Grom Audio USB Adapter works in my 2005 Lexus SC430
See attached photo. Ever thought you would see this sight on your SC430 factory car radio?
When I retired I wanted to get a retractable hardtop convertible. I wanted a car with high reliability. The Lexus SC430 has been in the top 10 list ever since it was made. I bought a low mileage used 2005 SC430 because it was the last year having the higher 300 hp engine and having dark green paint.
The radio mechanic at my Lexus dealer told me I would lose my Navigation/Bluetooth Steering Wheel Control function if I had a car stereo shop change my radio. He recommended instead the non-invasive USB adapters by Vais Technology ($364) or Grom Audio ($124). I talked to tech support of each company who told me their device would work in my car. I went with Grom Audio because it was smaller, no reports of having to unplug it to reset it, and the price was lower. The device will interface an iPod or iPhone but it is much simpler to just use the USB input with a flashdrive. My memory stick is a:
Many thanks to those on this forum who explained how to remove the car stereo. I had no problem installing the adapter myself. All the Lexus wiring harness connectors are very easy to open. Each has a single locking tab. You use a medium flat blade screwdriver to push down the tab to unlock then rotate to remove the connector.
I placed the Grom Adapter in the center console below the front cup holder. I removed the core of the 12 v. power outlet in the center console bottom storage bin and ran the USB cable from the adapter through the round outlet sleeve into the storage bin. The Grom adapter has no history of locking up but if access is needed, it is very easy to reach it. I have a Mark Levinson sound system.
After installing, hitting the CD button on the car stereo switches between the internal 6 disk CD player and the external Grom 99 CD player on the memory stick. There is no difference in sound level or quality switching between devices. As my attached photo shows, the car displays “CD1” when on the Grom. Each Grom CD has 999 tracks but my Lexus display only shows the last two digits of the track (track 387 displays as 87). All the steering wheel controls and car stereo functions work, including random tracks on the Grom.
The folders on my memory stick are my music playlists or audio book or radio show name. Each folder name begins with a number for the CD it is. For example:
In the past I used to buy cassettes of Talking Books to listen in the car on long road trips. Now I use iTunes to download audiobooks and vintage radio shows for the car stereo. Many are free. A regular Audiobook is a single MPEG4 file. You have to convert it to MPEG3. This also saves memory. “The Hobbit” MPEG4 was 726 Mb. and MPEG 3 was only 128 Mb. I use the software “TunePat” for the conversion. When you power off the radio it will remember where you are on a long track, but it you change CDs while playing, you have to start at the beginning of the story and fast forward to where you were.
A Podcast download works better than an AudioBook because the Podcast book chapters or radio episodes are separate files. For example: CD 20 on my USB flash drive memory stick is the book “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”. Track 1 is Chapter 1. Track 2 is Chapter 2, etc. CD 21 is the Western radio show “Have Gun Will Travel”. Track 1 is Episode 1, Track 2 is Episode 2, etc. CD 22 is a single long mp3 track of the audiobook “The Hobbit”.
The following Grom Toyota cable is required for these Lexus SC430 years:
2001-2005 cable TOY1
2006-2009 cable TOY
I am very pleased with this device and highly recommend it as it works well and is easy to install yourself. Here are links for the Lexus SC430 radio removal:
1) Open armrest (upper and lower).
2) Pop seat heater control module out, unplug, and set aside.
3) Open the stereo door.
4) Put the car in N or lower.
5) Lift the wood center console panel up and back.
Don't pull too hard, the wire for the stereo-door button is short.
6) Unplug the stereo-door button and set panel to the side.
7) Remove the two big 10 mm lower screws holding the radio in.
8) Remove the climate control module.
(You can grab it with both hands and carefully pull it loose).
9) Remove the two big 10 mm upper screws holding the radio in.
10) CAREFULLY remove the stereo.
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Wow. Can you post a pic or two of the Grom unit installed in the console? Also, when you say "The device will interface an iPod or iPhone but it is much simpler to just use the USB input with a flashdrive", do you need an adapter to go from the USB end to an iPod-type end? Also, is it the 'Grom USB Mp3 Car Kit' you bought? Thanks.
I bought a low mileage used 2005 SC430 because it was the last year having the higher 300 hp engine and having dark green paint.
Not that it matters now, but the horsepower never changed. It's the exact same engine with the same horsepower. What did change is how Lexus estimates the horsepower. The new, lower number is probably more accurate.
The Grom Audio compatibility guide only shows Lexus SC430 model years 2005-2009 for their device. But when I ordered the device it came with the Toyota “TOY” cable that had a connector with 6 pins across (2nd Generation 2005-2009). My radio connector has 7 pins across (1st generation 2001-2004). Alberto wrote me that 2005 was a transition year and I had the 1st Generation Lexus SC430 radio that required their Toyota “TOY1” cable. The following Grom links show support for 2001-2004 Lexus models:
You have to order a different cable if you want to control your iPod or iPhone. My 32 Gb USB memory stick was only $50 and it has all my iPhone songs on it so instead of having the hassle of connecting my phone each time I get in the vehicle I just leave the USB flashdrive in the center console and forget about it.
