Deciding which SC to buy - ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion

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Deciding which SC to buy

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Old 02-27-18, 10:44 PM
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Ksmith56
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Default Deciding which SC to buy

I’m not really sure how to start, so I’m just going to get right into it. I have fallen in love with the SC body style (which I’m sure a few of you can relate to), but I’m not sure which one to get. Because of this, I have come to the experts to hear your opinions. Some things to keep in mind for me specifically:
- I personally prefer the sound of the 1UZ over the 2JZ because I am a V8 fanboy, but I still like the 2JZ
- Because of the price jump for them, a manual SC300 is probably out of the question (but I can drive maual if I could find a cheap enough example)
-As with any car enthusiast, power is alwasy a plus for me. However, as long as the car can get sideways easily, big power isn’t a necessity
-If I did decide to go for power, I wouldn’t be trying to go over 400whp because of transmission reliability past that point
-Like most 17 year olds, I am on a budget
-I am currently in an Auto Tech class, so I have some basic knowledge and I can get help from my instructors
-I am leaving for basic training at the end of the summer so any parts that would take a long time to source are probably out of the question

Any feedback is very appreciated, but I would really like to hear which car you voted for and why. Thanks for reading.

Last edited by Ksmith56; 02-27-18 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Left something out. Just a quick edit
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Old 02-27-18, 11:35 PM
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Hi and welcome,
Ill give you a quick short answer first: If you want to modify the engine in any way, go for the pre vvti SC300, the most coveted version is the 1997 SC300 because it has the updated body style but no vvti which makes modding it easier. If you dont want to do any sort of engine modifications then get a 1998-2000 SC400.

Ok now for the longer version:
The 2jz has a lot more aftermarket support then the 1uz and its significantly more affordable to mod the 2jz. Just a quick example, there are only 2 versions of bolt on exhaust headers that i am aware of available for the SC400 and both of them cost near $1000(just the part). The 2jz stock was rated at 225hp, the 1998 SC400 which came with a 1uz VVTI engine was rated for about 290hp and 300 torque. Obviously these numbers wont hold up after 20 years but it gives you an idea of power difference between the two stock cars. There isnt much you can do to improve the power numbers on the SC400 without spending alot of money. Most people do intake and exhaust to give the engine some breathing room and some people put in an aftermarket torque converter which gives you a bit more low end power but at the cost of high end power (still expensive but people seem to agree its worth it) Keep in mind that the car youre getting is a luxury grand tourer. Its not meant to be drifting around corners regardless of how many drift builds there are of these cars. The intention of this car is to be a comfortable, stylish and somewhat sporty. All of these cars came with an open rear diff so spinning both wheels in the back is alittle tough but you can swap in a limited slip diff from a TT supra and it will bolt right in. Being able to do the work yourself is a big plus because these cars will ruin you if you have to take it to a mechanic for every little thing. Sourcing parts is a bit tough for these cars depending on where you are. A local dealer will usually be able to get them to you within a few days but they charge an obscene amount of money for anything. (an oem transmission mount online costs $50 and the dealer wanted $275 when i called them about it). I generally use my local dealer as a part number directory. I call up and ask for a part number, then look up the number online and get the part at a fraction of the cost.

Bottom line depending on your budget and what youre trying to achieve with the car will dictate which one you should get. If you want to mod the car and throw in a turbocharger then an ideal choice would be a 1997 SC300. If you want to keep it stock with a nice smooth V8 then go for 1998-2000 SC400. There werent that many of those made though so if you decide to go the late model SC400 route be patient as it will likely take you a while to find a good one for a good price unless you are really really lucky.

PS. There is enough info on these forums about these cars that you can probably spend the next 10 years researching and still find new info. If you want some inspiration on what to do, you can check out the build thread section of the forum and look through some of the member's cars.
Good luck
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Old 02-28-18, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by vteruni View Post
Hi and welcome,
Ill give you a quick short answer first: If you want to modify the engine in any way, go for the pre vvti SC300, the most coveted version is the 1997 SC300 because it has the updated body style but no vvti which makes modding it easier. If you dont want to do any sort of engine modifications then get a 1998-2000 SC400.

