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Thinking about buying an SC430 - any tips


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Hi all,

I am a long term Lexus owner, have had my IS300 aero since new. I am thinking about getting an SC430, like the idea of a V8 and a sporty convertible.

What should I look for and what are the main problems that an SC430 can have? Thanks in advance

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On 10/6/2020 at 1:19 PM, eddiea1 said:

Hi all,

I am a long term Lexus owner, have had my IS300 aero since new. I am thinking about getting an SC430, like the idea of a V8 and a sporty convertible.

What should I look for and what are the main problems that an SC430 can have? Thanks in advance

Hi Eddie,

I bought my SC430 in March (virtually from Facebook marketplace).
The main issue/common problem is the water pump (& I believe cambelt) that needs replaced every 100k miles or 10 years. (the v8 is an interference motor so if it breaks it damages components vs the V6 motors). I have had issues with my O2 sensor (still ongoing to resolve) and with the age of the car just check the radio works and the roof works 🙂

Some owners put the cars on normal tyres as the run flats can be a little firm.
I hope this helps??

 

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Ps: Eddie, I don't want to put you off with my last post Eddie, it was just what I experienced 🙂
The SC430 is a great car and I love cruising in it roof down!
If you are not aware I have a YT channel 'REV LEXUS' for my Lexus cars, there's a few on my SC430 and my experiences with it over the recent months. It might be of benefit to you (just thought I'd let you are of it). Here is a link to one of my SC430 problem videos if you are curious: 

 

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Hi Thomas, thanks for the info - will watch the youtube vids as well. To be honest I have an EML on my IS300 - the lambda sensors seem to go on older cars. I like the blue colour on your one - I dont think im going to buy one before spring unless an exceptional one comes up for sale. cheers

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Hi Eddie if you find an SC430 with a good service history it should serve you well. Apart from the usual routine maintenance they give very little cause for concern and indeed as you might expect are very rewarding to drive.

As Thomas says the cambelt and water-pump service is essential. If you search through the threads you will soon see the common items for discussion but it's rare to come across any serious failing on a car that's been maintained correctly. Most things are fairly easy to deal with. 

Are you looking for a 6 speed face-lift model?

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O2 sensors are common on older Toyota cars and are pretty easy to sort. There's not much too go wrong really. 

They are epic GT cars rather than a sporty drive, mine has coil overs and its no MX5! Just get one with history and a cambelt change and youll be fine. The 2005 facelift commands a premium but if registered after 23rd March 2006 it will fall into the £600 quid a year road tax, if that's a concern 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/7/2020 at 7:25 PM, eddiea1 said:

Hi Thomas, thanks for the info - will watch the youtube vids as well. To be honest I have an EML on my IS300 - the lambda sensors seem to go on older cars. I like the blue colour on your one - I dont think im going to buy one before spring unless an exceptional one comes up for sale. cheers

well I guess there is no rush, I am sure the right one will pop up for you.

Why thank you, I did hunt for a blue one and glad I seen it pop up when I did :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/7/2020 at 10:36 PM, Neil E said:

Hi Eddie if you find an SC430 with a good service history it should serve you well. Apart from the usual routine maintenance they give very little cause for concern and indeed as you might expect are very rewarding to drive.

As Thomas says the cambelt and water-pump service is essential. If you search through the threads you will soon see the common items for discussion but it's rare to come across any serious failing on a car that's been maintained correctly. Most things are fairly easy to deal with. 

Are you looking for a 6 speed face-lift model?

Thanks Neil - haven't thought it through to which model year - I have been taking a look at cars for sale and prices. Ideally I want a low mileage example in a dark colour with a dark interior. Most I see seem to have light coloured interiors so the dark with black leather low mileage example may be a rare bird!

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3 hours ago, eddiea1 said:

Thanks Neil - haven't thought it through to which model year - I have been taking a look at cars for sale and prices. Ideally I want a low mileage example in a dark colour with a dark interior. Most I see seem to have light coloured interiors so the dark with black leather low mileage example may be a rare bird!

They do occasionally appear but yes you may have to compromise a little or wait for the right car to come along. If you find one in the right colour combination that has been looked after properly then that too would be worth considering as higher mileage on these beasts really isn't a problem. It depends on the circumstances of course but I often think that a car that has seen regular use and proper maintenance is better than one that's sat idle for long periods of time. A car with say 90k FSH, new cambelt and water pump service, new shocks, bushes, brakes, tyres, exhaust, etc might be better than one with 40k advertised as little use with so many components perished. My badly treated car has done over a 150k miles, it doesn't miss a beat, no loss of power, in fact it has gained a little. 🙂

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There’s just one Blue/black leather, expensive at £11,445 86k for an ‘06/85k, on Autotrader. Check MoT history to see if it’s been cared for and ask to be sent bills for work done, before driving over to Biggleswade for a test drive 

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Neil: your badly-treated 150+k miles SC430 that’s gained a little power reminds me. After a once every couple of months long run of a return 70 miles, at a steady 80mph when safe, accelerating effortlessly and silently for short spurts as necessary, my 80k ‘03 car sounds different on arrival. If it was a horse, I’d say it’s enjoyed the ride and looks forward to fresh hay in a warm stable. The next day, it’s a bit noisier on start-up, but then settles to its normal even beat. Could be that the exhaust system is showing its age...Or simply that I don’t use the car enough (11k in 34 months) which is back to your point about low usage meaning faster degradation. But I have to share my miles with my discreet GS450h muscle car. Still looking for a GS430.

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Hi Manuel, good to hear the SC gets proper exercise. The RX300 is my trusty versatile workhorse but I must admit I too am considering a big lazy V8 saloon to replace it with, I'm considering a return to an LS.

