_ISF

My IS-F story so far....

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Hi Everyone,

I joined a few months ago but this forum is pretty quiet so i haven't had much of an opportunity to interact with you all yet. I thought i would put up some information about my IS-F which i purchased in June 2017 and my story about the purchase experience and my time with the car so far.

**PHOTOS TO COME**

Previous car history (cars worth mentioning anyway) in case it is of interest to anyone:

  • 2007 S14 series 2 200sx (lightly modified 170rwkw) – no build thread
  • 2001 S15 200sx (slightly more modified, around 185rwkw) – no build thread
  • 2011 VW Golf R (spent a bomb on this one, 208awkw (all wheel drive). Max power with standard turbo) – Golf R build thread
  • 2010 VW Golf GTI (also went a bit crazy on this one, 161fwkw. Max power with standard turbo) Another example of the lengths I go with detailing a grotty 2nd hand car (this one was really grotty inside) –  GTI build thread


I starting browsing IS-F’s as well as a heap of other cars on my short list (E92 M3, C63 AMG, Audi S4 etc) on Carsales early 2017, but didn’t get serious until I decided to advertise my Golf GTI in May 2017. After having 4x turbocharged 4 cylinder cars and being a huge petrol head, I had always wanted a nice V8 to see what all the fuss is about. A Ford Falcon XR8 or SS Commondore just wanst going to do it for me because of how common they are, and also the general bogan crowd they attract. So I decided (after lots of research on my short list of cars) to concentrate my efforts on a Lexus IS-F and enjoy the fruits of Japanese engineering (eg reliability) as there were some horror stories around on the M3 and AMG Merc’s. I also have a few mates who are huge Toyota nuts (eg in their eyes, no other car manufacturer exists other than Toyota – im talking GT-4’s, Supra’s, Chasers, Mark II’s etc) and they vouched for virtually impeccable reliability of the IS-F.

The Golf GTI sold to the first person who looked at it (funnily enough they flew down from Brisbane to buy it and drove it home) and there I was without a car within a very short space of time (I wasn’t expecting the GTI to sell so quickly so it caught me off guard). Luckily my parents were overseas for 2 months and my dad was kind enough to allow me to use his trusty 2008 Subaru Outback for about a month until I found my IS-F.

There were only 2x IS-F’s for sale in Newcastle when I was looking – one was a MY13, immaculate but out of my budget by a good $10k and not my preferred colour (it was black). There was also another black one, a MY11 but it had 180,000kms, and although the price was reflective of the km’s, I didn’t want a car with that many km’s on it. I looked at a few IS-F’s in Sydney (a white one, a dark grey one and a blue one) but either I didn’t like/trust the owners or the car wasn’t up to my (fussy) standards. In my opinion, a lot of these cars seem to have been lease cars and generally mistreated by the owners (poor quality paintwork, heavily worn seats/bolsters, full of stone chips etc etc). I understand that im buying a 2nd hand car that’s 5-6 years old, and that it wouldn’t be perfect, but it needed to pass a certain level of criteria in my opinion. The fact that I wanted a MY11 onwards (to get the LSD, updated dash, and updated suspension) meant I had to rule out a heap of the older cars advertised.

I started looking more broadly to include the whole east coast, figuring I could fly to Melbourne or Brisbane etc, and drive it home. Long story short, I found a pretty decent car (not perfect, but none of them seemed to be) in Brisbane. A MY11, 42,000km, 1 owner, blue exterior with black interior, no accidents, full service history. $58k. This was a little higher than I realistically wanted to spend (I had set my budget to $55k) but knowing I could always negotiate a few grand off, I had a cheque drawn up for $51k, and with a few extra thousand dollars in my savings accounts (for the negotiating), i booked a flight and off I went to Brisbane with my wife on a Saturday morning. We got to the dealership shortly after they opened at about 8.40am and the salesman was drying off the IS-F after having hosed it off (he knew we were coming to have a look at it….but I didn’t tell him we were coming from another city, let alone another state).

First impressions…..not happy Jan. Geez car salesman are good at telling bullsh!t to you. I spoke to this guy several times both via email and phone and asked so many questions relating to the condition of the car and stated to him that I was an ex-professional detailer and that I would spot any issues. “The paintwork is great” he told me, “the wheels are perfect” he said, “no scratches on the body” he proclaimed.

All the paintwork on the car was original (so no resprays and no accidents) and it was dent free, but it hadn’t been “loved” that’s for sure. Stone chips on the front bumper and bonnet were minimal – indicating the car had likely been city driven for most of it’s 42,xxx km’s. Looks like it has been washed at a carwash it whole life. Bird poo had eaten into the clearcoat on the bonnet (just in one spot up near the windscreen). Heaps of scratches around the door handles from finger nails/jewellery etc. Nothing a good detail cant sort out, but frustrating anyway.

