Do Not Sell My Personal Information Jump to content

Need Advice On Buying 93 Ls 400


LowSpark
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've been searching for a college car for my son. Came across a 93 Lexus LS 400 last night with 167K for $3500. This is right in my price range so I took a look at it. It's in great condition inside & out, engine runs really well and the car drove beautifully. I would have bought it on the spot except when I asked the owner about any issues he mentioned that the odometer & speedometer don't work when the car is started but will after a few minutes. I also noticed that the electrical side mirrors don't work (not a big deal for me). He also mentioned that he the car had experienced some electrical issues in the past but they had been fixed. I know this car has been well maintained and that I'd be hard pressed to find anything that looks and runs this well in this price range but after researching the dash electrical issues on this site and others, I'm a little concerned that I might be looking at a $1,500 problem shortly after I buy the car. Am I correct in assuming that these electrical problems will get worse? I'm having difficulty making this decison because I just don't know what to expect or how likely it is that this probnlem will go from minor to major. Any insight & advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The odometer and speedometer are common problems and can be fixed. I believe it is a few capacitor on the circuit board need replacing. You can search this forum for more info on that.

The windows probably is a fuse or maybe a bad switch.

As for these being indicators of future electrical problems I doubt it. These are random and mutually exclusive events.

These cars are very reliable and if its been properly maintained can last 200k+ miles. They are expensive to repair if you have to have the dealer do everything. That's the tradeoff, the don't breakdown often, but when they do it can get expensive.

If he's a freshman I'd make him ride the bus....... otherwise he'll become the designated party car.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As long as previous owners were not into the wiring splicing an dicing, I think you will be ok. There are some common problems with the dash and HVAC display going out over time but not real "biggies".

The other large maintenance item is the timing belt and water pump. Could be upwards of $1500 at the dealer. $800 at an independent. Rust should not be an issue as long as the car has been in CA.

What kind of car are you driving? Maybe you should take this one. :whistles:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't let the dash issue put you off,if you can remove the cluster yourself ( step by step tutorial on www.lexls.com) and you can solder it costs less than $5.00 in parts or a little more if a local radio shop fits the parts (instuctions also online).

Mirrors again a minor problem either with the supply or switch.

I would look for a service history and remember the cam belt is due at 180,000 miles although on these engines a broken belt will not damage the engine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you're looking for a "college car" my advice would be to pass on any LS and look for a newer Camry or Corolla.

The first-generation LS are great, fun cars but they can be very expensive to own. While quite reliable, they are still very old and require a large amount of maintenance just due to their age. I took my previous 92 LS to nearly 200,000 miles but as I got closer to that number I usually spent between $1500-2000 a year maintaining it which included replacing various worn out components such as the power steering pump/alternator, electronic components, suspension parts, etc.

When I wasn't too tired and didn't mind having the car inoperable for a while I did some of this work myself and saved some money. When I was on a tighter schedule or didn't have the proper tools I just took it to a professional. Whichever you choose, parts for these cars are expensive and troubleshooting them isn't always particularly easy for a do-it-yourselfer or a mechanic who isn't familiar with them.

I think leaking power steering pumps that short out the alternator are by far the most common problem with the first-generation LS. It happened to me twice and I think it eventually affects them all. That problem is hard to notice until most of the damage has already been done- and it can easily be a $1000+ repair.

The 98 LS I replaced my old 92 with has far fewer miles and has been substantially less expensive to maintain. I suspect it will follow a similar pattern as the old 92 and become more expensive to keep up as it gets older and parts start to wear out, although I won't mind putting money into it because I like it so much, even though others might think it is foolish.

The last thing you need is a call from your son with a broken-down car at school, where you will have no choice but to tow it to a dealer or mechanic and pay a big repair bill. There's always going to be some surprises with a low-budget used car. But for what you spend on an old LS, you can probably buy a Camry or Corolla that is much newer and has fewer miles. Those cars don't have the "prestige" of a Lexus, but they are a much simpler design, parts are less expensive, and I can say from experience since I have owned a Camry, even at equal age and mileage they are less expensive to own than a Lexus. Not to mention they get much better gas mileage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I've been searching for a college car for my son. Came across a 93 Lexus LS 400 last night with 167K for $3500. This is right in my price range so I took a look at it. It's in great condition inside & out, engine runs really well and the car drove beautifully. I would have bought it on the spot except when I asked the owner about any issues he mentioned that the odometer & speedometer don't work when the car is started but will after a few minutes. I also noticed that the electrical side mirrors don't work (not a big deal for me). He also mentioned that he the car had experienced some electrical issues in the past but they had been fixed. I know this car has been well maintained and that I'd be hard pressed to find anything that looks and runs this well in this price range but after researching the dash electrical issues on this site and others, I'm a little concerned that I might be looking at a $1,500 problem shortly after I buy the car. Am I correct in assuming that these electrical problems will get worse? I'm having difficulty making this decison because I just don't know what to expect or how likely it is that this probnlem will go from minor to major. Any insight & advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Hi,

I have a 1991 LS400 with 271,000 miles. I am the second owner buying it at 47K miles from a corporate lease program. Same engine, transmission, and maintained with new timing belts at 90K, 180K (plus new water pump), replacement of struts, etc. Only recently, have I had the Nakamichi amplifier go out. Given that it is 20 year old car w/ 271K miles, I am needing to replace the driver's side upper control arm and ball joint and both rear spindles/bushings (mechanic estimates for parts, labor and tax: $507.$493).

NADA Pricing Rough Trade-In Average Trade-In Clean Trade-In Clean Retail

Mileage: 167,000

TOTAL PRICE $775 $1,850 $2,750 $4,150*

MY suggestion: Make sure timing belt was replaced at about 90 - 100K miles, basic review the documentation for clues on rotors/brake pads, struts, basic suspension components, and other maintenance work, talk to the mechanic who fixed the electrical to get a handle on what was done. The car is super safe, decent on gas mileage at 18 - 25mpg for city and highway, killer stereo, comfortable, handles great, and relatively low maintenance. When you have to spend for repairs, it gets pricey. You're getting a high end luxury car below NADA retail. Once you're comfortable with making the offer, try shaving 10 - 15% off with cash offer. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Forums


News


Membership