Posted 14 August 2006 - 10:14 PM
For anyone else interested in getting the Ipod installed in an RX-330 or RX-350, the following worked very well for me. The whole process took me under 2 hours.
My vehicle is the 2007 Lexus RX-350 with the Mark Levinson & Nav system, but this process should work on RX-330 as well. I purchased the VAIS SoundlinQ SLI unit , available at www.vaistech.com for around $300. They will ask you to identify the year/make details so you order the correct version.
The instruction manual with the VAIS SoundlinQ is pretty good. In the front is a table showing what vehicle years & models are supported, and specifically what mode of operation you'll need to program it for. For the RX-330/350 you want to select 'CD Emulation' and not MD or CD-MP3 mode...but i'm jumping ahead because this mode selection occurs at the end. The instruction manual is also important to read thru as it will spell out a couple options that need to be turned on or off on the Ipod, and that it only supports playlists up to 99 songs.
The VAIS includes a cable adaptor that splices into the back of the radio head unit, and then has a couple feet of cable to connect into the SoundlinQ adaptor (a small metal box about the size of....a small box of crayons?...small enough anyways). From the adaptor another cable plugs in that goes into the Ipod. I chose to install the adaptor in the glove box, cutting a small square hole in the back to snake the cable into the radio head unit.
To start the process, I would advise disconnecting the negative connector on the car battery terminal for safety...unless you are comfortable working with exposed electrical connections. I completed the whole process with the battery still connected, and it can easily be done with a little care.
I started by disengaging the two stops along the sides of the glove box....by just pushing in on the sides until the glove box pops out. It won't come out all the way, but it will extend further out and down so you can get a cable run behind it from the radio head unit. I then proceeded to remove the radio so i could get the VAIS SoundlinQ cable connected to the back.
For the process of removing the stereo, I will refer you to a website that has a few fairly simple steps for doing it. It's possible these instructions are in this forum or elsewhere for free, but I ended up paying $4.99 to get the instructions at www.carstereoremoval.com for the Lexus RX-330. Though the instructions were for the RX-330, they worked exactly the same for my RX-350. For the really cheap, I will only give the hint that you start by popping off the wood trim around the gear shifter and work your way up. The whole process of removing the stereo only took me 30 minutes. This was actually the hard part if even that.
The next step is the disconnect the connector in the back of the head unit (make sure the radio power is still off if you kept the battery connected) and plug in the VAIS cable that looks like it and splices in the control signals from the SoundlinQ. You might have to use a small flathead to hold down the locking tab on the connector to get it pulled off the radio. Route the stretch of cable that goes into the VAIS through the side where it can be fed into the back of the glove box. Snap the radio back in place and reassemble the trim to finish off this part. Again the whole process to this point only took me 30 minutes, and i'm fairly methodical.
To finish the install, I used an exacto knife/box cutter to carve a small square out the lower back side of the glove box. I would suggest the lower half because you'll note there is an air filter and air flow designed to go over the top portion. With the two mounting holes on the VAIS adaptor, i had a couple small machine screws i used to screw it into the bottom side of the glove box. It lies flat when the glove box is fully closed. The Ipod i place a strip of velcro on the back...the fuzzy side on the Ipod and the hook side actually holds quite well with the adhesive strip on the bottom of the glove box.
The final step is to initialize the VAIS unit with the instructions provided in its manual for the CD Emulation mode. There is a two pin switch that needs to be set a couple ways while the ignition is turned on/off. I did this with the SoundlinQ screwed in place, but you may want to do this initialization step before you screw it down so its easier to access the small switch.
That's it, should be able to do all this in under 2 hours. The playlist and song information shows up on the Nav (audio) screen and not on the small CD/radio LCD screen. The Ipod is controlled just like the CD player , thru the steering wheel control , etc.
Hope this helps anyways else who was desperate to get Ipod hooked up......