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So seeing as I've been posting all over the forum for advice I thought I might as well share my new addition. 

So a bit of history around the car.. It was purchased new from Lexus Guildford back in 2001. Shortly after this its owner took the car over to the emerald Isle, where he kept it until 2018. He then traded it in to Lexus Blackrock in Dublin who sold it on to a chap who converted the car to LPG and was using it to travel between his home in the north of Ireland to London. He then decided to sell it on to some unsuspecting victim.. and that poor sod happened to be me. 

I've always owned and rolling restored old BMW's.. Here's a picture of me with a couple of the fleet last year. 

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However with ULEZ impending and me having a real dislike for any BMW made after 2001.. I decided to broaden my horizons. That's when I first came across LS430's. A real engine that I could drive around London with without paying £12.50 a day. 

I was very particular about what I was looking for, a good solid base with good paint work and mechanically sound. I was aware that I was going to have to spend some money to take the car to my required level, maybe a mop and a polish and some mechanicals.. but as long as it's been well looked after I don't mind spending over time to take it to the next level. So after speaking with the owner for a number of weeks.. and seeing a lot of photographs, a deal was done and I decided to cross the water over to my old stomping grounds in East London and take the plunge. My advice is never view and buy a car in the rain.. particularly a dark coloured car. 

 

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The next morning was one of the only dry sunny days we've had in weeks.. so I decided to give the car a good clean.

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Unfortunately after a 3 stage clean and drying the car in sunlight, I came to realise the paintwork was a complete mess. Scuffs, scratches, chips everywhere. Someone had keyed the NSR door at some stage as well. It was swirl city on my driveway. Looked like the previous owner had also gone to town with a touch up stick and was somewhat cack handed. There wasn't a panel that wasn't affected and really the car needed a full respray. How people let their cars get to that stage I'll never know. 

The interior on the other hand wasn't too bad... 

 

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.. To be honest at this stage my motivation was lacking. After more use of the car I noticed more and more things not working. It just had all the signs of a car that hadn't been looked after. Even the wiper blade rubbers were shot to pieces. Who wouldn't spend 20 quid on a new set of wipers!

After much deliberation and me thinking about calling it a day and selling it on.. I decided I would make the most of it and try and turn it around. Really I've got until October when ULEZ comes in and I can't use my silver BMW E39 which is my normal daily driver. So I decided to write a list of everything that needs doing and I would spend the next few months chipping away at it.

With that being said.. I've got 2 weeks of annual leave to work my through a few things. 

First things first.. the cloudy yellowed headlights needed restoring.. With BMW halogen headlights being pretty cheap from ECP etc. I've always just brought new in the past.. but this shocked me at just how good these guys can make them. The before and after really shows.

 

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Next after multiple warnings from the guys on here, I decided to change the rad. Judging by the PO's maintenance of the car, or lack thereof.. I didn't want to risk it. 

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So with all new hoses and fresh coolant to go in... I set about removing the radiator bracket... should be straight forward enough...

 

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This car is cursed!!! 😭

It was a bit of a ***** of a job.. all the hoses were seized on to their connecting parts.. the hose clamps were all seized as well and were all facing downwards which was a pain in the backside for the ATF hoses trying to release when at full stretch!

And also there's a cable which runs along the underside of the radiator to a module on the OS.. this was cable tied all along the bottom of the rad which again was a pita! I've tried to highlight it below.  

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Other than that it was pretty straight forward and was very easy to bleed

 

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Anyway the service history was full up until 2018, and since then has had nothing by the looks of it, so I've booked the car in for a full service at Lexus on Thursday this week which was surprisingly cheap at £450 inc VAT.. the equivalent inspection 2 at BMW would be well over a grand for a V8.. and that wouldn't include brake fluid or coolant which are separate services. 

I've also booked the car in to the body shop on Monday to get the NSR door and quarter painted, as they're the worst affected panels with deep scratches and chunks of the paint missing. Although I don't want to spend a fortune on this car as it is just my daily driver, the paint work does have to be somewhat presentable. 

So a lot to report in my next update!

 

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Excellent post Nicholas 👍

Here is a pic of my brother 325i Sport:

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One of my old E28 518i:

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And my E34 520i:

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Need to find some of the other images, but my organisation is terrible, so I can't seem to locate them at the moment.

 

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Interesting stuff, good to see you persevering.  I can't remember if you mentioned this in a previous post but has the all important cam belt been replaced? It's 10 years or 100k, I'm guessing if its had Lexus servicing then it has.

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Previous owner stated that the belt change was done at 85k. Which means it’s got another 50k miles. After buying the car and going through the service history I couldn’t find anything around it, so I called him and he said ‘oh there’s a sticker in the engine bay or something’ 

Still to this day I’ve not found that sticker. I’ll  be getting Lexus to check it out tomorrow. 