My SC has seen a little less duty this year so despite the high mileage it's looking quite good with fewer blemishes than normal. Apart from all of the silly modifications, I would say it's abused and pampered in equal measure.  

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all, I’ve found my way here from the F-forum. I had an RCF Carbon until recently. Sold it. Bought something sensible to cart the children around in and now the balance is burning a hole...had too much time on my hands over Christmas and after what feels like a complete trawl of every car I’ve ever been interested in on AutoTrader (why do we do it to ourselves) I think I’ve concluded the sc430 is an itch I need to scratch. I’m always one for hens teeth so I’m going to hold out for a facelift pre March 06 car. There’s a couple on the Trader but I’m not sure they’re right for me. The Cat-D is tempting as I’m never likely to sell the car if I paid that for it. But the worry / doubt would drive me mad. And the other one is the wrong colour. So it’s a waiting game for me. Any tips / thoughts for me as well as the OP would be great.

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Hi Tom

If the Cat D is the same one I think it is then it had quite severe damage to the whole front end, bonnet and front near side. Suspension damage, fuse boxes and air bags. Pretty sure it's the same plate, black on black, mileage and no MOT data between 2008 and 2014 rings true. It could have been repaired to a very high standard in the right hands but checking the MOT history I fear it wasn't.

2019

Do not drive until repaired (dangerous defects):

  • Nearside Front Suspension rod fractured (5.3.3 (b) (ii))

 

The 6 speed facelift is the one to go for.

Compared to the RCF you will need to allow for that extra second for every trip.  It's not as sharp or sporty, there's no fake exhaust/induction noise but it's much better as a driver's car than the reviews would have you believe. It should be every bit as comfortable in the front as the RCF. The back seats are awful but okay for toddlers or small people for a short distance. Coil-overs and bigger sway bars improve the car considerably without compromising the ride. You might find one that has improved suspension and a cat back exhaust as these are common mods as are staggered fitment alloys. Apart from that, there are occasional faulty 02 sensors to replace, reluctor rings are a known issue but provided it's been properly maintained, an SC430 should be utterly reliable. 

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You will need to spend around 9-12K for a decent facelift / pre21/03/2006. Underneath pictures of the rear  are a must with these cars as the rear can rust and the exhaust can need changed , even on a late one . All the rust is surface and can be dealt with if you are that way inclined . 6-700 gets you and OEM rear exhaust sections from the cat back two sexctions , or you can go SS. If you can buy at 9 and spend a couple on it , you will have a decent motor . Mileage is not a big deal as long as belt /idlers has been done . 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 1/3/2021 at 2:49 PM, nicnac said:

You will need to spend around 9-12K for a decent facelift / pre21/03/2006. Underneath pictures of the rear  are a must with these cars as the rear can rust and the exhaust can need changed , even on a late one . All the rust is surface and can be dealt with if you are that way inclined . 6-700 gets you and OEM rear exhaust sections from the cat back two sexctions , or you can go SS. If you can buy at 9 and spend a couple on it , you will have a decent motor . Mileage is not a big deal as long as belt /idlers has been done . 

Sounds good to me - if anyone sees one off autotrader or main web sites could you please post here - I would be very grateful as the search is now ON!!!

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On 2/5/2021 at 7:45 PM, eddiea1 said:

Yeah that is a very nice example

I see it’s sold now anyone on here bought it ?

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I’m still looking but with lockdown obviously travelling to look at cars is not possible 

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Does anyone have some advice they can offer regarding UK Supplied vs. Imported (from Japan or Singapore) models. I notice a lot of the low mileage examples are from Japan or Singapore. I have never owned an "Import" car - what are the pifalls in terms of insurance for example? Do they come with a markedly different spec?

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This subject was recently discussed on the Lexus World forum,(got a little heated when a trader selling imports got involved with the discussion !)  ... the General consensus was imports are not as good as uk cars with exception of the condition underneath.

Differences and items needing attention.....

1 Speedometer will be in kph
2 Rear fogs/rear bumper
3 Speed 112 mph delimiter/ECU
4 Radio frequencies not the same as U.K bands
5 Sat Nav in Japanese 
6 Headlamp washers/front bumper missing
7 Number plates

The Singapore model will have not satnav fitted and can suffer corrosion to electrical/ electronic items due to the high humidity in that country.

Japanese imports can have some of the items change or adapted to U.K spec at a cost, most of those currently for sale here are already expensive that’s before conversion work is done .

The general rule with imports is only buy if it’s a vehicle that is not sold in the U.K...lots of SC430 available just maybe not this time of year.

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12 minutes ago, Bob King said:

This subject was recently discussed on the Lexus World forum,(got a little heated when a trader selling imports got involved with the discussion !)  ... the General consensus was imports are not as good as uk cars with exception of the condition underneath.

Differences and items needing attention.....

1 Speedometer will be in kph
2 Rear fogs/rear bumper
3 Speed 112 mph delimiter/ECU
4 Radio frequencies not the same as U.K bands
5 Sat Nav in Japanese 
6 Headlamp washers/front bumper missing
7 Number plates

The Singapore model will have not satnav fitted and can suffer corrosion to electrical/ electronic items due to the high humidity in that country.

Japanese imports can have some of the items change or adapted to U.K spec at a cost, most of those currently for sale here are already expensive that’s before conversion work is done .

The general rule with imports is only buy if it’s a vehicle that is not sold in the U.K...lots of SC430 available just maybe not this time of year.

Also If the cars were coming up for sale at half the cost  for a comparative UK model then you could maybe see the point . But from what ive seen they are on par or higher pricewise . In conclusion , wait for the right UK spec car to come along . Go on the forum and ask opinions on it and work from there . My advice would beto only consider facelift model post OCT 2005 and try and get one before 21 March 2006 as these are half the tax cost .

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