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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I decided to replace the base stereo in my 2009 HL Sport with an aftermarket double din radio, specifically, the Pioneer FH-P8000BT.

I chose this head unit because of its good ratings, and it having many features, including integrated bluetooth (includes mic) and flash stick/ipod integration.

I also decided to add a Blaupunkt Thb 200A amplified subwoofer. Given that I did not want to give up cargo space, and that there are few subs that will work in the hatch, I decided to go with this unit that fits perfectly under the driver's seat. I was not looking for earth shattering bass...just to fill in lows, and it works well in that regard.

Finally, picked up a PAC steering wheel interface, which allows me to maintain my steering wheel controls with my new HU. Given I was installing a Pioneer HU, the PAC SWI-PS was the appropriate model.

Other parts needed for this install was a dash kit, Scosche TA2102B, and a Toyota wire harness set (2 seperate connectors). You may also want to consider using some 1/2" loom to protect wire runs as bigb56 used in his sub install (see post #37 below). Great idea bigb!

I thought I would provide some pics of my install in hopes it might help others who are thinking of swapping their head units.

1. First, I soldered all my connections from my Pioneer head unit wiring harness, to the aftermarket toyota harnesses and to the PAC interface harness. This allows me to do most* of the soldering connections on my bench rather than in car, and simply plug the this assembly into the in-dash harness. I used heat shrink tubing from Home Depot for all my connections, and where necessary, used some electrical tape to cover up the ends of unused wires. Not going to go into connection details here...both harnesses are well labelled.

EDIT: You will note that my blue antenna wire from the pioneer black harness was not soldered to the blue wire for the Toyota harness. Both are taped up. I figured not necessary since I don't have a power antenna. But, I have been suffering from less than ideal radio reception, especially on AM, and after some reading, I learned that the blue may also include an antenna power booster. So, I may have made a boo-boo by not connecting them. When I get everything out to adjust the alignment of the MFD, I am going to solder those wires to see if it makes a difference with my reception.

EDIT 2: I pulled the trim off and was able to access the two wires without pulling out my entire radio and MFD assembly. Used some crimp connectors to connect and instant improvement to reception. There must definitely be some sort of antenna booster in the HL.

* I say most because the PAC SWI-PS requires some soldering to a third harness in the dash.

(note the artistic ;) paint patterns on my work mat.....its a hand-me-down from my son)




Pulled the following pic together using a variety of sources. It is the wire harness for non-JBL HL. Not sure if JBL HU differs or not.




2. I made myself some trim tools out of plexiglas I had kicking around. Just filed and sanded some ends to a point. Helps open a gap between panels so you can get your fingers in. You can do without these, but it just makes the task a bit harder. I would stay away from hard tools like screw drivers or other metal objects....you will surely scar your trim.



3. A little trick I wish I had of thought of prior to starting step 4...Turn the ignition to the "on" position and shift the car into Neutral. This gave me more room to remove this bottom trim plate. Of course, applying the emergency brake is a good idea!! This should be done at the outset, because before beginning with trim removal and unplugging of connectors, I disconnected the negative cable from my battery. So to do this, I had to reconnect the battery the disconnect again.

First I removed the vent trim above the stock head unit. Used my plexi tool to get it started then had to get my fingers in there and just tug straight out towards me, not up or down. Takes quite a bit of force, and my fingers were sore by the time it actually released.







Here you will see the clips you are dealing with on the back of the vent trim.


4. Next I removed the trim plate that contains the seat heater, aux jack and 12V power outlet. this was the hardest all of all in my opinion. I found that getting the tool in around the drivers side temp knob was a good starting point, then move out towards the steering colum. Again, lots a force required, my fingers were sore after pulling this one. Then slowly I worked my way to the right. I was careful not to pull any one side out completely until all the tabs are fully or partially released. Doing so could result in broken clips.

There are three connectors to release. Generally, to release the connectors, pull while pressing a small tab on the connector. The 12v has no tabs if I remember correctly.

I didn't label the connectors....they are all different shapes so there was no risk of mixing them up upon re-assembly.









5. Next, is the HVAC control unit. There are only 2 clips holding this one in so it comes out fairly easily. I found it best grasp the unit firmly with both hands and pulling towards me. One connector to disconnect.





6. Next is the stock head unit. There are 4 screws to remove....two top and two bottom. The head unit is attached to the display unit via brackets. Everything slides out, and once away from the dash, there is a connector to remove from the back of the display, then three or four from the back of the radio, in addition to the antenna. There is also a connector for the back of the hazard button at the bottom of the stock head unit assembly.








