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Some of you may remember a topic was created a little while ago asking for an LS400 with an interior in good condition because Lexus UK has commissioned a company to do a 360image. Well, my car was  chosen, not necessarily because it is better than anybody else's, but apparently because I lived nearer the studio, although it was still a 2 1/2 hour journey to the south coast! So yesterday I set off at 7:00 a.m., having spent a couple of hours detailing the interior on Sunday afternoon, not knowing quite what to expect, although I had read somewhere that photoshoots can involve a  lot of waiting around, which turned out to be true.

The process is fairly straightforward. Basically they take 8 shots with a specially mounted camera, using several different exposures, and then a very clever piece of software stitches everything together after the images have been vetted.

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I did take a couple of external shots whilst the car was in the studio, which seemed quite forgiving of the less than perfect paintwork:

P1090439.thumb.JPG.c998bd9e711557857aa0c56809e43eac.JPGP1090440.thumb.JPG.21046183f1ab505181c50b0dbf276505.JPG 

Apparently someone will let me know when the final product is available, and I will then post a link.

 

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On Monday, having given the car its longest run in many years, I have now discovered that there is an exhaust leak from where the nearside catalytic converter (CC) joins the downpipe, which I gather is quite common. Still, I suppose it hasn't done too bad for 24 years.

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It looks as though part of the CC's flange has completely rotted away. The offside is pretty crusty as well, but isn't blowing, yet.

P1090441.thumb.JPG.8d84d97c843e88fd3cbe89f0a16101e4.JPG

The rest of the system looks sound, although when the engine is cold there is a drip from the rear Y piece, although it doesn't seem to be leaking. Is that normal?

P1090443.thumb.JPG.d4b8a3a32f9a67c5563eff6589feb869.JPGP1090444.thumb.JPG.a6ad8d20026d7718559af655cd23ae2c.JPGP1090445.thumb.JPG.2d7b8594a264d92c6c0ebb4b1ee35f54.JPGP1090446.thumb.JPG.b5f0b0035a0157401b54d19618000555.JPGP1090447.thumb.JPG.a800da72de8041fc6481f69f625f8e33.JPGP1090448.thumb.JPG.fcee75270d5f6fb677145900d1cb482e.JPG

For the eagle eyed amongst you, the triangular plate fitted to the rear Y piece is missing because the bolts snapped when I removed it to access other areas. A portent of things to come?

I understand that my exhaust should be stainless steel, apart from the CCs perhaps, so I am reluctant to replace the entire system without exploring other options first.

Ideally I would like to remove the entire system, replace both CCs and have localised repairs carried out where necessary. Easy to say, but I suspect but not so easy to do. Hopefully it wouldn't involve removing the manifolds to drill out the seized studs.

I have read of new flanges being welded onto the CCs, or even having the CCs replaced by straight pipe, but as new CCs are available from £65 replacement seems the best option, bearing in mind the limited mileage and pampered life the car will now lead.

There are a couple of exhaust specialists nearby who make custom systems in stainless steel, so I will be letting them have a look whilst resisting any attempts to sell me a complete system. 

 

I know there a a few topics on here about this problem, but I wondered if anyone has had experience of the cheaper CCs.

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1 hour ago, Howplum said:

apart from the CCs perhaps,

well let me tell you this

last year when there was a blow from the downpipe my indy had her jacked up and proceeded to repair that end AND as he could see through to the inside of the CC he simply promptly welded up a " bit or two " to fix that also

amazing to see the inside of a CC and then to realise that with astute fingerwork even the CC could be repaired too

Must have saved me a fortune that day

Malc

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The CC flange was the first to go on my Mark 1 and I had to failed attempts at welding it .When I got my Mark 4 the same thing was starting to happen so I used the Hard hat high temp paint to try to slow down this process.It is a resounding success and no further wasting as occurred.

I know it is too late for your system but it is a reminder to other members that this process is inevitable if not tackled early.

The first pic is on application the second after six months I put a quick cover spray on every year and it as never burned any of the paint off the actual flange.DSC03611.JPG.86194d2d508aba423f7132707b062a67.JPGDSC03690.thumb.JPG.5aca0001ac97308a0f97dc83524a0200.JPGDSC03619.JPG.65eff044b9c8ada07ca9bf80555e144b.JPG

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I hope they treated you well Howard, the impression I got was they were to come to us and do the shoot but it seems from your information that there were several companies vying for this commission and the one that contacted me was up north.Needless to say they did not contact me to let me know I was not required and to be honest I would not have been traipsing to the south coast even for the Lexus president.

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3 hours ago, ambermarine said:

The CC flange was the first to go on my Mark 1 and I had to failed attempts at welding it .When I got my Mark 4 the same thing was starting to happen so I used the Hard hat high temp paint to try to slow down this process.It is a resounding success and no further wasting as occurred.

