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Dear Moderator/Colin Barber/Greybeard

In all your vast vast experience - what is the best, most reliable, trouble-free, cost free, noiseless LS 400/430??

I have £10K to spend max and I don't want leaking power steering problems; water pumps that fail, seat heaters that fail, etc etc. Should I wait for the new LS 400 coming out in 2005 (so current LS 430 falls in price and buy one of these??)

What in your opinion is the best LS - the Mark IV with a VVTI engine or a Mark III

When did Lexus finally stop fitting leaking power steering pump for example??

Look forward to reading your answers

Regards SimonT2

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There isn't a new LS coming out in 2005. It's only just been updated in 2004. You would need to wait until 2006 or 2007 for a new model.

There is no question that the MKIV is the best of the LS400s. More power, smoother, better equipment, beter economy etc.

I haven't heard of many problems with the MKIV but that may be because they are much newer.

It you want trouble-free then get the lowest mileage you can afford. But for 10k you would only get a very high mileage MKIV.

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Dear Colin

Many thanks for such a quick and to the point reply.

I read somewhere with Lexus it was better to get the newest car regardless of miles rather than an old car with few miles but you seem to think the fewer miles on the clock the better??

Regards SimonT2

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wow- i've never before been in the same sentence as colin!

i'm not the right person to ask really; i've only had a lexus 400 1990 (125K miles) for 6 months, during which time i've done only 2000 miles cos it's been in the garage so much! my car had been maintained by a blind donkey with only one front leg! even the windscreen was seriously scratched because the wipers had no rubber on them! (i didn't see the car before the auction, my son bought it).

but to answer your question, the above is relevant - without FSH don't touch it with a bargepole!

so, i would say a low mileage older MK2 or newer would be better, with money put aside to do the things that go, like re-seal the power steering pump, even if it's not leaking, re-seal brake pistons and replace the discs if there's even a hint of wobble/judder under braking, free-off the parking brake. make sure the throttle is thoroughly cleaned, have the suspension bushes checked/replaced, replace the black climate control screen and sort the power supply for the instrument cluster. if the radio is on the blink, it might be better to replace it (i'm toying with that option as the RDS has packed up, and the little screen is fading).

for peace of mind, i'd also do a mega service, cam belt and adjusters, water pump, fan belt, and get ALL the fluids changed, HT leads, dist caps & rotor arms, etc. and the tappets if it's noisy, which a lowe mileage one shouldn't be.

make sure Lexus fluid is used in the auto-box (not an alleged equal) or that will cause probs later on.

probably cost you 2.5 - 3K or so for that lot.

i've spent about 7K on getting all my probs solved, and with the benefit of hindsight, i'd have bought a later one, then done as above, and probably only spent a little bit more. but the later ones have heated seats (notorious as they are) and a number of other refinements! (i think the MK1 was made for 'field trials' funded by the punters, while toyota improved the later ones.)

not sure i've thought of everything, and in any event, others will have similar or even diverse views, which i hope they will add to this epistle!

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I read somewhere with Lexus it was better to get the newest car regardless of miles rather than an old car with few miles but you seem to think the fewer miles on the clock the better??

Ideally you would want newest and lowest mileage but that will cost.

I would personally want the newest model because of the improvements to engine, ride, specification etc. However you are talking about running costs and as it is such a big car things like suspension parts will wear with mileage and therefore a very low mileage MKIII may cost you less to run for the next 3 years over a high mileage MKIV.

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IMHO, most cars are reliable if looked after from new, sticking to the service schedule and replacing everything that needs replacing. With Lexus, sticking to the recommended maintainance is even more critical.

I've had my 92 for 6 years now. I bought it with 110k and taken it up to 170k.

It has cost a lot to maintain, but to be fair, it hasn't been unreliable. I've merely spent more than average to keep the mechanicals in A1 condition. I don't like driving cars with crap tyres, or worn out brakes. It's always passed MOTs with no problem, and fuel and oil consumption has not changed at all in 6 years.

The only things that went wrong are, both front headlamp bulbs, Battery, and one rear taillight bulb.

It all depends on what you want from a car. The high mileage Mk4 may well have lots of stone chips on the front, and may not have been washed very often, thus dulling the paintwork. However, it's likely to have been company owned and maintained properly, and spent most of it's life on the motorway with less suspension wear than city roads.

The lower mileage Mk2 or Mk3 may well look a lot nicer and have fewer stone chips, but the maintainance may have been skipped on if owned privately. Plus, it may have been driven very few miles each time (no time for engine to warm up), and may have been driven on city roads only (speed bumps increasing suspension wear).

Overall, Lexus' aim is the relentless pursuit of perfection. So, the newer the car, the fewer design faults exist, as Lexus improved each generation quite a bit.

Go for a high mileage Mk4, but owned by a large company with ALL the previous invoices for each service to make sure nothing was missed out. If it's just got stamps in a service book only, just walk away. Plenty of cars around to choose from if you have time to look.

