jeeps005

1997 80,000 Miles W/ Original Timing Belt

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I have a 1997 LS400 with 130,000km (80,000miles) with the original timing belt. I'm planning on selling it this spring, but should I be worried til then? Is there a way to check the belt to see if its ok? The car is a real gem, i would really hate myself if something happend to it but at the same time i dont wanna spend lots of money on the maintenance knowing i will sell it soon. Any advice would be appreciated.

And also, How much (approx.) do you think I can sell it for?

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wow, 14 years on the original timing belt???

friend you are living on borrowed time.. you SHOULD change it NOW.

you would not want to sell it this way without telling the new buyer, and it will hurt the price.

cant you do it yourself? they are not that hard, many tutorials on here.

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I'll second Billy's comments,you have been very lucky it hasn't snapped the composition of the belt deteriorates with age as well as use and your engine is an interference type meaning a wrecked engine when the belt goes.

Also an prospective buyer would be put off if the belt is original because it would make the car look poorly maintained.

You can take off the top belt covers and have a look but it will be at least cracking up,same goes for the idler bearings, tensioner and the water pump.

If you can do it yourself you're looking at around $300.00 for parts ( good kit on bay at the moment) but you would probably cover this when selling.

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Maybe others have information that says otherwise, but I've had Lexus techs and repair shop owners tell me they have never seen an LS timing belt break from fatigue or wear and that the cause of failure has in all cases been the failure of other component -- tensioner, idler, water pump, etc. Based on that information, it would appear to be a waste of time to check the timing belt itself.

By the way, the "timing belt failure" on my first LS was caused by the water pump seizing.

Personally, I would sell the car "as is", discount the price a little and let the next owner worry about replacing the timing belt.

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Maybe others have information that says otherwise, but I've had Lexus techs and repair shop owners tell me they have never seen an LS timing belt break from fatigue or wear and that the cause of failure has in all cases been the failure of other component -- tensioner, idler, water pump, etc. Based on that information, it would appear to be a waste of time to check the timing belt itself.

By the way, the "timing belt failure" on my first LS was caused by the water pump seizing.

Personally, I would sell the car "as is", discount the price a little and let the next owner worry about replacing the timing belt.

I bought a 94LS in 07, with a broke belt at 230K, fixed it and drove til 246k and sold it.

so it will happen.

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I talked to a Lexus mechanic about this at the local dealer when I bought my 98 LS a few years back. He was not at all concerned about the "time" element of the schedule, just the mileage. He said they have never had an LS in there with a broken belt. I am not saying the belt can not break, its just unlikely due to age alone. In truth, I would be more concerned about a water pump seizing up and shredding the belt. If you or a previous owner have faithfully changed the coolant with the correct type every few years, the pump should be fine. If not, or the coolant fluids were mixed with different brands over the years, you could be in danger of a failing pump.

With this said, here is a go at your questions:

Should you be worried? Maybe worried is too strong a term. Concerned perhaps? Yes. You already are, else you would not have posted.

Is there a way to check the belt? Not really. It may "look" fine but be ready to break. On the other hand, it would not hurt to have a look. If it is all cracked, shredded edges and dry-looking, you park the car, pronto.

How much is she worth? Really hard to say w/o more detailed info. Prices fluctuate from region to region. LS's in my area do not sell well, hence lower prices. A 97 "gem" (your idea of a gem may not be someone else's idea of a gem), in excellent condition with 80k miles would be worth about $5k in the states. Deduct for the timing belt coming due if you wish. Do not know about your area but it's basically "caveat emptor" here.

If you want to sell the car in the Spring, I would suggest listing it very soon. It may take a while to find the right buyer.

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Changed my 1995 LS400 timing belt at 96,000 miles, it still had the original on it. Took it to a very reputable Toyota dealer and had the service done there, didn't ask anyone else about the belt. Came back later on for another problem and the actual mechanic came with me for a road test and he was like "I remember changing the timing belt on this last week, we change them all the time but gosh this one was really cracked up, never seen it so bad"

Anyway, depends on how your car is driven as well and what kind of climate you live in. If you live in a cold state, rubber does deteriorate, and if you drive a car hard like the previous owner of our car did which is very evident, the belt will wear down over time. Will it completely break? Eventually!

It also depends on the buyer. If you have a conscious, I would at least inform the buyer about it, let alone they buy the car and don't even know about it, you would be surprised, some innocent family member might get stranded somewhere and stuck with a very big paper weight. Then again you won't recoup much money for your investment on it either. If you can get it done affordable, I got it done at my toyota dealer for $750, parts, tax, labor , everything, ie belt tensioners, water pump, idlers etc. Then show the receipt when your selling it.

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I have a 96 with 50k miles and still the original belt. Until about a year ago the car was only rarely driven and garaged in SoCal. Now it is driven quite frequently and stays outside in NorCal. I was assuming I could wait till the 90k or so before having to spend the $$$ on timing/water/plugs/etc. Does anyone have specific data on timing belt failure due to age? And more importantly is the 96 engine a interference engine where the belt failure will lead to piston/valve collisions?

Thanks.

