Let's baseline my grandma's neglected, (20 year old to us) 1997 LX450

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Joined
Feb 7, 2022
Threads
3
Messages
269
Location
new york
Context
The day after Christmas of 2002, my uncle and grandma went on an impulse buy and bought the truck with 80k mileage. We've taken it on weekend trips, commuting to school and work, grocery shopping. Basically anything but off-roading. We've actively driven it regularly for the next 12 years until I got a minivan to replace it for long drives for more fuel efficiency. So since 2014, we haven't driven it much and have only used it in case one of the other cars weren't available. Around 2020, I was thinking of selling it, because some relatives came up to us and asked to buy it, but my grandma wanted to keep it for sentimental value.

Then I stumbled upon this community after googling on how to fix some of the symptoms I'm seeing from driving it. I guess YouTube algorithm also brought me videos on overlanding and off-roading and how 80 series is sought out for nowadays given the rise in prices they go for for ones that were well taken care for (which ours isn't). So I think it would be nice to hold on to it for now and just consider this baseline project and accept the fact that it's going to be a money pit to restore.

I hope it's okay to post this thread as a log of how grandma's old truck is hopefully restored to an ideal state where it drives like it did back in 2002. I'll post some of the symptoms I'm experiencing now, a check list of things I would need to inspect and perhaps replace, post some other threads that already covers some of the issues I'm having, and pictures of the truck's WIP. Feedback/suggestions/critiques are welcome.

Maybe it's good to start with some of the symptoms I'm having now? I'll list them out below and then scout the many threads on here for similar issues that others have already posted and share it here for reference.

Issues
  • noticeable loss of power (resolved with EGR)
  • squeaky noise when shifting between PRND gears
  • transfer case shift lever vibrates slightly during idle and gets more intense as I accelerate; main shifter vibrates to but more subtle
  • sometimes when letting off the gas pedal, the car would slightly veer to either side; not consistently
  • I can smell fuel vapors around the hood or underneath after exiting the vehicle
  • observed fuel leaking from the tank if I fill up > 90%
  • P0401 CEL (fixed 4/12/22)
  • bubbly rust on several parts of the body
  • quick vibration around the front passenger side of the body for a second when accelerating from a complete stop (bad engine/body mounts)
  • heat shields on both catalytic converters came off
  • wind noise coming either from front door or windshield when driving > 40mph
  • loose sun visors on both sides
  • large dent at the center of the front bumper
  • vibration on passenger side, noticeable on side view mirror. it goes away when I turn the steering wheel to the right or left

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lexus.jpg
 
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I've purchased a few parts last week and they're probably going to take a while to arrive.

UPDATE: I created a backlog of more things to do on Notion. You can follow my notes here

Baseline Checklist​


ProjectComponentPart Name (Part Number)Installed On
Fix P0401 CodeEGRVacuum Hoses (90999-92003)4/12/22
Tune UpPCV Valve KitValve cover vent hose #1 (12261-66021)
(2) Clips for hose #1 (90467-14001)
Valve cover vent hose #2 (12262-66021)
(2) Clips for hose #2 (90467-20002)
PCV valve (12204-35040)
PCV grommet (90480-18001)
4/12/22
Gas Filter90917-110224/12/22
Air Filter17801660305/06/22
Complete Tuneup Kit - NA Engine(1) Distributor cap (19101-66010)
(1) Distributor cap gasket (19127-66020)
(1) Distributor rotor (19102-61240)
(1) Spark plug wire set (90919-21557)
(6) OEM spark plugs (90919-01176)
Valve Cover Leak KitOEM valve cover gasket (11213-66021)
OEM throttle body gasket (22271-66010)
(6) OEM spark plug tube seals (11193-15010)
Fuel System and
Charcoal Canister Hoses
Fuel Hose (7727960020)
Fuel Hose (7775460180)
Fuel Hose (9533706020)
Hose Clamps (9613230600)
Fuel Filter (2330069045)
Oil Filter (90915YZZD3)
Oil Filter Gasket (9672335028)
Oil Filter Union (9040419015)
Oil Filler Cap (1218075021)
Gasket for Oil Filler Cap (9043037140)
Fan belt (993321091083, 909160235383)10/18/22
Air CleanerHose (1788166080)
Wing Nut (9017508008)
Filter (1780166030)
5/06/22
Cooling SystemRadiatorDenso Radiator (1640066081)
Cap (1640154750)
Fan Shroud (1671166031)
Coolant thermostat (9091603117)
AISIN Fan Clutch (1621066010)
Flare Nut Nipple Set for Transmission Hoses
10/18/22
Block Drain upgradeBlock Drain Upgrade (GAT-58)6/29/22
Radiator HosesHeater Hoses
4 Hoses
Clamps x6 (9046721010)
Heater clamp x2 (8712460070)
T connector pipe (8724860460)
Heater Control Valve (8724060170)

