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Hi everyone,

I recently acquired a 1999 Lexus ES300 from a craigslist seller who had removed the TRAC OFF and Check Engine Light bulbs from the instrument panel. I found this out when I went to get my car smog checked and upon investigation, it was pretty obvious that the instrument panel had been tampered with. 

When I took everything apart this past weekend I was able to clear three of the five codes that were present but the ones that came back were these knock sensor fails/malfunctions. I believe my problem is that I replaced the OEM sensors with $25 junk from amazon. When it comes to these knock sensors, I've learned that they are incredibly sensitive and if they are not detecting the exact frequencies that the ECU is searching for it will probably throw the CEL. 

The problem with these codes is that they will put your vehicle into "limp" mode and disable OD. Since I'm already in too deep to just flip this vehicle out of my life, I've decided to bite the bullet and purchase the OEM sensors for $160+ ea. I'll post an update to the forum when I complete the installation this weekend. 

Hopefully this will help someone having similar problems down the line.


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Wow! I can't believe the deceit people go to just to make a dollar or get out of an unfavorable situation. I guess I'm just too naive these days. My trust in others is definitely going to go by the wayside after reading or witnessing more of situations, such as yours.

I do look forward to reading your end result. Good luck on your project.

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I just got back form my test drive and knock sensor problem has been fixed! 

Please, if the knock sensor codes appear for your 1999 Lexus ES300 do not buy aftermarket sensors or an after market harness. That is what I did the first time around and ended up having to tear my engine a part twice. In order to make sure you're ordering the right parts you'll need to check the month you vehicle was manufactured. If it was built prior to August 1999 you're going to want sensor part number 89615-12040 (~$165 a piece). As for the electrical harness you're going to want to buy part number 82219-07010(~$30-$50) it is extremely important that you connect the right plug to the right sensor. The OEM cable has a sticker on the connector meant for bank 1, the bank 1 sensor is closest to the firewall of you car (closest to the windshield). I know these parts are expensive but I'm telling you that the $25 bundles are complete garbage. 

This is the most intensive maintenance I've ever done on a vehicle and was able to work through it pretty easily. Just take pictures of all the hoses and good luck with that bolt on the rear of the intake manifold (literally the bane of my existence). While I had the valve covers exposed I figured that I would check the spark plugs and that revealed an oil leak into spark plug tubes 1 and 3. To fix the issue, I ordered a valve cover gasket kit that came with the spark plug tube gaskets as well. After that I replaced the igniter coils, spark plugs, fuel filter, transmission fluid filter and speed sensors on the transmission. 


Knock Sensors: 30 ft/lbs

Lower Intake Manifold: 132 in/lbs 

Intake Plenum 32 ft/lbs

Throttle Body: 168 in/lbs

Transmission Filter bolts: 94 in/lbs

Transmission Fluid Pan Bolts: 46 in/lbs

The most important thing I'd like anyone reading this to take away from my story is to bring an OBD-2 reader when ever you buy a car from a private seller and test it, regardless if the CEL light is on or not. If I couldn't do this work myself, I'd be out over $1000 in parts and maintenance. 


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On 9/5/2019 at 1:46 AM, jjbrahma said:

Wow! I can't believe the deceit people go to just to make a dollar or get out of an unfavorable situation. I guess I'm just too naive these days. My trust in others is definitely going to go by the wayside after reading or witnessing more of situations, such as yours.

I do look forward to reading your end result. Good luck on your project.

When I found out what had happened oddly enough I wasn't even surprised. I'm only 25 but I've lost so much faith in humanity already it just makes me want to crawl under a rock. 

Thanks for the support on this post!

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Hey There! I'm really happy for you! You really came through and then you went the extra mile and repaired new issues you discovered. You obviously have a very good work ethic. Alot of people would have either just stopped or given up and only repaired what they originally planned to repair.

I learned to work on cars as a child back in the carburetor days. LOL! Fuel injection was intimidating back then and now we have computers running our cars. What's next!?

Although my Lexus is a 2002 RX300,  your situation is useful for me. I appreciate you listing the Torque values. I would have just "spaced"the idea of taking a code reader with me, while looking at a used vehicle. Thank you for the reminder! Don't forget to replace the missing light bulbs for the sensor lights...I'm sure you didn't, just my small attempt at humor in an otherwise difficult situation.

Something I learned concerning my sensor lights (the VSC and another...don't remember the other now); I went over a 2 inch change in asphalt and concrete through a construction zone, I was going about 10 MPH and the lights came on after the bump. Of course I freaked out...knowing the cost of the sensors. My vehicle started acting really strange, started idling really rough, attaining a normal driving speed (35 to 40 MPH) was difficult, et cetera. So, I got home and started looking for low cost sensors, as you had done. The sensors were still too expensive for me.

I thought it was very strange that more than one sensor would light up at the sametime so, I began a Google search. I ended up on a Mercedes AMG site and later, finally, on a Lexus site; both sites had people talking about resetting their car's computers, due to sensor lights having to do with a vacuum leak. So I followed what they said; both said to disconnect the battery for a minimum of 24 hours to reset the computer (not to pull the main fuse), then drive the vehicle for 50 miles. I pulled the battery cables (both of them) and let my RX300 sit for 24 hours; went out actually about 36 hours later, reconnected the cables, reset the radio and drove off.

Fortunately it was a Sunday with only a tad bit of traffic (a miracle in Dallas) so, I took off down the Freeway. Our speed limit is 75 to 80 so, of course I was doing about 90 (I wanted the drive over before the real traffic started). The further I drove the higher my Average Miles Per Gallon digital gauge went, to where it ended up at my getting an average of somewhere around 47 Miles per Gallon (can't find my pic). After getting back into stop-and-go traffic the gauge settled on 23 Miles Per Gallon Average. After several months it is averaging around 18 miles per gallon.

Anyway, my vehicle is getting great milage in the City (as displayed), it idles great and runs like a new vehicle. And the sensor lights have not come back on...thankfully. The person on the Lexus site stated that he does this about once a week since our vehicles "learn" from or driving habits. Once a week is too much, I think but, maybe every few months.

The above is just a tid bit of information you may want to try one weekend.

You say you are only 26? Well, I would've loved to have you in my Air Force Combat Unit. You are definitely a credit to yourself and your family.

I know what you mean regarding the rock to crawl under; unfortunately that will not help of Society. I wish I had the resolution. Education and family values are the most important things that come to mind. Hopefully your children will have a more civil Society to live in before it's too late and "Big Brother" is watching all of us like a Hawk. Can you say George Orwell or Nineteen Eighty Four (1984)?

Just continue to treat others as you'd like to be treated and maybe, just maybe, your compassion, honesty and integrity will be passed on to others.

Great job! Take Care.

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