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98 Es300 Falling Apart?


LexuSY
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Hi all,

I've been to the dealer for my 75k and 80k mile service and each time they told me i need to fix something else which i've put off, but now i feel like the list is growing longer and i need to fix these asap.

first they told me my lower control arms bushings are broken and need replacement.

then, they told me my timing belt should be replaced, my rear main seal is leaking oil, my rear tail light is out and my air filter needs replacing cause it's dirty.

What can i do on my own? I'm not car saavy enough to take apart an engine, the only thing ive done is replace headlights and wash a car before. I think i can do the filter and light, but not sure about the others.

how urgent are these and how much should they cost? The dealer told me the grand total will be about $3350 bucks.

What else needs to be fixed when they do this? The dealer said when they replace the timing belt they replace a bunch of other stuff or something and that's why it costs 1500 to replace.

or does anyone know a good mechanic in the los angeles area? Thanks for all your help!!!

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* I personally treat all leaks as a vital and urgent matter, especially if its oil.

* Timing Belts are vital. If it snaps, your car aint going anywhere. However, depending on the belts condition, you may be able to wait til 90k. (~$400)

* Not sure about the lower control arms bushings. I think it is highly related to performance?

* I recommend you replace the bulbs and airfilter on your own however these items aren't as urgent as the others.

I'd quickly shop around at both Lexus and Toyota dealerships for parts and labor. I wouldn't wait to long to have the leaking problem resolved.

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I agree with Melhadri, anything leaking oil, I would take care of quickly. I believe it's every 90k you replace the timing belt (along with water pump and other stuff), for your generation ES. I would recommend changing the air filter asap because a dirty air filter will reduce your gas mileage. You can buy one for I think $30 or so depending on where you go. Since your rear main seal is leaking, I'd go head and replace your PCV valve because most likely it's dirty or clogged. A clogged pcv valve won't release the pressure in your engine and it will cause the pressure to vent out in your seals and gaskets, which in turn causes oil leaks. Replacing them every 60k is a good rule of thumb. That part is about $10 and you can easily do it yourself in less than ten minutes.

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Bah, my car has been leaking for over 50K miles, it is still fine, just leaky. as long as you stya on top of the oil level. know how much it leaks and at what pace under what conditions and add to it, its not THAT urgent fo a matter if you KEEP UP WITH IT. LOL.

now seriously, if you have the means, fix it.

HOWEVER...it should NOT cost $3350.

LCA Bushings-if they were gone you woudl know it, clunking and squeaking in the front end. these are urgent, perhaps moreso than an oil leak...if you dont fix them your steering rack and pinion and everything connected to it (tires, bearings, ball joints and even your transmission) will wear exponentially faster. so take care of that first: $500-$700 at a independant shop. (DO NOT GO TO A DEALER IF YOU CAN AVOID IT...in your area, their shop rate is WELL in excess fo $120 per hour usually).

The rear main seal should run $800-$900 to replace.

do the Timing belt and water pump now, or wait another 10K miles and have en tear it apart again. Individually, the TB/WP replacement will run between $650-$800 depending on shop. with the other fixes, it may be cheaper.

do the filter and bulbs yourself they take 10 mins each.

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LexuSY, you asked for opinions and you gonna get lots of them.

1. the air filter is a piece of cake. $12 part and will take less than 5 minutes to put it in. I can even talk you through it over the phone.

2. The bulb is easy too, it's just getting to it that is a little pain. Search, as there are several threads and I remember one with pictures.

3. How much oil are you leaking. Better question is how much oil do you have to add between oil changes or ever 5000 miles? You could try a heavier oil, (10w-30) if you are running a 5w-30. Just remember, leaks eventually get bigger.

4. Lastly, your engine is a non-interference engine. If the timing belt breaks while you are driving, the engine just dies and there is very minimal damage if any at all to the internal workings of the engine. You could just go until it breaks. I would not advise this but it does not have to be done today. The flip side to that is imagine where you could be if and when it breaks. You could be in your driveway or 50 miles up a deserted highway at 3 AM. Most dealerships prep you for the TB cause it is usually done around 90k miles. It is a big expence depending on how far you go. Meaning do you replace just the TB or while in there do the water pump, accessory belts, pulleys, cam and crank seals, tensioners, etc. Either way, shop around for this service. Look into Toyota dealerships as well as respected independent shops, prices will vary dramatically. Remember, cheapest is not always best and neither is the most expensive.

steviej

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LexuSY, you asked for opinions and you gonna get lots of them.

