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How Would You Feel About Buying A 1998 Ls400 With 244K?


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I've been looking for a dependable car to use as a daily driver, until I find the right CTS-V, and I'm only looking to spend $5k, at most. A while back I saw an ad for a 1998 LS400 with 244k on it for $4400. Initially, I wrote off the mileage as being too high. After considering that my 1996 Land Cruiser runs and drives great after clocking a rough 248k miles, I figured I'd email and ask about it. The lady wrote back and said that she's the original owner, bought it new in 1998. Clean title, very good condition, regularly maintained, has a new alternator, battery, and tires, and needs nothing but a replacement key fob. Photos look very clean.

If this really is in good shape and everything checks out, what should I expect my ownership experience to be like? Do these go well above 300k, like the Land Cruisers and other Toyota vehicles? Any serious failures that start to pop up around this time? Would you buy this, if you were I, or opt for a newer Accord or Camry? What would you offer her, dollar-wise?

Thanks guys!

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First i would find out when was the last time the timing belt and water pump were done on this car and ask to see the maintenance records if it was dealer maintained. See if the starter has been replaced and what suspension work has been done to date. Ask if the alternator changed was due to a leaking power steering pump. If everything checks out take it for a nice drive in the city and highway and make sure to get it up to speed. If it rides good I would consider buying for the stated price but I would try to get it down some more.

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Maybe this will help you decide. Go look at what else you can buy for that. As previously mentioned, check records but if it is clean and a color you can live with, offer 40 Franklin and maybe you'll be in luck. Very, very dependable cars. Toyota can not be beat for dependability. Sold my LS400 with 200,000 and it still goes 5,000 with no oil loss. It will also still give and Acura RSX a good run but I can't go into details on that.

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Welcome Joe.

The key is the maintenance. As others have mentioned, these cars run a long time IF properly maintained. Now, as nice as the car may look in the pics, nothing beats a personal inspection before buying.

And IF it is in super nice condition, then any number south of $4k is really in the 'noise'. If fact, you need to be very careful here. You could very likely fall in love with this LS and forget the CTS. Then you really save some cabbage. ;-)

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There are always a lot of really nice LS400's with miles available. Yeah, it takes some time to scope out a good one (which is one maintained) for a good price. It is not a new car but like the Hoover Dam, it was built well and will last. Where you need to look is the west coast of south Florida. The place is a major check out point and of course many people never go far. I was down visiting my mother last March and scoped out the local car market and saw lots opportunity.

Of course now I see you live in non-land? SO, south Florida is probably out.

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The other day I looked at a 95 with step kid for him. It looked real nice in the ad, and about 110,000 miles. I learned with that one miles isn't everything, yeah power train etc. was probably in good shape had good maintenance records and all. At a distance looked good, till ya saw all the starting to fade clear coat off the paint on the roof and some other areas, then the tell tail sand spots under the painted areas, clean carfax, runs in paint on trunk lid, water under the moon roof and wet carpet. And way over priced.

I'd rather have 400,000 miles with what appears to be brand new interior and body and paint of course all factory original. The power train could be nonfunctional as that is the easy stuff.

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I just bought a 99 ls400 with 108k on the clock needs timing belt and starter water pump as well. Only paid 3500. Got all the parts to replace the timing belt tensioner water pump and idler pulleys for only 220 bucks off rock auto. Labor is going to run me 400 bucks. Feel like I got a steal car rides like a dream.

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I just bought a 99 ls400 with 108k on the clock needs timing belt and starter water pump as well. Only paid 3500. Got all the parts to replace the timing belt tensioner water pump and idler pulleys for only 220 bucks off rock auto. Labor is going to run me 400 bucks. Feel like I got a steal car rides like a dream.

Sounds like your all set.

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Sounds like your all set.

Yes I am other than the trunk leak. Also doing the valve covers and changing the spark plugs new upper and lower intake manifold gaskets as well when the starter is done guy told me while he's in there he will cut off some labor time to do the timing belt so total of labor is 700. Considering what I paid for the car that's not bad at all. Added assurance nothing will happen down the road.