Ok now for the longer version:
The 2jz has a lot more aftermarket support then the 1uz and its significantly more affordable to mod the 2jz. Just a quick example, there are only 2 versions of bolt on exhaust headers that i am aware of available for the SC400 and both of them cost near $1000(just the part). The 2jz stock was rated at 225hp, the 1998 SC400 which came with a 1uz VVTI engine was rated for about 290hp and 300 torque. Obviously these numbers wont hold up after 20 years but it gives you an idea of power difference between the two stock cars. There isnt much you can do to improve the power numbers on the SC400 without spending alot of money. Most people do intake and exhaust to give the engine some breathing room and some people put in an aftermarket torque converter which gives you a bit more low end power but at the cost of high end power (still expensive but people seem to agree its worth it) Keep in mind that the car youre getting is a luxury grand tourer. Its not meant to be drifting around corners regardless of how many drift builds there are of these cars. The intention of this car is to be a comfortable, stylish and somewhat sporty. All of these cars came with an open rear diff so spinning both wheels in the back is alittle tough but you can swap in a limited slip diff from a TT supra and it will bolt right in. Being able to do the work yourself is a big plus because these cars will ruin you if you have to take it to a mechanic for every little thing. Sourcing parts is a bit tough for these cars depending on where you are. A local dealer will usually be able to get them to you within a few days but they charge an obscene amount of money for anything. (an oem transmission mount online costs $50 and the dealer wanted $275 when i called them about it). I generally use my local dealer as a part number directory. I call up and ask for a part number, then look up the number online and get the part at a fraction of the cost.

Bottom line depending on your budget and what youre trying to achieve with the car will dictate which one you should get. If you want to mod the car and throw in a turbocharger then an ideal choice would be a 1997 SC300. If you want to keep it stock with a nice smooth V8 then go for 1998-2000 SC400. There werent that many of those made though so if you decide to go the late model SC400 route be patient as it will likely take you a while to find a good one for a good price unless you are really really lucky.

PS. There is enough info on these forums about these cars that you can probably spend the next 10 years researching and still find new info. If you want some inspiration on what to do, you can check out the build thread section of the forum and look through some of the member's cars.
Good luck
He pretty much nailed it
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Old 02-28-18, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by vteruni View Post
Hi and welcome,
Ill give you a quick short answer first: If you want to modify the engine in any way, go for the pre vvti SC300, the most coveted version is the 1997 SC300 because it has the updated body style but no vvti which makes modding it easier. If you dont want to do any sort of engine modifications then get a 1998-2000 SC400.

Ok now for the longer version:
The 2jz has a lot more aftermarket support then the 1uz and its significantly more affordable to mod the 2jz. Just a quick example, there are only 2 versions of bolt on exhaust headers that i am aware of available for the SC400 and both of them cost near $1000(just the part). The 2jz stock was rated at 225hp, the 1998 SC400 which came with a 1uz VVTI engine was rated for about 290hp and 300 torque. Obviously these numbers wont hold up after 20 years but it gives you an idea of power difference between the two stock cars. There isnt much you can do to improve the power numbers on the SC400 without spending alot of money. Most people do intake and exhaust to give the engine some breathing room and some people put in an aftermarket torque converter which gives you a bit more low end power but at the cost of high end power (still expensive but people seem to agree its worth it) Keep in mind that the car youre getting is a luxury grand tourer. Its not meant to be drifting around corners regardless of how many drift builds there are of these cars. The intention of this car is to be a comfortable, stylish and somewhat sporty. All of these cars came with an open rear diff so spinning both wheels in the back is alittle tough but you can swap in a limited slip diff from a TT supra and it will bolt right in. Being able to do the work yourself is a big plus because these cars will ruin you if you have to take it to a mechanic for every little thing. Sourcing parts is a bit tough for these cars depending on where you are. A local dealer will usually be able to get them to you within a few days but they charge an obscene amount of money for anything. (an oem transmission mount online costs $50 and the dealer wanted $275 when i called them about it). I generally use my local dealer as a part number directory. I call up and ask for a part number, then look up the number online and get the part at a fraction of the cost.

Bottom line depending on your budget and what youre trying to achieve with the car will dictate which one you should get. If you want to mod the car and throw in a turbocharger then an ideal choice would be a 1997 SC300. If you want to keep it stock with a nice smooth V8 then go for 1998-2000 SC400. There werent that many of those made though so if you decide to go the late model SC400 route be patient as it will likely take you a while to find a good one for a good price unless you are really really lucky.

