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About rvgraham

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  • Lexus Model
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    California (CA)
  1. Any One Replaced A Starter In A 400ls?

    Just finished doing mine yesterday. I got the contact and plunger kit here: Starter parts for less than $30 and the gaskets from lexpartsonline. Total cost under $100. Took me a good six hours of effort, but I'm unemployed so it was not really a choice. There are quite a few threads on it, it's not the hardest job I've ever done but if you don't change your own brakes etc I wouldn't advise it. Otherwise dive in and have fun! I understand the 92 is a bit harder because of some different plumbing back there (egr crossover?), I had to deal with a wire harness that won't move much even after you unbolt it and a coolant crossover. Got a few cut knuckles for sure. Bob Graham
  2. Facing Starter Problem, '99 Ls400

    This test doesn't imply the battery is OK. It only implies the alternator is able to generate a proper output with the loads you have going. It says nothing about the reserve capacity of the battery which is most relevant for a starter. The starter motor will draw 200+ AMPs to turn over an engine. More if its cold. So if you have a loose or corroded connection or a battery with low electrolyte you could see a poor starting scenario. So I'd check battery voltage at battery terminals while cranking. If that is dropping below 8-9 volts say then you have a bad battery. Then if you can check voltage at the starter motor while cranking and if its significantly lower than the battery voltage then the wiring is suspect. My bet though is it is the solenoid has worn and the "contactor plate" is welded from repeated use it can't pass the current anymore. A common failure mode for these devices. In this case you’re going to “go in after it”. With the starter located where it is how are you feeling of Lexus’s choice to bury this where it is? I’m not a big fan of its location but others feel its nothing sort of engineering genius to bury deep in the intake manifold. I guess you missed the implied reality that when the "battery died a few months ago" I did actually replace it And yes, the battery posts are clean. So at this point the starter is the only likely culprit. I went ahead and ordered the kit from ebay and the gaskets from lexpartsonline. And since then she's started fine all eight or tens times I've driven her! Oh well, I'll put the parts in anyway, I'm sure I'll have the problem re-appear in a day or two. Bob
  3. Facing Starter Problem, '99 Ls400

    Still a bit confused, is there a way to tell what the starter is doing? I always get a solid click, which I imagine is the solenoid kicking the drive gear into place, just no engine turning until I try a few more times. The nations web site is confusing. If I get the nations kit, then I don't need the gaskets for the rear water bypass right? They're $15 for the pair. Or is it better to remove the starter anyway to work more comfortably? The manifold gaskets are $45 plus $3 for the water pipe o-ring. I'll take my chance on the gasket from the throttle body to intake, it's easy enough to get to if I get a whistle or whatever. Thanks, Bob
  4. Facing Starter Problem, '99 Ls400

    I considered that kit, and I'm sure it's fine but I ended up getting a kit from Nations Auto Electric linked in this thread: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/ls400-foru...tml#post4191291 What you're thinking about doing, not physically removing the starter, is exactly what I ended up doing. However, since you have a 99, you don't have to contend with the EGR pipes that connect through the crossover pipe so you should have an easier go at removing the pipe and starter. Good luck. So it sounds like extracting the starter is not as difficult as it used to be... now the question is where to get the right starter at the right price. I found one place that was $165 w/no core charge, but almost $200 with shipping and tax etc. Ouch. Bob
  5. So my battery died a few months ago, I've had the car five years, don't know how old the battery was but that's ok after five years. All was well. Now, when I go to start the car, usually it starts right up, but, sometimes I only get a solid click, then the dash lights dim a bit and nothing happens. No additional clicking like a starter that's still trying to engage with not enough voltage. Try again, maybe a third time, and it starts right up. Charging system is at 13.7 volts @2500rpm. so it's not any issue other that the starter. I know she's a bear to get at, what I'm trying to figure out is whether this kit: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/starter-rep...s#ht_500wt_1249 will get me up and running again, or if I should just get a rebuilt starter and swap the whole thing out like Bulls I did: http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index...showtopic=49611 Just for additional yucks, I just made my last payment on this car Wednesday, and I currently have no work and I'm on my last $600 which is all I have to feed my family of 5 until my wife gets a small paycheck on the tenth of July. I desperately need my car to be able to get out to job interviews, (if I could get any interviews to go to, I'm a software developer and there are a lot of us out of work), but, obviously I need to get this repaired as cheaply as possible. Maybe the best alternative is to buy a AAA membership and just keep driving it? My only worry is being stranded if she won't start no matter how many times I try to engage the starter. Right now four times is the most I've had to try. Has anybody tried the kit? I gather it saves you from having to go the last couple of steps to actually remove the starter, you can just install the kit with the manifold removed but you don't have to contend with getting the rear water bypass off. I'm not technically savvy on how a starter motor works; I understand that motors in general work by having rotating coils acting as electromagnet yadda yadda yadda ..... whatever. I'm not going to pretend I understand it all nor do I want to take the time to right now. I just want to get the starter problem fixed as easily as possible without wasting too much time or money. I'm mechanically competent with wrench work, I recently swapped the engine in my son's 325i. Thanks, Bob Graham
  6. Battery Issue I Hope

