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Good evening Gents and Ladies

I am a new convert to the magic carpetland of LS 400s. I thought my Toyota Crowns and Camrys were smooth and refined but I have never known anything like this (needen't even mention my abortive attempt at sensible motoring with a diesel rover 75!). My new (1996) mk3 LS400 with LPG just pushes all the right buttons....

The only problem is that I hardly dare drive it as it is due a cam belt change and I gather that it does have an 'interference' cam engine.

I have approached the independent mechanics who have worked on my previous Toyotas (including cam belts) and they seem scared by the prospect of tackling the job on one of these beasts. Even the local toyota specialist said 'no can do... special tools needed' etc

Does anyone know of an honest/reliable independent (ideally lex trained or used to working on these cars) anywhere near the Gloucestershire area? I don't see many LS400s around this manor and I gather the Lex dealership in Cheltenham has a few questionmarks surrounding a certain autobox problem (!) I'd prefer to avoid Lex dealerships anyway for the obvious reason of cost.

Any tips or thoughts?

Cheers everyone...

Jonathan

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Hello and firstly welcome to the LOC.

Not being from your area I cannot recommend a local independant to do the work,mine was done locally by a small garage who always do my MOT but this is of little use to you,also having quoted me £100.00 for the job and then realising it was a 10 hour job they honoured the quote but I don't think they would fall for that one again!lol

I've done the starter motor job myself but didn't fancy the cambelt.

i'll have a word with CM editor Martyn to see if he has any recommendations in your area.

In the meantime some other LOC members will,I'm sure, chip in with ideas.

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Hello and firstly welcome to the LOC.

Not being from your area I cannot recommend a local independant to do the work,mine was done locally by a small garage who always do my MOT but this is of little use to you,also having quoted me £100.00 for the job and then realising it was a 10 hour job they honoured the quote but I don't think they would fall for that one again!lol

I've done the starter motor job myself but didn't fancy the cambelt.

i'll have a word with CM editor Martyn to see if he has any recommendations in your area.

In the meantime some other LOC members will,I'm sure, chip in with ideas.

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Hello and firstly welcome to the LOC.

Not being from your area I cannot recommend a local independant to do the work,mine was done locally by a small garage who always do my MOT but this is of little use to you,also having quoted me £100.00 for the job and then realising it was a 10 hour job they honoured the quote but I don't think they would fall for that one again!lol

I've done the starter motor job myself but didn't fancy the cambelt.

i'll have a word with CM editor Martyn to see if he has any recommendations in your area.

In the meantime some other LOC members will,I'm sure, chip in with ideas.

Thanks for the warm welcome Guru! I'll wait and see what local lex lads come up with...
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mk1 & 11 engines , up to 1995 models were non interferance. mk111 onwards had some performance upgrades meaning valves nearer piston surfaces.

personaly I'd only trust the main dealer with a cambelt change. done badly it'll be as bad/worse than a broken belt anyway.

they do cost more , but then they also pay thier mechanics more.

I live down the road from the chelt lexus/toyota dealer and have mechanics in the family , who would also take it there if it was thier LS. Also haven't heard any bad storys about them either.

Myself am just planning on never changing the belt , its just as easy (possibly even easyer) to change a whole engine , which are pretty cheap :3

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Cambelt change is a long job but not beyond the wit of many non-Lexus mechanics. It's expensive because of the booked time for the job which I think might be 5 hrs or so with a Lexus dealer.

You won't often need it doing, probably every 100,000 miles or 10 years. And even then the old belt will probably look like NEW.

Your car would get buggered up if it went tho' .... it's not a non-interference model.

Good luck with it.

Malc

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You didn't mention how many miles your car had done. Or years since last belt change.

Time is a factor (apparently) as well as miles, though we think Lexus are conservative on the matter, so don't worry TOO much!.