PS. There is enough info on these forums about these cars that you can probably spend the next 10 years researching and still find new info. If you want some inspiration on what to do, you can check out the build thread section of the forum and look through some of the member's cars.
Good luck
Thank you so much for all the info! To be honest, Iíve never actually posted in a forum before, so I wasnít sure what to expect. Thank you for being patient with my lack of knowledge and supplying so much of your own.
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Old 03-01-18, 11:07 AM
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Vteruni nailed it.
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Old 03-01-18, 11:33 AM
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Welcome!! He sure did nailed it, but to be even happier just go ahead and get one of each like I did
Drive the uz and mod the jz
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Old 03-08-18, 07:21 AM
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Nicely written Vteruni . I love my sc400's. Still have my 96 also. Vteruni remember we had a chat about our 99 cars last year & i bought a 99 last year in February to be exact, I bought it with 103k miles now it has 112k miles. The pictures are here somewhere (silver/black interior) Took me almost 2 years to find this one. Anyway Just to inform you that it's totalled. I was rear ended pretty Hard at a stop light by a Big Van the other day. I'm recovering as of right now . Now I'm on the hunt for another one . Another 99 or 2000 with decent mileage
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Old 03-08-18, 03:51 PM
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Sorry to hear about your SC and i hope youre recovering ok. Did the insurance cover your car? Best of lucky finding a new one!
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Old 03-08-18, 07:36 PM
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Yeah looks like insurance gonna cover this one. I had to hire some one to represent me just in case. Not my fault anyway. Yep i was at a stop light. waiting for the light to go green . Then suddenly I hear this loud tire screeching sound.. . The minute i looked at the rear view mirror thats when it hits. Pushed my car all the way into the middle of the intersection. Still recovering from all this. Neck & Shoulder hurts like a [email protected]#$ lol. Seatbelt helps & also the SC400 are build like a tank. I'm buying another one for sure.. Im kinda sad . Took me almost 2 years to find this color combo..
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Old 03-09-18, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by totrider View Post
Yeah looks like insurance gonna cover this one. I had to hire some one to represent me just in case. Not my fault anyway. Yep i was at a stop light. waiting for the light to go green . Then suddenly I hear this loud tire screeching sound.. . The minute i looked at the rear view mirror thats when it hits. Pushed my car all the way into the middle of the intersection. Still recovering from all this. Neck & Shoulder hurts like a [email protected]#$ lol. Seatbelt helps & also the SC400 are build like a tank. I'm buying another one for sure.. Im kinda sad . Took me almost 2 years to find this color combo..
Very sorry to hear, but glad you're ok! Good thing you were in that tank of a Lexus! Best of luck finding another.
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Old 03-27-18, 01:40 PM
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It really depends on what you want to do... If you want to keep it reliable and fairly stock I would say go with the 98-00 SC400, they have a nicer interior and the most HP stock. If you want to NA-T i would get a 92-95 with a 5-speed as OBD1 is a lot easier to work with and you can make 400+hp fairly cheaply. If you plan to do a swap then it doesnt really matter what year but most people prefer 97+.
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Old 03-29-18, 09:24 PM
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Hi! I was in the same boat as you about 2 days ago. im 20 years old, im a supra fanboy, and these are pretty much the poor mans supra concerning looks/power. I was on the hunt for a manual sc300, with only about 4 grand in my budget. Living in Indiana...not a whole lot of them are around here. managed to find an sc400 with 151000 thousand miles in nearly prestine condition for 3500. 2 owner, both old men 60+ so it was babied, and man..best car ive ever owned so far. just in a matter of 2 days ive fallen in love with this car. its got a custom exhaust and man does it turn heads and scare little kids lol. you cant go wrong with either of them. and just from a 2 day experience i can say an automatic sc400 is just as fun as any manual car ive driven, previously working for ziebart i had several manual cars driven from dealership to dealership, porsche 944s, mustang gts, camaros ss, even some dodge vipers, and man i can say 100% honestly i love the feel of this car. its sporty enough to feel the road, but luxury enough to drive across country no problem. In terms of reliablity, both are successes. the 1uz and 2jz are both nearly bulletproof. In conclusion id say settle for the best deal you can find, you will end up loving both no matter what you get. best of luck searching my friend!
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Old 03-31-18, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Grandmax View Post
...im 20 years old, im a supra fanboy, and these are pretty much the poor mans supra concerning looks/power...
I'll forgive you for this, Grandmax, not because you're 20 years old but because you have an appreciation of awesome cars. I'll agree that the Supra Twin Turbo of course beats the SC family in power. But looks? SC all the way. I fully recognize and disclose my bias.

I have both SC400 and SC300 - if you're going to stay automatic and mostly stock, then SC400 is the way to go. That motor is nigh indestructable, I think mine has 240k on it and still runs like a beast and starts up every time. If you're going to modify heavily (turbo or swap), SC300 is probably better. Of course, if you want manual, then SC3 is your only choice.
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Old 03-31-18, 01:34 AM
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Never understood that part, i get they these cars are a lot cheaper than supras but personally i think they are absolutely better looking than the supras, inside and outside. Also i honestly prefer the 1uz over the 2jz-gte in its stock form. If youre gonna start throwing aftermarket into it then why not just do it on the sc.
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Old 03-31-18, 07:08 AM
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1UZ for me . I think i'm obsessed with how reliable these cars are lol & they are build like a Tank........ I'm still shopping for one. Most of my friends & coworkers told me to get my mind of this dinosaur sc400 lol & move on to something modern. I tell them NEGATIVE. That Tank saved my life. Imagine if i'd still have my honda civic hatchback. I'd probably be not here writing about this now
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