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Project Lexus IS 250 - This one'll be 'interesting'...


Mike_Mac
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Well, I've done it again...  I am now the owner of a prime, sourced sight-unseen from a salvage auction in Edinburgh, Non-running, High-Mileage Lexus IS 250:

 

Loaded-2

 

Loaded-1

The backstory is three-fold.

First, I was getting bored out of my skull sitting in accommodation at work, and couldn’t risk doing too much to whatever car I drove there (at risk of being stranded if something unexpected happened).

Second, my wife has decided to start learning to drive in Jan and this could become her first car (or, if sold, provide the money for her to buy what she wants, assuming the option to make money on it still remains…).

Third, I’ve been interested in doing some kind of ‘auction rescue’ project for a while, so recently joined Copart and started browsing the salvage Cat N, S or U cars. Having always liked them, a Lexus IS 250 was settled on as the project of choice and, having bid and lost on a few with structural damage, I finally won this one with minor cosmetic issues but a non-runner, for £900

(Cheapest Lexus IS 250 in the Country?)

The auction notes said the following:

Sale Info

The ‘VSC, Non-Start’ thing is potentially down to a few different causes, most of which I can solve. That Copart had it listed as ‘Runs and drives’ was of some interest, but I resolved to see what turned up and diagnose the actual fault from there. Ultimately, if it’s anything top end, VVT, fuel or electrically related I should be able to fix it, and have a fair budget to work with depending on resale value (fees and shipping added a lot to the overall bill so far). If it’s bottom end, I’ll be either punting it on, or sourcing a used engine (have a few candidates already).

These engines are direct injection so are liable to carbon fouling and a design fault in the earlier ones can lead to high oil consumption. I have plans to tackle both these issues, depending what I find, but again if it starts looking like a lemon then I’ll just either go for an engine change or get rid.

SO! The newest ‘biggest mistake ever’ arrives on Monday and I’ll be getting stuck into it in a car park at my work weather, availability and facilities dependant.

Just hope the first fault code read doesn’t look like this:

IMG_5142

(Much) more to follow, I’m sure – including, potentially, a lot of pain…

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Best of luck. The MOT history is quite eventful, including engine management light issues going back to 2011. Hopefully its something simple and the dash isn't lit up like a Christmas tree :wink3:

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19 minutes ago, doog442 said:

Best of luck. The MOT history is quite eventful, including engine management light issues going back to 2011. Hopefully its something simple and the dash isn't lit up like a Christmas tree :wink3:

Saw that - we’ll see how it checks out, prepared for a hit if needs be….

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On 12/3/2021 at 2:25 PM, Mike_Mac said:

Well, I've done it again...  I am now the owner of a prime, sourced sight-unseen from a salvage auction in Edinburgh, Non-running, High-Mileage Lexus IS 250:

 

Loaded-2

 

Loaded-1

The backstory is three-fold.

First, I was getting bored out of my skull sitting in accommodation at work, and couldn’t risk doing too much to whatever car I drove there (at risk of being stranded if something unexpected happened).

Second, my wife has decided to start learning to drive in Jan and this could become her first car (or, if sold, provide the money for her to buy what she wants, assuming the option to make money on it still remains…).

Third, I’ve been interested in doing some kind of ‘auction rescue’ project for a while, so recently joined Copart and started browsing the salvage Cat N, S or U cars. Having always liked them, a Lexus IS 250 was settled on as the project of choice and, having bid and lost on a few with structural damage, I finally won this one with minor cosmetic issues but a non-runner, for £900

(Cheapest Lexus IS 250 in the Country?)

The auction notes said the following:

Sale Info

The ‘VSC, Non-Start’ thing is potentially down to a few different causes, most of which I can solve. That Copart had it listed as ‘Runs and drives’ was of some interest, but I resolved to see what turned up and diagnose the actual fault from there. Ultimately, if it’s anything top end, VVT, fuel or electrically related I should be able to fix it, and have a fair budget to work with depending on resale value (fees and shipping added a lot to the overall bill so far). If it’s bottom end, I’ll be either punting it on, or sourcing a used engine (have a few candidates already).

