Well I figured now is as good a time as any to make a formal introduction! I must say that this site is great and includes all the information anyone will ever need for the IS.
My first car was a Toyota Corolla, and I worked on it for years. I learned a lot, but made plenty of mistakes along the way, it was a lot of fun. The pictures and build was all documented in detail on cardomain, but that site went bust many years back, and it was all lost. Here's a couple of pics:
But when the Corolla's engine blew (again) this past March, that was the last straw. It was time to move on. So, I started looking for my all-time dream car, the Lexus IS300. I didn't know anything about it really, just that it was the best-looking car on the road and that making it my own would be easy. The Lexus seemed a logical step up from Toyota, while maintaining my loyalty to the brand.
And I found it, the perfect IBP 02 IS300, right next to where I worked in Baltimore City. 117,000 miles and a full clean Carfax.
The mileage shows on the paint, but overall, the car was clean. Definitely something I could work with!
The car was stock except for some old ROH Blade wheels.
The car was fun at first, but I definitely missed my fun Corolla. The Lex drove like a magic carpet down the highway and had no life to it. And the stereo didn't work lol.
So, I decided that I would not spend a penny on the car until I had earned back the cash I paid for it. In that time (a couple months) I would research and plan my mods and try and do it correctly the first time (lol, we all know how that goes).
OK, now that the money is earned back, time to MOD! Slowly at first, just small little cheap/free things.
Installed some white LED license plate bulbs swapped from the Corolla to modernize the back:
Cut these two wires to perform the driver window and sunroof 45 second delay fix, so that opening the door doesn't kill the power:
Swapped some blue LEDs into the gauges & key light to get rid of the green:
Installed some blue LEDs in the city lights and 5000k HIDs swapped into the headlights from the Corolla (5000k on the right, stock 4300k on the left) because the stock city lights didn't work and the old HIDs didn't match:
DRL disabled (lol that was easy, just unplug the module):
Independent Fog Mod (relay pin rewired to the ACC) so I could use the fogs as the DRLs:
Debadged and smoked the third brake light LED on the spoiler to help blend it in more for a clean look:
Clear side markers w/ light tint, white LEDs:
Then added 35% window tint and a light smoke over the rear license plate to match the dark chrome tail lights:
White LED door lights using flat clear lenses from another Lexus (2001 ES300) OEM part #81231-50010
R-Dash LED license plate housings to replace the dinky old white LEDs (you can see how much brighter they are, too bright actually lol):
Throttle pedal cable spacer thing using an old rubber hose and a cable tie (a must have mod):
Removed the bracket from the headlights so that I could aim/adjust the high and low beams independently:
Stereo swapped from the Corolla, using the Scosche face place and Metra harness:
Start by popping off this top panel with a flat blade:
Then remove the two screws from the red circles, and pull back/up with your fingers in the green holes:
Pull off the bottom button panel by pulling out/down:
Remove the 4 10-mm bolts holding in the climate control and radio:
Remove the A/C control by unplugging the red circles, and removing the 4 green screws:
Remove the plugs on the CD player and pull out the whole thing:
Remove the brackets from the CD player using a screwdriver or small socket:
Hammer the 4 bump pins flat using any means possible (this is to be able to fit a universal stereo):
Here's the Metro/Axxess TYTO-01 wire harness I used:
Wired it into the aftermarket head unit from the Corolla and installed it on the brackets:
Wired the harness into the car, but had to splice in the illumination wire separately for some reason:
Took pictures of the climate control unit disassembled (for later use, converting to LED bulbs?):
Here's the Scosche dash kit LS207B I got, only to use the faceplate piece:
Carefully install everything back in place:
Had to trim this piece off the faceplate to fit the stereo I had:
Then I added the subwoofer and amplifier from the Corolla as well:
Start by installing an appropriately-sized gauge wire harness for the amp power, starting at the battery:
Ran the power and amplifier turn-on wires down one side of the car:
Installed the amplifier ground here on bare metal:
Ran the RCA audio cables down the other side of the car:
Lowered on Tanabe GF210 springs (getting them was an Ebay disaster):
Then went all out with new 19" Privat Akzent wheels & Nitto 555 tires, ABS Wald-rep front lip, Polyurethane Visage/Vizage sides and rear:
Painted the lip kit and installed an OEM JDM Altezza grille. The lights are 5000k Osram "Cool Blue Intense" low beam HIDs, 3000K fog light HIDs, 9011 HIR high beams:
New CBI on the left, old Morimoto on the right (new is much brighter):
New HIR on the left, old regular halogen high beam on the right (new HIR is much brighter):
But I screwed up when I bought the wheels. They were 19" diameter, 8" width, 46mm offset. Stock wheels have 50mm offset, so I thought the Akzents would be flush..... but turns out that the ROH wheels were 40mm offset, so the Akzents were very sunken. And that front lip had a terrible curve to it that ruined the front IMO. I wasn't happy lol.
