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Old 06-14-14, 12:56 PM   #1
RugbyDad
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Default 2000 LS400 mod help/New member intro

Hello fellow clublexus members. LONG time lurker, brand new member with the purchase of a "gently" used 2000 ls400 with ~78000 miles.

I have been looking over mods for the past couple years on this website and others and since I finally bought a LS, I am gonna be making the jump into some modest modifications. I want to know what you guys think of some of these and if there is anything I'm missing as far as everything working plug and play. No wiring adjustments or anything of that nature. I plan on doing these myself but may outsource some of this if I can find a good Lexus mechanic. My budget is in the 2-3 grand range.

Firstly, LED tail lights. I believe PureDrifter has his eyes set on the same pair of taillights from JZS. I've mostly got my mind set on these despite the ~$800 price tag. To go along side these babies, I want some sequential turn signals and have found the following modules for them. http://www.webelectricproducts.com/products.htm. Not sure of which module I need to buy as I'm not sure how many "turn signal filaments" the UCF2x has (for some reason I always speak UFC instead of UCF). I don't even know if sequentials are possible with the led tails I plan on getting or for that matter if they are possible on the stock tails. May have to go custom as some other members have. Any suggestions on who to look for for that kind of job would be nice if necessary. Frankly, any help with the taillight conversion would be greatly appreciated before I pull the trigger on this.

Secondly, bluetooth mod for the radio. After seeing the tons and tons of problems and workarounds that other members have had to undergo to achieve a more modern audio setup for the nakamichi ucf's, I have chosen to just send the radio to FRS and have the bluetooth added in. I don't think I want the aux in version at all, but may opt for it just as a backup to bluetooth. As I understand it the aux in version also allows for phone calls to play from the speakers as opposed to the bluetooth option not being capable of this without adding more (lots more) moolah to the table. I also don't want to switch out the entire system and deal with that headache especially since I like the nakamichi sound along with the seat of the pants rumble from the stock sub. Although I may change out the door speakers and dynamat them (I'm on the fence).

Thirdly, I want to do the whole interior/exterior led switch that would include the front turn signal and the bumper light, although I'm not convinced on the led bumper light (in either white or amber color) or just clear non-LED housing and chrome bulb, which illuminates amber, combo. Suggestions?? Also the mirror cover led turn signals. What are some good ones and where can I find them. I have seen some outright pulchritudinous turn signal mirrors (check freedom-legion.net to see what I mean). I would much rather a full on mirror than a mirror cover but I'm kinda impartial towards the covers if it is what must be done. And can sequentials be added to those? I realize I'm headed towards overkill but there will be no half-assery here!

All of this is in lieu of some 20 inch chrome and brushed metal rims. I have some rims already. Although I'm not that fond of them and will need an adapter or spacer to fit them, the above mentioned mods seem much more... pressing than a set of shiny new rims. However, I would like to know if any of you fine people could help with a question that I do have on the matter. The rims are 20x8.5 (225x30x20). What thickness of adapter size would I need? I already know I need a 5x108 to 5x114.3 adapter but have no idea as to the thickness of the adapter or spacing. And those tires should clear the fenders with no problem I'm assuming.

I was gonna do tint but in NY tint is just a huge middle finger to the police. I was thinking of some of those curtains but wasn't sure if it looked silly or if that was just me. Additionally, with the curtains I would drive around with the rear ones extended all the time, so I'm sure that will attract just as much police attention.

Sorry for the extra long post. I'm a trucker, we have a particular affinity for the sound of our voices or should I say the sound of keyboard strokes. -__-
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Old 06-14-14, 06:29 PM   #2
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i'd say your first mod to budget for should be your timing belt water pump service since you will porblay need it in the next yr.
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Old 06-14-14, 09:10 PM   #3
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What is the offset of the rim?
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Old 06-15-14, 03:50 AM   #4
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Firstly, welcome to Club Lexus, and damn good job on finding a clean car!

For the tail lights, I would recommend contacting Central PINE. They can get you a set of LED tail lights from BRAGA (yes, like the bad guy from Fast and Furious 4) for the 98-00 for ~$395 and shipping (seems like a nice discount vs. JZS International).

Click the image to open in full size.

I think you could use that turn signal module to light up the entire center strip (if you can figure out the wiring, anyway).

Instead of Bluetooth for the stock radio, I just recommend upgrading to a new head unit. If you like the stock audio system, then just pick up a Beatsonic SLA-22 harness (works ONLY on cars with the Pioneer Premium Sound system) and pop in a newer, better head unit with the features you crave. On the other hand, if you just plan on upgrading everything, then either buy it all at once, or just do it in stages (i.e. head unit/sub/amp first, then upgrade the speakers/amp).

