If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

The Lexusening

The Lexus 2nd-gen LS400 has a power tilt and telescope steering wheel. Like the 1st-gen it automatically retracts and tilts away from you when the car is turned off and whirrs back into position when you get back in. Except mine is sort of intermittent and sometimes gets stuck and requires some prodding to get back into a usable position. Not wanting to get stuck with my steering wheel in an unusable position I looked into disabling the auto-tilt function. 1st-gen LS400s have a dedicated button for this, but the 2nd-gen requires dealer tools to change settings. Absurd, but I’m told many dealerships will do this for free. Okay. The issue there is my two local choices in Toyota dealership are both own and run by assholes. The Toyota dealership wanted $60 for 10 minutes with their scantool to change something that shouldn’t require a fucking dealer visit, and the Lexus dealership told me (contrary to every official piece of Lexus literature on the subject) that it is impossible and I’d have to pay $170 for the motors to be unhooked, which I don’t want to do because then the column couldn’t be adjusted at all.

So I bought a knockoff of the cable the dealer uses to hook up a laptop to the computer for $23. It came with a CD with a totally legitimate version of the Techstream software on it. I installed it on my Win10 64-bit laptop, fired it up, and everything looked great. Hooked it up to the car and... no dice. Turns out the drivers don’t like 64 bit computers. No issue, I have a 32-bit Lenovo with Windows 10 on it as well. Install the software on that, suddenly the activation hack doesn’t work anymore. Odd. Find another version of the software and it activates and connects to the car. Great! Except it thinks my car is an LS430 and crashes every time i go to change setting. Thinking it’s maybe a Windows 10 issue I set up a virtual machine in Hyper-V on my Windows 10 computer with Windows XP in the VM to run the software. Get it installed and... oh look Hyper V doesn’t support USB passthrough. Uninstall Hyper V and install VMWare workstation. Load up the VHD and... it automatically loads my XP VM with a mouse integration feature and now I have no mouse pointer. Cool. Good. FUCKING GREAT. So I uninstall VMWare and switch over to VirtualBox because fuck it I guess I’m desperate enough to use Oracle software at this point. Load up the VM in VBox and it works great! Then it installs a mouse integration feature and the mouse pointer stops working again. Luckily VBox has a button to disable that and now I can use the damn VM. Load up the software with an older version of Techstream this time and it shows an LS400! Sweet! Scan a few settings, marvel at all the data it’s able to pull. Cool! We’re in business. Go to change the settings and oh look the button for that is fucking missing now. Cool.

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So I go online and ask about hey, I know people have done this, what firmware# cable did you use and what version of Techstream so I can disable auto tilt away? And these fucking mouthbreathers just see “steering column” and start spouting “I HAD A SHOP REPLACE MY MOTORS IT WAS $400 APIECE” (hell no) or “JUST UNPLUG THEM” (but then I can’t adjust it) or “GO GET A NEW COLUMN OUT OF A SALVAGE YARD” (there are none in Wichita) and nobody is even remotely technical but the annoying part is they aren’t technical but they insist on fucking chiming in with things I explicitly said aren’t solutions.

Fuck.

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