These engines are direct injection so are liable to carbon fouling and a design fault in the earlier ones can lead to high oil consumption. I have plans to tackle both these issues, depending what I find, but again if it starts looking like a lemon then I’ll just either go for an engine change or get rid.

SO! The newest ‘biggest mistake ever’ arrives on Monday and I’ll be getting stuck into it in a car park at my work weather, availability and facilities dependant.

Just hope the first fault code read doesn’t look like this:

IMG_5142

(Much) more to follow, I’m sure – including, potentially, a lot of pain…

Looks good, I've just bought a 2006 is250 in Black with Black wheeles, they look so much better in person as photo's don't do them justice.

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20 hours ago, Mike_Mac said:

Thanks - wasn’t this one was it? 😀

No - mine was FM07 EKL 😁 Someone has either put a new plate on it or it has been scrapped as I can't see it on the MOT checker anymore.

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4 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

I acquired IS250 from Copart recently as well, I think I have even bid on your one. Is it one with broken front wheel? 

Yes - NSF tie rod was broken (now fixed) - lots more to do though!  Which one did you get then?

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Your one was very good value for money - I guess people got scared by the mileage and by it being non-driver due to wheel.

I way overbid for blue SE-L with sunroof and ML, instead of increasing max bid I simply bid £1800, whereas I think it would have ended-up ~£1450-£1500 otherwise. Not big loss overall provided car is in decent shape, runs and drives, but didn't meant to be so... 😄

At first it turned out better than expected, because it wasn't marked as driving, but turned on and drive-off the trailer itself and was running fine for a week. Then mysteriously turned itself into non-running junk and can't figure out why.

Cosmetically it is way rougher than I ever imagined car to be. Seems like previous owner never washed it from new, multiple missing services even between 8k-40k miles, colourful MOT history with multiple advisories and faults on most basic things like tyres and number plates, not to mention engine lights. Funny enough reserve was £2500 on the car, but I did not agree to increase my bid and I can't think of what seller was expecting considering car condition.

20211202_172809.thumb.jpg.7edeebd64597908a801e1f2c60c1646a.jpg20211202_173748.thumb.jpg.1f01a239430e39bdda707705f03e6baf.jpg20211202_173813.thumb.jpg.3cf6f9471bb227c3d00cdfbd2234138e.jpg

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Sounds like Copart!! 😐

mine is similar in terms of more to do than first appears, and I’ll be digging into the engine over the next few weeks to determine if I just stick a good used one in there (long story). Costs are staying ok so far, though…

 

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Yeah... my engine may end-up for sale - "just 102k miles and in excellent condition (no it isn't!)". Be be fair car was running sweet, when it was running - so it is real bummer and left me scratching my head as to why it suddenly stopped working.

One interesting thing is that Copart misplaced key blade, but to my surprise they were able to order replacement of just a blade from somewhere without getting entire virgin key fob, despite all dealerships insisting that is the only way to get the key at cost of £460.

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I kind of wants to start but immanently stalls. OBD2 returns no codes, but via Techstream it shows "B2799 - Immobiliser communication issue", so I am assuming that is what it is. But I can't explain how that happened considering it was running for over a week and just suddenly stopped overnight.

 

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Connection just chose that time to fail, or the unit popped? Sounds like it should be easy enough to fix - not sure how much that'd cost, though!

On other news, my plan to look at the bores has been put back a few weeks, as the endoscope with a side camera I ordered (made of the finest Chinesium) has arrived conspicuously absent one!

Couple that with the cordless angle-grinder whose batteries are so loose one of them doesn't even power the tool, and I'm having great fun! 

I wish the options weren't just 'stupid expensive' or 'shoddily cheap' nowadays - there's no 'decent home mechanic level' option anymore...

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Is there anything particularly bad with the engine, or just checking because of the mileage? 

