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Upgrade 2004 Sc430 With Bluetooth/hd Radio/usb/ipod

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Hi all,

I was hoping someone here could help. I have become the ecstatic owner of a BLUE 2004 SC430. It is my dream car. When I drive, I see absolutely no other car on the road that I would rather have. My only complaint would be the lack of bluetooth. Strangely, the Lexus dealer said he couldn't install it. So, off I go into the aftermarket.

I'd like some recommendations as to where I should go:

(in order of importance)

  1. FINISHED LOOK: No holes or wires running all over the place.
  2. bluetooth use should interrupt any audio playback (so I can have the music loud and still hear it ring)
  3. Voice dialing
  4. HD radio
  5. USB connection
  6. Discrete ipod connection.
  7. storage (HD or flash mem)
  8. DVD drive
  9. touch screen (possibly)

I checked out VAIS and was very impressed, but unfortunately their products don't support bluetooth. Any suggestions as to where I should go next would be greatly appreciated.

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Its pretty straightforward to install a Bluetooth kit so it would mute your audio system -- there are lots of nice Bluetooth kits available from Motorola, Parrot, Nokia and other companies. Lexus and Toyota dealers in the U.K. and Europe sell the Motorola IHF1000 Bluetooth as an official option - rebranded with Lexus and Toyota logos - for cars that do not come with Bluetooth. You can see an example of the IHF100 with its optional charging cradle on this U.K. Lexus web page: http://www.lexus.co.uk/range/is/accessories/interior.aspx

A bunch of us including me have installed phone kits in Lexus vehicles so they mute the audio system.

The first step might be to ask a Lexus dealer to print the audio system diagram for you so you can identify the location and color of mute wire connections. My Lexus dealer did that for me although it was easier for me since my car was pre-wired at the factory for a phone system.

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Thanks for the advice. Those diagrams should make my job a bit easier if I can get them.

After more research, I've got a better idea of what I want, but still need help getting there.

  1. Should I keep the OEM Head Unit?
    The OEM Mark Levinson head unit sounds good; hate to replace it if I dont need to.
    VaisTech doesn't appear to offer text support for 2004 and earlier models. Is it possible to get the OEM unit to support HD radio and ipod WITH TEXT and WITHOUT FM modulators?
  2. Or replace the OEM head unit?
    Would a double-din be the best type? Would the OEM woodfinish cover flip-down and conceal it?
    Crutchfield says 2004 SC430 has 9 1/16" depth; Size code E. Does this mean that I can get just about double-din thats less than 9" in depth and have reasonable assurance it will work?
    I'll need a special mounting kit in order to fill up the holes. Is Crutchfield my best bet here, or do I have alternatives?
    Considering these units. Please comment if you know anything about them.







  3. Back-up Camera
    I want it to function automatically when car is in reverse.
    Do I need anything more than NavTool and a camera-integrated plate?
    NavTool makes installation seem too simple. Is there a wire connected to the reverse gear already running to the trunk, or do I have to run it myself?

Any wisdom on the matter will be appreciated.

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Thanks for the advice. Those diagrams should make my job a bit easier if I can get them.

After more research, I've got a better idea of what I want, but still need help getting there.

  1. Should I keep the OEM Head Unit?
    The OEM Mark Levinson head unit sounds good; hate to replace it if I dont need to.
    VaisTech doesn't appear to offer text support for 2004 and earlier models. Is it possible to get the OEM unit to support HD radio and ipod WITH TEXT and WITHOUT FM modulators?
  2. Or replace the OEM head unit?
    Would a double-din be the best type? Would the OEM woodfinish cover flip-down and conceal it?
    Crutchfield says 2004 SC430 has 9 1/16" depth; Size code E. Does this mean that I can get just about double-din thats less than 9" in depth and have reasonable assurance it will work?
    I'll need a special mounting kit in order to fill up the holes. Is Crutchfield my best bet here, or do I have alternatives?
    Considering these units. Please comment if you know anything about them.







  3. Back-up Camera
    I want it to function automatically when car is in reverse.
    Do I need anything more than NavTool and a camera-integrated plate?
    NavTool makes installation seem too simple. Is there a wire connected to the reverse gear already running to the trunk, or do I have to run it myself?

Any wisdom on the matter will be appreciated.

Any luck on it ?

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I just replaced the OEM Mark Levinson head unit with the JVC KWNT800HDT 7-Inch DVD-CD-USB-SD HD Radio Navigation Receiver. Still a work in progress due to nagging finish and adjustment issues. I do not recommend using the JVC unit because there are several problems but maybe you maybe can avoid them with other unit. I am not a professional car guy but generally I can figure out work arounds when needed with cars and eletronics.

