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Micah.Berry

Regular Member
  • Content count

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Micah.Berry last won the day on April 29

Micah.Berry had the most liked content!

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About Micah.Berry

  • Rank
    Advanced Club Member
  • Birthday 05/27/1974

Contact Methods

  • Yahoo
    micah.berry@yahoo.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Lexus Model
    1999 LS400
  1. Did you happen to notice slow cranking of the starter motor when turning the key? That is an indication of a weak battery. My experience has been once a battery is unable to turn the starter, there are lots of clicks. I suppose it could occur just as your experience has indicated too. Did you ever get the master key from the dealer? Keep us posted.
  2. Good news on the battery. It's an easy swap. I bought the largest cold cranking amp battery I could find (a Diehard from Sears). My car will spend a week at a time at the airport during the winter months. Coming home to it and the battery has turned the starter every time, even on those really cold late nights (15 - 20 degrees F). I really can't be of help on the door handle; however, I would suspect you will want to remove the inside door panel, which is fairly easy to do. I *think* this will allow you easier access to the various cables and clips holding the door handle. There is a how to on removing the door panel. Here are two: http://www.lexusownersclub.co.uk/forum/tutorials/article/207-front-door-trim-panel-removal/ http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/body/fdoorpanel.html
  3. Hmmm... Not sure how to fix that. The pics are on Photobucket, and I used direct links. I can copy the web address and paste it here? Micah Edit: I changed the privacy settings on the folder where the pictures are saved. It was set to 'private,' and I changed it to 'public'. Hopefully, you can see the pictures now.
  4. Consider measuring between two days where you do not drive the car. Measurement should be the same. If not, I'd wager it will be lower with the second reading due to a leak. If the reading is the same, then it's simply adjusting for proper damping for road and load conditions (like filling up the fuel tank with 100 pounds of fuel).
  5. A 1998 engine is an interference engine. Thus, if the belt breaks, the engine is toast, and you will have realized a net book value of $0. If I were in your shoes, I would get the belt replaced soon. You might find that you want to keep the car a little longer if there's nothing else wrong with it. A paid off car is a wonderful thing! I just sunk money into replacing shocks, upper control arms sway bar end links and repaired a couple holes in the exhaust pipes. It runs, sounds, and rides better than the nicer cars that I rent when I travel for work.
  6. Another update: I took my car to an exhaust shop in order to have the exhaust leak sourced and fixed. It is probably of use to state here that I have plugged the catalyic converter flanges with high temperature RTV sealant and then wrapped the edges with exhaust tape. It's NOT a pretty job, but there are no leaks at the cats. My car threw a P0430 or 0420 code (the one regarding cat efficiency). Running my hand close to the flanges, I could feel a lot of exhaust escaping from the lower cat flange. Anyway, the shop called back to say they saw my work, and if that's where the leak was, he didn't want to fix it because putting in new gaskets wasn't the right way to fix the leak - rather, the right way was with new catalytic converters, and he was certain I didn't want to spend that kind of money. So I picked up my car and drove home. The next day, I put it on jack stands, and was determined to figure out where the exhaust noise was coming from. Turns out, it was at the Y pipe, near some brackets underneath the heat shielding. Once I removed the heat shield, it was obvious where the holes were. There were two good sized holes, one on each side. I got two tin cans and some exhaust putty. I cleaned up the hole as best as I could of the rust, and then smeared all sorts of putty around the hole. I then cut up the cans so they would go over the pipe. I then added some stainless steel hose clamps to each side of my tin can patch, and then reinstalled the heat shields. The car is now silent. Cost was less than $25 for the putty, heat shields, and cans. Plus, now I have some olives from the cans I used. :) This repair is NOT a permanent fix; proper fixing would be to get a new Y pipe. But for the moment, it's working perfectly, so I'll continue with it for the time being. I am going to place one more hose clamp on the upstream side. I didn't realize the gap was quite as large as it is prior to taking this picture.
  7. The two screws may not be brass, but they felt soft. Also of note - I had a very irratic idle when I reconnected the battery after having done some work to the car. The computer was gunning the throttle. Kind of like what they do before a race on a Fast and Furious movie. Adjusting this sensor brought the idle back in line and I set it back about 700 rpm again, which was as close to spec as I could get it.
  8. I had the exact same issues as your original post. The car performed beautifully otherwise, but would consistently idle at 400 rpm with the AC off and the lights off. With either the AC or the lights on the idle would be about 650 or so. I lived with this for several years. You can adjust the idle by moving a sensor at the front of the engine. Remove the engine cover Cover removed It's dusty - sorry! Go to the front of the engine. Where my Philips screwdriver is pointed towards is a sensor locked down by two brass screws. It's on the intake, and just underneath the electrical connector with the pink/purple wires. It's not easily visible, but you can see it if you'll go to the driver's side (from where I took this pic). You can see one of the brass screws here, just underneath the green wire. The tip of my screwdriver is resting on the screw to which I am referring. There is another screw about 11:00 that I was unable to get a good picture of while using my iPad. It's on the other side of the sensor, about an 1.5 inches from the one I was able to get a pic of. These are soft - do NOT strip the screws. I fitted a couple screw drivers until I found one that fit precisely with no play between the screw slots and the driver head. Then I used a lot of pressure forward, pushing the screw against the sensor before I began turning the screwdriver. Warm up the engine. Do NOT remove the screws, but rather loosen them just slightly. By moving the body of the sensor (twisting counter clockwise or clockwise) you will raise or lower the idle speed. A little goes a LONG way. As in just a little pressure on the sensor will raise the idle a few hundred rpm. The adjustment range can be 0 to 2800 rpm. I tried my best to get the idle set at 650, but when I would tighten the screws, I would raise the idle 50 to 75 rpm. I finally left it at 700 rpm. The idle is smooth, but I do notice the gauge could be between 650 and 750 rpm when I come to a stop. I'm very happy with the results. Post up if you have further questions. Micah
  9. 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.
  10. 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 (completestruts.com) 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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".
  15. This is what I was referring to as an example. To your point, rubber won't distort steel.