Interior LED and Exterior LED is reasonable. Personally, I would recommend picking up some aftermarket (clear) sidemarkers from eBay. The sidemarkers for our car is interchangeable between the IS300, GS300, and RX300, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding something you like. They shouldn't cost more than $50 shipped, and if they do, then someone's trying to rip you off. As for the foglights, I say throw a set of HIDs in there. LED bulb in the turn signal would be a good step. The tail lights are already covered with the ones I mentioned from BRAGA.

Curtains are always cool. There are three main manufacturers of curtains which are Junction Produce (the "OG" of curtains, as far as I'm concerned), Garson DAD (basically the Louis Vuitton of VIP car styling), and Bellezza, which has a lot of options for colors, such as tan, gray, and black. If personalization is more your style, I'd say pick up a set of generic black curtains from here.
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Old 06-15-14, 09:03 AM   #5
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I'm starting to think that there are two types of Nakamichi head units in 98-00 LS400's - those that have failed and those that will fail soon. My recommendation is not to put any money into you Nakamichi head unit and go with an aftermarket head unit. I loved using the aux-in that Factory Radio Service installed but I would have been better off putting that money into the Kenwood DDX470 that I had installed after the Nakamichi's right channel failed for a second time.

Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) repairs Nakamichi - I've looked everywhere. If your Nak head unit fails after FRS has mod'ed it, you are out of luck.

The $498 (installed price) Kenwood was wonderful. I say "was" because I sold my 2000 LS to a friend in April and moved on. The Kenwood made my LS seem much more modern with its big screen with customizable icons, Bluetooth, Pandora interface, 18 FM presets, backup camera capability, hands free phone feature, sat radio capability and on and on. There was even a $20 remote control I could have bought. Installation was done by Best Buy using specialized connectors that friends have told me must have included resisters. No wires were cut during the install - essentially "plug and play" - and the Nakamichi amp and speakers were retained. The Kenwood didn't have quite the bone rattling base of the Nakamichi but I actually preferred the Kenwood's "cleaner" sound. If I had wanted bone jarring base from the Kenwood, I could have used its separate subwoofer output with an additional single channel amp to drive the Nak or an aftermarket subwoofer.

Regardless of which way you go, I can tell you that FRS does wonderful work. I was completely satisfied with the aux-in he installed until I found that I liked the Kenwood much more than the Nak.

Webelectrics sells good stuff too and may be a one-man operation like FRS apparently is. I installed a Webelectrics DRL kit on our Prius wagon last year and its quality and customizable functions are very nice.

As for putting huge wheels and sequential LED tail lights on an LS400 ... I think I'll stop now.
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Old 06-15-14, 09:55 AM   #6
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I was thinking about the LED tails last night after following a 2-GS with them. Looks good but his had a handful that were out. Made me glad that when the bulbs die in the OEM, it is easy to replace and it functions 100%.

Not much mention if the tails on those can be easily serviced but I suspect that any aftermarket LED is not going to match well. In that regard maybe that is why I see enough partially functional LED tails on not only Lexus but other cars. LED's are supposed to have fantastic longevity but I don't see that among the aftermarket stuff.
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Old 06-15-14, 01:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sha4000 View Post
What is the offset of the rim?
I have no idea. I wish I knew or at least knew where I could find that info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kansas View Post
I'm starting to think that there are two types of Nakamichi head units in 98-00 LS400's - those that have failed and those that will fail soon. My recommendation is not to put any money into you Nakamichi head unit and go with an aftermarket head unit. I loved using the aux-in that Factory Radio Service installed but I would have been better off putting that money into the Kenwood DDX470 that I had installed after the Nakamichi's right channel failed for a second time.

Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) repairs Nakamichi - I've looked everywhere. If your Nak head unit fails after FRS has mod'ed it, you are out of luck.

The $498 (installed price) Kenwood was wonderful. I say "was" because I sold my 2000 LS to a friend in April and moved on. The Kenwood made my LS seem much more modern with its big screen with customizable icons, Bluetooth, Pandora interface, 18 FM presets, backup camera capability, hands free phone feature, sat radio capability and on and on. There was even a $20 remote control I could have bought. Installation was done by Best Buy using specialized connectors that friends have told me must have included resisters. No wires were cut during the install - essentially "plug and play" - and the Nakamichi amp and speakers were retained. The Kenwood didn't have quite the bone rattling base of the Nakamichi but I actually preferred the Kenwood's "cleaner" sound. If I had wanted bone jarring base from the Kenwood, I could have used its separate subwoofer output with an additional single channel amp to drive the Nak or an aftermarket subwoofer.
I may have to look into a plug and play aftermarket unit. I was unaware that an aftermarket headunit was available that allowed for the nak system to be retained. The DDX470 has been discontinued on crutchfield so I'll have to find a newer version of that HU to use. Any suggestions or general direction to point me in Kansas? Plug and play all the way. No splicing for me and definitely no re-running of wires or anything of that sort.