If you have a pre 2005 model ask Grom tech support Alberto for his opinion. He told me they would give me a full refund if it did not work. It only took me a 20 minutes to remove my radio and test their product. You have nothing to lose but years of enjoyment if it works.
Here is a photo of my center console. It was easy to lift a tab and push the power converter unit through the sleeve after removing the two leads then route the USB cable through it. It is simple to unplug the flashdrive and take it into the house to update it with new songs then return it. With 99 virtual CDs and 999 tracks per CD, you can have 98,000 songs or talking books in your car!
Mechanical devices like your car CD player eventually wear out and break. The flash drive has no mechanical parts. I do not use the car CD player or FM radio anymore. I have one virtual CD folder (10-Favorites) with 900 of my favorite songs from all genres that I listen with random play.
I hope the device will work for your car because it is wonderful to use.
I got this response from Alberto at Grom Audio when I asked about compatibility with my 2002 SC.
"Unfortunately the GROM USB2 interface is not compatible with your vehicle application. Due to the factory radio protocol the GROM USB2 will not be recognized by your Lexus radio. SC 430 MY 2005-2010 are compatible currently. "
Should I go ahead and take a chance based upon his input to you? Sounds like he told you a different story.
rocky-great write up and very clean install. Nice job! Thanks for posting. Basically, you have a different route than a Vaistech unit but ultimately have a similar endpoint=lots of outstanding digital music you can listen to in your SC!
tfeni-rocky has a 2005...different nav system and different software than the 2002-2004
I've seen some deals on eBay. Let me know if you need some more help, I had it in my 02
Same problem with Vais Tech connectivity...SLU only for 2002-2004 and SL2I-UP for the 2005+. I had the SLU on my 02 and it was much better than cassette adapters, but not nearly as good as the the SL2. Maybe I'm biased because of the charging application and the nav-bypass feature of the SL2i-UP! Both Vais products are great!
Sounds like Grom might be an easier or same install and a better price for those who are cost conscious. I'm going on one year with my Vais unit and absolutely love it. No regrets.
What would be great is if there was a universal adapter that sends the signal from all these units to our stereos that shows the track names. Why is it XM shows up and the radio station information...the words ERROR can appear, yet not the track? I'd really like to pursue this adapter. Where are all our carputer geniuses out there????
2005 Pebble Beach Edition Named "Ebony" Only 600 Made Black Diamond Pearl Pimento Red Interior Espresso Birdseye Maple Wood Smoked Pebble Beach Headlights Pebble Beach Badges on Fenders, Console and PB Embossed Mats, Pebble Beach Red Engine Cover and Cargo Cover Pull Mods: Injen Short Ram Intake ADR 20" Staggered Wheels w/Yokos Tasteful Drop w/ Megan Street LP Coilovers SL2-UP Vais iPod, DRL LED Upgrade Lexus Aluminum Pedals, 06+ LED Tails, 9.1 Nav, Welcome Screen Bypass Zaino Luxlink 2.0 39k
Here's the explanation I got from Alberto at Grom Audio when I pressed for more clarification on the 2002 SC compatibility:
"The SC430 radios are kind of tricky when it comes to compatibility. We have confirmed 2005-2010 models have had positive results with compatibility. Radios built in those years (2005-2010) use the newer TOY harness. Most radios created in the second half of 2004 have the same internal protocol as a 2005-2010 but use a older type connector which is the TOY1 harness. Radios built in 2002-2004.5 do not seem to have the protocol needed internally to recognize a external audio device like a CD-changer which the GROM USB2 interface emulates. We apologize for any confusion and appreciate your interest in GROM Audio."
It's nice to get a straightforward answer to a request. Guess I'll just have to go either buy an '05 or later or do a full blown upgrade......
1. Welcome to the forum!
2. Excellent write-up -- thanks for taking the time.
3. Interesting post -- I always thought VAIS was the only game in town.
4. "20 minutes to remove my radio" -- Impressive. It takes me that long to find the right tool to hand to the guy who is taking my radio out.
__________________ 2006 Lexus SC430 - Smoky Mica Granite with Black interior. MODS: DISABLED Nav data entry lockout when in motion; DISABLED phone entry lockout when in motion; DISABLED "I agree" screen; DISABLEDSeat belt chime ADDED: Remote Functions via Cell Phone; LuxLink; NavTool Backup Cam; Sirius XM Radio; Vais iPod adapter; Blitz cabin filter.