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92 Ls400 Repair Question


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Help! I just took my car into Bellevue Lexus (WA) where I had some electrical problems taken care of (wiring in trunk had severed wires it turns out that was causing weird things). When they looked over my car to see what other things may have challenges, they came up with a few things that I am getting mixed information on. They have said that my Rear Main has a seal that is ripped or something like that (forgive me if I am not saying this correctly) and oil is leaking onto my Cat Converter and is in prime danger for a fire from what they say. They also mentioned that while the tranny is out it is usually a good idea to replace the EGR Pipe while they are there. They are saying that this is about a $1200 fix that needs to happen since I am on "borrow time." I have talked with other friends talk to me and say that this tends to be there default answer so they can just replace everything and not have to worry. My friend had thoughts that it might not be a bad idea since it could be another fluid or something like that. Important but not necessarily in danger of burning up. Does anyone have any experience with this? Is Lexus just trying to make up a story to get an upsell? If anyone has experience with this that would be great!

In addition, Lexus also talked about needing some other non critical things, Dipstick O-Ring, Oil Pan Reseal, Tranny Mount, Upper Control Arm, Rear Brakes and Rear CV Boot. He mentioned that these aren't absolutely necessary, but would be good. I am trying to get a gauge what is critical and what can wait; what should be done at the dealership and what can be done from another mechanic (anyone have a good one in the Seattle area?). Right now they are giving an estimate of about $2700 to get this all done.

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man if you are needing all of those repairs done.......plan on coming up with some dough.....unfortunately, thats gonna cost an arm and a leg to have all those issues fixed in one setting,

start with the majo issures first ie.....rear main seal leak, that alone is gonna cost some serious dough........

then go from there in order of importance, and or safety.

sorry man, but good luck

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Oh man, half of that is legit and the other half sounds like scare tactic. First off, rear main seals are a big deal and do need to be taken care of. Oil dripping on your cat (or catalytic converter - part of your exhaust) causing a fire? Buy a lottery ticket, 'cause it's about that likely. The rear main seal is a seal at the back end of your crankshaft in your engine. It's between your crank and your driveplate, which then connects to your transmission.

The procedure is expensive because of the labor involved - they have to remove your transmission to get to it. The part is about $25 - but there's 6.6 hrs of labor recommended by the manual. The rear main seal is, unfortunately, a really important seal to be maintained, and therefore is probably something you'll want to have repaired sooner than later. If the seal goes completely, damage to the engine internals isn't far off.

Replacing the EGR pipe isn't worth it. Forget it unless you're having problems. You'll probably get a check engine light if there's an issue.

Dipstick O-ring you can do yourself. Seriously, even if you don't know what a dipstick is.

Oil pan reseal you might think about because it's relatively inexpensive - about 2-3 hours of labor and a nominally expensive gasket. However, this is the farthest thing from a safety issue. Well, maybe second farthest compared to the dipstick o-ring.

Upper control arms are touchy. They're a safety issue, but you shouldn't go replacing them "just because" - they're a $400 dollar part and probably about 2 hours of labor, plus you really should get an alignment afterwards. Do you hear clunking when you hit bumps in the road? How about when going slowly? Does your steering feel looser than it used to?

Rear brakes are rear brakes - the pads are probably worn and the rotors will probably need to be turned, which means grinding the braking surface down so it is level again. Rear brake calipers may or may not need to be rebuilt (or replaced with rebuilt calipers) - calipers are the squeeze in your brake system, your pads make contact with the rotors. Are your brakes squeaking at all?

CV boots are good to replace if they're torn, but you have to be careful that the CV axle (over which the boot or boots fit) isn't on it's way out as well. Just replacing a boot, which protects the joint from road grime, etc., won't help if the joint is already worn. It's not an expensive procedure, on par with replacing an oil pan seal (or gasket, as most people call them).

Does this help you get an idea of what they're talking about?

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Thanks for the info! I wasn't sure about all of the stuff and your responses are helpful!

Main seal looks like something I will be doing soon and it sounds like something very quickly. Is the EGR pipe a major component? I have no idea what it does. What would prompt me to change something like that?

