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Everything posted by jainla

  1. Hey man it's been a while. Welcome back. The two big ones are the control arms and brake actuator; but honestly there's not too much that can go wrong. Detailed list in another post from a while back: I think is largely still relevant. Good luck!
  2. +1 for the Vaistech units. Easy to install and very helpful tech support. I have 2 of them and love both; they also have a cool BT unit that reads playlists out of iOS devices; like the new OEM integration. The LS430 has a complicated stereo system (amp in the trunk; separate radio tuner) that's annoying and expensive to replace. I just went with the OEM ML system and added the iPod; have had no regrets for the last 10 years.
  3. To this list I would add motor and transmission mounts and possible a couple suspension bushings; as you approach 100k the front ones may need attention. Other than that there's not much to worry about on these cars if you don't have the air suspension. To Jim's point you'll miss out on some of the newer tech; but the car's basic goodness makes up for many of those issues. I'd rather have a 10 year old LS than a new Corolla. The LS400 that's approaching 900k miles still has the original engine and transmission; they were rebuilt around 600k miles. So these cars last. I have both an LS430 (115k miles)and an LS600hL; and I"m always surprised at how much I still enjoy driving the LS430. It's a little quieter and I like the sound of the V8 a little more. The LS430 is one of the best used car deals out there right now; at any price point.
  4. A nice comparo on the million mile Lexus: http://carbuying.jalopnik.com/how-does-a-brand-new-lexus-compare-to-a-used-one-with-9-1700481105
  5. I wouldn't be too worried about rust. Most modern cars don't have rust issues; and the LS has rubberized paint; plastic lower panels etc to mitigate any stone damage that would result in the metal being exposed. The only thing I would think would be concerned about (and the only thing I've seen rust on a Lexus from) is improper repair of collision damage. I still see 20+ year old LS cars occasionally in the Northeast US; which has pretty brutal winters. My mechanic and I did some digging and we believe the power steering pump leakage issue is no longer a concern on the LS430; I think the position of the pump vs alternator has changed; he's never heard of it leaking on an LS430. The air struts combine the air spring and shock absorber in one unit; so if either one goes the whole thing has to be replaced. The components aren't available separately so a DIY rebuild would be pretty hard. Good find on the Suncore industries rebuilt struts Jim; there was another company in Florida that people had complained had horrible customer service. Another option is to just order the struts and coil springs from the dealer; Sewell here in Texas used to sell a kit that had all the sport suspension bits (which they claimed was a better match for the characteristics of the air ride). It might cost more in labor to install those bits however; the conversion kits usually come pre-assembled and have pre-compressed springs for easy installation. Aside from the air ride though these cars are pretty solid. My LS430 turns 15 next March and (knock on wood) I haven't had anything seriously blow up with air springs or any of the electronics (and it's a UL model). At around 100k miles I had a couple oxygen sensors go out; also the motor mounts will need replacing around that time; and spark plugs. If the car isn't driven much the valve cover seals will occasionally leak. That's about it. Nothing too exotic (google Mercedes Airmatic suspension to read some horror stories of W220 issues from similar age cars). I don't think anything in the maintenance history is above and beyond what a Camry or Avalon would have had done at similar mileage. At 115k miles the car still runs like a Swiss watch. Someone recently asked me how I liked my 'new' Lexus. They were shocked when I told them how old it was. Make sure you test all the electronic bits (there are quite a few). Parts may be available on eBay for some stuff (like the rear seat controls); and these cars aren't that hard to work on so DIY for a lot of common issues is an option (see this and the other forum). There is now an LS400 with about 900k miles making the rounds on youtube; I can't tell if it's the original engine and transmission but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. The drivetrain on these cars seems to be almost indestructible with regular maintenance..
