PH Fleet: Lexus LS400/TVR Chimaera 400

When a car is as silent as the Lexus little creaks and groans become much more apparent than in normal cars. Only recently a single creak was annoying me until I realised it was the leather of the rear armrest rubbing on the leather of the rear seat. Raising the armrest meant silence was restored.

No, not sure what's going on here either!
No, not sure what's going on here either!
Sadly I have a new creak, one that is harder (and costlier) to cure. You may remember that I paid a not inconsiderable sum to have the rear suspension refreshed on the LS a few weeks after purchase (if buying an LS check the suspension, then have another look just in case) knowing the front would need doing sooner or later. Today is that day as the front suspension now creaks quite regularly as the damper travels up and down, mainly once the car has travelled some miles but quite regularly in warmer weather. Shortly it will go back up in the air for some diagnostic work, and no doubt some wallet lightening as a result as I will get it serviced again at the same time. Please keep your fingers crossed that I will soon be wafting in serenity once more without having to pawn my entire belongings or start considering an S-Class again.

Pays your money ... and then a bit more
That aside it has been a busy time for the Lexus as it piles on the miles travelling the length of the country tending to matters PH. Since buying I've added around 20,000 miles to the odometer and that means I've burnt a lot of fuel. A few weeks ago I tried a scientific MPG test when I had brimmed the tank and managed to return a figure of 19.4mpg overall. I blame two things for this. 1) The available pace is too easy to exploit on the motorway without much effort, and once the (superb) hi-fi is on loud I get carried away. 2) My sub-eight mile London commute is normally a crawl and when I can move forwards I like to prod that 4.0 V8 a bit too much. Oh well, if you want economy buy a diesel, or don't use a heavy V8 barge for a 16-mile daily London slog.

Pre-Le Mans plummage - stickers now on!
Pre-Le Mans plummage - stickers now on!
To save fuel I could take the bus, and to try and tempt me into a cheaper method of travel the number 035 National Express coach tried to pick me up, sadly while I was still driving the car. The end result was some white paint and scuffs left on my NS mirror (which folded in as a result) and a rather shocked driver watching a large coach miss the front of my car by a very (very) small margin only thanks to my sudden braking. A call to the company saw me get the standard 'we'll look into it' response, but I doubt I'll hear anything from them again, despite chasing it up.

Meanwhile, in Blackpool...
In the meantime the TVR has been used regularly and I've been enjoying the recent warm sunshine. A visit to the Nissan/Renault Sunday Service saw me record a 122db in the 'Chorus of Noise' and gave an insight into why my neighbours get so upset when the car starts at the garage (and why I love it).

Noisy, draughty ... Switch's sand rail is pretty bad too
Noisy, draughty ... Switch's sand rail is pretty bad too
Just as I was getting ready for the voyage to Le Mans, with stickers applied and all the legal bits and bobs in the boot, the engine cooling fans stopped working on the commute home. This meant I had to pull over to allow things to cool (in a city centre, with Le Mans stickers, so very visible) and wait for traffic to disperse before heading home.

The car didn't boil so no harm done, but I will be fixing the otter switch as a result and while I am at it I'll look to clean the boot solenoid (accessing the boot requires a few presses these days) and give a general mechanical health check ahead of the cross-channel jaunt.

My next report will be more TVR-focused as it will have just enjoyed a blast to Le Mans and back with the rest of the PH team. If you see (or hear, more likely - Ed.) the car en-route please give me a wave or pop over to say hello.

Fact Sheet:
1997 Lexus LS400
Run by: Garlick
Bought: Jan 2011
Purchase price: £1,800
Last month at a glance: Creaks, fuel bills and close-encounters with coaches

Fact Sheet:
1999 TVR Chimaera 4.0
Run by: Garlick
Bought: December 2009
Purchase price: £12,995
Last month at a glance: Hot, hot, hot. Le Mans looms.

Previous reports:
Garlick enjoys a history lesson
TVR lives once more, Lexus carries on regardless
MOT time for the Lexus and a reawakening for the TVR
A costly months and goodbyes
Noise upsets neighbours

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (58) Join the discussion on the forum

  • cerb4.5lee 31 May 2012

    The ups & downs of tvr ownership!

  • cerb4.5lee 31 May 2012

    Its a great garage you have there Garlick, i was amazed when the ls400 came out the reviews were awesome, the quietness of the engine & how well kitted out they were, i have always fancied one as a big barge, bet its well comfy.

    My cerbs temp shot up to 115 degrees on sunday & my heart was in my mouth, its a task in its self, driving & constantly looking at the dials at the same time!! other cars just seem too mundane when everything always works!

    Great write up & enjoy Le Mans.

  • wackojacko 31 May 2012

    Didn't realise G paid nearly 13K for the Chim yikes

  • truck71 31 May 2012

    Believe it came from Fernies which has significant benefits.

  • Noisy 31 May 2012

    It's worth getting a fan overide switch installed while having the otter switch changed, means if it ever happens again you can manually turn on the fans.

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