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90 LS 400 issues

2398 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  wambus
I just purchased the car (my first Lex), for my wife, because I got it for $2500. It has some issues, but i figured it ran and drove nice so the issues didn't seem to be a big deal.

Here are my main concerns.....
The main key(w/ door lock button) was lost the day before I bought it....... can we replace it? Do we need a dealer or just some simple programming and a key from ebay?

Next... When the instument light dimmer switch is "not" locked into high (bright) position ...when the brake pedal is depressed the complete dash flickers, gauges, stereo, etc.... ? ? ? ?? ?? ?

Another problem is the led screen for the temperature panel went out, I do not know where the temperature is set.

not that it may be directly related but the car does have approx 158k miles.
Besides the above the car is great, some minor wear and tear but that is it. By the way you guys talk in here, these problems might be just some elbow grease and common sence to get fixed.

I sure hope someone has some input, because if I can make this a dependable car, I just might make my next new car a lex. I never knew Lexus had this kind of luxury. I went to a dealer and drove the new IS and I am in love with it.

Please help!!!!!!
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Your key w/ the button will probably cost you around near $300. I accidently locked my keys in my trunk last year and it costed me $75 w/ shipping for the master key at the dealer. You will need to provide proof of ownership (registration) and the dealer will order you another key. All you need is the master key to open the doors and and operate your car. My advice, keep a spare. Getting locked out on Christmas Eve really sucks!!

As for the flickering dashlights, I had the same problem w/ my sc400, but after replacing my battery, the problem went away. Maybe yours might be the same thing, but I'm not sure.

If your led screen went out, it may be a fuse or the lights behind the dash is out.

I have about 163k on my sc400 and it runs like new. The ls400 and sc400 have the same engine and pretty much. the same problems, too.

With the kind of milage you have on yous car, you should conider getting a complete tune up ( timing belt, water pump, cam seals, front crank seal, spark plugs, spark wire, drive belt, tensioner). These cars aren't the cheapest to maintain, but you only have do do these tune ups once in a long time. My costed around roughly $1000 for the tune up w/ parts and labor at a auto repair shop. It ran so much better after the tune up and I found out the previous owner used alot of cheap parts for the car, probably why it didn't ran as good. Try to get factory parts only for this vehicle. It'll provide a better and more reliable ride than autozone parts.

You should also think about changing your tranny mount and engine mount. If your car have slight vibrations between 30-40mph, then changing the mounts will get rid of it. It got rid of my vibration and now it rides even better than ever.

I hope this will help you!!
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I do not believe that i need the transponder key for $300. The key I am using now seems to have nothing about it to make it special. They mentioned that the missing key had the door unlock button and nothing else.

Do I need a special key? Or will one from Ebay ( w/button) suffice?
colo90LS said:
I do not believe that i need the transponder key for $300. The key I am using now seems to have nothing about it to make it special. They mentioned that the missing key had the door unlock button and nothing else.

Do I need a special key? Or will one from Ebay ( w/button) suffice?
Do you still have the owners manual w/ you? If you do, it'll explain alot better about the keys that came w/ the car. When I bought my sc400 (used), it only came w/ the master key. The remote key is the key w/ the button that unlocks/locks the doors and that's it. To unlock the passenger door w/ the master key, all you need to do when you are unlocking your drivers side door, just turn the key twice and both doors will unlock, so there's no reason for needing the remote key. I don't believe you can get a key off from ebay w/ a button to replace the lost key. These keys are laser cut and requires your vin # to get the exact cut. This is an anti theft protection for the car.

So no, you don't need a special key. The remote key are for lazy people too lazy to unlock their own doors w/ the key. If you have the masterkey, that's all you need to open the doors, glove department, trunk, and start the car.
I took at look at ebay and saw what you're talking about. The only thing is that I'm not sure if it'll work or how hard it is to program the key. You should e-mail the seller and maybe he can tell you it works.
How about the Dash lights filckering when I push on the brake pedal. If I lock the light dimmer switch on high (the knob to the left of the steering wheel on the dash) it will not flicker...... if I dim the lights, when depressing the pedal the gauge cluster goes black.

The door key problem is not that big of deal, but I do appreciate the input, I am curious if this dash issue is a short or maybe a bad relay? Maybe a power drain in the brake electrical?

what are your thoughts?
My dash lights also flickers too. The ls400 and sc400 are known for having their dash lights failing or going out. I haven't fixed mine yet, but it doesn't bother me. I have to fix other more important things on my car such as bushings, shocks, etc.

Here's a really good website w/ alot of LS400 owners that may be able to help you.

You should check it out. You'll learn alot of stuff about your car on that site. I did!!
if your needles on the dash went out (like what had happened to me) the guages are like 770 at the dealership. I lived with them untill i could not see no more..which was 4 years after the problem originally started (no i'm not talking about the bulbs, but actual needles). AS far as the tuneup that is essential. I'd recommned that...I think the only issues that come to mind are high pressure hose for the powersteering. I think that model year had the ps problem...but its a easy $100 (labor included) part. Unless your a diy guy, then a new one costs $45 bucks!
go on club lexus. com they fix blinky dashes and replace needles and the cluster lights to what ever color you want.

Whats up Josh:D
Btw I would recommend checking your powersteering pump for leaks cause if it does get it fixed asap cause the fluid gets on the altenator and if that goes then uh ooh you have to replace the altenator as well as the pump. Or even better just get the units seals rebuild Lexus dealerships sell the kit for aprox 35 bucks
I am re-searching this light issue for a co-worker. So far every post I have read talks about getting the flickering needles and intermittent guage lites to work, but no one is stating what must be done - just go to so and so's website. Is this some sort of state secret? What do I need to do and to what do I need to do it?
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