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Second Test Drive


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Wow I loved the little differences with the 95 LS. I am so happy I took the opportunity to take one for a test drive. Now I am sure that I want the third series or a 97-98 LS400. The car was amazingly quiet.

My only concern was the fact that the front end did not feel 100% sound. A little bit of noise and a little bit of movement, but then I looked at the bald tires. I think that justified the issues, but I suspect this car would require an alignment

The interior dash was much nicer then the 94. The minor changes with the headlights, taillights, 10hp and interior were also nice. From what I see the differences between 95 and 97 are minorm, but the cost is about 5k.

Over all the car impressed me and now I know what I think I want.

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In my personal opinion, the early generations (1990-2000) LS400's were the BEST cars EVER made!! I think they will last longer than even my 05 LS430. I just get that feeing when i drive them. They were just built so well. you can't go wrong with an LS. The 1995 is cosmetically nicer than the earlier years though. And the 1997 was even nicer.

I think they became a little too "boaty' in 01.

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Make sure you get the front end looked at. You may have some wear in the suspension. Remember the car is 10 years old so I'm sure the bushings and maybe even the tie rods need replacing. Check around for a good suspension place to look at and do the work. I would stay away from the dealer doing it. They are going to bend you over big time on those parts and then the labor comes in sideways after that. :)

I love my 1997 LS. I agree with the above post the new generation just doesn't feel as sound as the old generations. I've been told by few mechanics now that the new generation is having a few quirks that keep coming up. The brakes have been a big issue in the reguards of wearing quickly.

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I would personally get a 98-00. Those I think had the best look. The 95-97 had pretty much the same rear and side stylin but the 98 on had the better front end. I love our 96 but I am not a big fan of the front end.



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Ed, being a new member, and I assume new to lexus, let a 95 owner tell you what to expect.....Put $2,500 - $3,000 to the side for new parts. You'll need them, trust me. If it feels loose and noisy, the control arm bushings are shot, and probably most parts in conjunction to them. Also, do the "off throttle shock" test. Drive at 40mph and gently take your foot off the gas. Does the car "buckle" at all? If so, the car's main computer has the dreaded flaw and will need to be replaced / repaired. Mine did, as do some of the 95/96 owners. They're awsome cars, no doubt about it, but like said before, it's a decade old and is going to require new parts. Just depends on the previous owner. Mine has 100k on them, and my signature will tell you the parts I've had to replace. But, I must admit, it's been a true labor of LOVE. I look at it like this, for way less than a Kia, I've got a like new super sedan that will last another 10 years / 100k easily!

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You are right about the cost less then a kia. I did not test the 40 MPH test, but I believe something was wrong with the front end. After all the front tires were bald and I believe I heard a click on a low speed turn..

So if the 95 LS400 car is 10k and I need a few k in repairs I might as well look for a nice 98. After all they have awesome rims!

Should one always get a Lexus checked out by the dealer before you buy??

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YES!!! If it's not for sale by a Lexus dealer, then take to them to run the vin number for service records. I agree on the 98, nicer interior modifications too "wood". But, same suspension woes. Most people who sell these cars are usually motivated by 3 things, in this order.

1) Needed repairs cost too much

2) Which usually leads to buying a newer one

3) But need to sell it for financial reasons.

Any LS in the 75k+ mileage range is going to need some suspension work done. Just the nature of the beasts. It's the main flaw of the cars "or asset, depending how you look at it." With our help here on this site, you can fix it for around the same prices as most american cars. Go the dealer route, and you'll be broke inside of 30 days.

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Seems like the 93-94 front end lasts longer then the 95-98?

I started out looking for a maintained 93-94 (timing belt, ball joints and lighting)... Then I went looking for a nice 95 (80k miles) $4k more base cost + timing belt and probably front end work. I love the dash and added features of the 95, but both need new rims.

Maybe I should get a maintained 93/94 add rims and pray for no problems. If I have any I can usitlize website to repair my car.

Would you rather have a repaired 93/94 with 140k ($6k) or a 95/96 with 90k (10k) that will need repairs?

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We own a 2000 LS400, but the 95-97 is my favorite style - I love the clean front end look. We drove our first LS400, purchased new in 1990, to 183K with few suspension issues. The control arm bushings were replaced once under warranty (the originals were of a defective design) and the front ball joints (can't remember if upper or lower) were replaced. I do not remember that the ball joint replacement was very expensive. The current owner of our 90 LS is at well over 200K and is still on the original shocks and springs.

The main reason some of us buy new(er) cars is simply to get newer technology. I would have driven our 90 LS for many years longer if it had HID. (The 95-up LS has really great headlights compared to the early LS.) We also found that we really like the substantially larger interior of the 95-up LS400's and especially all the gadgets (VSC!!!) that came on our 00 LS. Our 90 did not have a dual temp control and a fully adjustable passenger seat - probably the most noticable issues.

Except for the water pump failing around 80K (and taking the timing belt with it) the 90 LS had almost no non-warranty repairs (only regular maintenance) until it got to about 125K miles.

