Last post on Oct 20, 2012 at 7:25 AM
You are in the Lexus LS 460/460L
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Lexus LS 400, Lexus LS 430, Lexus LS 460
#100 of 113 Strange overheating problem, can you solve it? Can you give some advice?
Jul 06, 2012 (6:38 pm)
I have a white 1994 lexus LS 400, with a strange overheating problem, and it's gradually getting worse. I bought this car from a man while he was in the process of dying from cancer. It was winter when I bought the car. The car handled fine all year and throughout the summer it was fine. Another winter passed and all was good. It wasn't until the weather began to get warm a second time, that troubles began to surface.
This summer is a lot warmer than the last. It got hot early in the spring, and I turned on the air conditioner, but after about 10-15 minutes I began to notice an overwhelming musty odor. I would later realize it was the odor of an overheating radiator, but at the time I could not place the smell, an the engine was not smoking. I stopped at a random repair station (lets call him mechanic R), and the mechanic R did me a favor and sprayed some anti-mildew spray in the air ducts. This did not work, because the next time I used the air conditioner, the smell was back. I was told by a fellow who worked for an air conditioner company, to change the air filter and let the air conditioner run for a while. I let the car sit while turned on for a few hours, and let the air conditioner run with the windows open to avoid the stench problem. This seemed to solve the problem, temporarily, as the smell issue went a way for a while.
The next hot day I put the air on, about 10-20 minutes later the smell was back. I drove around with the air on and the windows open, the smell went away. I went to run a few errands and when I went to turn the car on again it began to stall. I decided to take it to my mechanic (lets call him mechanic M), it took me about 10 minutes to get there. As I pulled into the mechanic M's station, the car began to smoke like crazy. I popped the hood and we let it cool. I left the car overnight and mechanic M said the radiator had a hole in it, he said he replaced it and that was that.
Now when I drove the car, the engine was making a louder sound. It was no longer quite and purring like a kitten. It was sputtering and would seem to want to stall when I would start it and accelerate in the morning and after work. Yes, It had trouble accelerating, but it would be fine after I drove it for five minutes. It would have trouble accelerating every time I used it, after a few hours of non-use.
Any use of the air conditioner would produce the same overheating after 20 - 30 miutes of driving with the air on. The fan clicked on when I used the air conditioner. So it wasn't that. I took it to the mechanic who repaired it for the original owner (lets call him mechanic O). He said he had tried to figure it out but could not. He said the original owner had given up on them and went somewhere else. He took the car, said he ran it for 30 minutes with the air on, said he ran it in the shop with the air on as well. He said he could not find anything. He told me the radiator looked old, and like it was the one that came with the car. I had suspected my first mechanic had not replaced the radiator, this confirmed my suspicion. I also believed my first mechanic had not changed the oil much earlier. This newer mechanic also did not have time to change the oil. So how much attention could he have given the car, other than running it. A friend had suggested that a lexus has a second speed setting on the fan that clicks in on extra hot conditions and is sometimes affected by the fuses. This newer mechanic said this wasn't it. But how much time could he have dedicated to it to know that.
I was running out of options, the previous owner had experienced the same issues and had brought it to two different mechanics with no success. I had brought it to two different mechanics with no success (although one had been used by the original owner and one simply cheated me.) I thought about going to Lexus, but tales of high prices were discouraging me. I drove another week with no air conditioner use and for the final 3 days of that week it was very hot outside. A strange vibration was coming from the engine, I could feel it through the steering wheel when I started the car after work. The temperature gauge always seemed in the middle so I figured I could get by for a while if I didn't use the air. I stopped at a store on my way home from work and the strange vibration I had felt through the steering wheel was back. I shut the engine off, and as I began to walk from the car, I noticed smoke coming out. I went and got some water from the store. The radiator was so hot and empty if I added water it would evaporate and shoot back out. I left the car at the store. The store is close to mechanic R (who had first helped me with the smell in the air conditioner. I now recognized this smell to be an overheating engine. It must have sucked the vapor into the air conditioner system.
- Initially the car would only overheat on a hot day when the air conditioner was in use, but now additional damage has been done with the engine being louder.
-The water level must be dropping, but my ride two and from work is not filled with traffic. I must have slowly been loosing water for the car to overheat without the air on.
-The car doesn't overheat when I am driving. Only when I stop and turn the car off. Then the fan is off too.
-The oil needs to be changed
-Mechanic R is close to the store I left the car at, but I am confident when I fill the car up with water, I can drive to the lexus dealer.
-It is a busy summer season where I live, and mechanics are busy making fast money on out of town customers, not spending time on people from the area who have problems that don't have a simple solution.
-I don't have a lot of money to burn.
Any hints or suggestions or solutions are welcomed at this point, I believe I will take it to the lexus dealer.
#101 of 113 Door damage - inside deal?
