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wandawoods

Common Issues And A Ls400 Buying Guide

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NOTHING illuminates on my instrument panel. The answers Im seeing are from about 10years ago-as of today how can one repair the instrument cluster??

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As with any older cars, most of the new dealer replacement parts are no longer available. Unless some dealers hoard them for their shops to use. And since these cars are getting up there in age

expect to have problems. If your not a mechanical sort or very wealthy and can afford a good shop. Then these older cars are probably not for you. One issue that seems to be common is the instrument cluster and ecu capacitor leakage problems, as well as ageing engine and transmission problems. When working on them and any older car things like electrical connectors and wire harnesses get a bit hard and crusty from age and heat in the engine compartment. Ls400's are also known for the power steering problems, pump leaks and ruined alternators. Then there is the nasty starter motor replacement job, that is an involved process of taking most of the top of the engine apart to get to it, and the difficult to get to mounting bolts.

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Bob your post described why I could not wait to get into the 95-2000 models when everything got easier, even the starter was a pushover... that was a big jump for LS400 and I could not be happier I took it....

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Hello, I'm new to the forum and I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the 98' ls400 I'm considering. 

https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/cto/5625751121.html

My only concern about the car is the price, the kbb on the car is 4,073 in excellent condition. I know that kbb doesn't always apply and Id like to think that it doesn't especially in this case. I used every trick I can think of, but he won't go any lower than $5,500. 

I am a Lexus tech in CA, I have checked this thing out from top to bottom, its mechanically 10/10 and cosmetically 9.9 I would say its really nice and ran perfect on the 30 mile test drive I went on.

Basically what I'd like to know is if I'd be getting ripped of or if I'm getting good value?

In case anyone is wondering, there's no air suspension, no navy, all electronics work, and a stack of other maintenance records such as tranny service, tie rod. Ends brakes all the way around and coolant flush ect though they are from a Toyota dealer rather than Lexus but that doesn't bother me too much

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I over paid for my 1990 LS400 but I wanted this particular ls400 so I had no problem paying sellers asking price. I know I will never sell it for what I paid for it. I am 100% happy with what I received and it puts a smile on my face everyday when I drive it so the extra money I paid was well worth it.

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1997 Celsior / Ls400.

The HID Lights get dim. bulbs work, but needed to be replaced to be road legal. anyone else had this?

 

 

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Bulbs get weaker over time. Are they the original bulbs?

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yeah, changed them. like night and day. only at a cost of $100

 

had an indicator fail before roadworthy testing. must be an earthing issue.

as others have found. the only issues with these cars is maintenance.

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Been busy lately but I'm glad you got it right and it was an easy fix.

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I bought a 1998 LS400 with 129k miles in April and I have had the following issues:

Starter went bad. If you have the original starter, it *WILL* go bad at some point. Mine would click once each time I turned the key and after 7 or 8 tries would finally start. I bought OEM remanufactured Denso for $130 off Amazon and paid 5 hours labor for a mechanic to install as it is buried somewhere I can't DIY. I'm told it was placed there for weight balance purposes but still a strange place to put it. Very inaccessible.

Strut rod bushings went bad, had a heavy loud clunk that stormed through the cabin every time I hit a bump or incline. Got new strut rods.

Fuel gauge is off. I replaced the fuel sender myself but problem persists. Trip computer shows accurate fuel remaining so I can live with that for now. I believe it is the instrumentation cluster. RPM and MPH occasionally get stuck especially when humid outside. A tap on the top of the dash frees them. Temp gauge reads above normal too despite no sign of overheating. Might send cluster out to get circuitry replaced to fix all the issues.

Power steering rack and pinion is leaking causing the boot to tear. Lexus dealer gave it a passing safety inspection despite a torn boot qualifying for a failure :bag:. Dealer wants $1,300 to replace. I found OEM remanufactured part for ~$420 and may have a local mechanic do it. Might as well replace the tie rods and grommets while I'm at it.

One of my front brake calipers had a stuck piston causing this irritating clicking sound when I hit the brakes. Replaced both front with OEM remanufactured.

Car is bouncy. I am told by the dealer the struts/shocks are shot. Would need to replace struts and strut mounts and associated parts. Dealer wants $4000 to replace front and back OEM or $3200 for KYB. I'm looking to buy OEM parts myself and have a local mechanic do it. I was also told the bad struts may cause the tires to wear unevenly.

Previous owner fixed a number of common problems: power steering pump, water pump, various gaskets. All done by a Lexus dealer.

