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The car's a 2004 GS430 (as in my avatar), with the usual Mark Levinson stereo & satnav system.

One morning the Battery had gone flat (cause: totally unrelated to the hifi, and later solved by me), and I used a portable Battery to jump-start the car.

From that time on, there's been no sound from the hifi (irrespective of source - radio, CD, tape). Sound had been working perfectly, right up to the point I switched off the engine the previous night, so it is hard to escape the cause->effect linkage.

The CD apparently plays, as does the tape, and the radio apparently tunes just like before. But, there's no sound at all from the speakers. When I press the Audio button on the head unit, all controls like "Bass", "Treble" and "Front/Rear--Left/Right Balance" appear greyed out on the display. These three pics show what I see:


Note the greyed-out controls in the last photo. So, the computer knows that something is wrong.

I've now checked and double-checked all the fuses. As the helpful Tigerfish had pointed out, these are in different locations, including the passenger side footwell. All the fuses are fine.

The CD changer is in the back of the glovebox. The satnav DVD unit is in the boot, and the power amplifier is below it. Everything was original/factory-installed, not after-market.

The closest I've found to this problem is this discussion:


where the poster seems to be describing the same fault. The advice he's given is that it is probably a blown amplifier, he didn't come back to the thread so I don't know if it was resolved.

Almost the same thing is found here:


where the reference is to the "infamous ML amp" striking again.. :(

A Lexus dealer indicated the price for a new amplifier from Lexus is probably half of what my car itself is worth. They said they thought it was a faulty amp (but - stress - couldn't be certain).

I can get an amplifier from the USA (via ebay) for about a quarter of its "new" price, salvage from a scrapped 2001-4 GS300/GS430 fitted with the Mark Levinson stereo. I would make sure that the part number matched up. But what if the problem wasn't the amplifier but instead something in the head unit/console? The eBay sale would have been final (i.e., no returns), of course.

Should I take the chance and order a replacement amp?

Some clear advice would be very gratefully accepted - thanks in advance!

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Hi again.

> Are you sure the amp is below the DVD unit in the boot?

Pretty sure, and that's what the car mechanic friend says the box is (right underneath the satnav ECU / DVD player).

Per Google images, the box looks rather like a "86280-0W032" unit (I can't see the part number without doing a lot of unscrewing, I think), and I believe this may be the standard Mark Levinson amp for the 2001-4 GS series.

What else could it be, under the DVD unit?

Also, this thread:


which I've just found suggests the amp is located there (in the boot on what, for the USA, would be the passenger side, i.e. on the right, looking at the car from the rear).

Here's an extract from the Lexus literature, issued in 2001-2, covering the 2nd generation GS:


Where do you think the amplifier is?

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I had issues with my ls430 cd player, what I did was take the negative terminal off the Battery for 5mins then placed it back on and it reset the sound system and it started working.

I then called Lexus Birmingham and told them how can Lexus claim the Mark Levinson system is the best etc when we keep getting faults with it? Mine is a 2001 ls430. I told them i have another car with the Denon system in it since 1994, and to this day it still works. Same amp same cd player and speakers. They didnt have an answer except we are sorry.

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A reset is certainly worth a shot.

The reason I mention the amp location is due to what it shows in the service manuals.


As your diagram specifically mentions mark levinson, and the service manual doesn't, it could be that they are located differently. I have also removed the stereo components from a gen 2 GS300, and the amp was indeed in the footwell, but again, not a mark levinson labelled system. I thought it was worth a mention as I wanted to avoid you buying a unit that wasn't actually what you were after, just in case there were any errors in the literature.

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Thanks, Tigerfish, for that - I was pretty sure that's what you were driving at. :)

Before I order the amp, I will make certain the part number of what I'm looking at under the Navigation ECU is identical to what I'm buying.

But before that I wil try out the 5 minutes disconnect the negative from the Battery first thing tomorrow morning (thanks, messi!). While I consider it v.unlikely to fix this problem... stranger things have been known to man!

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OK, the Battery reset did not fix the problem, as suspected. :( Free but was worth trying.

A further complication. The part number on my ML amp is 86280-0W210 (I physically checked it, where it sits under the Navigation ECU in the boot), while the one that seems to be all over the internet is 86280-0W032 (and which I am probably able to source).

From Google Images, the two appear identical, including the sockets. There are also -0W031's and -0W030's, which I guess may be earlier versions of the -0W032. But my (presumed failed) amp's part number isn't in that sequence at all. They both sit in the same place in the right of the boot.

Lexus Parts Department (local UK dealer) tell me the two have exactly the same price and description in their system, and that they may well be identical (the 0W032 showing as available only from Japan) - but they can't confirm it.

Google research confirms that the 86280-0W032 is fitted to left-hand drive vehicles and the 86280-0W210 to right-hand ones, like mine.

Any suggestions as to how I determine whether the 0W032 will work for me, please?

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The Swede

Nothing at all dumb about your questions, Sandy.

1. On the 2004 GS430, if one wants the Navigation system, one MUST get the Mark Levinson sound system as well. It is called the "NAVIGATION PACKAGE", and it is an option, even though it is listed in the GS430 brochure under "Standard Specification and Features" (I kid you not).

The reverse, however, is not true. On the "SPORT PACKAGE" you get the ML system but not the satnav.

2) Yes, I noted the ASL soft-button had disappeared, as did the the green level settings for base/treble and fade/balance. This is, I presume, because the head unit senses the amp is not there or not functioning. Someone else complaining about losing sound also mentioned the ASL disappearing.

Note that sounds are still produced from the navigation system (if I switch them on), Since "86280-0W210" and "86280-0W032" apparently only differ in that the navigation "voice" is routed to a different door speaker (right & left, respectively) according to whether the vehicle is RHD ("-0W210") or LHD ("-0W032"), the fact that the navigation voice still works does puzzle me. I don't want to replace the amplifier - and then find it was not the amplifier at fault after all....

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Yes, The Swede. But - it might not work tomorrow.... :eerrrmm:

Remember, there was really no "reason" at all for my amp to fail, as it apparently has done.

Now I am more confident that it is the amp, after all, as I am informed it is common for the voice navigation commands to continue to work (as in, to be audible) even when the other audio outputs do not work. Apparently, very different circuitry is used (perhaps, because of volume for the navigation sound is controlled very differently from that of all other sound output).

Why do they make all this so complex?

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  • 1 year later...

  • 9 months later...

Hi guys, I had the same issue with my 2004 gs300. No sound but noticed a few drops of water on the connectors of the amplifier. Also 30amp fuse in the fuse box in the engine bay was also blown. Spent hours trying to sort it but no luck. Dried to plugs out with cold air from a hairdryer and how works fine. Water droplets were due to the cold em intent in the boot area.

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