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Micah.Berry last won the day on January 7 2016

Micah.Berry had the most liked content!

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About Micah.Berry

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  • Birthday 05/27/1974

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  • Lexus Model
    1999 LS400
  1. And as I was re-reading my last post, I noted in my last post that the ride was a tad more firm. I wanted to point out that my original OEM shocks were pretty blown out. Meaning the car would bounce up and down when doing the 'bounce test' in the garage. When driving over smooth pavement, there were no huge issues, though once getting to about 75 mph, the damping was bad so vibrations were not being controlled. Once the wheels are properly balanced and aligned I will be quite happy. The car has now a VERY nice ride quality. Taking off from a stop, the front doesn't lift up (or the rear squat down), like accelerating in a boat from a stop.
  2. Mostly. The front end is SO much better now, even with the cheap Unity struts I put on. Surprisingly, the ride is quite good, just a tad more stiff than I remember when I got the car with 113k miles. I have an appointment to get the alignment tabs fixed at the beginning of next week (along with the exhaust leak), at which point it will get an alignment as well. For the rear, I got in touch with the company ( after my original post. They said they contacted the manufacturer, who said to remove the sway bar end links, which would lower the wheel assembly low enough so that they could be mounted. Given how the front links were when I removed those, I purchased Moog rear sway bar end links, and once those arrived, I installed the new shocks on the rear with very little drama. I still have lower ball joints and outer tie rod ends sitting on the shelf in the garage. The ones on the car appear to be in good shape. I recently looked up when I replaced them, and they both have about 60k miles, not 45k as I was thinking. I suppose I could replace them, and it would be best to do so prior to getting the alignment done. I haven't done the lower control arms in the front yet, but it's the original arm installed at the factory, and could probably stand replacement, though it's not making any noise. And in the rear, there are some old arms that look as though they could stand replacement as well. The car rides butter-smooth on the interstate up to about 83-85 mph, which I think will be helped further once I get the alignment done as well as a road-force balance.
  3. Thanks, Billy. I'm approaching your mileage. I replaced several components, and I would like to do the front lower control arms as well as a couple items in the back suspension. I'll be curious to know how your control arms hold up. In another thread, I mentioned I installed Moog upper control arms, sway bar end links, and sway bar bushings. I'm hoping for reasonable longevity out of them, doesn't have to be OEM longevity for me to be happy.
  4. I do lots of freeway driving. I have a 99 that gets 27 mpg at 75 mph. Combined city/highway is 21-22 for me. And I stuck a trailer hitch on it in order to tow a couple sport motorcycles on a light trailer (total trailer weight is approx. 1100 pounds) across the country. I get 21 mpg on the freeway, driving just under 70 mph towing two of my bikes at a time. The 98+ models have a 5 speed transmission, whereas prior models have a 4 speed. The 5 speed gets a bit better fuel economy. There are several factors that will affect fuel mileage as noted by Spartan above. The two that make the most difference for me is #1 - Light acceleration around town. I don't mash the throttle taking off. #2 - Use the cruise control on the interstate as much as safely possible. For me, I can't modulate the throttle as minutely as can the computer to maintain speed.
  5. To Billy's point, tighten your battery cables (or at least make sure they are tight). You could also check the voltage on the battery before starting the car. The voltage should be somewhere around 12.6-12.8 or so. Lastly, you could check the voltage as the car is being started. If the voltage drops to less than 10 or so volts, consider replacing your battery. Do you know your battery's age? They don't last forever. Also, do you have lots of corrosion on your battery terminals? This can keep the battery from making good contact with the terminals, inhibiting starting. Anyway, just random thoughts as I think about batteries.
  6. This past weekend, I changed some suspension components. My car is a 1999 LS400. I changed out the shocks (utilizing 'quick struts'), upper control arms, strut bars, sway bar end links, and sway bar bushings. I also bought outer tie rod ends and lower ball joints; however, I did not install those because (frankly) I was really tired by the time I had installed everything else. I'll get to them later. The current lower ball joints and outer tie rod ends were replaced about 45k miles ago, so they shouldn't be terribly bad. The boots on both are in tact. Oh yes... Almost forgot, I got new pads, rotors, and gave it fresh brake fluid (which it desperately needed). Braking is significantly improved, and with the new shocks up front, it doesn't dive nearly as much as it used to. For the strut rods, I used Toyota OEM. I intended on getting just the bushings; however, South Atlanta Lexus stated the bushings were discontinued, so I had to spend a little more for the full bars. For the sway bar end links, sway bar bushings, and upper control arm, I bought Moog components. Fingers are crossed as to how long they last, but the price differential between OEM and Moog was too much for me to pass up, especially the upper control arms. All the components fit perfectly, as the OEM did. Just a note on the shocks. They work well, much better than the OEM units that were on there (with 195k miles). I went with Unity Shocks, where I purchased the whole assembly, getting new shock mounts, rubber bushings, spring, and the shock itself. It comes assembled, ready to install. You will want to make sure the center nut is on tight. One of mine was a little loose. I'm also waiting to see what the company does regarding the rear struts. They sent me struts that don't fit inside the wheel well without taking the control arm out. The difference between the ride at the front and the ride at the rear is noticeable now, and I'm looking forward to changing out the rear struts as soon as possible. Purists will deride the fact that I did not use KYB shocks; however, I didn't have spring compressors, and I wanted new shock mounts. If the shocks last 40,000 miles, I will be happy. I did run into a snag that I wanted to make sure people were aware of. When you install new strut bars at the front, make DOUBLY sure that the camber bolt plates are snug between the tabs. I failed to make sure, and then put 120 some odd pound feet of torque on the nut, which then slowly spun the bolt, mashing the tabs flat. Thus, I can't get an alignment on my front passenger side now. I have an appointment to get this fixed, but I mention this just as a caution to others. I was tired, and ready to be done with the project, especially spending loads of time trying to get the incorrect rear shocks installed (insert face palm slap...). Interestingly, the alignment shop said the alignment isn't that far off in spite of my mistake, so that's good. Now - I need to fix what I think is an exhaust leak. My LS is sounding a bit "sporty".
