Julie Lloyd

Looking to buy, advice or sellers?

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Hello, first time on this forum. My husband suggested I sign up. I've been looking to buy an SC 430 under 100k. I've test driven a few and had a PPI inspection on a 2008 with 98,738 miles, red exterior, dark tan interior. They want $16995. Clean carfax. My three biggest questions:

1. Is it normal for the front end to shake a little once you hit 70mph, or do you think it's just a failure to balance the wheels after putting on New tires?

2. Anything I should specifically be aware of?

3. Is anyone selling? Light interior a must! 

Thank you.

Edited by Julie Lloyd

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Hi Julie....welcome to the Club

It sounds like a wheel imbalance causing the shuddering which is easily rectified.

Generally the SC is a superb car but like any other, pay careful attention to vehicle documentation and as long as you have had an inspection then it should be absolutely fine

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I personally think the price is a little high. I paid 8K for my 2002 SC430 back in April I think with 100641 miles.

The biggest difference in the line is in 2005 I think, they added a six speed tranny versus a five speed. Could have been 2006 so don't hold me to that specific.  The headlights and taillights were upgraded and that's about it except for conveniences like bluetooth and phone.

Navigation got upgraded as well but few of us actually use it. The last maps were updated in 2013 if I remember correctly. Your phone is better with current maps and turn by turn navigation features. But if thats important to you then go for it.

The stereo system originally was the Mark Levinson system. The bad thing was the foam around the speakers rotted. Replacement foam can be purchased for about $45.00 but then your tearing your car apart to pull them and fix them because they are unique and there is no direct replacements.  You can replace the whole system but you need a special harness and you loose some nice features that I love like the mode control on the steering wheel.

I could go deeper but I need to take a five mile walk. Its been a less than stellar day.

Lastly, I would recommend you go to the Lexus Drivers website AND the CarFax website (free app in Google Play Store or iTunes?) and enter the VIN and download the ENTIRE history of the car. Take your time. Its a truely great car that I absolutely love and if properly maintained is good for 300,000 plus miles. Good luck in whatever you decide.

Paul

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OK. Time for Part II. Any vehicle with 100,000 miles has things that wear out. And the SC430 is no difference. You want to make sure that the Timing Belt AND water pump have been changed recently. You also want a complete and thorough inspection of the suspension components. The SC430 had approximately 14 thousand units sold in 2002. By 2010, they sold approximately 300 from my understanding. Even though the SC430 was the Lexus Flagship of Sports Coupes, the low numbers prevented the aftermarket from bothering to make products for our SC's. The only place you can get a rear shock is Lexus. How do you feel about $350.00 a shock. $700.00 a pair. Control arms that have the Ball Joints and bushings, $400.00+ from Lexus. There are 4. That doesn't include lower Control Arms etc. Which there are two each in the front plus the rears and various components that wear out with everything else. + labor at $150.00 an hour at a dealer. Owning an older Lexus is for people who have deep pockets or really like wrenching on their cars because I don't care what car you buy. If it's over ten years old, stuff wears out. Rebuilding major components up front and completely means no more maintenance for another 100,000 miles. It's like a new car.

Check for missing parts like the two Engine under covers. Oh and lets not forget possibly having to pay upwards of $700.00 for a new Power Antenna if yours stops working. If you know someone in the SC community that would help you out with an inspection, even if you have to pay them a little, it could save you thousands later on down the road.

I do all of my own maintenance when I can. There's a lot I can't do though because I live in a Condo. So, how do I save money? #1. You find where to buy your parts that don't cost you full price. Heck, it's a Toyota. A lot of parts are Toyota parts. And some parts were even installed on multiple Lexus Model Lines like the GS300, GS400 and GS430 in relation to suspension components.

Owning an SC430 is fantastic. As long as you are aware of exactly what you are getting into. Me personally, I like the 2002-2004's because there were more of them built so there are more salvage and new parts available. You will find that Lexus really doesn't care so much about your beautiful low mileage SC after it leaves the lot because they don't make any money. Besides, most people couldn't tell the difference between a 2002 and a 2010. And that includes me without a serious look around.

Lastly, lets talk about that top. It's beautiful. I've had people just stop and gawk while I was opening and closing it just to watch. It's controlled by three ECU's (Computers), Ten Motors and thirteen Switches. And it all has to work in unison like a mechanical ballet. Toyota Engineers never cease to amaze me with what they come up with. But they also forgot the adage of KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid! All of these things together make the SC430 what it is. A beautiful, ultra reliable car when properly maintained.

So, as long as you know what you are getting into, I say go for it. But if any of the problems I have described are there, start knocking the price down accordingly so you can still afford to fix your new baby AFTER the sale. Good Luck.

Paul

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I have to post a correction now. Thanks to Scott aka ppine. I said there was no aftermarket support for the rear shocks and apparently I am wrong. He found some replacement coilovers from a company called K Sport USA Aftermarket Performance. Always glad to be wrong about expensive parts. Even though we have coilovers already installed (the term "coilovers" is used as kind of a marketing ploy to make it sound like its super exotic and better), K Sport has a pretty wide selection of coilover options if you are looking to do a little more tricking out including big brake kits and even air suspension. Thanks Scott.

Paul

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