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TxRedMan

My First Lexus; 94 Ls400, Please Share Your Thoughts!

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Cliffs notes at bottom!

My Grandparents both drove LS400's back when they were "the" car to drive in the mid 1990's. I drove both of them several times as a teenager and always had an affinity for this make and model of car.

I moved to Las Vegas a year ago and sold my '07 Tahoe and bought a motorcycle to get around on. I quickly realized I'd need four wheel transportation for the summer months, so I went looking. I searched high and low and after looking at about fifty caddilacs, mercedes, and other brands, the first Lexus I found, I bought.

She has 164,000 miles. The morning after I brought her home I took her across the street to my mechanic who did an oil change, and despite my desire to run only synthetics, and not knowing this cars oil history, I went with conventional oil; Quaker State w/ Slick 50. I was afraid of running synthetic in a car that had 164,000 conventional oil miles.

I've noticed that when I park the car there is a very small oil leak that only seems to occur when the car is parked, never a trace of smoke, and it is not a prolonged leak. I didn't notice the leak pan in the guys garage until I had already bought the car, which I did at night, it was a bit impusive but she's in near new condition outside and doesn't show her age on the inside, and she runs and rides like a lexus and the a/c is cold and blows hard, so for $4000 I knew I couldn't do any better with my budget.

A couple of things:

The parking brake comes on occasionally

The CD player says "err" even after running a Maxwell CD cleaner through the disc changer in disc slot #1

There is a brake light that does not light up but is not burned out on the upper left hand side, and it is indicated on the dash.

The A/C screens that would display time, etc, do not work anymore.

A very small oil leak when the car is parked. Never any smoke, and it doesn't leak unless you drive the car and then park it.

She runs and rides like someone really took care of her. I believe I am the 3'rd owner and I believe the first owner put the first 150,000 miles on the car, perhaps the first 160,000, and I was told by the seller that he had replaced some seals in the transmission after he bought it, but like I said, she runs and rides beautifully and shifts without notice and absorbs bumps as soft as I remember a new 1994 Lexus riding 15 years ago when I was a teenager. I hope to drive her forever. I would greatly appreciate anyone who can offer some advice to correct the issues (or non-issues I suppose) I described above.

I'm not looking to put much money into the car, but I would like to correct the leak and know what to expect from my car in the next 20-30K miles, and also, if anyone knows a good Lexus mechanic in Las Vegas, I'd be obliged for a connection to one to fix the slight oil leak.

Hope my first post wasn't too long!

-Tex

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Hi Welcome to the LOC

Here goes with the answers

"The parking brake comes on occasionally"

Do you mean the brake physically comes on or the warning light comes on?

The CD player says "err" even after running a Maxwell CD cleaner through the disc changer in disc slot #1

The trunk mounted CD player cartridge must have the CDs load with the playing side up label side down in the cart slots.

There is a brake light that does not light up but is not burned out on the upper left hand side, and it is indicated on the dash.

Check the wiring and bulb holder.

The A/C screens that would display time, etc, do not work anymore.

Very common it will be blacked out, do a search on here for LCD or Ebay.com They can be repaired for around $200.00 I think or if you are ok with electronics you can buy the display and fit yourself.

A very small oil leak when the car is parked. Never any smoke, and it doesn't leak unless you drive the car and then park it.

Is it oil,tranny fluid or power steering fluid a location from where it is leaking would help. Again it's not water from the air con is it?

All in all nothing too major enjoy your new ride :D

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Hi Welcome to the LOC

Here goes with the answers

"The parking brake comes on occasionally"

Do you mean the brake physically comes on or the warning light comes on?

The CD player says "err" even after running a Maxwell CD cleaner through the disc changer in disc slot #1

The trunk mounted CD player cartridge must have the CDs load with the playing side up label side down in the cart slots.

There is a brake light that does not light up but is not burned out on the upper left hand side, and it is indicated on the dash.

Check the wiring and bulb holder.

The A/C screens that would display time, etc, do not work anymore.

