Travis_K UberDork
2/11/15 11:09 p.m.

I recently bought a w210 Mercedes and I don't like it, so I'm going to hopefully sell it and get something else. What should I know if I was thinking about spending $2-3k on an LS400? In that price range it would probably have 200k and be no newer than 95. Bad idea? Or would buying one and expecting it to last a couple years and 30k miles not be too unreasonable.

Petrolburner Reader
2/11/15 11:28 p.m.

In reply to Travis_K:

One of the best cars to come out of Japan. I was just browsing them on craigslist today. Find one that hasn't been abused or neglected and they're probably one of the safer bets on the current used car market.

mndsm MegaDork
2/11/15 11:38 p.m.

Other than the previa, probably the best car Toyotas brought over in recent memory. Do it.

Feedyurhed SuperDork
2/12/15 5:51 a.m.

I have always had a thing for the LS400s. Did you get your MB running yet?

spitfirebill PowerDork
2/12/15 7:53 a.m.

I was checking them out a while back and found some great deals. Many were one owner and relatively low miles.

TGMF New Reader
2/12/15 8:09 a.m.

rock solid cars. engine and trans will run forever. up till 98 the engines were non interference, 98+ had variable valve timing and became a interference engine. They also had a lot more power. Accessories are expensive, especially the A/C compressor. its 1,000 bucks if I remember right. Aftermarket units have all been junk or noisy, best bet to use OEM.

One thing to look for on the older ones, is the power steering pump. They tend to leak pretty badly at higher miles, and the alternator is directly below the power steering pump. usually takes the alternator out with it if neglected. There is a idle up valve on the power steering pump as well, its removable and would need to be swapped to a new pump. I mention it because it's housing is plastic and they become brittle, use extreme care when removing pump to avoid damage.

Fuel pumps tend to fail around 200k, and are usually noticed at warm idle when pump is on low speed. Engine revs will drop to almost stalling, pump relay will close giving pump full batt voltage (high speed) and engine revs will bump back to normal. This repeats over and over, like a bad vac. leak.

Starters are in the valley of the engine, and given the age of all the surrounding plastics and such, its kind of a bear to replace.

All in all, its a great car, and will run a long long time. If you're into large sedans, you cant go wrong with a clean example.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
2/12/15 8:25 a.m.

I've got a 98 and a 99. Fantastic cars.

singleslammer UltraDork
2/12/15 8:56 a.m.

Can anyone tell me some real world MPGs. Say at 70+ MPH on the highway?

Travis_K UberDork
2/12/15 10:46 a.m.

I haven't had a chance to work on the Mercedes again, I work full time, and the dealer is about an hour from my work, so I haven't had time to go pick up the intake gasket yet. Hopefully it will be simple, but it has the potential to be more than I can afford to fix so I still don't know what I will end up doing with it.

The one bad thing about LS400s here is that they are the current choice of low income types who want to feel like they have a luxury car, so a lot of the older ones are in 24 hours of Lemons condition rather than being a good daily driver. I am not sure even an LS400 can last 300k with nothing but oil changes after the first owner traded it in.

gamby UltimaDork
2/12/15 10:53 a.m.

In reply to Travis_K:

You might want to google about the '96 that Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire bought a few months ago. He bought it with just shy of 900k (you read that right) miles on it and his goal is to take it to a million. Still on original engine/trans.

He just dumped $1500 into some basic maintenance (bushings, steering rack etc...) but it's still a solid car. The engine is a 6-bolt main and it's approved for aircraft use, so that says something about how bulletproof it is.

This was an era when Toyota was trying to prove something, so the engineering is preposterous on this car.

Agreed, tho--the 'hood really like 10+ year old luxury cars and deferred maintenance is the tradition there. Farah's car has been meticulously maintained.

penultimeta New Reader
2/13/15 12:43 p.m.

I like em. Good bang for the buck. Original 0-60 times published were around 8.5 seconds. Can still find nice examples 25 years later. True, many have been ghetto-ized (and not by people who actually live in the ghetto), but enough of them are still around that it shouldn't be too hard to find one that's in decent shape. 1UZ is a cool engine. is your friend for tuning, for basic maintenance.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
2/13/15 1:03 p.m.

As for MPG, in my 98 combined city/highway, I am getting around 25 MPG. In the 99, which we take on trips, cruising at 80 on cruise control, we get about 26. Last trip to the PRC had 26.5 one way and 25.5 the other over 3000 miles round trip.

singleslammer UltraDork
2/13/15 1:07 p.m.