Turns out the “1 owner” was an accounting firm, so no doubt the car was a tax write off. The two rear rims had gutter damage (one of them had considerable gutter rash….i was told they were perfect). The original brakes were very worn (heavy grooves in the disks and looked like no pad material was left, and upon closer inspection, the wear indicators had been bent out of the way. I already knew the brakes on these cars are generally due for replacement between 40,000-60,000km depending on driving conditions, so not only was I prepared that the car may need its brakes done, I had looked up pricing for disks and pads and knew what kind of money it was going to cost.

Apart from being a bit grotty on the main contact points (steering wheel etc), the interior was generally clean and good condition. Nothing a good detail cant sort out anyway. I think the main driver of the car was actually a woman

I wanted to take it for a drive….naturally as with any car you are considering to buy. In we jump, start her up (such a nice deep sound) and off we go. It drives like a dream, smooth, quiet, no squeaks or rattles. Everything works (stereo, a/c, power windows etc) which is always important to check. Put my foot down a few times and it goes really nicely and sounds great. Despite how worn out the brakes are, the brakes still work well, are smooth and no noises. I love the car and how it drives………damn……..now have an emotional connection with it!!!

Service history……15,000km service was done at Lexus Brisbane. Then nothing………no 30,000km, but just before the car was traded in (with 42,xxxkm) it was serviced once again at Lexus. This was the most frustrating aspect about the whole ordeal because I had specifically asked about the service history (and also asked for photos/photocopy of the log book) but was told “it’s got full Lexus history” and looking back at the situation, he always had an excuse as to why he couldn’t send me the log book details.

Feeling pretty frustrated and disheartened about the service history and some of the exterior wear and tear, I walked away to have a think about the situation without the salesman hanging around with his cheesy grin. I wanted to weight up the pros and cons for a few minutes.

Pros:

  • It was the colour I preferred (I wanted either silver or blue with blue being my #1 choice)
  • Very low km’s
  • No accidents or damage or rust (all original paint and bodywork)
  • 1 owner car
  • Drove beautifully
  • Near new tyres (Bridgestone Potenza RE050) all round

Cons:

  • Not as tidy as I was hoping for and not what I was led to expect
  • Somewhat sketchy service history (although very low km’s travelled so im inclined to let this one slide a bit). I also looked as best I could inside the engine (via oil filler cap) and everything was squeaky clean (no buildup)
  • Brakes need replacing ASAP
  • Will have to do another oil change (and engine flush) to satisfy my somewhat OCD nature
  • Bird poo clearcoat issue on bonnet
  • 1x rim in particular with a big gutter rash mark (a good 20-25cm scratch) which would need to be fixed

I decided that if I could get the car for $55k or lower that I would take it (it was advertised at $57,990) and drive it home. I went in low at $52k and explained to Mr Salesman why I was offering that price (see cons listed above). He denied the price and counter offered $56.5k taking into account the brakes needing replacing but would not acknowledge the other issues. I came back and offered $53k and said that I didn’t think the car was worth any more than this price. He declined, we said thanks and bye, and my wife and I turned around and walked out. We stood across the road for 5 mins while we waited for an Uber and off we went to have a look at another IS-F I had lined up as a backup. A MY10 IS-F in Matador Red. Looked great in the photos and the description said all the right things………turns out it was also a disappointment. What do you have to do to find a nice IS-F!!!!!

So we had a whole day to kill before our flight home. My wife and I had made our way to a shopping centre. My phone rings, it’s the salesman with the blue IS-F we looked at earlier. He says make it $55k and we have a deal. I said $54k is all im offering as it’s not worth any more than this. “Let me chat to my boss” he says…..muffled conversation follows for 30 seconds….”ok, we will take $54k but im not happy about it” he says. “Im loosing money on that car”. What a load of *BLEEP* im thinking, I have 2x brothers in the luxury car industry (Lexus and Audi) and they both said they would have traded that car for high $40’s. They spent $0 on this particular car as the car had not been detailed, the rims were scratched and the bird poo on the bonnet.

So $54k is the price – “get the paperwork ready, we will be there in 30 mins” I said.

We hit the road at around midday once all this had taken place, we drove until dark and pulled in at Coffs Harbour for the night. Not sure about you guys, but I find the cruise control fiddly to use and the stalk is in a weird position. The car also has a narrow windscreen and not much headroom – funny you don’t notice these things until you have driven the cars for a few hours. Pissing down rain the whole way it was. The car drove like a dream despite the horrible weather. By about midday the following day the car was at home in Newcastle with around 43,200km on the clock now, we unpacked all our stuff and off I go starting to clean it up (still raining and more rain forecast for another few days….so im not going for a full detail just yet). I just wanted to see if I could remove or reduce some of the marks on the paintwork (mainly the scratches near the door handles from fingernails and jewellery) which looked horrible. And I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to make the bird poo stain on the clearcoat look better.

