5/29/08 1:55 p.m.

I have a 1995 Lexus SC400 and I live in Omaha, Nebraska. It has been a great car in the two years I have owned it. The main gripe I have about the car is the American-landbarge fuel economy, but there is little I can do about that. The other issue I have with the car is that the twin-piston brakes are kind of puny for a two-ton, V-8 powered, 150mph capable GT car and are prone to warping. I know what Stoptech thinks about brake rotor warping, so I don't need to read it again.

So I have been on the lookout for a set of 95-00 Lexus LS400 front brakes. These LS400s had larger front brake rotors and quad-piston aluminum calipers. I have a set of 98+ GS400 Sport package 17" wheels for summer and a set of 16" Blizzaks on steel wheels for wintertime. The big LS calipers will fit under my GS400 wheels with the use of small (hubcentric) spacers but the 16" steel wheels will not clear the big calipers.

With that in mind I posted an ad on craigslist seeking a set of 16" 95-00 LS400 alloy wheels. These wheels would fit my snow tires and still clear the big calipers. The night after I posted my ad on a gentleman from Colorado Springs emailed me that he had such a set of wheels and would be driving through Omaha later in the week. He wanted $150 for the wheels which was fine with me since aluminum scrap values and shipping/fuel costs are very high right now. He even had a mid-1990s Lexus ES300 motor/trans and dash that he was delivering to someone else in Minneapolis, his final destination and the home of his parents who he was visiting.

The guy came through town and I bought the wheels with a set of mostly used Uniroyal Nailguard tires for the agreed-upon price. A terrific CL transaction in my opinion. Dan from Colorado Springs gets two thumbs up would buy again.

So I had my wheels but no brakes yet. I poked around and came across an ad in Kansas City for a guy who was parting out a wrecked 1995 LS400. I called him and we agreed on $60 for the front brake rotors and calipers. I waited until last night (Wednesday) to go get the parts because I wasn't about to send money to some yahoo on CL and wait to maybe get the stuff I wanted.

My fiancee and I drove 200 miles to KC last night and met the seller. The parts looked good and had already been pulled off the wrecked car. The calipers looked very good and the rotors had LOTS of thickness left. I went to pay the man $60 and he looks me straight in the face and tells me he needs $100 for the parts. Now the parts are still priced well at $100. The rotors are $90 each for cheapies at the auto parts store and the calipers are about the same. Still, I am upset about the bait and switch.

We go to the (foreign) ATM and I get the man his money. Grumble grumble. My $60 brake upgrade will wind up costing me $104 because the guy changed his mind and I had to pay extra plus $4 in ATM fees. Scott from KC gets two thumbs down for a bait-and-switch.

I have some other goodies for my L-train. I have a set of MkIV Supra Bilstein HD shocks and Hyperco springs that will be combined with a set of threaded sleeves to create the so-called [url=]gixxer_drew coilover suspension.[/url] The shocks had been on national back order for six months before Bilstein sent seventeen sets from Germany to California. The set of shocks I bought was the second-to-last set left in the country after the re-up. All I need to do is buy the threaded sleeves and maybe a used set of strut hats and bump stops so I can keep my OEM shock assemblies intact when I perform the switch. The brakes and the suspension will be done all at once, hopefully in the next two weeks.

Here are some pics:

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Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
5/29/08 2:22 p.m.

The LS400 rotors will warp too, at least on a 99 LS400. I replaced a warped OEM front set on ours with some O'Reilley's LT warranty ones. Maybe they weren't warped, maybe the pixie dust was not distributed right. Maybe they just need a quick turn on the brake lathe. I think I pitched them. 90K miles, no damage, little wobble when you brake hard.

Oh, and the "brake pad wear indicator" gizmo is just a piece of insulated wire that gets worn in half when the pads go thin. You can pull some slack out and reconnect it and it will work fine, or replacing it with some generic high temp auto wire would probably work too.

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