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corsair23
11-26-2006, 11:25 AM
Not a baby :hill: but instead a 1997 LX450, locked, black, ~94.5K miles...

Saw this on Autotrader kind of on a fluke as I decided with the T-day holiday that I would take a break from searching...And wouldn't you know it, the minute I sort of stop searching bam this shows up. It was fairly local for a change (Grand Junction) so I called the seller (Simpson Auto). Checked around to see if anyone local could check it out for me but due to the holiday everyone was out of town till next week...

The :Princess: and I talked it over and SHE suggested that we could do a little road trip and go look at it. GREAT I thought. Our initial plan was to drive up and back Saturday then she suggested we drive up Friday night and stay at a hotel and hit the dealership first thing Sat morning. I made plans with the dealership and tell him is the LX450 isn't sold by Friday night (they close at 6:00pm) then we would head over. Then, mid afternoon Friday my oldest :Princess: says her ear is hurting her. I'm cleaning out the :Princess:'s Liberty (for possible trade) so she runs the daughter over to urgent care. Diagnosis...DOUBLE ear infection and the Doc says they look like they are ready to burst :eek:. Cruiser Gods conspiring against me still??

We get the miracle ear infection drugs from the pharmacy and then wait to see how the little one is feeling. Dealership calls me to let me know that the LX has not sold. I explain to them about what is going on and that I would call them later with what our plans are. By 8:00pm the :Princess: is feeling better and wants to make the trip. She is a little trooper at just 7, having a double ear infection, and willing to go on a road trip! By 8:30pm we are on the road and calling Doug from the dealership on his personal cell phone. I am really worried about the pressure changes on the :Princess:'s ears but she does fine. Run into snow through Eisenhower and over Vail pass but still make it to Grand Junction by 12:30am, exhausted.

Early wake up call on Sat morning and I head over to the dealership leaving the :Princess: and 2 :Princess:s at the hotel to rest. Check out the vehicle, then go back and get the family, check out of the hotel, and head back to the dealership. Wife drives the LX450 and likes it. Head back to the dealership to see if we can strike a deal. Couple hours later :( we are out of there less one Jeep Liberty and plus one LX450 :D. After a quick stop for some lunch we are on the road and back home by 7:00pm.

Impressions:

Simpson Auto: Very nice folks. Family run (Dad, mom, and son plus some sales people) since 1978. Owner has got to be nearing 80 and sharp as a tack! Like most dealerships they are overpriced though.

Drive over and back: Not bad but holiday/ski traffic on I70 SUCKS the big one! From Eisenhower to Floyd Hill it was stop and go :mad:

LX450: The important part! It is black so EVERY scratch, ding, etc shows up. It will need a really good buffing to see how much it can be cleaned up. It is a one owner CO vehicle, originally sold at Stevinson. PO is reportedly a teacher in Glenwood Springs now but originally from Denver area. Mechanically it seems to be in great shape. Maybe some fan pulley noise that will need to be checked. Paint wise, see above. Interior wise it is pretty clean for an almost 9 year old vehicle (per CarFax it wasn't put into service until June '98). Seats has the normal wear and tear, rear cargo area has some stains. Every light, switch (save one) seem to work great. Lockers locked in right away!

Issues and MUST address problems...
Tires are TRAGIC. Darn near completely bald! They are the OEM Michelins style. But, I planned to replace the tires so this gives me reason to do it soon!

Driver's window switch for the Driver's window is sketchy. Window went down fine and then refused to come back up. After 15-20 mins of dinking with it the window went back up. Probably not the motor but the switch. A royal PITA not being able to put the window down for fear it won't come back up. All other windows work great.

Driver's side key cylinder. :rant: Didn't notice till AFTER departure but the door cylinder is all jacked up. It works, but it is sort of just 'floating' there in the hole...


First things to do:

Tires, tires, tires and QUICK. I spent a couple hours online last night searching (Thanks to Romer for the tire FAQ!!) about tires. It looks like 285/75/16 are the size I need right? Maybe the 305/70/16? Need a good DD tire and decent road tire. Contemplating Toyo MTs, Revos, BFG ATs, or Cooper STTs. Any thoughts and tips on where to find these in town for the best price?

Window Switch: Need to get a FSM on order and take the door apart to see if I can figure out the problem. Anyone have the FSM pages scanned in they could email in the interim? :)

Key cylinder: Wan't to address that in the near future...

Inspection: Get it somewhere to have it checked out real well to hopefully catch any issues before they become problems


ANY comments, tips, tricks from the 80/LX450 owners out there would be great...Any magic must do's now...Any magic oil or fuel additives that I should do...And of course I'll start doing a LOT more research...

If you made it this far, here are some pics!

corsair23
11-26-2006, 11:27 AM
More pics....

Groucho
11-26-2006, 12:08 PM
JK!:D Congrats.

Time to start the transformation from pure mall cruiser to a family wheeling rig!

I'd say start with the fluids. Make sure that is done then do some driving. Make sure there are no rattles or squeeks that you missed in the excitement of buying. Clicking in the front end, brake squeeks, e-brake not working properly, etc. Then start a good PM schedule ensuring that from here on out you will have a well maintained vehicle.

