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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So the month of December is always an interesting month for me. My birthday and Christmas fall in the same month, so usually I get a choice of 2 separate smaller gifts, or one huge gift. Obviously, I chose the latter.

After months of research, I ended up picking the Pioneer Avic Z2 as my new headunit. I figured: this headunit is a one time deal. The chances of me replacing my headunit a second time is very unlikely. So without further ado, here are a few snapshots of my new stereo!

>>The Box<<


>>The Harness Packaging<<


>>The JDM Dash Kit<<


>>The Avic Z2<<


>>The Harness with other included cables<<


>>The Harness Up Close<<


>>The Back of the Harness (It reads Toyota AMP Turn on)<<


>>JDM Dash Kit with Z2 Test Mount<<


>>Stock Stereo Removed<<


>>Open Center<<


>>Open Center; Harness Connected


>>Microphone Mounted<<


>>The Finished Install; dirty screen<<


>>The Finished Install Up Close<<


>>The Finished Install from the Rear Seat<<


I've had the Z2 installed for about a week now and I must say, once everything is up and running (with the bypass), this unit is amazing. The navigation is spot-on, and giving voice commands is extremely accurate. I have the Z2 Microphone mounted on my sunvisor (with all the wires neatly tucked into the weather stripping along the doorjamb and hidden behind the dash). The ability to tilt to multiple angles makes viewing the screen much easier. The 7" screen is extremely clear for what it is and definitely larger than most aftermarket HUs. Rummaging through the media library is quick and easy. And there aren't too many menus to dig through to find anything. Nice touch: if you have the unit at a different angle during regular use, it will return to it's initial position once you turn the car off.

While I believe this is a great unit, there are a few quirks. First off, the CD ripping speed is mediocre. I believe the manual notes a 4x read speed. Not that big a deal, but doing the math, I think getting my entire library of music on to the harddrive might take a little bit of time (and before anyone says anything, I don't want/need an iPod). In conjunction with media uploading, while I knew this before buying the unit, the Gracenote database will only recognize and tag MP3s ripped from legitimate CDs. This doesn't mean you cannot rip your mix CDs, it just means that if you choose to rip a mix CD, you'll be tagging everything yourself (good thing this is a fairly quick process!). MP3s properly tagged from a mix CD will not carry over the tag information. The touch screen is nice, but you definitely cannot just tap the screen and make it work. People have complained about the start-up time, but if you can't wait 10 seconds, then you are just impatient.

Here are a couple issues that are specific to installing into a 1IS. The install was nearly painless. The only problems occurred during the final wiring process. With 2 sets of instructions for the bypass, both not entirely clear on how to do it, this was definitely the biggest problem. The JDM dash kit fit perfectly into the place it was supposed to in the dash. BUT, there is about a 1/8" gap on the left and right of the unit during the final mount. To alleviate this problem, I used a piece of foam tape (weather stripping) and placed it on both sides of the Z2. It decreases the appearance of a gap. Also, with the addition of so many wires in the dash, getting everything to fit was interesting. Zip ties and heat shrinks are your friend; don't be afraid to use them! Piece of advice, there is tons of space right beneath where the felt tray is. It's an excellent place to ground wires and place the GPS antenna. Stupidly, I ran the unit with the engine off....it drains the battery very quickly. However, I took it to the drive-ins and watched National Treasure 2 and Enchanted with the screen off, and I was able to start my car (yay!) after about 4 hours. The only problem that really bugs me is a kind of high pitched whining/whirring sound. If anyone knows how to fix this, that would be great!

More things to know...I have zero experience in doing any car electronics and I found this install pretty easy. Save your self the money, do it yourself. Every place I called wanted an obscene amount of money to do this install. and not only that, I know they didn't have any experience on working on a Lexus. My Z2 had a manufacture date of 02/07, which means that the way I had to my bypass is different (I had to run an update for the 2-wire bypass). Check out the link below about the bypass for more details. The way that most people did the bypass (including myself), was take the "Mute" wire from Connector 1 and relocate it to Connector 2. (Both connectors come packaged with the unit). Finally, I thought initially I did the 2 Wire Bypass properly, but then it stopped working after about 2 miles (the unit said that the Parking Brake Lead was improperly grounded). My advice is to quadruple check that you have everything grounded properly, it's not fun to have to take your dash apart for something that could have easily been prevented!

Extra Tools Used:

Zip Ties
Masking Tape (LOTS!)
Heat Shrink
Textured Rubber Square (For added friction when removing dash components)
Up to 3 extra Wire Taps/Wire Splices
Nitrile/Latex Gloves (there's some funky metal behind the dash!)
Wire Stripper
Antenna Extension (The 2 Anntena connections attached to stock unit is not long enough to reach Z2 plug)



Helpful Links:

Props to Ashlong for a great Write up!
Guide to install Headunit & Metra Harness Wiring Install

Z2 Bypass Details
Pioneer Avic Z2 Bypass

File to update pre-June units
Update ISO for pre-June units

After updating Z2 (if necessary), the 2-Wire Bypass must be completed. (This says it is for the Z1, but it is exactly the same bypass).
The 2 Wire Bypass

Hope this helps!

///////////////EDIT///////////////////

Got rid of the whining noise by re-grounding my wires to one spot. Also did a little fine adjusting with the potentiometer and the whining ceases!

