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Discussion Starter #1
If you're about to replace your radio*: I have an off-the-wall request. I'd like detailed pictures of the radio* receptacle and all that's behind it, in the dash.

I've been through many head unit replacement threads here on TN and elsewhere, as well as many a YouTube video, but I haven't found one that gives me the details I need about the components hung on the firewall behind the radio -- and how they are fastened & arranged.

Parts diagrams don't have the information, and of course, people who have replaced the head unit in the past have pictured the radio, its mounts & connectors. They are quite rightly not particularly interested in what's behind it. Somehow the camera always seems to be too far off to the side, or too high or too low, or inadequately lighted..

My ultimate need: I'm trying to avoid the complete removal of the dashboard in order to replace the a/c expansion valve. I have a Dremel tool, in fact 2 of them, and am always ready to use them...
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*sorry, "infotainment center head unit."
 

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Since I was a professional pilot some years ago I was used to flying aircraft equipped with dual navigation system avionics. Decided to similarly equip my 2004 Avalon XLS which was equipped with an OEM navigation/radio. Had installed by a local stereo shop an additional infotainment-navigation system, a Kenwood DNS 694S, complete with Apple Car Play, Satellite radio, CD player, rear view camera, etc. I was lucky to find from a Chinese outfit listed on E-Bay for $49.00 a matching bezel giving the appearance that my dual set up is factory installed. I swapped out the ash tray for a USB port mounted behind the little door just above the cabin temperature gauge to connect my iphone XR and another USB port installed in the glove compartment.
dual stack.jpg

Would suggest you set aside your dremel tools to let electronic professionals change/install your equipment. The wiring behind the instrument panel is complicated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ah - I rambled too much in my original post. The Dremel is not for the radio, but for plastic behind the radio. I just need pictures of the plastics and/or components behind the radio.

I am gong to try to excavate for the a/c expansion valve, a $9-90 part where (its position having been designed insanely) in a sane world, requires some 5-8 hours of work to replace.

In the official method, you have to remove the entire dashboard. I'm exploring the possibility of a ghetto fix.

My expansion valve is clogged after a second-rate compressor/condenser R&R... dirt got in the system.

It's possible, nay probable, that a ghetto attack won't work. And I'll probably just have to remove my own radio to find out. I was seeing if another TN'er was embarking on a radio project so I could cadge a couple of pics.
 

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Ah - I rambled too much in my original post. The Dremel is not for the radio, but for plastic behind the radio. I just need pictures of the plastics and/or components behind the radio.

I am gong to try to excavate for the a/c expansion valve, a $9-90 part where (its position having been designed insanely) in a sane world, requires some 5-8 hours of work to replace.

In the official method, you have to remove the entire dashboard. I'm exploring the possibility of a ghetto fix.

My expansion valve is clogged after a second-rate compressor/condenser R&R... dirt got in the system.

It's possible, nay probable, that a ghetto attack won't work. And I'll probably just have to remove my own radio to find out. I was seeing if another TN'er was embarking on a radio project so I could cadge a couple of pics.
What you need are schematic and block diagrams. I closely watched the installation of my electronics.The space behind the head unit and the environmental controls is a maze of wiring and connections- not an area to go rummaging around by a DIY who has little expertise with auto electronics.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Let me try again.

I'm looking for people who are about to upgrade or fix their Gen 2 Avalon radio on a DIY basis, and are willing to take some photos as they do this.

I'm interested only in the physical realities of the cubby where the radio slides into. There are no electrical or electronic changes in my future. I'm trying to R&R the thermo-mechanical a/c expansion valve.

Remember, my Avalon XL has far fewer electronic/electrical goodies than does your XLS. It is a very bare-bones car, designed expressly for octogenarians in 2001 who (apparently) had no desire for pleather, luxury, or gadgets. They just wanted to get from Point A to Point B in a comfy vehicle with enough size and accessibility to hold 3-4 more arthritic octogenarians.

The a/c expansion valve no wires running to it.

I am focused on the radio because (a) it's something that people regularly upgrade and (b) the a/c evaporator and expansion valve are just about directly behind the radio. The expansion valve is removable, bolted directly to the evaporator.

Meanwhile, it's looking more and more as though I'll have to de-mount my own radio and look-see for myself. That's not a terrible thing, and it's not onerous. I was just hoping to find someone who was about to embark on a DIY pilgrimage to infotainment nirvana, so I could look over their shoulder.
 

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Hey, the hardest part of removing the radio is the process of removing the center vent. They say to use the plastic trim tool to wedge it out. Don't use that on the sides - the sides have the louver adjustment and can be easily broken. Just pry the upper and lower edges, near the sides are where the clips are. I bent a hanger and feed in into the center and pulled from there also. If you break it, I found a cheap-ish one on eBay. Sorry about your expansion valve - Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, asd401. Good advice. Especially since most of the youTube coverage (a) points out how strongly the vent clips hold and (b) shows people yanking at the sides.

Your bent hanger tool -- did you mean that you feed it into the vent louvers and grab on to the back of the center of the housing?
 

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Exactly. I pulled from the center with that tool together with at the same time using the plastic trim tool. There is really no great way to do this. Patience helps. I would not pull real hard on that center piece. Good Luck. I think I paid $25 for a replacement vent because I broke the louver mechanism from prying on the side the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Many thanks. Meanwhile, I did find an ebay listing for a used vent that had many large photos of all possible angles -- and, very rare for eBay, in focus -- so I know the exact location of the clips.

Armed with your advisory + the pics, I should be all set.
 
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