  7. This is what I was referring to as an example. To your point, rubber won't distort steel.
  8. Hammering helps free frozen-with-rust parts. I have just bought new pads, rotors, lower ball joints, new upper control arms, new outer tie rod ends, new strut assemblies, and new lower strut bars. For the parts that are coming out, I have no problem hammering, though I will start with a rubber hammer.
  9. Very nice car, M.Yasir!
  10. Always nice to have a family mechanic available! Billy, I hope you get the 'family discount'! Ha! :) Micah
  11. Ha! Thanks, Billy. Sanpete, you can splice the wires and use a generic O2 sensor if you would like. That would keep you from having to pull the carpeting up. It's a bit of a pain to pull the carpeting by the gas pedal. The reason that I would recommend a Denso (OEM) plug is because you'll know that it works; there is no splicing - eliminating any errors due to poor splice jobs. In addition, from a cost perspective, the plug and play Denso plug wasn't that much more expensive than a off-brand, splice style sensor. One you get the carpet up, it's literally plug and play versus trying to splice wires in tight confines above the cat (it's really tight there). You'll need to make your own assessment as to which way you want to go based on how much you want to spend, and whether you want to pull the carpet on the transmission tunnel there by the gas pedal. If it were me, I would pull the carpet. This was my experience with the O2 sensors: In my research, I was getting a P0420 code for a non-functioning cat. However, the shop that I took my 99 LS to stated that they didn't think it was the cat. They thought it was the downstream O2 sensor. While I did a lot of research understanding how to replace the upstream and downstream O2 sensors, I wasn't quite satisfied with that answer. My gut feel was that it wasn't right. Temperature readings before and after the cat fell within expected values, indicating the cat was functioning properly. And the O2 sensors will throw off their own codes when they fail, if I understood correctly what I read. Further research revealed the gasket between the cat and the pipe was prone to cracking and allowing exhaust to escape, and subsequently causing the computer to think the cat wasn't functioning at proper specs. I got underneath the car (again) this time to carefully feel around the cat, and sure enough, there was a little crack that had a puff of exhaust coming out. I sealed it with some high temperature gasket maker, intending to properly get it fixed a little later. Pushing two years later, I've not gotten any more codes.
  12. The pre-cat O2 sensor wire is first accessed from underneath the carpet. Then get underneath your car and look up where the exhaust headers are. You'll see the pre-cat O2 sensor with a wire leading out (that you will have accessed through the carpet). You'll then get your socket wrench with the O2 sensor attachment to unscrew it. It will take some force, especially if anit-sieze wasn't used. There is also a post-cat O2 sensor, that you can easily see underneath the car. The "cat" is the catalytic converter.
  13. Silly question - but did you get your car serviced, and may be the mech noticed that the sensor was unplugged, and possibly plugged it back for you as a favor? It's so easy to simply connect it or disconnect it. Otherwise, to me it sounds like a short. My sensor did the exact same thing while on a trip to Florida this year. During a large rainstorm, the sensor indicated the level was low. I filled up the reservoir (which wasn't really empty) and the issue resolved. However, it came back a day or so later. So, I got to the place where I was jiggling the fluid reservoir in order to get the float to move. I didn't like how that red LED glows while running down the road, especially at night. Once at home, did a little research, and for the 2 minutes that it takes to undo the bottom cover in front of the wheel, thought that was an okay solution until I purchase a new sensor or repair the old one. The low-fluid warning light issue is no more, but I dislike having a feature of the car disabled, even if it's a very minor one. Micah
  14. To Landar's point, get the better maintained car. Timing belts, in my opinion, being primary, along with regular oil / filter changes. Should they both have good records, and drive well, I would still go for the LS, even given it's higher mileage. However, this is partly dependent on how I use my car, which is primarily on the interstate. On the interstate is where the LS really shines. Smooth, quiet, and powerful. I get to travel with my job, and in doing so, rent a lot of pretty nice cars. My 99's engine is just as smooth as the newer cars that I rent. A properly maintained LS engine should last a long, long time. Mine currently has 163k miles. Suspension is a different story. I don't know what the GS suspension woes are like; however, in my LS, there are pops during cold weather (but not during warm weather - odd!). That's really annoying. In addition, the smooth ride is assisted by rubber bushings in the suspension linkages. As these bushings age, they become hard and crack, and the smooth ride deteriorates. If you plan on keeping the LS for a while, then plan on saving some money to get the suspension parts replaced. You'll be impressed at the ride improvement. Strut bars, lower ball joints, tie rod ends, and sway bar bushings should be replaced when you can. If you intend on driving your car on twisty roads, you might be a little more happy with the GS. The LS suspension is pretty soft, which gives it a beautifully smooth ride at high speed on the interstate, but on twisty roads, it's obviously not a sports car. Micah
  15. Ah well... We don't have "twinkie" cars anymore, Billy! Still - I'm glad that you kept an LS. Your posts have been EXTREMELY helpful to me. Are you going to replace the LS with something else? Micah