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lexpert, Lexus Master tech
Category: Lexus
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience:  Master Certified with lexus, 8 years experience with Lexus
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1998 es300: The back end suspension..clunks..slowly..push down

Resolved Question:

I have a 1998 es300 w/ 128000 miles. The back end suspension makes noise - clunks, when I go slowly over small bumps. When i push down on the back of the car it is very slow to raise back up. The front doesn't move much when I push down on it, but it doesn't make any noise. It has the electronic modulated suspension, but doesn't appear to be working - when I change the setting I don't notice any change.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Lexus
Expert:  lexpert replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for using just answer.

I am very very familair with your car, aside from owning one I hae worked on these for too many years.......I can fully understand not wanting to spend $2,300 on a repair for a car that is only worth twice that.......let me ask you this- realistically how much longer do you plan on keeping this car? I have a few options for you to consider depending on yoru situatuion

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
well, we just bought it and would like to keep it. The dealer told us that there was nothing wrong with the car because they did all the work on it, so I don't know who to trust.
Expert:  lexpert replied 7 years ago.

Ok, let me ask you this then....if you drive the car over a speed bump does the car bounce several times or does it only shock/rebound one time?

Do you notice any noises from the front like a crunching noise...some customers describe it as a noise similar to pop-corn popping

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no, it doesn't bounce at all, more like just thuds on the bumps and no crunching noises - more like something is banging around in the trunk, which is what we were told it was when we bought it.
Expert:  lexpert replied 7 years ago.

ok, a banging noise is not mormal on this model.

We have seen a few issues with slight clunking noises and creek/pop noises as the sway bar bushings dry out or the upper strut mount bushings collapse but not a banging noise.


The electronic modulated air suspension was a very very rare option on the ES300, only about 5% of production had this option so you will likely never see another one yourself with this feature. In higher mileage these do tend to stick internally and the price for parts is extremely high. The Lexus LS400 had a electronic system as well and we commonly saw repair bills of $5,000 on these if they fail, not fun to explain to a customer.


My advise and recommendation on your car would be quite simple here to keep cost down. The electronic verses NON-electric suspension systems on the Es300 are physically the same size and the suspension components are interchangable.

If you are going to replace the struts here what I would recommend is to install standard struts/springs and mounts to the car. The electronic parts can simply be discarded and the switch disabled to keep the indicator lights from going off. This is the most simple and cost effective solution. If you do decide to invest the thousands on the electronic parts do be aware that they typically have a very stiff ride quality regardless of setting so you will likely not be happy with the car if you go that route.


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