Very common it will be blacked out, do a search on here for LCD or Ebay.com They can be repaired for around $200.00 I think or if you are ok with electronics you can buy the display and fit yourself.

A very small oil leak when the car is parked. Never any smoke, and it doesn't leak unless you drive the car and then park it.

Is it oil,tranny fluid or power steering fluid a location from where it is leaking would help. Again it's not water from the air con is it?

All in all nothing too major enjoy your new ride :D

The fluid is oil, this i'm sure of. It leaks from underneath where the CD player is located in the car, for a general idea. Essentially upper center of the car. It's almost so little it's nothing to worry about in the short term, but I want this car to reach 200K miles (at least) so it's something I'd prefer to address now rather than later.

The parking brake light comes on, the red light that indicated your parking brake is engaged. I've had all the fluids checked, and they were all fine except for the power steering which was low, which was almost giving me a heart attack when I finally heard it on the way home and found out what an issue it can be, but that sound went away when the fluid was topped off.

I had no idea the CD's had to be inserted upside down! I never would have figured this out, thanks a ton!

Also, if anyone can chime in, I drive this car like it's fragile, even though it's not. She rarely goes over 3000 revs, and while my granny foor might annoy the indy car drivers of Las Vegas, I prefer to take turns slow, let the car coast when it can, and take it easy on the engine.....like I said, I want this car to last for a long, long time. Any preventative maintenance ideas specific to the LS400 I would love to hear, and any issues common with this model and mileage I'd also love to be made aware of other than the power steering problem, as I've already read about what that can be!

Steve- (and everyone else)

What oil do you run in your LS?

This is my first time going conventional and I almost felt dirty putting it in my car, but I just thought it was too risky going synthetic on a motor that might have 15 years of conventional oil on it.

Thanks you very much for your reply, I really appreciate your input!

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Hello and welcome. Well, I cant offer too much help, but I will add something. :)

Oil leak, I am unsure of. AFAIK, thats pretty uncommon on these cars. This is my 2nd LS (1991), it has 222K and my other (1990 and the one in my avatar) had 260K and neither ever leaked a drop of oil, but wow, does my current one leak power steering fluid! :o

If your PS fluid was low - check for leaks carefully. Power steering pump leaks have plagued (or will soon plague) every 1990-94 LS400 on the road. Its a given. They have lousy PS pumps compared to the rest of the cars qualities. If its low, its probably leaking. Hopefully it had just evaporated or something.

Parking brake light. My car started doing this about 8 months ago when the car was running and with the brake off. It would sometimes be dim, then it got brighter, then dim again, etc. I was told it was likely where my power steering fluid was leaking into the alternator (its below the PS pump) and it was causing the alternator to weaken, causing the light to come on. Strange, I know. I questioned it too, and wondered why it was not the battery light that was not illuminated, rather than the brake light. Anyway, mine stopped coming on about a month ago, but the light still works, so I am not sure what changed. I never really got a straight answer. My dealer (one of the local Toyota dealers) said it was where I had two brake lights, one tail light and one license plate light burned out, but they are still out and the brake lights not coming on now. Shows what they know though because according to the owners manual, it mentions nothing of this... it said the brake warning light either means the service brake (parking brake) is applied, or the brake fluid level is low. There is a rear light failure warning light, but mine is burned out... I guess from where the back lights have been out for so long. It needs a warning light for your burned out warning light. lol.

Oil used... not sure. I either take mine to the local Lexus or Toyota dealer and let them change it. They use Castrol I think.

Hope this helps.

The fluid is oil, this i'm sure of. It leaks from underneath where the CD player is located in the car, for a general idea. Essentially upper center of the car. It's almost so little it's nothing to worry about in the short term, but I want this car to reach 200K miles (at least) so it's something I'd prefer to address now rather than later.

The parking brake light comes on, the red light that indicated your parking brake is engaged. I've had all the fluids checked, and they were all fine except for the power steering which was low, which was almost giving me a heart attack when I finally heard it on the way home and found out what an issue it can be, but that sound went away when the fluid was topped off.

