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Newbie Looking At A Ls400


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Hi everyone,

1st of all, sorry for the longish post...

Perhaps foolishly and against my better judgement I'm just back from looking at a slightly doggy 1995 LS400. The car is not perfect so I thought I'd post and hopefully get a little advice...

The car has 154K and was purchased by it's current owner 2 years ago, mileage verified by the previous 2 MOT slips but no notable Lexus service history. The owner did show me a receipt for a cambelt change and some brake work approx 1 year ago. it had done around 5K from it's previous MOT. The MOT is short and due in a couple of weeks. He is selling due to the purchase of something completely different.

The bodywork is 'reasonable', I guess that is to be expected at 16 years old. The front bumper has a crack on the lower edge but will be fine providing it does not get impacted again, the rear bumper has maybe had a small parking impact as the paint is crazed on the drivers side corner. Both flanks are straight and with the exception of needing a proper clean and detail has only minor marks/scuffs. Again fairly in keeping with the age of the car. There is evidence of some very minor rust blistering here and there but nothing that worries me unduly. The car needs 2 front tyres (225/60R16) as the sidewalls are cracked with age, the rears are fine and although fitted with budget tyres the car seemed to drive OK on them. The car also needs replacement mirror glasses as both sides were badly scratched, at a guess these are already stick on replacements so at a guess any heated function is now fubar. The electric movement seemed fine, do the mirrors automatically retract on these?

The car did need a jump to start but it had been standing for a number of weeks, the engine is very smooth. The oil is clean and the tranny fluid looks healthy enough, the coolant is the correct Toyota red type (I assume)and the engine has not been dressed up for sale. The test drive brought the engine upto temp with the guage just sitting south of midway on the guage. No smoke, rattles etc. I did note that the bonnet release cable was a little stiff and the hydraulic rams are past there best as they don't support the weight of the bonnet anymore. Unfortunately the owner has only 1 key and the car has had, I suspect, an aftermarket alarm at some point which has been disabled? I would need to see pictures of original keys to know for sure. The engine bay did have a large siren type box on the passenger side bulk head.

The interior did look pretty good with no rips/tears etc and some wear on the seats which I would say is minimal for the miles, a leather feed would certainly bring it up very well. All the dash lights work and the climate display is perfect. The aircon doesn't blow cold though, maybe a regas? The clips on the drivers side window switch panel are broken. The electric steering column works fine as does the sunroof. The electronic seat adjustment is fine but I could not get the memory function to work. The front heated function... doesn't, I did not test the rear although I did notice both rear windows do not work. The sound system is not the nakamichi type but the glovebox mounted changer is 100% as is the tape function. The aerial does not work but this hasn't affected the reception.

The boot area seemed OK with most of the toolkit present but further inspection did reveal a water leak and a small lake under the spare wheel. The boot floor looked OK but I would suspect a good clean up and rust preventative treatment will be needed.

I took the car on a 15 minute test drive, plenty of speed ramps in the area didn't reveal any untoward clunks or groans from the suspension and although I have no comparison never having driven another LS it did feel pretty good. I did initially think the car was reluctant to kick down but switching the gearbox mode to 'pwr' seemed to rectify that. The test drive was inner city and I was restricted to a 40MPH dual carriage way, the car did feel to track straight etc. I was a little surprised that the gearbox lever was marked with 3,2,1 L. I guess a 3 speed with 4th overdrive on lock up? The gearchange seemed to be very smooth.

A bit of a hoke and poke underneath the car showed a good solid exhaust system although I suspect the joint just behind both cats has been gummed up at some point, it had that tell tale white paste stuff. The car looked solid in beneath with a little surface rust on a few bits but all looked solid. No oil leaks although the steering rack gaitors looked as if there may be or have been a small weep of some sort.

So, to some it up. The car seems OK in most of the right areas considering the age and I don't expect perfection but in thsi forums experience is the car an utter dog heading only for big bills and financial ruin? The car was advertised at £900, the owner mentioned £800. Assuming 2 tyres and some new mirror glass is the least it really needs to be road legal (maybe £200) oh and a years tax and ticket, call that another £250. Is it really worth it or should I firmly look elsewhere? I'm tempted to cal tomorrow and offer him maybe £500 but possibly £600...

