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Everything posted by Anovice

  1. It was really no clunker to me either. These were the circumstances. While I took good care of the car since 1992 and it only has 150,000 miles, it was getting tired. Many small issues like the radio did not work, the dashboard lights were completely out, constant issues with the ABS (maybe not so small), the leather seats were not in good shape and so on. Then there was the bigger issue of bad oil leaks. I was loosing about a quart of oil per month, it was messy and every time I would stop at a light the oil leaking from the valve cover (and other places) would drip on the engine and burn off, creating a bunch of smoke coming from under the hood. At each stop sign or stop light it looked like my car was over heating. I gather I could have spend + - $1,800 and had the gaskets replaced or better yet purchased a used engine, but I still had the other issues and with a 17 year old car with 150,000 miles, certainly more to come. Then, I have a friend who owns a Honda dealership who offered me a 2009 brand new V-6 Accord, fully loaded, leather, sunroof, dual temperature controls and so on, for a bit under $25,000. And with the C.A.R.S program, another $3,500 off. So if it were not for all these circumstances combined, I would not have done this and instead put some money into the ES 300.
  2. Well, tomorrow is the big day and I am sad already :cries: I cleaned out the car today and even came across the original sticker and bill of sale. I am have a difficult time throwing them out. And, then there is the "1992 Lexus Owner's Manual", 1992 Lexus Owner's Guide" and "Owner's Guide Supplement", all in absolutely perfect condition. Even the black leather case housing these manuals looks like it never has been touched and inside I found a green colored tag saying "Genuine Leather", with cleaning instructions in English, French and Japanese. I should try auctioning this on ebay ;)
  3. I apologize if this topic was covered before. Does anyone know if a 1992 Es 300 with automatic transmission qualifies for the Cash For Clunkers' program? The reason I ask is because Edmund's does not have it listed as qualifying. But yet "CARS" does have it qualifying.!Removed!/CarsResult1...n=1&id=8902 I also see that "CARS" indicates the 1992 Es 300 with manual transmission does NOT qualify!Removed!/CarsResult1...n=1&id=8903 What I am starting to think is Edmund's has not differentiated between the automatic and manual transmission. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Anovice
  4. Thanks again for all the help :-) I figured that anything that could POSSIBLY stop a leak could not be good for the other components, but I also figured there was nothing to loose. If it holds for a while, hopefully it will not gum up my heater core. It's getting cold! I did drive the 1995 Lincoln yesterday (The Shark). It has 105,000 original miles and a new engine, suspension and tires with only a few thousand. The interior and exterior are in outstanding condition. Truely a car driven by an "old lady". The blue book on it is about $2,500 and I think I could get it for $2,000. I don't like the idea that it eats gas, but based on 4,000 miles per year, that's not a great big deal. I need to weigh this against the car I have emotional connections to, or shall I say connections I need to seperate myself from. It seems clear that if I am going to keep my 1992 ES 300 I will need to buy the new engine online. It looks like with shipping that will be in the area of $700-$800 and probably the same for installation. So yes, for about $1,500 I have a new engine, but the rest of the car has 145,000 miles. And again, no dashboard lights, no radio, an ABS problem (probably the sensor), leather seats that require seat covers in the front and who know what else. Based on blue book, if I sell, it looks like I might be able to get $1,500-$2,000. I sometimes think that time kills a car as much as mileage. All the proper maintenance was done on my car and it was never driven hard. However, the first six years of its life were spent in south Florida and I can't help but to think that the hot temperatures affected the seals. Anyhow, if you have any last words of wisdom, I certainly would appreciate hearing them. I will use my car and with a little luck the leak will hold. If the leak holds for any lenght of time and the shark is sold, then I will be left with the option of buying a new engine for my ES300. If I get to that point, please be ready to give me some more of your good advice ;-)