Dipstick O-ring is something that I can do? Great! Is there a place where I can find the DIY?

Oil pan gasket. Is this something that a shop should do then? I don't know how involved this is.

Upper control arms. I can hear noises when I take a very sharp turn and when I go over large bumps. I kind of hear a thump when it is over large things. The small ones are a no to that. The steering feels about the same, though I have always felt that my alignment is just a touch off to the right from what I should be steering from (based on my steering wheel).

Rear brakes. Yep, I know that I need them done!

CV Joint. Is there a way to tell if just the boot needs to be replaced or the whole axle? I realize that most of time, mechanics will prob want to sell me the whole job.

Thanks for your input! Does anyone have a Lexus mechanic in the Seattle area that you recommend also?

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Which dipstick did they say needed the o-ring replacement? I'll see if I can't find a good picture to explain. What model and year is your car?

The EGR pipe carries exhaust gasses from your exhaust system to the EGR valve. EGR stands for "exhaust gas recirculation" - the system is designed to reintroduce exhaust gasses to your intake. The reintroduction of emission gasses at high RPMs into your intake actually helps reduce the level of harmful pollutants from what it would have been.

Frankly, I've never heard of an EGR pipe causing a problem. Ever. EGR Valves, sure, but those aren't down by the tranny.

The oil pan gasket you -can- do yourself, but it depends on what tools you have and how mechanically inclined you are. Essentially, the oil pan is held on by a group of bolts along the lip of the pan. That lip also has a gasket between it and the engine block. First, drain the oil from your car as you would if you were changing the oil. Then you unbolt the pan, seperate it from the engine block gently (the gasket will likely have a sealant of some kind that will hold the pan), clean the edges of the pan, apply new sealant and a new gasket, rebolt. You should probably clean the pan and look for things like metal shavings as well (metal shavings are a bad sign - potentially a turned bearing.)

CV axles are tricky. There's no way I know of to tell if the CV axle is ok before putting a new boot on. Especially a rear CV axle. Front CV axle are stressed more because they're required to extend to turn (found on front wheel drive and 4 wheel / all wheel drive cars). BTW, CV stands for "constant velocity" and is called so because it allows your wheels to turn at a constant velocity relative to the differential no matter what their position.

Try the boot first if it's not too expensive. Anyone else have a good way of figuring out what kind of condition a CV axle is in?

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I have a 92 LS 400. They didn't say what dipstick O-ring needed to be changed. They just noted that it was something minor that should be done at some point in time. There is more then one.... ?

Great to know about the EGR Pipe. Does the valve ever go out? Could this be something that he was talking about that should come out and if so, is this an expensive fix?

Oil pan gasket. Is this something that I could just pay extra for for a garage who would change my oil anyway? I am due for an oil change and if this is something that just makes my life easier and cleaner for my garage floor....

I'll see what happens with the just changing the boot and hopefully things will be OK after that. Is there any sort of improvement that will happen that I will notice after the boot is on?

Thanks for your insight! This is VERY helpful! Are you a mechanic by trade?

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Were I you I would stay the hell away from Lexus of Bellevue, good sales staff, excellent parts department, but service is PURE ripoff.

I have 5 LS400s, 3 92s, a 95, and a 98, within my company, close friends, and family.

Had ONE RMS inexplicable failure immediately, discovered the day after, on its return from Lexus of Bellevue. Don't want to implicate Lexus of Bellevue but I later learned that overfilling the crankcase and then running the car that way for awhile will result in a blown RMS.

As pure happenstance I stopped having them service my own new 92 because a "gofer" added the Mobil 1 I provided without first draining the old oil. Luckily I have always done a followup check and discovered the overfill the next morning.

The 95's EGR tube did fail and I was quoted $1200 for repair but I simply removed the part still attached to the exhaust and sealed it by bending it over tightly. Still passes emissions with flying colors.

And we really can't, shouldn't, blame Lexus of Bellevue, or any Lexus dealer, for these tactics. All Lexus cars are extremely reliable and therefore absent scheduled maintenance work (accelerated whenever you can be conned into it)and misc. unneeded addons, the service depart wouldn't have enough work to keep the staff on board that they would need when REAL work comes their way.

