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Newbie Here, Lots Of Questions!?


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Hi,

I am currently 16 years old, and I am taking an Auto Tech class at my High School. My car that I work on is a 1991 Lexus Ls 400 with 270,400 miles. It runs great! I recently just installed a new alternator, new spark plugs, and also had a brake job done. We also just "Seafoamed" the car, lots of white smoke!

The car idles smooth, and everything works.

Now the bad!

The parking brake light comes on when you start the car, no matter if its on or not? What causes that?

Also, The teacher lost the trunk key. And on the 1991 the driver key will not open it. It also seems that the button near the fuel door will not work for the trunk release, but it will work for the fuel door. Why is that? Is there any way to access the trunk now?

What is up with the Power Steering problem? Everyone acts like it is horrible! How hard is it to fix? I am pretty sure our car has begun to do the same thing. There is a clear liquid under the car.. But the wheel turns with no problems, very easy. I will check the level next class.

How long do these cars go? Do they ever die? I mean 270K miles is ALOT! But it runs great!

Sorry for all of the questions, and if anyone knows the answers to them it would be GREAT! :D

Thanks!

Ryan from Texas!

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Hi,

I am currently 16 years old, and I am taking an Auto Tech class at my High School. My car that I work on is a 1991 Lexus Ls 400 with 270,400 miles. It runs great! I recently just installed a new alternator, new spark plugs, and also had a brake job done. We also just "Seafoamed" the car, lots of white smoke!

The car idles smooth, and everything works.

Now the bad!

The parking brake light comes on when you start the car, no matter if its on or not? What causes that?

Also, The teacher lost the trunk key. And on the 1991 the driver key will not open it. It also seems that the button near the fuel door will not work for the trunk release, but it will work for the fuel door. Why is that? Is there any way to access the trunk now?

What is up with the Power Steering problem? Everyone acts like it is horrible! How hard is it to fix? I am pretty sure our car has begun to do the same thing. There is a clear liquid under the car.. But the wheel turns with no problems, very easy. I will check the level next class.

How long do these cars go? Do they ever die? I mean 270K miles is ALOT! But it runs great!

Sorry for all of the questions, and if anyone knows the answers to them it would be GREAT! :D

Thanks!

Ryan from Texas!

Ryan,

Good choice of car. These engines are basically over built. 500,000 miles is not uncommon. If you hear ticking when the engine is idling and the hood is up it is just the valves are slightly out of adjustment. Some say fix them others say leave them the way they are, it is a four valve Over Head Cam Engine. State of the Art in design when they came out. Aluminum blocks just like a Formula One race engine and in fact the same design as the one that powers the last generation of Supras. The orange car in the first fast and furious movie btw.

As for your trunk issue. Do a search on here for 'trunk wiring'. It will amaze you how many people have had your same issue. There is a black wire that gets pinched by the drivers side trunk hinge and basically immobilizes the trunk release switch.

When mine failed, luckily I had taken out my sub-woofer (Under the rear brake light speaker cover) and was able to snake my arm in there and wiggle the harness a lot while someone else triggered the switch over and over again from the front seat. After a couple of minutes it finally popped and we found the wire had completely broken in half after removing all the yards of black tape and wire looming.

Short of a locksmith I do not know how to get around it unless you too have the sub-woofer out.

The power steering issue is straight forward and again do a search on here 'power steering leak' to track down what is going on with yours. BTW that leak is what most likely killed your alternator.

The parking brake light may be that your rear shoes are not retracting all the way. I NEVER use my parking brake after they locked on me one time. With an automatic it is really unnecessary unless you live in an area as hilly as San Fran. or something. Not a problem in Texas to leave the P. Brake alone from now on.

To adjust the parking brake is actually kind of fun, but be careful! Spray the parking brake cable really well with brake free or liquid wrench where it goes into the back of the wheel and around the brake adjustors at the bottom of the back of the wheel. The next day find an empty parking lot and go backward at around 20-25 mph and do a panic stop. I mean really try to stop the car FAST. Like a kid jumped out in front of you or something. Do this twice and I bet the light goes off. This is also a good fix for those that have that annoying slow speed 'grinding' noise from the back off the car. It is just the rear internal brake shoes dragging. External main brakes are discs that you can see and the emergency brake is internal shoes that you cannot see. There are no shoes on the front brakes BTW.

