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Article by:RedRed

Applicable Models: 1998-2007 Land Cruiser 100 (USA) / Lx 470

Last Updated: Sunday, October 30, 2016

So you want to replace your audio system? I’m not surprised. The quality of the 100 series audio is passable at best and if you are used to high fidelity then it’s downright useless. Fortunately there are some good solutions to improve things. All of them will require some poking around behind panels and some wiring.

Let’s take a look at where we are today and then what we can do about it. As of this post the biggest limitation to changing the audio system in your 100 series cruiser is the head unit in the later model vehicles. In 2002 (2001 for LX) Toyota began installing a touch screen navigation systems that incorporated the climate control interface. Very sexy but very expensive and prone to fail at some point. Because these head units have the climate control interface there isn’t a super clean way to upgrade the head unit. There is a project http://cruiserops.com/ that is undertaking the wiring interface for such a conversion. Part of what makes the conversion of late model head units feasible is that there are a few non-navigation examples in the USA as well as other markets worldwide. If you have a 1998-2001 100 series your life is simpler.

Overview

The main components in the system consist of a head unit, multi-channel amplifier, front door speakers of 2-way (woofer/tweeter) or 3-way (woofer/midrange/tweeter), rear door speakers of dual-cone or two way design and a subwoofer on the driver rear cargo area consisting of a custom moulded enclosure containing two 4″ drivers or a single 6″ driver.

Land Cruiser Audio Systems by Year:

 

1998 Land Cruiser with Standard Head Unit

  • 1998 – 2000
    • Head unit: Premium 3-in-1 ETR/Cassette/CD with 6-disc in-dash changer,
    • Speakers: 7 (front doors have 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer, rear doors 6.5″ full range, Subwoofer has two 4″ drivers in custom cabinet.
    • Amplifier: 170 watts (maximum output)
    • Option: None
  • 2001
    • Head unit: JBL Premium 3-in-1 ETR/Cassette/CD with 6-disc in-dash changer,
    • Speakers: 7 (front doors have 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer, rear doors 6.5″ full range, Subwoofer has one 6″ drivers in custom cabinet.
    • Amplifier: 300 watts (maximum output)
    • Option: None

2002 with Optional NAV

  • 2002 – 2003
    • Head unit: JBL Premium 3-in-1 ETR/Cassette/CD with 6-disc in-dash changer,
    • Speakers: 7 (front doors have 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer, rear doors 6.5″ full range, Subwoofer has one 6″ driver in custom cabinet.
    • Amplifier: 300 watts (maximum output)
    • Option: 7″ Touch Screen Navigation System with integrated Audio and Climate Controls (same JBL amplifier and speakers as above)
  • 2004 – 2005
    • Head unit: JBL Premium 3-in-1 ETR/Cassette/CD with 6-disc in-dash changer,
    • Speakers: 7 (front doors have 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer, rear doors 6.5″ full range, Subwoofer has one 6″ driver in custom cabinet.
    • Amplifier: 300 watts (maximum output)
    • Option: 7″ Voice activated Navigation System with integrated Audio and Climate Controls (same JBL amplifier and speakers as above), Bluetooth and Backup Camera
  • 2006 – 2007
    • Head unit: JBL Premium 3-in-1 ETR/Cassette/CD with 6-disc in-dash changer,
    • Speakers: 7 (front doors have 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer, rear doors 6.5″ full range, Subwoofer has one 6″ driver in custom cabinet.
    • Amplifier: 300 watts (maximum output)
    • Option: 7″ Voice activated Navigation System with integrated Audio and Climate Controls (same JBL amplifier and speakers as above), Bluetooth. Backup Camera and XM Radio

LX 470 Audio Systems by Year:

2000 LX 470 with Nakamichi Head Unit

  • 1998 – 2000
    • Head unit: AM/FM/Cassette/CD with 6-disc in-dash changer,
    • Speakers: 7 (front doors have 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer, rear doors 6.5″ full range, Subwoofer has one 6″ driver in custom cabinet.
    • Amplifier: 250 watts (maximum output)
    • Optional Nakamichi 280 watt System (2000MY)

