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We just bought our (2006 base) Matrix last weekend, so I'm slowly going through the car ...):

* Replaced the O-ring on the timing chain tensioner ... had a very small seepage of fresh oil.
* got new front tires ... the old BF Goodrich were howling!
* replaced a bunch of underbody clips which were missing ... should quiet down some of the noise in the front end on the freeway.
* replaced the driver side power window switch trim ... old one was chipped on the corners
* replaced the cabin filter ... old one was filthy, probably never changed!

Still to come:

* PS fluid flush, clean out dirty residue from inside reservoir, fresh fill with Valvoline Dexron
* ATF fluid flush through cooling lines ... I expect about 8 quarts will do it.
* find a decent set of wheel covers ... the car has three different types on it now and they're all scuffed up
* install power side mirrors ... currently has manual
* install fog lights ... currently has none, and those black blanks look horrible.
* install Pioneer DEH-6600BT head unit, Polk DB speakers all around, and plenty of dynamat to turn this thing into a Bentley ;)

Things I'd like to do but probably won't for now:

* alloy wheels ... this is a college car for our son ... he'll have to earn the alloys ;)
* have body dings and scuffs fixed ... again a college car for now.
* add leather wheel with cruise control, and leather shifter

Things my wife would like to see done to the car:

* white side mirrors and door handles ... to match our white Sienna XLE

I have to say, after owning the Matrix for only a week, it's a really fun car to drive!
 

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New head unit installed in the Matrix -- Pioneer DEH-6600BT.



Bought the head unit off of eBay ... mfg refurb ... $89 ... not bad for a full bluetooth/handsfree unit.

Bought the install kit off of eBay ... $16 incl shipping. The wiring harness took an hour or to make ... I soldered and heat-shrunk each connection, then wrapped the entire harness including plug ends in sticky tape. It was a straight color-for-color matchup of the install kit to the Pioneer wiring harness. Only the illumination wire was unused.

The install frame had many side pieces with different tab locations. I had to cut a lot of unneeded tabs off the kit so that it would fit the cavity in the dash.

The kit allows for DIN-style mounting, which is so much better than using that stupid sleeve. The radio is mounted tightly with two screws on each side of the chassis.

I mounted the microphone inside the pocket of the install kit, drilled a hole in the back to let the cord out, then wrapped the cord tightly and taped it in the rear of the unit. Makes for a nice compact unit installation. And the mic sounds pretty good from there because the entire radio assembly is so high in the car. So no mic cords running around the dash and windows :)

Removal and installation in the Matrix dash was really easy -- it took my about 10 minutes in all to replace the radio once I had the new one ready to go. Unfortunately right after I finished the job I remembered that I had put a CD in the stock unit ... so I had to pull it out again and plug in the stock unit to get the CD out ... don't you love doing everything twice?!
 

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Just added fog lamps to my base model Matrix:

Bought:
* used headlight/turn signal stalk with fog switch ... $45 shipped
* used relay ... $5 shipped
* new aftermarket pair of fog lamps ... $68 shipped



To install:
* pulled off the front bumper (needed to get to a little fender bender anyway
* pulled out big black plugs from fender, popped in fog lamps
* freed up fog lamp wires from headlight wiring harness on either side ... they're just taped up in there, sitting out in the open once the bumper is off
* installed bumper and plugged in fog lamps
* inside the car, removed the steering column cover (3 screws, the top and bottom covers pop apart, then fineagle them off the column)
* unclipped wiring harness from existing headlight stalk, popped stalk assembly from steering column bracket, popped in new assembly and plugged in wiring harness.
* Under hood, opened up drivers side fuse box and placed relay in top right position.
* There should be a 10A fuse just to the left of the relay. In my car there was already one in place for some reason.

That's it ... the fog lights look so much better than those black plugs :)





Fyi you can do this without removing the bumper. You will need to remove the two bottom bumper screws on each side that hold the dust cover, then you can swing the dust cover down and out of the way to get to the lamps
 

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I spent the day working on the '06 college car, prepping it for it's first SF-LA trip next week. At 93k miles, today I did the following preventative maintainace:

* new PCV valve ...
* new orange intake manifold gasket (and throttle body gasket)
* new water pump, thermostat, and radiator hoses
* replaced a bunch more fasteners for the under engine covers, which were brittle, broken or missing.

I also changed the oil today and adjusted the fog lamps that I installed last week.
 

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Part 2 of the weekend's activities:

* flushed PS fluid .. removed reservoir from car and cleaned it out. This took a while as there was actually sludge inside! Pretty gross. Replaced the old clear fluid with Valvoline Dex/Merc, using the manual steering wheel left-to-right method. It looks pretty good now, but I will likely do another flush this summer after the system has had a change to mix in whatever I didn't get this time around.

