schujd3

New (to me) 2003 ls430

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I'm thinking about picking up this ls430 UL Friday after I get off work and go by the bank. The car had one owner and the odometer reads 131xxxmi. I inspected the vehicle thoroughly although I had no lift or jack (cant fit a jack on my hayabusa) so I inspected it over as well as I could. It has service records. Interior is worn in some places which is understandable given the car is 15 years old. All the bells and whistles work as well. I checked to see if someone has recently cleared the codes and all the diagnostics showed complete with no mil on. I checked the fuel trims of the 02 sensors and they're in the correct range. Now it does have air shocks. I couldn't see them too well to check for leaks. The car doesn't sit on the ground though so I imagine they're ok? The battery will need to be replaced within a month (slow turn over and the battery is old). The car drives very very well and is smooth going over bumps. Suspension raised and lowered so I figured it was working properly. The owner is selling it to me for a grand total of 3,500$. I feel like this is a great deal. I know the air suspension woes so I'm gonna put it on a lift before everything is finalized. The engine bay was clean. Removed the covers and didn't see any seepage around the valve covers or the rest of the motor (and no just the covers were shiny and clean the motor looked like it wasn't washed thankfully because I know that's how some people hide issues. No coolant crust around the hoses or connections. No burning scent that I could smell.  Oil was at the correct level. Idling on an 80 degree day the coolant temp sat at 190 which seems normal to me. My jag would get into the 220s and I replaced every single cooling component even ALL the hoses. So I'm assuming that is normal operating temperature. The AC is ice ice cold. Tires will have to be replaced sooner than later but still have a decent amount of tread. Spare tire looks great and isn't dry rotted or flat. I miss my 99 ls400 so much. Taking the 430 for a spin reminded me how smooth and amazing these cars ride. Didn't seem to hick up once. Shifted fine as well. Now question on the dipstickless (lol had to do it) transmission. My jaguars was SEALED for LIFE. I could still change the fluid via lift or jack stands and an even ground. Is the ls430s transmission the same way? The car shifted great but I'd like to be able to change the fluid and inspect the color and scent. I usually change ALLLLL the fluids on a newly purchased vehicle. 

One last question and sorry for the rant Lexus Jedis; does the 03 ls430 have a 5 speed automatic or 6 speed? I've read conflicting information about that. So I need y'all's expert input.   Do you think an 03 ls430 ultra luxury 131k miles with a clean title seems like a great price to you all? It does have minor scratches here and there and some rock chips up front and a small dent on the back bumper but hardly noticable because it's at the bottom where the exhaust is. The lower side panels on the front doors are protruding out just a bit. My 94 had this issue as well.  Here are some pictures let me know what you guys think. Hope to be back in the Lexus gang screw those crappy !Removed! jags that break every other week and all their crappy plastic cooling components. I've been looking for another LS since last July and this one seems to be the most affordable with low miles and it is the UL package too. My other ls400s were base models. 

P.S. 

The 99 I had was totaled by a 14 year old in an expedition. She pulled out in front of me completely not looking and I had no time to stop so I tried to swerve and that didn't work out so well. Worst part is I got put at fault and she didn't have a green card much less a learner's permit. She was with her 15 year old friend leaving a pool hall. I was devastated. I just finished all my stereo customization and sbn was the next day in Daytona. I've gotten tired of riding a hayabusa everyday. It's too much honestly and it can get you in trouble real quick. I've hit near 200 on it and killed a 800hp GT-R. Bike has heads cams and an ecu flash. It's a fun mode of transportation but just not practical for everyday especially because of how much it rains in FL. I got 40mpg average on it when I first got it and now it's below 30 because well... I tend to ride like a mad man. 

So if anyone has any advice for me on things to check on before finalizing the purchase PLEASE let me know. Hope to bring her home Friday if all goes well. Hope you all have been well and thanks for being the greatest forum on the internet for vehicles. 

Sincerely

Joel

Again sorry for the rant... Thanks in advance for your assistance/advice.

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I've got an "04, same car basically, 230K and still runs great. No major mechanical issues, but consider this:

- Timing belt service, recommended at 100K. Expensive job and must be done.

- Tires, battery, possibly brakes (more$) 

- air shocks, a big $ shocker!

- Really unusual wear on the steering wheel shown in your pic. Same on console. Leads me to think car was not really taken good care of, like regular oil changes done? 

I would go $1,500 max or walk away. The car would get less at auction.  

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More evidence of a "beater" Ls:

- spare tire gone or worn-out, used

- missing owners manual (originally in nice pouch with Lexus pen)

- missing tool box, first aid kit, both in trunk (mine were never used, like new)

- missing cargo netting in trunk

- 2 Lexus owner keys and a valet key that came with car missing. 