  5. Good morning guys, blk_on_blk, I will try to address you comments and answer the questions the best I can. The oil leak(s) I have are long persisting. Of course, it get worse over time, but I have learned to live with that...put cardboard down and add a quart about every two months. The smoke only come from under the hood. I especially notice it when I get off the highway and I think that's because there is no airflow. I can see the smoke burning off the rear of the engine, somewhere below the PCV (I think that's the name of the changeable valve). But my point is, two seperate problems, but there is clearly no purpose in spending good money to fix one problem only to have the oil leak(s) still there. The mechanic dropped the exhaust manafold and tried to show me with a mirror where the headgasket was leaking and did so when he was pressure testing it. I really could not see, but everytime he pumped air into the radiator, he kept say "see, see, see". So it was in the front. I first noticed the problem by see a 'stream' of liquid coming from under the car. When I looked under, it was "flowing" from the lowest point. It looked like I had a hole in my oil pan. And, it was not a drip, drip, drip, but rather a continous flow. Like when you turn your sink water on and get just past the point of drips. Now here is where it gets more interesting. After picking up the car yesterday, I went to Pep-Boys and picked up a stop leak product. I think it was Bars, but definately in a pellet form. Six per package, 3 per gallon of liquid and each pellet was tan in color and bigger than a nickle and smaller than a quarter. I crushed them up as they were a bit too big to put in whole and the instructions were to run the car for 15 minutes. I did that yesterday and thus far the leak has stopped. Now, I am not optimistic the problem is solved, but the leak has stopped for the moment. Moving forward, I think we all agree it makes little sense to replace the head gasket on this car. The machanic did say to me yesterday that we could try to stop leak product he was talking about. The process definately entails a number of steps of draining and refilling the radiator. And, it will take some hours. However, whatever this stuff is, based on the process, it is some liquid that is put in through the radiator. He said the manufacturer (I am wondering if it was the distributor) said he would refund the cost of the product if it did not solve the problem. The cost of the polymer product is $120 and the labor is $180. So, if it works, I pay $300 and if not, $180. But, this is getting a bit crazy. Yesterday it cost me $120 for 2 hours of labor and if I do this, it's another $300 for a total of $420. And for that, it seems like I only bought some time, which maybe I already have with the pellets I put in yesterday. Anyhow, I wanted to update you. I will be using the car today and I will re-post tomorrow or Monday. All in all however, I think I need to start looking toward a long term solution which is either the new engine from Tiger (I guess that's the place you guys think is best) or "The Shark". I am real interested in hearing some thoughts as to what the pellets did to stop the leak, at least from yesterday to today. Anovice
  6. Again, thanks so much for your posts. I called the mechanic this morning and I got the feeling I am running the course with him, albeit I do know another mechanic. He said that he visually saw the leak and it is from the head gasket. He futher said since it is an "external" leak and not an "internal" one, that I the oil would not look milky and I would not see whote smoke from the exhaust. For the same reason, he said a compression test would not tell us anything. Asa a long shot he mentioned a polymer sealer product by the name of Blue Devil or Blue something. I put the name in Google, but came up empty. For use he would need to drain the radiator (I think he said twice) and to me it sounds like throwing good money after bad. Does anyone have any familiarity with this product or any other sealer? Unless I go to the other mechanic I know, it looks like the only other option I have is to replace the engine on ebay or Since buying one online is WAY over my head, can someone spend a few more minutes educating me. For instance, are these motors rebuilt? Low mileage? Then, how do you know if they really are low mileage and so on. Anovice.