In reply to Dr. Hess:

Damn, that's great for a car that size! Those have the 5speed auto though don't they? Still the 98+ aren't too much more money than the early ones.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
2/13/15 2:26 p.m.

Yeah 5 speed auto. AC on takes about 1/2 MPG. Cruise control adds about a 1/2 MPG, I think, maybe more. Keeping your foot out of it really adds, as it will go down to about 3 MPG or lower when you stomp on it. The computer readout for tank MPG is accurate, as I have ran it against the pump/odometer and it comes out the same.

I would go for a 98-2000. Actually, that's what I did. The 98-up have the VVTi. I paid like 7200 for this:

last year at Lexus of Tulsa. Like 110K on the clock.

G_Body_Man Reader
2/13/15 3:09 p.m.

They're incredibly reliable, and are great cars to put some miles on. The only reason I didn't buy one was because you have to grow character on them, and I simply do not have the money for that. If you buy one, check out Junction Produce for some cool VIP-style goodies!

DuctTape&Bondo Dork
2/13/15 4:00 p.m.

I bought a 1993 with a bad ECU about 3 years ago, 220k? for $1300 or so, replaced the ECU with a working one (rebuild caps diy)
Found a K&N intake filter for $1 (JY)
fixed the speedo needles with some super glue, conductive silver paint and a sharpie
Did plugs, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid
New brake lines, pads and rotors
Installed lowering springs and new kyb gr2 (surprisingly the original shocks seemed fine)
New battery from Costco
Replaced the carpet and floor mats with JY finds
New hood lifts
New tranny filter
JY radiator
Replaced relay
Rebuilt the AC Cluster with new LCD and bulbs
Rebuilt power steering pump (JY) with IAC removed and plugged
New starter
Recently installed rebuilt rack and pinion
Few other cosmetic things here and there like SC430 chrome wheels

Drove it to LA (1hr each way) SD (3hrs each way) with no issues. Last trip was summer, drove it to Laughlin (6hrs each way) got 20mpg going 80 with a trunk full of stuff.

Gave the car to my dad but looking at my phone I have a 18.9mpg average over 34 gallons, mainly on the trips mentioned above.

ClubLexus and for pretty much everything you need

Curmudgeon MegaDork
2/13/15 6:19 p.m.

My ex bought a '98? a few years ago, it's been completely trouble free. Not even a battery. She gripes about the gas mileage, of course that's because her Accord that she totaled got ~32 mpg highway.

Spinout007 UltraDork
2/14/15 7:20 a.m.

If you have a reputable electric motor/generator rebuilder in the area you can have them rebuild your alternator and starter. Going from gm parts pricing to Lexus parts pricing was a bit of sticker shock, but at less than half the cost to rebuild it with a two year warranty it was worth it. If you do your own maintenance expect to spend the weekend changing the timing belt, water pump, cam/crank seals as most of the accessories must come off to do it, and that ac pump was a royal PITA to get off without venting the system on mine. (1st gen SC400)

All in all, it was a very solid riding car, lied to you extremely well about how fast you were going. I would probably buy another if I was in the market for big car.

dean1484 UltimaDork
2/14/15 7:21 a.m.

A slight thread hijack but any one know about the gs400. I had a Jones for one of those when the first came out. I don't see them around any more.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
2/14/15 7:44 a.m.

When I bought my 98, I was looking for either a LS400 or a GS400. We drove to Tulsa to look at 3 cars, a GS400, LS430 and the above LS400. The GS400 sold an hour or so before we got to Tulsa. The LS430 looked like it came straight out of the ghetto: Door panels replaced with speaker grills, back door looked to have been repainted with a spray bomb, etc. The LS400, above, was at the Lexus dealer. They also had a 2000 with about 80K on it for another thousand dollars or so. Anyway, I'm happy with the one I got.

There's more GS300's than GS400's out there, and more LS400's. Teh Mag had an article years ago about a race team with a GS400. They just gutted the interior and replaced one plastic part in the transmission with a brass one and that was it, basically. Anyway, they are out there, but you have to look pretty hard to find one without a quarter million miles.

The_Jed UberDork
2/14/15 9:01 a.m.

In reply to dean1484:

Somebody here had one for sale recently, I'm not sure if they still have it or if it has sold already. NMNA lol

Edit: Nevermind, it sold a week ago.

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