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lnlogauge HalfDork
11/20/19 1:09 p.m.

I live in Atlanta. for anyone looking to buy a used luxury vehicle, there's a funky shaped state right below thats full of 

1. Old people.

2. Old people that don't drive.

3. old people that don't drive, yet take their luxury car to the dealer for any repair. 


#3 is the winner. I did this back in a april for a minty fresh 2002 Lexus GS300 with 114k. 



Atlanta is a great city. I debatably think Atlanta drivers are some of the best drivers out there, with exception. Where I work is a GIANT exception. Red lights are mearly a suggestion around here. Tailgaiting, stupid lane changes, all on top of not paying attention. Not paying attention led to exhibit A.


My first accident ever. if you're going to get hit by someone, I recommend they have progressive. I paid 3800 for the car, with my neck pain (that went away after 2 days. I was fine. I told them I was fine. they sent a check anyway) check, and the value of the car, I got 8400. 

which led to this ebay purchase. 

So on friday, I'm flying down to hopefully pick up the mystery car. I much prefer buying from people, but I am kinda desperate for a car. Its a low mileage lexus, so the risk is kinda low. Car history look good, service records are good. 

It's been sitting for awhile I believe. I'm kinda thinking oil change before I drive. I can't really pack any tools, but I could stop and grab some maybe. Worst case is the car sucks and I use my company's 35$ rental to get home. worst worst case is the car breaks down. In that case, look for a "stranded in florida. need help" post. 

mr2s2000elise Dork
11/20/19 1:25 p.m.


I loved my two sc300. Have had many lexus over the years. The GS is a great car. Fantastic in the 400/430, but the 300 makes a good car 


good luck 

Vigo MegaDork
11/20/19 2:36 p.m.

Bright side: The next gen GS is way better and in your new price range. yes

I feel so affirmed! 

Guess who misses his Gs450h enough to constantly be looking at GS460s and GS450hs for an encore. This guy.  

I don't know how many of the people on this forum who have driven the older GS have also driven this newer gen, but I have driven both pretty extensively and I think you will be pleased, even with the 300 model. Still a notable midrange torque and gear count upgrade, and the rest of the car is much sharper and less mundane in my opinion.


mr2s2000elise Dork
11/20/19 2:41 p.m.

In reply to Vigo :


My mom owned a brand new GS400, and upgraded to a GS450h. C Van Tune on Motor Trend had a great article when the GS400 came out, as E39 M5 was hot then as was the 540i 6MT.  My mom was upradeding from ES250 (first one, after her Cressida Wagon).  She had no need for V8, but I convinced her to get. It was at the time the fastest Japanese sedan in USA.  I dont think my mom ever broke 3,000 RPM in that car. 

 I have driven both. I never owned a GS, as we (me and wife) moved to the LS and LX platform.

Our LS will be replaced by a lightly used GS-F in the next few years, as I think that is the best current GS of the bunch. Orange of course.

TGMF Reader
11/20/19 2:57 p.m.

Nice ride looking ride.  Watch the oil level for signs of consumption.  The GS300 of this body style used a 3.0 V6 for one year of production... which  was rapidly replaced by the 2007 GS350, which im sorry to tell you, has a much more potent and more reliable 3.5 engine.  There was a service bulletin for new pistons and rings due to carbon buildup (thus oil consumption). It was unlimited miles, but...if I remember correctly was 10 years.  So that offer is long gone. 

If you live or drive it near salt,  several things will happen. the exhaust will rot apart right next to the catalysts. Simple sleeve and weld fix really. (this one will probably happen no matter where you live, because they are junk) .

The door hinges will corrode and get really stiff to open and close.  Irritating to replace as they are of course painted.

The wheels will corrode like uncoated cast iron in the rain.  Poor quality wheel paint simply bubbles up and aluminum oxide goes nuts. 

mtn MegaDork
11/20/19 3:48 p.m.
Vigo said:

Bright side: The next gen GS is way better and in your new price range. yes

I feel so affirmed! 

Guess who misses his Gs450h enough to constantly be looking at GS460s and GS450hs for an encore. This guy.  


