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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, about a year ago i purchased my 5 speed Lexus IS300 at 309 000 km for 3500$ as my first car(in College). Knowing that the car needed some TLC i purchased it anyways, as i love IS300 and i wanted to start out in one. Car was a reliable daily driver during the summer.

Body Condition
As the summer went by, i worked on removing rust from the rocker panels, rear quarter panel (where the panel meets the rear fenders) and the roof.(I know it' ugly but it's my first time) I was able to successfully remove rust from the roof and one of my rear fenders. Unfortunately, the rust from the rocker panels seems to be rotting from the inside, hence it came back and it seems to require professional work from a body shop. Moreover, one of my rear rocker panel, seems to rust size of small pea that seems to come back, and overall car needs a respray since i have scratches and a few dings.


Drivetrain + Engine
Needless to say, even though the body condition of the car needed some work. The engine, transmission and the brakes are excellent. They performed very well, before storing the car for winter. However, due to the mileage of my car, i'm due for some heavy maintenance (90k maintenance), bodywork, new tires and i have to fix an exhaust leak.


Question/Thoughts
I'm currently working full time and will be able to save up 5k by the end of April, i was originally planning on using that money to repair the body, do some maintenance and modify my car. But after considering my budget i don't known if i should keep the car and repair it of if i should sell it, and buy another one. The biggest problem is, in Canada, Ontario it's very hard to find 5 Speed IS300 w/LSD's hence i don't know if it's a good move to hang on to my model.


If you've made it this far, thanks for reading!:smile2:

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Granted, the is300 is a great car. I love my is300. But if your saving up 5000 and sell your car also. Go ahead and upgrade to something nicer. In my opinion the IS300 is obsolete now. You can find is250, is350, 2008+g35 or even G37. They all put out much more horsepower & even gets better MPG as well. LSD are standard on some, they also come equipped in 6-speed manuals.

Indeed the W55 5-speed is rare, but the transmission itself is weak compared to its automatic counterparts . The LSD is rare also but is it worth keeping a car over? I mean, how much does a LSD mean to you?

Hell, if you want another is300, buy one, swap the LSD over, and upgrade to a W58 5-speed. Or even a supra 6-speed getrag, Hell, they even make mounts to attach 350z 6-speed transmission.
 

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The biggest problem is, in Canada, Ontario it's very hard to find 5 Speed IS300 w/LSD's hence i don't know if it's a good move to hang on to my model.
It's never going to be worth more than you paid for it originally so, the only question is whether you like it or not. There's no way I'd plug $5K into fixing a car like this. Instead I'd do minimal maintenance and just drive it till you get tired of it while saving money for the next one. Any rust repairs will only be temporary fixes at this point. The rot's sets in pretty deep.

I'd drive it into the ground. Probably wouldn't even bother to do the timing belt. Once it's dead, put the money saved into your next car.

You can find is250, is350, 2008+g35 or even G37.
Personally I'd rather have a cheap Accord till I got out in the world for a couple years. There's always time for a nicer car later.
 

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I'm in the same location as you, and I have the rust coming in on the front of the RR rocker. I'd just do like was previously mentioned and drive it into the ground. The drivetrain is going to last a long time with minimal maintenance, the body not so much since Ontario likes to through down salt on the roads which just kill cars so fast. Have fun with the car, do some minor maintenance but don't spend $5k on a car that rough. Once you're out of college and hopefully making some decent coin, then get a car that you're going to like to spend money on. Over 99% of vehicles out there are a losing investment.
 
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Granted, the is300 is a great car. I love my is300. But if your saving up 5000 and sell your car also. Go ahead and upgrade to something nicer. In my opinion the IS300 is obsolete now. You can find is250, is350, 2008+g35 or even G37. They all put out much more horsepower & even gets better MPG as well. LSD are standard on some, they also come equipped in 6-speed manuals.

Indeed the W55 5-speed is rare, but the transmission itself is weak compared to its automatic counterparts . The LSD is rare also but is it worth keeping a car over? I mean, how much does a LSD mean to you?

Hell, if you want another is300, buy one, swap the LSD over, and upgrade to a W58 5-speed. Or even a supra 6-speed getrag, Hell, they even make mounts to attach 350z 6-speed transmission.
It's never going to be worth more than you paid for it originally so, the only question is whether you like it or not. There's no way I'd plug $5K into fixing a car like this. Instead I'd do minimal maintenance and just drive it till you get tired of it while saving money for the next one. Any rust repairs will only be temporary fixes at this point. The rot's sets in pretty deep.

