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Is it possible to buy a Toyota Avalon, Land Crusier, etc., radio at the junk yard from a similar model year (1996 & 1999) to that of my RAV 4's and swap them without having to do a big custom refit? Alternatively are there other "stock" car radios from any other car models that will fit the RAV4's that are better than the "stock" OEM ones that came when bought new?
 

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When u say better are you after a different look or better sound? If it's the latter then swapping your HU for another Toyota one won't do much. You'd be better off with aftermarket speakers, HU and amp. If it's not the latter then most other Toyota HUs will fit.
 

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Thanks for the quick response. I don't need the "better sound" that comes with a aftermarket radio at $200 to $300 US. My concept is that the 1996/1999 Toyota Avalons and Landcrusiers, as being the "top of the Toyota line" had a much better standard radio than was installed in the RAV4. If they are the same physical size as the Rav4 radio I think a "junk yard" will be happy to get $50 for one. I don't however want to buy one and only than find out it won't fit in the RAV4 dash.
 
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You might run into some problems getting the radio from an Avalon or LandCruiser to fit into your RAV. In 96 and 99 the RAV had a single DIN radio. If i recall correctly, the Avalons use a double DIN size radio. Also, the higher end Toyota systems usually have an external amplifier involved, where the RAV does not. If the radio you find at the junk yard (or wherever) has a single white plug on the back, it will not be compatible with your RAV unless you get the amplifer as well. Your radio should have two plugs, one with about 7-8 wires and another with 4-5 wires. I would agree with Mohit, an aftermarket radio and speakers would be a better way to get better sound.
 

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Honestly it's not so much the head units as it is the speakers. Even if you install a different Toyota head unit, it won't improve the sound too much because you are still using the junky Rav4 speakers.

When I replaced my head unit with an Alpine, it improved the sound somewhat because Alpine has the best sound processing of most any aftermarket head unit, but the biggest improvement was that the Alpine gave me better control over the sound settings.

Even though factory speakers aren't great to begin with, usually higher level models have better speakers than lower level models, so the Land Cruisers or Avalons have better speakers than a Rav4.
 

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many, if not all of the oem radios/cd players from toyota are backwards compatible with the rav4 connectors and are a direct plug in. i just installed a 2003 head unit into a 1996 rav4 it is double din, but it fits in the area for the cigarette lighter which has a double din bracket already in the original components of the rav4. i have a 1996rav, so cannot be certain of the older rav4s. some of the better head units you may want to upgrade to are the scion head units, or 4-runner head units which i feel look the best. they also play mp3 cds. (WMA on certain ones) in our two 2003 rav4's i've swapped out the head unit with a 4runner, and a scion head unit. the scion head unit is good because it has more technology and has different sound boost settings incoorporated in it. if you are into color, then there is even one scion special edition stereo which has the setting to change display colors. if you are willing to spend more...around 250+, the scion 2008 special edition headunits, with on screen graphics is also backwards compatible...i am not sure if they are backwards compatible in size, but if you are installing it into a 4.1 rav, then i believe you will still have to cut the double din cigarette lighter cover in order to incoorporate the double din unit (this is oem http://www.lucusjapan.com/images/cache/details/TCV_1533335/originals/1533335_6.jpg and it is what you are striving to modify it to) ...UNLESS you have the plastic piece which is made to accept the double din units. you can get the stereos on ebay for around $50 or less if you are lucky...i just looked on ebay and it seemed like even the camry and corolla, fj, and matrix, pretty much all toyotas are backwards compatible...but some headunits are shaped to the new style of the newer vehicle dash so they won't fit without major modification to either the stereo, or the vehicle. so best to stick with the standard double din rectangular looking decks...so up till 2008 is your best bet.

i also agree with the posts mentioning the low quality speakers. you can upgrade to some entry level speakers which will drastically improve the sound quality.
 
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