Regular Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About luptona

  • Rank
    New Club Member
  • Birthday 10/03/1961

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Lexus Model
    1998 LS400
  1. I have a 1998 LS400 with single stage Black Onyx and gray lower panels. Recently, I swiped a (too short) yellow barrier pole at Lowes and crushed the right front fender and damaged the bumper. Now I'm having a heck of time finding the right shop to repair it properly. Another post elsewhere recommended Stuart's in Plano but after visiting them I was not confident that what they proposed to do was the right approach. They appear to be a top quality shop but they would not even consider doing a single stage paint repair. They insisted that it had to be base coated then clearcoated. In fact, the rep didn't believe me when I told him it was a single stage telling me that single stage laquers are not legal to spray anymore. A quick little test polish proved my point. I also wanted to black the car out and have the gray door and fender panels as well as the front and rear bumpers painted black. I was told that it was inevitable that the panel clips would break off and because they are integrated with the panel and not replaceable that I would very likely have to buy all new panels. Sounded a bit off to me. Can anyone recommend a professional, knowledgeable shop in the DFW area that can r/r the front fender, r/r the front and rear bumper covers (would prefer aftermarket Wald or similar 'executive' ground effects rather than OEM covers), paint the single stage where necessary (fender, hood, bumpers, panels) then completely retouch dings & chips, clay, polish, etc. the entire car WITHOUT SWIRLS and put this car back in top condition? I want it done right (disassembed vs. masking for example) so I'd really like to hear any recommendations for a top quality shop. Thanks!
  2. Yes, my understanding is that the main reason for not clearcoating the black is how small chips appear. With a clearcoat over the black you end up with little white spots where in a non-clearcoated finish, the chip (if not all the way to the metal) remains black and certainly an easier DYI repair. Also, due to the lack of clearcoat, there are several more layers of black making it quite forgiving when polishing out scratches. I've had a lot of success polishing out several scratches on my 98 LS400. Also, I read another article recently at that talks about using a small amount of laquer to blend in small chips and intend to try it to see if this will save me from having to repaint the front end. If anyone has tried this, I'd like to know what success you had. I'd really like to get the paint back close to 100% as possible so I can replace the gold emblems on the car which a previous detailer completely ruined by buffing them... duh...
  3. I previously had a set of Michelin Pilot 225/60-16's on my 98 LS400 and they drove and handled beautifully. I wanted to upsize the wheels so I put new 18" wheels and a set of Pirelli 245/45-18's on it. Big mistake. I took them because Discount had just had a floor show and the Pirelli folks let them have the set (and subsequently me) for a really good price, but they were too wide, too harsh, too soft compound to be even worth the deal. They constantly rubbed and even after 4 rebalances and several alignments, they handled horribly and wobbled like crazy at speeds over 60. (Yes, even the Lexus dealer balanced and aligned and for 3 times the cost did no better). After 8,000 miles they were bald... I just recently put on a set of Tien Coilovers and ordered a new set of BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS (now discontinued but still available) 235/50ZR18's from the Tire Rack. The Tire Rack called to ask me if I knew what I was doing and I convinced them that I did even though I really wasn't absolutely certain I was making the right decision! :) Excellent choice though... the local shop lowered the car with the old tires leaving about a 1 inch gap but when the new tires were mounted the wheel wells were level with the tires... too low... but it handled beautiful again. Smooth quiet ride, nice and tight in the turns, but was getting a bit of rubbing (only in the front) over dips and bumps. I'm raising it up another inch and I expect that will resolve the rubbing issue (it's only touching the very top inside edge of the front fender well trim.) Certainly the coilovers are a major contributor to the improved ride but I'm really pleased with the tires themselves. For $79 a tire, (plus another $30 I believe for mounting/balancing) I would highly recommend the g-Force T/A KDWS while they are still around. They've been replaced with a newer KDW series that has a really killer tread design and when these old ones wear out, I will probably go that route depending on the life I get with these. I'm even considering ordering another set of the KDWS and stashing them for the next tire change. :)
  4. I would agree; let 'er go. No matter how well they do the repairs, it'll never be the same. I've made that mistake in the past with other cars and ended up selling them off when they pulled funny, wore out tires, etc. Take the insurance money and find a clean replacement. Now one thing to consider too is buying the wreck back from the insurance company during the settlement. Usually, you can buy it pretty inexpensively. Then, strip it (you want the wheels right?) :), fill your garage with the best, cleanest, highest value parts, sell off what you don't want or need and then donate the car to the scrap yard. In some cases, you'll have to pay to have it hauled away depending on how much of the car is left. I did this years ago with a Volvo 264GL that my wife totalled. I bought it back from the insurance company for a few hundred bucks, bought another straight but worn 264 from the salvage yard and did some major swapping; all the leather, doors, trunk, plastics, wheels, etc.. A salvage yard picked up the wreck and I sold the refurbed 264 for a couple thousand after driving it for a couple more years. Just a thought.... good luck and my sincerest condolences on your loss. :)
