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Considering an IS F, moving from Monaro


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Hi all, new member here and hopeful future IS F owner. Just testing the water to see who and what is about. By most accounts, these are fabulous cars. I'm a motoring journalist myself and it's easy to see that the Lex is a far more appealing prospect than an equivalent M3 outside of a day-long road and track test.

I currently have a Monaro LS1 as my flagship, owned it for five years. I adore it but magpie syndrome doth dictate I staircase in the V8 rankings. A VXR8 would be cool but I fancy something different. I've always adored the IS F and the F brand in general, since its introduction in 2008. The GSE is intoxicating (I first tried it in an LC).

Looking at what's for sale and how rare these cars are, there's slim pickings. Are the prices right by your reckoning? (inb4 they should be higher, lol). That 26k facelift on AT looks lovely but I swear these were more accessible not long ago. Does mileage (within reason) dictate a car's ability to hold money/appreciate? What should I be paying?

Coming from the Monaro and its cone-type slipper, a mechanical LSD car would be my preference, and the updated cabin, revised suspension and ML stereo would be nice.  

Problems:

Apparently they don't rust. Is that true? (I know everything rusts eventually) *insert existential crisis here*. I'd love to be able to run one year-round, as opposed to babying the Monaro away during the salty months.

Water pump and coolant leakage: the only problem these seem to have by my reading.

Modding:

I'd love to extract some power (if the example I bag is unmodified) without breaking the bank. Best port of call is exhaust by my reading.

It would be nice to do suspension too – get a proper fast-road setup. Are there nicely balanced spring/damper/coilover options available in anyone's experience?

Would love to hear from everyone and my apologies in advance if I'm treading old ground. Noob, etc.

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1 hour ago, Ethan93 said:

Problems:

Apparently they don't rust. Is that true? (I know everything rusts eventually) *insert existential crisis here*. I'd love to be able to run one year-round, as opposed to babying the Monaro away during the salty months.

Water pump and coolant leakage: the only problem these seem to have by my reading.

Modding:

I'd love to extract some power (if the example I bag is unmodified) without breaking the bank. Best port of call is exhaust by my reading.

It would be nice to do suspension too – get a proper fast-road setup. Are there nicely balanced spring/damper/coilover options available in anyone's experience?

Hi,

There is a thread a couple of posts down you should look at 'Considering buying an ISF'. Lots of information on there.

Rust wise the IS holds up well and there are no horror stories. I've had all the plastics removed from under mine and the car treated for rust and sealed up. It was very tidy underneath with most of the rust assigned to the arms, etc, and not the chassis, but it was still very clean.

The water pump should not be a problem now and all cars should have been addressed by now.

Look for 'ticking' on cold start as the biggest costly issue that appears most places are the manifolds. They leak after a while due to cracking. On the plus side upgrading the headers is a good thing whilst you're there. Some people keep driving with them cracked as you can do with no problems, so it's not an immediate repair.

Other than that check the radiator over and prepare to replace. The gearbox coolant runs through the rad and when it corrods from the inside, it's terminal for the gearbox. This is a design throughout most Lexus models, and isn't a common issue, but worth noting.

Modifications wise, there are a lot of suspension upgrades and coilover options. Depending on what you want to modify, be prepared to shop overseas if you want to push the boat out. I'd imagine similar to options for the Monaro, the ISF doesn't have a massive amount of support UK wise.

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5 minutes ago, RichGS11 said:

Hi,

There is a thread a couple of posts down you should look at 'Considering buying an ISF'. Lots of information on there.

Rust wise the IS holds up well and there are no horror stories. I've had all the plastics removed from under mine and the car treated for rust and sealed up. It was very tidy underneath with most of the rust assigned to the arms, etc, and not the chassis, but it was still very clean.

The water pump should not be a problem now and all cars should have been addressed by now.

Look for 'ticking' on cold start as the biggest costly issue that appears most places are the manifolds. They leak after a while due to cracking. On the plus side upgrading the headers is a good thing whilst you're there. Some people keep driving with them cracked as you can do with no problems, so it's not an immediate repair.

