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Need Advice On Mods For 92' Sc400


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Welcome to the lexus club.... Do a BFI, Big Freaking Intake for starters, upgrade the exhaust to Magnaflow to 14289's, delete the 3 cats, maybe the resonators, put in a 10 inch X-pipe where the 3rd cat is, depending on how loud you want it, get a dragon torque converter for the transmission. Upgrade the struts and mounts, get some wider tires, change all the lower bushings, and finally the engine and motor mounts. Convert the cornering lights into fogs, and maybe a lowering kit of a inch. There are so many things you can do... Just read the forums, if this is your first SC. Keep an eye on the power steering for leaks, window regulators going bad, climate control display problems, cluster gauges going black, crazy idle problems, and trunk shocks going bad. This is off the top of my head! Lets help this new guy out!

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I also just bought a 1992 sc400, and if you yours is anything like mine here are my suggestions:

Do motor mounts and torque converter first since doing mods= aggressive driving. Dragon TC is expensive, go with Lextreme if possible.

Send guage cluster off to Lextech to get rebuilt. You can go OEM colors or complete custom needles and backlight. My car is green, so im doing green needles, white background, and nice green climate control unit. Shipped today can't wait to get back.

Also, get some nice leather covers from leatherseats.com or a local upholstery shop, you are in most constant contact with seats so new leather will really make you love it.

Trunk struts as stated make a HUGE difference in just the normal use of the car and its easy and cheap.

Stock headlights are good, but HID conversion kits are cheap and work amazing compared to stock bulbs. Not just new bulbs, whole ballast and wiring kit.

Taking it to Portland in a few weeks for a UNICHIP. Google it and read planetsoarer.com reviews on the products, 10% power and much better drivability.

Drain and refill all fluids!!!! This is a must BEFORE you mess with anything else.

Also, don't know if this helps anybody but i hear a lot of forum users complain about steering tracking off and jolting you around sometimes, seams random and bad on poor roads. I had this problem with stock height tires, and switched to used 205/60r16s and 100% better. No tracking, NONE!

Polish lights with wet/dry and polish to get rid of pits and yellowing/oxidization. Probably wont be perfect, but after markets look like poo and don't last and OEM are spendy. It will hold you over.

Tune-up : plugs, wires, caps, rotors, coils, water pump, bearings, tensioners, belts(accessory and timing) and a good tune and timing. These are essential.

Basically our cars are soooo old that just doing all the maintenance items that you don't have records of being done recently need to be addressed. This will surprise you throughout powerband and just daily driving. Gives you a better starting point and base for comparison of mods and whether they are worth it or not. When i first got it was shopping for performance parts, now i'm just trying to make it factory fresh so i have a NICE car to build off of and not a 17 year old beater, which is how i bought it for $2000. That $2000 has risen to over $4600 with just maintenance and i'm not even half done. Dang these cars are spendy, but amazing. If i got too off topic i'm sorry, work is sloooowwww.

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Wow. These forums are like a barren wasteland. I prefer how the forum is setup, but dang no one is ever on here. Anyways, just wondering how your SC is coming about. The more you drive it the more you will find yourself wanting to fix little things. The Lexus demands the passionate persuit of perfection. The sc400 is capable of BIG HP #'s, but you also have to have deep pockets and a lot of time. If this is your daily driver believe me, you don't want to start getting into headers($700+ plus 4+ hours install time), cams(from $750-1500 + 4+hrs install time), cat back(from $800-1500 depending which setup you choose) turbos(minimun $2000 + all fab and install and tune time) or supercharger($3000+ fab work, install, and tune). If you wanna go fast look into a sc300 and sell the sc400. Sc300 is a better platform for supra TT 2jz w/6speed as it shares the same wiring harness. The sc400 would be about 10hrs more time just for wiring, and thats if you've got a magician doing it. I was like you, i bought my SC and thought, wow, now i finally have a car that is fast and i can make it ridiculous fast with just minor mods. This is not the case. About $3000 into it and you can probably expect an extra 50 ponies, and thats if everything else is tip-top. Hope i'm not bursting your bubble, but the 400 is for cruising, and if your well-off and have nothing else to do, by all means. But if your well off, you probably wouldn't have purchased a 17yr old SC, lol :rolleyes: Just trying to save the headache and the heartache of when it breaks(when not if with mods). Take it easy, seriously.

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Congratulations on your purchase. I just recently purchased a 92 SC400 myself and absolutly love it. I would suggest doing any maintnence that you don't have records for first. A Lexus will stay so reliable with regular maint. I wouldn't listen to BenLEXus yes the cars will cost you more than some other cars and take a little more time but nothing worth having will come cheap or easy. If cheap with little work is what your looking for then drive a Honda if you want a nice car with TONS of potential then a Lexus is exactly what you want. I would put an intake on it and free up the exhaust a little first and go from there which should sound really good with the roar of the V8. Hope you and your Lexus come along nicely. Good luck.

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I wouldn't listen to BenLEXus yes the cars will cost you more than some other cars and take a little more time but nothing worth having will come cheap or easy.

