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purchase of 1998 SC400

Old 06-04-18, 03:35 PM
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yyj3869
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I'm planning to purchase 1998 SC400 with 170k miles and automatic transmission. The seller wants 3k. it has great conditions of exterior and interior (i guess). according to Carfax it's been 4 previous owners and well maintained..
I researched about SC and my main concern is timing belt replacement. Does it cost a lot to replace it? The seller says he's owned the car for only few months so he doesn't know it was replaced before or not.
Since it's already been 20 years old car, i worry about reliability. is it still reliable? i hope it was manual transmission but i know that it's like finding a unicorn. Is automatic transmission problematic?
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Old 06-04-18, 03:43 PM
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DrAtomica
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$3,000 is an excellent price if the condition of the exterior, interior and engine is good.
My 98 SC400, which I also got at 170k miles has been nothing but reliable for me, I never had the timing belt service record but I got it done last week at 220k miles.
The five speed automatic transmission is such an improvement for both power and fuel economy and is actually very reliable.

These cars are getting harder to find, since there are only about 2,500 of these worldwide. The only ones with the five speed auto and 1UZ VVT-i with 290HP.

The usual price I see for the 98+ are at least 5k. I know a few people who are looking just for those exact models but it's hard to find one for a lower price.
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Old 06-04-18, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by DrAtomica View Post
$3,000 is an excellent price if the condition of the exterior, interior and engine is good.
My 98 SC400, which I also got at 170k miles has been nothing but reliable for me, I never had the timing belt service record but I got it done last week at 220k miles.
The five speed automatic transmission is such an improvement for both power and fuel economy and is actually very reliable.

These cars are getting harder to find, since there are only about 2,500 of these worldwide. The only ones with the five speed auto and 1UZ VVT-i with 290HP.

The usual price I see for the 98+ are at least 5k. I know a few people who are looking just for those exact models but it's hard to find one for a lower price.
Thanks for your reply!. It looks exactly same as your car. it's black exterior and tan interior. How much did you pay for the timing belt?
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Old 06-05-18, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by yyj3869 View Post
Thanks for your reply!. It looks exactly same as your car. it's black exterior and tan interior. How much did you pay for the timing belt?
I paid about 1k for the timing belt service to be done, the shop did the belt, water pump, cam seals and a complete coolant flush. That's the most expensive I've done on this car, in total I've spent about 2k on this car in 4 years which includes everything from modifcations to suspension, paint correction, maintenance (alternator, coolant flush, timing belt, transmission flush, new radiator, tires, paint correction and slight interior restoration). So all that I mentioned before except the timing belt cost me about 1k in about 4 years.

There are other cars at the time when I was searching for a coupe, I looked at G35, BMW E39s, E46s, S14, and even Mustangs but the SC just stood out to me as a car, elegant design both interior and exterior. Sure the other cars I mentioned have more aftermarket support and probably cheaper to get power out of but comparing stock power the SC400 VVT-i just seemed the perfect fit for me. It's not the fastest but has great power, it's actually fuel efficient compared to the ones mentioned above, it may be heavy but handles very for it's weight however that can change easily with some well tuned suspension. The drawback I'd say is parts are getting expensive and there is not much aftermarket support when compared to other cars.

I have great respect for the designers and engineers behind this car and other Lexus of that era, never has this car let me down, always started up, very reliable and beautifully built. No creaks, worn plastics, the only noise I get is from my trunk which consists of tools in the back. Almost everything works besides my seat height adjustment and CD player, to find a car with such high quality and maintaining that quality at 220k miles will be a tough one to find. I can't say much about the newer Lexus models but from the ES, LS, GS and SC from that era they all built with perfection in mind. I'm very much happy with my purchase because even now it brings a smile on my face.

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