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Old 04-09-06, 08:04 PM   #1
aldente
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Default How to Install an Aftermarket Stereo/Headunit in a Lexus ES300

Okay here's the process I went through to install an aftermarket headunit on my 1992 Lexus ES300. Throughout the whole process, I realized how much of a pain in the a** Lexus's were to modify. In order to modify any little thing, you literally have to end up taking a part everything...unlike my old 91 civic where everything was just plug and play. But in the end I ended up easily saving about $300, learned a lot about electronics, audio, and about cars! And I'm telling you now, I can pretty much outdo any guy at Circuit City or Best Buy...they weren't helpful at all, I went in there and asked them simple questions which they could not answer. STICK TO THIS WEBSITE AND FORUM...YOU WILL LEARN A LOT FROM CLUBLEXUS.COM
I have to give thanks to people like 92lex who really helped out

TOOLS NEEDED:
Speaker wire…anything will do really..get at least 24’
FLAT HEAD SCREWDRIVERS…at least two
Phillips head
A Wire Stripper/Cutter
Razor
Wire nuts, crimps, splicers..anything that will connect two or more wires
ELECTRICAL TAPE 
Rachet...for the passenger seat
Soldering iron if you want to solder
Protective Gloves…for detaching/attaching the battery terminals


INFO AND KNOWLEDGE

On my alpine the wires go as follows:
Red - 12V ignition power/acc
Yellow - Constant 12V power (battery)
Black - Ground
Blue – Antennae
Orange – Dimmer (which I didn’t bother to use)
Light Blue – Remote (wired this to the remote of my Subwoofer Mono Amp)
And then the 8 speaker wires (+ and -) makes enough for 4 speaker hookups


LEXUS ES300 wiring diagram (amp under seat)
You will use this to figure out which speaker goes to what.


Here’s one I labeled for ya..






LEXUS ES300 Wiring Diagram (for radio/cd changer)



The Lexus ES300 wiring diagram is as follows (for some reason some of my wires were different then what others have said…I blew about 5 fuses just to figure out which one was the power for the stock head unit)
***Before I go on…I must tell you what confused me most about installing an aftermarket stereo. The wires leading to the speakers are not located or connected to the stock radio/dash area!!! They are connected to the AMP under the PASSENGER SEAT!!*** Refer to Step 6) to figure out what I’m talking about

<a href="http://imageshack.us"><img src="http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/9563/92es300stereowires6ui.jpg" border="0" width="663" alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" /></a>
(Props to 92Lex)


BLUE with PINK STRIPE – Power12V…goes to RED ignition wire on head unit
GREY – Constant 12V…goes to YELLOW battery wire on head unit
WHITE (one silver dot) – Ground…goes to BLACK wire on head unit
LIGHT GREEN w/ RED STRIPE (ant) + PINK w/ BLUE STRIPE (amp) + your aftermarket ANTENNAE = Will get your antennae to motorize and get a signal (..basically it will allow yourself to get radio)



1)
***Before you do anything…disconnect the NEGATIVE BATTERY TERMINAL and do not let it touch any metal…go out and buy a rubber glove to protect your hand when reconnecting it b/c it sparks

Take apart ac/radio/cassette player---------There are 4 screws…start with bottom, then you have to take out the top grill to get the other screws (this is a B**ch) use this website..it will help:
*** http://www.carstereohelp.com/stereor...300StrR.htm***
----------I tried for weeks to get this and I finally got it..just be careful, be patient, and keep loosening each side by prying a little here and there, and then when u finally think u can pop it out…do it (I was so happy when I got it out without breaking it… I was about to get circuit city or someone to do it because I am a clumsy 18 year old kid..but I rather save 70 bucks)

2)
Disconnect all the harnesses…by the way..when u disconnect the top right harness connected to the hazards…You will NOT be able to use your blinkers when driving…so plan ahead b/c it is such a hazard to drive without blinkers.