All I need is a reliable 2nd car for when my daily Yaris is too small (think shopping, wife, small child and associated 'stuff') That's why the allure of some cheapo V8 luxury is tempting.

All help/advice gratefully recieved :)

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I would simply get the owner to put a fresh MOT on the car. Look at any Advisories and then decide what to do.

If there are no Advisories then you won't be looking at much to significantly cause you grief financially over the coming months, just cosmetic stuff.

Then as you say, what can u get for £900 that cost £55k new only 16 years ago ( then the price of a small house ).

But of course, there are stacks of LS400s for sale right now;and a HUGE choice; might be something to do with petrol costs of course !

Best of luck with it all.

Malc

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Hi everyone,

1st of all, sorry for the longish post...

Perhaps foolishly and against my better judgement I'm just back from looking at a slightly doggy 1995 LS400. The car is not perfect so I thought I'd post and hopefully get a little advice...

The car has 154K and was purchased by it's current owner 2 years ago, mileage verified by the previous 2 MOT slips but no notable Lexus service history. The owner did show me a receipt for a cambelt change and some brake work approx 1 year ago. it had done around 5K from it's previous MOT. The MOT is short and due in a couple of weeks. He is selling due to the purchase of something completely different.

The bodywork is 'reasonable', I guess that is to be expected at 16 years old. The front bumper has a crack on the lower edge but will be fine providing it does not get impacted again, the rear bumper has maybe had a small parking impact as the paint is crazed on the drivers side corner. Both flanks are straight and with the exception of needing a proper clean and detail has only minor marks/scuffs. Again fairly in keeping with the age of the car. There is evidence of some very minor rust blistering here and there but nothing that worries me unduly. The car needs 2 front tyres (225/60R16) as the sidewalls are cracked with age, the rears are fine and although fitted with budget tyres the car seemed to drive OK on them. The car also needs replacement mirror glasses as both sides were badly scratched, at a guess these are already stick on replacements so at a guess any heated function is now fubar. The electric movement seemed fine, do the mirrors automatically retract on these?

The car did need a jump to start but it had been standing for a number of weeks, the engine is very smooth. The oil is clean and the tranny fluid looks healthy enough, the coolant is the correct Toyota red type (I assume)and the engine has not been dressed up for sale. The test drive brought the engine upto temp with the guage just sitting south of midway on the guage. No smoke, rattles etc. I did note that the bonnet release cable was a little stiff and the hydraulic rams are past there best as they don't support the weight of the bonnet anymore. Unfortunately the owner has only 1 key and the car has had, I suspect, an aftermarket alarm at some point which has been disabled? I would need to see pictures of original keys to know for sure. The engine bay did have a large siren type box on the passenger side bulk head.

The interior did look pretty good with no rips/tears etc and some wear on the seats which I would say is minimal for the miles, a leather feed would certainly bring it up very well. All the dash lights work and the climate display is perfect. The aircon doesn't blow cold though, maybe a regas? The clips on the drivers side window switch panel are broken. The electric steering column works fine as does the sunroof. The electronic seat adjustment is fine but I could not get the memory function to work. The front heated function... doesn't, I did not test the rear although I did notice both rear windows do not work. The sound system is not the nakamichi type but the glovebox mounted changer is 100% as is the tape function. The aerial does not work but this hasn't affected the reception.

The boot area seemed OK with most of the toolkit present but further inspection did reveal a water leak and a small lake under the spare wheel. The boot floor looked OK but I would suspect a good clean up and rust preventative treatment will be needed.