Needless to say other than the above oil and filter at 7500 miles is all the "feeding" my LSes get.

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Were I you I would stay the hell away from Lexus of Bellevue, good sales staff, excellent parts department, but service is PURE ripoff.

I have 5 LS400s, 3 92s, a 95, and a 98, within my company, close friends, and family.

Had ONE RMS inexplicable failure immediately, discovered the day after, on its return from Lexus of Bellevue. Don't want to implicate Lexus of Bellevue but I later learned that overfilling the crankcase and then running the car that way for awhile will result in a blown RMS.

As pure happenstance I stopped having them service my own new 92 because a "gofer" added the Mobil 1 I provided without first draining the old oil. Luckily I have always done a followup check and discovered the overfill the next morning.

The 95's EGR tube did fail and I was quoted $1200 for repair but I simply removed the part still attached to the exhaust and sealed it by bending it over tightly. Still passes emissions with flying colors.

And we really can't, shouldn't, blame Lexus of Bellevue, or any Lexus dealer, for these tactics. All Lexus cars are extremely reliable and therefore absent scheduled maintenance work (accelerated whenever you can be conned into it)and misc. unneeded addons, the service depart wouldn't have enough work to keep the staff on board that they would need when REAL work comes their way.

Needless to say other than the above oil and filter at 7500 miles is all the "feeding" my LSes get.

Where do you typically get your work done then? I know that I need to get the RMS done. Are there other mechanics locally around here that you trust? Is this something that any mechanic can do or are there many special Lexus tools and such that are necessary?

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First off, sorry - I didn't even think to review the title of your thread.

Wow - I'll have to take back what I said about the EGR pipe, then. I had never heard of one having a problem prior to this.

Your EGR valve may go bad at some point, but it's easier to replace than the EGR pipe. I've owned a couple of cars (2 used, 1 new) that haven't needed any EGR system work at all.

There are two dipsticks in your 92 LS400 (I believe) - one for the transmission fluid and one for the oil. I'm fairly sure that your dipstick for the oil is what they're talking about, but not absolutely.

In regards to the CV boot, you probably won't notice any improvement or change - it's basically just a protective cover. If they pack it really well with grease, you might notice the absence of a very slight sound or vibration coming from the rear that you may not have really paid all that much attention to before. Little things might happen - but it's better if you don't notice any difference at all!

The oil pan gasket is a tricky one sometimes. Bad installation of a gasket can cause oil leaks around the seal, which is moreso frustrating than dangerous. I would have a garage replace the gasket provided that they're not a Grease Monkey or Quick Lube type of place (though I'm not even sure they would do something like that). Have them take a quick look and see if they think it needs replacing.

And wwest has a good point - It's so rare that the service departments see a Lexus for any real problems that they're probably dying for the work. I know the two dealerships in town both have beautiful, spotlesss, endless bays that are completely absent of any cars whenever I stop in. I almost feel bad for the techs there.

Finally, no, I'm not a mechanic by trade - though at one point in time my dad owned a shop. I'm just a financial analyst. Cars are kind of a fun hobby, though, so I like to really dig into it. Thanks for the compliment, though!

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Not a problem! You had some great insights so I just figured you had to be in the automotive industry!

Is the EGR valve something that has to have the tranny taken off to replace? I know that wwest was able to bend that section and that stopped the problem also.

It was the oil dipstick.

I'll check around other shops around here to see what a RMS would cost. Can I assume that a competent Toyota mechanic would have enough experience how to change a RMS or are the Toyota and Lexus RMSes that different?

First off, sorry - I didn't even think to review the title of your thread.

Wow - I'll have to take back what I said about the EGR pipe, then.  I had never heard of one having a problem prior to this.

Your EGR valve may go bad at some point, but it's easier to replace than the EGR pipe.  I've owned a couple of cars (2 used, 1 new) that haven't needed any EGR system work at all.

There are two dipsticks in your 92 LS400 (I believe) - one for the transmission fluid and one for the oil.  I'm fairly sure that your dipstick for the oil is what they're talking about, but not absolutely. 