Bighead
11-26-2006, 12:31 PM
Congrats Jeff! :thumb:

Hulk
11-26-2006, 12:44 PM
Awesome! Looks great. Nice clean truck to start messin' with. Congrats!

nakman
11-26-2006, 12:49 PM
congrats Corsair!!.. looks like the RF tire is low on air as well as tread :eek:

The door is easy to take apart.. just pry up the "elbow pad" with your fingers then you'll see the two secret screws- take those out, with the one in the handle, the latch thing, the rest of the attachment points are those plastic things that you just pry out.. when you get the panel free you have to pull it "up" to get it out of the window channel, then you can reach behind to undo the wiring harness for the locks, windows, speaker and light. You might be able to fix your existing switch by cleaning up the contacts.

x2 on starting with the fluids.. here are my opinions about that, fwiw: I like M1 0w40 in the engine & 90915-20004 oil filters, M1 75w90 in the diffs and t-case, and Valvoline Max Life Dextron III in the PS and AT. Don't get a ATF "flush," instead just swap out 4 quarts with every oil change. Don't squirt lube the driveshafts, take them off and then completely apart, clean them, then lube them. Don't squirt grease into the knuckles- accumulate the parts for the rebuild then go in there & do it right..

for tires, don't go bigger than 285's, the performance loss isn't worth it. And to offset the not-so-fun maintenance, check out the "best cheap mods" or "biggest bang for buck mods" or something like that thread on mud for cool stuff to do like the cup holder, cdl switch, pin7, recliner hinges, etc.

Romer
11-26-2006, 01:10 PM
Congrats.

Baseline all the fluids. I also use Mobil 1 0-40W, That's cary's pick on mud. There is an oil FAQ.

Flush and fill the cooling system. There is a debate on if Red or Prestone Green is better. BUT if you change from one to the other, flush it twice.

I use Synth in the diffs and Tcase (Redline).

Take it to a place that will do a transmission fluid exchange, not a flush. Cost my $99 at Toycar care (with coupon). Otherwise you will be draining 4 qts at a time and have to do it multiple times. Don't do the flush, the exchange uses the tranny pump.

I also use a vacuum brake bleeder to exchange the PS Fluid (Write-up on Mud and in my ROTW). Also exchange the brake fluid with Synthetic.

Chane the PCV valve, spark plugs, wires, dist cap and Rotor.

Disconnect the hose and then take off the top of the air filter cover (Otherwise you damage the hose) to replace the filter.

May want to replace the Fuel Filter and starter contacts as well.

That should be a good baseline.

Then contact Lexus to see what kind of dealer service has been done on it. Head gasket, Front Axle etc. If you can't find any record of a front axle rebuild, plan on doing that over a weekend and change the rotors and front pads (Use 100 pads on front). I wouldn't do anything on the HG, it's more to find out if it has been done.

Other things to consider, cleaning fuel injectors, clean out the throttle body, change the Pesky Heater Hose (PHH). The PHH is behind the starter, it's a real PITA, you might look at it and if it's OK, I wouldn't worry about it.

corsair23
11-26-2006, 02:59 PM
Thanks all for the nice comments and tips!! Have to take care of the Durango problem first now :(

I'll have to look into getting a history report from a Lexus dealer to see what has been done and go from there. First to do are the tires (those things really are tragic - hope we don't get any snow soon) and the window switch. The owner of Simpson's auto showed me a list of what they did to the LX when they got it in on trade...Routine stuff: Oil and filter change, spark plugs and wires, etc. Tried to use that as a bargaining chip :)

On the paper work they had down "Fan clutch"...The mechanics weren't in on Saturday so he wasn't sure what that meant. Would a fan clutch going bad cause some noise (probably a "duh" question)?

Oh, and since I'm a 1 wrench or 1 banana etc. "mechanic" I forked over some dough for a 3yr/36K mile warranty. I hope I never need to use it but if the HG does go (covered item, I made sure) the warranty will about pay for itself.

Romer
11-26-2006, 03:03 PM
Fan clutch is a good thing to already have replaced. It's the thing the drives the fan on the front of your motor. That's part of having your cooling system in tip top shape.

Why isn't the warrenty taking care of your switch or key?

Several vehicles being parted out on mud now that might have what your need.

Uncle Ben
11-26-2006, 03:54 PM
Fan clutch is a good thing to already have replaced. It's the thing the drives the fan on the front of your motor. That's part of having your cooling system in tip top shape.

Why isn't the warrenty taking care of your switch or key?

Several vehicles being parted out on mud now that might have what your need.


First off, VERY NICE! I think you will be pleased with your newest family addition!

Romer....Most secondary warranties do not cover "body" items, which both the lock and the window switch would fall under.

The lock is most likely something simple like a clip off or similer. The switch might be simple too like dirty contacts or pinched wire (has the door speaker been replaced maybe?).