I'd drive it into the ground. Probably wouldn't even bother to do the timing belt. Once it's dead, put the money saved into your next car.



Personally I'd rather have a cheap Accord till I got out in the world for a couple years. There's always time for a nicer car later.
I'm in the same location as you, and I have the rust coming in on the front of the RR rocker. I'd just do like was previously mentioned and drive it into the ground. The drivetrain is going to last a long time with minimal maintenance, the body not so much since Ontario likes to through down salt on the roads which just kill cars so fast. Have fun with the car, do some minor maintenance but don't spend $5k on a car that rough. Once you're out of college and hopefully making some decent coin, then get a car that you're going to like to spend money on. Over 99% of vehicles out there are a losing investment.
Thanks guys for your honest opinions, looks like i'll be selling the car soon, to make room for a bigger budget and another car.
 

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The is300 is not obsolete. My 05 is N/A, and can take a 250 any day, and handles far better. Any yes I have driven a few 250s and was less than impressed.
 

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The is300 is not obsolete. My 05 is N/A, and can take a 250 any day, and handles far better. Any yes I have driven a few 250s and was less than impressed.
That's not the point of this thread. We all know how well both cars can handle (with the right mods).

The original poster has a car that's in rough condition, so why bother on a car like that? It's not like these cars are rare or something. If it was a Datsun 510 or 1st gen Celica, that would be worth spending $5-10k on.
 

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Sell it - it's a loosing battle if you want it to look as good as new again.
I sold mine because I knew I was going to go all in and it was going to cost a pretty penny.

Buy a new Subaru WRX and that will be much better winter vehicle.
I replaced my IS with a WRX STi, which was about as close as I could get to the IS300 with the features I wanted.
That didn't last, but that's a different story.
 

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+1

Have always been a fan of WRX's. My brother in law has an older one and with about the same amount of money I've put into my IS he's pushing 400whp and has a bunch of aero mods that make the car look great.
 

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That's not the point of this thread. We all know how well both cars can handle (with the right mods).

The original poster has a car that's in rough condition, so why bother on a car like that? It's not like these cars are rare or something. If it was a Datsun 510 or 1st gen Celica, that would be worth spending $5-10k on.
Uh, yup I can read. Dont need any schooling. Just responding to Shifts comments on the 300.

As far as the 510, I grew up with a Blue Bird SSS with rear Z disc conversion, and LSD!


And yes, sell it
 

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Asymmetrical tread tires, Hotchkis sways, and new struts if you must. Also switching up one tire size helps.
I'm a track day guy so my idea of "handling" might not be the same as yours. Just looking at the suspension design you'd think it'd really handle well but in actual usage there are some flaws that really hamper it. One is that the rear subframe tends to walk around, the other is the limited alignment range. You don't have to get very low before you run out of alignment range.

Tire sizes are pretty limited for the weight of the vehicle too. The brakes have proven to be too small as well.

It's a fine near luxury car but it's not particularly good at handling. The WRX is really in the same boat. The WRX is a pretty terrible track car. You have to get an STI to have something that's pretty close to trackable out of the box.

Most people that talk "handling" don't really know what handling is. They never approach the limits of even the stock tires. The idea that lowering and putting thick sways on a car makes it handle is a bit of a farce.
 

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Never dropped my IS or any other car, and I thought we were talking street not track.
We're talking "handling" and the only place to actually test "handling" is on the track. Otherwise you're just pretending. Most driving on the street never pushes the tires or the suspension enough to even tell if a car can handle well or not.

The only parts you can slap on that you know will improve the handling is a good set of tires. Other than that, without measurements you don't know if the sways you just slapped on made it better or worse. Feeling better doesn't mean it actually handles better.

The IS is a fine, softly spring near luxury car. I don't consider it a good handler though.
 

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Granted, the is300 is a great car. I love my is300. But if your saving up 5000 and sell your car also. Go ahead and upgrade to something nicer. In my opinion the IS300 is obsolete now. You can find is250, is350, 2008+g35 or even G37. They all put out much more horsepower & even gets better MPG as well. LSD are standard on some, they also come equipped in 6-speed manuals.

Indeed the W55 5-speed is rare, but the transmission itself is weak compared to its automatic counterparts . The LSD is rare also but is it worth keeping a car over? I mean, how much does a LSD mean to you?