But like nc211 said, these can be expensive cars to maintain and you need to have available funds for repairs. If dropping $500 - $1,000 for a maintenance or an occasional $1 - $2K for the very rare repair is not acceptable, then you might want to consider something besides an LS.

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It's really a personal opinion on which one you want, both will require repairs. It's a decision of "which one do I like the best and want the longest?" I agree with 1990LS400 on the styling cues of the 95-97, I think they're timeless and still to this date, look sharper than most new cars today. A classical design. I get lots of looks from people, and a few gas station offers to buy it from me. Mileage isn't really a concern too much on your two situations. Know this though, timing belts, water pumps, ect... are to be changed every 90k. So if you can negotiate that into your purchase price of the 95, you're good to go for another 90. If you buy the 94 "assuming timing belt changed at 90k", you'll have to do it again at 180k, that's not too far off into the distance if you're a normal mileage guy "12-15k a year". Either way, if you buy an older LS400, you're in for repairs. Not to say they're mechanical nightmares, they're not, but they are older cars. The repairs they need are normal operating wear and tear repairs, not design flaw repairs "like some other cars in it's category". My personal opinion, if you can negotiate the 90k service bill into the 95 offer, I would get that one. If you can't, and funds are tight for repairs, then "not to be mean" but this isn't the right car for you at the moment. For the same price, I would look at an Infiniti I30 series. Essentially a smoothed out luxury Maxima that has taken a massive depreciation hit "good for used car buyers".

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You are 100% right.. Either car will need a few thousand in repairs within a year or two..

Does anyone know about how much it costs for the average front end repairs? I mean LEXUS dealership vs. the standard garage?

Thanks for the good analysis.. For the most part I see the 95 would need tires, nice new rims, winter tires, timing belt, front end work and taxes/registration.. Or about $3000 bucks.. After that its a new car!

Cheers to LEXUS

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Better believe what these post say. Owning a Lexus takes a lot of reserve $. Not a bash , but just the way it is.

From what I have heard Euro cars take even more $. Try a Merc or Porsche, gulp, major money here.

We have had a Lexus 400 for 10 years now. You name it and It's been fixed at Doctor prices. Only 78K, one owner miles too. My wife loves it . I don't.

On your car the front suspension is shot. Needs struts, bushings and shocks. Count on $1100 +. Next the timing belt at $1200. Then the starter at $800 +. Next the alternator at $600 +. etc. including the seat heaters.

I think the low volume luxury cars don't have the engineering hours in them the high volume cars have. The dealer has to make money and with low volume cars failures are a + to the agency.

We owned a Camry wagon, 100K +, zero repairs. The phone rang off the hook when we sold it. I now have a Highlander, 50K miles. Not one repair every. My son's Highlander burnt out the heater control. $800. I had him call Toyota. They cut him some slack at $400. Very good attitude.

Right now our 1995 Lexus 400 sits dead in the garage with a bad starter. I have to get it flat towed about 60 miles to the dealer. Over a $1000 repair.

We were going to get a new Lexus last fall but found out generation 3 is next year so decided to wait.

Just for fun I called the Lexus hot line 800 255 3987 to see if I could get a break on the $ since it's a very low millage car dispite being 10 years old. Talk about hostility, I haven't got a response from a mfg, like that since I talked to Ford 20 years ago. I think they just lost a customer for ever! Ford sure did.

Nice line of luxury cars, but you will pay and pay for the privilege.

Of course the above is just my opinion. I'm sure some people have had a perfect car.

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Any car you take to the dealer at first sign of trouble will cost you 3x what it would cost to have it done somewhere else. I'm looking at a 1995 oem LS400 starter on newlexusparts.com right now for only $231. Figure at shop rate of $65 per hour, two hour job, you're at $375 +/-, not $800.

akewlguy, get to know this site very well, and you'll be fine. We know where the hook ups are and most of us have done most of our repairs on our own. That is how I learned it, and saved myself countless hundreds of dollars. You can take 2 approaches to the front end problems. You can diagnose which specific part and replace as you go. Or you can realize that they'll all need replacing soon anyway and do the whole thing at once, and on your own might I add. I don't know if you're a DYI type or not, but with a 24 inch breaker bar, a 150lb torque wrench, some sockets "deep set at 14mm and up", a floor jack and some jack stands you can fix anything you want to. My approach is to hit it all at once, suck up the costs, and get to enjoying your sweet ride which is like new, for WAY under the normal sticker price these days of most cars of $20k. The parts you'll probably need are:

Front upper control arms (2) @ $269 ea.

Front lower control arms (2) @ $190 ea.

Front Strut Rods (2) @ $89 ea.

Front struts/shocks (2) @ $48 ea.

Front lower ball joints (2) @ $70 ea.

Front outer tie rods (2) @ $42 ea.

I recommend:

rear struts/shocks (2) @ $47 ea.

Motor Mounts (2) @ $89 ea.

Tranny Mount (1) @ $31 ea.