I took the car on a 15 minute test drive, plenty of speed ramps in the area didn't reveal any untoward clunks or groans from the suspension and although I have no comparison never having driven another LS it did feel pretty good. I did initially think the car was reluctant to kick down but switching the gearbox mode to 'pwr' seemed to rectify that. The test drive was inner city and I was restricted to a 40MPH dual carriage way, the car did feel to track straight etc. I was a little surprised that the gearbox lever was marked with 3,2,1 L. I guess a 3 speed with 4th overdrive on lock up? The gearchange seemed to be very smooth.

A bit of a hoke and poke underneath the car showed a good solid exhaust system although I suspect the joint just behind both cats has been gummed up at some point, it had that tell tale white paste stuff. The car looked solid in beneath with a little surface rust on a few bits but all looked solid. No oil leaks although the steering rack gaitors looked as if there may be or have been a small weep of some sort.

So, to some it up. The car seems OK in most of the right areas considering the age and I don't expect perfection but in thsi forums experience is the car an utter dog heading only for big bills and financial ruin? The car was advertised at £900, the owner mentioned £800. Assuming 2 tyres and some new mirror glass is the least it really needs to be road legal (maybe £200) oh and a years tax and ticket, call that another £250. Is it really worth it or should I firmly look elsewhere? I'm tempted to cal tomorrow and offer him maybe £500 but possibly £600...

All I need is a reliable 2nd car for when my daily Yaris is too small (think shopping, wife, small child and associated 'stuff') That's why the allure of some cheapo V8 luxury is tempting.

All help/advice gratefully recieved :)

I have to say all the "minor issues" you've mentioned would be enough to have me waking up in a cold sweat!

As it's been said, there are plenty out there with good history (which is so important)

For another £500-£600 you could find a gem, but I can't help thinking if you go for this one you'll be spending much more than that to put it right in the coming weeks.

Phil

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I guess it depends on how much you're willing to spend and how far you're willing to travel to look for a nice one. IMHO none of the problems you've mentioned is terminal, but I'd expect to spend at least £500-600 putting them all right, which would double your expenditure. And you can get a decent Mk.III, with history and fewer issues, for around £1000 these days. My usual thought is: if it wouldn't cost much to get the car through an MOT, why doesn't the vendor do that himself and then sell it for more?

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A £1000 will get you into a mark4 now (high miles) or a really clean mark 3, as voiced before I would bide my time, as its a second car anyway you should be in no rush to buy, there are plenty of well looked after gems out there. There was a really clean mark 4 with lowish miles & history on autotrader for £995 a few weeks ago P/X bargain to clear.

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A £1000 will get you into a mark4 now (high miles) or a really clean mark 3, as voiced before I would bide my time, as its a second car anyway you should be in no rush to buy, there are plenty of well looked after gems out there. There was a really clean mark 4 with lowish miles & history on autotrader for £995 a few weeks ago P/X bargain to clear.

really, wish I could find one !!

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I've just bought an ebay, 95, 12 month MOT, no advisories. I would never buy an LS with only 2 weeks left on it, apart from what you mentioned there might be other things he knows about that are not so obvious. I agree with everyone else, I personaly would leave it.

Just to note - ebay LS cars seems to have more dodgy stuff these days than only a couple of years ago along with more dodgy sellers, even the slightest suspicion best leave it, theres not as much genuine stuff on there these days as when I first bought one 3 years ago.

Memo ebay - Unless you know about ABS systems I would avoid this green temptress at link below.

It was first on sale about 3 weeks ago as an urgent sale from a guy in Montgomery due to the guy needing money urgently (he said). I contacted him & could have got it for £925 but when questioning him he said the garage had damaged the ABS sensor when replacing wishbone, he had nothing in writing from them & surely if a garage damages a sensor then they have to fix it!! so the only evidence that the ABS warning light is a sensor is that 'he said they said' level of evidence, so I left it, I know nothing about ABS but I do know an ABS warning could mean a hell of a lot more than a sensor.

About 2 days after my enquiries it had gone from ebay so I ghuessed someone had bought it. Low & behold it was back on ebay on sale again within a few days for £1000 (offers) from somewhere on anglian coast, same ABS story. It could have been someone bought it to resell or it could have been someone wanted it, found the ABS had a bigger problem, no way of knowing for certain, but put it back on ebay pretty quick.