3)
Cut the very bottom harness, not the next one up that was connected to the cassette/radio player so the key wires are exposed…the rest just hide away

4)
Connect power, constant battery, ground, and antennae wires…also the dimmer if you want…make sure everything works

PROPS to 92LEX
***AS I NOTED BEFORE...THE POWER IS NOT PINK with BLUE STRIPE...IT'S BLUE w/ a RED STRIPE
5)
Take out passenger seat…there are 4 big screws located at each corner of the seat under some garnishing…just pop them off and unscrew…it makes everything much easier.
Again...props to 92lex for the pictures
6)
Unplug and disconnect the harnesses to the amp, remove the amp, and CUT the wires leading to the blue connector like shown:

You can electrical tape up the grey and the two white wires in the middle.

7)
What you must do is add/lengthen speaker wire to each of the speaker output wires from the aftermarket head unit and snake them under the carpeting to connect to the matching speaker wires that were cut from the AMP. Use the diagram I gave u at STEP 2.
***MAKE SURE YOU LABEL the ends of each wire…which one is positive, which one is negative, and where they belong (i.e. LEFT FRONT, RIGHT REAR, etc.)
I used wire nuts to hold the multiple connections together and then electrical taped them to secure them. The wire-nuts work well. Also make sure they clear the way for the seat to move forward and backward…I hooked everything up and when I moved the seat forward…it ripped the wires right out of the electrical tape.
***Optional: instead of having just 4 speakers working you can make use of the 4 other speakers (2 on each side: the “Squawkers” by the window in the dash and the “Door tweeters”) What I did was wire these in with the front door wires. I think 92lex made note that even though this does change the Ohm load on the stereo..it still sounds good. I just wish I had a multi-channel amp so I could control the power output or isolate the tweeters to just emit treble instead of full range sound. Other than that, it does sound amazing…it gives the overall sound a more complete sonic quality with the added highs (they bounce nicely off the window).

8)
Make sure everything works and fit your dash kit in with the stereo. It’s easier to take off the ashtray thing to put the dash in nice and it also allows you to pry off the carpeting so u can fit the wires down the side.
9)
Put everything back together. Make sure to be organized. Keep all the screws and tools in one place like a cardboard box where you can get them for later.

10)
For those with subwoofers, this is what I did:
a) Disconnect NEGATIVE TERMINAL
b) Jack up LEFT FRONT WHEEL, take wheel off, unscrew and then take off the firewall plasticky stuff under wheel well so you can see the wires leading into the car.
c) From the battery area, snake the other end (i.e. not the end with the fuse) through the wheel well so it’s nice and snug.
d) Cut a slit into the rubber glove thing with a razor and snake the cable thing through…this is a pain.
e) Take apart trim and snake it through to the trunk.
f) the Audio cables (POS and NEG) and the remote cable (it’s a thin wire) coming from the Mono Amp from the Sub should wire on the opposite side of the car (to reduce signal noise) and should connect to the back of your head unit. Taking the trim off is very easy…it just pops off.

***ANY QUESTIONS JUST PRIVATE MESSAGE ME***
Sorry for the lack of pics..but I just wanted to get it done with, and I’m not about to take my sweet system apart now?!!

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Old 04-10-06, 07:06 AM   #2
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Great writeup Aldente! I think this deserve to be in the ES300 DIY and technical tips sticky
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Old 04-27-06, 01:12 PM   #3
MoreMGD32
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ive got a 92-96 dash kit for sale if anyone needs it- just pm me and ill give it too you cheap
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Old 05-02-06, 12:32 AM   #4
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Much thanks Aldente, I'll be using some of this info to wire my own stereo. A+ on the descriptive writeup.
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Old 05-02-06, 03:24 PM   #5
3rdelement
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wonder what the sound difference is between using onboard alpine power in the deck and using the lexus amp. I get so many compliments just using deck power currently. hmmmm.
what are you thoughts on the subject?
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Old 05-02-06, 10:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldente
Okay here's the process I went through to install an aftermarket headunit on my 1992 Lexus ES300. Throughout the whole process, I realized how much of a pain in the a** Lexus's were to modify. In order to modify any little thing, you literally have to end up taking a part everything...unlike my old 91 civic where everything was just plug and play. But in the end I ended up easily saving about $300, learned a lot about electronics, audio, and about cars! And I'm telling you now, I can pretty much outdo any guy at Circuit City or Best Buy...they weren't helpful at all, I went in there and asked them simple questions which they could not answer. STICK TO THIS WEBSITE AND FORUM...YOU WILL LEARN A LOT FROM CLUBLEXUS.COM
I have to give thanks to people like 92lex who really helped out

