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Looking To Buy Ls400


midapo
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Greetings to all, just joined. I have done a good bit of research and have come to appreciate what a good value the LS400 is. I have been looking at '94 thru '98 models as I want to keep cost low (less than $8000.00). I am finding a number available on Ebay as well as local.

That being said, is there one year over the other that I should be looking for? Are there any "trouble spots" to watch out for? Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. My wife and I have driven several and are very impressed. I am currently in negotiations with a used car dealer for a '96 with 100,000 miles. It is a beutiful car that drives great. Price currently at $7500.00. What do you think?

Thanks for your help!

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make sure the timing belt and water pump have been replaced. other than that, it's a great car. timing belt and water pump is the biggie service item that is to be done every 90k. if it hasn't been changed "and it's 12 years old", you're looking at a pretty steep service bill. some indi's can do it for under $1,000, most dealerships are $1,500+ for the whole service.

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make sure the timing belt and water pump have been replaced. other than that, it's a great car. timing belt and water pump is the biggie service item that is to be done every 90k. if it hasn't been changed "and it's 12 years old", you're looking at a pretty steep service bill. some indi's can do it for under $1,000, most dealerships are $1,500+ for the whole service.

This particular ls400 that I am looking at does have a sticker on the front top of engine that indicates the timing belt was changed at 88,000 miles. Do they always do the water pump at the same time?

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Actually, 90k service is the most important. If you have access to a Lexus Dealer take the vin to the service manager and get knowledgeable on that particular vehicle. He should run a carfax for you and aleviate all concerns. Sounds to be a well maintained Lexus. If all checks out don't miss the opportunity on one of the finest cars ever. ;)

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Yeah, if you've got the sticker on the engine's bulkhead, then I'm 99.9% sure a lexus dealership did the service, as it is normal procedure to put the sticker there after it was done "or mark the owner's manual in the 90k service page of it being done". Chances are, if the belt was done, then the waterpump was done too. But a quick run of the vin at a dealership will pull up the service history of the car, from day one to current, and you can easily see what and when it was done. If the price was in the $1,500-$2,000 range, then it's pretty certain the water pump was in there. If the car has a solid service history, especially from a dealership, then I'd have no worries about buying it. My 95 had about 40 pages of service history by the time I sold it, at 130k miles. Although it was 12 years old, the effective age was really about 3 years. A well maintained LS400, no matter the miles, is probably one of the best car values out there, if not the best value.

Are you buying it from a Lexus dealership?

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Honestly it is a great car I have one myself. I bought it in 1993 and it has 335,000 km on it and it still runs great. If everythings mechanically fine and the bodys good then why not ? The Lexus LS 400 is a great car and I would recommend one anyday.

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Certain things seem to present the most problems. The power steering system should be carefully checked for leaks. The time and temp display often goes black. The struts and the upper control arms (wishbone) should be checked. Pay particular attention to the tires for signs of unusual wear and be sure to look at the rear ties as well as people often switch them when they begin to wear. Other than that, I would agree that getting the VIN service printout from a dealer is important. I would look on autotrader,com and craigslist.com to get an idea of what prices you should be looking at.

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Yeah, if you've got the sticker on the engine's bulkhead, then I'm 99.9% sure a lexus dealership did the service, as it is normal procedure to put the sticker there after it was done "or mark the owner's manual in the 90k service page of it being done". Chances are, if the belt was done, then the waterpump was done too. But a quick run of the vin at a dealership will pull up the service history of the car, from day one to current, and you can easily see what and when it was done. If the price was in the $1,500-$2,000 range, then it's pretty certain the water pump was in there. If the car has a solid service history, especially from a dealership, then I'd have no worries about buying it. My 95 had about 40 pages of service history by the time I sold it, at 130k miles. Although it was 12 years old, the effective age was really about 3 years. A well maintained LS400, no matter the miles, is probably one of the best car values out there, if not the best value.

Are you buying it from a Lexus dealership?

