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Hi Guys,

This is my first post. :) I'm not an IS owner, but am thinking of snagging an 02 in MT. I found a great one last month, but moved too slow.

Anyway, we're a two BMW 3-series family. ha ha. Wife drives an 03 325i AT and I drive a 99 323i MT. I love the BMW, but there's a reason they call it the Ultimate Driving "Me Crazy" Machine.

My 99 is at 152K miles already and I think it's time to let it go. It's been generally trouble free, but I'm afraid the little gremlins will slowly turn into wallet killing orcs. :(

Well, is there a checklist for things to look out for when buying an IS? I know it's much more trouble-free than the BMW. Are there any "special" issues when dealing with this car?

I like this forum ... it's refreshing. The BMW forums are cluttered with, "Oh no, what do I do now?" threads. It's nice to see a forum where the owners actually are enjoying their cars instead of worrying about how to repair them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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Welcome to the site!! Good luck with your search.
 

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Welcome to the site!! Good luck with your search.
Thanx. I found a really nice one a short while ago, but by the time I got back to him, he sold it already.

I'll keep looking.

I've always been a fan of Toyota/Lexus quality. Owned Celicas while I was younger, and had a 93 SC300 MT last me to 170+ miles ... my bro owns it now at 190+ miles.

I would consider a GS300, but not really interested in the slush boxes.

I've been away from Toyota/Lexus for a bit and I think it's time to come back to the family. :)

Wife is already talking about wanting an SUV for our expanding family ... she's been hinting at an X5, but there's NO WAY I'm buying another BMW. She thinks all her mechanical/electrical problems disappear by magic ... she doesn't realize I spend countless hours researching and diagnosing these gremlins.

I just want a Drive and Forget car ... :)
 

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so have your wife test drive an RX they are very nice, and than you'll be a lexus family instead of bmtrouble-u
Yep, I definitely plan to look into the RX when it's time. In fact, I'm going to insist on the RX.

I'm going to slowly move the family cars back into the Lexus line-up. As soon as I find the right IS for myself, I'll move the 323i.

We're expecting our 2nd child in March. We'll probably move up to the SUV in a few months. Pick up an RX and sell her 325i.

Then ... no more headaches.
 

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Thanx. :)

I'm dreaming of the day where I'm no longer haunted by ghostly CEL issues, broken window regulators, stuck thermostat, subframe issues, $5000 to replace the AT, intake leaks, vaccuum leaks, sensor malfunctions, BMW specific engine oil and coolant, expansion tank leaks ...

Lexus ... I should have never left you. :)
 

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Some things to know (if you didn't know). I highly recommend you switch yourself to become a Japanese driver, in which you are planning to. Japanese cars, especially Toyota, have very good quality and built. All I have to say is do you see why there are still A LOT of Camry's, Civics, Accords, Corollas, from the 80's, STILL running strong with barely any problems? Friend has a 1991 Acura Integra with 318,000 miles on it, still runs, problems with head gasket, fuses, and a light switch though (Nothing major and won't cost more than 400$ to fix everything, he's a mechanic so he can do it by himself). By the way, Japanese cars have higher re-sale value and lesser maintenance problems (first hand experience, not from what I heard of.) Got a 1998 Toyota Avalon with 139,000 miles, no major problems...Toyota Sequioa with 30,000 miles, no problems yet, 1998 Toyota Corolla, 105,000 miles, none. Nothing big that invovled me or my family members pushing in more than 600$ for any repair/maintenance. The most we ever put out for a Toyota repair was like 600$ for the 90k service. Since this is a Lexus, it's a bit pricier but not as pricy as German repairs (First hand expereince, a lot of BMW owners I know tell me tires cost a grip to replace and maintenance too such as $1,200 for a new set of tires, 60k mile service was like $1,000, and replacing the o2 sensors were $350 a piece).But as far as problems go, NONE!!!. TOYOTAS ARE ON DEMAND AND GET MAAAAAD RESPECT. Don't think you DON't GET respect because your NOT a German Driver, you will GET QUALITY too, Toyota veichles are very quiet and sturdy, less bumpy than German cars. (First hand expereince)
 