* transmission fluid exchange. The tranny is a factory reman with 30k miles on it. Drained 3.5 quarts, and then I flushed another 4 through the return line. I probably could have flushed one or two quarts less ... but at $4.60/qt and all the hoses already connected I figured now is the time to get as much of the old fluid as possible out of the system.

* I also started conversion from manual to power side mirrors. All wiring harness connections are already in the car -- you just need to replace the dimmer wheel bezel at the left side dashboard vent with one that holds the mirror switch (and install a mirror switch), then swap out the side mirrors and plug them into the harness in the door. Got the passenger side done last night -- you don't know how useful power mirrors are until you have to live with manual ones for a while!

*** update ***

Oops, almost forgot about the headlight bulbs. In the midst of all this weekend work the left headlight went out. Since both headlights were shining at different intensities I bought a fresh pair of Philips.
 

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Nbozich, what kind of car do you have?

our '06 Matrix base model appears to be wired for everything ... I've already put in fog lights and power mirrors. There is an extra plug on the left side of the dash that I believe is for the Tire Pressure Monitor reset switch, and I may put in cruise control if I get bored later this month.
 

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Fixed the clock this morning.

About 10 minutes of assembly/disassembly, 10 minutes of actual soldering, three attempts at heating up different things on the board, and my clock was working again :)

Fyi, on the Matrix you need a small torx bit to remove two screws on the back of the clock assembly.
 

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Fyi, read my post #26 http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/6768034-post26.html above ... I purchased a pair of aftermarkets for $68 with no tax and free shipping. They are OEM fit like most aftermarket parts. Do they provide as good a light pattern on the road as more expensive lamps? I don't know. But they provide decent light, and I now leave them on all the time (they turn on with daytime running lights too). For 1/4 the price I'm not complaining.
 

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I live in Florida and have 5% all around! even on the windshield. I have a medical exemption for sunscreen on my car so I don't get fined, or points for the tint. Check your state laws on exemptions.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
We're in CA, just bought this car a month ago, I don't know what the tint % is (orig owner had it installed) but they're pretty dark:



Since this is for our son to use down in LA for college, we're going to leave the tint on for now. These are a bit dark for my personal taste, but they were already paid for ...

========

Oh yeah -- what did I do to my car today?

1) Wheel Covers -- last night I found the 5-spoke hubcaps we were looking for. The car had one on it, with two other types of hubcaps on the other wheels. For wheel covers we thought these looked the best for this car -- simple but sporty. If anyone is interested They are style KT-942 and I got them for $30 for the set from the local Autozone in San Mateo. Now I need to find some Toyota emblems to put in the center.

2) Hatch/Glass Struts -- I just replaced the originals with Sachs struts today. The were the same OEM brand as what I pulled off the car, but cost 1/4 of Toyota's discount price. Toyota is charging $90 per strut. I found these online for $26 each for the hatch (SACHS SG329013), and $18 each for the glass (SACHS SG329022). No tax and free shipping. Both the hatch and the glass open smoothly now, and open themselves slowly after I lift them about 1/3 of the way. And no banging at the top like the recall replacements for our 2005 Sienna!

3) Power Mirrors -- I installed power mirrors to replace the manual ones. Since the car is already wired for everything, I just needed to buy a pair of power mirrors, the mirrow switch, and the bezel plate. I Purchased Kool-Vue mirrors new from an online seller, got the switch used on eBay, and picked up a new bezel from the local dealership. They work great (at least for the first day), and the motors are nice and quiet. I am also replacing the door corner covers with the ones that have the tweeter grill so I can house the tweeters when I replace the front speakers with components.

I am nearing completion of the college car cleanup project :)

=========
 

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Your car looks nice! Are those 15" or 16"? If I find a set of alloys at the right price I may cave and put them on the Matrix.

Today i sanded and buffed the headlights on the Matrix, using the 3M kit with drill attachment:



The before picture is also pre-fog lights, so I cheated a bit on the comparison :)
 

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Aftermarket speaker installation - REAR

I upgraded the stereo head unit to a Pioneer single-din bluetooth a few months ago, and this weekend I installed the first half of the speaker upgrade -- the rear doors.

* The stock speakers are riveted in (!?!), so I had to drill out the rivets in order to remove the speakers. There are also a couple of barbs in the back of the speaker housing for who knows what reason (to hold them in the door in case the rivets fall out?) so it takes a bit of finageling to get the speakers out of the hole.

* Peeled back the plastic inner door skin covering and covered the inside of the outer door skin and the lower crash bar with GTMAT (a lower cost option to Dynamat). This makes a huge difference in the resonant frequecy of the door skin. These are huge metal panels. Knocking on the outside turned from "ting! ting!" to "thok. thok."

* Polk DB651 in the rear. The stock speakers were 5.25" but there is plenty of space to put 6.5" in. I was able to use the stock mount plates that came with the speakers ... only one of the three holes was off a bit so I had to redrill that hole in the mount plate. I actually used a glue stick to coat the back of the mounting template before I bolted it onto the door skin. I routed the stock speaker wiring plug and harness to the inside of the door skin and down towards the hole. Used a stock wiring adapter to convert the toyota plug to spade connectors to fit on the speakers.

