adrian torres

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About adrian torres

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    2003 ES 300
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  1. Update: I finally got around to resolving this issue. I had my Lexus dealership try to swap out both the Cd Changer and the Head Unit to determine which component or wire harness was defective. As it turns out, it was my head unit after all. Though the ebay sourced head unit has a LCD that is non functional for the sound leveler knobs, it works great. Total Cost of repairs $800 for diag and parts. Costly, but I am glad I got this issue resolved.
  2. Thank you for all of your replies. So far my options are on my 97 LS400 is to either replace the console lid leather ($100) or to replace the whole assemble with a used part ($100-$250) pending availability. There is one for $90 on ebay as we speak. It worth mentioning that my trunk did have a leak 2 years ago, which was due to worn weatherstripping and a bent metal lip on which the stripping is attached to. Since then there has been no more leaks. I want to add a Parrot system to the Nakamichi sound system this year, and since the phone system will have to be removed from the stereo system anyway, sounds like I will have to disconnect the phone system in the trunk. So, I am leaning towards have the leather replaced first, then having the phone system removed later when I have to install the Parrot system. (I am still having issues with the CD player intermittent working, but now give ERR 13 codes before failing which leads me to believe that the CD unit is faulty and not the head unit which was I was led to believe. I was also quoted $125 to repair the peeling leather on the steering wheel and $600 to replace the driver seat covers, do these prices seem in line, as I do not have any other information to compare them too. Adrian
  3. Hello, I have a question on the appropriate strategy to either repair or replace some of the worn leather parts in my car based on cost and complications. The main worn parts are the center console, steering wheel, and front driver seat. The previous owner was a large person and worn down these parts considerably in his 18 months of ownership. The center console lid contains the analog phone. I am tempted to just replace it with a used intact part, however, the presence of an analog phone concerns me as I heard that removing the phone can cause problems with the stereo system. It is possible just to remove the top lid and not the whole assembly or is it better to have the leather repaired? Same goes for the steering wheel which has the phone buttons installed. Also, in repairing or replacing the front seat leather trims, has anyone had experience in replacing the seat foam vs springs? I have heard that replacing the foam can help dramatically and seat springs rarely need to be replaced. Has anyone gone through this process and shed some insight? Adrian
  4. Hello, I want to share my experience after 4 years of ownership of my 1997 LS400 in terms of what advice I have learned for people wanting to buy or replace one from an overall viewpoint. Even though this is a solidly reliable car in terms of frequency of breakdowns, the ownership of a LS400 is neither cheap nor expensive in whole, but costs can be controlled by careful planning and knowledge. I spend on average $300/month on all costs of ownership excluding gas. This is still cheaper than losing money on depreciation and paying interest on a newer car of this class. Purchasing; All LS400's are now 15-25 years old. The most important rule is to be patient and do not rush to buy as there are many LS400's in the market. So wait until you see one that you really want. Condition is everything. Most importantly, make sure that the paint, body and interior trim is in a condition that you can live with. No car will be perfect, but if the exterior and interior has moderate issues such as tears, dents, clear coat fading, rust, collapsed seats, non-working electrics, and loose or rattling exterior parts or interior panels. Walk away. Mechanical parts are easier to fix and deal with than driving with torn seats or peeling paint. You want to feel good driving it, and not obsess about obvious flaws that you can see and touch everyday. Complete dealership service history is online at Look for consistent maintenance records, and if a major repair was recommended but not addressed such as suspension issues, engine mounts, brakes, and fluid changes. This shows the lack of pride of ownership from the previous owners and will extend to how the owner either took care of the car or treated it poorly to let the next owner deal with. At 15-25 years, failing rubber parts will be the main items to look for. Powertrain seals, weatherstripping, and suspension parts will have to be addressed if not already. Know your maintenance intervals and non-specified but routine commonly replaced items such as; Motor and Transmission mounts 100k (Failure to repair will cause EGR Pipe to break ($1200 repair) Shocks/Lower Control Arms/Strut Bars/Lower Ball Joints 90-120K Upper Control Arms (If above was never addressed) 150k Valve