

Sounds like the prices on the LS430 are starting to slightly drop again. Same seems to be going on for the LS460 as well. The main thing I would look for is major service history. Things like the timing belt, bushings, and door locks. If they can't prove they were done then you have to assume they weren't. Also, don't believe everything that Carfax says, it's not always 100% accurate. If the '05 with sports suspension is the right color combo and has service history, I wouldn't worry about 139k miles but I would always use that as a bargaining chip to get a lower price.
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Old 08-17-17, 08:38 AM   #3
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Thanks. My current car has a backup camera and I kinda like it, first car I've ever had with one. I don't really fool with navigation much and usually use my phone, I'm more worried about longevity and being able to use the ac and other things that go through the touch screen.
I used to do stereo stuff years ago but dont do much now, I figured if I kept the car awhile I might do some simple stuff but nothing major. Ipod or aux input is a must to listen to my music. I really want to keep this car awhile and not have a car note. Wife needs a new car and she'll get the car note lol. Plus we'll probably keep her old corolla as a backup or sell it and buy a cheap 4runner to have as a backup and flood driving car here in Houston.
Honestly the sport suspension car only worries me because of where it is for sale. One of those small used car lots. They look like they have decent reviews so maybe I'm being overly worrisome. Its the same color actually, with sport suspension and the 18's. From everything I've seen and read and experienced with Lexus vehicles I'm not worried about the 139k miles at all really.

I just noticed I've been signed up here since 2008 and my previous post was my first! I guess I've been researching Lexus vehicles for a while. i did originally want an LS400, but since the 430 prices have come down, I've moved up market.

thanks for the help!
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Old 08-17-17, 09:01 AM   #4
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If the small lot is family-owned with good online presence and reviews, it should be okay. There are some indi lots in just about every town which are reputable.

Check your state's database for license dates and incorporation dates. Google company and see if there are any online reviews.

And, you are already familiar with due diligence on the car side.
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Old 08-17-17, 09:11 AM   #5
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Well, if you have time you might as well go look at the '05 as well. It will either confirm you need to get the '04 or maybe the '05 with the sports suspension is the way to go. Just look up on the Lexus site and see if you can get any Lexus service history from the VIN. That will help you make the decision as well.

Don't forget to check the small things like the door locks and audio amp. They can be fixed but they are $$$ fixes at a Lexus dealer. Use that as a bargaining chip if you need to.
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Old 08-17-17, 09:14 AM   #6
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I bought a Modern Luxury mostly because it had the Sports option and non standard color. Had the same concerns about NAV screen. Had it removed, "torture tested" (refrigerator overnight, etc), resoldered and reinstalled for 250. Works fine. I just keep the screen shut off. If you make any changes in stereo settings, screen lights up briefly then shuts off again. I use an iPhone for NAV.

Not being able to upgrade the stereo is a pain. ML is quite good in some ways (particularly clarity). However, stock speakers are cheap (paper cones) and ridiculously overpriced. Except for the sub, aftermarket replacements not an option. If the amp blows, it's 400-500 to rebuild.

A complete service history is a must. Tells you if the owner took care of the car. One reason I bought mine (at a higher price) is because the past owner followed the service schedule and immediately fixed anything that broke. Nice cars but expensive to repair!

Most (not all) small car lots have lower quality stuff and a much higher need to sell sell sell. The best LS's seem to come from really picky private owners and brand name dealers (Lex etc). If the small lot is an easy drive, suggest driving the Sports to compare. Still luxury firm (IF the tires aren't old and worn out) but does handle better.

Don't know how much you drive but I see 139 as 40k closer to the 180 TB replacement. Good luck!
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Old 08-17-17, 09:18 AM   #7
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What part of Texas are you in by chance? I wouldn't worry too much about the NAV system. I finally just got my TB replaced at 99k a week ago, thats actually the first time its been in the shop since buying it 3 years ago. My only issue with the car has been the air strut in the rear since I bought it, I bought a used one to try to replace on it. Overall its one of the best cars I've driven from comfort standpoint. You can go on http://drivers.lexus.com/lexusdrivers/ and signup for a account and plug the VIN in. It will show you any history done at the dealer. For the car I bought, it was a 1 owner car, and I have 6 pages of history from a guy in Malibu, he had every single thing done at the dealer, even bulb replacement. You should be able to plug all 3 vin numbers of the cars you are looking at into the site to see if any maintenance was done at dealer.
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Old 08-17-17, 11:18 AM   #8
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I have seen briarwood with and without the chrome wheels. the chrome looks much better and they were a $1,700 option so you probably could find someone to swap wheels with. the chrome has some problems up north where the roads are salted in the winter. not a problem where I live near Lubbock.
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Old 08-17-17, 01:55 PM   #9
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Im in Houston BTW. I tried looking up on the drivers.lexus.com page but I had to sign up and I'm locked in a pending approval state, so I have no login at the moment. Going to check the car out in an hour.
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Old 08-17-17, 02:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mykvr6 View Post
Im in Houston BTW. I tried looking up on the drivers.lexus.com page but I had to sign up and I'm locked in a pending approval state, so I have no login at the moment. Going to check the car out in an hour.
Cool, I'm in SA. It shouldn't take too long to get the approval email. If you give me the VIN's I can try to pull it for you in the meantime.
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Old 08-17-17, 05:07 PM   #11
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okay so I checked out the 2004 car. Its clean. two owner car but the guy selling it actually bought it from the 2nd owner and hasn't transferred the title yet. He's got a folder with most of the records from the previous owner. She kept almost everything, oil changes, inspections. etc. Timing belt service was done at 93k in 2015. Its very clean and runs very good. Its a bit floaty but I presume thats how these cars ride. It is very smooth, brakes are great, will probably need at least two tires soon. Oil looked clean, he said its due in about 1k. I tired to check everything, looks like it all works. Worried because it has body work info that showed up on Lexus records. Front end. Looks clean though I did notice the passenger fender doesn't have a vin tag. Hood does. Front bumper looks oem. pass fender/hood gap looks slightly off to me. Not very noticeable but I'm pretty sure its been worked on. Rear bumper has some scratchs and looks to have been painted as well. Doesnt look as good and the left rear tailights need to be replaced, they have a couple cracks/small pieces missing.
All in all its pretty clean for 13 years old. Low miles and runs great. He's asking 8099, I think I'd be okay with it for the right price. I'll probably keep looking though.
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Old 08-17-17, 05:52 PM   #12
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No title. Run Away!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-17-17, 06:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
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No title. Run Away!!!!!!!!
no he has the title, it just hasnt been tranferred. Its signed by the previous owner, he showed it to me. He just didnt put it in his name. He bought it from her in May he said and was going to keep it but changed his mind so he decided to just leave the title open.
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Old 08-17-17, 06:30 PM   #14
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Way too many issues before you will need to do the standard repairs to bring the LS up to spec. Pass pass pass. I wouldn't look back. From your description for such a high end car this one sounds like a rag. Accident. Gaps in body fit. Owner obviously looking to flip the car. Walk away or should I say run??? Plenty of good ones out there.

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Old 08-17-17, 08:08 PM   #15
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I'd pass. Too many problems. Not registering the car in his name may mean he got a good deal and wants to make some money. If you can afford to spend a little more, you may be able to get a much nicer car. Also you described the ride as "floaty". That's how the standard suspension feels. That's why I suggested driving the Sport for comparison. Still luxury firm but feels "tighter." The car has more road feedback and handles better. Still quiet and comfortable on the highway.
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