Other than that check the radiator over and prepare to replace. The gearbox coolant runs through the rad and when it corrods from the inside, it's terminal for the gearbox. This is a design throughout most Lexus models, and isn't a common issue, but worth noting.

Modifications wise, there are a lot of suspension upgrades and coilover options. Depending on what you want to modify, be prepared to shop overseas if you want to push the boat out. I'd imagine similar to options for the Monaro, the ISF doesn't have a massive amount of support UK wise.

You're not wrong about the Monaro and it not having the best UK support... I've read about the rad thing. Seems mad! Are there aftermarket options? Do Mishi do one? 

Manifolds, yes, read that too. Aftermarket upgrade is the prevailing wisdom. Would it need mapping if upgraded with long-tubes? If not it seems GS F mannis are compatible.  

Also what do you make of the current prices? Are these buoyed by the current situation with car values?

Many thanks for your response. I'll be sure to check out that other thread.

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1 hour ago, Ethan93 said:

@RichGS11 also says you're in Cambridgeshire? If you have an IS F, would you be up for showing me around it? I live in the Mildenhall area. No worries if not! 

Hi Ethan,

Yes I don't mind showing you sometime.

In regards to mapping you would get the best out of it but it's not a hurdle I've tried jumping yet. RR Racing do a tune that works alongside PPE headers and hopefully anyone with one can chime in....

There are aftermarket radiators but it's not a horrendous job to do yourself and Lexus supply everything you need for under £300. I did mine myself using OEM parts.

As for prices, as you say they are inflated due to the second hand market. Early last year I paid £20k for a well looked after 2010 USB ISF with 54K on the clock, which now on estimate with current prices is closer to £25k'ish.

I'm not sure when they'll correct but I'd imagine they will do when the rest of the market corrects. 

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@Ethan93 Hi and welcome to the forum, you're not Ethan from carthrottle by any chance ?

Echoing @RichGS11, there isn't any horror stories that I know of in terms of rust, my roof channels/gutters have gone slightly rusty underneath the roof strips but it is an easy job to do for a body shop.

Aftermarket exhaust manifolds wise, PPE have recently made a set with CAT's inside and won't require a tune, otherwise you'd have to get a tune which I've read removes fault logging. You can have CAT's added to other manifolds and use lead extensions on the O2 sensors to avoid a check engine light.

Front lower suspension arm rear bushes go soft and cause inner tyre wear through play and dynamic toe under heavy braking, which is currently happening on mine. The bushes used on the RCF and GSF can be used on ISF and are said to be better, otherwise RR-Racing or FIGS make aftermarket solutions.

Other than that it's the valley plate leak which I'm dreading but no cases have occurred in the UK.

I found looking on the American forums is best for modifications, they received around 5000ish ISF's over its production span and have larger following and modification options compared to the circa 200 the UK received.

Manifolds are my next modification, upgrading to 245 section front and 275 section rear is very popular and proven a good improvement state side. Plenty for you to read through across both forums and the Australian one late at night 👍

Any questions ask away, everyone is fantastic on here 👌

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2 hours ago, RichGS11 said:

Hi Ethan,

Yes I don't mind showing you sometime.

In regards to mapping you would get the best out of it but it's not a hurdle I've tried jumping yet. RR Racing do a tune that works alongside PPE headers and hopefully anyone with one can chime in....

There are aftermarket radiators but it's not a horrendous job to do yourself and Lexus supply everything you need for under £300. I did mine myself using OEM parts.

As for prices, as you say they are inflated due to the second hand market. Early last year I paid £20k for a well looked after 2010 USB ISF with 54K on the clock, which now on estimate with current prices is closer to £25k'ish.

I'm not sure when they'll correct but I'd imagine they will do when the rest of the market corrects. 

Part of me wonders if specialty stuff like this will just stick where it is. All options are good to see and gratefully noted! Yes, I'd love to come have a look around. Maybe I could bring the Audi RS E-Tron GT press car I have in a couple of weeks? Do let me know and thanks again for your wisdom!

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2 hours ago, 4969_LXS said:

@Ethan93 Hi and welcome to the forum, you're not Ethan from carthrottle by any chance ?

