NewBie about to purchase LX450.

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Mar 17, 2007
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St. Charles, Missouri
Hey all,

Originally I was going to post something silly just to get rid of the annoying "you have never posted to our site before" prompt on every page I view, however, as of tonight I am about to purchase a 1997 LX450 with <120,000 miles and I have a question or two about checking this vehicle out.

I've read the 80 faq and most all of its articles contained within. (More than once for many.) With that info, I have inspected and asked questions that have gained me much valuable information on this vehicle plus the respect of the PO. That faq, and this site, is worth much!

My question is about the front axle. An article in the faq shows a picture of an axle that needs rebuilding and that picture shows a large buildup of dirt and grease on the knuckles. The truck I am looking at has a small amount of buildup around the edges of the knuckle that is easily wiped off and feels more like dirt than oil and dirt.

How much buildup is allowed?

Is it common for some buildup on a healthy front end?

There is no indication that this vehicle has ever been offroad.

How soon should I rebuild this?

I am confident that I can rebuild the front axle myself but I don't want to have to do it in the next month or two. (Too busy)

What are your thoughts? Anything else should I look for?

Thank you very much for any and all input.
-Jim
From reading this forum evidently this :flipoff2: needs to be displayed also.
 
Joined
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A light film of grease is normal and expected. Without seeing a picture of the knuckle it is impossible to say, but what would determine your time frame would be to get a copy of the maintenance records, or simply ask the PO if the job has ever been done.

At 120,000 miles my guess would be it hasn't unless the owner was a SUPER by the book maintenance guy. So to answer you question it probably NEEDS to be done. If there is any clicking in the front end while turning the wheel at slow speeds...this would speed up your time frame. If all seems well...like with mine...I purchased with 135K on it and rebuilt 8 mo. later once I had done some other more necessary work and gotten familiar with the truck.

In summary, they probably need addressed if they have not yet been done by the PO. If they have been done by the PO, if it was done by the dealer see if you can get a look at the receipt. The dealer service doesn't call for the replacement of the inner axle oil seal...the less than $5 that keeps the gear oil and knuckle grease from mixing...and if not replaced is makes the rest of the job a waste of time.

Welcome and keep us posted!
 
Joined
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Palm Bay, FL
Welcome :flipoff2:

Congrats on the new lx, just curious what did you end up paying?

I am also in the market, and trying to get an idea of what is reaonalbe, I have looked at several that in my opinion are over priced for their condition... Thanks
 

zcruiser

Needs monitoring
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To put it into perspective, this would be bad (albeit off a 60):

novermber2006109.jpg


This I think is probably acceptable:

FZJ80_knuckle_left.JPG


This, on the other hand, is obsessively clean (Dynosoar):

attachment.php
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
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Congrats on the LX. I have had one for 4 years now and love it. Agree that the axle is the place to start and would be almost 100% certain that it had not been done. I suspect that even folks who get service at Lexus would be put off by what Lexus would charge to do the work.
 
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Palm Bay, FL
I agree 110%!!!

1st pic not good definitely has water/moisture intrusion... :doh:

2nd pic acceptable to most standards...

3rd pic is so clean I would almost want to take a look inside to make sure there is plently of grease if I had just purchased the vehicle...

Good pics like this help everytime:cheers:
 

e9999

Gotta get outta here...
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the point of the knuckle seals *is* to keep the knuckle lubricated on the outside since it is swept at every turn. So you are bound to accumulate a bit of grease on the periphery. Normal. Shouldn't be runny and accumulating at the bottom, though.

If they are not clicking and not leaking, you likely don't have to rush to do a front end job.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2007
Messages
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Location
St. Charles, Missouri
Wow, woke up this morning and found a bunch of replies. Thanks!

I haven't purchased the vehicle yet. I should get it for around 11K which is what kbb.com and edmunds.com says it is worth. It is definitely a mall cruiser and hasn't seen the off-road at all. It doesn't have lockers but that's OK. Maybe in the future as it gets converted to an expedition vehicle I'll add the ARB air lockers

Thanks for the pictures. The knuckles look like #2 with just a little bit of buildup distributed evenly around the edge and no hang down accumulation. The front end rebuild hasn't been done. The current owner has owned it since 53,000 miles.

Now I need to figure out how to pay for it and keep my Lightning! Looks like I'll be dipping into some savings.;p
Thanks!
-Jim
 

Romer

fatherofdaughterofromer
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You should also take the VIN # and contact any Lexus delareship and they can give you the service history done at a Lexus dealer.

If you can't find any record of it being done, then I would plan on doing it so it is one less worry going forward. There is a spot on the axle where you can stick a small piece of metal in like a dip stick to see how soupy the mix is. If it's not soupy, then you could probably wait a few months.
 
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IMHO, a little build up will occur over time, and is not a big deal, you just don't want signs of active/current leakage at the seals. Assuming you don't have clicking when turning, you are probably ok.
 
Joined
Mar 17, 2007
Messages
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Location
St. Charles, Missouri
Thanks for the replies! I am encouraged and will schedule a test drive this next week. I will listen for the clicking when turning.

On a side note, while visiting the dealer to show my wife the LX450 and get her approval, she spotted a 2006 Acura MDX. To make a long story short, it's sitting in our garage. She has wanted a crossover SUV for quite some time and we ran into a really good salesman who had a really good deal. I still want the Lexus and will probably get it, but now I'll have my wife's blessing.;)

:cheers: Here's to you all! :flipoff2:
 

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