  6. Double check the tire pressure. The 4LS seems to be very sensitive about tire pressure and ride; and the low profile tires make it hard to see if a tire is low by visual inspection. Usually the alarm won't sound until the pressure drops below 30psi; but the car usually rides a lot better with 33 or even 35 psi. I got the car back from the dealer who pumped the tires up to 35 psi and i think the car is not as firm as when the tires were at 32 or 33. The other option is that the shocks are leaking but that would make the ride more bouncy than hard I would think. Good luck!
  7. The UR V8s are definitely noisier than the older UZ units. There are a couple reasons for this: Timing Chain: the UR engines (LS 460/600) use a timing chain rather than a timing belt (LS430). The timing chain lasts longer than the belt but is noisier. The UR engines sound more like a Mercedes V8 when revved hard; whereas the UZ engines still sound like tearing silk. Dual Fuel System: the UR engines have both direct and indirect fuel injection; the engine activates them as needed and at different RPM/use case scenarios for best efficiency and drivability. The DI fuel injection system (which is always on) needs to operate at extremely high pressure because it often injects fuel directly into the cylinder during the compression stroke; and the pump and injectors are louder (much like a diesel). I'm sure having 2 systems means more parts to warm up and make noise. Every recent car with DI has echoes of an old diesel when I stand next to it. VVTI-E: the dual VVTI system forces the use of 2 camshaft gears; whereas the older UZ engine have a single drive gear off the belt that drives the intake cams which then drive the exhaust cams via scissor gears; which are very quiet. I'm not sure if the VVTI system in the later UZ engine has a single cam gear drive off the belt or 2. Also Lexus seems to have just dialed in more engine and exhaust noise in the latest version of the LS. I can clearly hear some exhaust rumble when I toe into the power on the 600h; whereas my 430 you just hear a faint hum. At 114k miles the 430 is still silent at idle; actually quieter than the 600h when the gas engine is on. You can't really hear the 430 engine until you wind it past 3000 RPM; whereas the 600 you always know when it's on if the radio is off and climate control isn't working too hard. It's not loud or really that noticeable where it not for the eerie silence of the 430 engine in the same conditions; also in the hybrid the engine cuts on and off continuously at lower speeds; were it on all the time I might not notice as much. Also in either car once you're going past about 30 mph the minimal road noise easily drowns out whatever engine noise you would hear. The UZ engine is still amazing. Toyota spent $400 million 1980s dollars to develop it and it seems it's worth every penny.
  8. Sometimes I have to delete all the contacts in the car phonebook before I do the transfer. This is from an old BB torch as the iPhone won't do an OBEX push to the car.
  9. You have to let it ruuuuuun on the freeway with the other cars. FWIW a 460 or 430 in the same scenario would get even worse mileage; so you're saving the planet a little bit anyway.
  10. Getting good hybrid mileage really depends on letting the car warm up. For the first 10 or 15 minutes the car's priority is getting the cats and all the other powertrain components up to operating temperature; so the engine runs almost constantly. If you take many short, infrequent city trips (like I do during the week) then you'll be getting about 13-14 mpg. My LS430 over the same route gets about 12 mpg for whatever it's worth. Once warmed up; out on the open road 25+mpg is possible. I've seen 28-29 mpg on the way to Palm Springs; although this is at speeds well above the legal limit. I'm sure someone who was more afraid of the law could top 30mpg easily. Usually I find accelerating under battery power to be not that efficient because then you have to run the motor at some point to charge the traction battery. It's actually better to accelerate quickly to about 30/40 mph; then ease off the gas and let the electric motor take over. Coasting gently to a stop and using as much regen braking as possible is the most efficient way to charge the battery. Coming home from the gas station through lightly crowded city streets late at night I saw 37mpg reported this way. Amazingly efficient car for the power and weight; usually at least 10/20% more efficient than the LS430 over the same route.
  11. Sewell (before they closed their website) sold a kit for this; basically bundling the shocks and struts from the Sport package for those looking to replace the Airshocks. I don't know if they still have it (you have to call now) but I bet they've figured out how to prune the Air suspension system from the car somehow.