This car was supposedly one of the most quiet cars on the road but I am amazed at how much noise penetrates the cabin of my LS. Road noise, wind noise, etc. I have new Michelins but still not quiet. Also, the Nakamichi stereo isn't all that. Maybe in 1998 is was fantastic but by today's standard it isn't anything special.

I chose a LS400 over an LS430 because I simply think the LS400 looks so much better. The LS430 looks more grandma-esq with its tall roof. The LS400 is low and looks a lot sleeker. The 2004+ update did a good job of improving appearance of the 430 but LS400 still looks better. Actually, I chose LS400 over my two other favorite sedans of all time E38 7-Series and W140 S-Class. One day I plan on owning all 3.

 

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On 10/12/2017 at 2:48 PM, WaveRunner said:

This car was supposedly one of the most quiet cars on the road but I am amazed at how much noise penetrates the cabin of my LS. Road noise, wind noise, etc. I have new Michelins but still not quiet. Also, the Nakamichi stereo isn't all that. Maybe in 1998 is was fantastic but by today's standard it isn't anything special.

I chose a LS400 over an LS430 because I simply think the LS400 looks so much better. The LS430 looks more grandma-esq with its tall roof. The LS400 is low and looks a lot sleeker. The 2004+ update did a good job of improving appearance of the 430 but LS400 still looks better. Actually, I chose LS400 over my two other favorite sedans of all time E38 7-Series and W140 S-Class. One day I plan on owning all 3.

These cars sure got a lot noisier as they aged.  The 1990 LS400 I bought new and the 2000 LS400 I bought at 3 years / 38,000 miles seemed incredibly quiet when I first got them - but not when I sold them at around 14 years old.  The original tires on both were designed for quiet - all replacements were louder.  Door and window seal deterioration over the years seemed to add wind noise.  And both cars had multiple windshield replacements which probably contributed to the additional noise.

I thought the Nakamichi in my 2000 LS400 was wonderful and had an aux-in professionally added to it that made music streaming from the Internet sound great.  The right channel of the Nak head unit eventually failed and couldn't be repaired due to lack of replacement parts.

Looking back, it would have been better to have bought a new LS430 in 2003 instead of the off-lease 2000 LS400.  I didn't like the LS430 at the time but later came to appreciate its technology and comfort improvements.

Good luck with those BMW and Mercedes cars!  I'm a "three time loser" with Mercedes cars.  I thought the W140 was wonderful in its day but it is low-tech today ... same for that old BMW.  The cost of keeping those things running today would be ridiculously high.  It's been years since I saw a W140 on the road - most have been crushed by now.

 

 

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On 10/14/2017 at 2:29 PM, 1990LS400 said:

These cars sure got a lot noisier as they aged.  The 1990 LS400 I bought new and the 2000 LS400 I bought at 3 years / 38,000 miles seemed incredibly quiet when I first got them - but not when I sold them at around 14 years old.  The original tires on both were designed for quiet - all replacements were louder.  Door and window seal deterioration over the years seemed to add wind noise.  And both cars had multiple windshield replacements which probably contributed to the additional noise.

I thought the Nakamichi in my 2000 LS400 was wonderful and had an aux-in professionally added to it that made music streaming from the Internet sound great.  The right channel of the Nak head unit eventually failed and couldn't be repaired due to lack of replacement parts.

Looking back, it would have been better to have bought a new LS430 in 2003 instead of the off-lease 2000 LS400.  I didn't like the LS430 at the time but later came to appreciate its technology and comfort improvements.

Good luck with those BMW and Mercedes cars!  I'm a "three time loser" with Mercedes cars.  I thought the W140 was wonderful in its day but it is low-tech today ... same for that old BMW.  The cost of keeping those things running today would be ridiculously high.  It's been years since I saw a W140 on the road - most have been crushed by now.

 

 

Hello Jim,

Thanks for your reply. I have been watching your posts for quite some time and they have been an extremely valuable source. Literally last night I was driving my LS400 when I noticed the right side speakers stopped working. I was a little puzzled as to how the whole right side went out in one go. I doubt I'll be able to find someone to fix this issue since Nakamichi parts are obsolete. I wonder if replacing the head unit would do the trick. I am a huge fan of keeping the stock appearance but given that I am stuck with AM/FM, Cassettes, and CDs, I am more compelled to change it with a head unit that has HD Radio, Sirius/XM, etc.