Radiator Hose Kit
Radiator Hose #1 (1657166030)
Radiator Hose #2 (1657266021)
Radiator Hose #3 (1657366010)
Radiator hose clamp x2 (9046743002)
Radiator hose clamp x4 (9046641008)

Engine Little Hoses
Coolant Bypass Hose #1 (9955510200)
Coolant Bypass Hose #2 (1626766020)
Coolant Bypass Hose #3 (1626166040)
Coolant Bypass Hose #4 (1626466021)
Clamps x3 (9046713128)
Clamps x6 (9613551300)

PHH tube (87209-60381)
10/18/22
Rear Heater DeleteGates Green Stripe heater hose 5/8" by the foot
gates 19166 Molded Heater Hose
10/18/22
SealsRubber seal clips for hood9046708011834/01/22
RepairsDriver Seat plastic gearsGamiviti5/11/22
Hood strutsAmazon off brand4/7/22
Fuel Tank77001690364/11/23
Fusible LinkFusible Link (9098208264)
Junction Block (8267060040)
8/19/22
Bulb for third row seat light0023412100

Suspension Overhaul​

ProjectComponentPart Name (Part Number)Installed On
Steering LinkageTie/Relay Rod End555 Tie Rod End Kit
Steering DamperDobinsons3/31/2023
Front SuspensionPanhard RodDobinsons Adjustable Panhard Rod3/31/2023
Sway Bar Linksx2 9017914019 nut x2 4880260120 link
Sway Bar Bushingsx2 4881560070 bushing x2 9038511021 bushing x2 9056010275 bushing spacer x2 9111261045 stabilizer bolt
Front Radius Armsx4 4870260050 bushing x4 9017916015 nut x4 9011916003 bolt x2 4806160010 bushing x2 9017018007 nut x2 9020119011 washer x2 9010518006
Rear SuspensionPanhard RodDobinsons Adjustable Panhard Rod
Sway Bar Linksx2 9017908062 nut x4 9094802126 retainer x4 4881730010 link bushing x4 9011908834 bracket bolts x2 4880260030 link x2 9111261045 link bolt x2 9418041000 link nut
Sway Bar4880560021
Sway Bar Bushingx2 4881526020 bushing x2 4882360030 bushing cover x4 bushing cover bolts
Upper Control ArmsDobinsons Adjustable UCA
Lower Control ArmsDobinsons Adjustable LCA
Shock Absorbersx2 4853169545

Preventive Maintenance Todo​

Maintenance ItemPerformed On
Drain and Fill: Differentials and Transfer Case Fluids
Drain and Fill: Transmission Fluids
Coolant Flush (do before changing cooling system components)5/28/22
Undercoating5/07/22

Upgrades and Modifications​

ProjectComponentPart NameInstalled On
EntertainmentA/V ReceiverBoss BE7ACP5/13/22
OffroadHeavy duty recovery points (front and rear)
33" All Terrain Tires?
 
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A project as yours will never end. Pick the most important issues and move on from there. It can be the most fun and challenge you might experience. There is more information than you can imagine here. Just use the search box and wear it out. Ask questions and you will find kind experts on just about all subjects and issues.

Good luck and keep up with this site. It's addictive so be careful.
 