  7. blk_on_blk, First, I would like to say thank you for your reply and a detailed one at that. Since my post, I have a little more information to offer. The mechanic did in fact pressure tested the system. He did it by taking off the radiator cap and I guess what amounts to blowing air in. By doing so he was able to see liquid come out. The intital problem he had was due to the exhaust manafold, he was not able to get a good view of where the liquid was coming out. He removed the exhaust manafold and concluded it was the head gasket. That said, I called a few Lexus dealers in my general area. Interestingly, each one said they rarely have seen this happen on this car. What struck my attention was that each said the same thing. And, as you mentioned, each asked if I am seeing white smoke out of the exhaust. The answer is no. I was also asked if the car overheated and that answer is no too. In fact, the temperature guage did not even go up, but that could be because I made certain there was liquid in the overflow reservoir. But, when pressure tested, liquid did come out and knowing the mechanic I do not have a reason to question his honesty. Tomorrow I will pick up the car, double check for white smoke and check the oil as you suggest. Am I correct to say that I can drive the car so long as I make certain antifreeze and water is in the overflow reservoir tank? The reason I ask beyond the obvious is that living in a city I am only putting on 4,000 miles per year. If it's only a question of insuring that there is liquid in the overflow reservoir and cleaning up a mess in my garage (I can put a turkey pan under the spot it is dripping and re-use the antifreeze ;-) them maybe I can get by for the time being. Based on yesterday it will be a headache, but that may just mean I cut down from 4,000 miles to 3,000 per year. Assuming it is the head gasket, you have not given me any encouragememt on making the repairs. Thank you for your honesty. Yes, I will still have an engine with 145,000 miles and still one that leaks oil. I will check into the other route, that of a replacement engine. However, if I can do nothing for the time being except watch the fluid level, that may be my best short term option. Again, please give your thoughts in this regard. I may have one other option. A good friends aunt recently passed away and she had a 1995 Lincoln Towncar "The Shark". Becuase she loved this car so much and was a bit crazy, two years ago put in a new engine, new suspension and new tires. Since, less than 5,000 miles have been put on. The interior and exterior are in excellent condition. I would be able to get this car for $2,000. Just another option. Anovice
  8. Yesterday I noticed anti-freeze leaking under the car and the level in the overflow reservoir starting to go down. Fortunately (I guess) I was still able to see fluid in the reservoir. However, the first thing I did was add some anti-freeze and water to the reservoir and drove the 4 miles to the mechanics. Late yesterday afternoon the mechanic took a quick look and felt it was the freeze out plug. Upon a more detail look this morning and after taking the exhaust manafold off, he now says it's the head gasket. He called the machine shop, which I don't quite understand, but said to machine the "heads" and he wanted to get me a maximum cost. This morning he called me with the damage. First, please understand I know nothing about cars. The estimate is $1,830 wich includes the machine shop. He mentioned about 11 hours of time. It does not include a timing belt as that was changed last year. He said I get all new gaskets and seals from the head up...valve cover gasket, cam seals, head and exhaust gasket ansd so on. I guess this means nothing under the head is touched (oil pan and whatever else is there and I mention this because the car leaks oil). My car has 145,000 miles on it and while I have changed all fluids religiously since day one, the car is radio, no dashboard lights, but more so and for some time now the car has leaked oil. Recently I have been adding about a quart of oil every two months and I can see smoke from oil burning off the manifold at the rear of the engine (near the firewall). I have no idea if I went forward and spent the $1,830 if all the oil leaks would be fixed. If not, why do it. So to the questions. What do I do? It seems like putting $2,000 (with tax) in this car is a bit much. I am still left with a 1992 with a 145,000 miles and who knows what is next ready to go. If the feelings are not to put the money in, I guess I could try to sell the car, of course disclosing the problem and hopefully I would be able to find a buyer. In that case, how do I come come to an asking price? Would one way be to find the blue book price and subtrack $2,000? Your ideas and suggestions would be highly appreciated. Anovice
