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    2003 LX470

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  1. Everytime I buy a used car (even certified lexus), I run 5K to 10K using Mobil 1 Delvac 5w40, as it (being a diesel engine oil) contains detergents that have been shown (from members on the 4wheeler boards) to dissolve varnish buildup in engine from using mineral-based engine oils. It's never been used on an engine so sludged up. I would clean up and maybe rebuild the valve train/oil pump, etc., then run a diesel oil for short 500 mi or so intervals and change repeatedly until the sludge deposits disappear.
  2. Are your battery terminals all clean & tight? If so and assuming the battery is good, I'd assume the alternator. The only time I had the charge light come on was on my '86 4runner a few years ago, and that had the original 20 yr old alternator and the brushes were worn. How about if you disconnect the LX battery, use jump cables to connect to another car w/ a known good battery and see if you still get the charge light. If so, I suspect something with the alternator, either the alternator itself or a wire connected to it. PS: get a good battery. I use the Odyssey PC1700MJT full metal jacket, mil-spec AGM battery (need to shim it 1"). You can't buy the OEM made-in-japan panasonic batteries here.
  3. I get around 15-16 in the city, 17+ on the interstate. Recently got 20.5mph (record high) returning from flagstaff (downhill for 20 miles, plus speed was 70mph). Normally at 70mph, I can get around 17.5-18 in AZ (chevron 91). In So. CA, I always get 2mph LESS than in AZ, carrying the exact same loads and running chevron 91. My hunch is that the 91 oct gas in CA has more ethanol to boost the octane. Since ethanol has less energy than gas, you get fewer mpgs. Also, there are zillions of traffic lights in Orange County, one practically every 1/4-1/2 mile, and lots of steep hills. Here in Tucson, the hills are gentle, air is thinner and warmer. I also learned that when it's cold, your mileage will suffer. During the summer in Flagstaff, I can get 17-18mpg driving around Flagstaff (7000 ft) and on hwy 80, but during the winter, the same drive only gets 16mpg. My guess is the denser/colder the air is, the richer the mixture (eg, more air, more fuel), and hence the more fuel consumption. In fact, I get my best fuel economy in all my cars during the summer when it's 100F outside. The air is thin, engine doesn't require any warming up. You could try running a higher tire pressure than the recommended 29/32psi. I found that that pressure was too low for my LX (unloaded), as my previous tires (Bridgestone dueler HT's) were worn more on the outer and inner edges rather than the center, indicating underinflation. I had them at 32-33 psi, all 4 tires. With my new Michelin LTX/MS2's inflated to 38psi, I am getting about 0.5mpg better than with the Bridgestones (probably because of the higher pressure) and the ride quality is similar (not any harsher due to the higher pressure). Anyways, I'd try a higher tire pressure like 36psi.
  4. I just got a '05 ultra w/ 21.5K mi on it a month ago...immaculate condition (owned by retirees in the desert). I was also concerned about the air suspension, so I bought the extended 6 yr CPO warranty. At any rate, if you have some mechanical skills, the air suspension can be replaced with the standard or sport suspension; all you basically need to buy are the coils, shocks, rear stabilizer bar w/ bushings, and a few minor other parts. You can get the parts for a discount on line for about the price of ONE air suspension shock! Someone already did this conversion (added the OEM sport suspension). This way, you get the creature comforts of the ultra (rear seat goodies) plus the benefits of the stock coil spring suspension. Ditto for the LX470...everyone is afraid of the hydraulic suspension, but one can install a stock toyota landcruiser suspension for $1200 in parts plus labor. The bottom line when looking for a used car is vehicle condition. Have your lexus dealer print out the service recs (they can download recs for any lexus given the VIN). You can then see what service was done, how often, and if anything was rejected, warranty claims, etc. My local dealer had 3 LS430's: a '06 modern luxury, '06 custom luxury, and '05 ultra luxury. Going in, I was pretty sure I'd bid on the '06 modern. I drove all three and closely inspected them. The '06 modern was kind of abused; dings on the wheels, PO was evidentally heavy on the pedal, refused some service, etc. The Custom was fine, but it had some gauche window tinting and terrible paint patch job on the front bumper (lots of rock dings, plus running paint, like it was a home-job). Last was the '05 ultra, one of the last '05's built and only 3 months older than the custom '06 and in like-new condition. Dealer said the price on all 3 would be about the same, so it was a no-brainer. So make sure you look at the car and extensively test drive it (~20mi if you can). The LS learns the owner's driving style, so if you're heavy on the throttle, it'll take more pressure on the accelerator to get the car to go.
  5. And get a '08 or later, 'cause the first year '07 had issues with the windows whistling! (except for the 460L)
  6. The 430 ultra has the lowest drag coefficient (0.25) of any Lexus built.
  7. How about another LS430? I got my '05 UL w/ 21.5K mi on it for under $40K.
  8. I think you can still buy a platinum warranty written by Lexus financial services from any lexus dealer. This will be cheaper than trading your '05 in since when you buy a CPO, you are basically paying a $2-3K premium for the 3 yr warranty.
  9. You can get the OEM oil filter at your local toyota dealer. P/N is 909215-YZZD3 (same oil filter as for the '98-07 landcruiser, 03-09 4runner v8, Tundra/Sequoia V8). They are around $5 retail. Same goes for windshield wiper blades.