It is a used car dealer. He has been in business for over 30 years though, so maybe better than most.

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Certain things seem to present the most problems. The power steering system should be carefully checked for leaks. The time and temp display often goes black. The struts and the upper control arms (wishbone) should be checked. Pay particular attention to the tires for signs of unusual wear and be sure to look at the rear ties as well as people often switch them when they begin to wear. Other than that, I would agree that getting the VIN service printout from a dealer is important. I would look on autotrader,com and craigslist.com to get an idea of what prices you should be looking at.

Unfortunately, we don't have any Lexus dealers around here. The closest is Shreveport (60 miles) and Dallas (120 miles). Do you get the same info off of a carfax?

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Certain things seem to present the most problems. The power steering system should be carefully checked for leaks. The time and temp display often goes black. The struts and the upper control arms (wishbone) should be checked. Pay particular attention to the tires for signs of unusual wear and be sure to look at the rear ties as well as people often switch them when they begin to wear. Other than that, I would agree that getting the VIN service printout from a dealer is important. I would look on autotrader,com and craigslist.com to get an idea of what prices you should be looking at.

That's what I will do. After I made the original post, I went searching on this site a little more and came across the buying guide and what to check, which included the things you mentioned above. I plan on going through the whole list.

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That is your best bet. I still believe to this day that one of the best ways to know a car is to wash it before you buy it. Gives you a chance to examine every detail. I would call a Lexus dealer and ask if they will mail you a copy of the VIN service report. They might even be able to do it online since that is where it is stored anyway.

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Welcome to the club.:cheers:

With the good advice of the posts here, I'm sure you'll get

all the info you need to find the right LS. The '96 sounds good.

From what I've read it's one of the most reliable years of the 400's.

One thing I would add to the above comments is about your distance

form the closest Lexus dealers. I read a recent post by an LS owner

who was, like you, not close to a dealer. She wasn't confident in having

repairs done by a local mechanic. The way she described their comments

about her LS was something like, "the alien car", most likely meaning they

probably hadn't seen many and even more likely never serviced one.

If you buy a Lexus, be prepared to sometimes require or prefer the

services of a dealer or at least a qualified Lexus tech that may work

independently. You might look for a Toyota dealer. They can do just

about everything a Lexus dealer can for much less. Among the cars

I've owned, (volvos, vw's, fords, bmrs) the LS is so far ahead of the

pack in almost everyway that matters, that I can't see myself buying

anything other than a Lexus, (the X6 might be an exception) unless

I win a lottery. If you keep up the maintenance on an LS, nothing else

comes even close for reliability. Good luck. :D

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Certain things seem to present the most problems. The power steering system should be carefully checked for leaks. The time and temp display often goes black. The struts and the upper control arms (wishbone) should be checked. Pay particular attention to the tires for signs of unusual wear and be sure to look at the rear ties as well as people often switch them when they begin to wear. Other than that, I would agree that getting the VIN service printout from a dealer is important. I would look on autotrader,com and craigslist.com to get an idea of what prices you should be looking at.

Unfortunately, we don't have any Lexus dealers around here. The closest is Shreveport (60 miles) and Dallas (120 miles). Do you get the same info off of a carfax?

Is that Sewell Lexus, in Dallas? If so, they're very nice folks "tell them we talk about them a lot on here". I bet if you butter them up, they'd be more than happy to print off the sevice history for you and fax it to you, or like VBDenny said, email it to you. When I bought mine from the local lexus dealership, they faxed it to me at the office. It was about 3 pages.

