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About br1anstorm

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    IS 300 Sportcross
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  1. Time for an update - and it's all good news. Bought a used/second-hand satnav DVD unit (the box mounted under the boot floor) off the well-known auction site for a very modest price. The one I bought was from a Toyota Avensis. Made by Denso, with serial number 86841-53041. Interestingly, it even came with the same mounting-brackets as are used in the IS200/300. I swapped them over, connected the replacement one up - and hooray! It works perfectly. So this might be useful info for anyone else whose satnav says "unable to read DVD". In researching online, I have also learned that one possible explanation is that, with age, the power-supply to the laser head which "reads" the DVD does gradually reduce. My Lexus (and its satnav) is 17 years old, so that seems the likely explanation. There is a fix (explained on YouTube). Basically you open up the unit and find the potentiometer which manages the power-supply to the laser. Apparently there is an adjustment-slot which you can turn very carefully with a thin screwdriver or pocket-knife-blade to increase/decrease the voltage setting. Too much, and the laser will burn out; too little, and the laser isn't bright enough to read the DVD. So I'm going to try that with the faulty unit which I have just removed, to see if that revives it.
  2. Thanks John (scudney) for your comments. My DVD is the original/genuine map disc, which has worked fine until now, so that's not the source of the problem. I have run a disc lens-cleaner several times in the unit, so if there was dust or something on the laser-lens it should have been cleaned up. But the screen still says "unable to read DVD". I suspect this might mean the laser head itself may have failed or become misaligned. My next step is to try a replacement DVD-reader unit. Not a new one, but there are several used ones (out of scrap vehicles, no doubt) offered on the well-known online auction site. My Lexus unit (which seems to be the same for both IS200 and IS300) is made by Denso and has the ref numbers 86841-53040. It looks very much as if the unit used in the Toyota Avensis is the same: it has the number 86841-53041. I wonder if anyone else has tried this "swap". I'm aiming to try a second-hand Toyota unit. Will report back on what I discover. Maybe the screen will display a Toyota logo before it goes into navigation mode! Depending on how that goes, I might then try to investigate and repair (?) the original unit. Has anyone else dismantled/reassembled one of these, or found advice - in a repair-manual or on YouTube - on how to fix them?
  3. I know it's not good to double-post. But I've had zero response to a post I made into the audio/video/electronics/security forum. I'm also guessing that because the satnav systems vary so much in different models, the real experts in 1st-gen IS 200/300 satnav installations might be more regular contributors in this sub-forum. The problem I have may be familiar to IS200/300 owners. The satnav says it can't read the map DVD. So the entire system no longer functions. Full details are in my other post at I have removed and cleaned the DVD (which was neither dusty nor scratched); and I have also run a lens-cleaner disc in the unit. Still the screen says 'unable to read map DVD'. What else can be done to solve the problem? Or has the laser disk-reader suddenly failed completely? Any advice would be welcome.
  4. The satnav in my 2002 IS300 Sportcross seems to have developed a problem. Until recently it was working perfectly. Now when switched on it starts as usual - briefly showing the Lexus logo, then the menu-screen with instructions and language and the "I agree" button - and then (for a moment) the map. Then up comes an error message saying "DVD - unable to read data. Check if map DVD is correct". Attempting to access other menus or set a destination using the central-console buttons sometimes brings up the relevant screen, but after a few seconds the same error message appears. I have ejected the (original and genuine) DVD from the unit beside the spare wheel under the boot floor. It looks clean and unscratched, and the whole area is clean (no damp or dust); I know the car's history and the wiring etc is all original and unmodified. I've cleaned the DVD surface; and I have also used a lens-cleaner disk in the machine itself. That hasn't cured the problem. What other checks and solutions might I try .... and in what order? I have seen it suggested on some forums that (a) disconnecting battery-power and (b) unplugging the wiring to the unit in the boot, waiting a minute or two, and then reconnecting, might help. I assume that is equivalent to a "reset" and it wipes the stored data. But that must be saved somewhere else (on a chip or card) separate from the DVD, so it's not obvious that this is a relevant step. Could it be that the laser which "reads" the DVD has simply failed suddenly? How can this be checked or tested? Any other explanations or suggested solutions? It's not a very sophisticated satnav (no postcodes...) compared to current models, but I still find it very useful, and want to fix it if possible.