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Wow thanks for all the great advice! I wasnt expecting so many replies in 1 day. I live in Montreal Canada so yes we do get cold weather. I will ask around to see if I can get the timing belt and water pump replaced for a decent price, but I doubt I will find someone who will do it under 1500$ can. parts and labor. I will post it ASAP at a discounted price and let the buyer know about upcoming maintenance.

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I have a 96 with 50k miles and still the original belt. Until about a year ago the car was only rarely driven and garaged in SoCal. Now it is driven quite frequently and stays outside in NorCal. I was assuming I could wait till the 90k or so before having to spend the $$$ on timing/water/plugs/etc. Does anyone have specific data on timing belt failure due to age? And more importantly is the 96 engine a interference engine where the belt failure will lead to piston/valve collisions?

Thanks.

Yah, it is an interference engine, if the timing belt goes or the water pump goes and leads to timing belt, you can kiss that engine good bye (from what I read), the first generation LS400, didn't matter if timing belt broke, you would just be stranded, but the 1996 yah, if it breaks your done with. Used LS400 engines are pretty cheap though so if you really don't want to spend money on it, and can afford the cost of a used engine , $1000, and labor to change them, at least $1000, then take your chances. Otherwise the $700-900 timing belt/water pump job is well worth it.

They say every 7 years or 90,000 miles, so regardless of mileage, 15 years is a good time to change it for sure in my opinion

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They say every 7 years or 90,000 miles, so regardless of mileage, 15 years is a good time to change it for sure in my opinion

72 months(6 years)/90k miles.

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Ya, 6 years/90000 miles. Some car companies suggest 60,000. But safe to go with the Lexus recommendation, and you gotta know they left a lot of redundancy in that. If they say 6/90,000 then you gotta know the belt not meant to last at all longer than 12/180. If your that far then you are really on borrowed time lol

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Thanks for the replies. It does seem prudent to have the work done. I'm going to go with the following:

- timing belt

- tensioner

- drive belts

- water pump (+coolant)

- spark plugs

- wire set

Transmission fluid, bushings, brakes, etc were all done recently. If I'm missing something then please let me know.

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Just a head's up. I logged on to mylexus.com to check the vehicle history of my car to see if the timing belt was replaced. Unfortunately some of the entries simply say OTHER. However, I noticed that the 30k, 35k, and 40k service were done starting in 2005. At that point the belt would have been 9 years old, 12 years for the 40k service. The service was done at the dealership where the car was purchased and regularly serviced. So I called them to find out if the timing belt was replaced. The service manager looked thru the service orders and told me that it did not appear that the belt was replaced. They said the belt is normally replaced at 60k miles. I pointed out that her service plan calls for the belt to be replaced at 6 years but she was quite clear that it was not replaced at any of these 3 mileage services.

I realize there aren't many low mileage LS 400's on this site but word-to-the-wise, do not rely on Lexus to follow their own service plan. Hope this helps.

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I just bought me a 1997 LS400 Coach Edition with 89990 miles 1 week ago and I don't have no idea if the timing belt had been replaced either.

According to mylexus website the last time the car been in service is for SUBLET at 26100 miles in Nov 2003. What the heck is sublet ??

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I just bought me a 1997 LS400 Coach Edition with 89990 miles 1 week ago and I don't have no idea if the timing belt had been replaced either.

According to mylexus website the last time the car been in service is for SUBLET at 26100 miles in Nov 2003. What the heck is sublet ??

A sublet probably means sublease, which is when someone assumes the lease of anothers vehicle (usually because the first lessee could not afford the payments).

BTW, for some reason, your avatar makes your posts extremely difficult to read. :blink::lol:

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[bTW, for some reason, your avatar makes your posts extremely difficult to read. :blink::lol:

Man I have the same problem too... :)

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my 94 ls400 had 125k miles on it and it had the original timing belt on it. I would replace it because if you're selling it that could be a mark up on the price because it just had some serious maintenance. It's up to you though.

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Ya, 6 years/90000 miles. Some car companies suggest 60,000. But safe to go with the Lexus recommendation, and you gotta know they left a lot of redundancy in that. If they say 6/90,000 then you gotta know the belt not meant to last at all longer than 12/180. If your that far then you are really on borrowed time lol

On my 96 LS the recommended replacement time is 10 years or 150.000 km. (Netherlands, Europe), according to the maintenance schedule delivered with the car. Perhaps there are new insights ?

!Removed! R.

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I don't know if it's true or not but I was told by an experience mechanic that if the timing belt is ORIGINAL FROM FACTORY ONLY then don't replace it until either your car has 150000 miles or your water pump is acting up. He also said that he has been replacing lots of timing belts on Lexus and Toyota with 120000 miles plus and they all look fine to him.

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Hey Jeep, see if the mechanic Tofu's talking about will rebuild your engine when the belt breaks, having taken his advice about not changing it....

It doesn't matter what the damn belts look like, the factory says change them at specific intervals. If you're not going to do that, why waste money even changing the oil? My GS belt came out at eight years and 97,000kms, and it was toast.

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Hey Jeep, see if the mechanic Tofu's talking about will rebuild your engine when the belt breaks, having taken his advice about not changing it....

It doesn't matter what the damn belts look like, the factory says change them at specific intervals. If you're not going to do that, why waste money even changing the oil? My GS belt came out at eight years and 97,000kms, and it was toast.

Sorry to hear that your GS was toast because of broken timing belt...

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