txrx300

Upgrading Radio System On 2001 Rx300

Recommended Posts

I am new to the forum and this is probably a very ambitious first post. I have done some searching, but have been unable to find answers to my specific questions so I thought I would start a new topic.

First some background. My daughter inherited her grandmother's 2001 RX300 4WD with only 31,000 miles on it. The car seems ideal for her because she will probably be moving up to the frozen north, except it is missing some features she would like, all in the radio department. OEM Lexus solutions would be preferred.

She would like:

1) An "integrated" ipod/MP3 connection. I believe this is available from Lexus for around $800 installed. Has anyone done it and how "successful" (appearance, usage) was it?

2) Replacing the powered antenna with a fixed one like the newer (not newest) RX330/350s have. Is this possible? Has anyone done this conversion? I was told by one dealership it could not be done (I forgot to ask the first dealer). Is there an aftermarket solution?

3) Radio controls on the steering wheel. Since we didn't pay anything for the car, except for shipping, we were willing to put some money into this request including installing a new steering wheel. We have been told by different Lexus parts people that this is not possible, and if it were, it would be cost-prohibitive. Are there any aftermarket solutions that don't look tacked on?

I understand that the easy solution would be to trade the RX300 in for a new one, but we feel our daughter does not need to be driving around in a brand new Lexus at this point in her life, and that's not even taking into account the tremendous expense.

Thanks in advance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the most commonly installed iPod interface products for Lexus are from http://www.vaistech.com but it looks like the ones for the 01 RX work only if the car has OEM navigation. I tend to doubt that Lexus is going to have an interface -- before they produced there own, many/most Lexus dealers installed ones from VAIS. If a VAIS adapter was available, it would probably run about $250 on eBay. I just checked other brands of iPod adapter interfaces but they all also work only if the 01 RX has navigation. Check on your own -- I may be missing one.

There is always the cassette adapter or FM modulator/transmitter route. Most people don't think they sound as good has a hard wired interface but it can be an inexpensive way to get an iPod or other MP3 player's music into the radio. There are even A2DP FM transmitters that can move audio from an A2DP equipped phone/music player into the FM of an audio system.

I wish I could get a decent iPod/MP3 interface for my 2000 LS400 too but no body makes them for it either. I've gotten pretty good at burning music onto audio CD's. No fancy software is needed - just Windows Media Player. If your RX has a working CD player, that is a cheap way to go.

If your RX does not already have audio controls on the steering wheel, there will not be any wiring to support a steering wheel that has audio controls. There are a number of aftermarket radios that are compatible with iPods and that come with wireless audio control modules that clamp on the steering wheel rim but installing all that can open up a can of worms.

If the antenna is not working, replacement power antennas are not all that expensive - $144 from Sewell as I posted recently: http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=68198&st=0&p=427853&hl=antenna&fromsearch=1entry427853

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, thanks for your reply.

The reason my daughter wants to replace the powered antenna is not because it is not working. It is because of paranoia. Before her car arrived she saw one just like hers that had had the antenna vandalized (bent and almost broken off). She is afraid the antenna can/will be stuck in the fully extended position making it an inviting target for parking lot vandals, especially when she is working night shifts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your reply.

The reason my daughter wants to replace the powered antenna is not because it is not working. It is because of paranoia. Before her car arrived she saw one just like hers that had had the antenna vandalized (bent and almost broken off). She is afraid the antenna can/will be stuck in the fully extended position making it an inviting target for parking lot vandals, especially when she is working night shifts.

Paranoia? There are bigger issues to worry about than power antennas getting stuck in the up position. The power antenna worked fine on my first Lexus for the 13 1/2 years I owned the car except for once when it had a close encounter with a garage door and the staff was bent and had to be replaced. The power antenna on wife's Honda was working fine when it was passed to the nephew after 12 years. A new replacement power antenna might be good for another 10 years.

How far into the frozen north is daughter moving? Nome? Dallas? :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chicago or Pittsburgh, but she is not paranoid about the antenna freezing. :) She's paranoid about vandalism (ref: car like hers she saw with broken antenna) if the antenna is left fully extended when she parks. Sorry for the misunderstanding. She tells me that the antenna does not retract when she turns the engine off with the radio left on, her normal modes operandi. Is that not the case? I apologize again if the rationale for changing antennas was based on bad info. She may actually want it just for a more up-to-date look. Even though the car looks almost new, it is dated in some ways to her. It is 10 years old after all.

Thanks for the link. I will check to see if there are other local dealers for the Vais interface besides Lexus to see if we can get it installed cheaper.

Her RX300 does have the CD changer, but my daughter has gotten rid of all of her CDs because she put them all on her ipod! Besides CDs are so '90s. ;) You're talking to someone who still owns vinyl though.

Dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still not clear whether or not your 01 RX300 has the OEM navigation system. If it doesn't have nav, the VAIS isn't going to work. If it does have factory navigation, you are "golden" and one of the VAIS products will work for you.

