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Hello New Owner Of 96 Lexus Ls400 Please Help


msaunders
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Hello Lexus owners, was hoping you can help me. I was very excited to get my Lexus and was looking forward to this incredible ride I heard everyone talk about. My husband surprised me knowing I was interested in an LS400 and bought me this from a sale by owner without me test driving it. Not sure if he overpaid, 5,000.000 for a 96 with 132000 miles, great body. After a week driving, the audible clunk got worse and steering was all over place. And when I hit brakes the clunk was so bad I thought something was going to fall out. Cost me 1,100 ( not Lexus dealer) to replace lower ball joints and radius arm bushings,( not factory that came all in one, arm and bushings,though wish I had) and 2 "fluid filled" motor mounts. The loud thunk on braking went away, but it still rides like a truck...I feel every crack in the road and hear the bumps, and the vibration is so bad at 75 mph I can hardly hold the wheel. I feel like I got ripped off by mechanic and not sure where to take it to fix the problem...now I understand it may be the upper control arms? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! I already have too much money in it now to not go all the way to make it the dream car that I understand it could be. Thank you all!

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I am assuming by "radius arm" you are referring to the strut bars and bushings which when worn out are one of the most common causes of front end steering sloppiness and vibrations at highway speeds on the 95-00 LS400. An arrow in the attached diagram points to a strut rod. Is this what was replaced?

My "vote" to help your problem would have been for bad strut bars and bushings - usually need replacing every 75-100K miles on the 95-00. But if you've already replaced them, then that's probably not it.

I'm a little surprised that you are replacing ball joints at 132,000 miles. The ones on my 2000 LS400 are still fine at 138,000 miles and I'm guessing they will last far longer than the ones on my first, generation one LS400 where actually did have to be replaced by around 138K miles. My strut bars/bushings were shot by 80,000 miles and I'm not going to wait as long to replace them a second time.

I've been assuming that your car has the standard steel spring suspension. It doesn't have air suspension, does it? If your car has more than one rocker switch on the left side of the gear shift, it has air suspension which would change the game completely.

What pressure do you have your tires at and does the sticker on the drivers door jam recommend 29 psi like on my 00 LS400? I can tell a difference in the ride (i.e. harsher) when tire pressures are just a few pounds too high.

What kind of tires are on the car, how old are they, have they been road forced balanced and checked for defects? I've had significant vibration issues from a defective tire that was so bad that it could not be balanced. IMO, these car take more attention to tire balance because these cars are so otherwise smooth that an out of balance or defective tire is more obvious that on most cars.

The front suspension seems to be the "achilles heal" of LS400's. But once you get it sorted out you should be good for another 138,000 miles - except for those dang strut bars/bushings which usually need replacing more often.

post-2157-0-59650300-1306094187_thumb.jp

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Thank you for your reply. Yes, he called it the radius arm, but you are right and it is standard suspension. I wish he had replaced the whole assembly instead of just the bushings. The factory part from Lexus doesn't even sell them separately, I should have ordered that one on my own and have him put it in. He said he can get the bushings by themselves and made it sound like it would be cheaper, but it actually wasn't. I'm not sure if I trust what he did. Do you think the price was in line?

As for the tires, I checked them, my pressure is at 35 and they are fairly new Tr Touring tires with max psi 44. I don't see a label on the door with psi specifications and the car didn't come with a book/manual. I will try adjusting them to 29. Anyway, thanks for your help and I will keep trying to figure this out. The post on this site have been very helpful.

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What a car of that age is worth is mostly dependent on condition, mileage and local demand. Lowering the tire pressure from 35 to 29 should help the ride a lot. I don't know what "Tr Touring" tires are so I can't comment on their ride and handling characteristics. Some tires ride more harshly/softly than others.

My opinion is that, yes, pressing new bushings into the strut bars is a false economy and may produce worse results. OEM strut bars with their factory installed bushings are pretty inexpensive.

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I don't see a label on the door with psi specifications and the car didn't come with a book/manual.

If I remember correctly the label on the drivers door jam that has the tire pressures is the same label that has the VIN number and color codes.

You can view an online owners manual for your Lexus without registering at https://secure.drivers.lexus.com/lexusdrivers/info/my-lexus/resources/owners-manual-search.do

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