  12. I just installed this in my 600h L: http://www.vaistech.com/site/mml.php They list the RX from 2001 as being compatible but double check their site depending on which one you want. They have all three combinations you are looking for; and you can daisy chain them together to add capabilities. and I have one of their older SLI units in my LS430. Durable and work well; especially with the steering wheel and radio controls. I just leave an old iPod classic in the car full time: instant music server.
  13. Ok I finally had the time (and the guts) to attempt this today. I started with this tutorial here: http://www.shastaanesthesia.com/Lexus/Door/actuator.html And there is a very long CL thread here: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/ls430/520505-ls-430-door-lock-actuator-tutorial.html Took about 3 hours start to finish. After 3+ years I can lock and unlock the driver's door with the remote! I swear the car was smiling at me when I walked away. I have the easy closer; buried in that thread is another post that nicely details the differences you'll see: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/ls430/520505-ls-430-door-lock-actuator-tutorial-10.html#post8294820 The good news is that the motor I bought (see above) is an exact drop in replacement for the OEM motor. The easy close and standard ones are identical. The little white plastic shaft slides on and off without any need for a gear puller. It may have a little more torque than the standard motor; but also people who say this may be comparing worn out motors with brand new ones. Whatever it works. Read the CL thread above; it covers almost everything. A couple tips from my go at it: I have the easy closer so the actuator is ENORMOUS. Someone called it the lobster; some pix: It's hard to get in and out so be patient. Also if you have someone to help you hold it as you take all the screws off that is also helpful (I did not). +1 on using razorblade to cut the vapor barrier seal. That stuff is sticky; it's also the stuff that holds the two halves of the housing together. Easycloser housing is screwed together so no twist ties needed. You will have to mostly take the lobster apart to get to all the screws for the lower housing; where the motor is. Make sure you put it back together and that all the mechanical elements work properly. +1 on disconnecting the battery. At least it won't die. I pulled out all the connectors from the door so I could set it aside (instead of just standing it up). It made getting the larger actuator out easier. Took all of 10 seconds. Just cut the electrical tape that holds the long wire (from actuator to door cpu) to all the clips. Easier than trying to remove them; and you can just tape it back easily. Remember the window rail has to be between the door actuator and the outer metal wall. Once I realized this getting the actuator back in was easier. You can unscrew both bolts; the plastic trough is coming down from above (where the window is) so the rail isn't going anywhere. +1 on using a flashlight to see how to connect the handle and the clip to the actuator. It's hard to describe but obvious once you see it. When you put the door panel back on don't forget to seat the cable ends and also seat the little clips that hold the plastic jacket in the lock assembly. I didn't do this and the door cables were rattling around when I opened the door; I had to remove the doorskin again to pop them back in. If I had done it right the first time I could have done it in under 3 hours. All in all I'd rate this a medium level of effort; but still for $16 of motors and 3 hours of my time was less than the $1000 my mechanic wanted to do this repair (parts and labor). If I had to do all 4 doors at once I bet would have been able to do it a lot faster on subsequent tries.
  14. The last time I drove to Vegas I remember gassing up the LS430 and getting back on the highway and the trip computer returned 27.4 mpg; this was in the summer cruising around 70-80 mph; in 100 degree heat with the AC on refrigerate. 2004+ cars had the 6 speed transmission which I think resulted in slightly better mileage as the 6th gear was higher; so 28+ mpg seems reasonable. The trip computer tends to be optimistic so you may be seeing a real benefit; but the mpg in these cars for their size and power is remarkable out of the box. Generally using regular gas lowers the mileage (and the car feels slower) with Premium being such a small premium here in SoCal I figure the reduced mileage makes it a wash. Honestly I got the biggest lift in mileage when I replaced the spark plugs and cleaned out the throttle body; in my mixed commute mileage went from 19 mpg to 21/22.