The only thing I see that seems strange is what is with the upside down "7" on the grill? Is something in distress? :rolleyes: :p:

:thumb: :cheers: :cool: :hill:

subzali
11-26-2006, 07:28 PM
First thing you need to do: buy pink panties :eek: :p:

Nice addition! Concerning new tires, I've had good luck with Discount Tire and would recommend them before Big O or a privately owned shop if only for the convenience of having them all over the nation (read: Moab etc.), plus their prices are good, service is good, lifetime rotate/balance with an additional $60 or so, etc.

Good luck!

wesintl
11-26-2006, 08:12 PM
Congrats!

This is the wife's mobile, no? How does she like it compared to the liberty?

Uncle Ben
11-26-2006, 08:16 PM
First thing you need to do: buy pink panties :eek: :p:

Nice addition! Concerning new tires, I've had good luck with Discount Tire and would recommend them before Big O or a privately owned shop if only for the convenience of having them all over the nation (read: Moab etc.), plus their prices are good, service is good, lifetime rotate/balance with an additional $60 or so, etc.

Good luck!


Nope....pink panties come standard in the L's in the tool kit.

Romer
11-26-2006, 08:19 PM
Nope....pink panties come standard in the L's in the tool kit.

Right, it's in the compartment just above the 6 CD changer:D

Working on my axles, I validated my Frame is stamped FZJ80:rolleyes:

corsair23
11-26-2006, 09:27 PM
Congrats!

This is the wife's mobile, no? How does she like it compared to the liberty?

Yep, the wife's mobile until I start building it up ;), or so she says. Knowing my luck she won't want to part with it and I'll be back looking for another one (not necessarily a bad thing mind you :D) She REALLY likes it compared to the Liberty although she did cry a little saying goodbye to her Liberty. Compared to the Liberty this thing is rock solid stable. 75-80 in the Liberty is sort of scary...Even with the crap tires this thing was a dream to drive back. If I read the date on the tires right they were manufactured in 2001 so I figure they have 50K+ miles on them :eek:

Romer
11-26-2006, 09:29 PM
You need to update your sig line.

corsair23
11-26-2006, 09:39 PM
Fan clutch is a good thing to already have replaced. It's the thing the drives the fan on the front of your motor. That's part of having your cooling system in tip top shape.

Why isn't the warrenty taking care of your switch or key?

Several vehicles being parted out on mud now that might have what your need.

Thanks for the info...I kept a close eye on the temp guage the entire trip back and it never went above what I'll call horizontal or about 1/2 way, even on the long uphills. But if the fan clutch is going it is one of the covered items :)

As for the warranty, Uncle Ben is right in that I don't believe the switch nor the key cylinder would be covered. I'm more concerned about the big ticket items...Good thing is coverage started the minute I drove it off the lot as opposed to 30, 60, or 90+ days down the road.

Uncle Ben
11-26-2006, 09:39 PM
Yep, the wife's mobile until I start building it up ;), or so she says. Knowing my luck she won't want to part with it and I'll be back looking for another one (not necessarily a bad thing mind you :D) She REALLY likes it compared to the Liberty although she did cry a little saying goodbye to her Liberty. Compared to the Liberty this thing is rock solid stable. 75-80 in the Liberty is sort of scary...Even with the crap tires this thing was a dream to drive back. If I read the date on the tires right they were manufactured in 2001 so I figure they have 50K+ miles on them :eek:

She'll give it to you after she has to fill it with gas a couple times! :lmao: :thumb:

corsair23
11-26-2006, 09:43 PM
You need to update your sig line.

Done! Thanks for the reminder :D

corsair23
11-26-2006, 09:46 PM
She'll give it to you after she has to fill it with gas a couple times! :lmao: :thumb:

You'd think but that stupid Jeep Liberty...Averaged about 14 mpg no matter what. Crazy for a little SUV w/ a V6. She says my Durango is too "loud" and truck like. That doesn't bode well for me after she spends some time driving a Lexus when I tell her it is time to switch :hill:

Jenny Cruiser
11-26-2006, 10:36 PM
Congrats on the :Princess: Lex. Hope you got a better deal than what they had advertised. :cheers:

corsair23
11-26-2006, 11:09 PM
Congrats on the :Princess: Lex. Hope you got a better deal than what they had advertised. :cheers:

Thanks and yes, we did :hill:. Overall we feel that we got a fair deal considering initially they wanted the Liberty PLUS $2700. My wife just sort of looked at the owner with that "Oh no you didn't" look on her face :lmao:. She is VERY good at bargaining.

I think in the end they agreed with me when I told them they had a better chance of selling a low mile loaded Liberty than they did selling a higher mile LX450 in not so perfect condition. IMO, most people looking to buy a Lexus are looking for perfection and don't know (or care) about the fact that it has factory lockers. For us the Lexus should easily make it to 200K+ miles which would be about 10+ years for us. The Liberty, honestly if it makes it to 100K miles I would be very surprised which only be about another 5 years for us.

Jenny Cruiser
11-27-2006, 12:15 AM
I'm not a Liberty fan. You won't regret having traded it. :D