Cover Gasket 120k Brake Rotors 120k Timing Belt Pulleys and Tensioner 180k Check all weatherstripping for wear as this will lead to excess wind noise. This is expensive to replace if using OEM parts. Make sure the tires are of good quality. Cheap tires is a warning sign as is multiple small dents/scratches from parking lot damage from improper parking. Look at the condition of the leather and dash. Check for fading or dryness. Later models had UV protected windows, but dry leather will be an indicator of rubber failure in the weather stripping due lack proper storage and extreme heat conditions without proper upkeep. The 98+ models are safest due to having ESP standard with brake force assist appearing on the final model year in 2000. Note that 90-97 will have trac control only if heated seats are equipped. Nakamichi/Navigation vs standard Pioneer systems. This is a personal choice, just make sure that before you buy that everything works. The Nav systems are more of a liability as the AC controls are part of it, and Nakamichi parts are cheap but hard to find used. Get an expert opinion if unsure. Always get a Lexus dealer who has techs that have been with them since the 90's to look over with a pre-purchase inspection or with an experience independent mechanic to look over the all the car and produce of list of items that need to be addressed. Not only can you use this to screen out pitfalls, but you can use it talk the price down and to plan out your future repairs. There are many LS400's that are properly cared for in the market, however there are much much more poor examples or compromised examples that tend to stay in the market and appear frequently. Take your time and do your research and extend your search radius and you can find the LS400 that will serve you well for many years and save you money in the long term. Upkeep; From the beginning of ownership, there will always be a list of items that may need to be replaced or repaired. Just triage it and plan out which items can be replaced over the next 12-24 months. Stick to your budget, and always plan for unexpected items to come up. Shop around from qualified repair centers, ask if you can provide your own parts. Get discounted parts online such as Sewell Lexus. Repair small jobs such as brakes yourself. Be careful of taking your LS to places such as Sears or Pepboy's. While most times they can perform simple jobs cheaply. There may be times where complications can occur and the job will not be done properly which will warrant a trip to the dealer for expert review. Insurance: Insuring your LS400 for comp and collision is critical to upkeep your car. The main reason is to be able to repair your car when a loss occurs. Lower deductibles are important to this as the average claim is between $600-$1400. A $250 or $100 deductible may be expensive but there are ways to get this coverage cheaper. $50/month with high liability limits and low comp and collision deductibles is not hard to find in most states. (Excluding CA, NY,NJ, and FL) There are two kinds of formulas to derive your cost; the original MSRP or the statistics of the average claim on the LS compared to all other cars. Geico and Farmers use the stats which results in a lower price, or most of the other carriers can offer a limit of liability type policy based on the Cash Value. This is allowed for older cars 15 years of age which all LS400 are now under. In most cases filing claims may or may not increase your rate, this is a question to ask each company as everyone has their own rules, and each state is different. However in most cases small claims under $500-800 have no affect especially if they are a fault free (hit while parked) or comp claims(Hail/Vandalism/Partial Theft). There are a lot of LS400's with damage that could have been repaired using insurance but owners were afraid of making claims. Cracked Bumpers/glass, hail damage, large dents caused by unknown or uninsured drivers, etc. I am not advocating making small nuisances claims, but, if someone is paying for the insurance, you should be able to use it, especially if it was not your fault. If you do have to make a claim, be sure it is someone that Lexus or the dealership recommends as you can have it repaired anywhere. I made the mistake of having my car's hail dents removed using PDR. I went to a insurance recommended shop which sublet the labor to a third party. Let say, that I still have interior panels that are not put together right. This car was built with very small tolerances. Over time age will aggravate the parts ability to snap back into place, requiring clip replacement or even the undamaged part to be replaced in order to repair the body. In short; Owning a LS400 is a great way to have great car for little money and can be a smart purchase for yourself and your family. According to the HIghway Loss Data Institute, the LS400/LS430 is 60% safer than the average car in the US in terms of injury to its passengers. What is interesting to note that the newer luxury cars such as the LS460 is still safe but the LS460 is only 34% safer than the average. The LS400 is one of the safest sedans on the road ever made. Only an Large SUV or Truck is safer.
