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kjlegend13

Help Looking To Buy A 98 Ls400 W/ 70,000 Miles!

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My girlfriend wants a WHITE Lexus and I found a 98 LS 400 with 70,000 miles only for $6,500. I'm going to look at it as we speak and wanted to know what to look for.. I know the water pump and timing belt are coming up if they havent already been done, so how much can I expect to fork out for that?

Also any other main things to look for? The pics show the car in great condition and it has the factory Navigation.

The owner is a small shop and the guy said the "rear brake service" light is on, they replaced the rear brake pads and rotors but the light is still on. Any thoughts?

I'll check back in after I look at it and hopefully have a better idea of what to look for.

Thanks in advance! Hope to be a LS owner soon :)

--> side note: she was looking at a 98 GS400 with 121,000 on it with navi etc... Drove decent, and looks decent. I got him down from $7,000 to $5,500 so we have some decent options to choose from. What do ya think!?

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If you are in Wisconsin, get heated seats. That trumps everything else. Aye? :P

If the brake light is still on, they probably did not get the sensor correctly re-positioned.

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My girlfriend wants a WHITE Lexus and I found a 98 LS 400 with 70,000 miles only for $6,500. I'm going to look at it as we speak and wanted to know what to look for.. I know the water pump and timing belt are coming up if they havent already been done, so how much can I expect to fork out for that?

Probably around $1,000 plus or minus a hundred or three depending if you have the work done at an indie shop or a Lexus dealer. I had the timing belt, water pump and all the related parts on my similar 00 LS400 replaced in 2007 at an indie repair shop for right at $900 not including tax.

Also any other main things to look for? The pics show the car in great condition and it has the factory Navigation.

It probably best to avoid 98-00 LS400's with navigation and air suspension. The last navigation hard drive update for the 98-00 LS/GS navigation system was in about 2004 -- it's woefully out of date.

The owner is a small shop and the guy said the "rear brake service" light is on, they replaced the rear brake pads and rotors but the light is still on. Any thoughts?

It could be as simple as a rear brake wear sensor. If the front or rear brake wear sensor triggers a brake service message on the display, it usually means that the brake sensor has to be replaced -- maybe around $75 for parts and labor.

1998 was a transitional model year for the LS400 with some of the options being priced separately instead of in packages as in the 1999 and 2000 model years. Become familiar with the available options: http://www.lexus.com/contact/pdf/1998/1998LSspecs.pdf

HID headlights were an option and a fairly high percentage of 1998 LS400's don't have them compared to the 99-00 LS400. Factory HID headlights can not be properly retrofited to a car without them.

Also, you might want to avoid cars with the optional Nakamichi audio system since repair parts are no longer available and Lexus no longer supplies rebuilt Nakamichi components on an exchange basis.

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Okay just went and looked at it.

The 70,000 actual miles arent correct according to carfax. Carfax says the last service done was in 2008 at 78,000 miles... Dealer doesnt know whats up but says its no big deal of course... I drives very nice and doesnt seem like there would be much more than the 78k from before honestly.

Navigation seemed to work fine and I didnt notice the brand of stereo.

The car has factory HID's also :)

They were asking $8,000 before finding out about the carfax problem and lowered it to $7ish and now to $6500.

There are a couple small dents in a couple places and a few light scratches to be expected. The front windshield has a crack along the very bottom but he claims he'll give me a windshield on Monday for $200 installed.

Then there is the Key, he only has one key and the one key he has is; well, kind broken, its broken at the base of the key and looks like it wont last long and will have to be replaced. How much could this cost me?

Other than all of that it seems to be a great car and I am pretty mechanically inclined to fix small problems myself. What do ya' all think?

The good:

Shifts smooth

Accelerates strong

Handles like a dream

Clean in and out

new tires

seems like a good price for the displayed mileage

Thanks again sooo much help! Sorry for the long rant and unorganized post (I'm in a huge rush)..

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It sounds like a good price for that year unless there is an issue with the mileage. It could have been a mistake when the service was documented but who knows. If the car has been taken care of and serviced and you continue to do the same you can expect to get 250 - 300k miles out of it. When that car sold new the sticker probably upwards around $60k. You should consider that if you don't keep the car the carfax issue will cost you on the re-sale price when you get ready to sell.

