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Hi everyone, I'm havin problem w/ my 98 GS400 for quite sometime, and was wonderin if I can get some help here.

My 98 GS400 is actin up every mornin when I'm about to go work, I have some difficult time to startup the car, I just have to keep turnin the key to start, sometime I have to spend up to 30 mins to get it started~~ and other time I might be lucky only couple min needed. And the funny thing is..... I might only encounter this problem ONCE per day which means, once if I can get my car started in the morning, I will most likely not gonna have problem starting the car for the whole day, but then again... tomorrow is just another new day for me... =( I tried to loose/turning the stearling wheel when I starting and as well as turn off the A/C and radio/cd But none of them seem to resolve my problem, and I changed the new battery as well. Anyone had/having same problem like me ? I wanna be realistic about this car tho, it's a 98 GS 400, i mean I like it n all, but I don't wanna spend some crazy money to repair. Please let me know if anyone can help, thank you in advance, have a great weekend~

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Hello,

If your battery is still charged in the morning, it is definitely NOT your alternator. Sad to say, it is probably your starter. I have a 99 GS400, and I did my starter already. I also did the starter on my brother-in-laws' 99 LS400 2 weeks ago.

It starts out innocently enough. All you first get is a "click" when you turn the key. Lights, radio, horn all work. The other hint is, the lights don't dim when you turn the key. A dead battery would give you a NUMBER of clicks, AND your lights would dim, indicating low voltage. A BAD starter clicks only ONCE... if at all, and everything is still good, including the battery.

You can verify that it is not the alternator by having that checked while the engine is running. The alternator should put out about 14.2 to 14. 8 Volts DC.

The fact that you can start it the rest of the day is proof that the battery is staying up after the first start. Usually I had a problem in the early morning because it was cold then. As the problem gets worse, it will then refuse to start after it gets hot. The contacts in the solenoid are wearing out, but the coil is still good.

Once it gets hot, you will have to wait until it cools off before it will start again. That can be a pain when you are in a hurry. It simply will NOT jump start. I told my brother in law about 6 months ago and he didn't believe me. He thought it was the ignition switch. Once he got stranded in the middle of the day, he became a believer and asked me to help him change it. He was clicking outside for 25 minutes sometimes before it finally started. He had already changed the battery, all the cables, and was getting an alternator when I told him to have it checked before replacing it...It was fine.

To fix a worn out starter is major surgery for most people. The IUZFE 8 cylinder V8 engine has the starter mounted UNDER the intake manifold. That must be removed before you gain access to the starter. All 8 fuel injector electrical connectors, and all 8 spark plug coil connectors must be disconnected, and the fuel line to the rack has to be disconnected as well. The harness fits tight in there, so all this has to be disconnected to allow room for the intake to come out. Disconnect the fuel line on the rubber hose right near the drivers' fender inside. The rubber hose goes with the intake manifold when it comes out. to prevent disconnecting it at the fuel rack. That means new crush washers and other things. Take off the manifold in ONE PIECE instead of taking it apart in pieces. If you do that, you will need new gaskets to put the pieces together again. Word to the WISE.

All vacuum lines must then be be removed. The throttle body comes away from the intake manifold, but is not removed from the car. Then remove all 10 intake manifold bolts, and lift the aluminum intake manifold straight up and out. It is HEAVY. there is a vacuum tank underneath. Do not drop it or throw it around once it comes out. Check all vacuum lines underneath and replace what is needed. Usually there is NOTHING to replace.

Once the manifold is out, this exposes the starter out back close to the firewall and transmission. IT IS NOT TOO BAD IF YOU WANT TO DO THE WORK YOURSELF. There are tutorials on this website and others that show the procedure in pictures, and provides written text on how to do it. I did mine in 3 1/2 hours, but my brother-in-laws' LS had a few more connections to remove. The GS is much easier. It took all day to do the LS because I found other things that needed attention, and had to fetch parts on a Saturday. I finished on Sunday morning.

I recommend that you get a TOYOTA REMANUFACTURED starter for LONG life. Chances are that original starter is in the car right now. At the dealership that starter is about $230.00 plus a $30.00 core until you return the old one for rebuild. You can buy it online from Lexus, but the price is about the same. MANY Toyota dealerships have a relationship with Lexus dealers and can get the starter for the same price. In California, we use CARSON TOYOTA in Carson, CA. Some Texas dealerships also offer the starter for this car.

PLEASE NO AFTERMARKET STARTERS for the BEST performance. This means, Pep Boys, Schucks, Autozone and others. They'll give you another starter,, but look at what you have to go through again to replace it. Others work, but for HOW LONG? Toyota has the best rebuilt starters and the best warranty BAR NONE, plus they do it RIGHT and guarantee it. Chances of failure are practically NIL, since it is in essence the same starter that went in when the car was new.

