Hello all! I'm a long time Mercedes owner but have recently purchased my first Lexus, an LS400 with 189K miles. It was a one owner car that was donated to Novis Works which sold it to a used car dealer which sold it to me. It's in great shape overall, I'll post pictures later today.
I bought the car because my brother's daily driver was a 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis that had been my grandparent's but after 240K miles, at least one of the head gaskets went. Had it been one of my Mercedes, I would have changed the head gasket but alas Ford didn't make it an easy or cheap job to do the head gaskets on the 4.6 Modular V8. We looked around for another Mercedes but most everything we looked was needing more work than I wanted to deal with in the next week before we start back with classes at GT. I was wanting either an I6 or V8 midsized (LS400 is on the large size of midsized but not quite as big as a Grand Marquis or an S-Class) sedan or wagon. My other top pick was a 94 Mercedes E420 (a bit more of a muscle car than an early LS400) but it hadn't been driven much in the past 15 years so it was needing the front and rear main seals replaced. Not horrible jobs but not anything I wanted to deal with. The 1990 LS400 lacks the torque and handling of the E420, but it's a smart looking car (especially in the silver on burgundy that we got), comfortable and should be reliable enough to own for at least 6 months. I'd describe it as the car that the Grand Marquis wanted to be.
So yes, the car is in overall great shape but has some issues, mainly electrical. The irony is I was always told Lexus were Mercedes without the electrical issues but I've had fewer electrical issues on my Mercedes than this currently has. I can't really fault the car for that, it's a bit more complicated than my other cars.
1- The mirrors do not function- Not sure if it's the switch or control module or mirrors themselves, but it's annoying and dangerous to drive it how it is currently
2- The radio has issues- first radio would light up, extend the antenna, but the LCD didn't function and it didn't play anything. Went to parts yard, got another radio, and it works except for the tape deck. I'd like to use the tape deck for a headphone adapter but if there's any other way to have headphone or bluetooth in, let me know. I'd prefer to keep the original radio unless there's a good quality aftermarket bezel so I can fit another radio for bluetooth calling
3- The telescoping column doesn't function- It goes up and down, the relay or motor seems to click when I want to extend it but it won't go back in.
4- The washer pump doesn't work
5- The brakes feel really spongy though the fluid looks new and the master cylinder looks like it might be as well. I haven't pulled the wheels off yet but it felt like the brake rotors were new. I understand there are upgrades?
6- Driver's seat compared to the other seats is not as comfortable, maybe worn out?
7- Various lights out in dash
While I was at the yard, I was able to score Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the 1991 Service Manual for $3 out of the car from which I pulled the radio. Also pulled a headlight (passenger's side has a rock chip) but ended up that my paycheck hadn't gone in yet so I had to leave it.
I'm also planning on doing the timing belt, water pump, thermostat, and front main seal (not leaking but while I'm at it I might as well) this week, any pointers for that job?
I am incredibly well versed in buying Mercedes parts, best prices, fastest shipping, what brands to avoid based on what part it is, etc but have no knowledge for Lexus. What brands are good, what should I avoid, and what sites should I use? What parts should I go to the dealer for and are there any wholesale dealership websites I should try?
I got the Aisin or OE Toyota for all of the parts in the above job.
Are there any pointers for a first-time owner? Ideas on what I need to do to rectify these issues?
Will the 16" rims from a 2000 GS (6 spoke) fit on this car without rubbing? I'm also going to another yard with several LS400s tomorrow, anything I should be looking for or pulling?