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Yeah I'm beginning to believe it was a mistake. Think about it, a car that will easily last 250k+ would they really be concerned about 30-50k miles at this point to ruin the entire value of the car? I dont think so... But since it is over 10 years old the DMV doesnt care whether the mileage matches or not and it is officially exempt. Whatever that means :)

Either way I plan on keeping this car for at least a few years if not forever. We plan on doing all required services now and in the future as planned to ensure the vehicle lasts its entirety.

I thank you guys for your help since I am a "newbie" in the Lexus world...so far :)

I'll post some pictures as soon as she is officially ours. :Fingers crossed:

About the air ride suspension, how will I know if it is air ride or not? I didnt notice while looking. As for the Navigation, I suppose if its a little out of date thats okay since we have wonderful tools like the iPhone today which helps when I'm lost. The most concern I have is that I can not exchange the navigation/radio unit for an aftermarket head unit. Unless someone can tell me otherwise I'm assuming I have to leave this stock? Unless I want to lose the stock navigation?

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Besides covering little of the US outside larger cities, a problem with the 98-00 LS navigation is that it controls the HVAC system. If the screen goes, so does control of your heating and air conditioning.

Some 98-00 GS owners have removed their OEM navigation systems and used the HVAC controls from non-nav cars when installing an aftermarket audio system -- I've never heard of anyone doing that in a 98-00 LS400 but it might be possible ... HVAC control modules are cheap on eBay. The amplifier that comes with the nav system appears to be the same amp that is used with the standard Pioneer audio system.

A 98-00 with navigation isn't going to have Nakamichi. I provided the information about Nakamichi in case you want to avoid the car with navigation and keep looking.

98-00 LS400's with air suspension have two extra switches (height and sport/normal) near the shift lever in front of the power/normal/snow switch. Although air suspension was a fairly inexpensive option on the 98-00 LS and is most commonly found on cars with navigation -- it can be very troublesome and expensive to repair. Many replace the air suspension with conventional suspension components from companies like Strutmaster.

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Besides covering little of the US outside larger cities, a problem with the 98-00 LS navigation is that it controls the HVAC system. If the screen goes, so does control of your heating and air conditioning.

Some 98-00 GS owners have removed their OEM navigation systems and used the HVAC controls from non-nav cars when installing an aftermarket audio system -- I've never heard of anyone doing that in a 98-00 LS400 but it might be possible ... HVAC control modules are cheap on eBay. The amplifier that comes with the nav system appears to be the same amp that is used with the standard Pioneer audio system.

A 98-00 with navigation isn't going to have Nakamichi. I provided the information about Nakamichi in case you want to avoid the car with navigation and keep looking.

98-00 LS400's with air suspension have two extra switches (height and sport/normal) near the shift lever in front of the power/normal/snow switch. Although air suspension was a fairly inexpensive option on the 98-00 LS and is most commonly found on cars with navigation -- it can be very troublesome and expensive to repair. Many replace the air suspension with conventional suspension components from companies like Strutmaster.

My 1998 LS400 has the Nav, HID self leveling headlights. wood, CD, Analog (non useable) phone in console & Pioneer stereo. Fully decked out @ $58K new, I have the original window sticker. But thank God it does NOT have the air suspension, so as the above poster says, if those two rocker swiches are not on the console, you have conventional coil suspension. Which is a lot better. Sounds like a great buy. Go for it.

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Thanks again guys. We got the car!

I do not have the switch for the suspension so it looks like I got lucky :)

Everything worked out great and I even saved another $100 by negotiating hard with the guy. (He was extremely firm on the 6500 asking price)..

There are a few nicks and things around the car which I intend to fix up but for the time being I'll be enjoying this wonderful car.

I was just driving my parents 2008 Honda Ridgeliner and the Lexus drives as good if not better than this brand new car with 28,000 miles lol.

I'll post pics later

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I was just driving my parents 2008 Honda Ridgeliner and the Lexus drives as good if not better than this brand new car with 28,000 miles lol.

