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Have I Bought A Money Pit?


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Hi,

I've just taken my LS400 MK2 for a safety check with Lexus and have come away feeling very demoralised. The mechanic was very good and took a lot of time and went to a lot of trouble explaining things. However, that still does not alter the fact that it has ruined my day.

There were a few minor problems which can easily be dealt with, such as HT leads worn etc, but the things that concerned me and my bank balance most were as follows:-

Excess play in O/S steering rack end. Slight PAS leak from N/S gaiter. He recommends a new steering rack, but says it is not worth doing it on a car which is 16years old. Lexus Price £1371.00

This is not a dangerous fault and is quite common apparently?

Brake fluid leak from brake pipe at rear O/S. I saw it and it is weeping slightly. This is dangerous obviously and needs to be done asap. He said that Lexus will only replace the whole pipe from the master cylinder, but I could find a garage that will cut and replace the damaged section, which is the bendy bit going up through the susp arms at the top.

Oh and then there's the new HT leads, cheapest I've seen are at £137.00 (Lexus £199.00)

Does any one know a good, honest, reliable, modestly priced mechanic / garage in the Reading area; because most of the ones I have dealt with so far just take your money, treat you like an idiot and do a shoddy second rate job.

Help..... :crybaby:

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Hi,

I've just taken my LS400 MK2 for a safety check with Lexus and have come away feeling very demoralised. The mechanic was very good and took a lot of time and went to a lot of trouble explaining things. However, that still does not alter the fact that it has ruined my day.

There were a few minor problems which can easily be dealt with, such as HT leads worn etc, but the things that concerned me and my bank balance most were as follows:-

Excess play in O/S steering rack end. Slight PAS leak from N/S gaiter. He recommends a new steering rack, but says it is not worth doing it on a car which is 16years old. Lexus Price £1371.00

This is not a dangerous fault and is quite common apparently?

Brake fluid leak from brake pipe at rear O/S. I saw it and it is weeping slightly. This is dangerous obviously and needs to be done asap. He said that Lexus will only replace the whole pipe from the master cylinder, but I could find a garage that will cut and replace the damaged section, which is the bendy bit going up through the susp arms at the top.

Oh and then there's the new HT leads, cheapest I've seen are at £137.00 (Lexus £199.00)

Does any one know a good, honest, reliable, modestly priced mechanic / garage in the Reading area; because most of the ones I have dealt with so far just take your money, treat you like an idiot and do a shoddy second rate job.

Help..... :crybaby:

If the engine is not misfiring or running rough, leave the leads to a later date.

Use a second hand steering rack from a breaker.

Brake piping is cheap,full length replacement obviously better but there are joins in it

along the, car flexible hoses, etc.so a competent repair should be OK.

It's not all a disaster yet!

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Is the play in the steering rack itself, or is it just the track rod end?

If it turns out to be just the track rod end, then replacing the rack would be the wrong thing to do.

probably the best thing would be for you to get the brake pipe replaced then shove it in for MOT, if it fails on the rack then you know it needs to be fixed, if not then forget about it, any garage worth its salt should be able to replace the brake pipe, they normally have a big reel of the stuff then just bend it where it needs to bend and they just make the ends up. If the pipe runs into the body and is awkward to replace, then it may be easier to cut it and make a new end, but if its outside then its not worth the effort and would probably be a tiny bit cheaper.

As far as the leads are concerned, you will find a set on eBay from £75 up to £105 depending on wether you just want unbranded or a set of QH leads, but as ROYT says, if it aint broke then dont fix it, unless its bothering you (just type ls400 ht leads into the eBay search).

Just remember, these safety checks are done by the dealers in order to find faults, so you take it to them to get them fixed.

I am not saying that a dealer would tell you that things need fixing when they dont, but they can exagerate sometimes.

A safety check is a safety check, but an MOT is a legaly binding one, which one do you trust?

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Is the play in the steering rack itself, or is it just the track rod end?