Now its on sale again, same story but this time in Ormskirk & going for auction sale, thats all within this past 4 weeks and more closer to 3 weeks, so anyone intersted take all that into account.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1998-LEXUS-LS400-AUTO-GREEN-/140565424539?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item20ba5a299b

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I've just bought an ebay, 95, 12 month MOT, no advisories. I would never buy an LS with only 2 weeks left on it, apart from what you mentioned there might be other things he knows about that are not so obvious. I agree with everyone else, I personaly would leave it.

Just to note - ebay LS cars seems to have more dodgy stuff these days than only a couple of years ago along with more dodgy sellers, even the slightest suspicion best leave it, theres not as much genuine stuff on there these days as when I first bought one 3 years ago.

Memo ebay - Unless you know about ABS systems I would avoid this green temptress at link below.

It was first on sale about 3 weeks ago as an urgent sale from a guy in Montgomery due to the guy needing money urgently (he said). I contacted him & could have got it for £925 but when questioning him he said the garage had damaged the ABS sensor when replacing wishbone, he had nothing in writing from them & surely if a garage damages a sensor then they have to fix it!! so the only evidence that the ABS warning light is a sensor is that 'he said they said' level of evidence, so I left it, I know nothing about ABS but I do know an ABS warning could mean a hell of a lot more than a sensor.

About 2 days after my enquiries it had gone from ebay so I ghuessed someone had bought it. Low & behold it was back on ebay on sale again within a few days for £1000 (offers) from somewhere on anglian coast, same ABS story. It could have been someone bought it to resell or it could have been someone wanted it, found the ABS had a bigger problem, no way of knowing for certain, but put it back on ebay pretty quick.

Now its on sale again, same story but this time in Ormskirk & going for auction sale, thats all within this past 4 weeks and more closer to 3 weeks, so anyone intersted take all that into account.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1998-LEXUS-LS400-AUTO-GREEN-/140565424539?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item20ba5a299b

That paticular car ended up as quite a drawn out thread where the person selling it got quite hot under the collar with several of us as his story was easily picked apart.

Heres the thread. It had to be modified by one of the moderators. http://www.lexusownersclub.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=72942&st=0

Regards Mike

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Right, got it, that green ABS prob looks like its going to be on & off ebay for a few years to come.

You really have to pick some of the sellers apart these days cause your dealing with a double edge sword when they seem vague or avoiding questions, 1. Do they genuinly not know standard things cause they never felt the need to & may have a real good deal or 2. Are they knowingly just trying to get rid of a load of trouble for the best price they can get due to false, misleading advertising, both types seem evasive. One even advertised 'Best bargain on ebay' type add and put in big red letters at bottom of add - NO LEXUS EXPERTS OR MECHANICS WELCOME -

The other common thing which I never noticed a couple years back is the FSH label which used to mean it had been serviced every service due throughot its life - This last period of looking to buy had several who had FSH but then probed they meant they had the full book service record >> up to the last service, which in one case was 100k ago & other maybe 50k ago....lol definatly a serch for a needle in a haystack these days.

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Against most of your advice ;) I bought the car a few days ago.

Availability of these cars in my area isn't so good and flying over to the mainland to buy one unseen wasn't an option for me.

Maybe it'll bite me and maybe it won't but so far the car is impressing me greatly. I have another thread running on the PH site but I'll keep this updated as and when anything exciting happens.

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Against most of your advice ;) I bought the car a few days ago.

Availability of these cars in my area isn't so good and flying over to the mainland to buy one unseen wasn't an option for me.

Maybe it'll bite me and maybe it won't but so far the car is impressing me greatly. I have another thread running on the PH site but I'll keep this updated as and when anything exciting happens.

Which one have bought?

Mike

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Ahhhhh! I have just been going back through the links (ebay item number) from the other post with this car in it, the one in Montgomery is when I spoke 'that' guy & dropped it but I have just been back to this one where 'Sir' Bentlybrooks added NO PRETEND MECHANICS. NO SO CALLED LEXUS EXPERTS WELCOME.