I know it is too late for your system but it is a reminder to other members that this process is inevitable if not tackled early.

Good advice 👍 and I've just ordered the same paint. From memory my car looks ok, I've not examined thoroughly though but I will now and paint it as you have done...............'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' as the saying goes.

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Thank you for those very useful tips. I'm sure it will be worth removing the entire system and giving it a few more years of life, although it's a daunting prospect.

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Phil, it was an interesting experience, but there was a lot of sitting around!  I was given the impression by the studio that they had done work before for Toyota/Lexus, and in fact there were a couple of Toyotas from their Heritage Fleet there as well, but nothing exciting.

Regarding the cats, apparently these are no longer available from Lexus, although they sell the fitting kits for £110, which seems a bit steep, although I can't find any alternatives at the moment. 

 

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I am thinking of trying this JB Weld HighHeat epoxy putty, probably as a temporary fix until I have time to address the issue properly. It gets good reviews, but I wondered if anyone had personal experience of using it.

https://www.jb-weld.co.uk/highheatep

I would than apply a VHT paint, such as the Rust-oleum Hard Hat 750o used by Phil, although I would prefer the brushable version.

I have been in correspondence the the ever helpful Daniel at Lexus Parts Direct, and although the cats are NLA, he has a customer who is very particular, and he has used cats made by BM Catalysts, which are available on Ebay for about £100 each, with a 2 year warranty. Not too horrific.

Apparently the studs in the manifold/cat flange, of which there are 6, are £8 each! 

 

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Howard

The problem with the epoxy putty solution is flexing and expansion,the joint when new as different metals in its construction and they heat up and cool down at different rates this causes the epoxy to crack as there is no flexing occurring in this permanent structure after it as cured. the rigidity of the flange fastening as also gone due to the corrosion so vibration forces will also render the putty susceptible to breaking up.

When my Mark 1 flange started blowing I had it welded but that after two attempts was unsuccessful due to movement in the joint.

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I have just been having another look at my exhaust and it is possibly worse than I thought. These are the rotten flanges, which I now can see are no longer attached to the front support:

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Because there is no provision for any centre support the weight of the entire system is taken by rear rubber hangers and these very rusty flanges and bolts, which I can foresee giving way in the not too distant future.

I therefore had a good look at the rest of the system, which essentially seems sound enough after 24 years, although the centre and rear joint clips could do with replacing, because Lexus used steel bolts, even though the clips themselves are stainless steel. The clips for the front Y piece cover have all but disappeared as well.

As well as a pinhole leak in the rear Y piece I also noticed the centre nearside silencer is starting to rust along the seam, which is underneath, whereas on the nearside the seam is on top - much more sensible but presumably something that wasn't considered at the time.

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I shall be going to see a couple of exhaust specialists this week, so I'll see what they say.

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Having spent the last few weeks on working my way through my DIY list, I thought it was time to tackle the timing belt change. I am going to use this excellent tutorial:

http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/engine/timingbelt.html

However, I have some questions for those of you who have done it before:

1. Aisin say to use Form In Place Gasket (FIPG) for the water pump, but the tutorial just refers to high temperature sealant. Does anyone have any recommendations? There seem to be quite a few options on eBay, although I would prefer to use a local motor factor.

2. I have bought a tool to remove the harmonic balancer, but have read various ways of undoing the 22mm nut. Using the starter motor looks straightforward, as per this video, although I would use a 6 sided impact socket:

3. About torquing the bolt up afterwards, I spotted this method:

No doubt it's effective, but has anyone tried it?

I know there is a special tool for this job, which costs about £60, but I'm reluctant, at the moment, to buy it for a one off job.

Any practical tips would be greatly appreciated.

No doubt I will get carried away and tidy up the engine bay, but it's no less than the car deserves.

Edited by Howplum

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I made such a tool with a cheap 46 mm open wrench . paid 10£ for it.  Drilled two holes for the 8 mm bolts to hold the crank pulley. The U shape d wrench allowed for the socket to fit the crank bolt. Used the tool on two LS400 now. It works well. Was no problem drilling the two holes. Hard material but not too hard. 

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Thanks for that Mikael, that's very helpful. Presumably you started with something like this:

Laser-5816-Open-Ended-Spanner-46mm

Is there any chance of a picture of yours? I've read elsewhere the bolt hole centres are 75mm apart, is that correct?

 

 

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9 hours ago, Howplum said:

Thanks for that Mikael, that's very helpful. Presumably you started with something like this:

Laser-5816-Open-Ended-Spanner-46mm

Is there any chance of a picture of yours? I've read elsewhere the bolt hole centres are 75mm apart, is that correct?

 

 

Hi There HowPlum

This is what mine looks like. See image. 8 mm holes are 66 mm apart. A 14 mm thickness on the jaws . 55 cm long .