If it turns out to be just the track rod end, then replacing the rack would be the wrong thing to do.

probably the best thing would be for you to get the brake pipe replaced then shove it in for MOT, if it fails on the rack then you know it needs to be fixed, if not then forget about it, any garage worth its salt should be able to replace the brake pipe, they normally have a big reel of the stuff then just bend it where it needs to bend and they just make the ends up. If the pipe runs into the body and is awkward to replace, then it may be easier to cut it and make a new end, but if its outside then its not worth the effort and would probably be a tiny bit cheaper.

As far as the leads are concerned, you will find a set on EBay from £75 up to £105 depending on wether you just want unbranded or a set of QH leads, but as ROYT says, if it aint broke then dont fix it, unless its bothering you (just type ls400 ht leads into the EBay search).

Just remember, these safety checks are done by the dealers in order to find faults, so you take it to them to get them fixed.

I am not saying that a dealer would tell you that things need fixing when they dont, but they can exagerate sometimes.

A safety check is a safety check, but an MOT is a legaly binding one, which one do you trust?

Thanks for replying.

On the first point the HT leads do need replacing because one of them is arcing across the distributor. This came to light after having it serviced yesterday and it is now running a bit lumpy lumpy (see separate post). The garage that did the service didn't point this out to me though. I took it to lexus for a diagnostic. It was while doing this, which they combine with a free safety check, that the other items were noticed. The car was MOT'd on 22nd September, by the same garage that did the service, but nothing about the steering was mentioned. There was an advisory on the brake pipe though, but it was not leaking then.

The steering rack play was shown to me in the same way as you would check for a worn wheel bearing. That is by checking for play by rocking the wheel back and forth (O/S) and there is a slight leak from the gaiter on the N/S.

I only know a little of the basics when it comes to mechanics, which is why I am seeking advice from other members of this group. :)

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You have more or less answered you own question.

If the steering rack passed the MOT, then it will have been within the tolerances allowed by the test.

If it really bothers you then take it back to the test station and explain what has happened, they will probably want to have a look at it because if it failed so soon after they did the test then it could cost them their MOT licence.

BTW when they showed you the play, was the joint involved connected very close to the wheel, or even connected to part of the hub?

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You have more or less answered you own question.

If the steering rack passed the MOT, then it will have been within the tolerances allowed by the test.

If it really bothers you then take it back to the test station and explain what has happened, they will probably want to have a look at it because if it failed so soon after they did the test then it could cost them their MOT licence.

BTW when they showed you the play, was the joint involved connected very close to the wheel, or even connected to part of the hub?

Hi Steve,

I have taken it to another independent today, to have the brake pipe sorted. Whilst there I asked them to have a look at the steering. In their opinion, there is slight play, but nothing serious, or indeed out of the ordinary for a car of such age and mileage. They also said that the PAS leak from the n/s gaiter was negligible, and neither would warrant even an advisory if they were doing the MOT. Also they couldn't determine visually if the play was the track rod end, or in the rack itself. Everything looks and feels as it should. So Steve, it would appear that this little panic might be down to lexus exacting standards - well lets hope so anyway.

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to advise, it is most welcome.

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If the car will pass it's M.O.T then the problems are likely not vital and thus can be sorted at your leisure/when cash permits.

You can do some of the simpler jobs yourself to save cash.

Thanks for replying.

In normal circumstances I would agree. However the brake pipe corrosion was an MOT advisory. In less than 400 miles it is now leaking and classed as dangerous as it could pop at any time, which is why it is being done on Tuesday. This has only come to light because of the other checks being done. If I had decided to do this at my leisure then I hate to think. It only goes to show that sometimes a second opinion can be worthwhile.

I do know one thing though. I think I need a crash course in Lexus mechanics. Does anyone know where I can get a manual for an LS400 Mk2? Haynes don't do one apparently. :D

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If the car will pass it's M.O.T then the problems are likely not vital and thus can be sorted at your leisure/when cash permits.

You can do some of the simpler jobs yourself to save cash.

Thanks for replying.

