Local 96' Lexus LX450 - what should I look for?

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Apr 24, 2008
Hi guys... I found a local 1996 Lexus LX450 for sale at a local dealer. Its a beautiful SUV - black w/tan leather- very good appearance wise - undercarriage like new - no rust or no dirt. Its high mileage however @ 222K, but hopefully the advantage of this is a lower price. ;) If I was guessing, I would say I could probably get this SUV for $6000 - $7000 TOPS! Does even this seem like too much with this mileage? I have checked the value guides - KBB is $7200 on this SUV.

I have been heavily researching the 1991-92 Land Cruisers, as thats what I have been really looking for, but do not know much about the 96-97 models and if the LX has any additional problems that the LC does not. I am guessing no, since they are the same mechanically.

One thing that bothers me is that I have seen more complaints about blown head gaskets on the 95-97 models than I would like to see. I do not want to end up with a vehicle with a reputation of HG problems. Is it really that widespread of a problem?

Thanks for any tips/advice in advance!
On the HG issue I wouldn't worry too much about it. Very few 'cruisers have had HG issues. You should get a compression and leak down test done anyway (you are having a reputable mechanic check it out, right?), then you can pretty much be sure that there is no HG issue.

Locally to me there's a triple locked '96 LX450 that's a "poser" vehicle (nice new knobby tires, damage multipliers, etc). Asking $10k for it, but it's only got 145k on it, and I think they'll come down to $9k (at least, might push more). So $6-7k sounds a bit high to me, but a lot of it all depends on where you live.

For the rest of your questions, check out this post.
IH8MUD.com Forum - View Single Post - FAQ for 80/LX450 - April 26, 2008 - Added leather replacement w/ links to seat heater
here is edmunds.com pricing
Thanks for the replies! Yeah, around here even the LCs are bringing that much. I may be able to get it around that $5K range. This dealer is strange. Sometimes the older stuff is overpriced, but most of the time, they "wholesale to the public" higher mileage vehicles. I am going to call tomorrow to see.

Thanks FirstToy for that link. I never checked that site... I checked KBB, which seems a little steep at times. Funny they deduct $27 for it being black in color. ;)
Gas is $3.98/gal here in LA. a 12 yr old suv that gets 12mpg's.. I have a feeling you'll have some wiggle room to negotiate ;)
Couple Notes for you -

First of all, yes get one of these rigs.

Check www.nada.com pricing as well. NADA is the general pricing guideline dealers use for trade-ins. And it is WELL below KBB. This also means the retail and private party sale values are lower than KBB. If dealers are using this for trade in value, then we should all be using it for purchase price comparison.

My bank also used nada.com to decide how much they would loan me for my FZJ80. If had bought a truck on KBB pricing, there is no way the bank loan amount would have matched up with the KBB price.

There are many highly priced 80-series trucks out there (both Toyota and Lexus). I looked for over a year and finally found a 1996 one-owner Land Cruiser with 106,000 miles for $9,900. I bought it from a used car dealer in Rhode Island. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I gladly paid $1,000 to have it shipped to me (the dealer covered the shipping costs above $1,000).

At one point I looked at a 1997 TLC with about 90,000 miles on it near Boise, Idaho for $15,000. It had dings and scratches in it, the dealer had received the vehicle so recently it had not yet been detailed and placed on the lot and the dealer was not interested in budging on the price. So I walked away from that one (call this my "strange" dealer experience). When you are about to spend some money, whoever you are working with better be ready to listen to you and work with you to make the sale happen. Salespeople that put you off are not worth your time and the entire organization for which they work is probably no different in their attitude towards customers.

It seems like you could do better for your money than a 222,000 miles '80 as there are still lots of clean ones out there that could be had for about the same money with fewer miles. Remember also that most consumers will not touch a 12-15mpg vehicle at this point so the dealer is not really in a position to hold firm on a price that seems high.

Everyone's criteria for purchasing a '80 is different. I religiously (like nearly daily) checked both www.cars.com and www.autotrader.com for a year to see what type of pricing, mileage, overall vehicle condition, and ownership history could be had for what price. I used the search controls on both sites to set the search for only 1995-1996 vehicles and searched the entire country. This helped me recognise when it was time to pull the trigger. The cleanest, best value '80s usually only last 2 weekends (or less) on a dealer lot. If you are ready to buy, you should be looking for a '80 that will not last long on the dealer lot before it is sold.

Best of luck!
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Thanks. Yeah, my bank and credit union (where I had my 00' Tundra financed) loans up to "high NADA retail", which is pretty high.