EVERYTHING is changed except for the outer case. Everything inside is changed. Everything is dipped and cleaned, then reassembled with new parts, including all hardware inside and out. It is JUST LIKE NEW. By the way, a NEW starter for this car is about $600.00 when you can find it. We ALL use remanufactured starters when it is time to change this beast.

The dealership gets about $700.00 for the job including parts and labor, and an aftermarket shop may charge less. If you want a small shop to do it, make sure you get the Toyota part. I am mechanically inclined, so I always do mine myself.

You will need:

1. Remanufactured starter

2. 2 Intake manifold gaskets...one for each head. No adhesives. They lift out and are replaced with new ones. Do NOT reuse the old ones, although I have heard that some folks do. I don't take the chance.

3. 2 water outlet gaskets for the back heater hose manifold assembly. The hoses are attached to a manifold crossover. This crossover connects both heads together, and it really gets in the way of the two bolts that hold the starter in place. Without removing this crossover, you have to be a contortionist, or fabricate a wrench that goes around the crossover. Just remove the part and life will be easy. Throw away the old gaskets, and use the new ones. They are metal gaskets on the base and rubber in the center. Again, no cleaning of the mating parts if Red Toyota antifreeze was used in the cooling system, and NO adhesive. They self seal when you bolt the crossover into place.

Finally

4. 1 gallon of Red Toyota antifreeze / coolant. When the crossover manifold is removed, some coolant will be lost as the heater core drains out from inside the car. You can then see all the coolant in the head when looking inside the engine. Tioyota recommends changing this red stuff every 60,000 miles as a minimum. It is the BEST, and protects like no other. Please do not use GREEN coolant either as a mixture or a replacement for the red. It is a recipe for disaster. At Lexus, it is 32.00 a gallon, but at Toyota, it is about $19.00...go figure. Everything is more expensive at Lexus. I have part numbers if you need them.

I KNOW this sounds weird when discussing a STARTER, but it is TRUE. Call around and ask a Lexus / Toyota dealership what a starter replacement will cost.

Keep in touch, and I would be glad to help you in correspondence, and even post a few pictures if you want. I am just trying to save you a lot of frustration, troubleshooting costs and misdiagnosis, replacing other good parts, only to have to change the starter anyway. 9 years on one starter is great. You have gotten your money's worth out of that starter.

I am in San Diego, and am available to chat. PM me and I will give you my cell if you have other questions. You can also reach me at jessie.ramsey@navy.mil

Thanks again

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Hello,

If your battery is still charged in the morning, it is definitely NOT your alternator. Sad to say, it is probably your starter. I have a 99 GS400, and I did my starter already. I also did the starter on my brother-in-laws' 99 LS400 2 weeks ago.

It starts out innocently enough. All you first get is a "click" when you turn the key. Lights, radio, horn all work. The other hint is, the lights don't dim when you turn the key. A dead battery would give you a NUMBER of clicks, AND your lights would dim, indicating low voltage. A BAD starter clicks only ONCE... if at all, and everything is still good, including the battery.

You can verify that it is not the alternator by having that checked while the engine is running. The alternator should put out about 14.2 to 14. 8 Volts DC.

The fact that you can start it the rest of the day is proof that the battery is staying up after the first start. Usually I had a problem in the early morning because it was cold then. As the problem gets worse, it will then refuse to start after it gets hot. The contacts in the solenoid are wearing out, but the coil is still good.

Once it gets hot, you will have to wait until it cools off before it will start again. That can be a pain when you are in a hurry. It simply will NOT jump start. I told my brother in law about 6 months ago and he didn't believe me. He thought it was the ignition switch. Once he got stranded in the middle of the day, he became a believer and asked me to help him change it. He was clicking outside for 25 minutes sometimes before it finally started.

To fix a worn out starter is major surgery for most people. The IUZFE 8 cylinder V8 engine has the starter mounted UNDER the intake manifold. That must be removed before you gain access to the starter. All the fuel injector electrical connectors, and spark plug connectors must be disconnected, and the fuel line from the rack disconnected as well.

All vacuum lines must then be be removed. The throttle body comes away from the intake manifold, but is not removed from the car. Then remove all 10 intake manifold bolts, and lift the aliuminum intake manifold straight up and out. This exposes the starter out back close to the firewall and transmission. IT IS NOT TOO BAD IF YOU WANT TO DO THE WORK YOURSELF. There are tutorials on this website and others that show the procedure in pictures, and provides written text on how to do it.

I recommend that you get a TOYOTA REMANUFACTURED starter for LONG life. Chances are that original starter is in the car right now. At the dealership that starter is about $230.00 plus a $30.00 core until you return the old one for rebuild. You can buy it online from Lexus, but the price is about the same. MANY Toyota dealerships have a relationship with Lexus dealers and can get the starter for the same price. In California, we use CARSON TOYOTA in Carson, CA. Some Texas dealerships also offer the starter for this car.