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Thanks for all the replies, guys. Sounds like you got a great deal schujd3!

I never ended up looking at the 1998 with 244k, but tonight I'm going to look at a 99 with 174k, which I like much better. 3 owner car, this owner for the past 7 years, well maintained (supposedly), and it seems to be in decent condition. The couple is driving it from out of town to pick up their new car, so hopefully it works out for both of us. They said it needs nothing, but didn't know the last time the timing belt and water pump were replaced. They actually said it had never been done, but I can't imagine that being possible. Either way, I'm going into this expecting it will need the job done very soon. They're asking $4500/obo.

Anything else you guys can think of that I should look at, other than the standard stuff? Any LS400 specific things?

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I just bought a 99 ls400 with 108k on the clock needs timing belt and starter water pump as well. Only paid 3500. Got all the parts to replace the timing belt tensioner water pump and idler pulleys for only 220 bucks off rock auto. Labor is going to run me 400 bucks. Feel like I got a steal car rides like a dream.

Must be some place in California, here they are way over priced.

Other than the T belt and leak any other dweeb's such as dents scratches etc.? That is a super good price at those miles.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I licve in FL. The guy was desperate to sell. He needed money for a down payment on a new car. Has the silly brake warning light because they changed the pads and not the sensors. Which I knew about. I just dropped the pan and changed the fluid wiped the valve body clean (glad I did holy *BLEEP* was it caked with sludge and nastiness and the fluid was dark wasn't red got out 4qts also changed the filter) after that BIG performance change. It was sluggish at first now I literally have to look down and watch it shift and cold it shifts fast and at low rpms on cold starts. Can burn the tires from a stop in a straight line (Not a good thing). No shards or burrs on my magnets neither my neighbor was impressed but said I was crazy for doing all this work. It helped a lot so I'm glad I did it! Might do a fuel filter next but have read mixed reviews on this debate. The airbag light is also on. The dash is swelled on the passenger side but it appears they replaced the airbag (maybe???) But possibly not the module. Still haven't found that leak in the trunk. I assume it is what you were talking about in your link. I'll look at it and find the leak soon it's just nice to have a RELIABLE car and I hit 145mph after she was warmed up after the fluid change. Came home and wife was like your car is smoking! I said that's the brakes it's ok!!! I baby it now but it was fun haven't went that fast in a car didn't even feel like it! I mean the other day I was just barely pushing the gas and was cruising at 100. I'm just not used to it I guess. My jag didn't seem to have the power this lexus has although it was a vert (rag top) and weighed over 4k pounds. I ride motorcycles so... I'm a typical speed demon... not with her of course. :) Glad to be back!

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  • 1 month later...

Miles don't scare me. You know what scares me?

Petrified french fries welded to seat belt buckles. A tobacco film on the inside of the windshield so thick it takes nine paper towels and half a bottle of Invisible Glass to remove. Tires that are only worn on the inside edge. Curb rash. Missing tools in the trunk. Sunvisors with four hundred Speedway and Ohio Lottery receipts folded up in them so when you put the visor down, you end up with giant red and white confetti in your lap. Cupholders with a quarter inch of dried sludge at the bottom, consisting of Big Red, Dr Pepper, cigarette ashes, loose tobacco, fingernail clippings, and bits of straw wrapper paper. Headliners that have a giant dark streak from the driver's side window towards the center due to driving with the window open. Stereos with every preset set to 97.9, 106.7, and 107.9 (in my area) and the volume set high enough to startle you inside the car and make people groan and roll their eyes outside the car. Missing floor mats, or worse yet, parts store branded generic rubber mats. Dreamcatchers hanging from the rear view mirror. NASCAR stickers. And finally, the thing that scares me the most, opening the hood to see this on the battery:

Corrosion-824.jpg

If a 99 cent package of corrosion preventative grease is too much for one to afford to keep a car operating properly, what else hasn't been done?

If cleaning the car out even once a month is too much effort to have a little bit of order and cleanliness, what other hidden treasure am I going to find?

I have seven kids. I know vehicles get messed up pretty quick. But I also know taking an hour every few weeks to bring them back is worth the time put into it many times over.

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