To remedy the situation, I got some Ichiba V2 wheel spacers (15mm front 25mm rear) to get the wheels flush. I had to roll and pull the fenders to eliminate the rubbing. Remember that I'm only on springs at this point, stock shocks and definitely not coilovers. I also installed a new pretty Chargespeed vented carbon fiber hood. That was not cheap! But it's the only hood worth putting on the IS IMO. The spacers and hood really helped make the wheels and grill all come together.
Upgraded to new misting-style windshield wiper nozzles (OEM part #85381-53070
), since the old ones were stuck on the stock hood (can see an engine damper installed as well, but that wasn't installed long):
Installed Fig's Engineering hood props (a must have!) and made them work with stripped screws lol:
Next, I scored some OEM SportDesign black chrome headlights and fog lights in decent shape from a member here. They really bring everything together.
I took a bunch of random pictures with the pretty autumn leaves:
Sorry, I like pics lol
Mod list so far:
Tanabe GF210 springs (2.0" f / 1.5" r drop)
Privat Akzent wheels (19"x8" 46mm offset)
Ichiba V2 Wheel Spacers (15mm front, 25mm back)
All 4 Fenders Rolled & Pulled
Nitto NT 555 Tires (225/35R-19)
Front ABS Wald-style Lip
Polyurethane Visage Side and Rear Lip Kit
JDM Altezza Mesh Grille
Carbon Fiber Chargespeed Vented Hood
FIGS Engineering Hood Prop Lifters
04-05 Windshield Nozzle Sprayers (Misting Type) OEM part #85381-53070
Window Tint (35%)
OEM SportDesign Dark Chrome Headlights
Osram "CoolBlue Intense" 5000k D2S HID low beams
Blue LEDs in City Lights
9011 HIR High Beams
DRL Disabled (I use the HID fogs instead)
OEM SportDesign Dark Chrome Fog Lights
Independent Fog Light Mod (Full Control)
3000k Morimoto HID Kit in Fog Lights
Smoked LED Spoiler Brake Light
R-Dash LED License Plate Housings
Clear Front Side Markers, Added a Dark Smoke and White LEDs
Removed Front Plate
Tinted Rear Plate
Removed Antenna Stub
White Door Courtesy Lights With White LEDs OEM part #81231-50010
Window/Sunroof Power Delay Fix
XOVision 7" Touchscreen DVD GPS Double Din Head Unit
Scosche Dash Kit
Metra Audio Wire Harness
Blue Dash LEDs
Throttle Pedal Cable Spacer
Soon, I'll have the SRT intake and ECU chip to install, as well as the HKS Dragger II exhaust.
Next up for ordering is TRD Yellow sway bars, as well as some high-performance shocks to stiffen it up and drop it some more (Konis perhaps).
And I still need to find a dang Wald lip that is flat on the bottom
Thanks for reading