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About To Pull The Trigger On An '08 Ls 460L Sight Unseen - Need Ad


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I'm in the north west and I'm getting really close to closing a deal on a 2008 Lexus LS460L that's in Arizona. I won't be able to inspect the car before buying it. It has 86k on it and the seller is agreeing in writing to the mechanical and physical condition of the vehicle for a specified period of time. The only reason I'm considering this is because I'm picky about the color (black on black, long wheel base, Mark Levinson sound, reclining rear seats) and as a results, my options are VERY limited. This one appears to be what I have been looking for.

A little backstory...My last vehicle was a 2004 BMW 745Li, beautiful, 80k miles - and I recently wrecked it. Without going into detail, let me just say that it was a blessing in disguise, and the disguise wasn't needed. The car was plagued with problems. Major ones. Transmission needed to be replaced, or at minimum, the torque converter. Coolant transfer pipe went bad that typically requires the dealer to dismantle the top of the motor to replace but thankfully someone came up with an expanding pipe so it only cost a few hundred bucks and an entire weekend of my time. Cats went bad and needed to be replaced. Logic 7 amp went bad and you couldn't even listen to music in the car, only talk radio and only low volume. Nav went dead. I've never driven such a piece of *BLEEP* in my entire life. Absolutely dreadful!

Needless to say, German engineering is no longer in da haus. Lexus is the only brand I'm even considering beyond a bus pass. I made the mistake of trusting Edmunds for my research on the BMW and everyone had glowing reviews. After making the purchase I hit the BMW forums and everyone there had a different song to sing. Live and learn, right?

That's why I'm here. What is the deal with these '07 and '08 LS460/460L's? What are the common problems? Better yet, what WILL go wrong? You know what I mean, the problems that everyone here tends to have, the ones that people start making their own parts to fix because they're prevalent enough to become profitable.

Any advice is much appreciated.

TL/DR?

Bad experience with BMW. Want an 07-08 Lexus LS. Want to know what the common problems are, the ones you all have suffered from (and that I will suffer from soon).

Thank you, guys!

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Welcome. Do you have any pics of the car??? That would make me so nervous. When I sold my car, the guy that bought it couldn't believe how good condition it was. He said most people post pics on AutoTrader of the vehicle when it is new!

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I just went through this when I bought my LSh a couple months back. Looked at the photos; hemmed and hawed, and finally bit the bullet and flew to Dallas for the day (literally) to drive it.

I'm glad I did. The photos looked good but getting there revealed a few cosmetic issues that I didn't see on the net; and also calmed my nerves about what looked like scratches or scuffs were really dust and dirt. Also I could drive the car and listen for the common issues that the early LS460/600hs are prone to.

I ended up buying the car but I was able to have them take care of a bunch of minor things (melted trunk switch, scratched rear logo, little leather dings inside) that would have really irritated me had the car shown up in LA and I hadn't known about them. I booked the ticket about 48 hours before the flight; it was $500 that I'm very glad I spent.

That said, on an '08 there shouldn't be that many issues. There were a couple teething issues on the '07 cars but by '08 they seem to be mostly ironed out.

Just so you know most LWB cars have the power rear seats and the ML sound system (I think it was standard). Also some have upgraded rear packages with rear seat radio controls, 4 zone climate control, power rear side window sun shades, and a cool box. Black on black is not exactly a rare color combination for the LS so I wouldn't feel pressured to buy something unless you need a car right this second (which it sounds like you might).

I see a car similar to the one you describe on cars.com; and from the photos I don't see anything horribly wrong. You can do more searches on this (and the other) forum; but a couple things to look out for from early LSs of the XF40 variety:

Front Control Arms: the front suspensions of these cars are more complex than the earlier XF30 cars; they have six control arms (3 per side). Bushings in early models have the tendency to crack; dealers tend to replace the whole thing. Expensive; but an indie shop may be cheaper. You can hear a clunking if you go over bumps at low speed. I think this was largely resolved by '08.

Brake Actuator: some of them make a clacking noise when brakes are applied; remedy is to replace the actuator (this is expensive). Also there are a bunch of software updates for the braking system for a couple minor issues. Problem in some '07 and '08 cars.

Engine: there is a recall out for a few Toyota engines from this timeframe for valve springs (they can crack); any dealer can tell you if the recall has been done from the VIN number; and I think a dealer would probably still honor it but I would double check. It might show up on Carfax (mine did). The UR engines have a timing chain (not belt) so that expensive maintenance item is no longer a concern.

Transmission: generally durable but there is a software update floating around to correct some clunking noises that people complained about.

ML Amp: these can die on occasion but not too common; there are places on the internet that repair them for a couple hundred bucks.

