Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400?

Posted by: Finn

Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 02:40 PM

Greetings and salutations.

I'm supposed to pick up the Lexus this weekend and in order to get to the stores on Saturday to pick the oil I'm facing the old dilemma ie. what oil to use.

The car has 120k miles on the clock and has full service history. At this point I do not unfortunately have a slightest idea of what oil has been used but I just wish to treat her well and keep her for a long time.

My use will be mix of cruising in town, commuting and touring perhaps 10k miles per year - my daily driver is the Corolla in signature.

As I have mentioned earlier the 5W-30 is somewhat odd viscosity over here and the availability is limited and sometimes quite expensive, such as Castrol Edge.

This is what the manual says:



These are the 5W-30 oils that seem to be easy to get locally:


Valvoline MaxLife 5W-30: WSS-M2C913-A WSS-M2C913-B WSS-M2C913-C, API SJ, ACEA A1-02/A5-02/B1-02


Ford Formula F 5W-30: WSS-M2C913-B, WSS-M2C913-C, API SL, ILSAC GF-3, ACEA A1/B1


GM Longlife: ACEA A3/B4 ja C3, API SM/CF, GM-LL-A-025, GM-LL-B-025, BMW LL-04, MB 229.51


Mobil Super 3000 X1 5W-30: ACEA A5/B5, API SL, Ford WSS-M2C913-C, Ford WSS-M2C913-B, Ford WSS-M2C913-A

Then there's of course Mobil 1 0W-40 and Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40 and other oils as well.

Of these 5W-30 oils above what would you recommend or does it matter ie. would each and every one suit the 1UZ-FE just fine?
Posted by: 2012AccentSE

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 02:48 PM

I would get an oil that has a high cleaning ability for the first few changes to flush any old [censored] out. Then switch to an oil of my choice.
Posted by: dareo

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 02:52 PM

That engine will be the last thing to ever wear out on that car. Max life would be great, but i think that engine will run forever on just about anything.
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 02:56 PM

The cost is not the essential factor here but Ford and GM oils - and especially the GM oil - are very, very affordable. Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40 about the same as Ford oil pricewise.
Posted by: dareo

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 03:03 PM

Well if you can get the GM Dexos 2 oil cheaply i'd do that, can't go wrong there.
Posted by: hypervish

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 03:07 PM

1UZ-FE is a legendary engine, it'll run butter smooth on whatever oil you use!
Posted by: Boss302fan

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 03:07 PM

PP or even plain jane PYB would be good choices.
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Boss302fan
PP or even plain jane PYB would be good choices.

Pennzoil products are not easy to get here but Shell products are on just about every market shelf.
Posted by: RISUPERCREWMAN

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 03:25 PM

Yeah all that engine needs is an occasional timing belt. That is its only achilles heel. Its an interfearence engine so be careful!
Posted by: CELICA_XX

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 03:30 PM

I have this same car... M1 5W-30 until just recently, and now switched to M1 5W-30 HM

Fantastic car by the way.
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 03:37 PM

Thanks guys, much appreciate your comments.

Any idea if the GM oil is an OK product?
Posted by: tinmanSC

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 04:02 PM

I'd keep is simple and go with Valvoline. People all over the world use MaxLife, works great. But I'm bias.
Posted by: y_p_w

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 04:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Finn
Thanks guys, much appreciate your comments.

Any idea if the GM oil is an OK product?

Here's a thread on that very same oil:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2571182

One of the posts says that GM's suppliers are Wolf Oils from Belgium or Total.

Here in the US I think we have a lot of choices because there's a fairly healthy do-it-yourself market. I was told that in European countries, most servicing of vehicles was required to be performed by licensed mechanics.
Posted by: bigt61

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 04:16 PM

I think the GM Dexos2 would work fine. Use what is easy, cheap and available. Stick with 5W-30.

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2487870
Posted by: fdcg27

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/24/13 05:42 PM

What would be least expensive?
I'd say that the GM Dexos 2 oil would be a good choice. It meets A3/B4, so it would work well, although it would be a higher HTHS oil than what Toyota originally recommended.
Certainly won't hurt the engine, but probably thicker than needed.
Maxlife might be a better choice. API SJ is a more recent spec than existed when this car was new, so there should be no problems with that. Maxlife has worked well for me in a few applications.
I don't think that it'll hold up for 10K miles, though, while the GM Dexos 2 oil probably will.
You have a great engine in a great car. I doubt that any S-class or 7 series of the same vintage would hold up to time and miles any better if as well.
What an unplesant surprise this car must have been to DB and BMW when it was introduced.
People from both makers tried to trash-talk this upmarket Toyota, but it became solidly popular among high-end buyers, at least here in the US.
It may not have been autobahn bred, but it still runs like a fast and comfortable train.
Posted by: raytseng

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 01:19 AM

I would also pick up a new pcv valve (should not be expensive), and whatever your favorite 5w-30 syn is on sale. Actually if 5w-30 isn't available, whatever is your common oil in your location will be fine.

(Owned '90 LS400 from 1997-2009)

The main common problems of this car will be:
-the power steering system will develop an issue where a particular air valve does not close properly, and fluid will be sucked into the vacuum system and burned in the intake. You can plug and cap off that part of the PowerSteering solution to fix it; or just deal with it by just topping off the fluid. (Uses Dex II or higher compatible ATF).
This may cause contamination of a lot of systems if this happens for a long time.

-the AC/Radio LCD display panels will likely go out.