  5. Hmm... I'd be very suspicious of the rotten attitude. His unwillingness to fix the problem or negotiate with you (unless you've been snide as well :) may indicate other problems with the car that he may already know about. Look for other electrical issues; other lights burned out, radio noise or failed speakers or channels (left/right), etc. Look for any fogging in any panels like the instrument cluster, etc. My 98 LS still has the original headlamps, etc. All electrical is fine with one exception, a screw fell out of the dash right after it was purchased and caused a short. Now the stereo comes and goes on the right side occasionally. Never been able to pin it down. At least I know the car's history and no water damage which I would suspect if various electrical things were going haywire. A couple of things to keep in mind (or question). Why is a 2000 LS400 being sold at the Toyota dealer and not at the Lexus dealer? He may have picked it up wholesale from the Lexus dealer because they wouldn't certify it or weren't willing to offer an extended warranty due to known issues. He may have gotten perturbed because you were hitting a little too close to home. Several years back I bought a Tahoe from XYZ Ford, when XYZ GMC/Chevy was about a mile down the road. I knew better and regretted it later. Found out several months later why the darn thing was wearing out tires so fast; it had been wrecked pretty bad. See, the Chevy dealer wouldn't cert it so they shipped it down the street to their Ford dealer, waxed it and sold it there. It was a beautiful truck and just what I was looking for at the right price... oops. My personal advice is to forget the Toyota guy. Buy a brand from the brand dealer or get one from a private owner. And do all the research you can, Carfax, etc. Heck, the dealer will even print out the service history of the car if you ask nice. Mine did. Now, if the dealer can't certify because of the mileage, they will certainly sell you a warranty, generally for under $2K which will give you the same coverage as the certified. To extend my 98 LS400 to 8 yrs/80,000 miles was $1695 (I seem to remember). I didn't do it after all because I elected to put the money back in the car instead and take my chances... I didn't regret it but I could have. :) You can always throw the warranty in at the last moment as the deal breaker. Many times, they'll provide it or sell it to you at a significantly reduced cost rather than lose the sale. Especially if they know they have a really good car that they don't expect back for warranty work. My 2 cents. :)
  6. Certainly. If I find someone that will get the job done, I'll post it. I had heard from a few folks that one guy out at the Discount Tire in Grapevine knows how to do it. I'm just a little gun-shy to take it back to ANY Discount store due to past experience. This is the second car that I've run thru there with no luck. I thought for sure the Lexus dealer would do it. I think the trick is several things; make sure the ticket says "Hub Centric" if they are (mine are) and that they hand tighten the lugs. My wheels have been on and off the car so darn many times now the lug holes look horrible. Customer Service is so hard to get these days...
  7. OK, here we are again. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I've gone to Discount twice and now have been thru the Park Place Lexus Dealer here in Grapevine, Texas twice. No one can seem to balance these tires. It actually got worse when I took it to the dealer. Both times they insisted that the tires were too hard and I would feel all of the feedback from the road... well yeah... duh... I KNOW THAT but that has NOTHING to do with a wobble in the front and a hop in the back. At 55 the steering wheel actually wobbles in my hands, at 75 that smooths out somewhat but there is a very distinct hop from the rear (a 1 to 1 vertical for those of you military guys). For the life of me, I can't understand why these are so hard to do a good balancing job on. No one has once suggested that there might be a bad tire or rim (which is unlikely anyway) but trying to tell me the tires are too hard for the car and that is the cause of the imbalance is just plain idiotic IMHO. I was very surprised that they turned their noses up at the fact that I had put custom wheels on this car...(especially when they sell similar aftermarket rims there for 4 times the price) at least that is how they made me feel. Sorry, just had to vent. Can ANYONE suggest a real professional road-force trained expert in the Dallas area that can fix this problem???
  8. I have been in and out of Discount Tire several times with 2 different cars and they simply CAN'T balance wheels there. My latest is my 98 LS400 (sorry, I know it's off topic for this area) and they have not been able to balance them properly. I have a set of 18" ADR Sterlings with Pirelli's and centering hubs... I'm convinced it's not the equipment, it's the balancing. When they mounted the tires for me, they dinged the lip on one of my brand new ADRs and scratched the heck out of the lug holes. You get what you pay for I guess. Never again. I'm headed to the dealer as suggested in a previous post.
  9. One of the nicest tire size calculators I've found is at It lets you compare current size to others for replacements or inching up or down. Now, with that I have been able to determine that I can replace my existing 225/60R16 tires on my factory wheels with a set of 245/45ZR18 tires on a new set of ADR Sterling 18 wheels with a 38mm offset.... (maybe) and the diameter is nearly identical (0.23% difference) however, my question is this; The new tires I'm thinking about getting (already have the rims) are exactly 20mm wider and the new rims have 38mm offset. Will these actually fit OK? Or must I stay with a tire width closer to the original (225 or 235). I do not know the factory rim offset and whether or not the new setup I'm after will touch anywhere. Any suggestions?