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RetiredDoc

Replace The Mark Levinson Amplifier Yourself And Save $$&#03

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I just replaced the Mark Levinson amplifier in my 2013 LX 570, so I thought I'd describe the process.
First of all, the amplifier failure results in absolutely no audio from the speakers. No radio, no Sirius XM, no music via bluetooth pairing with your phone, no voice prompts from the navigation system.
A DVD will still play, but video only, without sound. The door ajar beep still works, as it has its own speaker.

The amplifier is located in a depression in the floor under the driver's seat. It is covered by carpet, which isn't the best engineering for a device that's heat susceptible like an amplifier. The amplifier has twin cooling fans in the end facing the center of the vehicle, but they obviously are blocked by the confines of the floor recess and the carpet covering. Now for the directions, which I learned by trial and error.

Absolutely the best and perhaps only way to remove the amp is by unbolting the driver's seat. You won't need to remove the seat, just tip it out of the way. Here are the steps:


  1. Run the driver's seat all the way forward. This exposes the plastic covers on the back of the seat rails. Using a screwdriver, just pop off both of these plastic covers. Underneath them are the rear seat mounting bolts. They are hex head 14 mm bolts, and are really tight. I ended up using an impact wrench to break them free. Remove both rear bolts and set them aside.\


  2. Now run the seat all the way towards the rear, and you'll have access to the front mounting bolts. Pop off their covers, and remove both of these 14 mm bolts.


  3. Next lift up the front of the seat and lean the driver's seat back against the middle seat. Peel up the carpeting under the seat (it's already partially split as factory installed. I needed to use a carpet knife to enlarge the opening in the carpet. And now you'll be looking down directly at the exposed amplifier.


  4. The amp is held in place to the floor by two mounts, one on either side. The mount on the center side is held by two 10 mm hex bolts, one in front, and one behind the long sides of the amp. The left side next to the door is held by a single 10 mm hex bolt, just to the door side of the end of the amp, and centered on its amp's midline. Remove these 3 bolts and the amp and its two mounts are loose. Next step is to remove the three cable connectors.


  5. The wiring connectors insert into the front of the amp. The smaller connector (nearest the center of the vehicle has no lock or latch, so just use a little force to pull it free. The center connector is locked by a tab on its upper surface, which needs to be pushed downward to allow the plug to be pulled free. The largest connector (nearest the driver's door, has a black latch (connector is white). The latch is pried up or forward
    on the side, and it pivots outward about 30 degrees. This frees the plug, which is then easily pulled free.


  6. Now just lift the amp and its two mounts out of the recess in the floor pan. Put the driver's seat back down in place, and install the 4 14 mm mounting bolts. Leave the plastic covers off until you have the amp repaired so you don't have to pull them off a second time.


  7. I sent my amp to United Radio in Nw York (unitedradio.com). They have great customer service and an oustnding reputation for repairing these amplifiers. The arrangement Lexus has with Mark Levinson (Harman) does not allow Lexus to repair these units, so they simply sell you a new one. List price for the amp is about $1,700, plus labor. I was quoted $2,400 for parts and labor. United Radio will repair the amp for a flat charge of $675, with free UPS shipping, a one year warranty, and a very rapid turn-around time, typically a week or less.


  8. When the repaired unit comes back, just reverse the removal process to install it. I left a window in the carpet under the seat to allow for better cooling of the device, and hopefully prevent future failures.

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Hi Doc,

Thanks for the great write up. It will be a lot of help

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RetiredDoc,

I personally had no issues with the amplifier so far, but thank you for posting such a detailed review. Agreeing with Paul A., I am sure that this will be helpful to others; and that's what this forum is designed for -- sharing experience and helping each other!

Further, I think the large advantage of your post is that it has has your soul attached to your advice (as district from rather technical Lexus Repair Manual procedures I've seen).

Good job and please keep on!

--E

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RetiredDoc,

I personally had no issues with the amplifier so far, but thank you for posting such a detailed review. Agreeing with Paul A., I am sure that this will be helpful to others; and that's what this forum is designed for -- sharing experience and helping each other!

Further, I think the large advantage of your post is that it has has your soul attached to your advice (as district from rather technical Lexus Repair Manual procedures I've seen).

Good job and please keep on!

--E

Unfortuneately for those of us who enjoy a bit (or a lot) of diy, Toyota discontinued publishing shop manuals after the 2010 MY...the only thing available now, at least for my 2013, is the Electric Wiring Diagram book...but it's still worth the money v. a couple of hours of dealer labor for something easy, like wiring-in driving lights.

Retired Doc, thanks much for this thread. I'm a little surprised that the amp died after only a few years...I'd be interested to know what National Radio identified as the failure mode. If it were overheating, maybe a little carpet removal is needed under the seat.

Thanks again.

Steve

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Something you may have already had experience with is the "Toyota Information Services". This site is by Toyota and contains almost all technical information on Lexus, Scion, and Toyota. The site contains wiring diagrams, mechanical specs and anything you can think of.

You must register when you sign in and pay $15.00 for two full days use. You may also buy additional use up to a full years subscription. I would encourage you folks to try it and report back on what you think. (NOTE) Some areas of the TIS site are restricted to certified technicians.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Paul

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Thanks for the positive comments. After 3 months the amp is still going strong. Turnaround time from United Radio was one day. I sent then an e-mail and received info and a prepaid UPS label from them within hours. I dropped off the amp at UPS, and they received it about 36 hours later. Another 8 hours and the tech called me from his work bench - the amp was repaired. Problem was overheating. He shipped the amp back right away, and 2 days later I had received the repaired amp and had it back in the vehicle. Now that is old school one-on-one customer service! When was the last time you actually got to talk with the person who worked on your Lexus?

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 Has anyone contacted Lexus and ask why this is not a recall. It seems to be a common issue. 

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On 10/23/2015 at 8:34 PM, RetiredDoc said:

 When was the last time you actually got to talk with the person who worked on your Lexus?

I talk to myself more or less daily.  Sometimes I get an answer or 2, often not.  :)

 

2 hours ago, Btrini said:

 Has anyone contacted Lexus and ask why this is not a recall. It seems to be a common issue. 

Probably not a recall if the failure rate is low.  On a forum like this, you're not going to hear about ML equipment continuing to work well...you'll only hear about the failures.

OT...Necro thread, OP hasn't posted here since December of last year.  

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 That's the thing. What's considered a high failure rate. The issue is not isolated to the LX. On other forums and sites like repair pal there are a lot of complaints. One site shows complaints as far back as 2001 vehicles. 

I called United radio, who a lot of owners use to repair the amp and while they could not share how many repairs they got from Lexus owners grey did confirm that it is fairly often. This is sounding like a common issue to me. Even the dealer I took it to kinda confirmed that.

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