TOOLS NEEDED:
Speaker wire…anything will do really..get at least 24’
FLAT HEAD SCREWDRIVERS…at least two
Phillips head
A Wire Stripper/Cutter
Razor
Wire nuts, crimps, splicers..anything that will connect two or more wires
ELECTRICAL TAPE 
Rachet...for the passenger seat
Soldering iron if you want to solder
Protective Gloves…for detaching/attaching the battery terminals


INFO AND KNOWLEDGE

On my alpine the wires go as follows:
Red - 12V ignition power/acc
Yellow - Constant 12V power (battery)
Black - Ground
Blue – Antennae
Orange – Dimmer (which I didn’t bother to use)
Light Blue – Remote (wired this to the remote of my Subwoofer Mono Amp)
And then the 8 speaker wires (+ and -) makes enough for 4 speaker hookups


LEXUS ES300 wiring diagram (amp under seat)
You will use this to figure out which speaker goes to what.


Here’s one I labeled for ya..






LEXUS ES300 Wiring Diagram (for radio/cd changer)



The Lexus ES300 wiring diagram is as follows (for some reason some of my wires were different then what others have said…I blew about 5 fuses just to figure out which one was the power for the stock head unit)
***Before I go on…I must tell you what confused me most about installing an aftermarket stereo. The wires leading to the speakers are not located or connected to the stock radio/dash area!!! They are connected to the AMP under the PASSENGER SEAT!!*** Refer to Step 6) to figure out what I’m talking about

<a href="http://imageshack.us"><img src="http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/9563/92es300stereowires6ui.jpg" border="0" width="663" alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" /></a>
(Props to 92Lex)


BLUE with PINK STRIPE – Power12V…goes to RED ignition wire on head unit
GREY – Constant 12V…goes to YELLOW battery wire on head unit
WHITE (one silver dot) – Ground…goes to BLACK wire on head unit
LIGHT GREEN w/ RED STRIPE (ant) + PINK w/ BLUE STRIPE (amp) + your aftermarket ANTENNAE = Will get your antennae to motorize and get a signal (..basically it will allow yourself to get radio)



1)
***Before you do anything…disconnect the NEGATIVE BATTERY TERMINAL and do not let it touch any metal…go out and buy a rubber glove to protect your hand when reconnecting it b/c it sparks

Take apart ac/radio/cassette player---------There are 4 screws…start with bottom, then you have to take out the top grill to get the other screws (this is a B**ch) use this website..it will help:
*** http://www.carstereohelp.com/stereor...300StrR.htm***
----------I tried for weeks to get this and I finally got it..just be careful, be patient, and keep loosening each side by prying a little here and there, and then when u finally think u can pop it out…do it (I was so happy when I got it out without breaking it… I was about to get circuit city or someone to do it because I am a clumsy 18 year old kid..but I rather save 70 bucks)

2)
Disconnect all the harnesses…by the way..when u disconnect the top right harness connected to the hazards…You will NOT be able to use your blinkers when driving…so plan ahead b/c it is such a hazard to drive without blinkers.

3)
Cut the very bottom harness, not the next one up that was connected to the cassette/radio player so the key wires are exposed…the rest just hide away

4)
Connect power, constant battery, ground, and antennae wires…also the dimmer if you want…make sure everything works

PROPS to 92LEX
***AS I NOTED BEFORE...THE POWER IS NOT PINK with BLUE STRIPE...IT'S BLUE w/ a RED STRIPE
5)
Take out passenger seat…there are 4 big screws located at each corner of the seat under some garnishing…just pop them off and unscrew…it makes everything much easier.
Again...props to 92lex for the pictures
6)
Unplug and disconnect the harnesses to the amp, remove the amp, and CUT the wires leading to the blue connector like shown:

You can electrical tape up the grey and the two white wires in the middle.