In normal circumstances I would agree. However the brake pipe corrosion was an MOT advisory. In less than 400 miles it is now leaking and classed as dangerous as it could pop at any time, which is why it is being done on Tuesday. This has only come to light because of the other checks being done. If I had decided to do this at my leisure then I hate to think. It only goes to show that sometimes a second opinion can be worthwhile.

I do know one thing though. I think I need a crash course in Lexus mechanics. Does anyone know where I can get a manual for an LS400 Mk2? Haynes don't do one apparently. :D

From Lexus, there's three books Vol1/Vol2 and electric diagrams..expect to pay about £150.....!

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If the car will pass it's M.O.T then the problems are likely not vital and thus can be sorted at your leisure/when cash permits.

You can do some of the simpler jobs yourself to save cash.

Thanks for replying.

In normal circumstances I would agree. However the brake pipe corrosion was an MOT advisory. In less than 400 miles it is now leaking and classed as dangerous as it could pop at any time, which is why it is being done on Tuesday. This has only come to light because of the other checks being done. If I had decided to do this at my leisure then I hate to think. It only goes to show that sometimes a second opinion can be worthwhile.

I do know one thing though. I think I need a crash course in Lexus mechanics. Does anyone know where I can get a manual for an LS400 Mk2? Haynes don't do one apparently. :D

From eBay on cd rom about £5

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Hi,

I've just taken my LS400 MK2 for a safety check with Lexus and have come away feeling very demoralised. The mechanic was very good and took a lot of time and went to a lot of trouble explaining things. However, that still does not alter the fact that it has ruined my day.

Excess play in O/S steering rack end. Slight PAS leak from N/S gaiter. He recommends a new steering rack, but says it is not worth doing it on a car which is 16years old. Lexus Price £1371.00

This is not a dangerous fault and is quite common apparently?

Brake fluid leak from brake pipe at rear O/S. I saw it and it is weeping slightly. This is dangerous obviously and needs to be done asap. He said that Lexus will only replace the whole pipe from the master cylinder, but I could find a garage that will cut and replace the damaged section, which is the bendy bit going up through the susp arms at the top.

Does any one know a good, honest, reliable, modestly priced mechanic / garage in the Reading area; because most of the ones I have dealt with so far just take your money, treat you like an idiot and do a shoddy second rate job.

Hello knightman,

I too know that demoralising feeling about my beloved LS, but it is still on the road and running well....in fact the engine is still sublime after 230k, but the warnings im getting each m.o.t. are becoming a bit scary....jacking points and rear mounts and subframe issues etc....things i dont want to hear after spending a few quid on her last year... I too have desicions to make

My rear brakepipe also blew a hole in itself.

You can do it yourself, the pipe is £30 odd pound from Lexus swindon, plus 2 bottles of brake fluid. (you can buy 50m lengths for £30 for the whole system, but you have to shape it and cut it yourself)

It was caused by the clips that hold it in place being worn or snapped off. This makes the pipe vibrate i presume. Its tucked away so i couldnt see stones causing it...

It also needs bleeding after and it should be done properly by decent machines, but the traditional method worked for me. I thought the brakes were still spongy at 1st, but after a few miles they are now fine again.

If you take it to a garage it shouldn't expensive and not more than an hour labour. The old pipe is cut off (easier & quicker than fiddling), the new one takes half hour getting in place 'cos of all its twists and turns and not much room. Then bleed the brakes...no more than an hour by professionals.

Let me know if you want to attempt it and i will explain how to do it.

Dont know much about the steering rack, but another fear about mine now too :unsure:

But dont despair, Lexus can.....errmmm...... exaggerate things at times. When my p/s was leaking i took it in as i was passing and he told me it was the transmission not the p/s.....I was spending a tenner a week on p/s fluid so knew he was wrong. Since been underneath for various jobs and the gearbox is absolutely fine?????

Then they say the instrument panel needs replacing at £1100, when really its just 3 capacitors and costs a tenth of that to send off for repair or less than a fiver if you are an expert solderer with the right equipment.

So relax until the final answer is there

Its not just mechanics that do a 2nd rate job nowadays...every industry seems to be that way now :whistling:

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Hi,

I've just taken my LS400 MK2 for a safety check with Lexus and have come away feeling very demoralised. The mechanic was very good and took a lot of time and went to a lot of trouble explaining things. However, that still does not alter the fact that it has ruined my day.