I had no idea the CD's had to be inserted upside down! I never would have figured this out, thanks a ton!

Also, if anyone can chime in, I drive this car like it's fragile, even though it's not. She rarely goes over 3000 revs, and while my granny foor might annoy the indy car drivers of Las Vegas, I prefer to take turns slow, let the car coast when it can, and take it easy on the engine.....like I said, I want this car to last for a long, long time. Any preventative maintenance ideas specific to the LS400 I would love to hear, and any issues common with this model and mileage I'd also love to be made aware of other than the power steering problem, as I've already read about what that can be!

Steve- (and everyone else)

What oil do you run in your LS?

This is my first time going conventional and I almost felt dirty putting it in my car, but I just thought it was too risky going synthetic on a motor that might have 15 years of conventional oil on it.

Thanks you very much for your reply, I really appreciate your input!

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I run mine on fully synthetic 5w-30 Texaco Havoline mainly because it's only around $20.00 for 5 litres from a UK supermarket chain.

Having said that it has only done 60,000 miles from new.

As for the oil leak it sounds from the position as if it could be the sump plug did you replace the copper washer on it when the oil was changed?

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I run mine on fully synthetic 5w-30 Texaco Havoline mainly because it's only around $20.00 for 5 litres from a UK supermarket chain.

Having said that it has only done 60,000 miles from new.

As for the oil leak it sounds from the position as if it could be the sump plug did you replace the copper washer on it when the oil was changed?

just got it back from the shop across the street....not a lexus shop, but a mechanic i generally trust, only he wasnt there today, and his stand-in and I didn't have the same wave length...it felt like asking a Dr. who was in a big hurry what a corotid artery was.

NEWS:

It needs the lower oil pan gasket replaced ($20), and they also said that it needs a new halfshaft....the guy who looked at it said "it looks like it's been spraying fluid for a while now".....something they missed when I took it in the day after I bought it.....so I'm torn.....thinking about taking it to another place for another look.....

Like I'm telling everyone, you cannot tell there is anything wrong with the car except for the brake light not lighting up in the back and the parking brake light randomly coming on.....it had lost 1/4 of a quart of oil over 600 city miles during summer in Vegas, so obviously the leak is small, but while I never noticed it being a constant drip, the mechanic who told me it was 1/4 quart low said it was a steady drip......

Guys, I'm torn here. I think a second opinion is in order, i'm thinking about trying to bribe a Lexus tech to give it a good once over, as I've said before, I want this car to last.

Funny thing: I've always liked Lucas products. They work. They don't void warranties. I bought a bottle of oil stop leak that you use in combo w/ your oil and this place advised against it, but even more odd, was that they advised against what I thought might be a genius preventative maintenance idea- put a bottle of power steering stop leak (guaranteed to stop leaks) in my PS reservoir, and, voila, no issue with leaky power steering pump.....but this seems a little too simple.....

(note: i have no leaky power steering right now....just trying to prevent it from when it apparently happens....but there's also about a 80% chance it already happened with the guy who put the 1st 155,000 miles on it)

Oh and steve, TYVM!!!! I turned my CD's faceup (or down, w/e), and I had beautiful sweet music in my car again! Brother if you're ever in Las Vegas I'll buy you lunch!

Also, what would be noticeable about the halfshaft when it was ready to giveout? It's only a $100 part, but I can't change it myself....probably cost me $200 in labor......I'm just not that mechanically inclined....nor do I think I have the tools....but I'm wondering about changing it, and whether it's something that you should wait until there's a noticeable difference in driveability before replacing.....I had a leaky rear end on my 07 tahoe when it was damn near brand new and put 30,000 more miles on it (mostly b/c I didn't think it needed to be addressed until I could sense some distress in the way it rode)

Guys,

HELP!

Signed,

Paranoid owner of a soon to be 170,000 mile car

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I run mine on fully synthetic 5w-30 Texaco Havoline mainly because it's only around $20.00 for 5 litres from a UK supermarket chain.

Having said that it has only done 60,000 miles from new.

