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2004 Forester XS Auto, 4EAT
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have the chance to buy a 2001 Lexus RX 300 with one cylinder that tests at 90 psi the rest are around 150. It also has a check engine light for an intermittent misfire. It idles fine, makes no noise and doesn’t smoke. I am told it runs down the road fine but I haven’t gotten over to test drive it yet. The car is otherwise in great shape for its age, everything works.

Is it worth buying? Think I could drive on it until spring 2020 or will the piston let go and leave the car a paperweight? Asking price is $1500.
 

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2019 3.6R & 98 Forester Atlanta, GA
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7,254 Posts
Do you really really like the car? Enough to rebuild the engine in the very near term? If not I'd walk.
 

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2019 Touring
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37 Posts
I don't know the emission test requirements on WI but here in CA a check engine light results in failed test. So transfer of ownership cannot occur. So you may be looking at a vehicle that can only be parted out. IMO not worth the trouble.
 
2017 2.5i Fozy CVT
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1,283 Posts
Could be a burned valve, besides rings. Price JY replacement engines sourced through a shop that will guarantee at least 6 mos,,6000 mi.
 

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2004 Forester XS Auto, 4EAT
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
There are no emissions testing in this part of WI so I don’t have to worry about that.

I looked around last night and there are 3 JY motors for $1200 or the JDM dealers have them for $720-800. Plus labor and I think the car with replacement motor would be around $4000.

It’s not a matter of how much I like it rather than cheap and not rusted out. We took a $10,000 hit on a F150 that we had to unload because it had to many problems and was in an accident that was not disclosed to us when we bought it last Feb. So I am looking for cheap while we save back up. This Lexus would be nice if I could drive it for a few months before dealing with the motor.

I have owned vehicles before with low compression. 98-115 psi on each cyl but that was even wear. Not one bad cyl. which is what has me questioning what is wrong and how long I could drive it.
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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2,737 Posts
On those old Lexus RX's check out the transmission with the AWD system - Little known issue with them suddenlly letting go and losing power to one of the axles - Not sure it will leave you stranded at the roadside though

If you aren't afraid of doing your own engine work, pick up a 2.4 Litre Camry from 2002+ showing blown headgasket symptoms, it is almost certainly the headbolts working themselves lose - There is a simple enough fix on the Toyota forums if you don't mind doing headwork yourself.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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1,921 Posts
No one can say what would happen.
You might have a poor running engine for months and then again, you may be calling for help when you break down on your way home. If the seller is up for it, you could take it to a shop and have them do a leakdown test.
A bad compression test tells you there is a problem, while the leakdown test tells you where that problem is.
It could be just a bad valve, and the top end repair would be much less costly than a replacement engine.
At least you would know where you stand before getting in too deep.
 
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