  10. 1) Oil filter: There is a steel, oval-shaped access port held on by (IIRC) two 12mm bolts. Remove the bolts and the filter is right there (just to the driver's side of the bottom of the radiator). 2) Get underneath the car on the driver's side. You will see the large, secondary (plastic) skid plate. In that skid plate is a small, oval-shaped access port slightly to the driver's side. That is the bolt (IIRC, 14mm). Alternatively, you can remove the entire huge skid plate. Don't get the oil drain bolt mixed up w/ the transmission drain bolt. The oil drain bolt is on the bottom of the oil pan, which is on the bottom of the lower engine block! As an aside, if you look up (DS, rear part of engine near an engine mount), you will see a little elbow/metal tube w/ bolt near it. That drains the coolant from the left bank of the engine. 3) Don't remember. Most are around 30 ft-lbs. I just use a longer handle open-ended craftsman wrench. Make sure to use a new gasket (the old one sometimes gets stuck/baked on there, so don't forget to remove it first; I've heard of Toyota dealers forgetting to do this and the oil leaked out, burning up a few engines!) 4) 5w30 in the USA since it was the oil that gave the least emissions during CAFE testing, 10w30 overseas where engine life is more important. I use Mobil 1 Delvac 5w40 and Mobil 1 0w40. I don't like Mobil 1 10w30 (D1 and 0w40 give me the most mpg's). 5) Filter: OEM Toyota: 909215-YDZZ3 (best is the made-in-Japan factory 909215-20004, only sold overseas now) 6) How much oil? More than 7 qts, less than 8 qts. I'd guess about 7.3 qts, then run engine and check the level.
  11. Flushing can cause damage on a transmission. Since your fluid is old, the safest thing to do is a simple drain & fill (about 3-4 qts, maybe 1/4-1/3 of the total capacity). Do this gradually (say every oil change) rather than replacing 100% of the fluid. Normally, you should replace the fluid about every 30K mi, a little longer if synthetic. You should have a "transfusion" done, not a power flush. The transfusion merely plugs a machine into the ATF lines. One resevoir in the machine contains new ATF, another resevoir catches the old ATF. You drain & fill the ATF pan, then put the new ATF in the machine's tank, turn on the engine until theh new fluid has been sucked into the tranny. Meanwhile, the old fluid returns to the tank rather than the ATF pan. Stop engine and reconnect lines. There is no pressure on the tranny using this method.
  12. I don't think this is normal. I make lock U-turns all the time and don't notice this. Granted, when I bought my CPO '03, the steering wheel was about 10 deg to the left of center when the car was going straight. Turned out to the VGRS ECU. Dealer replaced it under CPO warranty (thank God!...was $800 for the part alone!) and all is well 33K mi later.
  13. Sounds like the motor that extends/retracts the steering wheel? Those are known to wear out from repeated operation. When I bought my rig, I had the dealer disable mine to "save" the motor. It still will extend/retract if you use the button on the side to adjust it manually, and the memory feature still works when the auto retracting feature is disabled.
  14. Don't bother resurfacing rotors. BTW, it's usually not the rotor that warps. Rather, it's an uneven depositing of brake pad material on the rotor from an improper break-in process. To properly break-in new pads/rotors, you are supposed to pre-warm the rotor (very easy braking a few times), then accelerate to 60-70mph fast, brake hard (not so hard that the ABS kicks in, but almost as hard) down to 5mph, immediately accelerate back to 60, brake hard again down to 5. Do this 3-4x. Now drive easy for 10 min or so w/o using brakes at all. Then repeat the sequence once more, drive home (trying not to use the brakes), park in the garage (don't use the e-brake!), let sit overnight. The break-in process burns off the deposits on new pads and deposits pad material evenly on the rotor. Stoptech has a good description of what really happens... Now that said, the OEM toyota rotors/pads are so-so (OEM honda rotors/pads are better, IMHO). I installed A.R.T. cryogenically frozen slotted rotors w/ Porterfield R4s carbon/kevlar pads (and stoptech braided stainless hoses, added on 6 months later). Braking is excellent, no signs of rotor/pad wear after 2 yrs of use. The harder you brake, the better they brake. BTW, the ART rotors are considerably heavier than the OEM lexus/toyota rotors, which means more iron/higher density inside (more heat-sinking ability). The alternative I was going to go with are the Powerslot cryogenically frozen slotted rotors w/ the same pads. Price would have been about the same, but there's a guy on the ih8mud forum who has a LC w/ 35" tires and pulls a trailer. Nothing would stop his rig except the ARTs, so I decided to give them a try. For some background, I've been using the Powerslot non-cryo slotted rotors (brembo blanks) w/ R4s pads on my 86 4runner for 7 yrs. After 7 yrs, there was still about 40% pad material remaining, and the pads/rotors were wearing together at the same rate. There was no sign of the warped feel, either. One key thing to remember when installing rotors is to evenly torque the bolts in a criss-cross pattern with a torque wrench. DO NOT use a pneumatic wrench to install, as they don't sense torque. I had a toyota dealer change my rotors/pads back in 2000 on my 4runner (ran $1K) and within 1 yr, they had that warped feeling. That's when I tore it down myself and installed the Powerslots w/ Porterfield pads for $300. I recently sold the car and the brakes were still good 7 yrs and 95K miles later! I would avoid cross-drilled. You lose too much surface area from the holes, plus if you don't drill them correctly, they tend to crack around the holes. Slotted are better, IMHO.
  15. Sound like the t-case if it works in L but not in H. Are you sure it's all the way in H? On mine, you have to push the knob pretty hard. If it's the t-case, at least it's easier to replace the t-case than the tranny...just unbolt the driveshafts (mark the splines), unbolt t-case supports and t-case. You can leave the tranny attached to the engine. If it were the tranny, you have to remove the entire tranny/t-case unit to replace the tranny.
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