I have a Lexus 300 and, surprisingly, I have found the parts department of the dealer to be very helpful when I wanted to make minor repairs. I just called and they told me how. It's certainly worth a try. Good luck.
Removing front lamp assembly and correcting a fast flashing blinker. (This is the procedure for a '96 ES300. I would assume that other models are basically the same.)
1. Open the hood and remove the plastic clips that hold the front plastic splash guard in place. This is done by pushing on the center of the plastic buttons to depress them slightly. The button (clip) can then be removed. For the buttons (clips) with the Philips head center, lift the Philips head center until you hear a click and then remove the whole clip.
2. Remove the plastic splash guard.
3. Remove the three 10mm bolts that hold the lens assembly to the fender.
4. On the fender side of the lamp assembly there is a plastic clip that is inserted in a small flange which is part of the fender. Use a flat screwdriver to put pressure on the back of the post that protrudes thru this clip. This post, that is part of the lamp assembly, helps to hold the assemble in the correct position. Once that post is free of the clip the lens assembly can easily be removed.
5. Un-clip the wires to the main headlights and the the parking/turn signal lamp and remove the lens assembly from the vehicle.
6. In the case of a fast blinking turn signal, remove the turn signal bulb, test to be sure it is good, and clean the contacts of the blub, bulb holder, and the printed circuit strip on the lamp assembly.
7, Reassemble everything and test.
8. Replace the lamp assemble in the fender and secure the splash guard with the clips.
9. This should be about a 1/2 hour job.
I am a car repair newbie and I was able to do this repair following the above instructions in about 2-3 hours. It probably saved me $100 in labor and a pair of turn signal bulbs were under $6 with tax, so you should definitely do this one yourself and not get lazy and take it to a shop. Here are some extra tips:
1. There are 2 bolts, 10 mm and 12 mm, by the windshield washer fluid reservoir that are pretty difficult to get at. Don't waste your time with them because they won't help you get the lamp assembly off.
2. The splash guard is the long thin plastic thing that goes across the entire front end of the vehicle (not just the side you want to get at). It has about 15 clips going across it and you should remove it entirely to avoid bending it or it getting in your way.
3. The only tool you really need to do this job is a ratchet with a 10mm hex end. You need something long and thin to push on the end of the clip described in step 4, which is right by the turn signal bulb, by the way. You might also need a Phillips head screwdriver to loosen the clips on the splash guard. Other than these tools, if you find yourself reaching for other tools you are probably removing something you don't have to.
4. The lamp assembly has 3 wiring harnesses going to it, one for each bulb in the lamp assembly.
5. You don't need to disassemble the lamp assembly at all. Don't remove the clips and Phillips head screws. All you need to do is grab a grey plastic holder and twist to get the turn signal bulb out. It is probably similar to get at the headlights to replace them, although I didn't actually try that. The headlights have a few small Phillips head screws around them.
6. Unless you are a pro at a shop you probably don't have any way of testing the bulb outside of the lamp assembly. Just replace it even if the bulb looks fine (mine didn't show any visible signs of being burned out, but it was fast blinking anyway), they are only $6 a pair, and it would take you more than that worth of your free time to remove the lamp assembly again if the bulb started fast blinking again.
7. The turn signal bulb is an amber color and the part number is 1157NA, in case you are trying to find if your parts store has the right one.
8. My experience was also on a 1996 Lexus ES300. The original question asked about a 98, and they redesigned this car in 97, so these instructions might vary for newer models.
FOR 99' ES300 MODELS: You do not have to do the things mentioned above. The process is much easier and simpler. No need to even open the hood. All you have to do is pull the whole turn signal assembly forward. NOTE: It is important that you do NOT pull it sideways or even at an angle for it might break the plastic clip. There is only one clip holding the assembly from the frame. To start, use a screw driver or similar and insert it in the farthest part of the signal light assembly from the front. Pry gently to move the assembly forward about an inch or two to completely unlatch the plastic clip that is holding it in place. This clip is located in the middle of the assembly. Then remove the assembly still attached by the wires. Twist the lamp holder out of it's socket to replace the busted light.
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