Again, IMHO, budget around £1000 a year for proper maintainance of these cars, or even for any luxury car. It is a 50 grand car after all, not a 12 grand Corolla.

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Many thanks for all your advice - I will inwardly digest and start trawling round the garages

(What about a grey import - quite like those V8 Soarers - £5K for a 99 reg -that what I call value!!)

Kind Regards SimonT2

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Dude,

Sounds like you need to make up your mind before you start looking. The V8 Soarer shares the same engine as the LS400, but not that much else (the suspension is a different setup, so is the exhaust). One is a luxury saloon and the other is a luxury coupe/grand tourer. They WILL drive very differently from one another.

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I would say just get one from a Lexus dealer because at least then you do have the proper warranty if anything does go wrong and everything is supposed to be checked.

I would say get the newest you can, my dads just got a MKIV with 136k from Lexus Reading and is great.

Keep a look on the Lexus website to see what's available, don't worry if the car is far away from you because if others are like Reading then they will bring it over for you to look at like they did with us.

Not long ago they had a low mileage 96 MKIII for £8995 so they do get them in at the price your looking at.

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If you don't mind an import then there are a few Celsiors about. Air suspension can be a problem on those and as it wasn't an option on the UK LS400 cars dealers cannot always easily fix the problems.

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:hehe: Like you, I wanted a good reliable 400 and I spent a long time researching into which car to have, using as many sources as i could. I came to the conclusion that the Series 3 (95-7) fitted the bill best, taking cost of purchase and specification into parallel consideration. The 95 had lots of improvements over the ser 2; such as more power, less fuel consumption, more leg and shoulder room, bigger boot,....even thicker glass. Taking into account that you have to relate to market value, then your £10k should buy you a low mileage ser 3 with full serv.history Mine was 50k miles, at £10k, and that was 18 months ago. Just be careful. Often garages get them in p'ex for a newer car from the proverbial 'careful owner' and just want shut of them, as big second hand cars aren't too much in demand. Try and read the 'Car' reviews of the 400 by Setright, they'll reassure you.(I can locate the details if asked.) Don't be put off by the odd scare story on leaks or whatever. These are legendary for reliability, statistically.

You COULD poss get a (high mileage) ser 4, but the laws of physics still apply. Things DO wear out with miles driven, so the less miles seems a number one concern?

It's the best car I've owned (my last was a BMW 850, for comparison. Fast, but everything cost dosh too often!) Great to cruise in, yet fast as hell when needed, comfortable (I'm a Citroen suspension long time fan! so, that's praise!) in fact, ...you'll love it when you finally get one!

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good advice - now i'll just pop into the tardis, go back to nov last year, prevent my son buying my LS400 in an auction, avoid going to a useless garage, save spending the money on a re-spray, then off to a decent dealer (whereever they are!!) and buy a MK3 with low mileage!

but, would i still get those pitying looks when i tell people i've got a 1990 lexus 400? i've got so used to them that i might miss them! :lol: :lol:

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:driving: No, because the seres 1 was the original! The one that Toyota decided to make BETTER than any other car-at the time. 'Car' magazine ran an article doing a direct comparison with a Rolls Royce. And the Lexus 'won'!! So tell your friends THAT!

Naturally cars develop over their life...a 430 is better than mine, but in normal usr, so what? They're only small changes. You've still got a great car

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Time to add my two penn'orth, having done more or less what is looking to do. A couple of months back, I bought a '97 MkIII - yes, I wanted a MKIV too, but didn't find a decent one under 12K.

What I did find was my MKIII, with just under 70K miles and FLSH, for 8.7K. Except that FLSH can be a bit misleading. The services had drifted, and the 54K service had been done at 58K; the 63K, due at 67K, hadn't been done. The car looked in excellent condition, drove well, four new tyres - so the deal was done.

That's when I got a nasty surprise - 63K service includes cam belts and spark plugs, and was going to be the wrong side of £600. Fortunately I hadn't picked the car up, so a bit of haggling got another couple of hundred knocked off the price.

By the time I got it serviced, it was up over 70K, so I asked the dealer (Lexus Birmingham) to do a combined 63K and 72K, which added a coolant change. Then I get the call: brake pads 85% worn, front discs below service limit. Okay, okay. But even with my Lexus Owners Club discount, the total was still over £1200.

Still, I've paid out less than 10K for a clean, low-mileage MKIII which should now be fully sorted. Of course, they also identified some play in one of the front suspension arms, which will need sorting out at some point - but I've got no complaints. An LS400, for the same as a nearly-new Mondeo? Bargain!

But the moral is, no matter what you buy, check the service schedule - to the extent of calling the dealer who did the last service, and check what they did - and even then, budget a few hundred for unexpected stuff.

Regards,

Martin

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Good post, Martin.

One tip for your future suspension work. See my posting under suspension section, since I ordered my control arms from the US and saved a fortune versus buying them in the UK.

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