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1 hour ago, Micholas said:

Previous owner stated that the belt change was done at 85k. Which means it’s got another 50k miles. After buying the car and going through the service history I couldn’t find anything around it, so I called him and he said ‘oh there’s a sticker in the engine bay or something’ 

Still to this day I’ve not found that sticker. I’ll  be getting Lexus to check it out tomorrow. 

On mine it's at the front of the bonnet, generally the sticker looks like this.

 

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10 hours ago, Micholas said:

Thanks Shahpor.. Nice Tech 2 👌 and love the early calypso red E34! 

Yeah, I do think that calypso was the best colour for the E34.  It really was immaculate but it appears that it may be no more since it hasn't been MOT'd since 2009 ☹️

Nice looking pair you have there as well.  It is rare to see a E38 in black.  Have you seen Project Dubai on M539 Restorations' channel on YouTube?

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5 hours ago, Shahpor said:

Yeah, I do think that calypso was the best colour for the E34.  It really was immaculate but it appears that it may be no more since it hasn't been MOT'd since 2009 ☹️

Nice looking pair you have there as well.  It is rare to see a E38 in black.  Have you seen Project Dubai on M539 Restorations' channel on YouTube?

It’s a facelift 750il which is quite common in black. Very fun to drive, but very deep pockets needed to run it as a daily. 😔

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6 hours ago, The-Acre said:

On mine it's at the front of the bonnet, generally the sticker looks like this.

 

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Had a proper rummage around today and nowhere to be found. I did find a run of the mill service sticker with a mileage on it in the door aperture dated from 2014.

I got my courtesy call from Lexus today and told them I wanted them to check it out. Also the valve clearances. No idea if or when they were last done! 

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2 minutes ago, Micholas said:

Had a proper rummage around today and nowhere to be found. I did find a run of the mill service sticker with a mileage on it in the door aperture dated from 2014.

I got my courtesy call from Lexus today and told them I wanted them to check it out. Also the valve clearances. No idea if or when they were last done! 

Lexus will have the belt change on record if it was done by them.  I don't think I've ever heard of anyone having their valve clearances checked.

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2 minutes ago, The-Acre said:

Lexus will have the belt change on record if it was done by them.  I don't think I've ever heard of anyone having their valve clearances checked.

It’s in the service book as an additional service for 60k miles or 6 years. I more want them to check out the history on their system rather than check the actual clearances.. obviously that would involve keeping the car overnight and a new set of rocker cover gaskets. If there’s no record I’ll have to make time for another booking to do that. 

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It's good you're being thorough, keep us posted re the valve clearances.  Btw, did you have to add much trans fluid when you did the radiator?

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I lost barely any ATF and because I knew the service was happening today I just left it.

So today Lexus managed to retrieve all the service information from Blackrock Dublin.. and unfortunately no record of a timing belt change. They quoted me £380 to replace just the timing belt.. or £992 for the cambelt, water pump and tensioner. The PO was quite specific about the mileage he claimed the timing belt was done.. and there were also multiple visits to the maindealer after the 10 years and 100k threshold.. so I’m sure they’ve would have told the first owner just how serious it is..

So I’m really at a loss with what to do to be honest. With everything else that needs doing on this car, the tyres are a mess, wheels are a mess, bodywork a shambles etc. I really don’t want to fork out a grand when it might not be needed. I’ve had a full service today and they’re replacing the aux belt tomorrow morning, which is coming to around £550.. so it’s all starting to add up! 😏

 

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So I decided to go ahead with just the cambelt. Apparently best practice for the dealer is that they offer the timing belt replacement and a visual check of the waterpump and tensioner.. and then if the waterpump or tensioner is in a bad way then they charge for that as well (another £600). Currently praying that the first owner wasn’t a tight wad and replaced it all at 80k 😀

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4 minutes ago, Micholas said:

if the waterpump or tensioner is in a bad way then they charge for that as well (another £600).

as the main part of all that work has already been accomplished, taking it all apart, then putting it all back ........... I would have thought they could just charge the actual cost of the waterrpump and tensioner ( if that needs doing even ) and a tiny bit for the labour extra

Waterpump cost might be @£100 maybe ?

someone on here, I can't remember who, berated a Lexus Main Stealer for wanting to charge so much too and they achieved what I'm now suggesting

Give it a go !

Malc

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4 minutes ago, Malc said:

as the main part of all that work has already been accomplished, taking it all apart, then putting it all back ........... I would have thought they could just charge the actual cost of the waterrpump and tensioner ( if that needs doing even ) and a tiny bit for the labour extra

Waterpump cost might be @£100 maybe ?

someone on here, I can't remember who, berated a Lexus Main Stealer for wanting to charge so much too and they achieved what I'm now suggesting

Give it a go !

Malc

Good shout. When I get time I’ll actually go on parts direct and check the price of the water pump, tensioner and a few litres of coolant.
 

Funny, when I called back the girl sounded annoyed that I had changed my mind and now they’ve got to drag the car back in to the workshop. I did make sure she took all the labour off the drive belt though seeing as it’s got to come off for the cambelt change. 