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Thanks Chris

The car has done 130,000 miles. There is a sticker on the engine stating belt changed @ 59,000 in 1999. Someone has hand written in the service book a cam belt change in Aug 2009 (between 110-120K) but no stamp or sticker - even the guy who sold me the car said don't trust it!

I am reluctant just to wait for it to go and change the engine as I think this will be the end of a £1500 car, lovely though she is!

Googling gives me 'mr clutch' who seems to say he will do it for £374.

Any other thoughts?

Jonathan

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If you are going to one of the big nationals , you may aswell ask your nearest garages first.

being nearer home to drop off , pick up (and hopefuly not complain) can save a lot of money and time.

on a goolge about 'mr clutch' found this http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews95849.html and had many laughs reading the reviws.

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never heard of them , but looks like it might be an excelent find.

If they have done enough LS400 cam belts to fin it worth putting their qoutoed labour for the job on a main page I'd be thinking they do a few of them and would trust them on the basis of experiance.

Not sure if it is supply your own parts or have to use theirs , either way £180 labour is pretty good.

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Thanks Chris

The car has done 130,000 miles. There is a sticker on the engine stating belt changed @ 59,000 in 1999. Someone has hand written in the service book a cam belt change in Aug 2009 (between 110-120K) but no stamp or sticker - even the guy who sold me the car said don't trust it!

I am reluctant just to wait for it to go and change the engine as I think this will be the end of a £1500 car, lovely though she is!

Googling gives me 'mr clutch' who seems to say he will do it for £374.

Any other thoughts?

Jonathan

If the cambelt was genuinely changed at 59k then I wouldn't doubt that it would hold good for you to at least 159k even tho' it's been 12 years now.

I personally wouldn't rush around worrying about it as an ultra urgent job to be done.

But of course, it's at your risk ! :tomato:

Malc

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Hello All,

I'm another new member having recently bought a 1995 LS400 Mk3. Paid £1500, already LPG converted and running very smooth (so far!). Appears well looked after although second owner was a bit hit and miss at keeping receipts/records of work done. I have a receipt from his Lexus Dealership for a new cambelt in Dec 2005, when the car was on about 80,000 miles, but no receipt for fitting it and no sticker on the engine! I am guessing, hopefully, that it was actually fitted. Any other way that I would know? The car is now on 120,000 so I'm not looking at a change for a little while IF a new one was actually fitted!

I am loving the drive and my wife is saying she has become a Lexus widow! Never enjoyed cleaning a car so much in my life!

If anyone has a good advice/recommendations for servicing/work in the Berkshire area, when the need arises, I would be much appreciated. There are two Lexus dealerships near me, Reading and Bracknell. Anyone had any experience with either?

Slowly working my way through the small but clearly common issues; retractable ariel motor not working, getting rid of evidence of the previous owners smoking habit (car had been valeted but front and back ashtrays still loaded with butts!) etc.

Any advice on a colour match for the lovely pearlescant white for stone chips etc? Dealership?

Thanks for all the super helpful advice.

Jim

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Hi mate,

I'm in Reading, so not far from you.

I have been to Lexus Reading (for parts only) and they seem like a good outfit.

If you go Gold on this forum, Lexus Reading will offer you a 15% discount on parts and, I think servicing too.

Perhaps we'll have to meet up at some point, as it's not far :)

Mike

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Hello again chaps

I have spoken to some very nice and competent sounding chaps at 'Gas and Go' in Swindon, who seem to know and rate LS400s. They have quoted me £240 for the cam belt job + £128 for the water pump as well if I want it (though they don't seem to think it is necessary, nor do they think the pulleys will need doing @ 130,000 miles) and £120 for a service. They also fit LPG systems so may service that also if needed.

I'm going to go with them and will keep you all updated about how it turns out, so anyone in spitting distance of Swindon watch this space!

Another question though - does anyone know if a towbar from a Mk4 1997 (apparantly offical lex towbar costing £800 new!) would fit my 1996 Mk3?

If not does anyone out there want to sell one that would fit?

Cheers

Jonathan

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