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Andrew McLaughlin

1999 Ls400 Terrible Radio Reception

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Hi guys,

I just bought a '99 LS400 in March and love it!! Only 105K miles!! Had the basics taken care of (timing belt, water pump and a dead starter in the 3rd week) and we've already been on our first road trip. The only downside (and this is since I bought it in March), is that it has terrible radio reception. Basically, I get three stations to come in (sorta) 91.5, 95.9 and 107.9. And even those can be spotty as I drive around town. And as for AM, forget it. It's nothing but static throughout.

I've examined the antenna on the read window, and it appears to be intact. No signs of wear, tear or scratches. The glass is original (Toyota logo etched on it) and has never been tinted. I suppose that it's possible the antenna cable has vibrated loose somewhere along the way, contributing to the loss of signal. But I'll be daft if I can figure out where that should be. They really do a fantastic job at hiding wires on this car.

So, any clues/advice? I shun the thought of taking it to the dealer for what it might cost me to get it fixed. I'm hoping it's a common failure mode and then someone can advise me on this. I also notice that the front cig lighter is dead in case that's related. I will be checking all fuses over the weekend to see if it (or any other) are blown.

Otherwise, the vehicle operates flawlessly. All other electronics and remote functions are as documented. All lighting systems are 100%. Just no radio to speak of. Even the 6-disc changer works perfectly.

Any advise will be greatly appreciated!!

Mahao,

Piko

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If I understand correctly, your radio has never worked. If so, is it possible to speak to previous owners to see when the problem started? I suppose you could pull the head unit to check that the antenna and all other connections are plugged in to it -- very easy to do -- I've pulled the head unit in my 00 LS several times. I suspect there is some sort of defect in the head unit since the CD works fine. I doubt if it is as simple as a disconnected antenna.

Lexus dealers aren't demons regardless of how we complain about them on this forum. A Lexus dealer might be in the best position to tell you what the problem is. There are a number of shops that repair Lexus radios and amps -- my local indie repair shop uses one in Florida and another 98-00 LS owner told me that the turnaround on radio repairs is very quick.

Your 99 LS400 is a damned nice, and still valuable, car -- it's a shame to not have a radio to enjoy and it would be well worth a few hundred $ to get it working.

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If I understand correctly, your radio has never worked. If so, is it possible to speak to previous owners to see when the problem started? I suppose you could pull the head unit to check that the antenna and all other connections are plugged in to it -- very easy to do -- I've pulled the head unit in my 00 LS several times. I suspect there is some sort of defect in the head unit since the CD works fine. I doubt if it is as simple as a disconnected antenna.

Lexus dealers aren't demons regardless of how we complain about them on this forum. A Lexus dealer might be in the best position to tell you what the problem is. There are a number of shops that repair Lexus radios and amps -- my local indie repair shop uses one in Florida and another 98-00 LS owner told me that the turnaround on radio repairs is very quick.

Your 99 LS400 is a damned nice, and still valuable, car -- it's a shame to not have a radio to enjoy and it would be well worth a few hundred $ to get it working.

Check the grounding of the external telescopic antenna. It involves removing the antenna from the inner rear fender and sanding/cleaning the point where it touches the ground plane, or metal fender on the underside. It should be sanded down to metal so you get a good contact. This was on a service bulletin from Lexus that I remember seeing.

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There is, of course, no "external telescopic antenna" on LS cars after the 1997 model year. The AM-FM radio antenna (and the phone antenna) on the 1998 LS400 is imprinted on the rear window similar to the defroster grid.

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I had a variation of this problem. I have generally good reception, but couldn't pull a jazz station I like out of Philly. That was definitely a problem since I could get the station in the car I had previously. I wound up putting in satellite radio which is excellent. Now I can listen to the same stations coast to coast!

Hi guys,

I just bought a '99 LS400 in March and love it!! Only 105K miles!! Had the basics taken care of (timing belt, water pump and a dead starter in the 3rd week) and we've already been on our first road trip. The only downside (and this is since I bought it in March), is that it has terrible radio reception. Basically, I get three stations to come in (sorta) 91.5, 95.9 and 107.9. And even those can be spotty as I drive around town. And as for AM, forget it. It's nothing but static throughout.

I've examined the antenna on the read window, and it appears to be intact. No signs of wear, tear or scratches. The glass is original (Toyota logo etched on it) and has never been tinted. I suppose that it's possible the antenna cable has vibrated loose somewhere along the way, contributing to the loss of signal. But I'll be daft if I can figure out where that should be. They really do a fantastic job at hiding wires on this car.

So, any clues/advice? I shun the thought of taking it to the dealer for what it might cost me to get it fixed. I'm hoping it's a common failure mode and then someone can advise me on this. I also notice that the front cig lighter is dead in case that's related. I will be checking all fuses over the weekend to see if it (or any other) are blown.

Otherwise, the vehicle operates flawlessly. All other electronics and remote functions are as documented. All lighting systems are 100%. Just no radio to speak of. Even the 6-disc changer works perfectly.

Any advise will be greatly appreciated!!

Mahao,

Piko

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There is, of course, no "external telescopic antenna" on LS cars after the 1997 model year. The AM-FM radio antenna (and the phone antenna) on the 1998 LS400 is imprinted on the rear window similar to the defroster grid.

Oops, my fault. Of course my TSB works for earlier models....

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Not sure what the problem is but I just purchased a 99 LS400 during the daylight hours on a nice day only to find out after dark that the clock and pasenger side temp light do not work, also on a later day I found the rear window defoger does not work. My front cigarette lighter doesn't work either but I tested the voltage to the plug on the bottom of the lighter and it's getting battery voltage it's just not making it thru the cigarette lighter plug. Good luck and keep us posted.

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