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LS 400 or 430 for charity event?


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Hi all. I'm a newbie member of the forum and also a new SC430 owner (which I'm loving) I'm taking part in a charity driving event next year to raise funds for the Air Ambulance and the only 'rules' of the event are that I have to buy a V8 powered car and I can't pay more than £2K for it. As a Lexus owner, my thoughts are naturally geared towards buying a LS400 or 430 (maybe a GS430?) I know that at that price point I'm going to be looking at some pretty old, high mileage cars with potentially some issues, but I'm banking on the Lexus reputation for reliability seeing me through (I'll be covering around 2500 miles in the space of about a week) I've already had a look at one 430 at that price and was put off by the engine management light coming on during a test drive. When I chat to owners of other cars for sale at about this price point, most of them seem to have the same issue and most often I'm told it's an o2 sensor issue. So, first question - is this a common fault, is it a major issue and is it an expensive one to rectify? The second common issue I'm coming across is the VSC light on - same questions regarding this problem. Final question at this time - at this price point am I looking at the wrong car? 

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An LS430 at 2k will get you a duffer, unless you'd bought one of my last three!  An LS400, even with high mileage, as long as the cambelt has been replaced would be your best bet. No air suspension to let you down.  O2 sensors are not too bad cost wise if you source them properly, Check VSC will be thrown up with O2 issues.

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Wow! What a challenge you have, there’s really not much on that market right now at a remotely sensible price. You may need some Mike Brewer levels of negotiating. LS400 is not only your best option, practically your only one. Everything else V8 (or V12) looks pretty shocking from dodgy Rover derived units to tired W220 s-classes.

The only other option that might work is a R129 Mercedes 500SL, if you find one that has, high miles, bad paint and rusty panels it will scare most off to the point you could make a cheeky offer. The thing is usually rust is cosmetic, and mechanically the M119 engine is solid, plus the most rusty examples typically will have the earlier 4G-tronic gearboxes which are good for 300k+ miles, and being based on the W124 mechanical parts aren’t difficult that to source (easier than your other options, the W126 or W140 with similar engine/gearbox options). Just pack plenty of gaffer tape for the roof and your golden! 

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Thanks for the replies so far - there's some very useful info in there. I'm going to view both a LS400 and 430 tomorrow with the 400 looking the better bet because of its lower miles and more detailed service history. Whilst the SL500 option appeals to me as the driver, it won't appeal to the 3rd, 6 foot tall partner in the project!! I'll appreciate any more advice, or views that keep coming.

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Tell us more about this event, where and when.

I know Car Mechanics Magazine used to do a £500.00 banger run every year.

I’m pretty sure members would be happy to sponsor you for charity

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16 hours ago, steve2006 said:

Tell us more about this event, where and when.

I know Car Mechanics Magazine used to do a £500.00 banger run every year.

I’m pretty sure members would be happy to sponsor you for charity

That's a very kind offer Steve2006. We'll be driving the NC500 around Scotland as a group, but I'll be starting and finishing on the south coast and collecting other participants on the way up, so effectively driving the full length of GB and back. It'll be a hoot whatever car we're in, but it would be better to do it in a comfortable and reliable one........hence Lexus is the preferred option!!

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