In regards to the CV boot, you probably won't notice any improvement or change - it's basically just a protective cover.  If they pack it really well with grease, you might notice the absence of a very slight sound or vibration coming from the rear that you may not have really paid all that much attention to before.  Little things might happen - but it's better if you don't notice any difference at all!

The oil pan gasket is a tricky one sometimes.  Bad installation of a gasket can cause oil leaks around the seal, which is moreso frustrating than dangerous.  I would have a garage replace the gasket provided that they're not a Grease Monkey or Quick Lube type of place (though I'm not even sure they would do something like that).  Have them take a quick look and see if they think it needs replacing.

And wwest has a good point - It's so rare that the service departments see a Lexus for any real problems that they're probably dying for the work.  I know the two dealerships in town both have beautiful, spotlesss, endless bays that are completely absent of any cars whenever I stop in.  I almost feel bad for the techs there.

Finally, no, I'm not a mechanic by trade - though at one point in time my dad owned a shop.  I'm just a financial analyst.  Cars are kind of a fun hobby, though, so I like to really dig into it.  Thanks for the compliment, though!

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Not a problem!  You had some great insights so I just figured you had to be in the automotive industry!

Is the EGR valve something that has to have the tranny taken off to replace?  I know that wwest was able to bend that section and that stopped the problem also. 

It was the oil dipstick.

I'll check around other shops around here to see what a RMS would cost.  Can I assume that a competent Toyota mechanic would have enough experience how to change a RMS or are the Toyota and Lexus RMSes that different? 

First off, sorry - I didn't even think to review the title of your thread.

Wow - I'll have to take back what I said about the EGR pipe, then.  I had never heard of one having a problem prior to this.

Your EGR valve may go bad at some point, but it's easier to replace than the EGR pipe.  I've owned a couple of cars (2 used, 1 new) that haven't needed any EGR system work at all.

There are two dipsticks in your 92 LS400 (I believe) - one for the transmission fluid and one for the oil.  I'm fairly sure that your dipstick for the oil is what they're talking about, but not absolutely. 

In regards to the CV boot, you probably won't notice any improvement or change - it's basically just a protective cover.  If they pack it really well with grease, you might notice the absence of a very slight sound or vibration coming from the rear that you may not have really paid all that much attention to before.  Little things might happen - but it's better if you don't notice any difference at all!

The oil pan gasket is a tricky one sometimes.  Bad installation of a gasket can cause oil leaks around the seal, which is moreso frustrating than dangerous.  I would have a garage replace the gasket provided that they're not a Grease Monkey or Quick Lube type of place (though I'm not even sure they would do something like that).  Have them take a quick look and see if they think it needs replacing.

And wwest has a good point - It's so rare that the service departments see a Lexus for any real problems that they're probably dying for the work.  I know the two dealerships in town both have beautiful, spotlesss, endless bays that are completely absent of any cars whenever I stop in.  I almost feel bad for the techs there.

Finally, no, I'm not a mechanic by trade - though at one point in time my dad owned a shop.  I'm just a financial analyst.  Cars are kind of a fun hobby, though, so I like to really dig into it.  Thanks for the compliment, though!

a competent mechanic can do the RMS on a LS400 in under 7 hours, toyota or not. the EGR valve is under the hood, but not under the car, i believe its near the firewall on your model.

and hes just a financial anaylist...

*Silently wishing i made as much as Econ*

LOL.

the EGR valve activates allowing exhaust gas to be reused in the comjbustion process. unfortunately the only place they can put the EGR valve is BEFORE the throttle body, which means the throttle plate gets gunked up QUICKLY. i mean REALLY quickly. a cleaning every 10K is reccomended, and a complete UIM (Upper Intake Manifold) cleaning is reccomended every 50K miles.

as for the rear main seal, it can wait a little bit, if indeed it is leaking. look under your car, does the ground have oil spots on it? does yoru catalytic converter look burnt? if not then there is no leak.

the oil pan gasket can be tricky. if you dont knwo the exact torque specs and you overtighten it you could be back under there doing it again at your next oil change. btu if you use a torque wrench, (something NO home garage should be without) and know the specs, you should be fine.