Jul 11, 2012 (10:29 pm)
I took my late '90s Lexus to the dealership body shop to replace a damaged door. The body shop said my insurance company would only pay for a used (salvage) door; if I wanted a new door (which I do), I'd have to pay the difference. When I asked how much that was, he looked on the computer to get a salvage vs new price, and then said there were no salvage doors (in the whole US?) Therefore, the shop would put a new door on (he said Lexus still makes these doors, even for this older model), and insurance would pay for it. Am I being played? Is the dealership going to actually put a salvage yard door on the car, and how can I tell if they've done that? Something seems fishy to me. Is there some kind of collusion between the dealership and the insurance company? (The body shop is a "preferred provider" of the insurance company.)
#102 of 113 Re: Strange overheating problem, can you solve it? Can you give some advice? [tmundo]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Jul 12, 2012 (12:23 pm)
Without testing it's just a guess but given that you said it runs rough after not being used for a while, I'm thinking that coolant is leaking onto one or more spark plugs. I think what might have happened is that initially you did have a bad radiator and then the engine overheated and warped a cylinder head---that's one possibility.
I'd suggest that you get a "cylinder leakdown test" or if the mechanics don't know how to do that, have them pressurize the cooling system and then remove the spark plugs while the system is still under pressure--if they spot coolant on any of the spark plugs, there's your answer.
#103 of 113 Re: Door damage - inside deal? [mobe2]
Jul 13, 2012 (7:03 am)
There is almost always some collusion between the "preferred provider' and the insurance company. The good thing about this is that the insurance company is dealing with the dealer. They will probably put a new door on, if for no other reason than reputation alone. I do not know how to check a door to see if it is new or used after it has been installed. Maybe someone else can chime in on that. Your only concern in this case is your deductible and peace of mind that if it is not right, you have recourse. I have had repairs done under similar circumstances, and results were good, even when problems were discovered two months later.
#104 of 113 Thank you
Jul 14, 2012 (2:25 pm)
Thank you, smithg, for your post. I had assumed there was always some collusion between the "preferred provider" and the insurance company. We chose the dealer (which happens to be in-network) because of the issues of reliability which you mentioned.
I have just one question: what recourse would I have if "it is not right"? Small claims court? And what else?
#105 of 113 Re: Thank you [mobe2]
Jul 18, 2012 (3:20 pm)
I went to the repairer, in your case that would be the dealer. They will make the repair/correction, and they will then go to the insurer for reimbursement. That is the path I took.
You need to make it clear to both the insurance and dealer/repairer that you will have nothing but original equipment. You probably will not need any actions. Good Luck.
#106 of 113 Re: Thank you [smithg]
Jul 18, 2012 (3:40 pm)
Thanks, smithg, for your reply. The dealer has already put the door on, and they said the fender was a new fender (they also told me which dealer these parts came from). Since the dealer is "in-network", they did the estimate, and I assume I don't really need to talk to the insurance company. The dealer had also told me earlier that if a salvage part was available, and I wanted new, I'd have to pay the difference. I don't know if a salvage part was unavailable in both cases, or if the dealer pretended to the insurance company that a salvage part was unavailable, or if the dealer pretended to me to put new parts on, and actually put salvage parts on. Also, I asked the dealer where these parts come from, and they said "(the name of the city where they're from)". I said, "Where in (city), and they said, "We USUALLY work with (dealer name)". I didn't think to ask them if THESE parts were from that dealer. Don't know if this matters or not.
Jul 23, 2012 (10:18 pm)
I went to pick up my Lexus after the body work I described in my previous post, and after I requested, the shop gave me a parts worksheet. I checked all the part numbers on the internet, and they all matched, except for the sealer, which I couldn't find the part number for, and also a couple of parts were just a few cents off on their list price. This eases my mind somewhat about these being new parts: anyone see a problem with this?
The bigger problem is that there are gaps of different sizes between the front door and fender, and between the different doors (gap sizes are different between the front door and fender and between the front and back doors on the driver's side, for instance). Also, the lower part of the driver's side front door sticks out just a little from the side of the car. The shop said "all cars have these gap inconsistencies" and "the door sticks out a little because the backing tape we use is unfortunately a little thicker than what the factory uses". They said they could not get the tape the manufacturer uses, that it's a trade secret (of the manufacturer) and that it's put on by a machine in the factory, so they can use a thinner tape in the factory.
I had the shop try to push in the door more, so that it will be a tighter fit, and so that when the door is pushed in manually, it won't have a hollow feel (the shop said no water will leak because it's the door jamb that actually seals the door, and it has no problems. The outer unsealed part of the door always has water coming in, but you never see it, and it's not a problem, according to the shop.)
Does this all sound legit? I'd appreciate greatly anyone's input on this matter, especially during the next day or two, while they try to push in this door.
#108 of 113 Re: Update [mobe2]
Jul 25, 2012 (9:05 am)
Message #107 refers to messages #101 and #106. Hope someone has an answer for me. In any event, I again thank smithg for his advice.
#109 of 113 Re: Update [mobe2]
Jul 26, 2012 (6:06 am)
Just saw this. The 'fit' does not sound good. Could you post a pic of what you see? All cars do not have these inconsistencies.