7)
What you must do is add/lengthen speaker wire to each of the speaker output wires from the aftermarket head unit and snake them under the carpeting to connect to the matching speaker wires that were cut from the AMP. Use the diagram I gave u at STEP 2.
***MAKE SURE YOU LABEL the ends of each wire…which one is positive, which one is negative, and where they belong (i.e. LEFT FRONT, RIGHT REAR, etc.)
I used wire nuts to hold the multiple connections together and then electrical taped them to secure them. The wire-nuts work well. Also make sure they clear the way for the seat to move forward and backward…I hooked everything up and when I moved the seat forward…it ripped the wires right out of the electrical tape.
***Optional: instead of having just 4 speakers working you can make use of the 4 other speakers (2 on each side: the “Squawkers” by the window in the dash and the “Door tweeters”) What I did was wire these in with the front door wires. I think 92lex made note that even though this does change the Ohm load on the stereo..it still sounds good. I just wish I had a multi-channel amp so I could control the power output or isolate the tweeters to just emit treble instead of full range sound. Other than that, it does sound amazing…it gives the overall sound a more complete sonic quality with the added highs (they bounce nicely off the window).

8)
Make sure everything works and fit your dash kit in with the stereo. It’s easier to take off the ashtray thing to put the dash in nice and it also allows you to pry off the carpeting so u can fit the wires down the side.
9)
Put everything back together. Make sure to be organized. Keep all the screws and tools in one place like a cardboard box where you can get them for later.

10)
For those with subwoofers, this is what I did:
a) Disconnect NEGATIVE TERMINAL
b) Jack up LEFT FRONT WHEEL, take wheel off, unscrew and then take off the firewall plasticky stuff under wheel well so you can see the wires leading into the car.
c) From the battery area, snake the other end (i.e. not the end with the fuse) through the wheel well so it’s nice and snug.
d) Cut a slit into the rubber glove thing with a razor and snake the cable thing through…this is a pain.
e) Take apart trim and snake it through to the trunk.
f) the Audio cables (POS and NEG) and the remote cable (it’s a thin wire) coming from the Mono Amp from the Sub should wire on the opposite side of the car (to reduce signal noise) and should connect to the back of your head unit. Taking the trim off is very easy…it just pops off.

***ANY QUESTIONS JUST PRIVATE MESSAGE ME***
Sorry for the lack of pics..but I just wanted to get it done with, and I’m not about to take my sweet system apart now?!!

I think I'd just take it back to audio express haha, I'd screw up and electrocute myself...
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Old 05-04-06, 04:02 AM   #7
maniax
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im thinking about putting a carputer in my car over the summer.

under the passenger seat seems like a perfect place to fit my carputer!
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Old 10-30-06, 09:02 AM   #8
isiginamo
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Can I just hook up my aftermarket cd player to the factory amp on my 95 es300??? If its possible it will be much easier than rewiring the whole car... any advice would be great... I am tearing into it tomorrow and the next day. Hope I don't screw it up!!! Joe Jack
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Old 09-08-12, 11:30 PM   #9
julius415
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Hi aldente
i was wondering where you acquired the wiring diagrams and if you had the abbreviations for the diagram. for example what is +B
thanks
julius
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Old 09-09-12, 12:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julius415 View Post
Hi aldente
i was wondering where you acquired the wiring diagrams and if you had the abbreviations for the diagram. for example what is +B
thanks
julius
This thread is over six years old, and aldente is probably long gone. The diagrams are from the Factory Service Manual. You will need to look in the Wiring Diagrams section. Download it here:
http://www.mediafire.com/?cplgm6gjn8mcobt
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Old 09-09-12, 05:37 AM   #11
mdbrown
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BTW, +B means battery voltage - 12 volts or, when running, approx. 13.8-14.4 volts.
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Old 04-27-14, 08:41 AM   #12
Gwopinese
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldente View Post
Okay here's the process I went through to install an aftermarket headunit on my 1992 Lexus ES300. Throughout the whole process, I realized how much of a pain in the a** Lexus's were to modify. In order to modify any little thing, you literally have to end up taking a part everything...unlike my old 91 civic where everything was just plug and play. But in the end I ended up easily saving about $300, learned a lot about electronics, audio, and about cars! And I'm telling you now, I can pretty much outdo any guy at Circuit City or Best Buy...they weren't helpful at all, I went in there and asked them simple questions which they could not answer. STICK TO THIS WEBSITE AND FORUM...YOU WILL LEARN A LOT FROM CLUBLEXUS.COM
I have to give thanks to people like 92lex who really helped out