My old IS250 is now over 200k miles, I sold it at 192k which was something close to yours if I remember the mileage correctly. At that mileage I had no engine issues, but on other hand my car was serviced meticulously from new, never missed the service and I even replaced oil every 5-6k miles starting from ~140k miles. Never failed MOT with single exception of fraudulent garage, who ripped the rubber on drop link, failed MOT and then tried to charge me £200 for replacing single drop link! So I would not be surprised if the car which wasn't well serviced would be worse for wear in the engine, but I would not write-off the engine just for mileage alone.

As for unit I guess you mean ID box... not sure - it requires removing dash to check and I wasn't particularly excited about doing it yet. There is something fishy with ECU - it dropped the VIN, I can't clear DTC so it maybe miraculously decided to explode just on the morning when I decided to take car to the service. I have decided to gamble and ordered different ECU (£30) - I would be surprised if that fixes the issue, but you never know, sounds better than ripping the dash out for no reason, or gambling on 10 times more expensive fuel pump. 

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9 hours ago, Linas.P said:

Is there anything particularly bad with the engine, or just checking because of the mileage? 

Although it was sold as a non-runner, it turns out it did start and run (as Copart showed in their pictures). What they didn't notice was that the water pump was totally knackered and had shredded the Aux belt too and I don't know how long they or someone previously had run the engine like that. Fearing the worst, I got it started briefly to get it to set the error codes and then turned it off and did a compression check. Dry results (admittedly for a very cold engine) were around the minimum viable numbers (~140Psi), bar one cylinder which was at 80 Psi...

So, the plan is to next do a leak-down test to pinpoint why there is low compression in that cylinder, then get an endoscope in to look for bore scoring (which can be an issue on these engines if the Piston Rings have become stuck from carbon buildup).

If the bores look ok, it's be worth doing the Head Gasket (if that's what it is). If they're scored, I'll be stripping this engine and installing a good used one, as it's not recommended to re-bore or hone these engines.

I'm not too concerned, as I always had a contingency that it may need an engine, and TBH, i'm tempted to do it regardless, but need to do a lot more digging first (Once i've managed to find an endoscope with a side camera!!).

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Yeah, makes sense - engine can be had for £400-600, hardly worth doing head gasket because it won't work-out much cheaper.

Although I would say you should get engine up-to temp before any meaningful compression test can be done. 

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1 hour ago, Linas.P said:

Yeah, makes sense - engine can be had for £400-600, hardly worth doing head gasket because it won't work-out much cheaper.

Although I would say you should get engine up-to temp before any meaningful compression test can be done. 

Agreed. Problem is I need to do the WP and HG to do that, by which time I’ve spent a lot in parts…

Forgot to mention that the wet results were uniformly 40+ Psi higher.

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Ok so you clearly have one bad cylinder as minimum should be 142Psi for this engine. 

Although all things considered 120Psi isn't all that horrible (unless endoscope shows blown head gasket or noticeable visual damage), if there is nothing obviously wrong with it I may even risk just replacing WP and running as it is, at this point who know - it may run for 10 miles, 10k miles or 50k miles. After some time maybe the last cylinder will pick-up again.

In other hand you may be right - if somebody was running it with blown water pump, then it easily could be the case of overheating, blown head gasket and hell knows what more. Overheating these engines can cause really nasty things!

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It's taken longer than I'd thought, but the first video tracking my latest (dubious) purchase is below:

As I'm trying to do a lot of things in a Car Park at work, the quality will likely continue to be a bit iffy, but hopefully it'll still be entertaining!

Currently, I'm still waiting for an endoscope with a side camera to arrive, so I can check the bores (the one I originally ordered is going back - because China!) so it'll be a while before I get stuck into the engine again. I'll tackle the more cosmetic stuff first, just to give more time for daylight to start to come back in the evenings, making any engine work a bit more comfortable.

So, much more to come, whether it'll prove a wise purchase or not, I couldn't possibly say yet! 

 
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