I'll post pics later

I should hope it would drive MUCH BETTER than that Ridgeline LOL

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Sorry no pics yet, but just wanted to update everyone.

So far we LOVE the car, I'm trying to find some wheels for it now... Any suggestions? Size? Offset, Etc?? I just think the stock wheels date the look of the car wayy too much.

Also a cool thing I found while tinkering was behind the front bumper there were 2 small black boxes, they turn out to be a K40 radar jammer system. I believe these retail ~$1000. Not too sure yet, havnt done any research on it but we'll see :)

I'll post some pics asap.

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Sorry no pics yet, but just wanted to update everyone.

So far we LOVE the car, I'm trying to find some wheels for it now... Any suggestions? Size? Offset, Etc?? I just think the stock wheels date the look of the car wayy too much.

Also a cool thing I found while tinkering was behind the front bumper there were 2 small black boxes, they turn out to be a K40 radar jammer system. I believe these retail ~$1000. Not too sure yet, havnt done any research on it but we'll see :)

I'll post some pics asap.

K40 doesn't make or sell radar jammers. It could be a K40 radar detector. I don't think I've ever read a favorable review of a K40 or heard anything but complaints from car owners that had them in their cars. Here is a typical review: http://www.radartest.com/article.asp?articleid=1064

Personally, I wouldn't go to anything more than a 17" wheel and 225/55-17 tires on a 98 LS400 if you are going to preserve some semblance of the cars pleasantly soft ride. That's the size that was optional on the 01-02 LS430. But each to his own.

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Sorry like I said I havent done any research about the K40 that I found on the car yet. I just called it a "radar jammer" because thats the first thing I found when doing a quick google search. I only know or have heard about K40 before because of my local car audio shop who specializes in escort, valentine and K40. Other than that I know nothing about K40 so thank you for the tips. But I guess I'm just excited that it might be something of value we had no knowledge about before buying the car.

Anyways, the wheels I am interested in are definitely an updated stock version of wheel. Preferably a set of LS430 wheels like you mentioned. If I can find a set for a reasonable price their going on the LS.

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Well here are the pics:

009.jpg

008.jpg

005-1.jpg

018.jpg

Got screwed on the wheels (from 95-97) but thats okay I would have been in the market for some newer wheels anyways.

Just got some tint put on it yesterday :)

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very nice!! the wheels arent that bad, if you want to get rid of them, let me know - cause I have 2 on mine that are warped and need replaced!

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I just purchased a '99 that only had one key with a cracked case held together with glue & tape and non-functioning remote, dealer cut a new metal tab and placed the 'guts' into a new case for $85, remote doesn't work but makes a good spare master key. Ordered up a brand new key w/remote for $250 from Lexus dealer plus another $50 for programming. I think another thread mentioned ordering a new fob online for a low as $150 plus the cost of programming, and most locksmiths will make a new key for considerably less than dealer, just don't lose your master key or you're SOL.

Okay just went and looked at it.

he 70,000 actual miles arent correct according to carfax. Carfax says the last service done was in 2008 at 78,000 miles... Dealer doesnt know whats up but says its no big deal of course... I drives very nice and doesnt seem like there would be much more than the 78k from before honestly.

Navigation seemed to work fine and I didnt notice the brand of stereo.

The car has factory HID's also :)

They were asking $8,000 before finding out about the carfax problem and lowered it to $7ish and now to $6500.

There are a couple small dents in a couple places and a few light scratches to be expected. The front windshield has a crack along the very bottom but he claims he'll give me a windshield on Monday for $200 installed.

Then there is the Key, he only has one key and the one key he has is; well, kind broken, its broken at the base of the key and looks like it wont last long and will have to be replaced. How much could this cost me?

Other than all of that it seems to be a great car and I am pretty mechanically inclined to fix small problems myself. What do ya' all think?

The good:

Shifts smooth

Accelerates strong

Handles like a dream

Clean in and out

new tires

seems like a good price for the displayed mileage

Thanks again sooo much help! Sorry for the long rant and unorganized post (I'm in a huge rush)..

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