Short term win

  • Scratches on door handles basically invisible now after some polishing
  • Scratches on the rear bumper are now basically invisible after a 2 step machine polish
  • Rear rim which had a long gutter rash has now been repaired and the damage is gone ($120 repair)
  • Ran a Nulon engine flush and drained the oil. Re filled with 9.4 litres of Penrite HPR 5w-40 full synthetic and a genuine oil filter and sump plug washer
  • Fitted my AFE drop in filter and HPS silicone intake tube which I had purchased before I even got the car
     

Short term fail

  • Bird poo etching in the clear coat isn’t going anywhere. That will need some attention by a spraypainter….hopefully they can just re-do the clear coat as the blue base coat appears undamaged.
  • Brakes are now squealing like mad. New disks and pads have been ordered but the disks are on backorder with DBA for several weeks.
     

While im waiting for the brakes to turn up, I had to get the car blueslipped as it had QLD rego and QLD numberplates. I was nervous about the Blueslip because of the brakes, but I showed them proof that I had indeed purchased new brakes just in case, but the car passed the Blueslip without a hitch….even with the squealing brakes. By now, the rain had gone and so I started what would end up being around 25-30hrs of detailing on the car. Wash, decontamination (iron remover and clay bar), 3x step machine polish then a final sealant. Wheels removed and the car up on axle stands, cleaned thoroughly behind spokes and barrels to remove 43,500km of brake dust. Cleaned wheel arches (so much brake dust had made its way onto all of the suspension arms/springs etc) and all suspension and braking components I could reach. Callipers were filthy – obviously never been cleaned. Engine bay cleaned. Leather seats cleaned and treated with a conditioner to protect against wear and sun damage. All interior vinyl and carpet cleaned. Many hours later (and spread over several days) it was looking really good. And finally my brakes have turned up so its time to get them fitted. DBA X Gold disks (slotted and cross drilled) and Winmax W1 street pads.

Cleaning a dirty car is actually really satisfying and rewarding – you don’t get that same feeling with a well maintained car because you don’t get the dramatic before and after effect.

Wow – have a look at her now!!!! My sore back, sore arms and shoulders and scuffed knees are all worth it once I rolled the car out of the garage and into the sunshine. Isn’t she pretty. The blue paintwork is popping, all the swirls and scratches have vanished and the paint has this beautiful depth to it now and it is so shiny. The only downside to the car visually now is that 1x damn spot on the bonnet where the bird poo has worn through the clear coat…..otherwise its virtually flawless.

Time to enjoy the car for a few months and getting to learn all of its strengths and weaknesses. It’s a nice car to drive, smooth and relatively comfy despite the sport suspension and big rims, and I like the dual personality of the engine with the induction noise above 3,500rpm with that dual mode intake airbox. Fuel consumption isn’t great (it is a decent sized v8 after all) but it’s not as bad as I was expecting. I think the small fuel tank (my Golf had the same size tank) makes the car feel like its worse on fuel than it actually is….im lucky if I get 300km from a tank (mostly shortish drives around town) whereas it was nearly double that on the freeway when driving back from QLD.

Nobody (and I mean nobody) knows what the car is either. Your typical Aussie XR6 Turbo and V8 bogans have no idea what it is and certainly don’t expect it to have a V8, and most Euro car lovers turn their noses up at it because it’s not a latte sipping, selfie taking, latest fashion wearing even though it looks *BLEEP*ing ridiculous Audi, BMW or Merc. And anyone who thinks they know something about cars (but actually doesn’t really) just says it’s a fancy Toyota. Ok yes, some Lexus’ over the years have literally been a rebadged and somewhat glorified Camry (ES300 anyone…) but the IS-F has no equivalent in the Toyota range. Its rare, unique and subtle.
 