2003 LX 470 with Mark Levinson Audio / NAV

  • 2001 – 2007
    • Head unit: Lexus DVD Navigation System  7″ Touch Screen with integrated Audio and Climate Controls, AM/FM/Cassette/CD with 6-disc in-dash changer, with Automatic Sound Levelizer
    • Speakers: 7 (front doors have 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer, rear doors 6.5″ full range, Subwoofer has one 6″ driver in custom cabinet.
    • Amplifier: 300 watts (continuous output)
    • Option: Mark Levinson 7″ Touch Screen Navigation System with integrated Audio and Climate Controls 240 watts (continuous output) with Automatic Sound Levelizer. 11 Speakers

Replacing the Components:

Head Unit:

    • 1998-2002 have a simple double DIN unit that can easily be swapped for an aftermarket single or double DIN unit. Some 2001 and 2002’s are equipped with factory navigation incorporating HVAC controls – there is no currently available solution to convert these to aftermarket.
    • 2003-2007 vehicles have an integrated radio/information display (non-nav) or are fitted with factory navigation incorporating HVAC controls – there is no currently available solution to convert these to aftermarket.
      • In other markets such as Mexico the 100 was available with a standard double DIN head unit but the wiring harness is significantly different from the NAV equipped vehicles in the USA to make a swap non trivial.
      • A project is under way to develop solutions for navigation equipped vehicles.

JDM 100 Series with Standard Radio

 

2006 non-nav USA center stack

2006 non-nav USA center stack

Amplifier:

    • Several amplfiers came installed in the 100 series and differ in output power for the system options equipped. For replacement any aftermarket multi-channel (5ch) or combination of amps will work well. Most modern amps are looking for 2-4 volts at the low level inputs which is a problem for the factory head units. When feeding an aftermarket amp with the factory head unit you should use a signal processing device to reduce noise and provide the interface from stock headunit to aftermarket amplifier.

Speakers:

    • Front door speakers in the Land Cruiser are component type; Separate tweeter opposite the side view mirror near the A pillar, 6.5″ mid woofer in the lower door. The optional Levinson system in the LX470 adds a mid range driver in the mid-door as part of the arm rest structure. The speakers come mounted in a “basket” that is part of the assembly and not removable  If you pull out the OEM and direct replace you will need shallow mount speakers. If you dont use shallow mounts you will need a spacer for for std. depth units. A common practice is to cut the speaker out of the OEM basket and reuse the mount for the new speakers – essentially the basket becomes the needed spacer for a standard mount driver.
    • Rear door speakers are a 6.5″ dual cone design and located similarly to the front door mid-woofers. These can be replaced with a 6.5″ coaxial speaker to main tain stock appearance. Mounting is similar to the front door in that a basket is part of the OEM speaker setup – the OEM driver can be cut from the basket and aftermarket mounted to it.
    • The factory sub woofer comes in two flavors – dual 4″ drivers or single 6″ driver. Both are mounted into a custom formed plastic enclosure that live on the left (drivers) side of the third row/cargo area. It’s mounted above the wheel well. Some industrious souls modify the factory box for a larger driver. Others make a new box for the factory location and mount a single 8″ driver. Most often owners opt to use a custom or external cabinet because the space in the factory location is limiting for driver size.

2000 Land Cruiser Factory Sub Woofer

 

8″ Sub in Factory Location with Hidden Custom Box

Thoughts:

If you are doing upgrades incrementally here is the order I would do them:

    1. Speaker change. The factory drivers are pretty bad and aftermarket units sound tremendously better.
    2. Upgrade the amplifier  The factory amps barely handle the factory drivers, are noisy and have no headroom. A nice JL or Arc Audio 5 channel amp will bring the system alive. If you’re keeping the factory head unit add a signal processing device to reduce noise to your shopping list.
    3. Sub woofer has to go. Either a custom system or a boxed solution  but the factory enclosure is garbage and changing the drivers in there wont net any appreciable benefits. Replace.
    4. Head Unit last. I realize most folks will go for this first but if you replace the head unit and dont do 1 through 3 you are polishing a turd. If your head unit is dead I can understand starting here but you should have an ear toward the whole system retrofit.

Why not just go for a powered head unit and new speakers? Good question. Many folks do that, but bare in mind that most amplified head units dont have a ton of power, and likely will only have a 4 channel amp. You will need a separate amp for the sub (which hopefully you changed).

This article obviously just touches the surface of possibilities for upgrades. There a many options and designs available to owner that I couldn’t possibly cover them. In the next installment I will discuss what I did to my Land Cruiser and hopefully that will jump start a few of you.

End

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