1.  the air filter is a piece of cake.  $12 part and will take less than 5 minutes to put it in.  I can even talk you through it over the phone.

2.  The bulb is easy too, it's just getting to it that is a little pain.  Search, as there are several threads and I remember one with pictures.

3.  How much oil are you leaking.  Better question is how much oil do you have to add between oil changes or ever 5000 miles?  You could try a heavier oil, (10w-30) if you are running a 5w-30.  Just remember, leaks eventually get bigger.

4.  Lastly, your engine is a non-interference engine.  If the timing belt breaks while you are driving, the engine just dies and there is very minimal damage if any at all to the internal workings of the engine.  You could just go until it breaks.  I would not advise this but it does not have to be done today.  The flip side to that is imagine where you could be if and when it breaks.  You could be in your driveway or 50 miles up a deserted highway at 3 AM.  Most dealerships prep you for the TB cause it is usually done around 90k miles.  It is a big expence depending on how far you go.  Meaning do you replace just the TB or while in there do the water pump, accessory belts, pulleys, cam and crank seals, tensioners, etc.  Either way, shop around for this service.  Look into Toyota dealerships as well as respected independent shops, prices will vary dramatically.  Remember, cheapest is not always best and neither is the most expensive.

steviej

I agree! B)

:cheers:

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Thanks guys!

I think i'll wait on the TB then since i have 80k miles i guess i can wait til 90k. However, the dealership said that it is a timing belt package and i guess it includes the stuff steviej mentioned, what is the full list of things that are done? No wonder the dealership wanted to charge me 1500 and the independant place said 325 to change the timing belt.

and about my oil leak... i don't see any oil leaking and my oil levels are normal i think. I mean, when i see the gauge in the car (if it is the oil gauge) it was always the same. I don't see a puddle of oil or drops in my parking spot either... it's just what the dealership told me. is there a way i can check myself? he said it was the rear main seal...

oh, and one more thing, i mentioned the lower control arms bushing needs to be replaced cause i was told it was broken. the dealership said 1000 to repair and the independant place said 315 to replace the whole thing since just the bushing cannot be replaced.. why is there such a huge difference in price?

ADthanksVANCE, this has to be the most helpful forum ever!!!

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Prices rely a few factors. From my perspective, competition and location are the main factors. For example, in my area there is only 1 Lexus dealer; charges ~$700 for the 90k mile service. Where my parents live, there are 3 Lexus dealerships; charges ~$415 for the 90k mile service. (Drop by Lexus to pick up a service book--contains all details of 5k mile service intervals) The 90k mile service is well worth the money especially if you plan on keeping the car.

Call different Lexus/Toyota dealerships in your area for quotes. If you plan on visiting a friend in a different city sometime soon, call the local Lexus/Toyota dealer in his/her area for quotes. The $$$ differences are interestingly surprising...

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Thanks guys!

I think i'll wait on the TB then since i have 80k miles i guess i can wait til 90k.  However, the dealership said that it is a timing belt package and i guess it includes the stuff steviej mentioned, what is the full list of things that are done?  No wonder the dealership wanted to charge me 1500 and the independant place said 325 to change the timing belt. 

and about my oil leak... i don't see any oil leaking and my oil levels are normal i think.  I mean, when i see the gauge in the car (if it is the oil gauge) it was always the same.  I don't see a puddle of oil or drops in my parking spot either... it's just what the dealership told me.  is there a way i can check myself?  he said it was the rear main seal...

oh, and one more thing, i mentioned the lower control arms bushing needs to be replaced cause i was told it was broken.  the dealership said 1000 to repair and the independant place said 315 to replace the whole thing since just the bushing cannot be replaced.. why is there such a huge difference in price? 