Good luck on the car and post some pics when you can.

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Hi,

I am currently 16 years old, and I am taking an Auto Tech class at my High School. My car that I work on is a 1991 Lexus Ls 400 with 270,400 miles. It runs great! I recently just installed a new alternator, new spark plugs, and also had a brake job done. We also just "Seafoamed" the car, lots of white smoke!

The car idles smooth, and everything works.

Now the bad!

The parking brake light comes on when you start the car, no matter if its on or not? What causes that?

Also, The teacher lost the trunk key. And on the 1991 the driver key will not open it. It also seems that the button near the fuel door will not work for the trunk release, but it will work for the fuel door. Why is that? Is there any way to access the trunk now?

What is up with the Power Steering problem? Everyone acts like it is horrible! How hard is it to fix? I am pretty sure our car has begun to do the same thing. There is a clear liquid under the car.. But the wheel turns with no problems, very easy. I will check the level next class.

How long do these cars go? Do they ever die? I mean 270K miles is ALOT! But it runs great!

Sorry for all of the questions, and if anyone knows the answers to them it would be GREAT! :D

Thanks!

Ryan from Texas!

Hey man, welcome to the LOC!

This is fantastic that you are researching and taking an auto-tech class. You have chosen an awesome vehicle to work on and (I assume) be your daily driver while you go to school. edit: I just realized I assumed that the car is yours, when you specifically said that it is "the car you work on".I am proud of you. Keep up the good work!

As IS400 was saying, the locksmith may be your only choice, but I have a thought about that as well. Since you are in an Auto tech class, I would be willing to bet that if an enterprising young guy such as yourself were to coordinate with your shop teacher to call some local auto-locksmiths, you could probably get one to come by and speak to the class on how the locking mechinisms work in different vehicles and how to maintain/repair them. Offer up your Lex as a demo for the locksmith to work on.

Random thought: My keys can be cut by the dealer if I give them my VIN number. I am not sure if they can do that for an older model like yours, but I am sure one of the LS experts will weigh in soon and confirm or shootdown this idea.

Again, welcome and post up some pics of your project when you get a chance!

:cheers:

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Ok guys, After class today I snapped a couple of picts.

Its a 1991 Lexus LS 400 with 270K Miles.You have to give it gas when it starts(Pump it!), or it will just die. Most likely because its just sits there, and never gets driven.

493665a0.jpg

6defb287.jpg

099c7641.jpg

I talked to the other shop teacher today, and he said he remember seeing the trunk key somewhere in his office, and that he would look for me.

I checked the Power Steeing level and it was bone dry! We also found that the one of the lower hoses that runs to it had come off of the Power steering unit, and that was the problem of the leak! So the leak problem is fixed.

Will keep you guys updated. I kinda wish the shop teacher would sell me the car, It would be a great car to get to high school and back with.

Besides, I could keep my 1992 Mustang LX 5.0 in the garage!

Here is a picture of it, it has 16,000 original miles on it. I was lucky to find it, and from the original owner.

2007_0804_101501-1.jpg

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I was reading some of the old posts about the brake light staying on.. I checked it today, and its not dim, I would say is just as bright as if the brake was on. So. I really dont want to fix the alternator if its leaked on it, I just replaced it about a week ago.

I do need to check the brake fluid level .I will let you guys know.!

Thanks!

Ryan from Texas.

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You quite possibly obtain the car, but most of the ones donated to a school shop are by contract supposed to be crushed after serving their purpose. But a fair number still find their way into private hands. An enterprizing guy (like you?) might be able to finagle around and end up with the car.

Good luck!!

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You quite possibly obtain the car, but most of the ones donated to a school shop are by contract supposed to be crushed after serving their purpose. But a fair number still find their way into private hands. An enterprizing guy (like you?) might be able to finagle around and end up with the car.