Hell, if you want another is300, buy one, swap the LSD over, and upgrade to a W58 5-speed. Or even a supra 6-speed getrag, Hell, they even make mounts to attach 350z 6-speed transmission.
Obsolete in your world maybe. I disagree. There is always space for a good RWD, reliable, manual transmission, LSD, sporty car in the 2,900-3,400 lb range. A 5-speed is300, has a more durable, low-maintenance transmission than an Automatic is300. Also, an is300 > is250. An is300 is a much better sports car than an is250. I've driven an is250 manual, it was way softer, more boat-like, and more like a luxury, Lexus LS-type car. More insulation, vague steering, vague suspension, etc.

This is what makes me laugh though. What logical person would want a 350Z 6-speed transmission, instead of the Lexus 5-speed W55? The Nissan 350Z transmissions were notoriously bad. Very unreliable and high-maintenance. I knew a guy would had to change his entire 350Z transmission, 4 times, before 130k. And there are many cases like him, if you talk to 350Z owners, and scour the internet. My 3rd gen 4runner has 343,000 original miles, and is still on the same original transmission. Now that is a good transmission, very robust and well-made. Not some weak, unreliable, POS tranny, that "loses 2nd gear" after 30,000 miles.
 

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An is300 is a much better sports car than an is250.
Although neither is really a sports car.

A 5-speed is300, has a more durable, low-maintenance transmission than an Automatic is300.
Can you present evidence or is this an "I feel like it should be this way" kinda statement? I've heard of a bunch and actually seen one w55 break under stock power (2nd gear).


This is what makes me laugh though. What logical person would want a 350Z 6-speed transmission, instead of the Lexus 5-speed W55?
Research CD009.
 

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Although neither is really a sports car.
I called it "sporty" not a "sports car". Ok, for spirited driving, the is300 is much better than the is250. True, the is300 was not a pure sports car, in the classic sense. Nevertheless it was designed as a competitor for the BMW 3-series. At the time, Toyota had put their crosshairs on the BMW 3-series. They spent alot of time and resources, to create a 3-series rival, the is300. At the end of the day, it was no Camry. Toyota decided to release a RWD, 5-speed, LSD, 3,300 lb car. That is not something for soccer moms.

Can you present evidence or is this an "I feel like it should be this way" kinda statement? I've heard of a bunch and actually seen one w55 break under stock power (2nd gear).
The W55 transmission was also used in 90's Toyota trucks, and the Lexus SC300. Many of which, if adequately maintained, passed 250k original miles, on the W55 transmission. The Lexus is300 is considered a reliable car, in general. (In stock form, not the cars that are modded up, because that is a crapshoot, depending on the owner). In stock form, the Lexus is300 is reliable and that is fact, not contested much. An informed person would have more confidence in the Lexus is300, compared to a Nissan 350Z or Infiniti G35. You have heard of a bunch of W55's failing under stock power? That sounds like a Lemon to me. And I do not recall there being many is300 lemons. Possibly, the previous owner modded the car to 400hp, then de-tuned the car before selling it, and that was the car those people were driving.

Do you own an Automatic Lexus? Because that's not 'sporty' homie. Why get a 'sporty' car like the is300 with an Auto, might as well get a Camry. When I state "low-maintenance", that relates to the lower costs in maintaining a Manual transmission, versus an Auto. It is cheaper to replace the clutch, or rebuild a manual tranny, than dealing with the problems of an Auto. Plus auto transmissions with over 150k make me nervous. They are like a ticking time bomb, something most people don't want to deal with.

Research CD009.
Would still take a Toyota W55, or W58 transmission over the Nissan. I know the CD009, was the final version of the 350Z transmission, after so many people complained with the CD001-CD008. So for 3 years, Nissan was releasing suspect transmissions, to buyers. That's a joke. I would like to see some CD009's driving around, with over 250k original miles. Unless you are racing and want to mod up a car, on the cheap, the CD0009 shouldn't enter the equation. 80's, 90's, and early 2000's Toyotas are still the GOAT for reliability. Although Nissan did have a few solid vehicles: Hardbody trucks, 1st gen Frontier trucks, 90's 200sx, there were some more.
 

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Are we talking about stock car and driving normally? Sounds like we shifting back and forth between normal daily driving and racing, modified cars and unmodified. Stock for stock with normal driving, W55 and CD009 can last over 200k (and yes, I've seen it on both) with maintenance. When you put racing and beating on the car constantly (drag and drift), it adds an abundance amount of stress on the transmission and they will likely fail. Given that, the CD009 can to hold more power than the W55 and it comes with new and better internals than it's predecessors, making it less prone to failure or breaking.. People use the CD009 because it's easily sourced brand new, it's 6 speed, and it's cheaper than a new R154 or a v160-161. It's an option for turbo'd IS300 that needs a transmission that can hold 400whp-600whp that is relatively cheap compared to the others.
 
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