How does the hybrid compare to an 01 GS430? I really, really love the skinny pedal on mine.  


mr2s2000elise said:

In reply to Vigo :

Our LS will be replaced by a lightly used GS-F in the next few years, as I think that is the best current GS of the bunch. Orange of course.

My dad is looking for his next car. After driving my GS430 with a worn interior and 290k miles, he put a more recent GS on the list. Then he found an article where someone said that the GS-F is the closest we will get to a modern Mercedes 500E. Pretty damn good praise right there.

Vigo MegaDork
11/20/19 4:21 p.m.

How does the hybrid compare to an 01 GS430? I really, really love the skinny pedal on mine.  

It's faster and gets 30 mpg on the highway, but I consider the rest of the car to be more of an upgrade than the powertrain is. I like the early GS pretty well for what they are but they are not really special other than the ability to turbo-2j or buy it with a v8. The rest of it feels more or less like a very normal 90s Toyota with leather. A definite good car, but not particularly special. On the other hand the interior of the later GS is probably my favorite out of everything I've owned and definitely feels more like the inside of a luxury car even in modern times whereas every single midsize car on the market now has a nicer interior than the original GS. 

I'm all for the enthusiast value of $4000 GS430s and turbo'd GS300s but if you're paying 5k+ and more or less leaving it alone I would take the newer body style every time, even if it had higher miles for the same money.

mr2s2000elise Dork
11/20/19 4:43 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

Funny, my dad has a mint original owner 500E in the garage, that he doesn't even let me touch. 

The current GS-F is fantastic. If I can get the wife to upgrade to the new LC500 Convertible, I can take her RCF Track Edition and trade it for a lightly used Pumpkin colored GS-F.

Slippery UltraDork
11/20/19 4:48 p.m.

In reply to lnlogauge :

Very nice car. Where in Florida are you picking this up? 

grover HalfDork
11/20/19 6:56 p.m.

In reply to Slippery :

looks like the new hard rock hotel parking garage in sunrise to me. 

Slippery UltraDork
11/20/19 7:59 p.m.

In reply to grover :

Damn you are good lol. I spent a good amount of time thinking of where there could be two garages next to a building like that. Now that you said that, it makes total sense. 

Slippery UltraDork
11/20/19 8:04 p.m.

In reply to lnlogauge :

If you really want to do an oil change you are welcome to do it at my house, just pm me. If you are coming by before 5 I will most likely not be here but I can open the garage for you and you can get the tools you need. 

Caprigrip New Reader
11/21/19 12:17 a.m.

Great car purchase.  I have the same year gs300 and it's right at 200k miles this week.   I love it still.   had the carbon buildup issue fixed under warranty at 125k - basically got a new top end from lexus.   Weirdly though, tranny failed at 150k miles.   Other than that, it has been faultless.   Quiet.  Comfortable.  Still looks great and I get over 30mpg consistently.  

mr2s2000elise Dork
11/21/19 12:40 a.m.

In reply to Caprigrip :

How much did trans cost ? I hadn't heard of a lexus trans failing that early. Is that common on that model ? 

I knew of the carbon build up on the IS250 as well 

Caprigrip New Reader
11/21/19 7:58 a.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

I got a reman lexus transmission and it was just over $4k after all was done.  It's not common, but after research, it does happen.   I was surprised because I drive that car like a grandma.   Based on the rest of the reliability of the car, it was worth it and I plan on driving the car till it  gives me problems. I trust it still and drive it anywhere and everywhere.   

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
11/21/19 8:17 a.m.

My 98 LS400 was old people who don't drive and take their car to the dealer for service.  Do recommend.


lnlogauge HalfDork
1/1/20 10:51 p.m.

This turned out to be one of my greatest mistakes of 2019. I consider myself a car guy. I know what to look for with cars, I know what to stay away from. I was a moron, and got ripped off by the biggest E36 M3bag I've ever met in my life. 

Flew down in November, met the guy at his storage shop. Did a short test drive, car was okay. Didn't drive it long, didn't get up to any real speeds. Paint  issues on the trunk, some large chips, but I figured if I hated it I could sell it for at least what I paid for back home, so signed the papers and took possession. 

