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New Twist On Ps Leak


Bill O'
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I inherited a single owner dealer serviced '90 LS-400 with 300,000 mi.

It has a yet undiagnosed (pump, rack, hose) PS leak and also exhibits rather severe front wheel shuddering when braking from speeds above 45 mph. I called a dealer in Glendale, CA who offered to do their "pre-purchase inspection" at no cost. In discussing the problems with the Service Manager, he indicated that the two issues may be related and that the shudder during braking can result from the PS system becoming unstable. I've read everything I could find on this site and have not been able to locate any link between the two problems. I did notice that with the PS fluid topped off, the shudder goes away for a short time. Before I head off to the dealer, wanted to see if anyone has experience/knowledge about this problem. Thanks in advance.

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Since they offered to do the pre-purchase inspection for free, I'd take them up on it. You can bet they will come back with a long, expensive list but at leaset you'll have an idea of what you are up against. The local dealer here charges $75 for a pre-purchase inspection.

Could be many things but with 300K there are things that are probably worn out

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I got "THE LIST" from my local Lexus dealer on Friday. As predicted, the news was not good. 1. Rack leaking from side seals and fitting hose 2. High pressure hose leaking in two places 3.Lower control arms cracked 4. Leak from water pump 5. Drive belt cracked 6. Radiator top tank leaking 7. Oil pan leaking. Those are the big items. There were a host of other little items that together add up to a hefty price to correct. I'm torn between selling the car "as is" or fixing things over a period of time knowing that the car was dealer maintained for 14 years and should be good for many years to come. BTW the rotors measured 24.9 (minimum = 23) and the non Lexus pads measured 9mm (10 = new) so I'm still not sure where the high speed braking shudder is coming from (cracked lower control arms?). I'm interested in opinions about keeping the car or finding a DYI buyer who is looking for a clean well maintained car to nurse back to health.

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Sell it. Chances are the replacing the parts not including Labour it will be around $4k.

I think the lower control arm, rotors, and the rack are all contributing to the shaking, but Rotors are my first pick.

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First of all, if the rate of oil loss from the power steering doesn't spot the driveway too much or at all, forget about it.

Check again, as they must mean the lower control arm BUSHINGS are cracked. If the arm itself was cracked, it would fail quickly, and they shouldn't have let you drive the car.

The drive belt is no big deal. If it is the camshaft drive belt, then the water pump is normally replaced at the same time - no duplication of labour there.

The oil pan is in two pieces. The "pan" is the large aluminum structural part of the lower engine, and a stamped steel sump is attached to it. If it is the sump gasket that is leaking, that's an easy repair.

A shudder under braking is a warped rotor. There is sufficient to machine the rotors true again, but be sure to find a good machine shop, and not some kid in a fly-by-night "specialty" brake shop. Otherwise buy the Lexus OE rotors new. They are ground to final flatness, and bagged to prevent rust. Beautiful brake rotors - the best you will ever see.

Install the used pads on the machined rotors, they will bed in quickly and not be a problem. I would also have a good four wheel alignment perfomed.

Doesn't sound like the end of the world to me.

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I gotta agree its not the worst news you could get. The dealer always finds lots of expensive stuff wrong. They told me my upper control arms were going bad and would cost nearly a thousand to fix. I didn't replace them because the car drives perfectly with absolutely no vibrations and the tires don't wear.

I find them telling you the control arms are cracked rather suspisious. Did you look under to see if you could see cracks? Unless someone jumped the car (like on TV) I doubt they would crack.

It is unfortunate that the dealers are not more reasonable in repair costs. It makes used Lexus cars worth a lot less than they would be otherwise.

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