In regards to the ID3 Tag information from mixed CDs (for all you pirates out there! :) ); if you just enable the "CD-Text" option in your burning software, assuming that you tagged everything correctly, the information will carry over and you do not have to type anything in really. If you plan on using voice commands to access individual songs however, you will still have to set the pronounciation.

More things to know, if you want to be able to really easily find your songs in your library, I suggest you rip them in alphabetical order. Pioneer (in a weird oversight), does not allow users to just play all the songs in the library, but you have to do so using playlists or sorted by album or artist.
 

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I can't wait to get mine installed.. it's still just sitting in my closet waiting for me to get back to Florida.

That's definitely an awesome install. Props for doing it yourself. I cannot wait to dig into mine and get everything hooked up!

Try to get more pics up when you get a chance.
 

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About the high pitched whining/whirring sound: The Harness (tyto-01) Has a little adjuster. U can adjust it with a tiny flat head screwdriver, it controls the gains to the amp turn it counter clockwise a lil bit till the whining/whirring sound is not noticeable. I had same problem it worked for me. If this wont work then u have a ground problem
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, I'm pretty sure its a grounding problem. We've adjusted the Potentiometer a bunch of times and nothing. It sure is an annoying sound. I've read a couple suggestions on Avic 411 and they all seem to be pointing to a grounding issue.
 

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By the way, how much did you end up picking the unit up for?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got it for $1100 on eBay; brand new.
 

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Well I see everyone in here loves the Z2...but what about the Kenwood DNX7100 with the Garmin gps in it? Does anyone know anything about it or their 2 cents about it? I am looking to get me a unit of these also. Any info could help, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
DNX 7100 Review from CNET

The editors don't have a real review for the Z2, but a couple of users have put a review; and they it sucks; both in particular don't even know about the bypass (or if they do, are to lazy to do it).

(Added more pics to the first post as well)
 

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You're a bastard... I love that headunit and I miss my IS300.

Honestly, Double DIN installs get no sexier than they do in IS300s.
 

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Yeah man cnet isn't always good, especially they aren't driving it day to day. I called Pioneer and they told me you could ONLY rip AUDIO cds not mp3s, dvd, ect ect. I found that to be a bummer when you paying that kind of $ for a unit. I wished Kenwood had a HD in it, but oh well I have plenty of mp3 cds and I own a Creative Zen 4 GB player and it does what it's supposed to do. I used to own a Ipod 30GB one, but had alot of problems with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah man cnet isn't always good, especially they aren't driving it day to day. I called Pioneer and they told me you could ONLY rip AUDIO cds not mp3s, dvd, ect ect. I found that to be a bummer when you paying that kind of $ for a unit. I wished Kenwood had a HD in it, but oh well I have plenty of mp3 cds and I own a Creative Zen 4 GB player and it does what it's supposed to do. I used to own a Ipod 30GB one, but had alot of problems with it.
Pioneer will also tell you that you can't watch movies while you're driving...not that I do...but I could if I wanted.

If you plan on using your mp3 player with the USB attachment (sold separately) on the Z2, be prepared for slowness. I've tried it myself, it's slow. iPod is fairly slow as well (relative to the D3). If you convert your mp3s to an uncompressed format, you can do a mass burn; some people have confirmed this on avic411.

As far as how much I love my Z2? Lots. Once I got the bypass done and all my music on the harddrive; I really could not ask for more.
 

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how is AM reception? curious because I cannot seem to get my D3 to get anything...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
AM reception is...well it's alright.

I still get channels...but I never listened to AM radio so I don't really have anything to compare it to.
 

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Pioneer will also tell you that you can't watch movies while you're driving...not that I do...but I could if I wanted.

If you plan on using your mp3 player with the USB attachment (sold separately) on the Z2, be prepared for slowness. I've tried it myself, it's slow. iPod is fairly slow as well (relative to the D3). If you convert your mp3s to an uncompressed format, you can do a mass burn; some people have confirmed this on avic411.

As far as how much I love my Z2? Lots. Once I got the bypass done and all my music on the harddrive; I really could not ask for more.
If you hook up an external harddrive with music with the USB attachment do the songs come up on the avic-z2 screen? Is it faster than using the IPOD hook up cable?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I've read a couple things about adding an external harddrive.

Some people have reported that the harddrive isn't detected when you use the CD-UB100 (USB) attachment. And by that I mean, if your external harddrive has an LED indicator of somesort, it'll turn on, but it won't necessarily be able to read the harddrive as a mass storage device. I think this applies to an mp3 player used as a mass storage device as well (meaning, an mp3 player set to a data storage mode).

Again, I'm not 100% about this, I don't use the CD-UB100 attachment, I tried it out and decided I didn't need it. I'm not sure about the CD-UB100 attachment vs the iPod cable either, I don't own an iPod, but my guess is that the chances of the CD-UB100 attachment being faster than the iPod attachment is very very slim. I do know that there is no point in storing video on an external harddrive, the Z2 won't be able to play it. Also, if your using a harddrive that has any moving parts (ie, a non-flash based harddrive), you may be setting your self up for disaster. Mainly because there is no "soft" shut-down procedure, so when your car turns off; it would be like the power goes out.
 

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Awesome write up! I'm getting that guy this month! I was wondering...did you have heated seats? If you did...where did the buttons go with that jdm dash kit?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Awesome write up! I'm getting that guy this month! I was wondering...did you have heated seats? If you did...where did the buttons go with that jdm dash kit?
Fortunately (or unfortunately), I didn't have to deal with heated seat button relocations because I don't have heated seats.
 
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