I removed the 3 screws from either side of the bracket attaching it to the stock head unit. The other step that I do not have a picture of is the removal of the hazard button from the bottom of the radio assembly. Its quite simple....there are two metal clips on the back...press them inwards towards the center and simply gently push the hazard button out towards the front of the assembly. Then manoever it so you can pull it back through out the back of the assembly. It is connected to the bracket so just let this dangle for now. You will slip it into the Scosche dash kit as one of the last re-assembly steps.



Then, I lined up my Pioneer HU between the brackets and the holes lined up perfectly. I presume there is some sort of standard for these mounting holes.

Next, I plugged in my harnesses (see above) to the in-dash harnesses. The PAC SWI also required tapping into a third harness that was connected to the stock radio (& the ends up being unused). The PAC website provides detailed instructions and picture of the connector and pins that you need to connect to. I used a sharp knife to strip back some insulation on the backside of the 3rd connector then soldered the connections. Then, taped them up well.



I connected three grounds together using a crimp connector, and used one of the bottom screws that attach the head unit bracket to the vehicle. This is a solid ground....did a meter test.

I then ran the PAC SWI through the back of the center stack console towards an opening near the gas pedal. The SWI should be mounted somewhere accesible in case it needs to be reprogrammed for some reason. I used some adhesive backed velcro to affix it under the dash near the gas pedal.



I also ran the wire for my bluetooth mic. I removed the trim on the door threshold first. It requires pulling straight up, and needs quite a bit of force. Then, the side panel in the foot well requires removal of a plastic nut and simply pulling towards the back of the vehicle. Left these off as I needed to run the power wire for my sub later. Then ran the mic wire from back of HU towards gas pedal, under the carpet towards the door, then up the weather striping channel to a-pillar.



Next, was my USB cable (came with the Pioneer) for my IPOD or flash stick. I decided I wanted this in the storage in my center console, so I had to remove the trim around my shifter. This was fairly easy. I simply grasped at the front (where the seat heater panel had been removed) and pulled up, then grasped the sides near the storage compartment and popped the rest off. I drilled a small hole into the storage compartment and used a grommet purchased at Home Depot. I affixed the wire using plastic cable ties. I then used adhesive velcro to affix the connector to the side of my storage compartment, and also put some velcro on my flash stick.






I then slid in the head unit assembly into the dash, connected the Pioneer HU and tested the radio. All worked :thumbsup:


Before installing my HU permanently, I needed to run my audio interconnects for my sub. As you can see, I ran them under the carpet, close to the center console. I used the heater vent under the driver's seat as access point, and in order to run the RCAs, I used a 3/8" piece of wood dowel because it was stiff enough not to snag on the carpet. Since I had removed the panel on the left of the foot well, I was able to pull back the carpet near the pedals. I slid my hand under the carpet from the foot well while fishing the dowel under the carpet (i have long arms). When the dowel made it through, I taped the rcas to the end of the dowel, and pulled it back out near the heater vent. Then manoeverd the RCAs close to the centre console and ran them towards the gas pedal and up towards back of head unit.

Edit: in post #37 below, bigb56 used some 1/2" loom to protect his wires. I think it's a great idea to prevent wear, breakage and possible short. Wish I had thought of it when I did my install!



cont'd next post...
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The sub came with a harness and can be connected either via RCA or by tapping directly into speaker leads. Given I was using RCAs, I used a sewing pin to release the pins in the connectors and removed the speaker wires from the harness.

Next, I ran the ground on the harness wire for the sub. Sorry no picture. This time, I used some stiff wire (old hanger works) and ran it from the heater access point under the seat towards the left front foot of the drivers seat. There is an opening in the carpet under the foot cover (which is removed by pulling up). I crimped a connector onto the ground wire and then attached it to the bolt holding the foot to the floor. Reattached the foot cover and the wire is completely hidden.