Time for some mods……

  • X-force header-back exhaust (sounds great but a little too loud for my liking – will look at ways to quieten it down 20-30%)
  • Bonnet struts replaced (old ones were very stiff)
  • Billet alloy oil filler cap with F logo from USA
  • 15mm SSC wheel spacers (good quality German made ones….not cheap ebay Chinese junk)
  • Gutted cats in the headers
  • Carbon fibre roof spoiler
  • Superpro replacement LCA bushes
  • Bayson-R front lip (black plastidipped and actually looks really good)
  • Blacked-out front grill
  • 5D carbon fibre wrap for the interior trim to replace the tacky silver carbon fibre.
  • RR Racing o2 sensor conditioner (I’ve had the check engine light come on 3 times now in the past few months and the car goes into a semi-limp mode (starts off in 2nd gear etc) so I want to stop this from happening)
  • StopTech braided brake lines
  • Will also another engine flush and oil change soon also to ensure all the old oil is long gone (so car had an oil change by Lexus at 42k, then by me at 45k, and now ill do another one at around 48k). Might be overkill, but it’s a relatively small cost (and I can do the work myself) to ensure the engine is in tip top shape.
  • Not a mod as such, but I want to put the car on my local dyno to see what its making (same place I used for my Golf’s, they have an AWD Mainline dyno). I wish I had dyno’d the car completely stock, then with the intake, then with the x-force exhaust, then with the gutted headers…….but oh well. Hoping it somewhere around 250-260kw at the wheels.
  • Researching (but not getting too far due to unclear information) about how I can possibly update the HVAC and stereo section of the dash. I would love to fit this kit along with a nice double din stereo with Apple Carplay but apparently these kits do not work with models with factory navigation and also do not work with the Mark Levison amp and stereo. I have enquired with the manufacturer of the dash kit (Stinger Australia) but turns out they don’t actually make the kit and you can but it from USA for less than ½ the price. I have also enquired with 2x local car stereo shop and neither of them that assure me the kit will work. Im not a fan of the Grom or Beat Sonic solutions so looks like im stuck with the daggy and outdated factory dash unless someone knows of another option.

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Great read mate and an interesting insight into what you had to go through.

I live in Newcastle myself and have owned my MY11 Starlight black ISF for over 5 years and loved every minute.

Recently upgraded to an RCF as I was after something a touch more modern and just after a change really.

Let me know if any of your mates are keen to get into an ISF after seeing yours :)

I'm selling my modded one here: https://au.lexusownersclub.com/forums/topic/14098-further-price-drop-2010-my11-lexus-is-f-starlight-black-with-mods-approx-300rwkw/

 

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19 hours ago, rysith said:

Great read mate and an interesting insight into what you had to go through.

I live in Newcastle myself and have owned my MY11 Starlight black ISF for over 5 years and loved every minute.

Recently upgraded to an RCF as I was after something a touch more modern and just after a change really.

Let me know if any of your mates are keen to get into an ISF after seeing yours :)

I'm selling my modded one here: https://au.lexusownersclub.com/forums/topic/14098-further-price-drop-2010-my11-lexus-is-f-starlight-black-with-mods-approx-300rwkw/

 

Is your RC-F grey? If so, i think i saw you a few days ago on Industrial Drive (might have been Wednesday afternoon at 5pm). And yes i have told one of my friends about your car, but he has 4x modified Toyota's in the garage already and is building a house - so funds are tight.

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Fwd Brakes Direct New Order # 17-00003087.msg

17 hours ago, Babalouie said:

Great job on the detailing :)

Thanks - it certainly was a big task but i enjoy it. Now that the car is clean, it's so much easier to keep it that way with a weekly wash and vacuum, and a polish/sealant a few times a year to keep it glossy and protected.

Should see the before and after on the brake calipers!! I wish i had taken some "before" photos of the paintwork but it just didn't occur to me at the time.

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22 minutes ago, _ISF said:

Is your RC-F grey? If so, i think i saw you a few days ago on Industrial Drive (might have been Wednesday afternoon at 5pm). And yes i have told one of my friends about your car, but he has 4x modified Toyota's in the garage already and is building a house - so funds are tight.

Nah it's white with the carbon pack (bonnet, roof, spoiler) - but I often travel on Industrial Dr, so it may have been mine with bad lighting (or it's dirtier than I thought :) )

I'll give you a wave if I see you around :)

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How much did the rotors and pads cost all up ?

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3 hours ago, rysith said:

Nah it's white with the carbon pack (bonnet, roof, spoiler) - but I often travel on Industrial Dr, so it may have been mine with bad lighting (or it's dirtier than I thought :) )

I'll give you a wave if I see you around :)

Cool - ill keep an eye out. I have seen an orange one around (actually i think its an RC 350, not an F) and also that grey RC-F but dont think ive seen a white one. I'll keep an eye out.

3 hours ago, Gen03 said:

How much did the rotors and pads cost all up ?

Front disks $ 450 (DBA2758X | DBA Street Series X Gold Cross Drilled Brake Rotor)
Front Pads $ 245 (Winmax W1)

Rear Disks $ 435 (DBA2759X | DBA Street Series X Gold Cross Drilled Brake Rotor)
Rear Pads $ 211 (Winmax W2)

If you are interested, I have replaced these Winmax pads with some Bremtec ones as I was trying to get rid of a persistent squeal from the brakes that developed a few months after installation. Turns out it was the rear pads making the noise – so I wouldn’t want to sell those unless it was for a track car or something. But the front pads were noise free, worked well and have only done about 3,000-4,000km since I fitted them. You can have them for $150 if you are interested.

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