  9. The other day the final few lights on my instrument panel went out. This, in and by itself, is not a problem. However, at what seems like at approximately the same time, the car developed a problem with the right turn signal. When I put on the right signal, the green turn arrow blinks rapidly. I thought this would indicate that the turn signal bulb is out, but the light bulb indicator, which is functioning, did not come on. In addition, the front and rear turn signals are in fact blinking, albeit rapidly and with less illumination compared to the left. To add to the craziness, when I turn on the headlights, the speed of the green turn arrow and front and rear turn signals blink even more rapidly! Still thinking I may have a bulb problem I changed the right rear turn signal bulb, but the condition did not change. I would have changed the front one too, but I have no idea how to access it. If anyone thinks the front turn signal bulb may be the problem, please instruct me on how to access the bulb. As mentioned, this problem seemed to start when the remaining lights on my instrument panel went out the other day. I am now wondering if I have an electrical problem somehow created by more volts (or is it amps) going to my turn signal. While I think the turn light are still 'legal', it is an annoying problem. Any thoughts on how to remedy this problem would be appreciated. Anovice
  10. As scheduled, I had the hose changed on Wednesday. Thus far the reservoir remains full, which is a good thing. If this was the problem (only) as it appears, the cost was $104 for the hose and $130 for labor. Thanks for all the help! Anovice
  11. Good to know and I will have definitive information Wednesday when I bring the car back in. That said, the mechanic is fairly certain the problem is the hose. I ordered it on line as it was $30 less than the local dealer and it is to arrive UPS Tuesday. In the unlikely event it turns out not to be the problem, so long as the part is not used it can be returned. Is has been about a week since I added p/s fluid, but that is because I have not used the air conditioning. Once I do and the cooling fan runs, I loose the fluid quickly. After Wednesday I will post the findings. Anovice
  12. Thanks much. I have noticed that the leaking has increased. Before I was adding ps fluid every 3-4 days and over the past 2 days I needed to add each day. One diffference is due to the heat I have been running the A/C and for whatever unknown reason, this has increased the rate of the leak. Anovice
  13. I look forward to the part number when you get the chance. Thanks much. Anovice
  14. Well, I am not certain if I am making any progress! I took the car back in today (bottom cleaned the other day) and the mechanic, in his mind, is certain of the cause of leak in the power steering fluid. He said it is the 'big' hose that runs from the cooling fan to the power steering pump. I went online to Park Place Lexus and all I could find was "P/s hose, pressure feed" at a cost of $306.79. Yikes! My first question is this "the hose that runs from the cooling fan to the power steering pump"? If so, it presents two problems. First, that is a bunch of change for a hose. Secondly, from what the mechanic showed me, to replace that hose requires a bunch of other stuff to come out of the engine first, so I can see $300 bill in labor. I went by the local AutoZone and on their screen they show three different hoses. Once that runs to the gear, one that runs to the pump and one called a power steering return hose that runs from the gear. At about $32 for each hose, sure does not seem like anyone of the three are the $306.79 pressure feed hose from the Lexus dealer. I have to add a quart of oil every two months due to gasket leaks in the engine, so before I spend $600 to 'maybe' fix the power steering leak, I am starting to think that possibly I should just add power steering fluid once a week and call it a day. Another option is to take the car to a second mechanic I know and for $40 he will perform a dye test. He assures me this will isolate the leak(s) and claims he has the ability to fix the hose if that is the problem (can crimp the fittings onto the rubber hose). I would greatly appreciate if you could help in determining which is the hose that runs from the cooling fan to the power steering pump and if you were in my shoes would you go for the second opinion and do the $40 dye test. Thanks much. Anovice
  15. The leather on the seats, especially the drivers side, is cracking badly. It seams like the best solution is to buy a pair of seat covers. Where would be a good place to buy inexpensive covers that hopefully will fit fairly well? Anovice
  16. Thanks for the information. Now here is what is interesting. Per my initial post, I have confirmed that the fluid in the reservoir is maintaining its level at about 1/8 th of an inch below the "cold min" level mark. Put another way, at the 'seam' of the plastic reservoir container. The fluid level is not going lower than that mark, but at a point the noise starts to return. I am starting to wonder if I have a small leak in the reservoir at that 'seam'. That, or the pressure is such at that level where more fluid is not being forced out at the point of the problem. In any case tomorrow morning I bring in the car and the mechanic will clean the bottom of the engine and look for the leak. Anovice