As for the oil leak it sounds from the position as if it could be the sump plug did you replace the copper washer on it when the oil was changed?

just got it back from the shop across the street....not a lexus shop, but a mechanic i generally trust, only he wasnt there today, and his stand-in and I didn't have the same wave length...it felt like asking a Dr. who was in a big hurry what a corotid artery was.

NEWS:

It needs the lower oil pan gasket replaced ($20), and they also said that it needs a new halfshaft....the guy who looked at it said "it looks like it's been spraying fluid for a while now".....something they missed when I took it in the day after I bought it.....so I'm torn.....thinking about taking it to another place for another look.....

Like I'm telling everyone, you cannot tell there is anything wrong with the car except for the brake light not lighting up in the back and the parking brake light randomly coming on.....it had lost 1/4 of a quart of oil over 600 city miles during summer in Vegas, so obviously the leak is small, but while I never noticed it being a constant drip, the mechanic who told me it was 1/4 quart low said it was a steady drip......

Guys, I'm torn here. I think a second opinion is in order, i'm thinking about trying to bribe a Lexus tech to give it a good once over, as I've said before, I want this car to last.

Funny thing: I've always liked Lucas products. They work. They don't void warranties. I bought a bottle of oil stop leak that you use in combo w/ your oil and this place advised against it, but even more odd, was that they advised against what I thought might be a genius preventative maintenance idea- put a bottle of power steering stop leak (guaranteed to stop leaks) in my PS reservoir, and, voila, no issue with leaky power steering pump.....but this seems a little too simple.....

(note: i have no leaky power steering right now....just trying to prevent it from when it apparently happens....but there's also about a 80% chance it already happened with the guy who put the 1st 155,000 miles on it)

Oh and steve, TYVM!!!! I turned my CD's faceup (or down, w/e), and I had beautiful sweet music in my car again! Brother if you're ever in Las Vegas I'll buy you lunch!

Also, what would be noticeable about the halfshaft when it was ready to giveout? It's only a $100 part, but I can't change it myself....probably cost me $200 in labor......I'm just not that mechanically inclined....nor do I think I have the tools....but I'm wondering about changing it, and whether it's something that you should wait until there's a noticeable difference in driveability before replacing.....I had a leaky rear end on my 07 tahoe when it was damn near brand new and put 30,000 more miles on it (mostly b/c I didn't think it needed to be addressed until I could sense some distress in the way it rode)

Guys,

HELP!

Signed,

Paranoid owner of a soon to be 170,000 mile car

Bump for news:

Took it in for a 2'nd opinion and this independent mechanic said that my lower oil pan gasket needed to be replaced. Okay, so both independent mechanics agree on this one.

But this mechanic said that the entire half shaft didn't need to be replaced. He didn't go into great detail but he said "you could replace the halfshaft now, but since it's not even vibrating and the leak is so small it's not mandatory.

Opinions, please.

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I run mine on fully synthetic 5w-30 Texaco Havoline mainly because it's only around $20.00 for 5 litres from a UK supermarket chain.

Having said that it has only done 60,000 miles from new.

As for the oil leak it sounds from the position as if it could be the sump plug did you replace the copper washer on it when the oil was changed?

just got it back from the shop across the street....not a lexus shop, but a mechanic i generally trust, only he wasnt there today, and his stand-in and I didn't have the same wave length...it felt like asking a Dr. who was in a big hurry what a corotid artery was.

NEWS:

It needs the lower oil pan gasket replaced ($20), and they also said that it needs a new halfshaft....the guy who looked at it said "it looks like it's been spraying fluid for a while now".....something they missed when I took it in the day after I bought it.....so I'm torn.....thinking about taking it to another place for another look.....