Good luck!!

Yeah, He said we could sell it, and we might just because the parts are much more expecive compared to the Fords and Toyotas we have. You are correct though, most cars dontated have a large factory defect, and can only be crused. The Lexus was donated by an elderly gentleman.

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I was reading some of the old posts about the brake light staying on.. I checked it today, and its not dim, I would say is just as bright as if the brake was on. So. I really dont want to fix the alternator if its leaked on it, I just replaced it about a week ago.

I do need to check the brake fluid level .I will let you guys know.!

Thanks!

Ryan from Texas.

BUMP!

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The parking brake light comes on when you start the car, no matter if its on or not? What causes that?

Also, The teacher lost the trunk key. And on the 1991 the driver key will not open it. It also seems that the button near the fuel door will not work for the trunk release, but it will work for the fuel door. Why is that? Is there any way to access the trunk now?

Hey Ryan,

The foot mechanism on my 1992 parking brake sometimes sticks a bit, even when the brake is "off". When I release the hand lever I also have to kick my toe under the foot lever and lift a bit to unstick, hey presto light goes out. The parking light is a full red square with a P in it. The brake light circuit fault sensor is an exclaimation mark with brackets = (!) if thats showing the ECU has detected the wrong circuit resistance and thinks there is a bust bulb.

The key you have is the Valet key, so when you drop your car off at the golf course no-one can ever get into your trunk with your keys!

Have fun!

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The parking brake light comes on when you start the car, no matter if its on or not? What causes that?

Also, The teacher lost the trunk key. And on the 1991 the driver key will not open it. It also seems that the button near the fuel door will not work for the trunk release, but it will work for the fuel door. Why is that? Is there any way to access the trunk now?

Hey Ryan,

The foot mechanism on my 1992 parking brake sometimes sticks a bit, even when the brake is "off". When I release the hand lever I also have to kick my toe under the foot lever and lift a bit to unstick, hey presto light goes out. The parking light is a full red square with a P in it. The brake light circuit fault sensor is an exclaimation mark with brackets = (!) if thats showing the ECU has detected the wrong circuit resistance and thinks there is a bust bulb.

The key you have is the Valet key, so when you drop your car off at the golf course no-one can ever get into your trunk with your keys!

Have fun!

Ok, I will try this. I dont know if the brake pedal stays down or not, but I will check it out. I recently found out that a student (not me I promise) was trying to check the brake pads on the car, and he took the entire bracket off. So the brakes need to be bled. The brake fluid could be low, causing the light to come on right?

Thanks!

Ryan

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Ok, UPDATE! :D

It break fluid was low, no problem. Fixed that.

Now my two problems are:

Trunk release not working

PS fluid leaking!

On the Ps unit, I looked at the hose, and they dont appear to be cracked and both are hooked up correctly, so does the entire pump leak?

thanks!

Ryan

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Ok, UPDATE! :D

It brake fluid was low, no problem. Fixed that.

Now my two problems are:

Trunk release not working

PS fluid leaking!

On the Ps unit, I looked at the hose, and they dont appear to be cracked and both are hooked up correctly, so does the entire pump leak?

thanks!

Ryan

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Hello Ryan,

Glad to see you're taking auto shop. Like yourself I am also a "newbie" albeit a few generations older. I am not offering any answers to your dilemma, but instead a few observations. I remember when I took Auto Shop in high school back in (cough, cough) 1964 and my project was rebuilding a Ford flathead V8. Ask your teacher if you don't know what that is, if he's old enough he can explain!

If you really want the Lexus, maybe you can offer your Mustang in trade. :P Just kidding, settle down a little! You are so fortunate to own a vehicle like that. Most of us my age started out in cars one step away from the salvage yard. The nice thing about that however is virtually everything we needed was available there.

You're going to pick up some valuable lifetime skills and will save a bundle of money as you'll wind up doing most of your own maintenance. You'll be surprised at how many folks are willing to pay you for things they cannot handle themselves.

Anyhow, welcome and good luck to you.

Brett

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