  17. I appreciate you helping me resolve a problem with my front swaybar bushings. They were changed and the problem resolved with no more knocks going over bumps. It is a few weeks later I have more problems: #1 When I put the brakes on hard and the front end dips I hear a knock in what appears to be in the right front wheel (not going over a bump). I brought it to the mechanic today and he seems to think the problem is the front lower control bar bushings. He was busy and did a quick look, but this was his initial idea of what the problem was. The cost for the bushings at the local parts supply is $25 each. So if in fact that is the problem it will not be an expensive fix. Does the knock sound symptomatic of the answer by the mechanic? #2 The bigger problem is that I am leaking power steering fluid. This occurred the other day and at the same time I began to hear the knock when I put the brakes on. I am uncertain if these 2 problems are tied together or not. I first noticed the noise when taking off at low speed and it almost resembled a rubber band winding up. The more RPMs the more the higher the pitch of the rubber band noise. The wheel was not (and does not) need to be turned to hear the noise. You can also hear that you are low on steering fluidby turning the wheel. I added power steering fluid to the reservoir/to the "hot" level mark. After I added the fluid all noises stopped. In less than a day the level is about an 8th of an inch below the "cold min" level even when the fluid is hot. The level doesn't seem to be going lower than that mark, but at a point the noise starts to return. While at the mechanic he tried to see what the problem is and his gut feeling is that it may be the rack (part is $342 with core return + labor). However, the underside of the car is absolutely soaked in power steering or oil fluid (including front lower control bar bushing and maybe that is what ruined that part). At this time he uncertain if that is the problem and the only problem. He told me to pick up 3 cans of gunk and bring the car back on Tuesday so he can put it on the lift, spray it and wash it to better see where the fluid is coming from. With this second problem do you think it can be the rack and what other problems could it be? Any thoughts appreciated! Anovice
  18. Problem solved thanks to you fine folks on this forum! It was the sway bar bushings and not the links. $10.99 for the two bushings at AutoZone and $64 labor at the local mechanic, the car is quiet again. The bushings were oil soaked due to the multiple oil leaks and since rubber does not like oil, I'm sure that contibuted to the bushings going. As I mentioned in my first post, the car leaks 1 quart of oil every 2-3 months. I have not wanted to put the expense of replacing the gaskets in the engine on the car since it has 140,000 miles and with other things in need of repair. Plus, a quart of oil is a few dollars, albeit the leaks do create a mess. If I get the chance in the next few weeks I think I will go back to my local mechanic and get an estimate to replace the gaskets that are leaking. I will then come back here and see what you guys think. Again, thanks so much. Anovice
  19. Shayan and blk on blk thanks for your posts. Based on what you said as well as the parts department at the Toyota dealer that the links are not likely the problem, with one caveat, I am leaning on going a head with the stabilizer bar bushings first. They are available at the local AutoZone for a total of $10.99 (it was the links that I could not get at the local auto parts place). The caveat is, do the links need to be removed/disturbed in order to replace the stabilizer bar bushings? I am asking this because if the bushings are replaced seperate of the links and it does not solve the problem, then I go back and replace the links. In the mean time it did not cost me the labor and I saved the $56 for each link. On the other hand however, if the thinking is similar to the suggestion of changing the thermostat and water pump when the timing belt needs replacement, then I would be better off changing the links at the same time as the bushings and paying the incremental labor now. Sorry for all the back and forth, but all this stuff is so foreign to me, making it very difficult to evaluate the options and to make an informed decision. Anovice
  20. Thanks for the nice write up. I do not feel any shimmying in the car or steering wheel, so hopefully the problem is not the tie rods. While at the mechanics I seem to remember her did the check you mention for the ball joints, but I will call him and confirm. This would then come back to the sway bar bushings. However, I seem to be co-mingling two different terms. In my first post I said "2 sway bar bushings and 2 sway bar links". Then in my second post after calling the toyota dealer I said "The two bushings for the stabilizer". Are there bushings for two different things (sway bar and stabilizer)?. Also, the mechanic told me to get two new "sway bar" links and bfy43 mentioned "Sway bar bushings and links". Is there any reason why you did not make reference to "links". If the bushings (I am now guessing "sway bar" and "not stabilizer"), is it routine for the links to be replaced? I called Strauss and Autozone and neither carry the links, so it looks like the Toyota dealer for $112.02 for both links for the front. I am starting to get better understanding, but I am still not there ;-) Anovice