The PS pump has a non essential plug just above the alt. If the pump is off it's easy to remove and plug. Otherwise, it's a PITA to get to, but can be done. Be sure to remove as much fluid as possible so it's below the Alt. I used a suction device which looks similar to a grease gun and sucked out the old fluid. Then, get under the car and there is a canister like piece on the driver's side of the rack assembly. Carefully remove it and clean out the screen inside. A good bit of fluid will come out of the rack. Now, fill the pump up with new fluid and while the car is running turn the steering wheel from lock to lock several times to get out all air. You can also fill the resivoir and leave the cap off overnight and a good bit od the air will escape. There are DIYS at http://www.lexls.com/ . I did these things and have no problems!

Like I'm telling everyone, you cannot tell there is anything wrong with the car except for the brake light not lighting up in the back and the parking brake light randomly coming on.....it had lost 1/4 of a quart of oil over 600 city miles during summer in Vegas, so obviously the leak is small, but while I never noticed it being a constant drip, the mechanic who told me it was 1/4 quart low said it was a steady drip......

Guys, I'm torn here. I think a second opinion is in order, i'm thinking about trying to bribe a Lexus tech to give it a good once over, as I've said before, I want this car to last.

Funny thing: I've always liked Lucas products. They work. They don't void warranties. I bought a bottle of oil stop leak that you use in combo w/ your oil and this place advised against it, but even more odd, was that they advised against what I thought might be a genius preventative maintenance idea- put a bottle of power steering stop leak (guaranteed to stop leaks) in my PS reservoir, and, voila, no issue with leaky power steering pump.....but this seems a little too simple.....

(note: i have no leaky power steering right now....just trying to prevent it from when it apparently happens....but there's also about a 80% chance it already happened with the guy who put the 1st 155,000 miles on it)

Oh and steve, TYVM!!!! I turned my CD's faceup (or down, w/e), and I had beautiful sweet music in my car again! Brother if you're ever in Las Vegas I'll buy you lunch!

Also, what would be noticeable about the halfshaft when it was ready to giveout? It's only a $100 part, but I can't change it myself....probably cost me $200 in labor......I'm just not that mechanically inclined....nor do I think I have the tools....but I'm wondering about changing it, and whether it's something that you should wait until there's a noticeable difference in driveability before replacing.....I had a leaky rear end on my 07 tahoe when it was damn near brand new and put 30,000 more miles on it (mostly b/c I didn't think it needed to be addressed until I could sense some distress in the way it rode)

Guys,

HELP!

Signed,

Paranoid owner of a soon to be 170,000 mile car

Bump for news:

Took it in for a 2'nd opinion and this independent mechanic said that my lower oil pan gasket needed to be replaced. Okay, so both independent mechanics agree on this one.

But this mechanic said that the entire half shaft didn't need to be replaced. He didn't go into great detail but he said "you could replace the halfshaft now, but since it's not even vibrating and the leak is so small it's not mandatory.

Opinions, please.

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Good on you for buying a '94!

Glad to know you've got the leaks figured out. My car has 210k on the clock now, with a very slight leak at the steering rack, but that's about it.

I use Mobil 1 10W30, and have done so for years. Don't be afraid of switching to synth. It can't hurt your engine. You might get a bit of extra 'gasket creep' but it's never been an issue for me.

You mentioned Slick 50? Don't use it! It never works as advertised. Teflon needs a completely, utterly clean surface to stick to metal, and a special primer as well. It can't bond to metal on it's own. Think that exists inside an engine? Nope! I've torn down enough engines that had that stuff in it, and here's what I've found: The Teflon tends to come out of suspension and clump inside oil passageways at sharp corners, where the oil flow slows down. I've found completely blocked passageways, starving main & cam bearings, etc., of oil. Another visible manifestation is a whitish scum on top of oil deposits in the lifter valleys, cylinder heads, & oil pans. Normally I would not single out a specific product, but this one's done a lot of harm. DuPont at one time refused to supply them with Teflon, but were sued to reinstate the supply, and DuPont lost. They knew what the consequences were after some research. I think they lost on a technicality. I recommend flushing your engine, and get some synthetic in it! Still want an additive? 1/2 a bottle of STP Oil Treatment instead. That one works, but a full bottle is overkill. That's what I use.

Hope this helps, and enjoy your car! :D

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