Lexus radio swap, easy or not?

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Nov 19, 2006
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The radio in my 96 LC mostly works but the face is badly scratched up so I have in mind to replace it. I came across an LX450 in a salvage yard to looks to have a nice factory Lexus radio. I wonder if these two radios would be plug-in compatile or would I be in for a wiring project? I remember something about the Lexus radio have more speakers and external CD as well.
 
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You would be money ahead to put in a good aftermarket radio. Even a Scion unit for about $35 would be much better. Search Scion head unit or radio and find TONS of threads on the subject.
 
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Im 99.9% sure the lx uses a different plug and amp setup.

I agree. Find a newer toyota/scion head unit if you don't to go aftermarket.
 
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LX is wired differently, you could probably get it to work if you wanted, with the EWD from each vehicle. A waste of money, even if it is free, IMHO...
Get a used Scion head unit, or just about any brand name head unit and you will be way better off.
 

NLXTACY

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The LX radio is designed to go thru an amp to the right of the glove compartment. Trying to use it with an LC I am pretty sure is going to cause you heartache if you are expecting something reasonably plug and play. You should seriously consider going Scion, much more plug and play
 

NorCalDoug

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I would suggest a new aftermarket or a used Scion rather than dealing with the hassle of trying to figure out the wiring for the LX unit...just my nickel's worth...
 
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I have a '96 LX and just replaced the stereo and speakers last weekend. Here's my two cents.

The only reason I can understand people wanting to put a Scion unit in is if it's to make use of the Toyota factory wiring harness. But that doesn't seem worth it to me since the factory speakers are terrible and will absolutely need to be replaced at some point. Mine were literally in pieces when I took them out, super cheap paper cones that were deteriorated. For the same amount of money you'd spend on that Scion or Lexus unit you'd get a much better sounding aftermarket stereo. Even entry level Sony or Pioneer units for less than $100 would surprise you. So if you just want a new head unit now that's cool but I'd plan ahead for something that will make the best of new speakers. Then you can step up to replacing them and the amp when you're ready.
 
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In the land cruisers we have, we have gone aftermarket, Jensen,Sony,etc with Infinity speakers. We have had no regrets. It is not hard at all to wire in an aftermarket system.The land cruisers 10-20 year old speakers are shot. MIke
 
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X whatever on aftermarket. Replaced door speakers with the Pioneer speakers everyone recommends (search and you shall find) with an Alpine with BT, and iPod interface all for around $220 and Crutchfield will send the harness and cubby for single-DIN install which makes it pretty much plug and play minus some soldering and shrink wrap if you wish or just use butt connectors. Well worth the $$$. The BT in the 80 is better than my Acura TL on sound quality based on my wife's side of the handfree calls.
 
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Sep 2, 2010
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I just did the Scion swap in my 97 lx450 ( at some point I will post pics), and it works perfect. The upside: Older Scion radios can be had for 20-40 bucks, depending on condition. Aux input (with some creative soldering and diode use) and or ipod control/input (but not if you are using the cheaper scion radios. Dbl check part numbers for direct ipod control). MP3, CD, and Sat capable (depending on model selection). Downside: Scion Radio is larger than DIN opening (had to trim factory radio bezel, A LOT). Cheaper scion models don't have an option for color change (to match factory dash lights). I knew going into my swap, that I would be mod-ing the dash and soldering my aux input on the back of the radio. I also changed/modded my cig lighter to a USB/audio connection only at the same time, so Ipod/Iphone can be charged and played through the radio.
As far as an older LX450 radio, it may be a roll of the dice. The cd player/changers didn't have the longest lifespan, and then theres the amp. My amp still works, but I would assume, you will need it and the harness when using the LX radio.
Sorry my .02 was more like .05. Hope some of my babbling info helps! :cheers:
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
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Thanks for all the posts. I checked out some of the Scion radios on EBay and some of them really looked amazing. What was I thinking; putting in an old radio makes no sense. I think I'll put up with the scratched display and the crackling speakers a little while longer while I research into a better head unit.

For those that went aftermarket, I assume I can just get new speakers but use the same speaker wires. Not having to re-wire sounds like an option I would prefer.

Thanks everyone for helping to change me mind!
 
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Sep 15, 2006
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I have bought two Pioneer packages from Walmart. They sell a Pioneer head unit with four 6 1/2 speakers for $75. It's hands down the best bang for the buck. I have installed the speakers in the front doors of my lx450 and was able to use the factory covers (https://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/460020-new-speakers-behind-oem-grill.html). The head unit has a USB port and an AUX port. It's not a $1000 system, but for $75 you will be amazed. If you're looking for a low budget alternative, this is my recommendation.
 
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Edit: the Walmart package is $85 not $75, still an amazing deal. Walmart.com says they're not available right now, but my local Walmart has a shelf full of them.
 
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I have bought two Pioneer packages from Walmart. They sell a Pioneer head unit with four 6 1/2 speakers for $75. It's hands down the best bang for the buck. I have installed the speakers in the front doors of my lx450 and was able to use the factory covers (https://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/460020-new-speakers-behind-oem-grill.html). The head unit has a USB port and an AUX port. It's not a $1000 system, but for $75 you will be amazed. If you're looking for a low budget alternative, this is my recommendation.

I second the Pioneer gear. My LX has pioneer in all locations, sounds great with factory or upgraded radio. Depending on which ones you choose, they are shallow enough (in the doors), and you can use factory covers!
 
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Nov 16, 2006
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I installed an LX stereo in my LX. It looks way better than a scion or aftermarket IMHO. I also added an MP3 jack in the glove box and swapped speakers behind factory grills.

My cockpit looks clean and factory despite the fact that I've got a different stereo and speakers, ARB lockers, in cab winch controls, off road light switches, subtank transfer, and subtank fuel gauge (I think that's it).

If you don't mind the looks of a 2011 bells and whistles stereo in a 1997 vehicle, then is go for the aftermarket. They are cheap and have many options. If you want a factory look, go LX. My .02
 
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LX450 stereo into a FZJ80. I swapped the center console as well. What did this accomplish? I got a six-disc changer, the ability to wire in a auxilary/MP3 jack, kept the factory look, and the original LC stereo does not allow you to change CDs when using the beverage holder.
 

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