I remember seeing it but Sir Bentlybrooks had another blue with scratches & a dent in it at around this same period, I asked him a standard question can't remember which one, then asked another about had he had the front suspension, wishbone area's checked because of the bump & he banned me from his auction.....I did not know till now he was connected to this green one, I remember seeing Sir Bentlybrooks ad for it but did not know it was the one advertsied shortly after in Montgomery.

So since 24 April (this add)it's 'been sighted' for sale in Montgomery, East Anglia, Macclsfield & Ormskirk...well, what can one say, it will have done so many miles between buyers it will need a service before the next one (if one).

Should be 'Bentlybrooks & Dopplegangers Ltd' with an updated ebay text - NO EXPERIENCED EBAYERS WELCOME ONLY BID ON THIS ITEM IF YOU HAVE LESS THAN 1 FEEDBACK.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/190525856953?ru=http%3A%2F%2Fshop.ebay.co.uk%3A80%2Fi.html%3F_from%3DR40%26_trksid%3Dm570.l2736%26_nkw%3D190525856953%26_fvi%3D1&_rdc=1

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Against most of your advice ;) I bought the car a few days ago.

Availability of these cars in my area isn't so good and flying over to the mainland to buy one unseen wasn't an option for me.

Maybe it'll bite me and maybe it won't but so far the car is impressing me greatly. I have another thread running on the PH site but I'll keep this updated as and when anything exciting happens.

Which one have bought?

Mike

I bought the car I described in my original post. It was advertised locally and the price was good for me.

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I've got a MK4 for sale.

£900 ono.

In the cars for sale section...

Mike

Too far away for me, thanks for the offer though and good luck with the sale.

William

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V8will ............. excellent news then, well done, your new baby will be your pride and joy for many years to come .............

Not sure how I would cope without my LS400 !

Malc

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V8will ............. excellent news then, well done, your new baby will be your pride and joy for many years to come .............

Not sure how I would cope without my LS400 !

Malc

Yes, I have found out very quickly why these cars are held in such high regard. I'm head over heels in love with this car!

The refinement, build quality and performance are exceptional. The fuel economy isn't even that bad for a V8

This particular car has partly been bought as an experiment in disposable motoring but I can't see me driving anything other than an LS for a long long time.

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Disposable motoring eh !

Wow, would never have thought that a coscientious owner of a LS400 would EVER want to dispose of their's.

Guess this might be the one car in all the history of existing cars where environmental goodness exudes owing to never knowingly and willingly getting the NEED to dispose of one.

Petrol costs pale into ( almost ) insignificance compared to the capital and maintenance cost savings achieved when owning a secondhand and good LS400.

Malc ...................... am I drooling over mine and the experience of some 8.5 years of magic carpet driving in LS400s

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, a little update.

The car sailed through it's MOT last Saturday with absolutely no problems. All that I did before hand was to adjust the rear parking brake which was really easy to do. The only trouble I had was accidentally pushing the little rubber grommet that covers the inspection hole through. 15 minutes later I had the rear calliper and disc off to retrieve it.

I've rebuilt the electric antenna, bought a replacement mast off ebay for a few quid. A fiddly job but fairly straight forward,I also tackled and resolved the water leak when I had the boot carpet and lining out. A liberal dose of silicone at the problem area cured that. 2 pattern replacement mirror glasses and a couple of number plate sticky pads has the door mirrors useable again.

I have a couple of maintenance jobs lined up, I'm going to pop off the sill trims and get some waxoyl in, If I can get access to a lift I'd like to give below the car a bit of a scrub and some new underseal if needed. The cracked bumper has been sorted with a drill and couple of cable ties. I think the car deserves some fresh fluids and I'll change the PCV as well.

It all sounds very rudimentary but I had plenty of people commenting on the car at the MOT station, mostly how good it looked for 16 years old and disbelieve on what it stands me cost wise.

So far so good!

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