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Where would you go for a timing belt job?


dmartn149
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My wife inherited her Dad's 99 LS400, and our plan is to keep it and use it. It's a nice car, and with light use and proper care it should last us forever (if we don't crash it) It's coming up on timing belt replacement time and we don't have a Lexus dealer in our town. So, our choices for service are the local Toyota dealer or an independent garage. Toyota might be better working on a Lexus, but If their mechanics are accustomed to only servicing nearly new cars maybe an independent would be better. What would you do?

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IMO, I would take it to the Toyota dealer.  The 1UZ engine should be familiar to Toyota mechanics as variations of that engine (2UZ - cast iron block) are used in some Toyota V8 trucks.

Having the parts counter right across from the service department is convenient.  Although this might be a wash as parts for a +20 year old car will probably not be on the shelf.  The upside is if the warehouse has the parts, its an overnight shipment in most cases.

The downside is it can be quite expensive.  I would get quotes from both the dealership and independent shops.

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X3 on the Yota dealer. See, there's some special tricks a Toyota mechanic should know that assists in getting the new belt back on. Nothing against independent shops as many are able to service nearly any make and model cars up to a point. 

A new timing belt is one of those points in my view. 

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Another vote for the Toyota dealership, since like mentioned above, they'll have experience with the engine or similar ones, as well as having essentially the same training and materials a Lexus dealer would have.

I'd only go to an independent shop for the timing belt if it was A- much cheaper and B- someone I've worked with before and trust.

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Hello,

How far away are the Lexus dealers?

The reason I ask is my 1998 LS400s (2) are now being serviced by a Lexus mechanic in Charlotte that has been working on LS400s since around 1995 and I love having his in-depth expertise.  If you are planning on driving it nearly forever - like me, you might want to find a long-term partner.

The Lexus dealers will give you a loaner for as long as the car in the the shop.  There are some mechanics and service writers that have a real affinity for the LS400.  If you can pair up with these guys, you may enjoy the maintenance process more.

This previous week - at 286,000 miles, we replaced leaking cam gear seals, valve cover gaskets, timing belt, water pump, radiator, fan, etc.  The engine purrs and should be  ready for another 90,000 miles.

Best of luck.  Let me know if I can help (I have owned three LS400s and it is almost becoming a hobby!)

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