Rear Carrier Bushing fix kit @ $45. "might want mechanic to do this one, requires press".

There is $1,719 in parts alone "excluding rear carrier". Now say you find a good indi mechanic at $65 an hour, expect about 12 hours of work for them to do it all. Or, spend another $150 in tools, rent a pitman arm puller from autozone and do the front suspension yourself, plus the tranny mount "takes 10 minutes" and have that same mechanic do the motor mounts at 2 hours, and you're in a new riding LS400 for $2,000 in upgrades. THAT IS TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE 90K SERVICE IS PART OF PURCHASE PRICE. If not, you better tack on another $800-$1000. Now, there will be rear suspension issues to come down the line later on, expect another grand in parts. But if you tell yourself "I'm going to have a Lexus LS400 for less than $16,000, which I know will last for another 100k miles in pure comfort" then really it's just a matter of patients with repairs. You tell me what you can find out in the market place that is even close to a LS400 for that price that won't wack you every single month for parts due to poor design flaws? You don't buy a car like this to make money when you sell it. You buy a car like this to enjoy it! You'll be flipped over, no doubt. But you'll be the happiest SOB you ever saw who owed more than it's blue book value!!

parts site used to quote is....http://www.discounttoyotaparts.com/

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For sure I am getting a LEXUS.. Secondly I know that maintaining almost any car costs money.. If one uses the car dealer for repairs you might as well double the cost.

The reason I purchased the Lexus Gold membership is because of the wonderful advice provided on this web site.

I may not be the best monkey wrench in the world , but I have friends who are and they charge 30% of what the dealer charges.

In my eyes this LS 91-97 makes me turn every time I see one. I love the look of the car. Also I love the interior of the 95-00 and the rims of the 98. Throw in a tan or black outside with a cream or tan inside and I am in love!! Not to mention the fact my wife and I will look like .com millionares..

Few points in my life have I been this excited with anticipation for a purchase. Now I just need to find my car and make the minor repairs for less then 15k. Personally I think this IV and V generation LEXUS is much more reliable and nicer then 99% of all cars made after it. Including the new bubble looking LEXUS's.

Thanks for the informaiton and I am drooling for my new LEXUS!

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Not to mention the fact my wife and I will look like .com millionares..

When you get a Lexus you'll notice a change in the way other drivers treat you. Like you'll notice other drivers will give you the right of way much more often. Or if 2 or more cars come to an intersection at the same time, other drivers will wait for the Lexus to pull out first. Or if you are going a little slower than the average flow of traffic on the freeway, no one will honk at you to speed up. Or if you are searching for a parking spot in a big lot, other drivers will be more likely to let you have the first opening.

I also own a few antique Toyotas one of which looks like a ghetto car. When I drive the ghetto Toyota other drivers treat me like a second class citizen, cutting me off, honking, never giving me the right of way, expecting me to let them have the first parking spot opening, etc.

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Well, sounds like you're ready. Welcome to the club! You'll love the car. One of the things I enjoy the most about it, is this web site and the knowledge of understanding what this clunk means, that rattle or vibration. I'll always have one of these cars now, no doubt about it. I've learned soooo much about them from the guys on this site, I feel it's the only car for me. You'll get ticked every now and then with it. You'll spend money on one thing, only to find it was something else. But, knowing that each dollar you put into the LS400 comes back to you 10X everytime you put the key in the ignition, and the steering wheel moves down into your hands. You'll also love the fact that you've got a V8 that gets the same MPG as a V6 "for the most part". Good thing about these older cars, every new part makes it that much better! I've had mine for over a year now, and I'm still amazed every single time I drive it! That's really something, especially being 10 years old w/ 100k miles! Nicest car I've ever driven. Even more so than my dad's "perfect" Italian imported 87' MB 500 SEL with 37k original miles.

I would suggest after you've droooled, waxed, buffed and fallen a sleep in it at night due to new car love, get a bottle of "eagle one wax as you dry" spray. Mine is black, and I find when I wash the car and spray that stuff on it when wet, then dry, it really helps keep the shine! My personal opinion, I like the 95/96 wheels the best, looks like a big ole' benz. But, that's just my own opinion. I love the 98+ headlights! They're like cat eyes staring at you!

Warning: Your wife will grow tired of your obsession with the car....truuuust me! ;)

My next car: A 10 year old LS430!!!!

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Contacted seller and he stated he put about 2k in car and then sold for 2k more.. So 1995 with 83k for 11,500. I think this is about right..

Well on to look for what I want a black, tan or silver 97/98 with all the goods. Cheers to LEXUS

Each day my step father says you should look at other cars and I am like I HAVE!! I know LEXUS at 100k with new timing and front end is just about better then anything else at 0 miles.

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Garaged 93 with 90k miles for 8k.. Tomorrow test drive 3.

I like the extras on the 95 but I guess anything is better then my 91 Ford Taurus and 95 Ford Contour... :) Tint and rims she will look awesome!

What ya think of the price?

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