PLEASE NO AFTERMARKET STARTERS for the BEST performance. This means, Pep Boys, Schucks, Autozone and others. They'll give you another starter,, but look at what you have to go through again to replace it. Toyota has the best rebuilt starters and the best warranty BAR NONE, plus they do it RIGHT and guarantee it. Chances of failure are practically NIL, since it is in essence the same starter that went in when new.

EVERYTHING is changed except for the outer case. Everything inside is changed. Everything is dipped and cleaned, then reassembled with new parts, including all hardware inside and out. It is JUST LIKE NEW. By the way, a NEW starter for this car is about $600.00 when you can find it. We ALL use remanufactured starters when it is time to change this beast.

The dealership gets about $700.00 for the job including parts and labor, and an aftermarket shop may charge less. If you want a small shop to do it, make sure you get the Toyota part. I am mechanically inclined, so I always do mine myself.

You will need:

1. Remanufactured starter

2. 2 Intake manifold gaskets...one for each head. No adhesives. They lift out and are replaced with new ones. Do NOT reuse the old ones, although I have heard that some folks do. I don't take the chance.

3. 2 water outlet gaskets for the back heater hose manifold assembly. The hoses are attached to a manifold crossover.This crossover connects both heads together, and gets in the way of the two bolts that hold the starter in place. Without removing this crossover, you have to be a contortionist, or fabricate a wrench that goes around the crossover. Just remove the part and life will be easy. Throw away the old gaskets, and use the new ones. They are metal gaskets on the base and rubber in the center. Again, no cleaning and NO adhesive. They sell seal.

Finally

4. 1 gallon of Red Toyota antifreeze / coolant. When the crossover manifold is removed, some coolant will be lost as the heater drains from inside the car.

I KNOW this sounds weird when discussing a STARTER, but it is TRUE. Call around and ask a Lexus / Toyota dealership what a starter replacement will cost.

Keep in touch, and I would be glad to help you in correspondence, and even post a few pictures if you want. I am just trying to save you a lot of frustration, troubleshooting costs and misdiagnosis, replacing other good parts, only to have to change the starter anyway. 9 years on one starter is great. You have gotten your money's worth out of that starter.

Thanks again

hey.. I really really appreciated your info. and I'll check into this and hopefully I'll put the end to my problem, and will follow up w/ an update, maybe will help the other Lexus drivers as well

you and all others have a great nite~ btw, I'm here in 310 / 626 area in LA too

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Man we all gotta learn. I just know THIS gripe from first hand experience. I learn from folks everyday, and I have been doing this automotive thing for 35 years. I just hate paying money to shops for stuff I can do myself. I have a 29 year old daughter in Long Beach and I have to keep her car running too.

Technical training in automotive repair is my daily job here in San Diego. I am an Instructor aboard a Navy base here. 22 years military and 13 years Federal service as a Tech Rep. (technical representative) for the Navy / Marine Corps.

Keep in touch! I love to hear from other Lexus owners. We have great cars, and together we can keep them running without getting STUNG by the MAN!

Bye for now.

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After takin all your advises, I got my car fixed and it was the starter problem and I had it replaced, now its running great.

Thank you for all your help, especially, " gserep1 " thank you for takin your time and explain

Have a great n safe halloween

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After takin all your advises, I got my car fixed and it was the starter problem and I had it replaced, now its running great.

Thank you for all your help, especially, " gserep1 " thank you for takin your time and explain

Have a great n safe halloween

I am SO HAPPY you got this done. Now you can enjoy your car like it was meant to be enjoyed. I changed mine in 2006, and it has NEVER failed to start since then. I am looking to many more carefree years of driving on this starter.

Have a happy Halloween!

GSEREP1

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  • 9 months later...
After takin all your advises, I got my car fixed and it was the starter problem and I had it replaced, now its running great.

Thank you for all your help, especially, " gserep1 " thank you for takin your time and explain

Have a great n safe halloween

I am SO HAPPY you got this done. Now you can enjoy your car like it was meant to be enjoyed. I changed mine in 2006, and it has NEVER failed to start since then. I am looking to many more carefree years of driving on this starter.

Have a happy Halloween!

GSEREP1

Hey whats up? i think i'm having one of those starter problems your talking about i own a 2000 gs 400 with about 80 k on it and the car's been sitting for about a year now and i tried to start it but just one click...... i was thinking it was the starter relay but.........no luck there either..... i'm mechanically inclined aswell but this starter issue seems like a straight hassle...also.. the rear end differential is shot aswell... any suggestions or tips for replacing the rearend differential....i'd like to go with the toyota limited slip diff... from the supra just keeping the same gear ratio (switching the gears from supra to gs) sounds a bit difficult... anyway w/b

thank's - josh

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