  5. I have a 2002 IS300 Sportcross - but this question is relevant to most, if not all, Lexus models. What needs to be done to keep the tilt/slide sunroof working well? I have always been slightly nervous about sunroofs, fearing that they will get stuck or won't close properly. I used to own a Merc with a tilt/slide sunroof, and the service manual had very strict instructions about maintaining the mechanism and using only a very special kind of lubricating grease (not WD40 or silicone stuff....) . I've had my IS300 serviced at a couple of different dealers, but failed to check whether the standard service schedule includes any lubrication of the sunroof slides or checks on the motor. Does anyone know whether this is part of the service routine? Is a special kind of grease required, and if so what is it?
  6. Update for anyone interested. I ended up deciding to put 205/55 R16 tyres on all four of those standard Lexus wheels (which are incidentally 6.5" wide). I chose Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance tyres. I have just tried them out. Much quieter, with a much better ride quality, scarcely any thumping over cats-eyes, and the grip and handing both on dry and wet roads feels better than the previous Michelin 45-profiles on 17" wheels. The change was definitely an improvement and worth doing.
  7. Hello Don (T800). I just revisited this thread after some time away, and saw your post. There are three options: buy a replacement OEM mirror glass unit from a dealer. Ludicrously expensive, even more so if you get the dealer to fit it; go the "scudney" route and source a replacement from a breaker (either the glass, or the whole unit - latter is easier for a breaker to supply and not too costly); go for the quick and dirty option - especially if the MoT is imminent - and get a stick-on replacement glass from suppliers on the well known online auction site for a few quid. It just sticks on top of your existing faulty mirror with double sided tape and is perfectly legal. Me? I went for options 2 and 3..... in fact the stick-on mirror is still in place two years down the track, and the replacement unit from a breaker is still on my garage shelf. One of these days (or when the stick-on one falls off), I'll do the proper replacement!
  8. Thanks Steve - that site is very helpful (so I've bookmarked it!)
  9. Thanks John - very helpful. The set of 16" wheels I plan to use are standard 6 spoke Lexus IS wheels (ie the OEM ones as fitted, I think, to some versions of the IS300). See attached pic. I can't immediately recall the width - I think they are 6.5" - but they are certainly intended for the OEM 205/55 R16 tyres. Having now browsed a lot of tyre suppliers online, you're absolutely right that it's a very common size, so lots of choice... I still have the Goodyears and Dunlops on my shortlist. But I am now thinking quite seriously about the Michelin Cross Climate. More costly, but the reviews seem to suggest that it really does deliver in both summer and wet/cold winter conditions, and there is a promotional deal on Michelins this month. As I'm in the Scottish Highlands, I think it might well be worth trying them (even though I try hard to avoid using my Lexus when there is snow/salt/slush on the roads). More browsing needed to source the best deal!
  10. I need the advice of experts and enthusiasts, in doing something which seems to swim against the tide. I have a 2002 IS300 Sportcross. It comes with 17" wheels as standard, with fairly low-profile tyres: 215/45 R17 on the front, 225/45 R17 on the rear. The alloy wheels are scabby and corroded, and the current Michelin Premacy tyres are due for replacement. So now is the moment! Most people who change wheels and tyres seem to want bigger wheels and even lower profile tyres. Fair enough - for appearance and perhaps hard cornering. I want to go the other way. I want to fit 16" wheels (I have a set) and deeper profile tyres. The reason is mainly to improve the ride and reduce vulnerability to bad road surfaces, potholes, and the thumping of cats-eyes..... So this is where it gets complicated. What tyres do I fit? I want to change the rolling-radius as little as possible in order not to affect the speedo and odometer. I also want decent quality tyres that aren't noisy, wear reasonably well and are good in the wet (I have Falkens on my 4WD and they are horrible when it's slippery). I plan to put the same size tyres on all four wheels (I don't carry heavy loads in the Sportcross so can't see the justification for slightly wider wheels on the back). The brilliant guidance on the website includes a calculator for tyre-size options. That appears to suggest that I could fit either 50-profile tyres: 215/50 R16 or 225/50 R16, or if I wanted taller 55-profile ones, 205/55 R16 or 215/55 R16. So.... first question - what size/profile should I go for? My instinct was to choose 215/55 R16 all round, but that's a really rare size (I can only find Kumho KH31 in that size). The manufacturer alternative spec (and standard on the IS200 Sportcross) seems to be 205/55 R16. What do others think? Second question..... what brand? My shortlist is Goodyear Efficient Grip Performance, Dunlop Sport Blu Response, or maybe Hankook or Kumho. I think Michelins are too costly (I'm not a high mileage driver), and Yokohamas and Bridgestones too soft and wear out quickly. I have no knowledge of Uniroyal and little experience of Contis (except on an older Merc where they were OEM). Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated, especially from those in the trade!
