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kc92hatch

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Hello all,

Well, am now an official member....not just a tire kicker! Last week bought a Moonstone Metallic (gray metallic) 1997 LS400 with 51,000 miles.

Car is super clean one-owner with all maintenance done by Lexus - exactly what I was looking for. I was chuckling as I was looking the car over....interior was very clean, engine very clean (steam cleaned maybe - keep reading), pulled out the first aid kit - never used, pulled out the tool kit - never used - even the batteries were in their original plastic wrap, spare tire - never used. Even the CD cartridge was in its original cardboard sleeve with original labels and didn't have a scratch on it. I don't think the CD player was ever used. Owners manual didn't even look like it had ever been opened. Does have a few little scratches, just like any 11 year old car would, but man - it is hard to believe the car is 11 years old!!

About 150 miles into my "ownership", I pull up to a stoplight on my way to work and feel a little roughness in the idle...hmmm, I start thinking to myself, that doesn't feel good. One minute later - check engine light is on.....arrrrrgggghhhhh!!! P0308 (Cylinder Number 8 Misfire). Clear the code, but the rough running remains and the CEL comes back, always #8 misfire, so at least is is localized to that cylinder.

So, last night, I get to do my first project and figure I'll at least open up the spark plug covers and look at the plug. What a piece of cake.....taking off the plastic covers was straightforward. When I pulled the wire off number 8 plug, it is has a rust color over the boot - then look closer and it has water droplets all over it. Look in the spark plug tube and it is all wet in there (not standing water, but wet). Pull out the plug and the exterior of the plug has some rust starting. Figured that maybe the engine bay was pressure washed and water worked its way into #8 plug tube? (By the way, number 8 is the passenger side up against the fire wall.)

Figured since I was at this point already, I'd just change the sparkplugs. Used NGK Laser Iridium (part number 4589 for 1997) with a 0.044" gap. Pulled all 8 out and they looked pretty good.....good color, etc. so I'm happy that the plugs are reading clean. If you do this job, don't forget to put some anti-seize on the spark plug threads and squirt some dielectric grease into the spark plug wire boot. Just working on this small fix really made me appreciate the engineering that went into this car. Hell, just the way they designed the spark plug wire loom is beautiful in itself! Anyway, car running smooth as silk now!!!

Only thing slightly bothering me is the timing belt. 52,000 miles, but 11 years old. Part of it was exposed when I changed the plugs an I didn't see anything of concern, but I also wasn't looking at the "teeth" side of the belt nor did I see the whole thing. I think I'll just keep a close eye on it. I'm really not up for replacing it right now.

Anyway - thanks to everyone on this site. All the reading that I did prior to the purchase and during my car search really helped me to be an informed consumer and get the perfect car for me!!

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The engines were different from 97 and they are interference. If the timing belt goes it's a big expensive job so check if yours is the earlier one. If it is an earlier one I'd not worry for a while yet unless you are itching to spend some money. If it's the later one get it done asap or this gem may not be the bargain you thought.

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Kc she sounds just beautiful, glad to hear that you were able to fix the issue. We love pics! Welcome to the LOC :cheers: When it comes to the timing belt it's kinda hit or miss. When I bought my 95 LS in Feb of 2007 the timing belt had not been changed ever. The car had about 113,000 miles on her. I bought the oem parts on ebay including the water pump for $300. The dealership where I used to work charged me $400 for fluids and labor. I asked for all my old parts and the timing belt that they took out look almost as new as the one they put in. Maybe I was just lucky? The timing belt change is due at 90k or 7 yrs I believe.

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Oh man, you're right at the perfect spot to make that car brand spankin' new again! Mileage wise, you're more than good, but age wise, I suggest addressing the fluids in the mechanicals. If you've got water on the plugs, then someone certainly did use a pressure washer on the engine, which might toss a code or two in the coming days, but nothing major. Things I would suggest you do now to restore her back to new include:

1) Tranny fluid. Swing by your local Toyota dealership and buy a case of Toyota Type IV transmission fluid ($50 bucks +/-). You're only going to use 2 bottles at a time, but it's nice to have the xtras around for later. Do a search on here for "drain n' fill", which will show you how to perform the EASIEST service on the car. It's super easy man, takes just a few minutes.

2) Rear differential fluid. Again, run a search for how to do it, it's quite easy as well. I would suggest using synthetic gear oil.