  5. Here is an update regarding the mileage and coolant system issues. After the repair it has been two months of daily use and the mpg has improved slightly as an average. The best mpg happens (Other than highway) when the heater works rather than blows cold air. I was explained that my water flowing sounds behind the dash are not air pockets but coolant that is returning to the coolant circuit. The return flow of coolant does flow into the engine temp sensor. (which I replaced), thus causing a drop in mpg. The lower temp of the coolant or lack thereof is making the engine think it is cooler than it really is. So it seems, that the only long term fix is to replace my heater core, which will not only fix my city mpg but the lack of hot air. The clog usually takes several minutes before allowing coolant to pass, depending if my trips either involves starts and stops or has periods of constant running at 2000 rpm. Once the noises appear, my city mileage returns to 19-20 otherwise it is 14-15mpg. At a $1400 repair job and gas being cheaper, the economics will have to wait until next winter (I live in Texas) or gas goes back to $4/gallon.
  6. Thank you for all of your comments. In the meantime, I have decided to go to the route of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it." I have some more needed upkeep expenses. I will wait until I start having shifting issues, the 10 year old transmission fluid does bother me, but some of it was replaced when the shift shaft seals were replaced. I will be creating a new thread with all of my learning experiences of LS400 ownership today, as I will be getting at 4 years and 55k miles of ownership. But, I complete agree that swapping out the fluid and filter and re-draining is the safe way to change your fluid, seems like they only way to know if you need to change is if you send your fluid of analysis to see if there is metal or moisture in it.
  7. Big Update! I was able to change out my radiator at my dealership. After spending $800, I thought the problem was solved. But soon after, no only there was no change in the mpg, but the heater still was not working and there was still sounds coming from the behind the dash. After my car was returned twice to the dealership, bleeding the system was not working. But, they stated that my heater core was clogged and would be $1400 to replace the core and the heater valve to replace the problem. After a talk with the dealership, they were able to pressure wash the heater core system and flushed out a chunk of sealant that was used on my last 90k service that had caused the heater to stop working. There is still some sediment in the system, but, the heater was working again. I still heard some noises after the job but the lead tech assured me that the sounds will go away as the last of the sediment and blockage will work its way out. So far my mileage seems to have improved, but I will post once I am sure of it. Also, I heard that my faulty cd player can be fixed by securing the rear connections through the glove box, instead of removing the unit. I will try and post this result on my other posting.
  8. I have a question, when I used to have access to the repair manual of the LS400, I noticed that the wiring of the heated seats was already built-in. I need to replace my seats in the near future and center wood trim of my 1997 LS400. I have seen complete sets of low mileage seat pairs for $500-1000 with memory and heating. I already have memory, but I was thinking if I get seats with heat, as long as I replace the center wood console with the version with the buttons for heat and trac control, it may work. Does anyone have any insight if this is a valid plan? It seems cost prohibitive if someone just wants to get heated seats but, if someone wanted to swap out their worn seats for any reason and does not have heat, would this work? Adrian
  9. Update; I still have the lowered mpg for city driving which seems to hover around 16mpg but I still get 25mpg for highway driving. The only update is that my radiator has clogs and needs to be replaced. I have not gotten around to it yet, but it is preventing hot water to get to the heater core. Now, I replaced the temp coolant sensor last year but it did not do anything. As I do not have access to the manual anymore, does the coolant that runs through the heater core come in contact with that sensor since it is top mounted? I am wondering that if coolant is not going through that part of the system if the coolant temp sensor is not getting any coolant to get a reading off, it may think my engine is cooler than it really is and thus run the car richer. When I drive for a long period of time I hear sloshing sounds then my heater works after 20 minutes of driving. Otherwise I get cold air. I have put it off as my car was not overheating. Lexus quoted me $800 for the radiator replacement with a coolant system flush, it that a good price? I am thinking of getting this done, as the drop in mpg seemed to happen when my heater stopped working. Any thoughts? Adrian
  10. I have been experience this issue as well. On my 97 LS, the door locks sometimes will not close or open based on the temp of the locking actuator. During the summer, the older locks tend not to work when the car is hot from sitting in the sun, however, at night or in the morning, they will come back to life. This is due to age effecting the condition of the part. You can either replace it with a used pulled part from a low mileage car from the north or wait for cooler temps to come back. See if the temp is what makes the difference or not. Adrian
  11. I did not rebuild the transmission, only replaced the shift shaft seals that had failed. This was the source of the transmission leakage. My main concern is as the fluid was brown in Jan 2012 and still brown today and it was replaced last in Sep 2005, should I replace the fluid or not. I notice when I shift from drive to neutral to reverse and back, the car does jolt a little. I do not experience this on my newer ES. I fear this is due to the fluid condition. My dealership stated that they will not do it out of liability concerns. I really want to keep this car running for 3-5 years and do not want to have to replace the transmission. So I would like to know if people have replaced their fluid and either nothing happened or the transmission did break on them. Seems a 50/50 split on advice from place to place.
