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I just bought a used (2 owner) 1992 Lexus SC400 for under $5k. I thought it was in great shape and a steal at the price. I still think it's a steal, but I'm discovering little things that are wrong with it (minor annoyances): front passenger headlight has moisture, problems with stereo speakers and/or amp, cd changer works most of the time (but I get "ERR" on occasion), climate control display has blown bulbs.

So, I've seen posts concerning the problems above, but I also have other problems that I have not seen discussed. Your help would be greatly appreciated (I hope this will help others who might be having the same problems):

1. Hear a scraping noise coming from below the car on the front driver's side. Only happens when hitting a bump. Sometimes the bump is not very large. I looked under the car and there is nothing out of the ordinary looking (nothing low to the ground). I really don't think I'm scraping the ground. Could this be a suspension or axel problem (I hope not!)?

2. Is the antenna supposed to retract? My antenna is perfectly straight. I can pull it out and push it in. However, I didn't even know there was supposed to be a motor, since I never hear it even try to retract or expand the antenna. Does that mean there is a motor or fuse that needs replacement?

3. Related to #2? I get HORRIBLE AM reception. FM reception is terrible as well, but not nearly as bad as AM. I'm guessing this has something to do with the antenna.

4. There are 3 spots on the driver's side where paint has started to come off. Would you recommend a new paint job for the whole car (roughly $350) or spot paint (roughly $325)? It's a very dark green.

5. There is a tear in the driver's seat. It is small - approx 2 inches. Any recommendations on how to fix?

6. There is a crack in the molding on the driver's side door right next to the window. The crack splits the molding into two pieces. The gap between the two spaces is about 1/16" to 1/8". Any ideas on how to fix? This crack causes a rattling of the faux wood trim on the door as well.

7. The trunk keyhole doesn't turn! The only way to open the trunk is to pop it open with the latch next to the driver's seat.

8. I replaced the batteries in the keys, but the range is still horrible. You practically need to be right next to the door in order for them to open. Is this normal?

All of these problems seem inexpensive (save, #1). I just don't know where to start.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!!!

Thank you.


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Hey, join the club... I have a '92 SC400 also with some of the same problems. The owners manual indicates that the range for the keyless entry is about 3 feet, so if that's the case for you it's normal. I get the same 'scrapping' noise as you, don't know what it is yet, but I'll be attending to it soon and let you know what I come up with - my first impressions are that it might be some kind of bearing or mount in the rear of the car.


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#1- do a suspension test, go push on all corners of your car to make sure your suspension is stiff, if it wiggles or creaks look into a new suspension (roughly $450 for sport suspenion + $100 for bushings)

#2- i dont know if the 92 had a motor or not but mine is a 95 and it does, check the wiring, you might need a new motor, if so check ebay

#3- yes it can be related, if your stereo is in bad shape just get a new one

#4-i dont know :whistles:

#5- leather cleaner, there are tons out there but i dont know the best, but if you really want to you could go to katskinz (its been posted before but i think thats the name) and for around $1k you can get all new leather, its high quality stuff to

#6- just replace

#7-take the lock out, examine it to see if something is jammed in there or rusted

#8-that is all stock sc's, i hafta be about 20 feet away before i can get my car to lock.

also for the climate control check out lextech lighting. very good stuff, nice guy to, quick service.

for your head light you can take out both your headlights and clean them. DIY headlight housing go there and it will show you how to clean it up to make it look like new

i have had almost all of the same problems, i replaced my stereo, cleaned my headlights, im soon getting a new suspension. but its all worth it.

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the noise going over bumps is likely the swaybar bushings. common problem apparently. there are several posts about it. my car sounded like fred sanford's truck going over bumps. dealer replaced swaybar bushings and noise is gone.

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sounds like your problems are just basic wear and tear issues. although not cheap, but can all be replaced with ease.

remote lock/unlock problem - get a new security system.

new cd, radio, antennea.

new trunk lock (might as well replace all the locks on your car while your at it (saves you one less key to keep track of. and plus you dont have all those !Removed! mini scratches on the sides where people missed the keyhole with their heys :P )

dont worry about the paint problem and the wear in your seats and door. you can replace those last. (making your interior and exterior look new takes a bit of money)

i dont know about the scraping car part. i think it could be your car being lowered, and when you go into driveways and bumps you will scrape. try to go at driveways and speed bumps at and angle. i know its ricey and embarrasing but do it for the sake of you car. :)

i guess thats it. all these things shouldnt cost you over $1,000 (but im just guessing off the top of my head)

good luck with your sc400.

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Wow, thanks alot for the speedy responses! It's good to know that the majority of the minor issues I'm having are fairly common.

One followup question - one response mentioned swaybar bushings as potentially being one of my problems. Does anyone know what kind of cost is associated with fixing that?

Thanks again everyone! So far, I love the car despite these problems. Once fixed, it will be like driving a brand new lexus at a fraction of the price. By the way, the engine is sooo smooth.


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Check that it is the original Antenna. It should have two plugs, one for power and one for tuning. The Lexus antenna automatically adjusts up and down for the best reception. If it is original, then you have a problem. The antenna has a flexible cable inside that extends and retracts it. If you can extend and retract by hand, this cable is broken and it will need replacing. Mine would not work, so I removed it, disassembled the motor and cleaned it up and it has worked ever since. The cost for am OEM antenna is pretty high. If my antenna eventually dies, I will just convert to a XM Radio or Sirius setup and leave the OEM antenna retracted.

Good Look!


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