I should have placed the holes slightly further out to allow for 1-2 mm more space for the socket. Had to grind off slightly in The U to clear.

Check !

tool.thumb.jpg.214be81dabe36be7f5c8401ee991692d.jpg

Mike

 

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Thanks Mike, that's perfect. I've now ordered a spanner so am looking forward to doing the job, albeit with a little trepidation.

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13 hours ago, Howplum said:

Thanks Mike, that's perfect. I've now ordered a spanner so am looking forward to doing the job, albeit with a little trepidation.

Not to worry . I have done it twice. Take it slowly and read markups with images while you do it.  

Be careful with possibly old and brittle sensor cables and connectors
Do remove the radiator. I only managed to get one of the water valves open on the engine block . left side .
It seems all of it came out though. Much smarter than letting coolant out all over everything.
The AC pump. you need to loosen the bolts to block and put it to the side just a bit.
The alternator . same same you need to loosen it and put it to the side a bit. 
remove the Servo pump pulley. It is easy and it helped on my 1998 at least. Do not remember doing it on the 1995. 

I bought the AISIN kit. Waterpump came with a very serious metal backed rubber sealed gasket. IF the surface is good that probably works fine bonedry. 
I chickened out and put a thin layer of  high temp sealant on the gasket on both sides.
It was sealant only original as far as I remember on my 1995 . A lot of careful scraping.
I did not perform any advanced torqueing for the water pump with seating loosely and tightening after a while as is sometimes described. Just torqued it reasonably quickly. 
Be sure to check the trans belt idlers and tensioner. Likely to need new bearings. Mine did. 
Bleeding air. Read the official instructions . Was a bit tricky to get the last liter in . 
Definitely change plugs , plugwires and distributor and rotor if you are going to at the same time. I did that a few years later and that was a lot of double work. 

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Thanks Mike, all very useful tips. I've made a start but it will no doubt take a few days because I'm also cleaning things as I remove them. It looks better and makes reassembly less messy.

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I've slowly started the dismantling process and have now got to the point of trying to undo the infamous bolt holding on the harmonic balancer. Plan A was to drill 2 holes in a 46mm spanner, as used by @Mikaelse, but unfortunately my drill bits weren't up to the job, so I abandoned that idea.

Plan B was using a metal strap wrapped around the front ARB and bolted to the harmonic balancer, but I discovered that the aluminium strip I had lying around wasn't robust enough. This is where I got the idea from:

  

Plan C is now to get a length of 40mm x 40mm x 4mm angle iron from B & Q this morning and drill and notch it accordingly. 

In the meantime I have ordered replacement distributor caps and rotor arms (Blueprint) because this is what I found:

P1090464.thumb.JPG.ddacdefe4adc59b5dd7f591ea3683d5a.JPGP1090471.thumb.JPG.70928ab4c65b766a817abf05f329b80e.JPGI

I've been tinkering with cars for 55 years and I can't recall seeing rotor arms as bad as those two. I tried dressing them with a file and emery paper, but they're too far gone. It's no wonder I felt the engine wasn't as turbine smooth as I was expecting.

 

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A couple of years ago I bought new Caps and Rotors (Denso) from Rock auto but haven't fitted them yet. Strangely the rotors had a sort of crystaline substance on them. These were brand new and so it may be that there is a reason for that strange look?

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I would imagine that there is a very good reason for that coating.  Always remember how Minis used to get condensation in the Dizzy Cap. Brass easily tarnishes. This substance may have better electrical qualities than direct brass which will tarnish. 

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Sorry that the drilling did not work for you Howplum . One of those few occasions where high quality.
( of the 46 mm wrench ) material may be indesirebale. 

The 46 mm wrench is probably hard. 
There is a good chance that you can lower the hardness a bit with heat and time. You could try to heat anneal the area you want to drill and see if that helps.
Do not drill when hot though. One of those heat guns that can go to dark red glow should have a chance. A propane torch would be quicker.
I would recommend a brand name drill bit . Those you buy two at the time at the tool supply shop. Often better than the cheap bundles. 

 

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At last, the dismantling process is finished! It took a long time, but at least nothing was seized, broken or perished. The coolant that came out looked fine, although I suspect it is many years since it  was changed, if ever. The waterways are pristine.

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The drilled and notched angle iron worked a treat - the nut came undone quite easily with a breaker bar and length of metal tubing. Using the fan mounting flange is probably not best practice, but it doesn't seem to have suffered at all, so I shall reverse the process when torquing up the bolt.

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The harmonic damper (HB) came off without any drama, although I had to use some nuts as spacers to avoid damaging the plastic cover behind the HB.

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Tomorrow is a cleaning day, and then reassembly on Sunday.

The Blueprint distributor caps and rotor arms arrived this morning, and they look exactly the same as the originals (apart from the crusty contacts) and are made in Japan. They also come with a 2 year warranty.

P1090475.JPG

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