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Do Any Upgrade Stereos Exist Which Are Comptible With Original Trunk-M

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Our family's 1992 ES-300 included the Pioneer KEX-9071ZT cassette radio with trunk-mounted CD-changer and the usual external amplifier.

We have never played a cassette in it, so that feature contributes no value to our use. The external CD changer is a nice feature, which function we would prefer to retain, but its loss would not necessarily be a "deal breaker" issue. While this system still sounded good, the 17 soldered-in 8-volt filament-type blue-boot-covered mini lamps visible on its display's circuit board front side have progressively failed, leaving only a few that are still able to emit light. As I understand it, 3 more mini filament-type lamps are behind its liquid crystal display (LCD) screen, which screen still functions well, unlike the Climate Control module's LCD screen which I am replacing. I've read discussion treads about replacing these 8-volt 60 miliamp and 100 miliamp filament-type light bulbs. But frankly, why would I want to swap in a new filament-type lamp set when much more durable LEDs exist? So IF I keep this old but well performing original Pioneer head unit, I would want to use LEDs rather than relamp it with more filament-type lamps which might fail while this vehicle is still in service. First question: Does anyone know of suitable LEDs to solder in as replacements?

Technological development speed keeps accelerating. What was pretty wonderful in 1992 is only good today. AV-GPS head unit technology has progressed significantly during the last two decades. CD players able to also play home-burned MP3 disks have been marketed for years. Front-panel input jacks which can accept WIRED (not FM-rebroadcast) portable audio device input are now pretty common. Double-height DIN sized head units with GPS display capabilities are gaining market share. Hi-Fi AM radio station coverage seems more desirable than cassette playing capabilities. I doubt that any recent head units worth considering were fitted with filament-type light bulbs with their comparatively-short service lives.

Since better-brand head units generally remain serviceable for decades if well treated, as ours have, yet their used market value declines rapidly, used high-end head units from about 5 years ago become something of a "sweet spot" in their cost/benefit ratio.

Were any other Lexus Original Equipment radios compatible with the ES-300 system's trunk-mounted CD and external amplifier? I know Lexus purchased head units from Pioneer and Nakamichi so it would not be surprising if some of them could interface with the external OEM CD deck and amp. I see ES-300 double-DIN and single-DIN height mounting kits offered by eBay vendors starting at $13 including delivery cost. Again, I don't know how to judge differences between them since many vendors demand two, three or more times as much money for their ES-300 radio mounting kits.

I and most other readers won't be very interested in which specific unit you elected to buy. But those who made lots of comparisons and observations might have valuable insights to help advise me and others in this same position. If our original ES-300 1992-1994 and probably through 1996 stereo head units are run enough hours, progressively failing filament-type lamps will drive you toward either re-lamping that original unit or updating your car with a newer head unit that came with LED illumination and other desirable features developed after our OEM units were produced. So lots of us will keep facing this same issue. About 20 8-volt LEDs might be enough to tip the scales in my case. I just find it almost insulting to be told that I should solder in another group of filament-type lamps. That's NOT going to happen to this unit. It's either LEDs or the recycle bin.


The OEM radio's display & illumination circuit board with 17 blue light bulbs which appear green when illuminated.


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