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Replace the Mark L w another used Mark L?

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So, I didn't really want to go the whole route of a $400.00 Beat Sonic adaptive wiring harness plus new installation cost of an after market stereo. The Mark Levinson that came stock is good enough. I could use a little more wattage but wants versus needs etc.

My problem is my OEM unit has a broken ribbon cable inside the face plate. This makes the unit unusable. I can get a complete used unit from ebay for less than the adaptive harness and just keep on rolling.

Now comes the question, do I need the "replacement units", "original" security code to even make it work? I doubt if the code (if there actually is one) assigned in the theft deterent system to my original unit will work unless it is stored in an ECU outside of the stereo unit. So, what say all? How difficult is it to make a same but different Mark Levinson stereo work if that is the route I wish to go? Thanks in advance for any assistance. 


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If your owners manual doesn't reference a security code then your head unit does not have one.  The first Lexus (1990 LS400) I purchased 29 years ago had a radio security code.  My second Lexus (2000 LS400) didn't have a security code.  At least for the LS, 1994 was the last year that radio security codes were used in North America.

If you don't have an owners manual, you can view it at


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Thanks for the response. And even though my window sticker says the vehicle is equipped with an "Audio Theft Deterent Design", the owners manual says nothing about what happens if the battery is disconnected or you have to remove the head unit as is my case. (Error 3)

Talked to the dealership over the phone and the person I talked to stated that the is a Code number on the unit that starts with a P. And on the front of the Tape Deck door there is a number. P6813. The person stated that he thinks that is the number he was told about. And that any replacement unit would need the original VIN from the vehicle it was removed from as well as the P code.

My unit was made in May 2002. I have seen other units on ebay from other years that have a different "P" number on the tape door. Is there anyone else who has replaced or even have had to have their original unit recoded? Lexus isn't the most helpful when dealing with their out of warranty vehicles sometimes. Thanks.


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Just left my local Lexus Dealer for as much information as I could get on replacing a unit with a like unit.

The service department rep said I would need the same "P" number as the original unit. AND the ability of the replacement to work without a code was a crap shoot depending on if the replacement unit was properly pulled. If it was, then plug and play is the order of the day. (Although the next time it needs resetting, you are probably out of luck again) But I also have no idea what "properly pulled" actually means.

They stated that there is no service bulletin relating to this subject. So, disconnect the battery before actually pulling plugs? They also stated that if the unit was locked, they would need the VIN of the original vehicle and I imagine proof of purchase so the dealer could then call Mark Levinson and after verification that they were a dealer, Mark Levinson would then provide a code to unlock the replacement unit.

At  a cost of $149.00. Replacement cost of a like unit goes up again. I'll update when I have something else to contribute on this subject. 


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OK, I reviewed both the 2002 SC430 Navigation and Owners manual and can find nothing about anti-theft security codes for navigation or radio components.  Owners manuals for older Lexus vehicles that had security codes had extensive information on how the owner could optionally set security codes.  Even in these older systems, very few owners set security codes.  Even if an owner did set a security code and for some reason "bricked" his radio, Lexus dealers had instructions on how to unlock radios although they supposedly required proof of ownership before they would to it.

I strongly doubt that your Lexus dealer is giving you valid information and I guarantee you that there is information on the subscription Toyota techinfo website the explains everything.  The Lexus dealer would not have to call "Mark Levinson" for assistance.

Lexus dealerships often (always?) get extremely lazy and lose interest when dealing with older Lexus cars.  They'd rather invent a line of bull$#!+ than put forth a little bit of effort to research questions.. 

That said, it is interesting that there are two different manual sets for the 2002 SC430.  One set is for before January 2002 and the other is for January 2002 and later.which suggests that there was a mid-model year change that "might" include changes to the radio/navigation system. 


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The only information I have found that is probably note worthy in the aftermarket is the two different P/N's for the Beat-Sonic harness adapter, P/N MVA-12L applies to the 2002-2004 years. MVA-13L applies to 2005 to 2009. So something changed in 05 that will affect my choice in replacement M.L. units. But I am interested in checking out the Toyota Tech Info website. Could you post a link at your convenience Please. I'm sure it would be handy for my 97 LS400 also. Thanks.


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Can't sleep so may as well continue my research. Looking at all of the available used OEM Mark Levinson units I can locate on ebay, this is what I find. Units have a different P/N depending on year manufactured with some mixing towards the end of the calendar year. In at least one case I found that happened which kind of makes sense since next years models start hitting around October I think.

You could probably get similar info from Lexus Parts but I haven't gone there yet.

     Year              MFR P/N

2001-2002     86120-24390

2003-2004     86120-24391

2005-2007     86120-24392

And they also have a second identifier I decided to call a SUB P/N that changes in 2005 from FX-MG8217 "ZT" to "ZT-03" that applies through 2007 which is the latest year manufactured that I found so far.

YEAR       SUB P/N                   P CODE

2001     FX-MG8217      ZT       P6813

2002     FX-MG8217      ZT       P6813

2003    FX-MG8217       ZT       P6832

2004    FX-MG8217       ZT       P6832

2005    FX-MG8217     ZT-03    P6846

2006    FX-MG8217     ZT-03    P6846

2007    FX-MG8217     ZT-03    P6846

So, my best guess is that "I" am looking for a head unit with P/N 86120-24390 and P Code of P6813 for my 2002 SC430. Will one of the others work? No clue. But I cant spend several hundred dollars to find out even though I would like to get the newest unit I can for wear and tear reasons.

Why the P/Ns changed is most likely due to electronic/software updates and possibly even specific features for a specific car. But that's just a guess. Hope this helps others or others can even add to this as new information becomes available.


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The Toyota technical information site is

Complete audio system diagrams should be available for all model years on the techinfo site if you want to get down to the details and compare every connector pin and wire color on the audio system components for the various system versions.  That might tell you if the different versions have the same functional pins in their connectors that would imply compatibility.

I've got probably a hundred audio system diagrams for Lexus vehicles but not a single one for the SC430. 

I've always regarded the SC430 as sort of special case in that there were extremely few noticeable changes over it's ten model year run.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

This will close out this thread on replacing the Mark Levinson stereo with another Mark Levinson stereo.

I found a clean replacement unit on ebay for a very good price that had the same P Code as the original head unit.

I disconnected the battery before I installed the replacement as I figure that is probably the most important thing you want to do to so you don't accidentally activate the theft deterent system. 

I then plugged in the replacement unit and reassembled the center console. Hooked up the battery and turned it on. The unit came on normally with all functionality including control using the mode control switches on the steering wheel. 

Not much else to say other than that the unit I purchased is plug and play. It has the same P code as the original unit and I assume this applies to all units as long as it was properly removed. By that I mean that the battery was disconnected prior to unplugging the unit. If it wasn't, I can make no guarantee that a theft deterent feature wouldn't be activated requiring dealer assistance to reset the unit.


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