Next the power wire, again no picture...sorry. The power wire was not long enough so I bought 10' of 10 gauge wire from home depot.....a little stiff to work with, but did the job. Soldered this to the harness power wire and used a weather resistant heat shrink tube to seal the connection. I bought these at Canadian Tire. I ran this from the heater vent under the driver's seat to the side under the threshold trim which was removed previously. I then used plastic ties to affix the power wire to the exiting cable and ran it towards the front of the foot well, across (under the carpet near the pedals) towards the center console, through the console into the passenger footwell. Before doing this, there is a panel under the dash in the passenger footwell that is easily removed by pulling down from the front, closest to the glove box, then it swings down and out. There are a couple of tabs that slide into plastic trim against the firewall. This will reveal an access point (large rubber grommet with a stack of wires running through it) through the firewall. I simply pushed the wire through some pre-existing slits in the rubber under the existing wire bundle running into the engine compartment. I then pulled it through and ran the cable on the backside of existing cabling under where the wipers are located to the drivers side, then towards the battery. I used cable ties to keep it in place. Then I soldered a weather proof mini fuse holder to my power wire, and a round crimp connector to the other of the fuse holder, which I attached to a screw on the positive terminal battery clamp. Using a torch, I soldered the wire to the connector to ensure good connection and less chance of issues from corrosion.

I left some slack in the wire under my seat to allow me to pull the sub out without disconnecting for adjustment, cleaning etc. I used the hook side of adhesive velcro on the underside of the sub to keep it in place.




Then tested the sub, and it worked!! :thumbsup:


Then I tested everything again (requires reconnecting the battery of course) to ensure everything is operational.

Reassembly order:

Note...ensure that you connect all connectors prior to installing any one particular part or trim plate....it saves time in the long run....take if from experience. :headbang:

1. Radio assembly. 4 screws affix the brackets to the vehicle dash. Ensure the ground wires are affixed to one of the bottom screws on this assembly (not the top screws as they are not grounded to the vehicle).

TIP: There is some play in the brackets when the screws are inserted. I did not pay attention to this until I popped on the last piece of trim (ie. the vent above the radio) and realized that my MFD was slightly out of level, and I could see a hair of the steel frame. So I had to pull everything off to re adjust. So, to avoid this, tighten down the 4 screws and do a quick test fit by sliding the vent trim almost fully into place WITHOUT FULLY engaging the clips to see if the MFD is properly lined up. If not, loosen screws on the low side, and push up slightly, re-tighten, then test fit the trim again.



2. Floor console cover trim (that goes around shifter. There are several clips, just line up and push down.

3. HVAC control....line up two clips.

4. Bottom trim plate which includes the seat heater controls, aux jack and 12v outlet. Start in center and work out to both sides. Tip...don't fully engage any clips until all are at least seated in the receiving holes. I accidentally pushed too hard and fully seated the right side, then I had trouble getting the clips into the receiving holes on the left side, so had to remove and retry.

5. Dash trim kit. At this point, you need to install the hazard button assembly that has been dangling from the radio bracket into the dash trim. Manoever it from the back through to the front, so it completely clears the front of the trim kit. Then line up and push it into its slot until the two metal clips engage, and done! Then line up the clips (uses same receiving holes used by stock radio) and push in.





6. Vent trim above radio. Again, line up and push both sides in at the same time.


Re-test audio system and all vehicle accessories involved in the disassembly to ensure all is operational.

Some pics when it was re-assembled:











I'm sure I missed some steps along the way, but believe I captured most of it. If I think of anything else, I will edit my posts.

Ignore the white marks on my dash, trim etc....they were from my hands rubbing when removing panels...they are not scratches and wiped off with a damp cloth once I got around to it. I later applied some 303 Aerospace protectant to give my dash and panels a dark rich black look without the shine.

So, end results? How does it sound? Next post.....
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
So, I haven't had time to read the 1/4" thick 8.5x11" instruction manual for my head unit set, but with some "uninstructed" fiddling, I managed to adjust some of the audio, and WOW!! ....what an improvement over the stock deck. I thought I would eventually swap out the speakers, but to be honest, I am quite happy with this set up. Still have to play with the sub settings, but it certainly adds to the lows. The bluetooth worked flawlessly the 2 times I used it, and was extremely clear for both me and the person on the other end. My MP3s on my flash stick work just perfect and the HU displays the folder and file name. Once I realized this, I spent about 10 minutes renaming all my song file names to [artist - song name] so this displays on my HU.

The SWI was easy to program and works well. Only problem is that the track up track down buttons on the steering can be used for track up/down OR for Preset up/down, but not both. Not a big deal....I chose track up/down and for the few times I need to cycle through radio stations, I simply use the HU.

Although it does not look quite as nice as the stock set up (ie with the silver trim, big knobs etc), I am extremely happy with it. That said, the blue illumination is much nicer at night than stock, and the display much easier to see and read.

