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divyaharave

Used Lexus Sc400, 1992

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:o Hi, I am planning to buy a 1992 Lexus SC400 with 98000 miles on it. I am going to see the car this weekend. I would like to know some stuff I must be careful about. Does a CARFAX Report help? because this vehicle does not have a VIN number. I am going to get it for about 7000. I think that is a good deal but I would like some expert advise before I proceed. Thanks

Divya

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Every car has a vin number. Just check to make sure it was properly maintained. Ask for the owner's manual and flip to page 151 and ask to find evidence that all of those maintenance operations were done.

I think one important one is the valve clearance. If you listen to the engine while the hood is up, if you hear a constant ticking noise (~ 5 ticks /second), that means the valve is loose. I looked in the Factory repair manual (sc300 = different engine) and it doesn't look too hard but it looks like it will take a couple of hours. Since labor at Lexus is a lot, I'd say if the valve clearance is loose, it would cost maybe around $800 then you should be able to knock off another $500 off that 7000 and make the deal at around 6500.

Basically look for any errors on the car and put it to your advantage. Even though Lexus is good car factors that make car look bad: if the oil is low or dirty, coolant brown, brake fluid and power steering fluid too low. Just use it to bring the price down, but not so low that the seller would question why you even want to buy the car.

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Carfax helps a little. In my opinion, it gives me reassurance that I'm getting at least a legitamate car. The feature I love about carfax is its ability to tell you how many previouse owners there were. If the 92 sc400 has more than 4 owners, something is wrong. 1 or 2 owners is good.

To find the VIN (vehicle idenification number) it is somewhere between the dashboard and the windshield on the driver's side. It is 17 characters long. Another in somewhere where the engine is. Pop open the hood and I think it is etched somewhere on the hood or some part of the frame. There's another one but I forgot where it is; it might be in the glove box or if you open the driver's door, look on the side and there will be this sticker.

Good luck

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I'd be wary if the VIN number on the dashboard on the driver's side is ripped off.

The only reason someone would do that is if the car is stolen.

Make sure you get a valid, recent pink slip and that the car is not salvaged due to theft recovery or the like.

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I'd be wary if the VIN number on the dashboard on the driver's side is ripped off.

The only reason someone would do that is if the car is stolen.

Make sure you get a valid, recent pink slip and that the car is not salvaged due to theft recovery or the like.

Hi Bubbles and SPORTcoupe300, wow that is some name to call someone!!

Thanks for all the great advice, I am going to be there Saturday to check on the car so I am gathering all possible information about what to look out for. These replies have certainly helped a lot. The VIN number on the car, I will look for, the number was not listed in the posted ad for the vehicle. I am sure it will be there on the car. My problem is that this is going to be the first car I am going to look at under the bonnet, yes, I drove my Dad's car for five years and never looked under the hood:( So I have to know what each part means and where I must look for it. Can you let me know where roughly the timing belt and the coolant reservoir are located. And what would be the costs involved if these looked bad and need replacement. Also, I don't know where the transmission fluid is stored. It looks black, I know it is bad. Timing belt has cracks..bad. Coolant reservoir looks leaky..bad. But I don't know where exactly these are located and how they look like. These sound stupid?! Well I would call it ignorance!!!

Please help! Thanks

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Hmmm.....

Gonna be a bit difficult.

The timing belt is covered by that shiny cover plate on the front of the engine (in the SC300) so there is no way to look at it.

Best bet is to ask the guy you're buying from for all maintenance records.

Even if they are not available, ask when the last tune-up was done, whether and when the timing belt has been changed, how often the engine and tranny oils have been changed. Standard reply for engine oil is "Every 3,000 miles" and if so ask for some record of at least a few of these oil changes so you know they're not bullbleepting you.

Obviously check the car for any leaks before and after the test drive.

Once underneath the hood, ask the guy to rev the engine a few times and makes sure it runs smooth and does not jerk too much at start of acceleration.

Next, turn off the engine, remove the engine oil dipstick. (Should have yellow handle) Wipe off whatever's on it(handy to have a towel), re-insert it completely, and take it out once again. Check that the oil is in the "OK" range and look closely to see if there are any clear bubbles in the oil. You might see some bubbles initially that disappear within 20-30 seconds. Those are ok (air). If there are any bubbles that do not go away, you're looking at some major work as the headgasket is leaking. If no bubbles, make sure the oil is nice and transparent with no particles in it.

Take off the oil cap (located somewhere at the top of the engine) and check the inside for coolant residue (whitish)...another check of headgasket.

If I think of anything else, I'll post......otherwise, good luck, and remember....no matter how much you think you want that car, consider whether or not you could benefit by walking away and finding another car. Some things, like for example unidentified jerks while changing gears, are not worth the trouble.

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Hmmm.....

Gonna be a bit difficult.

The timing belt is covered by that shiny cover plate on the front of the engine (in the SC300) so there is no way to look at it.

Best bet is to ask the guy you're buying from for all maintenance records.

Even if they are not available, ask when the last tune-up was done, whether and when the timing belt has been changed, how often the engine and tranny oils have been changed. Standard reply for engine oil is "Every 3,000 miles" and if so ask for some record of at least a few of these oil changes so you know they're not bullbleepting you.

Obviously check the car for any leaks before and after the test drive.

Once underneath the hood, ask the guy to rev the engine a few times and makes sure it runs smooth and does not jerk too much at start of acceleration.

Next, turn off the engine, remove the engine oil dipstick. (Should have yellow handle) Wipe off whatever's on it(handy to have a towel), re-insert it completely, and take it out once again. Check that the oil is in the "OK" range and look closely to see if there are any clear bubbles in the oil. You might see some bubbles initially that disappear within 20-30 seconds. Those are ok (air). If there are any bubbles that do not go away, you're looking at some major work as the headgasket is leaking. If no bubbles, make sure the oil is nice and transparent with no particles in it.

Take off the oil cap (located somewhere at the top of the engine) and check the inside for coolant residue (whitish)...another check of headgasket.

If I think of anything else, I'll post......otherwise, good luck, and remember....no matter how much you think you want that car, consider whether or not you could benefit by walking away and finding another car. Some things, like for example unidentified jerks while changing gears, are not worth the trouble.

:cheers:

Thanks a lot! That is amazing help. I will let you know if I found the car good enough or not. If I do, I think I will get it over the coming week.

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Let me know how that turns out.

I'm looking for the same car... But the ones i found either have the price or the mil jacked up to the extreme.

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:o Hi, I am planning to buy a 1992 Lexus SC400 with 98000 miles on it. I am going to see the car this weekend. I would like to know some stuff I must be careful about. Does a CARFAX Report help? because this vehicle does not have a VIN number. I am going to get it for about 7000. I think that is a good deal but I would like some expert advise before I proceed. Thanks

Divya

Divya,

Please send me a mail to bollumahesh@yahoo.com. Dont send any mails to mabollu@yahoo.com, it was stolen and some one is playing with that account.

Mahesh

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not to burst your bubble but this post was made in 2003 and he's only made 3 posts total which probably means he isnt on the boards anymore...

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