Air Suspension: the big one on any LS. The air springs and shocks are a single unit; so if one goes they both go; and they need to be replaced in pairs. The suspensions don't usually fail but when they do it's about $900 a shock plus an hour of labor to replace; so make sure the car doesn't sink into it's suspension overnight. If you see the 'Sport/ Comfort' and 'Height Hi' switches on the left side of the dash below the gear selector your car has it. Toyota seems to be improving the air suspension with each generation; but on a higher mileage car this is something to look out for.

Wind Noise: there is a little plastic triangle on the front windows that sometimes leaks; there is a documented fix on this and other forums on how to remove and seal this. I think my car has it but I haven't bothered to address it yet.

That's it as far as I know for the big ones. And then some other random tidbits:

Drivers side armrest; I've seen these wear a little but but the LWB cars seem to have the leather versions rather than the synthetic ones. Lexus leather generally wears very well.

Leather and plastics: in the Southwest the sun tends to dry these out; good detailing products will generally return them to near-new condition but if the car sits outside for long periods of time this can be annoying. The quality of the semi-aniline leather in particular is extraordinary; and the wood trim is the best I've seen outside a Rolls Royce. The Alcantara headliner is also easy to care for and wears well.

Tires: the 19" wheels have high performance tires that wear quickly. Also high-friction brake pads on the Touring Package cost more and last less than the standard ones.

Nav: the 07+ have HD based which means you pretty much have to have the dealer update; no cheap upgrades on ebay for this one.

None of the above should scare you off. I have two Mercedes from the pre-1992 era (which are generally regarded as indestructible) and the Lexus LS meets or exceeds their build quality in almost every area.

The reliability is no contest; these are (generally) very hardy, very durable cars. I've had my '01 LS430 for 9 years and have really had nothing aside from general maintenance, a couple 02 sensors, and a MAF sensor go out over that time. All the toys still work; it still sails through the DMV smog check.

Also many of the smaller (and more annoying) issues have documented DIY fixes here and on other forums that save time and money over going to the dealer. Provided you do regular maintenance the engine and transmission seem almost indestructible.

Obviously get a Carfax report; and if you can at all fly down and see the car before you pull the trigger. If you are picky about autos you'll want to see, touch and feel the car before you take it home. Investigate an aftermarket warranty; but generally I think you'd be ok without one.

You can also pay $10 and get an account for the day at https://techinfo.toyota.com and see what TSBs were issued and if your car might be subject to them (they list affected VINs). Also if you call most Lexus Dealers and give them the VIN they can pull up the dealer service history which is always nice to see (they can tell you if the car had the valve spring and any other recalls, for example).

That said, I think the LS is probably the ONLY car of this class that I would even consider buying sight unseen with a reasonably high level of confidence.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

-J

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J,

First off, thank you for your reply. It's beyond kind of you to take the time out of your day to craft such a meaningful and helpful response and I sincerely appreciate that.

The vehicle that I'm looking at isn't on Cars.com. I'm actually a dealer and am looking at this vehicle through wholesale channels. This isn't for resale, this will be my own personal vehicle.

The information you provided is precisely what I was looking for. And thankfully, nothing that you mentioned even comes close to what you'll read on the E65/E66 forums for BMW 7 series owners. The build quality of those cars is downright shameful.

I fully intend to be driving an LS 460 or 460L within the next 30 days. I've been without a personal vehicle for the last 45 and my wear bars are starting to squeak!

My options are limited through wholesale channels and if you get picky about colors and features in the auction system, you'll find yourself standing around waiting for quite a while. It would be much easier if I could just open up a browser and start searching for exactly what I need. But I'll save a minimum of $5,000 and possibly as much as $9,000 buying it this way. I just don't have the time and quite frankly the desire to fly across the country to look at a vehicle. That's probably the dealer in me, because I know if there's something I don't like I can turn it back at a local auction or put it on the lot. Either way it's a win/win. But I really want to make an intelligent decision after the 745Li blunder.

The other one that I'm looking at is Silver with light gray interior (not preferred) but it has that dark charcoal colored 'wood' accent which looks nice with the color combo. I probably wouldn't be interested if it weren't for the rear entertainment, table and good Lord the reclining seat. Shut up and take my money already! The Silver one is in CA and to my surprise much more loaded than the black one. The black one is a 2008 and the silver is a 2007. I'm pretty torn but hopefully I'll gain some clarity in the next 2 days. If not, I'll miss 'em, because they're both slated for the auction block this week.

Quick note, there is an '07 460 at the local auction with great mileage and a stellar condition report...but it's GOLD. Aye. No offense to anyone who owns a gold one, but it isn't my cup of Earl Grey lol.

Again, thanks a lot for your time J. I owe you one.