Excess play in O/S steering rack end. Slight PAS leak from N/S gaiter. He recommends a new steering rack, but says it is not worth doing it on a car which is 16years old. Lexus Price £1371.00

This is not a dangerous fault and is quite common apparently?

Brake fluid leak from brake pipe at rear O/S. I saw it and it is weeping slightly. This is dangerous obviously and needs to be done asap. He said that Lexus will only replace the whole pipe from the master cylinder, but I could find a garage that will cut and replace the damaged section, which is the bendy bit going up through the susp arms at the top.

Does any one know a good, honest, reliable, modestly priced mechanic / garage in the Reading area; because most of the ones I have dealt with so far just take your money, treat you like an idiot and do a shoddy second rate job.

Hello knightman,

I too know that demoralising feeling about my beloved LS, but it is still on the road and running well....in fact the engine is still sublime after 230k, but the warnings im getting each m.o.t. are becoming a bit scary....jacking points and rear mounts and subframe issues etc....things i dont want to hear after spending a few quid on her last year... I too have desicions to make

My rear brakepipe also blew a hole in itself.

You can do it yourself, the pipe is £30 odd pound from Lexus swindon, plus 2 bottles of brake fluid. (you can buy 50m lengths for £30 for the whole system, but you have to shape it and cut it yourself)

It was caused by the clips that hold it in place being worn or snapped off. This makes the pipe vibrate i presume. Its tucked away so i couldnt see stones causing it...

It also needs bleeding after and it should be done properly by decent machines, but the traditional method worked for me. I thought the brakes were still spongy at 1st, but after a few miles they are now fine again.

If you take it to a garage it shouldn't expensive and not more than an hour labour. The old pipe is cut off (easier & quicker than fiddling), the new one takes half hour getting in place 'cos of all its twists and turns and not much room. Then bleed the brakes...no more than an hour by professionals.

Let me know if you want to attempt it and i will explain how to do it.

Dont know much about the steering rack, but another fear about mine now too :unsure:

But dont despair, Lexus can.....errmmm...... exaggerate things at times. When my p/s was leaking i took it in as i was passing and he told me it was the transmission not the p/s.....I was spending a tenner a week on p/s fluid so knew he was wrong. Since been underneath for various jobs and the gearbox is absolutely fine?????

Then they say the instrument panel needs replacing at £1100, when really its just 3 capacitors and costs a tenth of that to send off for repair or less than a fiver if you are an expert solderer with the right equipment.

So relax until the final answer is there

Its not just mechanics that do a 2nd rate job nowadays...every industry seems to be that way now :whistling:

Thanks, I'm beginning to realise now not to believe everything I'm told first time, even if it is by garage mechanics. That's why I always try and get a second opinion and ask for advice from the good people of this group.

I am not set up to do my own mechanics as yet so I have to rely on garages and the like to get things done.

I have come to treasure my LS400 in the short time I've had her. It's a masterpiece of quality engineering and style. It has two features that are sadly lacking in today's modern cars, a bonnet and a boot, if you know what I mean.

I have the dreaded dash (lights) problem as well, but mine still comes on when she warms up. :D

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If the car will pass it's M.O.T then the problems are likely not vital and thus can be sorted at your leisure/when cash permits.

You can do some of the simpler jobs yourself to save cash.

Thanks for replying.

In normal circumstances I would agree. However the brake pipe corrosion was an MOT advisory. In less than 400 miles it is now leaking and classed as dangerous as it could pop at any time, which is why it is being done on Tuesday. This has only come to light because of the other checks being done. If I had decided to do this at my leisure then I hate to think. It only goes to show that sometimes a second opinion can be worthwhile.

I do know one thing though. I think I need a crash course in Lexus mechanics. Does anyone know where I can get a manual for an LS400 Mk2? Haynes don't do one apparently. :D

From eBay on cd rom about £5

Thanks, I'm looking already :D

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