Greetings again! I started this thread a couple of years back, right after acquiring a very nice 1998 LS400 from a close buddy of mine. It had 66,000 miles at the time, & the car turned 81,000 miles last weekend.
The car continues to be virtually trouble free; I faithfully have the oil & filter changed every 2,500 miles, although the scheduled interval is every 5,000. I recently took it into Lexus for all fluids to be changed at 80,000. The trans, steering, brakes, cooling, & differential were all serviced & I'm surprised at how much quieter & smoother the transmission operates in the morning now... So it was a good investment of approx. $500.00 for long term maintenance and peace of mind...
Last weekend I fully detailed inside/out; & the moonlight pearl finish glistens like new. The leather interior was cleaned & conditioned as well. My LS400 looks virtually like new, even after 12 years of Los Angeles driving conditions. This has been a nearly trouble free car, & seems likely to remain so, just as long as the maintenance is not overlooked. Like many other LS400 owners, I couldn't be more pleased with the quality & reliability. That's all for now -
Hope you are all well, & thanks for reading this far.
C.B., Los Angeles, Calif.
I purchased a Lexus LS400, 1998 new and have never had any problems with it, except for hitting a deer late one night.
The company that repaired the auto sprayed hot metal slivers all over the car while in his shop, and then notified me that it was finished. The gas tank was empty, so I stopped at a filling station and noticed all the steel particles had embedded in the paint and were rusting. We had to sue them in court for about $7,000.
I recently changed the timing belt and water pump myself to save the $2,000. Works great. The mileage now is 230,000. I now change the oil and do all the maintenance. I obtained a CD manual on eBay to do all my own mechanical work for $15.00. No I am not a mechanic, but I am learning.
This Lexus is really a terrific auto. Never will I ever again purchase another Mercedes or
Volvo. Constant problems and very expensive. Wish I could purchase another 1998 New Lexus. Still out classes every auto on the road!
By the way, before I purchased the Lexus I called every Lexus owner that was selling their auto listed in the Atlanta Journal for their opinion explaining that I was not interested in purchasing, but only wanted to know why they were selling their Lexus. Not one of them stated a mechanical problem. They were buying another or were moving.
Glad to know that your LS400 is still in good shape. I also have a 98 LS400 and am trying to change the timing belt. The camshaft has moved and I am confused about the timing marks on the camshaft. What position should it be? Do you have pictures of it? I am stuck on this. I have to be sure to avoid damage to the engine. Thanks for the help.
I bought a used 1998 LS400 a little over two years ago, and I couldn't be happier. It had 129,000 miles on it when I bought it for $8900 from a Lexus dealer. I could tell from the maintenance history that it was VERY well maintained.
Now it's up to 157,000 miles, and still runs like a brand new car. The only things I've done to it are routine maintenance.
I researched this car quite a bit, and have a few recommendations.
Find a good local indie Lexus specialist or a local dealer you can trust. Not all the dealers are on the up and up in my opinion.
Also, be sure to maintain the transmission properly for long-life. I go to an indie shop that has a machine that sucks out the old trans fluid and replaces it with Toyota/Lexus type IV ATF (the only type you should use). Don't let anyone use one of those power-flush machines on your car if it has high mileage. The trans fluid change should be done every 30,000 miles.
Make sure you change the timing belt/water pump/thermostat and related parts every 90,000 miles. Change all fluids per the maintenance schedule with the exception of the trans fluid, which is not listed as a maintenance item - IT IS.
Continuing this thread, which I started a couple of years ago, about my 1998 LS400.. The Lexus still performs without a fuss or glitch. We drove out to Las Vegas last weekend, & the LS400 averaged 26.3 mpg during the 614 mile round trip, A/C running at all times, 78 mph average speed. No complaints there... Upon arrival, the valet at Cesar's Palace collected the car & said "Don't worry, I'll take good care of the Lexus, you obviously pamper this car."
The LS400 currently reads 86,786 miles, with no issues -- well one: the light bulbs behind the LED clock display have gone out. I'll order the replacement bulbs from the dealer, (5) light bulbs @$13.00 each. Otherwise I cannot say enough about the quality & reliability of the car. Hope others are enjoying their Lexus LS400 as much as I am.
All the Best, C.B. from L.A., Calif.
Well it has been 3 years & 3 months since I originally posted my review of the 1998 Lexus LS400. My odometer is now at 91,231 miles, & the car continues to behave perfectly.
I did need a new battery a couple of months back, certainly a non-issue. In addition, I had all 13 of the tiny light bulbs in my A/C & radio display module replaced by an independent Lexus mechanic. Funny, the local Lexus dealer wanted more than $1,600 to replace the entire digital display unit! They told me it is not repairable when the light bulbs burn out. Well, I happily paid a mere $360 for the repairs at my independent shop.
Other than these 2 minor concerns, the car remains perfect & I maintain it lovingly: Hand wash every weekend, & fully detailed 3 times per year. Oil change every 3,000 miles, tires balanced twice per year. I drive it daily and keep it garaged. There is no reason the car should ever fail me in any way. It turns heads, and rides and drives as new. What's not to like?? Happy motoring to all!!
I've owned a '98 LS400 for many years, and do much of the routine maintenance myself. For other things, I go to a fine independent shop and avoid the dealerships (with reason). You might consider reading one or more of the very good forums on line for owners.
Oil and filter changes are easy to do yourself at about 5000 mile intervals (not 3000, that's a real waste). And I never use synthetics. Unless you tow a trailer in the desert with the car, you don't need them either.
The alternators are not intrinsically bad, but their locations are. The alternator is below the power steering pump, and leaking fluid (they have a tendency to leak) can drip onto the alternator, causing it to fail. So keep an eye on your PS fluid reservoir. If you get a small leak, try Lucas PS leak stopper. It often works very well.
Wal-Mart sells excellent batteries for the car... believe it or not!
If you lose a transponder key, you can replace it from an Ebay merchant very cheaply. The car actually programs it. Dealers will tell you that only they can make them. It's one of their lies.
The brake pads are almost child's play to change, especially if you have Brembo brakes. Aftermarket pads such as Wagner are excellent. Replacement rotors are often cheaper than having the old ones "turned" on a lathe. Get a brand name product at a fraction of dealer prices.
Tires? I like Sumitomos, but lots of others are suitable as well. I do not follow the recommended pressures, but just use 32 psi all around for better handling.
Lots more, I guess. Ask any specific questions you have. You'll love the car!