2 miles down the road, the car felt sluggish at first. As I was trying to figure out why, the transmission was shifting really late. Like, concerning late. I called him, and his response was its your car now. 2 more miles, the CEL went on. I called him again, he told me to take it to his guy. He put on a code reader, and got back a bad solenoid, and 5th gear mismatch. 5th gear was cooked. They put it on a lift, and the black trans fluid confirmed. To make a long story short, turns out E36 M3bag paid pennies for the car knowing the trans was bad, deleted the code, told me it didnt have any codes when I asked, and sold it to me. Since my purchase, his ebay account has 2 more negative feedbacks for similar stories. he had 100% positive when I bought it. 

I was 600 miles away from home, with a car that wasn't going anywhere. I offered E36 M3bag 1k to let me out of the deal, knowing he could get a refund from the auction. wouldnt take it. While I was at the airport he texted me he put himself in my shoes, and didn't want to treat me this way. So he offered to get the transmission fluid changed on the car. Gee, thanks. That'll fix it. I ended up having to use E36 M3bag to get the car home. I don't even know who shipped it, they dropped the car off at 3am and I left the money in the mailbox. 

I had to play nice to E36 M3bag for 2 reasons. One, I needed him to ship the car. I also realized I came home without the title. Remember regret? Yeah that was really stupid. I played as nice as I could, and finally got the title a couple weeks later. As soon as I did, E36 M3bag got a review anywhere I could post it. at 1145 that night I got 8 phone calls and 10 texts before I could block him. I cannot understand why ebay is still allowing him to sell after the threats he sent me. 

To rebuild these transmissions it was 3800. Luckily, these engines/transmissions were in Japan alot more than they were here. Ended up getting a JDM transmission on ebay for 500 shipped, and installed for 800. For the first time in weeks, I drove the car today. The transmission shifted, the car has power again, and seems okay. I'm deciding on keeping or selling it, with favor to the side of selling at this moment. 

for 6 weeks this car has given me more anxiety and regret than I'd like to admit. Its taken me that long to be able to even post this. 


Vigo MegaDork
1/2/20 12:00 a.m.

Damn!! I'm sorry to hear about this, that is a legitimately friggin terrible result, especially when buying a not-ancient toyota of all things! Can't blame you for wanting it to be behind you even if the car is fixed. I lost my 911 to flood damage in Feb of 2018 and was mad about it for at least a year. Big mood so to speak.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/2/20 12:38 a.m.


But, rereading your original post, I'll bet you are still in the zone where you can sell it for what you have into it. I'm not sure you have to sell it but if you generally just find the experience upsetting,  I can understand offloading it. 

You can also sell it with a good conscience knowing that is now a proper runner. 

The risk of kissing frogs.  Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find a prince.

ebonyandivory PowerDork
1/2/20 5:53 a.m.

It's pretty bad when I read a post and can feel myself getting angry even though I have no real connection to the story.

Shadeux Reader
1/2/20 6:21 a.m.

That was brutal. Sweet move on the JDM tranny, though. That keeps you afloat on the deal.

I can understand cutting it loose. Once enough E36 M3 has happened to a car I just want it gone.

lnlogauge HalfDork
1/2/20 6:43 a.m.

In reply to Shadeux :

The transmission deal worked out really well. 

You can get awd transmissions for pretty cheap on eBay, but the rwd are like twice as much. I guess because they are more common. Most jdm transmissions were 900-1200 though, while a high mileage American one was even more than that. I did some forum searching to make sure the jdm transmission played nice with the computer and found one post where someone used it. 

I was close to spending the 900, but before I did I searched for the engine code + transmission, instead of vehicle. That's where I found the 299 transmission. He took a pic of the part number tag, and it matched.  

In a situation where I really needed to save 600, that was nice. 

dculberson MegaDork
1/2/20 6:59 a.m.

Ugh. Sorry to hear that. It's always shocking when you run up against an actual real life shiny happy person. Good job getting it running. 

rustybugkiller HalfDork
1/2/20 7:52 a.m.

In reply to lnlogauge :

So I'm assuming these jdm trannies are used. How many miles was on yours?

glueguy Dork
1/2/20 8:21 a.m.

Hate that for you.  I live in Tampa and refuse to consider any car from south Florida.  So many shady players in the Miami area.  When I first moved down here I tried because there are so many cars listed down there.  But every time turned sketchy - titles, unreported damage, always a story.  

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