The wind noise I am experiencing could be a result of two factors. My windshield is PGW and not Lexus. So while it is a quality windshield it probably isn't as thick as the original OEM. Also, I believe the driver side door is out of alignment and may need new hinges. The previous owner would shut the door with the seat belt buckle in the way and it caused dents on the inner panel and likely knocked it off alignment. This was likely due to the slow retracting seat belt but still no idea how the previous owner could have done it many times without checking the belt was out of the way when shutting the door.

When I bought this LS400 in April 2017 there was an 2001 LS430 for sale for a similar price. I don't regret getting the LS400 as the design is better but I think the 430 would have been a smarter buy given advancements. But I purchased the LS400 as a second leisure car. People who have driven it can't believe it is nearly 20 years old. And this after the fact it needs new shocks and power steering rack. The 98-00 LS400 truly represents the best of the LS. Today it is considered "cool" and "vintage" while not looking too dated, especially the front, like previous LS'.

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7 hours ago, WaveRunner said:

Hello Jim,

Thanks for your reply. I have been watching your posts for quite some time and they have been an extremely valuable source. Literally last night I was driving my LS400 when I noticed the right side speakers stopped working. I was a little puzzled as to how the whole right side went out in one go. I doubt I'll be able to find someone to fix this issue since Nakamichi parts are obsolete. I wonder if replacing the head unit would do the trick. I am a huge fan of keeping the stock appearance but given that I am stuck with AM/FM, Cassettes, and CDs, I am more compelled to change it with a head unit that has HD Radio, Sirius/XM, etc.

The wind noise I am experiencing could be a result of two factors. My windshield is PGW and not Lexus. So while it is a quality windshield it probably isn't as thick as the original OEM. Also, I believe the driver side door is out of alignment and may need new hinges. The previous owner would shut the door with the seat belt buckle in the way and it caused dents on the inner panel and likely knocked it off alignment. This was likely due to the slow retracting seat belt but still no idea how the previous owner could have done it many times without checking the belt was out of the way when shutting the door.

When I bought this LS400 in April 2017 there was an 2001 LS430 for sale for a similar price. I don't regret getting the LS400 as the design is better but I think the 430 would have been a smarter buy given advancements. But I purchased the LS400 as a second leisure car. People who have driven it can't believe it is nearly 20 years old. And this after the fact it needs new shocks and power steering rack. The 98-00 LS400 truly represents the best of the LS. Today it is considered "cool" and "vintage" while not looking too dated, especially the front, like previous LS'.

The right channel failure in your Nakamichi system is likely a problem in the head unit as was mine and many others who have reported a similar problem.  I don't remember anyone reporting that the left channel failed - only the right channel.

After the right channel of the Nak failed, I had a double DIN Kenwood head unit installed at Best Buy using the Nak amp under the passenger seat and all the Nak speakers including the Nak subwoofer.  The Kenwood didn't have quite the "presence" of the Nak head unit but it was  wonderful to have a modern system in my old 2000 LS400.  The Kenwood had a wonderful Bluetooth phone feature, 18 FM presets, equalizer, DVD video/CD player, sat radio ready, backup camera ready, A2DP Bluetooth audio streaming with specific Pandora support, hard wire aux-in, iPod control capability.  Total cost of the Kenwood head unit including installation was a hair under $500.  Don't let anyone tell you that the Nak amp can't be used with an aftermarket head unit and that you have to give up on your Nak subwoofer - absolutely not true. 

PGW supplies OEM glass for Toyota/Lexus but I suppose it is possible that you didn't get OEM grade.  Your wind noise might be due to installation issues.  The last windshield I had installed in my 2000 LS400 was a $1,600 OEM windshield - same markings and color as the factory installed one.  The trim around the new windshield didn't fit all that well and I think that was the cause of most of the wind noise.

There was a TSB about exterior mirror noise for the 1998-2000 LS400 which involved stuffing adhesive backed foam into the mirror housings.  By about the 5th year, most of the foam was coming out of the mirrors and I never had it replaced.

Yep, I closed the driver door on the seat belt buckle within the first few months I had my 00 LS400.  I was more careful after that.  I had the driver door hinges replaced at some point but I didn't think doing that reduced the wind noise.  I should have replaced all the door gaskets.

I liked my 00 LS400 a lot up to the day I sold it in 2014 to the same friend who had bought my 1990 LS400 11 years earlier.  It looked new inside and out and was in excellent mechanical condition when I sold it at just under 180,000 miles.  The main reason I moved on was that I wanted modern safety equipment like automatic emergency braking and and radar adaptive cruise control.

 

 

 

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