Thats fine, don't listen to me. Throw a couple turbos on that bad boy and blow the tranny out. WTF, its only money right. I wasn't saying don't mod your SC, i was just warning a new owner of what he's getting into. Go fast is not cheap with these cars. If you want cheap go honda like spddemon3652 said. I've got an old beat !Removed! civic that looks like crap, sounds like crap, rides like crap and pulls 13 second 1/4 runs all day long and the whole project cost under $3000 with me doing all the swap work and fabrication. Also have a 900hp (had 1200hp on dyno, then changed cams and lowered supercharger boost to 7lbs)71' chevelle thats got over $25k in the engine that will light em' up going 100 on the freeway at half throttle(never been able to go full, need 4-link). The SC auto transmission leeches about 30% or more of your power. So theoretically the best mod to start with would be 6-speed supra manual and supra lsd differential with 4.27 gears, as you would see increases in Whp right away, and have better control over powerband. Do what you want, but with 200k miles if you start modding somethings gonna break and it ain't cool when its the only reasonable vehicle you have to drive. Maybe i'll sell the Chevelle this year and get going on the SC <_<

Good luck.

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I apologize BenLEXus. It just sounded to me like you were trying to convince him to sell his car and not help him with ideas. I was by no means trying to imply that you don't know what your talking about. I'm just saying that it would prob be a better idea to give him the positives about the car not try to discourage him.

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I think i may have come off so negative because i was dissapointed when i started doing the math on modifying my on sc400. I did not mean to start throwing negatives out there, and i apologize for coming off like that. Plenty of people make there sc400's REAL fast and have the time and resources to do so. Mod on and please share any +'s and -'s you have experienced in the meantime. One thing you find is that if cash is the issue you can always figure a cheaper way to get your project going if you search around enough and spend some time on r&d. I have been trying to find some after market motor mounts for some time now that don't cost $300+(Megans) so just today i found a post froma guy with an sc300 who made his motor mounts from raw polyurethane rods purchased from home depot for around $20. Sounds like my next budget mod B)

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Does anyone have advice on how to get a better sound out of my car? i at least want it to sound like it has some power! and any suggestions on headlights? i'm thinking halo projector head lights and converting those BS cornering lights into fog lights. all help is wanted!

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New mufflers would be the cheapest way to go. A lot of people cut out the center cat and use a bigger center pipe as well. I like this setup with full length headers, new cats, x-pipe, and new mufflers. True dual exhaust. post-90571-1239030404_thumb.jpg

I personally think the aftermarket projectors look horrible on the car. Try to find some pics on the car before you buy, in the daytime they look bad but just my opinion. I bought some 5000k cheapy ebay lights and they look and work good for the $8 they cost. I'm waiting on a HID kit and i'll keep you posted as to whether it was worth it or not. Aftermarket only $55 another ebay special.

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The SC400 is more of a grand touring automobile. It will be very expensive to change it into a hot rod/road racer. The later 1998-2000 cars are faster (290hp) and have a 5 speed auto. In order to get that kind of performance from an older 250-260HP SC400 you will need to spend a lot of time and money (torque converter/headers/exhaust/engine management chips), For those mods ask JIBBBY and brouse planetsoarer.com.

I would suggest changing the fluids & filters:

1)synthetic mobil one oil and synthetic mobil one rear differential fluid.

2)slow change over to toyota T4 automatic transmission fluid (drop the pan and drain 3-4 times over a year or two with oil changes; don't flush high mile cars~!)

3)flush and replace brake fluid and install SS braided brake lines.

4)new motor mounts and transmission mounts if necessary (cures vibration)

5)Goodyear Eagle F1 GS D3 tires for warm weather only driving (best in rain) or check tirerack.com for all weather choices.

6)Try the forum for inexpensive fixes for yellow headlight lenses. Meguires make a good plastic polish and Flitz should also work.

7)If you don't want to spend for HID replacement headlamps, try toshiba HIR bulbs from candlelight.com

Again, if you want more speed and quickness, you should look for a 1998-2000 SC400 as it probably is cheaper to buy than upgrading an older SC400 to get the same performance. However, I like the older more rounded body style.

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Grand touring car indeed, one of the best!

Thats what im gonna do. Sell the 1992(breaks my heart after only 2 months of ownership) and get an old $1000 accord until i can afford a 1998(vvti) or better sc400, or any sc300 for a twin turbo swap. Rather have the near 300hp v8 but i'll wait it out and see what comes my way.

On a lighter note, i got my true HID kit with ballasts and all. Got the 5000k bulbs with the kit. Really is plug and play. Cost me $55 with shipping on ebay and i parked my sc400 next to my fiends with silverstars (which cost more) and the hids win hands down. I love parking head-in at business' with big windows out front so i can see how sweet it looks. I can drive faster at night too because i have more distance. Only did the low-beams but low and high are on when you flip the highs, so i can see for miles. HIGHLY recommended for looks and safety.

Anyone find OEM front motor mounts anywhere at a reasonable price? I've ordered from Partsgeek.com, partswarehouse.com, and they took my money and then refunded a few days later stated the products are out of stock. WTF? Anybody order and actually get them? Don't want to splurge for polyurethane since i'm gonna sell the car in the next few months. Anybody want a recently serviced 1992 w/190k?

As far as cost of exhaust systems, headers are gonna run $700ish from s&s headers, and axle-back kits are in the $400-700 range but i would imagine you could get something custom on the cat-back section for around the same price and get some better performance. Keeping stock system and changing headers would probably see better gains than just doing cat-back considering the stock manifolds are horrible for even flow and the stock cat-back section is good to 400+hp(same as sc300 TT). If you just want noise then new mufflers is probably all you need, maybe a custom test pipe in place of center cat(cutting and welding required).

And be careful with higher mileage engines and full synthetic. I didn't have a slightly leaking rear crank seal before i did a full synthetic oil change. Fresh oil dripped a lot, now 2 months old and drips a little(yes i have topped off). Its a bummer, may be unrelated to synthetic, but just a heads up.

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