Echoing @RichGS11, there isn't any horror stories that I know of in terms of rust, my roof channels/gutters have gone slightly rusty underneath the roof strips but it is an easy job to do for a body shop.

Aftermarket exhaust manifolds wise, PPE have recently made a set with CAT's inside and won't require a tune, otherwise you'd have to get a tune which I've read removes fault logging. You can have CAT's added to other manifolds and use lead extensions on the O2 sensors to avoid a check engine light.

Front lower suspension arm rear bushes go soft and cause inner tyre wear through play and dynamic toe under heavy braking, which is currently happening on mine. The bushes used on the RCF and GSF can be used on ISF and are said to be better, otherwise RR-Racing or FIGS make aftermarket solutions.

Other than that it's the valley plate leak which I'm dreading but no cases have occurred in the UK.

I found looking on the American forums is best for modifications, they received around 5000ish ISF's over its production span and have larger following and modification options compared to the circa 200 the UK received.

Manifolds are my next modification, upgrading to 245 section front and 275 section rear is very popular and proven a good improvement state side. Plenty for you to read through across both forums and the Australian one late at night 👍

Any questions ask away, everyone is fantastic on here 👌

Fantastic, as I'm finding out in real time! All options good to hear. Hopefully prices calm down even slightly around the time I'm fancying one, which will probably be May-ish.

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24 minutes ago, Ethan93 said:

Maybe I could bring the Audi RS E-Tron GT press car I have in a couple of weeks? Do let me know and thanks again for your wisdom!

Oh wow! I have a real soft spot for those and I'm not a huge Audi fan!! They look incredible!

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On 1/11/2022 at 5:15 PM, Ethan93 said:

You're not wrong about the Monaro and it not having the best UK support... I've read about the rad thing. Seems mad! Are there aftermarket options? Do Mishi do one? 

Manifolds, yes, read that too. Aftermarket upgrade is the prevailing wisdom. Would it need mapping if upgraded with long-tubes? If not it seems GS F mannis are compatible.  

Also what do you make of the current prices? Are these buoyed by the current situation with car values?

Many thanks for your response. I'll be sure to check out that other thread.

I’ve got GSF manifolds on my ISF, S/S cat back sports exhaust system, I’ve got (not on yet) full 2011 suspension and RR lower arms to hopefully stop inner tyre wear…… manifolds go straight on, oil tube needs to be reformed to miss larger manifolds and exhaust lip on underside flange connection has to be cut off and a gasket installed……. The difference is very noticeable.

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19 hours ago, Womble72 said:

I’ve got GSF manifolds on my ISF, S/S cat back sports exhaust system, I’ve got (not on yet) full 2011 suspension and RR lower arms to hopefully stop inner tyre wear…… manifolds go straight on, oil tube needs to be reformed to miss larger manifolds and exhaust lip on underside flange connection has to be cut off and a gasket installed……. The difference is very noticeable.

What's the difference between GSF and PPE? Is it a known comparison on the ISF? I did not think about GSF manifolds when considering an upgrade.

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3 hours ago, RichGS11 said:

What's the difference between GSF and PPE? Is it a known comparison on the ISF? I did not think about GSF manifolds when considering an upgrade.

Bore size, GSF’s have a bigger bore whereas PPE’s are probably the same bore as ISF manifolds 

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34 minutes ago, Womble72 said:

Bore size, GSF’s have a bigger bore whereas PPE’s are probably the same bore as ISF manifolds 

I imagine they're just as hard to find as PPE headers lol. I'll look into them as a potential option. Thanks 

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12 hours ago, RichGS11 said:

I imagine they're just as hard to find as PPE headers lol. I'll look into them as a potential option. Thanks 

You will also need the heat shields for the GSF as they are different to the ISF ones……. Lexus themselves will not fit them, they do fit on like for like with minimal alterations BUT they point blank refused to quote when I asked, factor in a 10hr labour cost unless your good with spanners and have a lift 

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I'm running Ppe headers on mine and valved stsinless exhaust along with the rr racing tuned intake and remap. 

Makes a huge difference very ferocious when you want it to be. 

Also fitted Tein edfc in car adjustable damping which is the best mod for me the handling is world's apart now. 

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