  21. Thanks for your post. I called the local Toyota dealership to get a cost on the parts. The two bushings for the stabilizer will cost $17.20. The two links $112.02 and the four nuts for the links $2.60. Not so bad if it fixes the problem. However, what concerned me was their comment "we do not have the links in stock as we have never sold them, but we can get them in a few days". While I know absolutely nothing about cars, this comment makes me think that the links do not go bad. Can this be the case? Short of taking the car to another mechanic for a second opinion, is it more likely the rattling in the front end could be the lower control arms or the lower ball joints? Again, it only occurs when I go over bumps, including the small ones on the cobblestone street near where I live. Anovice
  22. I have a 1992 Es300 that is showing wear and tear. The car has multiple small engine gasket leaks that require I add a quart of oil every 2-3 months, the radio is no longer operable, the dashboard lights are out and other small problems. However, I get the oil changed frequently as well as the other fluids including coolant and transmission, on a routine basis. If I can get another two years out of the car I will be pleased. Recently, whenever I go over bumps (and at times when I turn), especially a cobblestone street near me, I hear a chatter if you will, coming from the front end. Today I took the car to my local mechanic and he said the problem is the 2 sway bar bushings and 2 sway bar links. Beyond the chattering or banging noise, I am having a problem evaluating if these repairs are really necessary, keeping in mind I would like to get a couple of more years out of the car. Specifically, what can happen if I do not make the repairs? If the repairs are necessary because of safety or without them I will cause other damage in the short run, where online can I purchase the parts online and how much should I expect to pay for them? Lastly, if I am to replace these parts, how many hours labor should it take a competent mechanic? Your advice is needed and appreciated. Anovice
  23. Are you saying to use the Toyota-branded fluid for the transmission as well? Does my car have a plug to drain the transmission fluid, thus not requiring the pan to be dropped? And, do you know how many gallons I will need to buy of the coolant and transmission fluid? Thanks, Anovice
  24. Thanks for your informative posts. I decided I will go to the Toyota dealer for the PCV valve as it is only a few dollars more. I have a few follow-up questions. 1. Since I will be at the dealer, I will pick up the Toyota recommended red coolant and a friend/mechanic will change it. On my car does anyone know how many gallons I will need? 2. Does my car have a plug to drain the transmission fluid, thus not requiring the pan to be dropped? 3. Is Toyota transmission fluid any different than any other transmission fluid? If so, I can also pick this up when I am at the dealer. Thanks again, Anovice
  25. Happy Easter! I have a 1992 Es300 with 140,000 miles. I am using the car fairly sparingly and would like to get a few more years use from it. I decided I am not going to put the money in to fix the oil leaks, dash board lights, radio that went out and a like. However, the oil is changed every 3,000 miles, the air filter every year and I would like to keep up on non-expensive maintenance. The last time 'major' service performed was 3 years ago when the timing belt, water pump, belts, coolant, transmission fluid, fuel filter, plugs, etc. were looked after. At that time, the car had 116,000 miles. To this end, I am thinking of getting the following done and have a few questions: Coolant - Does it matter if the color is red or green? Transmission Fluid - The last time the service was done, the shop had a piece of equipment that 'flushed' the fluid. The prior time the pan was dropped. As I recall, the cost for each service was the same at about $100 because when the pan was dropped it cost $45 for a 'kit', which I guess, was a new gasket and what ever else. As I also recall reading, flushing is better because all the old fluid is removed where as when the pan is dropped a bunch stays in. Is this correct? Cost being about equal, which way would you go? Fuel Filter - At about $35 for the filter, it seems worth getting change again. The last time the filter was purchased at a Toyota dealership and a local mechanic friend installed it. Does it matter if the filter comes from the likes of Pep Boys? Out of curiosity, where on my car is the fuel filter located? PCV Valve - At about a cost of $10, this part also seems worthy of changing. Again, does it matter if this part is purchased from the likes of Pep Boys instead of the dealer? How does the old one come out and it easy to install the new one? Belts - Should the power steering and V belts be replaced again? It has been only 24,000 miles, but three years has passed. Any thoughts and suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Anovice
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