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You are all AMAZING! You have great advice for people and I would like to tap you for a little more.

Here's my scenario. I know a lady who purchased a gold 2002 300es brand new back in the day. I have loved this car for as long as I can remember. About 6 months ago, I told her to let me know if she decided to sell it. Well, the email arrived yesterday. She wants to sell it, not because there's anything wrong, but more because SHE is sick of the car. She's a high paid judge and probably just wants to get another, newer Lexus. Can you blame her?

She's asking $9,000 for it. It's very nice, very little knicks, ets. The interior is spotless. It's the 'upgraded' model with Navigation, etc. It has 67,000 miles on it. It has NOT had the timing belt changed. Tires are good, etc.

Do you think that I should jump on the deal or offer less, say $8,000 or less?

I work with the woman and don't want to *BLEEP* her off, but I feel that $9,000 is on the high end of "normal".

Thoughts?

Brian

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Brian,

You "work with the lady", you've "loved this car for as far back as I can remember", " its very nice, the upgraded model" has "67 000 miles" and so on. You know the previous owner and how she has cared for it, you've lusted after the car for 12 years, and you're asking if you should really offer her a $1000 less than she is asking?

Okay, its time for a timing belt and spark plugs, but even so ....... why would you even consider another car that you aren't in love with .... and you don't know the history of, only what the dealer tells you ... and pass up this one?

If I was in the market for a car of this vintage and had your personal history of the car and the owner ...... I'd have the cash in her hand about 20 minutes after the email showed up on my computer.

Realistically, have the car checked out by an independent mechanic who you trust, and based on his report and what you already know about the car, I'll bet you'd have a lot of looking around to do to find another one in as good a condition with this mileage, if one was even available.

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@gbrhps,

Thanks for your response. I failed to mention that I really don't NEED the car. I really WANT the car though. How much is a typical timing belt change? I've also heard that the spark plug replacement on this engine (3.0) is a little challenging too. Any truth to that rumor?

For the record, I will have it checked out prior to purchasing. The other concern that I had was cost. $9,000 sounds like a bit much. You are right though, I would be hard pressed to find another one like this one.

THanks for your response,

Brian

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Brian,

A Lexus off warranty is maintained cheaper when the work is done by an independent mechanic whom you trust. That only applies to regular maintenance issues. If the guy can repair a Camry, he can do an ES. Occasionally a problem will come up that only a Lexus dealer tech can correct, but those are rare.

That said, the timing belt replacement, idler pulleys, tensioner, and water pump, runs $300 (just a guess).

The spark plugs are another matter. I don't know if an 02 runs iridium plugs or just platinum, but they're not outlandishly priced. The problem is that 3 plugs are up against the firewall under the intake manifold, and not easily gotten to. Some mechanics remove the intake to get at them, adding a lot of dollars. Others with smaller hands, remove the front engine mount to tip the motor forward, and using a twist ratchet (one where you rotate the handle to turn the socket), remove and replace the back 3 plugs that way.

I even bought such a ratchet to do the rear plugs on my wife's last ES330, but she decided to trade before I tried to change the plugs. I have no idea as to the plug replacement cost, because it'll depend on how the job is done, but perhaps someone else can jump in with their experience. Good Luck!

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I'm guessing that I wouldn't need to change the plugs for several more years anyways. The car only has 67k miles on it. I'm a little more concerned with the timing belt due to the gradual deterioration that can happen. The ES has been garaged for most of it's life (other than being parked outside while the Judge was at work), but it will still deteriorate. I know a guy that retired from Toyota as a mechanic. He does side jobs at times. I may hit him up. I'm going to speak with the Judge tomorrow afternoon about the car. I'm thinking that I'll offer $8,500, but if she won't budge...I'll still buy it! I want it bad.

Thanks for your communications,

Brian

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