-E

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J,

First off, thank you for your reply. It's beyond kind of you to take the time out of your day to craft such a meaningful and helpful response and I sincerely appreciate that.

You'll find us generally more helpful and less fanboy-ish than the BMW folks. Or the guys at that 'other' forum. :censored:

The vehicle that I'm looking at isn't on Cars.com. I'm actually a dealer and am looking at this vehicle through wholesale channels. This isn't for resale, this will be my own personal vehicle.

The information you provided is precisely what I was looking for. And thankfully, nothing that you mentioned even comes close to what you'll read on the E65/E66 forums for BMW 7 series owners. The build quality of those cars is downright shameful.

I fully intend to be driving an LS 460 or 460L within the next 30 days. I've been without a personal vehicle for the last 45 and my wear bars are starting to squeak!

My options are limited through wholesale channels and if you get picky about colors and features in the auction system, you'll find yourself standing around waiting for quite a while. It would be much easier if I could just open up a browser and start searching for exactly what I need. But I'll save a minimum of $5,000 and possibly as much as $9,000 buying it this way. I just don't have the time and quite frankly the desire to fly across the country to look at a vehicle. That's probably the dealer in me, because I know if there's something I don't like I can turn it back at a local auction or put it on the lot. Either way it's a win/win. But I really want to make an intelligent decision after the 745Li blunder.

My brother has (had) an E66 BMW. He'll never buy another one again.

The LS is a different league. At the LS460 launch the exec claimed that a 5 year old LS is more reliable than a brand new car of either of it's German competitors. I have to say from personal experience it seems to be true.

The primary issue (complaint) with these cars is usually noise of some kind. The LS is an extremely quiet car and the owners complaints are usually noise focused; most of the TSBs are to ameliorate or reduce creaking, clacking, etc.

Re; the auction/dealer angle it makes more sense now. It's probably in a shed somewhere; with no light, no air, no road to run on. Sad.

The LWB cars are harder to find; and if you're limited to what's about to go on the block then you are up to the whims of who's traded in that week. I don't remember the exact split but I would venture to guess that there are only about 30% of the LS cars were sold in the L variation. LS owners tend to hold onto their cars longer; and the end of lease-buyout rates are among the highest in the segment. People love these cars. I fully intended to sell the LS430 when I bought the new one; I just registered it for another year.

The other one that I'm looking at is Silver with light gray interior (not preferred) but it has that dark charcoal colored 'wood' accent which looks nice with the color combo. I probably wouldn't be interested if it weren't for the rear entertainment, table and good Lord the reclining seat. Shut up and take my money already! The Silver one is in CA and to my surprise much more loaded than the black one. The black one is a 2008 and the silver is a 2007. I'm pretty torn but hopefully I'll gain some clarity in the next 2 days. If not, I'll miss 'em, because they're both slated for the auction block this week.

The Lexus silver is really nice; it doesn't show dirt nearly as much as the darker colors do (although the black paint is easy to polish). I almost bought a silver one about 6 months ago.

The dark grey wood is actually Bird's Eye Maple (instead of the standard walnut) and it's spectacular; the depth and detail are amazing and it looks almost like granite in person. My LS430 has it stained in a cranberry red color (Bordeaux) and it's the most amazing wood I've ever seen. The Walnut in the other cars is also fantastic (better than MB walnut) but not as distinctive. The maple came in a birch color for the later LS430s but the 460 it's only in grey (which was also available in the 01-03 430 models).

Ah the Exec Seating package. My hybrid has it and it's truly as ridiculous (and fabulous) as it seems; but it's all for your friends and not for you. The DVD screen blocks the rear view; and most people forget to turn it off so I'm constantly deactivating it after they leave. The fridge also holds 6 of the small Arrowhead water bottles but there's a empty space behind them so they rattle around sometimes. And the ottoman doesn't really work if you're more than 6'2" tall without completely folding up the front seat. It adds more weight; and the fridge and massage seats impinge on trunk space. First world problems.

The guy at the service desk said when they get an LS with the Exec seating package in on trade they can pretty much count about 4 hours from the time it goes on the web to the time a Chinese broker calls them about the car; they are particularly popular in Asia.

Quick note, there is an '07 460 at the local auction with great mileage and a stellar condition report...but it's GOLD. Aye. No offense to anyone who owns a gold one, but it isn't my cup of Earl Grey lol.

Again, thanks a lot for your time J. I owe you one.

-E

No problem. We're here to help.

The gold is nice but I think it actually suits the older (90-00) cars better. Silver and Black are popular for the L models; my favorite is the dark grey which is rarer. The red is actually quite nice, but it's red so you have to want that.