-the suspension is likely not very good anymore and will need replacement.

You can search on lexus forums for these specific issues if you need.
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 12:06 PM

Went to see the car today. Was pleasantly surprised of it's good condition and as we agreed on the price I'm now a happy camper. grin



According to service manual she has been fed with 5/10W-40 oils since new - European Lexus manual shows 40 as well as 50 grades in addition to 5/10W-30 oils. My Corolla gets Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40 so that's what we put in now. I may consider M1 0W-40 in the future but we'll see.

Just three things to do:
- OD light blinks in the gauges -> could be a corroded connection or sticky/bad solenoid
- engine runs at 66 degrees Celsius -> thermostat probably stuck open a bit
- small LCD display up in the center console is very dark -> need to get new one

The ride is phenomenal!
Posted by: Falcon_LS

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 12:55 PM

Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40 is great oil. Out of curiosity, can you get Shell Helix Ultra AS 0W-30?

After you replace the thermostat, you might want to check the condition of the coolant. If needed, flush out thoroughly and go with Toyota Super Long Life coolant (pink stuff).
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 01:21 PM

Not at least locally - not sure if they import it.

Roger on the coolant. Winter is coming and need to get that thing in order as well.
Posted by: CATERHAM

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 02:26 PM

Any light A5/B5 0W/5W-30 (not A3/B4) would be the oil grade to use and that would apply to your Corolla as well.

A 0W/5W-40 would be considerably heavier than necessary particularly for winter use.
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 03:34 PM

Thanks, mate. I will consider changing to a lighter oil after some cleaning with Ultra first.
Posted by: zeuloa

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 04:50 PM

Helix Ultra seems like a great oil. How does your corolla like it?

What TGMO do the Toyota/Lexus dealers sell there?

Great car!
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/26/13 04:58 PM

Corolla does well with it - oil usage is low and everything works OK. I like the Helix Ultra more and more.

As far as I can tell there are 5W-30, 5W-40 and 10W-40 Toyota oils available at the dealer. They are not very affordable, though, meaning that you can get M1 0W-40 at market for the same price as TGMO 5W-30 at the dealer.
Posted by: Garak

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/27/13 03:59 AM

Originally Posted By: Finn
- engine runs at 66 degrees Celsius -> thermostat probably stuck open a bit

Very nice car and very nice shape. You may want to fix that thermostat before the cold kicks in too bad. A number of years ago, that happened to my Town Car, conveniently when it went down to around -40 C. I was not terribly happy with the heater's performance, to say the least.
Posted by: CATERHAM

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/27/13 01:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Finn
. They are not very affordable, though, meaning that you can get M1 0W-40 at market for the same price as TGMO 5W-30 at the dealer.

Assuming TGMO 5W-30 is a light A5/B5 oil and it's the same price as M1 0W-40 then that's certainly the preferred oil to use for both the LS 400 and the Corolla.
You also mentioned the GM 5W-30 was "very very affordable" so if it's cheaper than TGMO 5W-30 go with that.
Posted by: CELICA_XX

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/28/13 12:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Finn
Just three things to do:
- OD light blinks in the gauges -> could be a corroded connection or sticky/bad solenoid

This link might save you HOURS of time and a lot of money. You can Google "LS400 trunk harness" for more information.

This is a somewhat common issue with the 1st gen LS400.

http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/lighting/bulbout.html
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/28/13 01:39 PM

Thanks for the link.

Originally Posted By: Finn
Just three things to do:
- OD light blinks in the gauges -> could be a corroded connection or sticky/bad solenoid
- engine runs at 66 degrees Celsius -> thermostat probably stuck open a bit
- small LCD display up in the center console is very dark -> need to get new one

The ride is phenomenal!

Let's see to do-list:
- OD light blinks in the gauges -> could be a corroded connection or sticky/bad solenoid

This was cured by just driving the thing.

- engine runs at 66 degrees Celsius -> thermostat probably stuck open a bit

We changed the thermostat and engine now reaches normal temperature. It feels completely different in a good way and it was already good when running cold.
Posted by: raytseng

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/29/13 12:15 AM

congrats!
be sure you keep a close eye on the power steering fluid level and take action when it begins to consume fluid.
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/29/13 05:25 PM

Yep, checking the PS fluid every now and then.

About the oil - what is the BITOG verdict of Total Quartz Energy 9000 0W-30 oil?

I have found a way to get it rather cheaply but have zero experience of French oils. Is this good stuff?

Posted by: CATERHAM

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/29/13 06:50 PM

The above oil is an A3/B4 oil with a 170 VI.
So it's a heavy 30wt oil similar but perhaps a bit lighter than Castrol 0W-30.
It won't be any lighter than M1 0W-40 on start-up but if it's cheaper then it would be preferable.

It would still be better to go with an A5/B5 5W-30.
Posted by: nthach

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 10/30/13 11:34 AM

I'm running Rotella T5 in mine right now and it seems to like it. I've used Chevron, MaxLife, PP and M1HM in mine with good results.
Posted by: Finn

Re: Oil recommendation for a 1991 Lexus LS400? - 04/01/14 07:23 AM

Well, after Shell Helix Ultra 5W-40 we put in Mobil 1 0W-40 which has been in for about 3000 kilometers. Mobil was something I had on the shelf.

Today I received 27 litres of Total Quartz 9000 Energy 0W-30. This will go in Lexus, dad's 2011 Corolla and perhaps in my old Corolla as well.

I ordered these from Ato24.de.