  15. +1 on it probably being normal; I hear this every time I engage park or reverse. If the clicks correspond to gear selections from the transmission selector it sounds like normal operation. it may be solenoids engaging; the selector changing valve settings; not sure but it seems louder in the LS than some of the other cars I've driven. I replaced the transmission mounts a couple years ago and noticed the car got quieter; but didn't really notice any knocking per se. I'd probably take it in at some point and have them do a complete fluid changeover if you don't know if it's been done. if a reputable shop did the timing belt swap you'd have a sticker in the engine compartment. It's also worth signing into the owner section of www.lexus.com; they have all the maintenance records posted there now; so if the belt was replaced at a dealer you'd see it there. Enjoy! -J
  16. Ouch. Poor car. Yes to billy's point 98-2000 should be more of a drop in upgrade. The same car got the 4.3L engine in 2001 but there may be other mods. Some people over at the 'other' forum (ClubLexus) might have some input; I see they seem to do more mods like this on a regular basis.
  17. Yep. These are the ones I bought... seems like the are back on ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mabuchi-Nichibo-Door-Lock-Repair-Motors-Flat-Shaft-Brass-Collar-FC-280PC-22125-/111198111739?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=410228409590&hash=item19e3ec87fb
  18. Its' an expensive part new; but looking on ebay you'll find a bunch of used ones that might fit the bill. Some of those places will also repair the screen if you remove it and send it to them (but this is a PITA). Good luck,
  19. My friend in college had an old BMW (325ix, great car) that had a steering wheel that was COLD AS HELL during the winter. She had to put gloves ON just to drive it. The first heated wheel I can remember seeing was on a BMW 7 series in the late 90's; I guess they needed it. In the 'what crazy features can we come up with' it's becoming de-rigeur for a certain class of car. The (weird/pointless) thing is that with newer cars with wood trim the wheel doesn't get quite as cold in my experience; so the heat isn't as necessary. The only part of the Lexus wheel that heats up is the leather part; and it's nice (and fast) but still half the wheel is unheated. in Socal the wood part gets really hot in the sun; now someone has to make a cooled wheel.
  20. I think you probably could although I'm not sure why you would; they are almost identical. The mounts may be different; and some of the ECU programming might change.
  21. Yes the sport suspension has different shocks, springs, bushings and thicker roll bars. The Air Suspension is different as the air springs and shocks are a single unit; and pricey at that. If you don't have the Height High/Norm and Sport/Norm buttons in front of the gearshift then you don't have the air ride. If you go OEM you want P/N 4853080141 (Right side) 4853080141 ( Left side) These are the part numbers from the Sewell site but I think any Lexus dealer could order them: http://lexus.sewellparts.com/oem-catalog/4804481693-PowertrainAndChassis-LS430-2006.html With the LOC discount they seem to go for about $189 each. If you go aftermarket I'm not sure exactly what you'd need. The difference between sport and normal is noticeable but not pronounced.
  22. It was not. Didn't appear until 07 with the LS 460.
  23. What's the warning? It should tell you what it thinks is wrong (trunk open could mean disconnected or bad sensor). the 'doors open' light is…. dome light? Dash light? You can try replacing the battery if it's old; older batteries can lower the voltage on the electrical system which causes all kinds of strange issues.
  24. I've seen them on parts.com for about $800 and change; never tried to buy one though. I don't know if I would characterize it as 'failure rate as common as a dollar store item'; they seem to generally last about as long as conventional shocks. My mechanic told me my front ones were leaking and I figured I would wait for the air bladders to actually fail; I'm still waiting (it's been 2 years). The ride doesn't seem any worse. The Mercedes and Jaguar units are closer to $2k; and try googling the horrors with the W220 Air suspension (fried compressor, failed springs, trashed suspension etc). You could also try an air spring conversion kit; I didn't see one one Strutmasters but they run about $1500 for all 4 springs for the LS 430; if you call them maybe they can help. Or try this place; although I don't know about the remanufactured springs: http://www.suncoreindustries.com/Lexus-LS460-AWD-2009-2012-suspension.php
  25. Fifth post down: http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/topic/82957-about-to-pull-the-trigger-on-an-08-ls-460l-sight-unseen-need-advice/
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