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Old 06-04-2009, 12:04 PM   #1
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Default Buying a Lexus IS300 - Any feedback welcome

I'm looking at a couple different early IS300s. I have had a crush on them since they came out, and the old ones are finally affordable enough for me to get one.

I love the 2JZGE engine big time, but I don't have any personal experience.

Can anyone give me a heads up on potential problems that are common in these cars or any other input I should take into consideration when getting one?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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That engine can handle a good amount of power in stock form. A friend of mine has an 04 manual and one of the big problems with the manual versions is premature clutch wear. They have a clutch damping spring that allows the clutch to slip a little when engaging so that pretty much anyone could drive it smoothly. This causes a typical average of 35,000-50,000 mile clutch life. The flywheel is also a two piece sprung unit that can't be resurfaced and has to be replaced (to the tune of $1100) if taken to the dealership and most other places we have found, for a clutch replacement.

Now there is some specialtion that the normal unsprung flywheel and sprung clutch setup would work from a supra, but i haven't seen any evidence to say for sure it would. We are about to pull his transmission and find out. No reason for it not too.

Remember that it is still a lexus, so it is not going to be really that sporty. If you are just looking for a daily driver, then it is a great car. Highway driving is very smooth.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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Ya, this is replacing a 2000 Altima as my daily. Unfortunately the wife forbids me to have a manual tranny since she has to drive them - but the Miata is a manual and she just doesn't drive it.

I'm not looking to mod it, just looking for a nice ride for the next 5-6 years.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:37 PM   #4
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Other than that complaint, it is a great car and i know he hasn't had any real trouble with it. The only other thing was the paint inside one of the tail lights started to flake a little, but the dealership replaced that under warranty.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:39 PM   #5
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I think the IS kicksass. I loved my 02 manual with lsd. I'll second the clutch wear, though mine had more miles than that. There are aftermarket companies making standard clutch/flywheel/pp setups for the car that are way less dough than anything OE... though not Miata cheap. Here's a little inspirational video of my luxury IS300 roughing up the sporty cars.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Slow View Post
Unfortunately the wife forbids me to have a manual tranny.
Well atleast she still lets you use the computer. You still have something buddy. Hold on to it! J/K I had to
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:48 PM   #7
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My friend has an manual 04 sport design and half way through the year they stopped putting the LSD in it. He was pissed. It is a fun car, but after driving a couple 330i, it didn't feel as sporty as it did before.
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:53 PM   #8
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No doubt - it's softer than the 3 series. When I was shopping a similar 330 was $8k more than the IS. The IS had more backseat space (lateral and longitudinal) - needed for car seats, and was the softer ride, preferred for a city car IMO (especially since I already had a Miata for a sporty car).
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Old 06-04-2009, 12:59 PM   #9
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my friend john has one and loves it, I drive his car around sometimes and wish i had one myself....awesome sports sedan. takes very well to mods, i think they said it can handle 500 stock block?

His is the manual too, on an 05 i'll warn him about the premature clutch wear thingy
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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It's not fast unless you SC or turbo it. Most common upgrade path is an SAFC, cam/cam gear, intake and exhaust. With that..expect around 205 rwhp which is a bit peppier. With an auto tranny, you will need to do a transmission valve body upgrade if you plan on throwing any power down. Turbo kits start at around 6-7k+ new if I remember, and put you anywhere from 300-700 hp (with supra bottom).
Your vendors are : SRT, PFS, and TurboEast
On the plus side, its comfortable, good looking and stupid reliable. One complaint I had... you have to remove the part of the intake manifold to change your plugs Owned one from 30k->90k with only fluid changes
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:11 PM   #11
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Thanks guys. I'm feeling pretty good about doing it. Just wanted to make sure there wasn't anything that would surprise me in a couple years that I wish I had known about.

That's interesting that you would have to remove part of the IM to get to plugs on a L6 engine...
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:15 PM   #12
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Well atleast she still lets you use the computer. You still have something buddy. Hold on to it! J/K I had to
No problems here. I'm comfortable enough to admit that I have to get her permission for everything. She did just let me get a T-Mobile G1 too.

I used to have problems with her not wanting a manual, especially when I was shopping for a Prelude a few years ago - she finally just said that I could get whatever I wanted and if it had a manual I should just expect her to crash it. I got an auto.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by m2cupcar View Post
No doubt - it's softer than the 3 series. When I was shopping a similar 330 was $8k more than the IS. The IS had more backseat space (lateral and longitudinal) - needed for car seats, and was the softer ride, preferred for a city car IMO (especially since I already had a Miata for a sporty car).
I whole heartedly agree that in this situtation, the IS would be a much better choice. Car feels great as a daily driver and history of being reliable. A BMW does cost a little more to maintain, and the IS will last forever.

For what you want man, this car is perfect. Just don't get one of the yellow ones they made in the first year.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:02 PM   #14
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IS300.jpg?t=1244472913

Picked her up on Saturday.

It's a 2002, just had the 90k service done (new TB, Tensioner, WP, and all fluids, iridium plugs)

Has a couple little dings and some cigarette burns on the A-pillar, and the steering wheel has a tear, but for what I paid I am very pleased with the condition. This thing purrs like a kitten. Thanks for everyone's feedback to help me solidify that I wanted to buy one.
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:12 PM   #15
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congrats
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