TOOLS NEEDED:
Speaker wire…anything will do really..get at least 24’
FLAT HEAD SCREWDRIVERS…at least two
Phillips head
A Wire Stripper/Cutter
Razor
Wire nuts, crimps, splicers..anything that will connect two or more wires
ELECTRICAL TAPE 
Rachet...for the passenger seat
Soldering iron if you want to solder
Protective Gloves…for detaching/attaching the battery terminals


INFO AND KNOWLEDGE

On my alpine the wires go as follows:
Red - 12V ignition power/acc
Yellow - Constant 12V power (battery)
Black - Ground
Blue – Antennae
Orange – Dimmer (which I didn’t bother to use)
Light Blue – Remote (wired this to the remote of my Subwoofer Mono Amp)
And then the 8 speaker wires (+ and -) makes enough for 4 speaker hookups


LEXUS ES300 wiring diagram (amp under seat)
You will use this to figure out which speaker goes to what.


Here’s one I labeled for ya..






LEXUS ES300 Wiring Diagram (for radio/cd changer)



The Lexus ES300 wiring diagram is as follows (for some reason some of my wires were different then what others have said…I blew about 5 fuses just to figure out which one was the power for the stock head unit)
***Before I go on…I must tell you what confused me most about installing an aftermarket stereo. The wires leading to the speakers are not located or connected to the stock radio/dash area!!! They are connected to the AMP under the PASSENGER SEAT!!*** Refer to Step 6) to figure out what I’m talking about

<a href="http://imageshack.us"><img src="http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/9563/92es300stereowires6ui.jpg" border="0" width="663" alt="Image Hosted by ImageShack.us" /></a>
(Props to 92Lex)


BLUE with PINK STRIPE – Power12V…goes to RED ignition wire on head unit
GREY – Constant 12V…goes to YELLOW battery wire on head unit
WHITE (one silver dot) – Ground…goes to BLACK wire on head unit
LIGHT GREEN w/ RED STRIPE (ant) + PINK w/ BLUE STRIPE (amp) + your aftermarket ANTENNAE = Will get your antennae to motorize and get a signal (..basically it will allow yourself to get radio)



1)
***Before you do anything…disconnect the NEGATIVE BATTERY TERMINAL and do not let it touch any metal…go out and buy a rubber glove to protect your hand when reconnecting it b/c it sparks

Take apart ac/radio/cassette player---------There are 4 screws…start with bottom, then you have to take out the top grill to get the other screws (this is a B**ch) use this website..it will help:
*** http://www.carstereohelp.com/stereor...300StrR.htm***
----------I tried for weeks to get this and I finally got it..just be careful, be patient, and keep loosening each side by prying a little here and there, and then when u finally think u can pop it out…do it (I was so happy when I got it out without breaking it… I was about to get circuit city or someone to do it because I am a clumsy 18 year old kid..but I rather save 70 bucks)

2)
Disconnect all the harnesses…by the way..when u disconnect the top right harness connected to the hazards…You will NOT be able to use your blinkers when driving…so plan ahead b/c it is such a hazard to drive without blinkers.

3)
Cut the very bottom harness, not the next one up that was connected to the cassette/radio player so the key wires are exposed…the rest just hide away

4)
Connect power, constant battery, ground, and antennae wires…also the dimmer if you want…make sure everything works

PROPS to 92LEX
***AS I NOTED BEFORE...THE POWER IS NOT PINK with BLUE STRIPE...IT'S BLUE w/ a RED STRIPE
5)
Take out passenger seat…there are 4 big screws located at each corner of the seat under some garnishing…just pop them off and unscrew…it makes everything much easier.
Again...props to 92lex for the pictures
6)
Unplug and disconnect the harnesses to the amp, remove the amp, and CUT the wires leading to the blue connector like shown:

You can electrical tape up the grey and the two white wires in the middle.

