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Es300 Repair Advice


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I need some advice on what to do with my 1996 es300 with 73,000 miles . Here is my story...

I live in Atlanta, Ga and was driving my car the other day and the engine just died on me. The lights and radio and everything were working so it was not a complete dead battery. The car has been mine since 1999 and was a pre-owned lexus certified car when I bought it originally. I get about 280 miles in round the town driving.

I own the car outright so I am having a value dilemna. The car is fully loaded but is it really worth more than $6,000 and if so do I want to spend the money to fix everything that the dealer suggests.

When the car died I had it towed straight to the lexus dealership inside 285 on peachtree industrial. I have NEVER had to replace almost anything so far. Almost everything minus the brakes and tires are original.

The dealer says I need the following and I am trying to figure out what to do:

New timing belt

- they say it is frayed and I am going to go in to look but if it is as they say do I spend the suggested $1100 to replace the belt/water pump and whatever the third thing they said, I think cam shaft?

Re-shim all the valves or just the one that is cracked/messed up (I am not that well versed in the ways of the automobile :unsure: ) Cost $600

- I think they said it was messed up to the point of metal getting in there (where ever there is)

Engine Mount has two cracks - cost $630

- that was my fault and all i can say is use a desginated driver

Coolant is non-existant so they have to refill and patch any potential leaks

Transmission Fluid needs to be changed. They said it was beyond it's time which I am unsure of how often that time comes.

Patching a couple leaks in general.


So the questions I have are:

Do I spend the almost $3,000 to fix it all and get square with the car that I own outright or am I getting close to other money that I need to spend on required maintenance considering it is all original?

What other things will I have to do to maintain the car as I hit 80k-90k miles?

Am I getting completely hosed by the dealership on if I should replace all three pieces of the timing belt puzzle, and is it a price that I should pay??


I will be getting a detailed account of this all in the morning so I will post any info I left out.

Thanks in advance for any advice,


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It doesn't sound to me like the dealer is trying to hose you, but Lexus dealers are very expensive, I'm sure you could save a lot of money by getting it done at an independent shop that specializes in japanese vehicles.

I dont see anything in there that doesn't sound plausible. 73k is very low mileage for a 96 and oftentimes low mileage cars can need MORE maintenance than cars that get driven a lot because they sit and components dry out etc. The timing belt is a very big job and they always replace the pump while they're in there as its cheaper than opening everything else up again down the road.

It sounds to me like the car hasn't neccisarily been maintained (coolant leaking, tranny fluid never been changed) how often does the oil get changed etc?

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I agree if the belt broke it is not supposed to btreak anything else since the valves are non interference meaing they don;t touch the pistons still moving when the belt no longer connects them to move both up and down according to timing.

Lexus is expensive but all sounds like it needs to be done.

for $3000 you will have a very solid car afterwards.

Not sure how they know a valve is bent since that would mean they have to take apart the engine or replace the belt to hear it.

the mounts may be a nessacary part but usually not detremental depending on the degree of engine rotation they are allowing.

Are you sure you ran out of coolant?

they rest is unknown without seeing the car.

you have to get a new belt to drive the rest can be done elsewhere cheaper including changing the belt. It costs 600 at lexus but less everywhere else.

Shimming the valve is to only stop them from making tapping noises which if the engine isn;t running is impossible to know, so i don;t know how they can know that if the belt hasn;t been changed yet.

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They put a new battery in there and the car started. I then authorized them to tear down the engine to assess the damage. They spent 4 hours for a grand total of $376 (that part hurts).

So they had the car started and this is all stuff they were able to diagnose.

I change the oil regularly but I definitely have shirked some of my maintenance responsibilities.

I am wondering if anyone knows of an Atlanta mechanic that can be trusted with a lexus?



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