I just now did a eBay search on "RX300 VAIS" and found a new "VAIS TECH Lexus RX 300/350/400 Ipod Car Kit SL2i-UP Kit" from seller imgr8180 for $199 on a "buy it now" basis or you could click the "make offer" button.

Installing these things are fairly easy -- only one connection to the navigation head unit ... instructions are attached.

VAIS Manual_SL2i_v444.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our RX300 does not have the navigation system. However, I was told by both Lexus dealers that they could install an ipod interface, one even called it a VAIS, but that w/o navigation only part of the play info would show up on the radio display because of its limited size.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our RX300 does not have the navigation system. However, I was told by both Lexus dealers that they could install an ipod interface, one even called it a VAIS, but that w/o navigation only part of the play info would show up on the radio display because of its limited size.

Please let us know how it works out. The VAIS application chart for Lexus vehicles - attached - seems to indicate that their products will not fit an 01 RX300 without nav. I have to tell you that it is extremely common for Lexus dealer employees to not understand Lexus cars - particularly the older ones. If I had a dollar for every time I had to explain a vehicle feature or a common problem to a Lexus service writer or other dealer employee ... well, you get the idea.

If the VAIS doesn't work out, here is another idea. A company in California can add an aux-in to your RX300 radio for $60 not including shipping: http://factoryradioservice.com/page.html?id=1

The guys been doing this modifications for years and all the older radios he sells on ebay (seller name: factoryradios) have it. The Factory Radios aux-in mod will not display iPod information on your radio but it will give great sound. Here is a thread on ClubLexus about a guy (pizitz70) who just got his 99 Lexus GS300 radio back with the aux-in mod: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/gs-second-generation/546486-sound-quality-of-3-5mm-aux-mod-to-oem-radio-from-factoryradioservice-com-2.html

And, yes, that's me participating in the thread on ClubLexus -- OK, this is my weekend hobby!

It's not very difficult to pull most Toyota and Lexus radio head units -- usually held in by only four 10 mm nuts or bolts ... two top, two bottom. Bubble wrap your radio, ship it to Factory Radios (after contacting him first), and the radio will have an inexpensive aux-in in a few days. If you go this route consider having the aux-in come out the rear of the radio on a cable you can route to the center console or glove box and see if he can add an on/off switch on a cable so you don't have to muck of the face of the radio. If if you want to mount a holder for the iPod by the radio you can get a nice bracket for a holder from the same company (Pro.Fit) that has instructions ( http://www.pro-fit-intl.com/Adobe/LX-70-99.pdf ) on how to pop of the trim bezel from around the radio so a bracket can be installed (or the radio removed).

post-2157-0-71537200-1297030172_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, Thanks very much for all your help and information. I wished that it could have been as simple as swapping out the 2001 head unit for a 2010 one. :( I would have been willing to pay the ridiculous price for the new Lexus radio. Oh well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim, Thanks very much for all your help and information. I wished that it could have been as simple as swapping out the 2001 head unit for a 2010 one. :( I would have been willing to pay the ridiculous price for the new Lexus radio. Oh well.

Well ... see if your Lexus dealer can come through with a VAIS solution. It is possible that your dealer has gotten it to work even if the VAIS application chart seems to indicate that it does not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have recently bought an rx300 and managed to find a 86110-48130 which is the later satnav display for my 2004 model.

immediate reaction..... 4 plugs 1 lead......?

Phoned local dealer to be told you need a lot more than what I have and it will cost £5k to install everything I need...

Has anyone got a part listing with numbers and i'll source the stuff myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, it is just killing me to keep reading about these kids with '99 - '01 model RX300s that don't use CDs anymore. My wife had a 2000 RX that had an absolutely incredible sound system, despite the fact that it was just the factory Pioneer system. The trick was that you had to use a well recorded CD and know the sweet spot for the base, treble and mid range settings. But once you found it, oh my God. I just spent $5000 on an aftermarket system for my current car, and so far they can't get even close to what we had in the RX. Yes, it's a little more convenient to use an Ipod, but what you give up in music quality is something that you can't put a price on. I used to drive down the highway in a state of euphoria while listening to CDs in that RX. That's something most kids will probably never experience. It's a shame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The VAIS needs the navigation system installed.

I have a 2002 w/o navigation, and there's a product from GROM that will work with it. Last time I played a CD was in 2005, so not a problem for me. Also, if you want to sell the car you just hook the CD back up.

http://www.gromaudio.com/store/bt3_adapters/toyota_lexus_scion_98-11_aux-in_mp3_bluetooth_ipod_iphone_adapter.html

The down-side, if you consider it one, is you lose the CD changer. The GROM interface connects to existing wires and replaces the CD.

Check out the compatibility chart here: http://www.gromaudio.com/grom_application_guide.pdf

User manual for the BT interface here: http://www.gromaudio.com/docs/instr_bt3.pdf

I actually ordered one last week, they had a $20 coupon, should get it this week and install it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, got it installed Saturday, wasn't too hard. Now can stream music, receive calles, it's great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...