7)
What you must do is add/lengthen speaker wire to each of the speaker output wires from the aftermarket head unit and snake them under the carpeting to connect to the matching speaker wires that were cut from the AMP. Use the diagram I gave u at STEP 2.
***MAKE SURE YOU LABEL the ends of each wire…which one is positive, which one is negative, and where they belong (i.e. LEFT FRONT, RIGHT REAR, etc.)
I used wire nuts to hold the multiple connections together and then electrical taped them to secure them. The wire-nuts work well. Also make sure they clear the way for the seat to move forward and backward…I hooked everything up and when I moved the seat forward…it ripped the wires right out of the electrical tape.
***Optional: instead of having just 4 speakers working you can make use of the 4 other speakers (2 on each side: the “Squawkers” by the window in the dash and the “Door tweeters”) What I did was wire these in with the front door wires. I think 92lex made note that even though this does change the Ohm load on the stereo..it still sounds good. I just wish I had a multi-channel amp so I could control the power output or isolate the tweeters to just emit treble instead of full range sound. Other than that, it does sound amazing…it gives the overall sound a more complete sonic quality with the added highs (they bounce nicely off the window).

8)
Make sure everything works and fit your dash kit in with the stereo. It’s easier to take off the ashtray thing to put the dash in nice and it also allows you to pry off the carpeting so u can fit the wires down the side.
9)
Put everything back together. Make sure to be organized. Keep all the screws and tools in one place like a cardboard box where you can get them for later.

10)
For those with subwoofers, this is what I did:
a) Disconnect NEGATIVE TERMINAL
b) Jack up LEFT FRONT WHEEL, take wheel off, unscrew and then take off the firewall plasticky stuff under wheel well so you can see the wires leading into the car.
c) From the battery area, snake the other end (i.e. not the end with the fuse) through the wheel well so it’s nice and snug.
d) Cut a slit into the rubber glove thing with a razor and snake the cable thing through…this is a pain.
e) Take apart trim and snake it through to the trunk.
f) the Audio cables (POS and NEG) and the remote cable (it’s a thin wire) coming from the Mono Amp from the Sub should wire on the opposite side of the car (to reduce signal noise) and should connect to the back of your head unit. Taking the trim off is very easy…it just pops off.

***ANY QUESTIONS JUST PRIVATE MESSAGE ME***
Sorry for the lack of pics..but I just wanted to get it done with, and I’m not about to take my sweet system apart now?!!

I did everything according to the post but now im not getting power to the head unit? At one point it cut on when i got frustrated last night as i was putting things back because i was losing light, i also want to put in a aftermarket amp as well any help would be appreciated
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Old 08-18-14, 10:25 PM   #13
Notnormal
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Question Need help.

I can't find the answer and no one is giving me the answer. I have a pioneer head unit that I want to install in a 97 es300. The harness adapter has 4 rca plugs. My pioneer does NOT have 4 rca ports. Can I not use this radio. Please help
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Old 08-19-14, 03:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notnormal View Post
I can't find the answer and no one is giving me the answer. I have a pioneer head unit that I want .... Can I not use this radio. Please help
lol. 'no one is giving me the answer' ... that should work.
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Old 10-07-15, 06:53 AM   #15
vbhalla24
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Default 97 Lexus ES300, aftermarket head unit install

I captured the video of how I replaced the ES300 stock radio with after-market double din head unit. Happy with results so far. BASS is low, I was able to adjust it a bit in Equalizer option. Sound is more toned, crisp and high on treble side but not bad at all. Very nice and acceptable, cannot compare it to original Pioneer's sound. I do hear some engine whine noise which is very low and hides when i increase the music volume, i read on forums that attaching black (ground) wire to body of the unit too will solve this problem (it does not bother me right now). Engine whine noise is not at all the stereo issue since i did a same install on 98 Honda Accord that has no external amplifier therefore i connected to amplified speakers output and the sound is superb clear and fantastic without absolute no engine whine. This issue is due to the external amp integration and grounding mismatch on speakers. I am sure by doing additional ground connections (that is connecting black wire of car to the body of head unit), even this small issue will go away.

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2002, 210521, 99, aftermarket, amp, club, es300, head, headunit, install, is300, lexus, rewiring, stereo, unit

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