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Buying A Old Es300


skypros
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I am looking to buy a 1997 - 2001 (more than likely a '97) with under 100,000 miles

I have looked at a few and have been doing carfax's on them

Other than the obvious.... what are areas should be paid particular attention to???

Thank You

Steve C.

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We traded the wife's 97 ES 300 when the mileage hit 269 000 km (167 000 mi) in 04. Other than routine maintenance (oil, tires, brakes, wiper blades, etc.), the ONLY problem we encountered was a rapid turn signal flash on the left side of the car about every 6 months. What it turned out to be was a weak set of spring contacts inside the left front turn signal bulb socket. Restretching them with needle nosed pliers allowed for another 6 months of normal operation before having to do it again. Cutting out the old socket and wiring in a new one would have solved the situation once and for all. That's was it! It was so dependable that we bought another ES 330 in 04. If you can verify that the routine maintenance has been done, and that the car was driven by a responsible owner, I don't think you could go too far wrong buying a 97. The reason that you've not gotten many responses to your post should tell you something as well. There aren't many problems with these cars. Good Luck!

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I am looking to buy a 1997 - 2001 (more than likely a '97) with under 100,000 miles

I have looked at a few and have been doing carfax's on them

Other than the obvious.... what are areas should be paid particular attention to???

Thank You

Steve C.

Hi Steve,

Check with the previous owner to see when the timing belt in the car was last changed. Replacement interval is 90,000 miles OR 6 years. Getting the belt replaced is a significant expense that the owner will remember. "I think" is probably not a good answer.

Attached is a chart from the Gates Timing Belt Replacement Guide, showing timing belt data for several Lexus vehicles. A "*" indicates a vehicle with an interference engine. According to the chart, none of the ES models have one, meaning, if the timing belt breaks, no damage will be done to the car's engine.

Some people say the ES had an interference engine beginning in 1999. This does not agree with what the chart says. I have verified that the information on the chart is correct with several Lexus dealers and independent mechanics, although I have not done it with all models, the ES being one of them.

So I am not absolutley sure that the ES still had a non-interference engine after 1999. Possibly someone else can confirm whether or not it did.

post-48798-1205204846_thumb.png

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the 3MZ was an interference engine but was relatively un-changed in its whole lifespan even before it was bored out in 1MZ-FE (3.0) form. don't hold me to it, but I'm nearly positive that all the 1MZ engines were not 'interference engines'. still make sure the belt has been changed because it's not fun to be stranded with one of those. not sure though since the 3MZ is essentially a bored out 1MZ and it changes from isn't to is an interference engine.

-Erik

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the 3MZ was an interference engine but was relatively un-changed in its whole lifespan even before it was bored out in 1MZ-FE (3.0) form. don't hold me to it, but I'm nearly positive that all the 1MZ engines were not 'interference engines'. still make sure the belt has been changed because it's not fun to be stranded with one of those. not sure though since the 3MZ is essentially a bored out 1MZ and it changes from isn't to is an interference engine.

-Erik

99 - 01 ES300 1MZ-FE with VVT-i were interference engines. 97-98 were not.

99.99% positive.

As long as you change the T-belt on time / within safety zone, it doesn't matter interference or not. BTW, 99-01 has more horsee than 97-98.

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Back to your OP topic.

Thing you should check:

Body structure especially welding points.

Weight of each door. If they are varies, BAD.

Fluid leaking under the car, especially near exaust and DS under body.

Spare tire storage area, check if there is any water (even if dried).

Suspension.

If you are unfamiliar with car, as a condition of the sales, have the car inspected by a mechanic of your choice.

Use AutoCheck AND Carfax. Most insurance companies use Autocheck to check for prior damage before paying for Coll repair.

Based on personal experience, when I checked my 99 ES300 against Carfax and Autocheck, Carfax missed a minor accident that Autocheck found.

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  • 2 weeks later...

hey man,

i used to have a 92 es300.

stay away from 92-94. they have big problems with over heating.

es300's are bad about instrument cluster lights going bad.

suspension bottoming out.

check all of those things. pour water over the suroof and watch it from inside carefully. check heater/ ac on all diffrent speeds, as the control fails alot. abs pump, and also even if your check engine light is not on, go to advance auto or somewhere like that, and do a diagnostic on it , to make sure that the light is not on, b/c some people will take the cluster out, remove the bulb, and thatway, the new owner will hnever see the light. check the valve covers, and feel the steering, on sharp turns, rack pinions are very expensive on those, and they usually leak. look at your cv boots, and also if you go to see one, dont allow them to turn the car on before you get there, that will give the car time to warm up, and by then you wont hear any knocking from the engine, once its wormed up.

hope that helped man.

good luck.

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