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Play In Universal Joint


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I'm on the verge of buying a 2002 IS300 and took it for a test drive a

couple of days ago. I noticed a muffled thunk or click when I started

from a dead stop ( at a traffic light or stop sign or whenever I

started the car from a standstill) after putting the car into 1st gear. I'm not

sure if I heard it between the higher gears.

The current owner never noticed it. I took the car in for a pre-

purchase inspection at the same auto shop that has been looking after

the car for the past 2/3 years. When I pointed it out to the mechanic

on a test drive he noticed it and first explained it as having to do

with the fact that it is a rear-wheel drive and the long travel of the

drive shaft causes this etc.

When I persisted with my questions about whether this was normal, he

kept saying that it didn't bother him and that it is expected. He

didn't seem to have ever noticed this problem on any car before. I was

surprised as he has worked on Lexus and Toyotas for 18 years and when

I mentioned this, he said that it didn't register in his mind as a

problem and so he never really noticed it.

When he put the car up on the lift, stood under it and gently rocked the

rear wheels back and forth we could see the long metal axle (?) or rod that

connects to the parts before they go on to the rear wheel had some

play and made a slight clicking noise.

From looking around on different Lexus forums and on here, I understand that

this could be due to the play in the universal joint.

I asked him if he could expect

this in a brand new IS300 and he didn't seem sure.

I am more than a little concerned as this the first car that I am

going to spend over $15000. (the asking price is $16300); concerned

enough to consider getting a second opinion if the current owner will

allow it.

Have any of you noticed or are aware of this problem or even if it is

a problem at all?

It just seems to me that a car of the quality of a Lexus should not have

click and pops like this.

I'd really appreciate any input. Thanks in advance!

The car: 2002 IS300

5 speed manual transmission

70K miles

Otherwise excellent overall condition

Current owner seems to have maintained it very well

Sorry for the length of this post. I posted this same message in a reply to an old thread and I apologize if that is against the forum policy.

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