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Ls430 Front Window Issue And Toyota Customer Service Issue


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Sorry in advance for the length of this post; I just want to give as much info on my issues as possible.

As background, I own a 2004 LS430; I am the second owner. When I purchased it last February, the car had 83k miles on it. It was owned by a middle aged lady that babied the car. Although I park it outside due to lack of space in my garage, I also baby the car and make sure it has appropriate maintenance. In other words, as Lexus go, the car is nearly brand new and in great condition.

About 3-4 weeks ago, I took the car to my local Toyota (McCords Vancouver Toyota); the car had some water spots that I couldn't remove with ordinary car soap and I wanted to give it a proper detail. I had them do an external detail along with a routine tire/fluids check. When I got my car back, the side mirrors were rotated all the way in, so I went to adjust them with the switch and that is when I found they would not budge... neither the left or the right mirror would work (and yes, I made sure that the mirror select switch was in the correct position). Ever since I got the car, I have had issues with the left/right movement of the left mirror, but up/down movement worked fine on the left mirror and all four movements have always worked on the right mirror. I went to roll down my windows to adjust the mirror by hand and my drivers window got stuck. It basically rolled to a certain point and stopped. After several seconds, I found I could roll it up a bit (maybe an inch or two) at a time before it got stuck again. Then, low and behold, while testing the passengers window, I found that it too got stuck within a couple of up-down cycles.

Playing with the windows on subsequent days, I found that sometimes they would cycle fine for a few cycles before getting stuck, other times they would get stuck right away (note: the passenger's side window gets stuck from either the master window switch and the passenger window switch). Although I don't open my windows every day, I have never had an issue with a window rolling up or down in the year I have owned the car. In the days following the detail, my side mirrors started to work again. I have adjusted them twice and all movements on both mirrors work. I suspect if I played with them enough, though, that they might get stuck again. My windows will get stuck fairly repeatably.

I brought my car into Toyota to have them look at it (they were very reluctant to believe that they had anything to do with the issue). They gave me a "free diagnostic" and promptly reported that the switch was going out on my mirrors due to the age of the car; (the switch was going to cost $400; who knows what labor would cost to replace it.) Also, they claimed they couldn't recreate the window issue. When I pick up my car, I tested the windows first thing and on the first cycle my driver side window got stuck... unfortunately, I picked up my car at closing time and couldn't get a tech out to look at it. I end up e-mailing the service manager and expressing my frustration for what seems their unwillingness to help (it took a lot of effort when I brought my car in to convince them that I wasn't going to pay for the diagnostic). Eventually, a customer relations rep calls me and explains very weakly that it is not there issue. I talk her into another diagnostic. This time, when I arrived for my diagnostic, I was determined to speak with the Service Manager to make sure that the diagnostic was thorough. Conveniently, when the guy who checked me in went to look for her, she was out of the office (at this point, she had failed to answer two e-mails and two phone calls). The result of my second diagnostic was that the thermal switches of both motors were going out due to age of the car and I was led to believe that this was fairly normal. The cost of both motors = ~$1000; the cost of labor = ~$1300.

Super frustrated at this point, I was able to track down the General Manager, who warmly assured me that he would get all the people who I have been dealing with up to this point in a room and straighten this out, asap. A couple days later, I get a call from the customer relations rep to inform me that they have done all they can in this situation and won't be providing further assistance. My engineering horse sense has been telling me all along that someone is playing games (I work on electromechanical systems all day long and realize that several systems dying simultaneously would be highly coincidental); my suspicions were confirmed with a phone call to a Lexus service manager and then a technician in California, who said that the window motors are quality motors and rarely go out. The technician said he has never replaced one and, in fact, they aren't typically stocked at distributors, but have to be special ordered. I relayed this information to the customer relations rep and started quizzing her about what they checked out during the diagnostics. She got uncomfortable and informed me she wasn't technical and the guy who provided me my first diagnostic no longer worked there (uh, as in he left in the past two weeks?!?!?!). She volunteered that I could speak to another technician, who I believe performed the second diagnostic. I am going to try to get a hold of this technician on Monday, but I want to have some good questions to quiz him on. So, to break this post down, I have three questions:

1) Has anyone seen something similar with their windows/mirrors or have any ideas about what could be going on?? The window issue acts like it is a thermal switch issue since it takes a few seconds each time it gets stuck to be able to move it again; however, I am not buying that my windows are dying of old age. Maybe it is not even the motors that are bad, but something downstream of the motors. Does anybody know where I could get an electrical diagram of the window circuit?

2) What are some questions that I am going to want to ask this technician to make sure that he thoroughly vetted all possibilities? Based on their seeming lack of integrity in handling this situation, I wouldn't be surprised if their diagnostics were minimal. I want to be able to intelligently extract facts about what he checked and see if there are any holes in his work that I can call Toyota on.

3) Do I have any recourse to hold McCord's feet to the fire and make them settle these issues. I feel like I am running into a brick wall. I can barely get a hold of the right people and the representatives stiff arm me every time with what seem to be weak excuses.

I don't want McCord to cover these issues if this is just normal "wear and tear" on my vehicle, but I am having a super hard time believing that a button and two motors could magically die on the same day. I can't explain it based on what they were doing to my car, but it is highly suspect. Any words of wisdom on how to proceed would be much appreciated!

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  • 2 years later...

My 2001 LS430 driver window started to get stuck in the down position from time to time.  I would try it the next day and it would work.  I thought it might be a bad switch so I replaced the switch with another used one that I bought but that also did not work.   The used switch was $60 online.  Here is a video on how to remove the switch:


I went to my local dealer. The service adviser reported that  the problem was probably a bad window regulator or motor.  I replace both the regulator and motor and now the window works just fine.  I bought new parts online for about 200-300 dollars and did the work my self. Here is a video on removing the door panel which is the first step:


Finally, here is my video on replacing the regulator and motor:


I hope this helps someone. 

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