    Bob, Glad everything worked out for you! Brett So I'm up to 170K + now and not a single (non-maintenance) repair, except some truly minor stuff that the dealer took care of under the cpo warranty! I guess that's more par for the course here than "news" B) Even the maintenance has been ridiculously minor. The dealer changed the water pump at 99k because it was leaking (wink wink!) and swapped the timing belt for just the $50 cost of the belt while he was in there. He also replaced a few front end parts to tighten up the front end a bit. All I've done out of pocket has been: Tires (2 sets), front brakes, oil (synthetic every 5k) and wiper blades! May be the cheapest car I've ever owned! Bob
  7. Battery Issue I Hope

    So, good news, the car was fine this morning... Battery was all it was Bob
  8. Battery Issue I Hope

    Strange, when I restarted it after swapping the battery, the front defog button light was blinking amber... The next time I started it the HVAC controls were normal but the "Check VSC" warning was displayed and the button wouldn't turn it on or off. The next time after that all seemed normal. I guess the systems need a few on-off cycles to all reset to normal. Bob
  9. Battery Issue I Hope

    By not "Clicking" I mentioned it was getting past the solenoid engagement, and successfully turning the engine a tiny bit. I went ahead and put in a battery from WalWart, we'll see how it works in the morning, gonna leave it outside the garage tonight to stress it a bit harder. It's starting fine right now. Bob
  10. Battery Issue I Hope

    I mean more like, turn the key, and the battery generates enough juice to turn the engine maybe only a few degrees, let's say 45° ... So, sometimes, in that very limited amount of spin, no cylinder succeeds in firing, and the engine stops turning because the battery is just not potent enough any more. So then you try again, and again the battery and starter only manage to turn the engine 45°, but this time you get lucky and at least one cylinder fires and this pops the engine through a full rev and all 8 cylinders take over and it runs fine. Basically I'm describing how any engine starts every time it starts, I'm just breaking the scenario down to diagnose what I hope is a dying battery. :) Bob
  11. Battery Issue I Hope

    My '99 has started hard the last couple of days, and I have guests coming this weekend expecting the grand sight-seeing tour! It doesn't "click", it seems to engage the solenoid, but then doesn't have the guts to turn the engine. The idiot lights come on but nothing else happens. Turn the key back and try again, and on the second or third try it fires right up! I'm assuming this is because I get lucky and one cylinder fires well enough to just take over where the battery is too weak to turn it more than a fraction of a revolution. I bought the car in '04, and have taken the car from 50,000 miles to 170,000 miles, mostly light highway. It still has the same battery as when I bought it. I'm thinking it's due for a battery anyway since the one in it is at least 5 years and 120,000 miles old, so I may as well go ahead and do that first before I worry about any issues with the starter. I measured the voltage at the battery posts this morning and it read 12.3. I found elsewhere it should be at least 12.5. And, in any case, the voltage doesn't tell you much about how many amps it's able to deliver under load. I priced a battery at Sears for $105, or I could go the Costco or Walmart routes. Any thoughts? Bob
  12. Replacement Rotors And Pads

    I used pads from the dealer (after I embarrassed them into almost matching parkplacelexus.com's price) and Brembo rotors from TireRack for $68 each. So far very happy with the results. Did the job in my driveway in about an hour for the fronts. Bob
  13. Scott, Thanks for the effort on your part. I've decided to let it slide for now, I'll get it buffed out or repainted at a later date. Most people don't think it's really noticeable, I think buffing it out will make it look more than 90% better. Bob
  14. Got lightly tapped from behind on 101 in San Jose last night, guy was in a little 2dr C-class Merc. He was very nice but in a huge panic to avoid doing everything legit either because he didn't have insurance (though he said he did) or he couldn't afford the hit on his policy or whatever. To make a long story a bit shorter, I agreed to follow him to an atm and accept $300 cash. The only damage I could see was some paint scuffed on the lower bumper skin. Of course this morning, in daylight, I can see that there's a bit of deformation in the skin. Is there any chance I can find a lower bumper part? Or would most junkyards not part with it without selling the whole rear end? Any ideas I'd appreciate the input. I could just have it buffed out, maybe re-shoot the clear-coat. I'm assuming it has a clear coat, I know the black paint doesn't but I'd think the charcoal lower color would be cleared. We're talking about a '99 here, so it's two tone and only the lower, dark gray part has damage. Thanks, Bob
  15. 98 Rear Seat Armrest Cupholder Is Stuck!

    Mine did that for a while. I kept tapping at it until the shock finally got it to open. Then I cleaned syrupy dry soda deposits off it and repeated the process until it worked smoothly again. If you can't get it to open at all this may not help you. But try repeated hard taps with your finger tips or even a small rubber hammer to see if you can shock it into opening. Bob