  12. Question, I have heard alot of different answers from my Lexus dealership and other informed individuals about this issue. I have a 97 LS400 with now 230k miles. The fluid was changed back in 2005 (9 years) and at 110k miles (120k miles) ago. When I tried to have the fluid changed around 190k miles in 2012, I was advised not change my fluid as it was already brown, and the dealership stated that sometimes, if you change the dirty fluid it can dislodge metal parts or the new viscosity would damage the aging transmission. I now realized after being told that I should get a new car, that this logic may make sense if someone was only planning to drive it a couple more years. I am planning to drive this car for at least 3 more years hopefully 5, and I do not want to have to replace the transmission due to poor advice. I wonder if anyone has had any experience with this issue, either replacing fluid of this age, and having problems or no problems at all? I am thinking of having it serviced in which the pan is dropped and the filter is replaced and magnets are cleaned, then the fluid is replaced. After which, the car is driven around to allow fresh fluid to engage the parts that are still coated and dirty, then drained again, and replaced with more fresh fluid. I had leaks due to shift seals failing over the past 3 years and have replaced the fluid gradually and replaced the seals to prevent any more leakage. So, what would the be the most sensible course of action?
  13. Help!, My 1997 LS400 has had a drop in MPG from around 20mpg to 15mpg after my Lexus was serviced at the local dealership. I had to replace a damaged driver side heat shield that was dented. The dealership had to "drop" the exhaust in order to replace the shield. After that repair, my mpg had dropped and never recovered. I took it back to them, and they could find nothing wrong. I tried to drive during different times of day, commute routes, etc. and they are all result in the same low mpg. However, highway mileage is stayed at 25mpg when I drive on the interstate at a constant 65 mph. I mentioned to them the water temp sensor that everyone in the forums point to, and the dealership did not think that it was the cause, since the drop occured after they serviced it. They also stated that the exhaust drop would have nothing to with a drop in mpg. They tested the o2 sensors and they were working fine, and there is no engine light. They stated that the car was fine, however they could replace the sensor for $250 but would not recommend it as it would not solve the problem. I wonder if the rear o2 sensor is sensing a air leak, if the dropping the exhaust caused a seal to break and this is causing the car to run rich. I am running out of ideas and the drop is causing my fuel costs to increase 25%. Any ideas or suggestions? Adrian
  14. I have that issue with my Lexus as well. I was told it has to do with uv damage on the dash. It would not affect the performance of the airbag deployment. Note, your 99 ls400 is a safer car than the 02-06 es300/330 series per look at the injury med/pip frequencies. Ls400 is 40% below average while the Es330 is 25% below due to it is a smaller lighter car.
  15. Help, I was just told by my Lexus service advisor that my es300 cam and crankshaft seals have failed, and leaking oil into the timing belt case, the timing belt is cracked and the water pump is leaking. He asked me if I ever had the service done. My car has 126k miles done and I had replaced all of these items at a Toyota dealership in oct 2010 at 105k miles. Lexus told me that the parts and labor are out of the 12 month warranty and I wasted my $900 and that is why I never should do a 90k service anywhere but Lexus. What should I do? Should I take the car back to Toyota to have them verify this fact. I am surprised because both Lexus and toyota serviced the car last month and the only thing they told me were bad valve cover gaskets. This makes me think someone does not know what is going on. Any ideas? Adrian