Although these items are not really necessary, they do indicate the past owner(s) car care, or lack thereof

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The 03 has the 5 speed, the 04 got the 6 speed. The steering wheel and armrest are in bad shape but if the rest of the car checks out you can always find those in a junk yard or ebay. The price is good IMO. Is that an aftermarket rear view camera?

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Joel

Do spend a buck on a Car Fax before you commit to ANY price. If the Fax is clean, spend another buck on a mechanic, preferably one familiar with Lexus, for an unbiased mechanical opinion ( negotiating these costs in the purchase price is not unreasonable).  

Best of luck!

 

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More   Lexus "beater" evidence (quick checks)

- oil black on oil stick

- air filter dirty

- brake fluid black

- tire pressures low/inconsistant

- a/c cabin filter clogged

- spark plugs worn, rusted/never changed

- owner used 87 gas (instead of premium) - gas purchase receipts tell all- (yes, it will run on low-test)

-  oil/filter change records incomplete/missing

 

 

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Ok guys I really lucked out. It has the strut master conversion. It needs a new coolant reservoir and radiator cap. Missing a fuse for one of the fans. Every electronic other than that operates fine. Car drove great however was coming up with a p2757. Well it had about a quart too much fluid in the trans so that light went away after I drained some out and checked the dipstick and drove it close to 100miles with the code yet to return. I am going to drop the pan and change the filter and clean the valve body like I did on my 99 ls400. The car just had the timing belt service done at 122k and it's got 131k on the clock. I could care less about the interior being perfect because it is a 15 year old car. Car was covered in dust (in those pics)  rinsed it off and wow does it look way better from just that. Cleaned the interior and got the seats looking somewhat better. In my area these cars go for over 7 or 8 grand and they'll have 150 160k and be a base model. I lucked out and the tires prob have 35 to 40% tread left but they're Michelins. Brake fluid needs to be changed failed the dip test badly but other than those simple easy fixes the car seems solid. The title is clean and I can't see any sign of a serious accident just a small dent on the right side of the back bumper. I mean that shock conversion alone is 1200$. I think I did pretty good. I've made up a list of more things to check but I believe this will be a good car. I had to do the timing belt service and get a new starter for my 99 valve cover gaskets along with intake manifold becauase they came off. I had my 99 2 years ago? I think. That car was also wrecked and I could tell. It cost 3200 plus those repairs and the transmission pan filter change. Idk I this car doesn't have any body panel alignment issues and had 0 accidents on car fax. After I got it registered and put the title into my name the total was 4000$. So I figure having a car that is in good hands now should take care of me because I'm about to do a few things on the list I've written down. I love these cars and don't mind a little work. You can't beat that smooth ride those struts are really something! Yeah it has an aftermarket camera but I am probably going to remove it. That and just refoam/surround the subwoofer if possible. But as a audio customizer I might come up with something much more exciting with the entire speaker system. As long as the sub is free air and the speakers are the correct same size and impedance they will drop right in. But for now it sounds ok at medium volume. I think for that price it was an excellent deal. It was half the price of the lowest one I could find so I expect to do some work. Love the car though rides great gets up and goes. Won't be driving it until the coolant tank comes in and the radiator cap. The coolant was flowing  great though when I had it the cap off so I think the radiator is probably ok. It did have the pink coolant in it so they did care about functionality. Loving all of the amazing features the car has though. 

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It does have the full size spare tire and it's a Michelin and isnt not dry rotted. Trunk had no leaks tools and first aid kit were in their nets. The car may have been out in the sun. I know when I had a garage and cleaned my seats with armor all they'd stay cleaner and moist for a little longer. And when I lived at my apartment the next day after I cleaned my car the seats would be dried out again. Florida can be brutal on leather. And this car has no tint at all so that  likely would have skowed the degradation. Like I said in my area I did a 200 mile search for both private and dealers the cheapest was 6 grand and had really high miles. Center console looked better but driver seat and wheel looked worn and that was also a base model. This one is an ultra luxury so it has all the bells and whistles and the suspension is already taken care of. The guy actually bought it from auction. He had a dealers license and showed me the receipt. 3200$ so he didn't make but $300 off of the sale. I'm going to inspect the spark plugs along with the coil packs check all the coolant hoses. I'm really familiar with the older ls400s so I'm sure I can maintain this one myself just fine. I mean I did keep that jag xk8 running like a top and that was a hard !Removed! task hahahaha! If I could keep that troublesome lemon running then the lexus should be no problem maintaining. Thanks for all the replies!

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One more question guys... Where in the world can I find that coolant reservoir? I've looked all over Google. Called it different names to see if that helped but I can't find one. Mine has a crack in it and it trickles water out to about the half full level. If anyone has an extra one they would part with or could direct me to somewhere besides the stealership to get the reservoir. 