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I was thinking about the LED tails last night after following a 2-GS with them. Looks good but his had a handful that were out. Made me glad that when the bulbs die in the OEM, it is easy to replace and it functions 100%.

Not much mention if the tails on those can be easily serviced but I suspect that any aftermarket LED is not going to match well. In that regard maybe that is why I see enough partially functional LED tails on not only Lexus but other cars. LED's are supposed to have fantastic longevity but I don't see that among the aftermarket stuff.
One of my main concerns is whether or not the LED's will be easily swappable if a board suddenly decided to go out on me. It's definitely a worry especially considering the price point of these mods but maybe I'll dive head first into it and cross that bridge, ya know?

@Sc0pe - I sent central pine an email, just awaiting a reply. Thanks for the tip on that. And I was thinking of going with the velvet curtains as the mesh ones seem cheap. I wouldn't know from first hand experience but my experience with mesh has been unsettling to say the least. And Happy Father's Day to all!
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Old 06-15-14, 06:26 PM   #8
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One of my main concerns is whether or not the LED's will be easily swappable if a board suddenly decided to go out on me. It's definitely a worry especially considering the price point of these mods but maybe I'll dive head first into it and cross that bridge, ya know?
I bet you will have a very hard time to fix LED tail lights. It is almost a due to replace some of LEDs because they fail within a year or in a few months. But it is not a simple job to access those LEDs and replace. You need a specially made oven to do so. I have seen many poor young guys who were regretting. Also some units are prone to fail quickly because of the water coming in. Hope you will not be one of those poor guys who don't understand the word quality.
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Old 06-16-14, 12:11 AM   #9
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I bet you will have a very hard time to fix LED tail lights. It is almost a due to replace some of LEDs because they fail within a year or in a few months. But it is not a simple job to access those LEDs and replace. You need a specially made oven to do so. I have seen many poor young guys who were regretting. Also some units are prone to fail quickly because of the water coming in. Hope you will not be one of those poor guys who don't understand the word quality.
The last time I bought LED's, they were going $2-$8, Seoul, Lumi and Cree. I couldn't imagine placing some 120+ of those even at $2. I suspect that the failed LEDs are due to heat sinking. The ones I mount go onto a flat copper or aluminum slug with thermal paste. My applications don't drive them over spec so I get good longevity as they should be with proper installation. On those Chinese imports and even those that may come from Taiwan, I wonder how well they allow for heat dissipation in the design.

As noted too about water leakage. That's why I've been content to keep the excellent factory tails. The clear bumper lights I applied a bead of silicone sealing to add to the weather sealing to lessen the chance they will leak.
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Old 06-16-14, 04:56 AM   #10
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I just did a audio overhaul in my ls. One of these days I have to finish and update my thread....

Get a new double din radio. And you can also get a small amplifier that will fit under the passenger seat. All your speaker wires are there anyway.

You don't even need to replace the factory speakers. That's right. No need to replace them.

I installed a set of hertz 6.5 hi energy components in my passenger door but haven't had time to do the drivers door.

The factory speakers are holding up WELL. I must be running them up to 70 watts.

Now I have a fairly large zapco amplifier in the trunk. So a small 25w-45w rms under the seat will do nice!

You will have to address the sub. I would recommend a nice infinite baffle 10" in the rear deck.
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Old 06-16-14, 06:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Yamae View Post
I bet you will have a very hard time to fix LED tail lights. It is almost a due to replace some of LEDs because they fail within a year or in a few months. But it is not a simple job to access those LEDs and replace. You need a specially made oven to do so. I have seen many poor young guys who were regretting. Also some units are prone to fail quickly because of the water coming in. Hope you will not be one of those poor guys who don't understand the word quality.
I'm looking really deep into it before I purchase. Definitely gonna seal the new ones with rtv or whatever to make sure that water stays out. I'm trying to get my hands on the braga or insurance tails. After scouring the internets, those seem to be the most talked about as far as quality goes. Getting different prices from a few different people. Hoping to find them ASAP for sub $400 before shipping as Sc0pe pointed out.

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I just did a audio overhaul in my ls. One of these days I have to finish and update my thread....

Get a new double din radio. And you can also get a small amplifier that will fit under the passenger seat. All your speaker wires are there anyway.

You don't even need to replace the factory speakers. That's right. No need to replace them.

I installed a set of hertz 6.5 hi energy components in my passenger door but haven't had time to do the drivers door.

The factory speakers are holding up WELL. I must be running them up to 70 watts.