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Hmmmmmm people who predominantly drove luxury automatics going for a manual sports sedan.....of course the clutch will wear haha. Luckily I snagged mine with low miles before some doltard could mess it up but yeah I've heard a many some starting to slip around 60-70k......dont be afraid to beat on the car a bit on the test drive, sometimes nasty stuff doesnt show its head unless you do that. Make sure you do a good full throttle pull in 4th and 5th (to a reasonable speed of course) to make sure the clutch doesnt slip under its most severe load.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Some things to know (if you didn't know). I highly recommend you switch yourself to become a Japanese driver, in which you are planning to. Japanese cars, especially Toyota, have very good quality and built. All I have to say is do you see why there are still A LOT of Camry's, Civics, Accords, Corollas, from the 80's, STILL running strong with barely any problems? Friend has a 1991 Acura Integra with 318,000 miles on it, still runs, problems with head gasket, fuses, and a light switch though (Nothing major and won't cost more than 400$ to fix everything, he's a mechanic so he can do it by himself). By the way, Japanese cars have higher re-sale value and lesser maintenance problems (first hand experience, not from what I heard of.) Got a 1998 Toyota Avalon with 139,000 miles, no major problems...Toyota Sequioa with 30,000 miles, no problems yet, 1998 Toyota Corolla, 105,000 miles, none. Nothing big that invovled me or my family members pushing in more than 600$ for any repair/maintenance. The most we ever put out for a Toyota repair was like 600$ for the 90k service. Since this is a Lexus, it's a bit pricier but not as pricy as German repairs (First hand expereince, a lot of BMW owners I know tell me tires cost a grip to replace and maintenance too such as $1,200 for a new set of tires, 60k mile service was like $1,000, and replacing the o2 sensors were $350 a piece).But as far as problems go, NONE!!!. TOYOTAS ARE ON DEMAND AND GET MAAAAAD RESPECT. Don't think you DON't GET respect because your NOT a German Driver, you will GET QUALITY too, Toyota veichles are very quiet and sturdy, less bumpy than German cars. (First hand expereince)
Howard, I agree with you 100%. I've always been a driver of Toyotas but decided to try something different over the past few years. I've owned a few Miatas and love them, but with a growing family, I had to toss that out the window.

The wife and I brought the 03 325i new. Luckily, it's been under the comprehensive warranty ... but it's just run out and I'm getting worried over the possible repairs coming up. But it's a great driving vehicle. I picked up my 99 323i in MT pre-owned a short while ago ... again, great driving car but little gremlins add up to some headaches.

You're right about the O2 sensors ... there are 4 of them on the 3-series at $150 each for parts and god-knows how much the dealers charge for them. Probably wind up costing $450 each. Think about it ... almost 2 grand for freakin' O2 sensors.

By the way, if you haven't heard about the problems BMW is having with their steptronic transmissions, here's a good read to make you appreciate being Lexus owners ...

Consumer complaints about BMW Transmission Problems

I'm just hoping that my wife's steptronic trannie will last awhile longer ... we'll probably move to an RX sometime in the future and sell the car.

I'm keeping an eye on an 02 IS in MT. I'm doing my research on these cars and so far, nothing major to report. :) That's a good thing.
 

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Wife is already talking about wanting an SUV for our expanding family ... she's been hinting at an X5, but there's NO WAY I'm buying another BMW. She thinks all her mechanical/electrical problems disappear by magic ... she doesn't realize I spend countless hours researching and diagnosing these gremlins.

I just want a Drive and Forget car ... :)
If that's what you want... then getting a Lexus is a great idea. You give up a marginal amount of handling/performance in exchange for a huge increase in refinement/reliability.
 

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IS clutches aren't too bad.
Many IS owners are young kids and don't know how to treat a clutch right.
I got 110K+ miles out of mine with plenty of enthusiastic driving.
Mine finally started to slip a little, so I used that as an excuse to upgrade to a lightweight flywheel and stronger clutch.
Lots of others with 100K miles on their original clutch.
Good luck with your search, it's a great car.
 

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Hey phoenix, if you are on a budget, go for the Toyota Sequoia's or Toyota 4Runner's, those things are pretty luxury, honestly, very comfy and safe for the baby in the back seat. Thanks for your input. Also, 2002 MT is300?? That's what I'm getting pretty soon, i worked my butt off for this car day in/day out, not going through a bank. But yeah, hear it from me, the 2002-2005 is300's are the best, it's the 2001 that you need to worry about just a tad (ECU CHIP and CD player). I heard some reports, though, the 2002 IS300 has the same ECU chip problem just like the 2001 is300 but mainly the models that were manufactured before Spring of 2002. IS300= classic car. Yellow fog lights and quadruple circular lights with see through frame= classic.
 

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Yep, I definitely plan to look into the RX when it's time. In fact, I'm going to insist on the RX.

I'm going to slowly move the family cars back into the Lexus line-up. As soon as I find the right IS for myself, I'll move the 323i.

We're expecting our 2nd child in March. We'll probably move up to the SUV in a few months. Pick up an RX and sell her 325i.

Then ... no more headaches.
The RX is nice. But what about the LX, that thing is a beast.:p
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey phoenix, if you are on a budget, go for the Toyota Sequoia's or Toyota 4Runner's, those things are pretty luxury, honestly, very comfy and safe for the baby in the back seat. Thanks for your input. Also, 2002 MT is300?? That's what I'm getting pretty soon, i worked my butt off for this car day in/day out, not going through a bank. But yeah, hear it from me, the 2002-2005 is300's are the best, it's the 2001 that you need to worry about just a tad (ECU CHIP and CD player). I heard some reports, though, the 2002 IS300 has the same ECU chip problem just like the 2001 is300 but mainly the models that were manufactured before Spring of 2002. IS300= classic car. Yellow fog lights and quadruple circular lights with see through frame= classic.
Howard, thanx for the heads up. I like your enthusiasm. :)

I think the IS is a good balance of reliability and performance. The Infiniti GS300 is pretty sweet also ... but as with the IS, it's hard to find them in manual transmission.

If money wasn't an issue, I'd probably go with the 2nd generation IS250. But I have no problem with a 2002 model for now.
 
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