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Poll here for people who swapped out their rear sub.

Refoam the cone to the frame on the ml woofer with the 15 or 20$ kit. Or buy one of these wire it to 8 ohms and see what happens. Just curious if anyone has used a woofer that provided better sound. This Rockford p2 looks promising. The amount of room it has around the outside  to mount it I  it might fit right in. I'm not going crazy anymore my jag had two 10s and did a 150db on a 5k watt amp. I enjoyed floating things and the wind from the port. It was a custom fourth order I designed and cut out on a cnc after creating the plan on master cam. But what other brands have people tried what about JL? They're an sq company and their 8s look promising. Has anyone (yes I know this sounds idiotic) made a larger hole and fit a 10 in the deck? The ls430 seems to have more room to drop in a subwoofer than my previous ls400s definitely more clearance. 

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Just find a wrecked car in the junk yard and scavenge any parts you need.

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The reservoir seems to be part of the fan shroud.

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There is one big problem however. The radiator internally is cracked and leaking slightly on the outside. The transmission fluid and anti freeze were mixing! I stopped driving it and ordered the radiator. Going to drain everything as best as possible then do some fluid changes after a thousand or 2thousand miles. I thought the transmission went boom because it wouldn't go in reverse on cold start well... It didn't have enough fluid once it warmed up it moved but barely. Drive was fine and it wasn't slipping at all. So I did not drive it far so I think everything will be ok. I put 3/4 quart of tranny fluid that said it as compatible with type iv. She didnt move at first but right before 2 seconds hit she sent me flying backwards. Put it back in drive pulled up some put it in park engaged quickly audibly then I put it in reverse and enjoyed a nice smooth shift with all the power. So a little bump in the road but nothing seriously terrible. Draining the transmission fluid before dropping the pan gonna do solenoids and filter while I'm in there and clean the valve body. Then I'm gonna do the radiator next possibly with new hoses if need be. Also ordered the foam repair for the subwoofer. I think the passenger door speaker may need one too. I love the suspension it handles really good! Glad that is already sorted out for me. I'll keep you all updated on the results. 

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Glad to see that things are working out and your dedicated to seeing her running properly.

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On 4/8/2018 at 7:46 PM, sha4000 said:

Glad to see that things are working out and your dedicated to seeing her running properly.

Thank you very much. I've owned three of LS now. They are my favorite cars. I do need new window motors for the front but that is ok ac works just fine. Shroud will be here Saturday and I'll be swapping the radiator out with the thicker tow package radiator. I read around on other forms and it was a direct fit. So I'm excited about having a nice reliable car that will give comfort and smiles hopefully for many miles. I did reset the traction control light. Now the vsc light works like it is supposed to. Haven't has the engine light come on besides that low pressure on the solenoid. Toyota and Lexus both recommend I flush the transmission instead of changing the fluid. I'm also getting the brake fluid done as well and they said combined it will be less than 300. The transmission holds 14 or 16 quarts I think so I figured that would be the route to go. Taking the rotors off and resurfacing them at the machine shop on a lathe. I'll check the pads and change them if need be with full ceramic ones. I did noticed a clunk on the driver side very minor. Seems to me it might be a ball joint. Keep in mind this was a 3500$ car with only 131k miles and the Lexus sticker stating the timing belt was changed at 122k. I feel like I got a steal. The subwoofer needs a new surround which isn't much. Just all little things to sort out. I'm in love with this car and it always gets compliments and people don't believe me when I tell them how much I paid for it! The laser radar detector works well. I tried it today and it followed further away then I made it get closer. I feel very blessed to be back in the LS family and hope to be here for years to come. Rode my hayabusa today and I have a new found respect for the speed and power of bikes. I'm a good rider but since having the Lexus I tend to cruise now instead of acting like a teenager. Thank you for all the replies. The interior I'm not concerned with now. Like you said you can always get parts from a junk yard. You've got some great ideas sha4000. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to read my posts. I greatly appreciate it. The rain washed her and she already looks better. I'm gonna do a full detail soon. 

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She does look good. I think you got a steal also.

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Swapped out the radiator and fan shroud and so far the car is running great. I've drained the fluid out of the drain plug (a few different times) and I'm waiting for the new strainer/filter to come. It comes with a gasket but I might just use fipg. I'm thinking the fluid just needed to be changed and since the pan is leaking I might as well change it. I'll get to look inside the pan which will give me a good idea on it's condition and some peace of mind. The car drives great shifts through all the gears smoothly and it goes right into reverse/drive on cold starts in the morning. Thanks for the compliment! 

Joel

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