Now I have a fairly large zapco amplifier in the trunk. So a small 25w-45w rms under the seat will do nice!

You will have to address the sub. I would recommend a nice infinite baffle 10" in the rear deck.
So alls I would have to do is replace the headunit and the sub/amp. No special beatsonic harness? I'm a little confused about how the HU will hook up. Kansas was a bit mum on the subject and if it isn't directly plug and play, I'm totally
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Old 06-17-14, 04:55 AM   #12
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So alls I would have to do is replace the headunit and the sub/amp. No special beatsonic harness? I'm a little confused about how the HU will hook up. Kansas was a bit mum on the subject and if it isn't directly plug and play, I'm totally
The Best Buy installer connected the wires from the Kenwood head unit directly to the pins on the connector leading to the Nakamichi amp under the front seat using pin adapters that I never saw. My recommendation would be to consult an installer. As I mentioned in my Kenwood thread, the Best Buy installer - who was also an LS430 driver - was far more knowledgeable that what I would have expected to find at Best Buy.

There are other good units besides the DDX470. The reason I chose it was that it had excellent customer reviews, a Pandora interface, was all set up for a backup camera, iPod, sat radio, etc. and that it did not include navigation. My opinion is that the head unit location in a 98-00 LS400 is way to low to operate navigation safely. I was also trying to keep the total cost down since I planned to sell my LS400 this Spring which I did right on schedule. And I thought I would likely be selling my 00 LS to a friend or relative so I wanted the buyer to have something nice.
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Old 06-19-14, 06:03 PM   #13
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The Best Buy installer connected the wires from the Kenwood head unit directly to the pins on the connector leading to the Nakamichi amp under the front seat using pin adapters that I never saw. My recommendation would be to consult an installer. As I mentioned in my Kenwood thread, the Best Buy installer - who was also an LS430 driver - was far more knowledgeable that what I would have expected to find at Best Buy.

There are other good units besides the DDX470. The reason I chose it was that it had excellent customer reviews, a Pandora interface, was all set up for a backup camera, iPod, sat radio, etc. and that it did not include navigation. My opinion is that the head unit location in a 98-00 LS400 is way to low to operate navigation safely. I was also trying to keep the total cost down since I planned to sell my LS400 this Spring which I did right on schedule. And I thought I would likely be selling my 00 LS to a friend or relative so I wanted the buyer to have something nice.
Thanks Kansas, I will contact an installer ASAP. Hope I don;t get too many "you have to rewire the entire car to change out the Nak" replies.

On another note I found my rim offset (it was on the rim ). It's +42 (complete specs: 20x8.5 ET +42, 225x30x20 tire, lug pattern - 5x108). After much searching here and on google, I can't seem to find a concrete answer to my question as there are so many variables. Tire calculators put my rims at poking out an extra 22.1mm and going in an extra 16.1mm towards the suspension. I'm aware that offset is not the only factor determining clearance of the brakes on the '00 ls400 thanks to RA40 constantly repeating himself in the master wheel setup thread. I think my 8 ball says I'm in for a trip to the garage in the near future but I wanted to get you guys' opinions first. Clearance Issues? Adapter/Spacer thickness size?

I'm also aware that that question might not be posted in the correct section but at least I didn't start a brand new thread just for that question right PD?
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Old 06-19-14, 08:33 PM   #14
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Thanks Kansas, I will contact an installer ASAP. Hope I don;t get too many "you have to rewire the entire car to change out the Nak" replies.

On another note I found my rim offset (it was on the rim ). It's +42 (complete specs: 20x8.5 ET +42, 225x30x20 tire, lug pattern - 5x108). After much searching here and on google, I can't seem to find a concrete answer to my question as there are so many variables. Tire calculators put my rims at poking out an extra 22.1mm and going in an extra 16.1mm towards the suspension. I'm aware that offset is not the only factor determining clearance of the brakes on the '00 ls400 thanks to RA40 constantly repeating himself in the master wheel setup thread. I think my 8 ball says I'm in for a trip to the garage in the near future but I wanted to get you guys' opinions first. Clearance Issues? Adapter/Spacer thickness size?

I'm also aware that that question might not be posted in the correct section but at least I didn't start a brand new thread just for that question right PD?
You definitely do not need to rewire the whole car. All your speaker wires are under the seat. I don't have the nak stereo so I don't know about getting the factory amp running. I looked into making my factory amp working without the beatsonic kit and abandoned it. I'm just running a aftermarket amp for the speakers and one for a sub.

Also people mention there is not a illumination wire behind the dash. There is.

I forget which one but they are there. Get a tester and probe the wires.

Like Kansas said, he had a great installer. My local guys are hacks.
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