I'm going to be inspecting the charcoal canister today to see if it's clogged. Then replace the old hoses with OEM parts when I put it back. The hood fell on my head earlier this week so I went ahead and got replacement struts for it. I also have a rubber strip dangling on the front of the hood, so a new set of clips should fix that.

20220401_131625.jpg
 
the hood opens up by itself now. I have a bit more confidence that it won't fall and hit me on the head. One bolt was stripped when I took it out so I had to wait until Tuesday to pick a replacement at the closest Lexus dealership. I picked up a new intake filter so I'll replace it once I replace the valve cover gasket and other parts that I'll be removing to get to it.

Next up will be to remove the charcoal canister and inspect it for any clogs and then replace the vacuum lines that go out from it. I'm thinking of just removing the bolts that connect the bracket to the body because the last time I tried to remove the canister itself, the fuse box is in the way and I can't pull it out entirely. Does that sound like the better way to go?

20220405_152350.jpg
 
the hood opens up by itself now. I have a bit more confidence that it won't fall and hit me on the head. One bolt was stripped when I took it out so I had to wait until Tuesday to pick a replacement at the closest Lexus dealership. I picked up a new intake filter so I'll replace it once I replace the valve cover gasket and other parts that I'll be removing to get to it.

Next up will be to remove the charcoal canister and inspect it for any clogs and then replace the vacuum lines that go out from it. I'm thinking of just removing the bolts that connect the bracket to the body because the last time I tried to remove the canister itself, the fuse box is in the way and I can't pull it out entirely. Does that sound like the better way to go?

View attachment 2974402
That radiator is hanging on for dear life, I'd replace that along with the heater valve near the firewall. Coolant/heater/vacuum hoses, are also a good idea while the throttle body and VC are off. Consider replacing the fuel filter too, and give the upper intake and TB a good clean.
 
That radiator is hanging on for dear life, I'd replace that along with the heater valve near the firewall. Coolant/heater/vacuum hoses, are also a good idea while the throttle body and VC are off. Consider replacing the fuel filter too, and give the upper intake and TB a good clean.

ooh! How do you inspect the radiator? I haven't looked into it yet. Here is what I had for the next big job. I'm just waiting for the parts to be ready for pick up and a weekend with someone to help me.

It looks like I would need to squeeze one or few of your suggestions on here somewhere.


- remove valve cover and gaskets, vacuum tubes, throttle body
- replace o ring, distributor rotor and cap with new spark plug wires connected
replace valve cover gasket, spark plug tubes, half moons
- install new spark plugs
- install new spark plug wires
- clean throttle body
- remove and clean upper intake chamber
cover lower intake to head for now
- reconnect vsv and test the check valve, vcv and fuel vsv
- replace vacuum lines with new ones
- clean surface and replace new intake manifold gaskets
- reinstall upper intake chamber
- install throttle body gasket and throttle body
- reinstall remaining vacuum lines
- reinstall pcv and hoses
- install gas filter and vacuum hose
- replace intake filter
- reinstall big intake tube
 
ooh! How do you inspect the radiator? I haven't looked into it yet. Here is what I had for the next big job. I'm just waiting for the parts to be ready for pick up and a weekend with someone to help me.

It looks like I would need to squeeze one or few of your suggestions on here somewhere.


- remove valve cover and gaskets, vacuum tubes, throttle body
- replace o ring, distributor rotor and cap with new spark plug wires connected
replace valve cover gasket, spark plug tubes, half moons
- install new spark plugs
- install new spark plug wires
- clean throttle body
- remove and clean upper intake chamber
cover lower intake to head for now
- reconnect vsv and test the check valve, vcv and fuel vsv
- replace vacuum lines with new ones
- clean surface and replace new intake manifold gaskets
- reinstall upper intake chamber
- install throttle body gasket and throttle body
- reinstall remaining vacuum lines
- reinstall pcv and hoses
- install gas filter and vacuum hose
- replace intake filter
- reinstall big intake tube
You can tell from the discoloration on the top reservoir of the rad. It's likely to start leaking and dump a bunch of coolant, happened to me in my old Tacoma.