* Now the stereo sounds better when sitting in the rear seat than the front ;) I will be ordering DB6501 for the fronts next, will hopefully get to that project in a couple of weeks.

* I may also GTMAT the insides of the door panels .. they are also very large and made of thin plastic that sounds hollow.





 

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The front speakers went in this weekend -- Polk Audio DB6501 (and Polk DB651s are already in the rear).

Dynamatted the entire inside of the outer door skins. Now the door closing sounds like a Mercedes door.

mids and highs are nice and clear now -- DB6501s are a good budget speaker with clear sound, big jump over stock.

Unfortunately though there is still quite a bit of midbass boom, I think because the doors are so big, and there is still an interior door skin, and the door panel itself, that have large surfaces. I may try to treat those as well.

====

Also changed the oil. Noticed a bit of oil seeping from around the oil pan edges.

Also noticed that the timing chain tensioner is starting to seep oil again ... I just changed that o-ring four month ago. Ugh. Since the tensioners are so cheap I think I'm just going to buy a fresh new one from the dealership -- under $25.

Also noticed the tinkling sound coming from the drivetrain over 15-20 mph (other thread). Thinking this might be a CV axle problem developing ...

Also, my clock fix didn't hold as well as I would have liked ... 4 months and it's intermittent again. So, this one's coming out later this week for some more serious soldering (this time I will actually apply some new solder).

Also, noticed grease leaking from sway bar link and tie rod end boots. Looks like those are getting replaced this coming weekend as well.
 

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Maintenance time for the college car as it is home for winter break --

Installed a new set of spark plugs after 99k, OEM brand from the dealership is Denso, $8 each. I added a bit of anti-seize to the upper plug threads and torqued to ~12ft-lbs. A dab of dielectric grease on the tip of each plug as well. The engine sounds good. The (original) plugs I pulled off were NKG. All dusted grey in color -- nice wear for eight years.

I also replaced the left side tie rod end which was leaking grease. (Remember to release the spring clip at the outer end of the steering rack boot so you don't twist the boot!). Picked that up from the dealership as well ... $37. The sway bar links are also leaking grease, but at $90 each from the dealership I'm going to take my time to find good aftermarket ones (Lemfoerder makes some) for 1/3 the price.

And finally ... an oil change.
 

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Just a question- I have to replace my boots soon. Would not marking how far the outer tie rod end was screwed on keep my alignment?
Definitely. If you are keeping the existing outer tie rod end, then I would suggest the following to ensure you put it back in exactly the same place:

(a) Draw a reference line longways along the topside or bottomside of the inner tie rod and collar of the outer tie rod so you will know exactly where to align them rotationally when you put it back together.

Now that you know exactly where you orient them rotationally with respect to each other, you next job is to make sure you reassemble the tie rods together with the correct number of turns on the screw thread:

(b) Take a reference measurement from the inside edge of the outer tie rod end collar to a reference point on the inner tie rod, so you when you replace the outer tie rod you will be able to ensure that you've screwed it on the correct number of turns and have the same distance as before.

(c) Finally, count how many turns it takes remove the outer tie rod end from the inner rod. It's somewhere between 14 and 17 turns. also note how the outer tie rod is oriented when the threads finally release it. Then just make sure you reinstall the outer tie rod in the exact same orientation and number of turns.

Using the above three techniques you should pretty confidently be able to get that outer tie rod back into the exact location as before. And remember to unclip that rack boot so you don't twist it!

As a final check, with the car resting properly on it's suspension (drive around a bit first after you have jacked up the car) use a tape measure to compare the distance between two of your tire tread grooves on the front sides of the tires vs the back sides. Toe-in specs say the front-to-back tire distance should vary no more than +/- 2mm, so if your tread spacing measurements show within 1/16 inch of each other, you should be good on toe-in. Of course, take a test drive to see if it feels good as well.
 

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This is exactly what I was thinking. Thank you for making me feel more confident in my thought process. I'm actually going to be replacing that rack boot. Mine have developed holes.
Also, there is no guarantee that your alignment is correct BEFORE you do this ... so I suggest taking a toe-in measurement both before and after you do the repair, just to make sure you are screwing back into the right thread number. If you're off by one thread you will probably notice 1/8" or greater difference in the tread spacing measurement.

And if your existing toe-in shows it's out of alignment, that's another story -- but using the same technique you should be able to adjust toe-in correctly yourself.
 

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I just buffed the Matrix and Sienna headlights with some RainX headlight cleaner that I picked up at the store for $7. Cleaned them up really nicely. Would be nice if it had UV protection built into it ... but I imagine I'll be doing this periodically to keep the headlights clear.
 
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