March 22, 2012
2007 Lexus GS 350. Click image to enlarge
The most common complaints include noisy brakes and interior squeaks and rattles, as evidenced both by Consumer Reports’ data.
In this discussion at ClubLexus.com, owners detail some of their DIY interior noise fixes. Many dealer techs seem to have a hard time properly troubleshooting the many unseemly creaks, squeaks, groans and rattles that the GS is known for.
A GS 300 that idles rough and also burns oil probably needs new piston rings. This problem was apparently limited to 2006 models, the only one to use the 3.0-litre V6.
Consumer Reports notes engine problems that coincide with the introduction of Toyota/Lexus 3.5-litre V6 to the GS, in 2007. The easy assumption is that this is due to the same rubber oil line known for leaking on other Toyota and Lexus models that use a 3.5-litre engine. However, the rear-drive GS (and the IS) uses a different engine (code-named 2GR-FSE versus the more common 2GR-FE), and I can find no mention of that particular problem with this Lexus GS motor.
Lexus issued a service bulletin to address a clanking/clattering/knocking noise that happens when a cold engine is started. The bulletin points to a lack of lubrication of the camshaft gears; the noise is a metal-on-metal sound that goes away once the engine has been running for a minute or two and oil finds its way to the top of the engine. This thread is from the GS forum at ClubLexus.com, but this one is a much longer discussion from the IS section. Note that the IS and GS share the same 3.5-litre engine and rear-wheel drive layout.
2007 Lexus GS 350. Click image to enlarge
The 3.5- and 4.6-litre engines are both affected by this recall to fix a potential assembly flaw that could cause the engine to stall while the car is being driven.
This Lexus Technical Service Bulletin covers a minor oil leak from the valve cover on the GS’ 3.0- and 3.5-litre V6 engines.
This recall covers a few potential GS trouble spots, including fuel rails, rear brake calipers and electric power steering systems.
Noisy brakes are a common complaint among GS owners.
A loud clacking noise (described by a ClubLexus.com member as sounding “like a jackhammer”) coming from behind the glovebox is caused by a broken fresh/recirculate door in the climate control system. According to a couple of the replies to the original post in this discussion, changing the cabin air filter should be done with the system in recirculate mode, to avoid damage to the door, and/or the motor that actuates it, in the process. A Lexus technician would probably (hopefully) know this, but the grease monkeys at quick-lube joints might not. This is a fairly expensive repair if left to the dealer to perform, but it can apparently be done with a few tools and lots of patience.
2007 Lexus GS 350. Click image to enlarge
A used GS finds the middle ground, price-wise, in the mid-sized luxury sedan field. Comparing 2009 models, the BMW 535i xDrive and Audi A6 are $6,000 to $7,000 more expensive than a GS 350 AWD and a Mercedes-Benz E 350 4Matic is worth about $1,500 more. An Acura TL SH-AWD is worth about eight grand less, while the RL is worth about the same. An Infiniti M35x should come in about three grand less than the Lexus.
The Lexus GS is a nice car to drive, but its tight interior is a turn-off. So is this third-generation’s un-Lexus-like build quality, which makes me think owning one of these cars would be nearly as frustrating as the typical German luxury car experience. The best bets in this class look like the Acura TL and Infiniti M (or the G, if the larger M is too rich for your budget).
If a GS is the only car that will scratch your itch, shop very carefully for one that has had all the common stuff fixed by a previous owner, and don’t buy unless it checks out with a trusted mechanic. Oh, and don’t complain to me if you wind up disappointed in what you were sure would be just another well-made Toyota product.
Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) March, 2012:
2006:This vehicle may contain inadequate side airbag inflators. The airbag inflators were produced with an insufficient amount of the heating agents which apply heat to the argon gas in the inflator. In this condition, expansion force of the gas in the inflator may be insufficient to properly inflate the airbag when the system is activated during a collision, which can increase the risk of injury. Correction: Dealer will replace the side airbag module.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2006078; Units affected: 1,285 (includes other models)
2006: On certain GS 300, GS 300 AWD, GS 430, IS 250, IS 250 AWD and IS 350 vehicles, the front seat belt retractors may contain an inappropriately sized part for the emergency locking system. This can prevent the locking system from releasing when it is activated. If the seat belt is locked in this condition, the occupant may either not fasten the seat belt, or be inadequately restrained due to improper belt-fit thereby increasing the risk of injury. Correction: Dealers will replace the front seat belt assemblies.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007377; Units affected: 1,718 (includes other models)
2006: On certain GS 300, GS 300 AWD, IS 250, IS 250 AWD and IS 350 vehicles, incorrect fabrication process may cause the fuel lines to crack, possibly resulting in a leak. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a vehicle fire causing injury or death. Correction: Dealers will replace the fuel lines.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2009015; Units affected: 8,391 (includes other models)
2006-2007: On certain vehicles, the use of selected ethanol fuels may cause the aluminum fuel rails to corrode. This could result in plugged fuel injector(s), causing a rough engine idle and/or the illumination of the engine warning lamp. Corrosion may also cause a pinhole to develop on the fuel rail, which could result in fuel leakage. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a vehicle fire. Correction: Dealers will replace the fuel rails.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2010361; Units affected: 28,679 (includes other models)
2006: Certain vehicles use brake fluids containing polymers that act as lubricants for certain brake system components. If during vehicle maintenance, brake fluid is used that does not contain such polymers or only small amounts, part of the internal rubber seal located at the end of the brake master cylinder piston may become dry and may curl during movement of the piston. If this occurs, a small amount of the brake fluid could slowly leak from the brake master cylinder into the brake booster, resulting in illumination of the brake warning lamp. If the brake warning light has illuminated and the vehicle continues to be operated without refilling the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir, the driver will begin to notice a spongy or soft brake pedal feel and braking performance may gradually decline. This will increase the stopping distance, increasing the likelihood of a crash. Correction: Dealers will replace the brake master cylinder seal with a newly designed one.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2011037; Units affected: 11,773 (includes other models)
2006-2007: On certain GS 300, GS 300 AWD, GS 350, IS 250, IS 250 AWD and IS 350 vehicles, the fuel pressure sensor connected to the engine fuel delivery pipe may not have been sufficiently tightened during vehicle assembly. Should the pressure sensor loosen, fuel could leak past a gasket used in the connection between the sensor and pipe, and through the threaded portion of the sensor. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire causing property damage and/or personal injury. Correction: Dealers will inspect for fuel leakage from the threaded portion of the fuel pressure sensor. If there are no signs of a fuel leak, the fuel pressure sensor will be tightened to specifications. If a fuel leak is confirmed, the gasket between the sensor and the fuel delivery pipe will be replaced, and the sensor will be tightened.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2011080; Units affected: 852
2006-2007: On certain AWD vehicles, if the floor carpet near the accelerator pedal is not reinstalled correctly following a service repair, the plastic pad embedded into the floor carpet could interfere with the operation of the accelerator pedal. If this occurs, the accelerator pedal could temporarily become stuck in a partially depressed position, rather than return to the idle position. This could result in a loss of throttle control and a crash causing property damage and/or personal injury. Correction: Dealers will modify the plastic pad.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2010221; Units affected: 3,702 (includes other models)
2007-2008: On certain vehicles, the material composition of the engine valve springs may include micro-foreign objects, which may compromise the strength of the valve spring, causing the spring to degrade and break. If a valve springs breaks, abnormal noise and rough engine performance will be noticed and, in the worst case, the engine could fail and stop suddenly while the vehicle is in motion. A sudden engine failure would result in lost propulsion which, in conjunction with traffic, road conditions, and driver’s reactions, could increase the risk of a crash causing property damage, personal injury or death. Correction: Dealers will install new valve springs.
Crash test results
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.
For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.
For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.