3) Power steering fluid: A new procedure i've read about on another forum is to use a turkey baster, remove some of the fluid from the resiviour tank, replace with new. Run the car to cycle the new through, and repeat. Do this about a dozen times and you'll have effectively replaced the fluid with new. There is also a power steering solenoid underneath the car that houses a tiny screen. Search "solenoid" or something along those lines to find picutres and proceedures. That solenoid communicates the amount of boost issued to your steering at certain speeds. If you have 1 finger steering now at parking lot speeds, you're in great shape. If it's tight, then that screen is probably ready for a cleaning. This simple proceedure will preserve your steering rack for a lot longer, as it relieves pressure on the seals in the rack.

4) Brake fluid. Simple bleed and replace. Start with the furthest one away from the master cylinder.

5) Air filters: You have two in that car. 1 is the main one in the engine bay. I'd just check it, clean it if needed, or simply replace it. The other is in your glove box. This one is the in-cabin filter and will prolong the life of the a/c system "and eliminate any odors in the car". I can't recall if you have to remove anything to get at it, or simply open the door and slide it out. Take a look, it's pretty easy to figure out.

6) Coolant: At that time (97), I don't think Toyota was using the 100k coolant. They might of been, I'm not sure. But, you might want to check it.

Outside of that, you've got at least 300k of sheer bliss in front of you man! I'd swing by the lexus dealership with your vin number and sweet talk one of the service tech's to run the mechanical history on the car through their computer. I have a feeling, if you've got a car that's 11 years old with those low miles, it was probably well taken care of by the dealership. They'll have the entire history of what was done, when, and by who.

Here is a website that you can join for a day and download the shop manual to your car. It's several Pdf. files all littered around, takes a few hours to get everything. But once you've got it, you've got procedures/torque specs/how-to's/ TSB (technical survice bulletins), for every single nut, bolt, and clip from top to bottom, front to back.

https://techinfo.toyota.com/techInfoPortal/...o.toyota.com%2F

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dcfish - thanks!

bigste - from what I can gather, the '97 IS an interference engine, so you are right - timing belt breaks - Mr. Piston, please let me introduce you to Mr. Valve...ouch! I will replace the belt/tensioners/water pump myself, but it won't be until later this year. Based on everything I've seen, I think I'm safe. I don't think I've read any stories about a low-mileage belt (age independent) breaking......not even many older higher mileage belts breaking....some yes, but not many. There is some risk here, though - I don't disagree with you there.

raymsixsix - thanks! photos are pending!

nc211 - good ideas all of them. I plan to replace most fluids in the coming weeks except for the coolant. I'll hold of on that until I replace the timing belt later this year since I have to pull the radiator at that time anyway. I do have the Lexus service history....owner had the car in for every 5000 mile service. Some even early...like the 55,000 mile service has already been done (granted most/all of these services at these miles are only oil/filter), but the car only has 51,000 miles on the clock!!

Thanks again guys!

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WOW! KC that's an amazing buy! You're SO LUCKY!

I also would reccomend the fluid changes, they're easy peasy!

I second pics, and welcome!

:cheers:

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So no more tire kick'n! You're not on the ouside anymore, you're on the inside now! Congrats on your new ride! :cheers: Isn't it a good feeling when all the research you've done pays off in finding the right car. All the above advice is exactly what will keep your car in top condition. Enjoy, just remember for the next while, to sleep in your bed and not in the car. B)

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Congrats on your purchase.....post pics when you can & enjoy! B)

:cheers:

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Happy 4th Weekend everyone,

It doesn't take me long to dig into working on my vehicles, so yesterday was engine oil / tranny drain and fill / differential day.

I'm a Mobil 1 fan, so Mobil 1 5W30 & a Toyota oil filter went into the crankcase...well, the oil is in the crankcase, the oil filter is on the outside ;-)

Bought a case of Toyota Type 4 ATF (even with a 10% discount, was still about $4.50 qt, oh well.) About 2.4 quarts came out and I would call the color something you might get if you mixed blood with chocolate.....mmm, tasty. Refilled with same amount of the Type 4 and will be doing this again in the near future.

Drained the differential, what came out was very clean.....just like honey.....and there wasn't anything of interest on the lower drain plug magnet. FYI to anyone doing this job, the drain plugs use a 10mm hex (like an allen wrench) socket so have one of those handy. I do have a leak at the diff, but can't quite tell where it is coming from....could be drain plug, upper vent or the diff cover seal. I cleaned it all up and we'll see if I can find where it is leaking. I had a little ARP thread sealant around the garage from a previous project, so I put a dab of that on the plug threads.

I'll be hitting the brake fluid and power steering fluid next, but so far, it has really been a pleasure working on this car.

Here are a couple of photos from yesterday.

Have a great Saturday!

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You might want to check out the rubber parts as well (rear knuckle bushings, motor and transmission mounts, and suspension parts). Mine started to wear out last year (I have a 96 LS). Everything's good now. Welcome to the club.

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