All those hoses and other components are pretty accessible with the TB off, there should be plenty of write-ups on here on that whole baselining process.
 
You can tell from the discoloration on the top reservoir of the rad. It's likely to start leaking and dump a bunch of coolant, happened to me in my old Tacoma.

All those hoses and other components are pretty accessible with the TB off, there should be plenty of write-ups on here on that whole baselining process.
ooh good to know. I do see leaks from previous issues over the years. There's a lot of gunk right below it. The hoses look to have been replaced by a mechanic recently because they're not as rock hard compared to the other vacuum tubes.

Let me search for the baselining the cooling system?
 
ooh good to know. I do see leaks from previous issues over the years. There's a lot of gunk right below it. The hoses look to have been replaced by a mechanic recently because they're not as rock hard compared to the other vacuum tubes.

Let me search for the baselining the cooling system?
yes there's threads on replacing hoses as well, including part numbers. I ordered the hose kits and heater valve from Witsend with an OEM coolant tee as well.
 
yes there's threads on replacing hoses as well, including part numbers. I ordered the hose kits and heater valve from Witsend with an OEM coolant tee as well.
I just got a notification from wits end that he shipped the order today. I have the pcv valve kit, valve cover replacement, vacuum hoses on the way.
 
You have quite a list of issues and they’re costly ones at that. I wonder if your fuel tank is cracked since it leaks and you stated you had fuel vapor issues. I hope not but it’s likely.

Here’s some threads on cooling system overhauls. I referenced these during my baselining journey.



Fuel filter thread. Really easy to do even without notching the fuel filter bracket if you use long extensions and install from directly under the truck.


I referenced these baselining threads. They’re very thorough and arguably overkill but I like to overkill.


 
You have quite a list of issues and they’re costly ones at that. I wonder if your fuel tank is cracked since it leaks and you stated you had fuel vapor issues. I hope not but it’s likely.

Here’s some threads on cooling system overhauls. I referenced these during my baselining journey.



Fuel filter thread. Really easy to do even without notching the fuel filter bracket if you use long extensions and install from directly under the truck.


I referenced these baselining threads. They’re very thorough and arguably overkill but I like to overkill.


yup its become a money pit from neglect sadly. I'll have to inspect the tank later this year because there does seem like there would have been a crack close to the top of the tank either from rust or pressure build up?

I'm noticing one more issue behind the center dashboard: something like fluid or hissing once in a while when idle. it's close to the firewall.
 
yup its become a money pit from neglect sadly. I'll have to inspect the tank later this year because there does seem like there would have been a crack close to the top of the tank either from rust or pressure build up?

I'm noticing one more issue behind the center dashboard: something like fluid or hissing once in a while when idle. it's close to the firewall.

Can’t help you with the noise in the firewall but if you have fuel vapors emitting from the canister it’s probably due to the canister being clogged and the check valve not working. The clogged check valve in the charcoal Canister causes and over-pressurization of the fuel tank which can lead to it cracking.
 
Can’t help you with the noise in the firewall but if you have fuel vapors emitting from the canister it’s probably due to the canister being clogged and the check valve not working. The clogged check valve in the charcoal Canister causes and over-pressurization of the fuel tank which can lead to it cracking.
sounds about right. I'll verify that and update the thread this weekend
 
I just received my order from @NLXTACY the mailman dropped it off at the next door neighbors house. I only found out it was my package when he marked my package as delivered when he handed me just my letters and no package.

I'll probably take care of the valve cover gasket, et al next weekend. Let me follow up on the ones mentioned above.

20220409_134909.jpg
 
So I didn't get a chance to do anything to the car this past weekend except for installing the new gas filter and connecting a vacuum hose to the corresponding port.

This afternoon I decided to take a look at the egr modulator and the egr valve and it looks like the line going out from the egr valve to the vsv is going directly to the upper intake chamber. Does that look right or is it really supposed to go into that port and the other side of that metal tube goes to the vsv underneath?

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