If I can get this for $5000 or less, I may go for it if I checks out. As mentioned, they typically wholesale out high mileage vehicles. Thats IF another independent dealer does not snatch it up and raise the price $3000. :rolleyes:

I know there is a little two-bit dealer in town that buys alot of cars from this large dealer, then marks them up. The dealer had a 1995 Lincoln Town car (that was very dirty) for $2995. I saw it a few days later all shiny and cleaned up for $4500 at that "other" dealer. Guess they have to make money too. ;)
soem major things to look for

You already mentioned the head gasket, ckeck if it is blown before you buy, from then on it is a roll of the dice, if you win the HG lottery just be prepared to fix it and drive on, the updated HG rearely fails,

One ugly got-ya to look out for on a 1FZ is a crack on the drivers side of the block at one of the freeze plugs, less likely than a HG but more dificult to fix,


front axle repack is a given but I would worry about a front axle that has been driven for a long time with knuckle seal leaks, hard parts besides just the seals can be afected,
That is way too much money for one with that kind of mileage.
TN, the best deals happen when you arent in a hurry, visit, visit, visit, even if you are sure to buy take your time. I have a buddy that will spend a month looking at the same car at a stealership, and he waits them out. If you loose the car no big deal, its a car. good luck
I agree, seems a bit high for that mileage.

I want to recommend a site that's excellent for checking out used tlc's. Seems that it would be more used for a private exchange rather than one from a dealer but still it's a darn good site and apparently very popular among a lot of these guys here on the forum. It's especially good at helping noobs out like myself.

80 Series Land Cruiser - Front Bumper
Thanks for the replies. Well, I am kinda ticked off now with the dealer. I phoned today on my way home from work and was on hold for 15 minutes waiting to talk to a salesman. The receptionist finally asked if I could call back, that they were open until 9pm. SO.... I called about 10 minutes ago and again put on hold for at least 5 minutes when a "not so polite" salesman answers. I told him they have a SUV I was interested in. He said I should go to.... (and blurted out their website).:mad: I told him that the SUV was not listed on there.:doh: He said then said he was not brushing me off, but they had so many cars he had no way of knowing unless I had a stock # (as if he could not find out by the make, color and model of the car) and said the best thing to do would be for me to do would be come in and "walk the lot" with him and get a stock #, or come in and for me to get the stock #. :rolleyes:

I told him I did not know when I could get back over there and I hung up.

I was told since that dealership changed owners that customer service went out the door. I believe it now.

Gas just went up .15 cents per gallon here today and I am assuming this price would be cheap on this SUV. I still yet may go look at it on Wednesday and offer them my car (91 Lexus LS400 in perfect working order AND with 15K less miles) and $2500 cash. ;)
that is not good news. as mentioned above, seriously consider your need to own a TLC against how you have been treated.'

when i purchased my company rig i was looking for a 8'bed in the truck, the first three dealers i went into wanted to sell me 6.5' bed trucks (with leather interior) even though i specifically told them i needed a 8' bed (and a lower level trim).

i bought from the place that called me (proactive salespeople) and said they had a 8' bed truck with interior trim level i was looking for (weren't just out to sell me something).

i think i speak for most of us out there with TLCs that we have patiently waited for the right opportunity to purchase.

make sure you are not mistaking a detailed vehicle for a vehicle that was actually well taken care of.

of course, if you're gonna turn it into a gnarly off road rig and beat the ***p out of it before the summer is over all of this might not matter.

bottom line -

doesn't sound like the right opportunity
Thanks... no, I was only going to use it as a "days off" / "travel" vehicle. No off-roading.

Its not detailed, but clean overall. I looked underneath and no signs of there ever been any heavy dirt under there or beat up. Did not look cleaned either. Looked as if it has just been on the roads, but who knows? I know I am not going to let this dealer jerk me around.

Thanks again!
thumbs up!
With Mpg at 12-14 the dealer would love to get the truck off his lot. I would make a low offer and tell him to call you when he needs to make room for the sentra's and corrola's.
Thanks for the replies, but believe it or not, it has been sold. I finally had a chance today to go by and get the "stock #" off of it so a salesman could get me a price. :rolleyes: When I walked up to it, I noticed a post-it note with the word "sold" stuck to the top of the instrument panel. It looked like it had not even been moved from the spot I seen it at, so I am guessing a little two-bit dealer bought it for about $3000 and will resell for $7000. :rolleyes:

They had a 2000 Tundra that caught my eye (I loved my old Tundra), but there was no doubt it came from up north... the frame had heavy rust scale on it. :eek:
well i guess that makes that decision easy. bummer to let one go. see what comes along next. heads up!

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