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I would definitely change the cracked EGR pipe while changing the rear seal. I find that it is near impossible to change the EGR on some LS model without dropping the trans or tearing down significant part of upper engine components. Change the pipe while the mechanic is in there but bargain to pay no more than 15min of additional labor cost to change the pipe.

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Shadow makes a good point - and one I missed before. If there is any problem with the EGR pipe or you're worried about it, it's probably a good idea to get the pipe (or tube, as Lexus seems to call it) replaced while the trans is out. Lumping things together can save you money in the end.

However, that said, I would also get a second opinion before any repairs. The EGR tube should add about $150-200 to the total repair cost (as the labor isn't all that great once the transmission has been dropped), maybe $300. If the pipe is in fine condition (and I didn't remember you making any comments about there being a problem), however, you're going to be spending that entire amount for peace of mind.

And thanks, ArmyofOne, but I swear I'm not rolling in it - just getting started out. Besides, my fiancee is in law school and man, I can't believe how expensive that stuff is! BTW - what is that monster in your avatar?

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The oil pan had a very slight leak on my LS400- just enough to get the pan looking greasy (SEE PHOTO). Even when it was like this- my cars oil level NEVER dropped below the "full" mark on the dipstick at the end of the 3000 mile oil interval.

Unless it is causing drips, I would not worry about the oil pan gasket right now.

post-4085-1109913021_thumb.jpg

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Here it is after I attempted to clean it a little.

The oil pan had a very slight leak on my LS400- just enough to get the pan looking greasy (SEE PHOTO).  Even when it was like this- my cars oil level NEVER dropped below the "full" mark on the dipstick at the end of the 3000 mile oil interval. 

Unless it is causing drips, I would not worry about the oil pan gasket right now.

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Here it is after I attempted to clean it a little.

The oil pan had a very slight leak on my LS400- just enough to get the pan looking greasy (SEE PHOTO).  Even when it was like this- my cars oil level NEVER dropped below the "full" mark on the dipstick at the end of the 3000 mile oil interval. 

Unless it is causing drips, I would not worry about the oil pan gasket right now.

post-4085-1109913177.jpg

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Here it is after I attempted to clean it a little.

The oil pan had a very slight leak on my LS400- just enough to get the pan looking greasy (SEE PHOTO).  Even when it was like this- my cars oil level NEVER dropped below the "full" mark on the dipstick at the end of the 3000 mile oil interval. 

Unless it is causing drips, I would not worry about the oil pan gasket right now.

post-4085-1109913280.jpg

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Sorry for the multiple above posts- when posting it appeared they were not going through. Obviously they were and it will not let me delete. :rolleyes:

The oil pan had a very slight leak on my LS400- just enough to get the pan looking greasy (SEE PHOTO).  Even when it was like this- my cars oil level NEVER dropped below the "full" mark on the dipstick at the end of the 3000 mile oil interval. 

Unless it is causing drips, I would not worry about the oil pan gasket right now.

post-4085-1109913352.jpg

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Hmm... Well I do have some oil leaks from the front area is what it looks like, but I'm not sure if it is the seal problem or the oil pan prob. I'm not sure what the diff fluids are or what they should feel like. I hear that you can tell by looking at the color and feel of the fluid. Would that give me insight to the other challenges that I have?

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Oil leaks from the front area would not be related to your rear main seal, so you can eliminate that. Different fluids that might be running down in that area are generally limited to oil and radiator fluid, though you might see a leak in an automatic transmission fluid cooling line as well (on/near your radiator).

Radiator fluid (which I should call coolant instead) is ever so slightly greasy. It's color may change based on what contaminants it's come into on it's way to the bottom of your engine, but it's most likely green or orangey/red. Of course, if your mixture is off, it may be more watery or more greasy-ish.

Oil is usually a dark, dark black color. Very greasy. Usually not in a liquid form, either. If it is dripping oil in liquid form, definitely time to replace gaskets.

In regards to insight about what else you might be needing to deal with, you should probably go through the scheduled maintenance in the manual. It'll give you some good ideas as to what you should check and what you can disregard because you've already taken care of it.

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