I remember shopping for LS Ls the 460s come in a greater variation of options; the hybrid generally is loaded or very loaded. I waited about 15 months for the exact car I wanted to come around; and it's the only one in that option/color combination I have ever seen anywhere; that's why I was willing to go to such great lengths to acquire it.

I'd say good luck; but again I think even the worst LS is probably better than the best BMW of the same vintage.

Let us know what you end up with.

Sight unseen I would probably lean towards the '08 but the '07 with exec seating would probably be easy to flip if you went that way. That package was a $12k special order option for the first series of these cars so it's pretty hard to find.

Just wait for the Asian brokers to call...

-J

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Since everyone loves pictures - here's the 07 with exec seating package

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Unfortunately it's not in CA, it's in SC - gonna cost an additional $1,250 to ship it to me. Ouch! Goes through the lane on Friday. I'll keep ya posted on what transpires.

Here is the gold one, this is right down the street from me heading to the auction block this Thursday. Just don't know about this color combo :-/

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Whattya think?

Thanks again J!

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Hey J,

It looks like you have a difficult decision! Which beautiful, near new looking great car do I pick? lol

Just a thought, an important thing that we sometimes don't take into account is what support is available when I get this baby home? It usually happens that at sometime during your ownership a problem may arise that a local dealer may need to be consulted. Or, a dealer available to take care of a possible recall or TSB.My suggestion is to ask around for recommendations on a friendly and knowledgeable Lexus dealer.

If you don't know already, we have an arrangement with Sewell Lexus in Dallas for a great discount on parts for LOC members. Go to "Sewellparts.com". When you register look for the section where you can check that you are a member of the Lexus Owners Club, or LOC.

Paul

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Thanks for reaching out Paul. I'll definitely look into that. We have a great Lexus dealer here in Spokane and I have relationships with a couple of people down there already, so the support isn't a concern.

I just spent about an hour with the gold one. It's a great car. Has the ML sound and the power/heated/cooled rear seats which are the two deal breaking features for me. Also has heated steering wheel and a few other cool features that could likely be standard but to me they're extra.

But the color...If I'm being generous I would say that I'm 50/50 on it. I just think I'm supposed to be 30 years older before I pick up a car in that color. But who knows, maybe with jet black windows and chrome wheels it would pop a bit more for me.

It also has high miles, higher than I'd like but it will translate into price too. That being said, with 133k on the clock, they must have been gentle spins or the car really is as tight and well built as I've been told because it truly felt new. Everything was tight, the motor was quiet, no leaks, tons of power - it was all there. Being a car dealer myself, miles don't generally scare me. I've owned German with under 60k that are pieces of crap and my '03 Escalade ESV runs great and tows a huge boat with no problems. So low miles doesn't necessarily mean no problems, and vice versa.

Anyone ever seen a gold LS460 that looked better than 'meh'? Is there anything I can do to make this ones biggest weakness one of its strong points?

I know I could buy it for around $16-17k, give or take. Decisions, decisions...

-E

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Nice to hear at 133k miles the LS still feels like a tank. I'm not quite there yet. Blacked out rims? Gold Trim? It's gold; if you can't fix it, feature it! I'd forgotten how nice the brown looks with the light interior; they also had a dark brown option with white leather; I can't tell if this car has that or the standard wood.

The DVD remote with the silver car is not the correct one for that year; it may be a later model or aftermarket (or Toyota brand) substitute. Rest of the car looks nice though.

Both look like good choices; I don't think you can go wrong either way.

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Nice to hear at 133k miles the LS still feels like a tank. I'm not quite there yet. Blacked out rims? Gold Trim? It's gold; if you can't fix it, feature it! I'd forgotten how nice the brown looks with the light interior; they also had a dark brown option with white leather; I can't tell if this car has that or the standard wood.

The DVD remote with the silver car is not the correct one for that year; it may be a later model or aftermarket (or Toyota brand) substitute. Rest of the car looks nice though.

Both look like good choices; I don't think you can go wrong either way.

Weird about the remotes. I wonder why that would be...

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Disappointed to report that the Silver one with Exec seating was pulled from the auction last minute and the gold one just now ran and sold for $17,400 on the block. I probably could have snagged it for $17,600-$17,800 as it appeared other bidders were running out of gas but it's just more than I wanted to spend on that color and with that many miles.

Back to the hunt...*sigh*

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Disappointed to report that the Silver one with Exec seating was pulled from the auction last minute and the gold one just now ran and sold for $17,400 on the block. I probably could have snagged it for $17,600-$17,800 as it appeared other bidders were running out of gas but it's just more than I wanted to spend on that color and with that many miles.

Back to the hunt...*sigh*

That's a drag. I'm sure the silver one is on it's way to Asia...

:pirate:

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