Text from the Seller (97 LX)

Joined
Jun 4, 2014
Messages
16
1997 LX w/ 335k miles.

The Lexus has it's original drive train. The transmission works great, but the engine is prone to overheating once it reaches about 55. The head gasket was replaced two years ago, and the front brakes as recently as January. The check engine light is on, but had no problems passing smog in 2016 after my mechanic made some adjustments to the 02 sensor. It otherwise runs very strong.


What do y'all think? Why is it overheating? Ideas on the check-engine light?
 

JTU

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
783
Location
Mississippi Delta
Kind of hard to diagnose an engine issue from a text message as vague as "prone to overheating once it reaches 55," but I would start with checking the coolant levels and then check to make sure the fan clutch is in good working order. If you spend less than 5 minutes researching 80 series overheating issues you will find a lot of that can be attributed to worn out fan clutches.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2015
Messages
432
What do I think?

Its safe to assume that everyone selling a truck with issues is lying to you about what it needs. I always wonder, if it's such an easy fix, why don't they just do it? Overheating above 55 mph? So, at lower speeds with less air flow it doesn't overheat? Or are we talking 55 in 1st or 2nd gear? Has a leak down been done to ensure it doesn't need a head gasket? Receipts for said head gasket? How do we know the hg was done properly? The list goes on and on...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Messages
1,025
Location
Oregon
How do you adjust an 02 sensor?
I think there's a common trick of installing a spacer to move the O2 sensor out. It's a shady way to pass emissions tests done by shady shops.

I've also heard of removing the O2 sensors and cleaning them with a torch. That's far less shady, but still a hack.

I'd pay very, very little for that vehicle. It's a gamble. Maybe it just needs a cooling system flush. Maybe the head gasket was done by the same hack who did the O2 job.
 

Tools R Us

 
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2004
Messages
24,594
Location
Chandler, AZ
What do I think?

Its safe to assume that everyone selling a truck with issues is lying to you about what it needs. I always wonder, if it's such an easy fix, why don't they just do it? Overheating above 55 mph? So, at lower speeds with less air flow it doesn't overheat? Or are we talking 55 in 1st or 2nd gear? Has a leak down been done to ensure it doesn't need a head gasket? Receipts for said head gasket? How do we know the hg was done properly? The list goes on and on...
Or the fan clutch could just be getting weak?
 

Tools R Us

 
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2004
Messages
24,594
Location
Chandler, AZ
I think there's a common trick of installing a spacer to move the O2 sensor out. It's a shady way to pass emissions tests done by shady shops.

I've also heard of removing the O2 sensors and cleaning them with a torch. That's far less shady, but still a hack.

I'd pay very, very little for that vehicle. It's a gamble. Maybe it just needs a cooling system flush. Maybe the head gasket was done by the same hack who did the O2 job.
Or could could have been just a poor connection, cleaned up and good to go? The O2 signal is very weak, doesn't take much, have seen/fixed it plenty of times. But I guess it's more fun to assume everyone is a hack?

Buying any older vehicle the inspection is key. Personally don't care about, ignore receipts, records, etc, if you live with the everyone is out to screw you paranoia, they could easily be faked, print your own. If it looks, talks, drives like a good solid rig, it likely is, if not pass. Some of the best, solid running rigs we work on have no pedigree, checkered past, a couple that have a solid pedigree, book full of receipts, are the biggest problem children. Other than starting a fire, don't see the point in a stack of paper, it wont make the rig run any better?
 
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
1,319
Location
Southport NC
Or could could have been just a poor connection, cleaned up and good to go? The O2 signal is very weak, doesn't take much, have seen/fixed it plenty of times. But I guess it's more fun to assume everyone is a hack?

Buying any older vehicle the inspection is key. Personally don't care about, ignore receipts, records, etc, if you live with the everyone is out to screw you paranoia, they could easily be faked, print your own. If it looks, talks, drives like a good solid rig, it likely is, if not pass. Some of the best, solid running rigs we work on have no pedigree, checkered past, a couple that have a solid pedigree, book full of receipts, are the biggest problem children. Other than starting a fire, don't see the point in a stack of paper, it wont make the rig run any better?
EXACTLY! I could sit down at my computer for an hour, and make up my vehicles “history” from the day it came off the showroom floor. But, is that stack of receipts covering up the engine and drive train from your eyes? No! Soooooo..... as mentioned before, the best way is to go look at the vehicle yourself (if your a competent mechanic), or have a buddy join you. Crawl under it, over it and thru it. Look at the O2 sensors.... do they look “Gerry rigged”? Did someone put on a “universal” exhaust, and have to tap their own bungs into the pipes for the O2’s? (Maybe they didn’t space it correctly and his mechanic took it out and added the correct spacer). Drive it, putt around, does it heat up? Check it with infrared thermometer..... is it “hot” all the way? Or can you pin point it at the thermostat?
It’s endless, believe it or not, in my 50 years on this earth I have found MOST people are honest, usually the first one to call somebody a “hack” or a “lier” is in all truthfulness the real hack or bs’er. Mechanics earn an honest, hard earned living, most all the ones I know would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE! End of rant.... sorry!
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2017
Messages
105
Location
Dakota Territory
Pure speculation by me but your welcome to ask and answer with :flipoff2: I’m newish here to.

Prolly just needs a new thermostat, and or fan clutch with a thorough flush job.
Maybe...it’s just a cruddy radiator full of :poop: turd. Replace it around for 300 bills plus time labor..easy diy.

What does the code reader say? Test drive it. Do you have real automotive experience? I have a lot but still don’t know enough. Take it to an auto parts store and get a free obd2 code readout or buy $30 code reader and plug in to truck lower fuse panel by driver door. That’s the easy and simple part.
Look up code...enjoy many hours of trouble shooting and learning relevant facts about the cooling system/overheating. Search the forum. You have to commit. Nothings cheap unless you got Grandmas trust fund.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2014
Messages
16
Thanks everyone. Here are some pictures from the seller, finally. That yellow switch is semi-concerning, not sure what that is. And the seats appear brand new <end sarcasm>. Is there anything in the pictures that would steer you away from paying $3k?





 
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
1,155
Location
South Central PA
The wheels are a no ...

Wonder if the yellow switch is a fan. Any engine pics to see that? Also, is that a disconnected vacuum hose just laying on the intake?

I bought a running but much rougher condition 97 for $2500, but I've been known to do stupid things. Ask the seller for a pick of the oil on the dipstick too, can't hurt.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2017
Messages
78
Location
Ca
The wheels are a no ...

Wonder if the yellow switch is a fan. Any engine pics to see that? Also, is that a disconnected vacuum hose just laying on the intake?

I bought a running but much rougher condition 97 for $2500, but I've been known to do stupid things. Ask the seller for a pick of the oil on the dipstick too, can't hurt.

Good eye. The vacuum line plug on the intake manifold that it runs looks like it has a broken nipple, preventing it from being connected.
 
Top Bottom