In the end, I got my BT, subwoofer, ipod integration and great sound without having to spend the extra $3800 for a Limited (in Cda, the only extras for the $3800 differential between the Limited and the Sport are keyless entry and ignition, chrome handles, wood trim, JBL system and auto dimming mirror...none of which I cared for anyway, so this works for me). This set up cost me approx $630 in total, so I saved myself approx $3200.

Hope this helps others who are either considering going to and/or installing an aftermarket HU. If you have any questions, by all means ask and I will do my best to answer.

Cheers!! :thumbsup:
 

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Nice aftermarket radio and sub install post

This is a great, great post! I am a former installer and this is as good as the install magazines I used to read.

I have a Highlander Hybrid with a few dealer extras, but I too did not go for the limited which would have cost me about $8000 extra. I did get extras like aftermarket heated leather seats, 19" wheels, towing package and faux wood trim, but I have installed the dimming compass mirror, painted mud flaps, bug guard, side wind shields, cargo net, rubber floor mats (I wish I had gotten the weathertech ones...they are nice but twice as much).

What I have left is my fog lights, new radio/sound system, maybe new alarm/remote start, and GPS (still looking for reviews on a good portable one). Still, this all will save at least $6000 and will be in some ways better (the smart key drives me nuts with its lock/unlock/trunk release/running care rules :headbang:

Again, great post and pictures (I need to make those trim tools...just removing the dash blanks to the left of my steering I got little dents around the opening.

Wow, really nice post. Make this a sticky:)

-Jason.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks Jason. I've learned a great deal from many of the posts on this site, and thought this might be my opportunity to give back a little. There were some steps I wish I had remembered to flash picture, but I guess I got caught up in the install and forgot. Hopefully the text instructions suffice for those steps.

Cheers.
 

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Many thanks

This is a great, great post! I am a former installer and this is as good as the install magazines I used to read.
Agreed 100%. Thanks, luck, for such an outstanding post. It's threads like yours that make TN such a valuable place for do-it-yourself owners. Awesome!

:thumbsup:

TrailDust
 

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Very nice! Great job at detailing your progress!
 

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do you by any chance have a picture of the connector that goes to the MFD since i have the stock radio and purchased the mfd and the plug is not the same maybe there is an extra plug just wondering if you have a picture , thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No sorry, I don't. I only saw one harness up there for the MFD.


My MFD is a bit out of level, so at some point, I may in fact take everything out to straighten it. When I do I could take a picture, but that could be a while 'cause it's not a functional issue so not in a rush.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Made an edit my 1st post above after step 1:

EDIT: You will note that my blue antenna wire from the pioneer black harness was not soldered to the blue wire for the Toyota harness. Both are taped up. I figured not necessary since I don't have a power antenna. But, I have been suffering from less than ideal radio reception, especially on AM (used to listen to local sports radio), and after some reading, I learned that the blue may also include an antenna power booster. So, I may have made a boo-boo by not connecting them. When I get everything out to adjust the alignment of the MFD, I am going to solder those wires to see if it makes a difference with my reception.
 

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I have the ass version...i mean ash;)
hey man, thats hot like mine. haha. I wanted black before but the dealers didn't have it and I didn't want to wait.

my neighbor recently picked up a black/black, I got in and felt that it was a bit much. now I am quite happy with the ash. but I still think black int. is great with silver/white ext. just too much with black ext. like mine
 

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Off topic but black/black is HOT!

hey man, thats hot like mine. haha. I wanted black before but the dealers didn't have it and I didn't want to wait.

my neighbor recently picked up a black/black, I got in and felt that it was a bit much. now I am quite happy with the ash. but I still think black int. is great with silver/white ext. just too much with black ext. like mine

Sanf, you from Boston?? Those bruins killed us HABS! :lol:

Yeah, i sat in a black on black at the dealer the other day and i thought that the black plastic looked alot more upscale then the ash one does. My ash leather drivers seat for example gets dirty really easily. Basically i like the black cos you dont see the wear or dirt as much. With the exception of salt that is, cos it is white when dried up on carpet. But Ash definitely doesnt get as hot in summer :thumbsup:

Guess there is pros and cons, i'll just live with it, its not that bad like you said ;)
 

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Sanf, you from Boston?? Those bruins killed us HABS! :lol:
I clicked on the next page and found this. :lol: I play hockey and am a huge fan of the sport. All the matchups are getting so brutal! :eek:

Back to the subject on hand...wow! What an install. I will definitely look forward to this thread if the highlander is the toyota that I decide on... still doing my shopping. Great post!
 
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