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I Want To Use The Hands-free Phone System In My 1998


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My 1998 LS 400 has the built-in handsfree design for the Lexus Portable Plus cellular phone (wiring, buttons/mic on the steering wheel). The antiquated but original Portable Plus phone still resides in its dock in the upper center console. It's plugged in to the original curly IVM cord, and beeps a greeting through the stereo speakers each time the car is started.

Of course, the service for this phone is no longer active, and it would be pointless to attempt to reactive the original outdated and bulky handset for a variety of obvious reasons.

I'm not a fan of walking around with a Bluetooth device on my ear (and don't have a Bluetooth-capable personal cell phone yet), but I'd really, really like to take advantage of the in-car handsfree system for my personal phone.

Currently my service is with Sprint and I have a Sanyo MM-7400 handset, although I plan to upgrade to a secondhand Sanyo Katana II in the very near future.

Do any of you have suggestions or recommendations for how (if possible at all) to hook up and dock my intended new Sprint handset in the center console location as elegantly as possible so I can utilize the car's handsfree capabilities/buttons on the steering wheel? In my utopian vision, I would simply go down to the Lexus dealer and purchase a cradle and new curly IVM cord matched with the Sanyo Katanna II (or other modern Sprint phone if necessary), pay my (big?) money for these items, and be done with it. Simple plug and play. But I'm sure it's not that simple! I'm sure some of you have gone through this already--wanting to use contemporary cell phones in older Lexus cars.

As a matter of fact, given how quickly cell phones become outdated, I'd assume Lexus had a solution for the new-car buyer who planned to keep his Lexus longer than his cell phone, yet still wanted the convenience of the handsfree system!

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I have done extensive research over several years and have never found information about how to use a Lexus dealer installed phone system with a phone that was not meant to be used with it. It is possible, however, to connect an aftermarket phone kit to at least some of the factory installed phone wiring harness. Jainla took it further than anyone I have seen and connected his aftermarket Bluetooth phone system to the OEM phone wiring harness to play the call through the door speakers of his LS430. You might try searching for the thread he posted.

Here are a couple of threads on how I installed a phone kit in my 2000 LS400.

This thread contains a link to a MS Word document which has details on how I installed a phone kit and includes information about audio mute connections you can use:

http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index...91&hl=phone

This thread shows how I switched from mounting the phone on a bracket to a Kuda console:

http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index...53&hl=phone

Blake918 did a similar install in his 95 LS; the mute connection on his 95 LS is slightly different. Blake and I have communicated a lot about phone installs; I suspect he will soon be switching to a Bluetooth kit to use with his new iPhone. If you search for "Blake918" and "phone", you will find a detailed account with photos of how Blake installed his phone kit.

Personally, I think mounting the phone in the center console makes it very unhandy unless you are using a Bluetooth phone with a Bluetooth phone kit.

Your "utopian vision" has come true -- at least for Lexus owners in the U.K. Lexus dealers have provided a "convenience kit" which includes an easily removable charging cradle with an antenna connection. The charging cradle is meant to be installed in the center console and for use with Bluetooth phones and the Bluetooth built in to newer Lexus vehicles. Lexus in the U.K. has supplied charging cradles for a number of popular Bluetooth phones. For example if several different family members have different Bluetooth phones, each person would insert his own phone cradle into the cradle receiver and then insert his phone into the cradle.

There are a number of threads from others on this and the Clublexus forum on how people installed Bluetooth kits in a variety of Lexus vehicles. Regardless of the kit type, most of the principles are the same.

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Your "utopian vision" has come true -- at least for Lexus owners in the U.K. Lexus dealers have provided a "convenience kit" which includes an easily removable charging cradle with an antenna connection. The charging cradle is meant to be installed in the center console and for use with Bluetooth phones and the Bluetooth built in to newer Lexus vehicles. Lexus in the U.K. has supplied charging cradles for a number of popular Bluetooth phones.

There is also a company in Germany (THB BURY) that makes cradles very similar to the Lexus convenience kit offered in the UK:

http://www.bury.com/en/hands-free-car-kits...m-9-ad-on-unit/

I'v seen them for sale here on Ebay; they aren't that expensive. They also have some bluetooth kits you can look into. Personally I would stick with a bluetooth system as it's telephone agnostic; I've gone through 3 phones in the year and a half I've had mine.

Also Tellphone makes a new system designed to integrate with the car's NAV screen (if you've got one). I'm sure it costs a fortune but I've heard good things about the Raytel kits:

http://www.tellphone.com/index.php?option=...&Itemid=222

You still need to mount the controller somewhere but it looks cool. Good luck!

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