If you do decide to purchase the car from the used car lot, I would recommend one of those 90 day - 3,000 mile warranties, that covers drivetrain - engine - exhaust. This can come in quite handy just in case of two very expensive "but highly unlikely" problems. If the cats are bad, you have an avenue out with the warranty. It's rare they would fail at that mileage "or within the next 100k miles". But they aren't cheap. The second, and my 90 day warranty saved me on this, is the engine computer. On some 95' and 96' models, the engine computer has a glitch that will make the car feel like it's "bucking" around the 45-50 mph range. When you drive it, cruise it up to 45 mph, and gently take your foot off the gas to let the car coast "be on flat pavement". If you feel the car lurch/buckle, then it is quite possible the car has one of the bad computers. The problem is called "off-throttle-shock", and is WELL KNOWN to lexus dealerships. What's happening is the computer is sending a faulty code to the injectors to reduce fuel supply too quickly. It's not slowly reducing fuel, but rather dropping it too fast, which causes the car to reverse-torque the driveshaft. It's more of an annoyance than anything else, but does bug some folks. Mine had this, and with some knowledge learned here, and nagging the dealership to honor their warranty for "engine and drivetrain" parts, they finally replaced the computer with an updated model, for free. It's been several years since then, but I think I recall the price being around $2,300 for the computer. If you have that warranty, and the problem shows itself, you will have an out.

There is a TSB (Technical service bulletin) issued by Lexus/Toyota for the fix. Of all TSB's issued on the car, this is the only one "highly recommened" to be done. It's called "improved driveablitliy". If you search here for "off-throttle-shock", you should find a thread or two with the TSB attached.

This mostly effected 95 models, but some 96's slipped through the cracks and got the old computer too.

First step though, is butter up Sewell, get the service records, and if you see anything on there for "ECM", or "ECU" repair, then you're good to go! If that's been done, along with the timing belt and water pump, then I'd buy the car on the spot. Once you get it, we'll show you the best $200 to spend to bring it right back to brand new "plugs, fluids, simple tricks in the power steering system"....

Chances are, you will face a mount/bushing replacement at those miles. But what car wouldn't? If you plan on keeping the car for a few years, you'll me more than THRILLED with it. You'll think you've discovered the best kept secret in the used car business....a well maintained Lexus LS400 for less than $10 grand... that rivals new cars costing 5 times as much! Stick around here, and you'll learn where to buy those mounts/bushings for about 30-40% retail, and how to replace them. Or, if you're not a DIY type, several of us have the repair manuals in PdF. format. Simply print off the proceedure, take it along with the part to your local favorite indi mechanic and have them do it. The LS400 is VERY EASY to repair. When I showed up here back in 04', I didn't know how to change oil. By the time I sold it back in November 07', I personally had replaced all of my suspension components, brakes, fluids, plugs, and some other random parts. If a three-thumbed bubba like me can do this stuff, anyone can. Trust me!

I only sold mine because we needed a more family & home depot friendly vehicle. We stuck with Toyota, and I insisited on remaining with their V8 engine. Bought a 05' 4runner with 53k on the clock, and love it. It'll be in my garage for SEVERAL more years to come, only to be replaced if we need a different type of vehicle "minivan". Which, again, would only be the Sienna.

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You guys are very encouraging and helpful. I put a deposit on the vehicle with the understanding that I would inspect before closing. The carfax I pulled is clear. It does say at 79k that the emissions system was serviced, but that is all the details it gives. I plan on stopping by Sewell on the way to the car. One owner which is good. If you would care to see the pictures, here is the address: http://www.ajsnicecars.com/carsforsale.aspx It is the 1996 LS400. I'll update how things go, thanks for the help.

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Well, I bought the Lexus today. I went by Sewell Lexus and the man let me look at the service record but would not print it out unless I had the car there,(cited privacy issues) but let me look at it. Well maintained with 90,000 mile maintenance performed. It drives great! :D My wife has now decided that this is her car, so I guess I'll have to find me another! The only thing we have found wrong is the radio backlights do not work. Did not notice that until tonight. A/C lights up fine, just the radio lights. If you have any ideas let me know. Thanks!

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Your comment about your wife claiming the care was humerous. When I bought my 90 LS my wife immediately took it over. I bought her an 04 ES330 last year which she likes but she says she still likes the 90 LS better. Ia agree, far superior drive. I would also consider buying a Valentine 1 radar detector to go with the LS since they are pretty fast. Now the LS is mine.

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