First, you will need to get (in addition to the new Double DIN head unit) an adaptor kit; Beat Sonic is the only one I know of that is for specifically the SC430; it is Beat Sonic MVA-12L, for 2002-2004 models. It is expensive, $430, but it works as advertised, preserving steering wheel controls and OEM navigation unit, as well as the original speaker system.

Second, there is a good set of instructions on line on how to remove the old unit, which is tricky and requires several steps in exact sequence. It only costs 5 bucks but has excellent pictures of the steps to avoid damaging anything trim or otherwise. Just search on Car Stereo Removal, LLC.

Okay, the problems. Foremost, if you have white leather interior like we do, the reflection off the seats in daylight washes out the screen terribly, even on brightest setting. You have to turn off the feature that adjusts brightness at dark, because your daytime running lights makes the unit think it is dark and lightens the screen. Net result is having to manually adjust screen brightness after dark to keep if from being too bright, while keeping it at brightest setting in daylight. Might be able to bypass the daytime running lights, haven't had time to experiment with that, though.

The trim kit that comes with Beat Sonic will not fill all the gaps from Double DIN unit. Still exploring options on this myself. While the wood door will come down to cover the new head unit, it must be in the inverse slant angle. to do so. Not all GPS head units have this motorized face place. This is another problem: the face plate must move up to open access to DVD/CD input slot, but on the JVC, it misses clearing the wood trim on the console cover by about 1/4 inch, so I have had to modify the plastic trim on the heated seats control module (everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle on the console trim). Net result - trim cannot reseat in original retaining brackets and still get the GPS face plate to move up and down as is necessary.

Third item: placement of the microphone for BT phone capability is a challenge. I put it down on the steering wheel column right below the wiper switch arm. It would be better if up higher, but you would have to disassemble the trim on the windshield column to do that - very hard to do. Net result, with convertible top down, the BT mike is barely satisfactory for conversations.

There are several other issues, but please ask only if you are still intending to make the conversion. Tim

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One question I am looking to help me with finishing up: does anyone know how to make the new head unit display to the OEM GPS screen as well as on the new head unit? Several YouTube professional installers show they did this, but I can't figure out the setting on the OEM controls to display the auxiliary video input signal from the new head unit, even though it is wired to do so. Thnaks!

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12 hours ago, Rich Sim said:

Does anyone know if you lose the “mast removal” function by replacing the factory radio in the sc430?

I've installed several aftermarket radios myself and had one professionally installed in a 2000 LS400 and the factory radio antenna has always worked fine with all of them.

Do you have the fixed (non-retractable) antenna with the removable mast on the right rear fender?  If you do, your owners manual says it is (was) for Lexus Link which was a rebranded OnStar emergency service.  In the parts list for the 2004 SC430, the removal mast is labeled as "ROD, TELEPHONE ANTENNA".  The analog Lexus Link was available on the 2003-2004 SC430 but for some reason the SC430 didn't get the analog/digital Lexus Link that was launched in 2005 - at least according to Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus_Link

Here's a link to the 2004 SC430 owners manual so you can search it for "antenna" and be just as confused as I am about it:  https://drivers.lexus.com/t3Portal/document/om-s/OM24458U/pdf/OM244558U.pdf

Toyota played some odd "antenna games" in the 2000's when vehicles had the optional Lexus Link.  For example, the roof mounted antenna on the LS430 was for a dealer installed Lexus branded phone system only on vehicles without Lexus Link.  On vehicles with Lexus Link, the roof antenna was used for it and the phone antenna was imprinted on the rear window.

Lexus Link was superseded by Safety Connect which is now standard on many Toyota and Lexus models.

Edit:  I should have mentioned that the early SC430 had the removable mast antenna regardless of whether they had the optional Lexus Link.

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Thanks for the information.  My biggest worry about installing an aftermarket system is what happens when I do something stupid and break the retractable antenna.   Currently it is very easy to replace however the process requires a few control functions on the original radio to be pressed simultaneously.  Can this sequence be replicated with an after market unit?  If not,   Is there a way to replace the antenna if I switch?

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1 hour ago, Rich Sim said:

Thanks for the information.  My biggest worry about installing an aftermarket system is what happens when I do something stupid and break the retractable antenna.   Currently it is very easy to replace however the process requires a few control functions on the original radio to be pressed simultaneously.  Can this sequence be replicated with an after market unit?  If not,   Is there a way to replace the antenna if I switch?

Sorry, I think I misunderstood the parts lists and diagrams for the SC430 and my memory of how it's equipped is failing.  If you have the retractable radio antenna instead of the one on the windshield, then I guess you would replace or fix it if it broke.  I don't know why you would be messing with the antenna if you are going to install an aftermarket audio system.  I would think you would just unplug the antenna from the original head unit and plug it into the new aftermarket one - at least that's what the installer did when he installed a double DIN screen Kenwood in my 2000 LS400.

A modern aftermarket audio or audio/navigation system would make your SC430 seem much more modern ... one with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto would be very nice.

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