ADthanksVANCE, this has to be the most helpful forum ever!!!

You have no oil gauge, you have a dipstick on your engine. its a long piece of flat steel with 2 lines on it. one says "F" for full, and one says "E" for empty" on mine it is just 2 lines though.

now, i woudl venture to say if you dont see it on the ground, the dealer is trying to pry $700 from yoru wallet. dont let em do it.

seriously, go somewhere else, because if they told you you have an oil gauge on your dash, they are out to get you. the only thing you might have is an oil pressure gauge. if this is what you are referring to then, it wont move. the engine has to work harder to keep compression if you have a leak.

but you dont have one. a rear main seal doesnt seep. it drips 9x out of 10.

just FYI. :)

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So i replaced my air filter and light bulb!!! Was easier than i thought!!! glad i didn't shell out 35 bucks for the bulb at the dealership when i did it myself for under 5 bucks.

I realized there are some oil spots on my parking space after all... assuming it comes from my car. i guess i'll shell out the 1000 for the oil leak fix and the suspension fix and put the timing belt off till later.

Thanks again for all your help guys!

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So i replaced my air filter and light bulb!!!  Was easier than i thought!!!  glad i didn't shell out 35 bucks for the bulb at the dealership when i did it myself for under 5 bucks.

I realized there are some oil spots on my parking space after all... assuming it comes from my car.  i guess i'll shell out the 1000 for the oil leak fix and the suspension fix and put the timing belt off till later. 

Thanks again for all your help guys!

DO NOT go back to that dealer. get a second opinion from a privatemechanic. alot of times the price will be less, and most fo the time they will be more honest with you.

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Yea, i'm gonna take it to an independant shop, ask them if they can confirm the suspension problem and the oil leak and if it's there, then ask them to fix it.

I do not trust the dealer anymore. I also found out that the air filter replacement is included in the 75k mile service which they didn't do. That's why at my 80k mile service they said it is dirty... when i asked them if it's normal for an air filter to get dirty in 5k miles, they said it depends on driving conditions... wahtever.. i'm sure i could have taken it back and complain, but it is not worth my time and who knows what else they would say...

another thing that annoys me is that on my 80k mile service, they didn't tell me again that my control arms bushings needed replacement which they told me at my 75k service.. Does this mean they didn't check or what?

thanks for the concern ArmyOfOne, i will take your advice for sure.

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Yea, i'm gonna take it to an independant shop, ask them if they can confirm the suspension problem and the oil leak and if it's there, then ask them to fix it. 

I do not trust the dealer anymore.  I also found out that the air filter replacement is included in the 75k mile service which they didn't do.  That's why at my 80k mile service they said it is dirty... when i asked them if it's normal for an air filter to get dirty in 5k miles, they said it depends on driving conditions... wahtever.. i'm sure i could have taken it back and complain, but it is not worth my time and who knows what else they would say...

another thing that annoys me is that on my 80k mile service, they didn't tell me again that my control arms bushings needed replacement which they told me at my 75k service.. Does this mean they didn't check or what? 

thanks for the concern ArmyOfOne, i will take your advice for sure.

no problem, happy to help. its what we do here. :)

one other piece of advice, if the car is going into the shop anyway, have em replace the PCV valve. even if it was just done. it will add like $5.00 to the bill, and its worth the piece of mind.

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Control arm bushing is mostly a cosmetic thing. You could drive 500,000 miles even with cracked bushings.

Rear main seal can wait until the day (if that day ever comes) the leak actually gets bad enough to leak on the ground. That day may not come for several years or several hundred thousand more miles.

Timing belt can wait until 120,000 miles unless you or the former owner have an especially aggressive, boy racer type driving style.

Air filter is a more urgent matter- change it every 10-15,000 miles for optimum engine life and fuel economy.

Your owners manual may have instructions for replacing the rear taillight.

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I just had the driver's side lower control arm replaced on my ES for $245-$170 for the OE part and $75 for labor at an indie shop. The car drives like new and the tires wear properly now! Your ES certainly isn't falling apart; torn bushings and an oil leak is par for the course on an aging Lexus. ;)

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