  11. Steve - thanks for that. Very interesting. The parts-catalogue/diagram PDFs that I have appear to be different - either because they are for later models (up to 2005) or from different online sources - because none of them shows this. Thankfully, I don't need to change the oil cooler at present. But it's good to know my car has one, and that I now know how to find it!
  12. I've been hunting around for information on this mysterious question of auto-transmission oil coolers on an IS300..... and this is the first and, so far, only evidence I have found that I'm not the only owner who has been puzzled, and my car is not the only one which is weird. I have a 2002 IS300 Sportcross (auto transmission). I have just changed the radiator. I sourced a new replacement, complete with the two connections to the lower tank for the auto oil-cooler lines. But when I got the under-shield off and looked - just like James (n1tr0_9), I found my car had no auto-tranny oil lines and no oil cooler connections into the bottom of the rad! Nevertheless I went ahead and installed the replacement radiator, leaving the two oil-cooler connections blanked off. Put it all back together, and the car runs perfectly, as before. I haven't - yet - removed the other undershield panels to go looking to see where and how the other auto transmission oil cooler is located. Having it "bolted to the side of the engine" doesn't exactly suggest it is well placed to cool the oil! How does it actually work? Is there a water/coolant circuit loop which also connects to it? Can anyone offer more details of exactly where this oil cooler is, or any explanation of when and how it was reconfigured. Do all IS300s up to the 2002 model - or later? - have their auto-oil cooler separate from the radiator?
  13. More forum discussion and details on radiator replacement here
  14. I need to post a follow-up to my earlier message (above) of 20 October. Since posting it I have gone ahead with the task of replacing the radiator - and the aircon condenser - on my 2002 IS300 Sportcross auto, and I have discovered quite a few interesting things. the OEM replacement radiator (made by Japanese supplier Denso) is horribly expensive (£200-plus); perfectly good alternative replacements can be got for around £120. One of the better ones, according to my research, is made by Nissens, a Danish firm. It can be confusing to source a radiator for an IS 300 versus an IS 200, as many parts-catalogues and websites appear to suggest that they are different. In fact the same radiator will fit, and work, in either. The thing to check is the core-diameter (26mm or 16mm). Both can do the cooling job perfectly well; the other thing to check is the auto-transmission oil cooler fittings - as per the details in my previous post. However - see my story below. My story? I sourced a replacement from Euro Car Parts. Made by Koyo, and (on special offer) under £70. Labelled for an IS200, and with 26mm core. I bought the one for an auto 'box, with the oil cooler fittings. But..... when I got under my own 2002 IS300 auto to remove the old rad - surprise! I found no auto-trans oil cooler pipes connecting into the bottom tank of the rad. The workshop manual and parts catalogue appeared to suggest that there would be oil-cooler connections into the rad. I was a bit confused by the fact that a pipe came forward from the engine bay area and made a separate, independent cooling 'loop' in front of the a/c condenser (just behind the grille). It seems that this is a power steering fluid cooler loop - but I need to double-check. So I'm still baffled. Why has my car got no auto-trans oil cooler pipes (or at least not visible below and behind the radiator? Had the radiator already been previously replaced once before I acquired the car, and a 'manual' rad fitted and the auto trans oil pipes cut or capped off? Seems unlikely. I replaced the radiator anyway, without having to mess with auto-trans oil connections, and the new one works fine. But I still have this nagging worry - why does my auto box apparently not have an oil cooler circuit? The aircon - well, that's another story for a separate thread....
  15. I made a move in the other direction, from Mercedes to Lexus. Not quite like-for-like: I had a 1990 Merc 560 SEC, and sold it to buy a 2002 Lexus IS300 Sportcross. My Merc was solid, bullet-proof and superb at transcontinental journeys. But its thirst for fuel was epic if you drove with vigour, and maintenance work - though rarely needed - cost an arm and a leg. The Lexus - solidly built, agile, powerful, comfortable, versatile, reliable. More economical on fuel. So far (touch wood) has not needed major maintenance work. One more warning. Mercedes (any model) for a good 10 years from the mid-90s were a disaster area for rust. The problems coincided with the shift, in MB, from being a car-making company run by engineers to being a business run by bean counters and marketing men. All their range of cars suffered quality problems as a result. If you must buy a Merc, buy a well-looked after example of your favoured pre-1992 model, not a more recent one.