Hi, I replaced my bulbs in my old 94 LS400 which was a pain but I did it. Now I have a 98, does anyone know the procedure? Is it more difficult because of the auto leveler thing? Should I do all the bulbs while I'm in there?
Also, anyone know where to find a repair manual for under $50?
I am sure that you have already resolved your headlamp issues by now, Hutch. However, for future reference and for those who will need to know how to do this, I'd like to give you exactly what it takes to replace an HID lamp in a 1998 to 2000 Lexus LS-400 headlight assembly. I just replaced my left (driver's) side lamp, and it was fairly simple. The HID lamp itself is the most expensive cost to this procedure, and the entire headlight assembly definitely does not need to be removed. You can do this in a fairly short period of time. It took me about 30 minutes, and that was because I had never done it before.
There is a small triangular shaped plactic cover right in front of the battery, bridging from the radiator to the battery. It snaps out by just pullig straight up on it. Set it aside, then you'll have to first remove the battery, as there is no way to access the back side of the headlamp assembly without removing it.
Next, there is a gray plastic cover over the backside of the lamp compartment, you simply turn that cover about 1/8 of a turn counterclockwise and remove it. It has four keyways in it, and an arrow pointing to the top position so there is no way you can reinstall it incorrectly.
Under that cover there is a smaller metal cover over the actual lamp connection. A metal clip on each side (right & left) holds it in place, and you only have to spread (pull) each clip away from the cover (outward) to remove that metal cover. Then the actual power connector is turned slightly counterclockwise, pull straight back and off the lamp itself.
Now you are down to the lamp, and you will have to look for two long spring clips (one on each side) that overlap the flange or lip of the lamp base holding it in place. These two spring clips are snapped in place at the top of the lap as you look down on it, so once you have identified them it is easy to see where each one is snapped into a spring-metal hook. Once you unsnap these two clips from their spring-metal hooks, you will be able to remove the bad HID lamp by pulling it straight out.
By the way, if your old lamp blows apart into numerous pieces, I would try to remove as much of the glass debris as possible, as it could cause damage or blow your new lamp. I used a piece of sticky tape on the end of a pair of hemostats. Then I used a can of compressed air (Dust-Off) to blow out whatever fragments may be left on the inner cone of the lamp assembly. Realize that if your old lamp did break-up into many pieces, you will probably not be able to get them all out, and you will see some small pieces of glass sitting at the bottom of your lamp assembly, looking through the front lense cover of your headlight. If you know of a good way to remove all of them without removing the entire headlamp assembly, please let me know as well.
In replacing the HID lamp, you must first remember to NEVER touch the glass part of the lamp itself. Its lifespan will be short-lived if you do. Only touch the lower plastic portion of the HID lamp when installing it. Insert the new lamp the same way as the old one came out. To insure correct installation, just keep the open keyway (in the plastic base of the new lamp) at the top so that it aligns with the key on the flange of the insertion hole. The spring clips are still attached to the assembly, so now just pull them back up and over the lip, or base flange, of the new HID lamp, and re-clip them into their perspective hooks. Reinstall the power cable to the new lamp, just the reverse of how it came off. Then install the metal cover that will snap into its clips on each side.
Finally the gray plastic cover goes on last, covering the entire assembly and connection. When putting that last cover back on, simply re-align the keys to the keyway openings (there's four of them) in the headlamp assembly. Insert the cover in those keyways and make a slight (1/8) turn clockwise to lock it in place. Again, the arrow on this cover should be on the top and pointing toward the engine hood. In the case of it being the driver's side, you then reinstall and reconnect the battery, and replace the snap-on cover, etc.
FYI: You do not need to replace both sides when only one HID lamp has blown, as they do not lose their intensity over time, and the remaining old lamp should match-up in its intensity with the new HID lamp once the replacement is done. I would be certain, however, to get an authentic replacement HID lamp directly from Lexus, otherwise your 'after-market' new lamp could appear to be yellow in its intensity instead of white like the original HID lamp that is still working on the other side. There are many good plastic polishes that you can buy at any of the 'automotive parts' outlets that will help improve your HID intensity and clarity.
I hope this helps anyone else needing to know how to replace a Lexus HID lamp in their headlight. I believe that this same procedure would apply to all LS models from 1998 to 2000. The replacement task is much easier than it appears, and again, does not require removing the entire headlight assembly.