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1 hour ago, Micholas said:

Good shout. When I get time I’ll actually go on parts direct and check the price of the water pump, tensioner and a few litres of coolant.
 

Funny, when I called back the girl sounded annoyed that I had changed my mind and now they’ve got to drag the car back in to the workshop. I did make sure she took all the labour off the drive belt though seeing as it’s got to come off for the cambelt change. 

The auxiliary belt is literally a 5 minute job, one of the easiest jobs on the LS so don't let them tell you otherwise.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok so a new update on this. 

The waterpump and tensioner were apparently fine. I did pre-warn them that I wanted justification for the extra cost if it did need them.. so I’m not sure whether they just gave it the thumbs up to avoid the confrontation with me. The tech did have a pop about the non-genuine radiator being fitted though 😄

One of the unfortunate advisories to come up was the NSF shock is weeping, which they showed me on the video inspection. The quote they’ve given me is £1400 😭

A look over the pages of history supplied by the dealership and I can see the first owner spent a lot of money over the years. He replaced the steering adjustment motor twice! And he also seemed to go through a couple of tyres a year!! 😳 not quite sure what he was doing with them! 
 

Also interestingly enough the car maybe came with an in car phone as there’s an entry in 2006 for this being removed. 
 

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Anyway back to it. I got the spare wheel refurbished because it was an absolute state, and a new Pirelli fitted as the tyre was bald! I wish I took a photo of it before handing it over, as it did look like it just came off the titanic. 

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Unfortunately due to the LPG tank being in the spare wheel well, I’m resigned to a lot less boot space.

 

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Next up was the paint work. As previously mentioned the whole car is a bit of a mess from a body work perspective. I’m not looking for a show car or concourse, but just acceptable. The paint has suffered a lot from scuffs, scratches, a key mark! It actually looked like it had been scraped by other cars on multiple occasions. From a correction perspective there was stuff I could do to make some of the panels look presentable.. but the NS was beyond help. 
 

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it’s very hard to capture from a picture but try to focus on the chips and deep scuffs rather than the scratches 

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The quality isn’t great on this site for uploading pictures but there is a long key mark just below the chrome trim going along the whole width of the door and into the quarter. 
 

So I’ve always known that you get what you pay for with bodywork. I know some people get happy when they find somewhere that will respray their whole car for £2k.. but from my past of working with body shops and in the trade.. we all should know to stay well clear of cheap paint jobs. HOWEVER with that being said. I just couldn’t justify top spend on this car. I found an average priced body shop and went with it hoping for the best. 

Again I struggle with the imaging on this site so you can’t really see how good it is.. but I was fairly pleased. 

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I guess I’ll find out in a couple of winters if the lacquer starts to peel 😄

In terms of the rest of the bodywork. There are some other blemishes that I will not be able to get out.. but aren’t entirely obviously. There’s also a lot of swirl and scratches around the rest of the car from poor washing techniques and maybe from a few hits.. but I’m confident a good compound will sort this out. So once the weather warms up in the spring I’ll dedicate a weekend to working on it. 
 

That’s pretty much all for now.

Next on the list is to refurb the rest of the wheels and get new tyres all round. Mechanically I’m happy for now. There are just a few things that need doing. Two new wing mirrors that actually fold and heat like they’re supposed to. An inspection of the electric window mechanisms on the OS as they’re slow and noisy.. and I’ll probably change the lock actuator on the OSR door as it’s loud and intermittently working. 
 

With all the salt and snow on the road I don’t intend to do anything for a few weeks now. So I’ll smoke around in the 5 series and let the warmer weather come before I tackle anymore jobs.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! 

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Looks like you got a good result on the paint! 🙂

Regarding the quote for the shock - if you're not fussed about 'non-genuine' parts, 😄 it might be worth considering a set of aftermarket coil-overs, as a complete set will be considerably less than the cost of that one shock!!

When one of the shocks blew on my GS I installed a set of Tein Flex Z's (adjustable for both height and damping). So far they've been great - you can set them to standard ride height and the same level of damping, so no need to go 'boy racer' with them, or tweak them to be a bit lower and firmer. You will lose the 'sport' damper setting if you've got it, but there's no error light displayed so it's a small price to pay IMO...

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I’ve installed Tein Flez Z, also recommend. For extra £500-£600 you can get electronically adjusted ones for F-Sport models.

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Personally I would contact Paul Frost to source a used strut, I got one from him some years ago.  The fronts are the same for both sides, only the rears are handed.  Also the fronts are really easy, you could replace one in less than an hour. 

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I wonder if there’s any difference between a facelift and pre-facelift shock. Both have different part numbers but there’s a big price discrepancy 🤔 

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1 hour ago, Micholas said:

I wonder if there’s any difference between a facelift and pre-facelift shock. Both have different part numbers but there’s a big price discrepancy 🤔 

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I don't know why the different part numbers, it's the same part for all.

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