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Back Story (can skip): I'll be honest, I'm not much into cars (yet) and had a large fear of driving from some pretty bad accidents when I was a passenger (yay people who DUI...). I've recently gone with a RAV4 2011 Base 4 Cylinder and find myself driving a considerable amount more as of the last few weeks due to a change in job plus a new relationship that's a bit of a drive away. Thus I want to make my car even more enjoyable and customized a bit to my preferences. Beyond that, today I replaced my headlights with SilverStar zXe lights (low and high, got a stupidly good deal). Had a lot of fun and now wanted to move onto the next project. This is what has brought me here.

Dashboard Lights: I honestly can't stand the orange color (least favorite color) and it's very dim for all of my dash. I ideally would like to get some brighter blue lights or white, however I am having a bit of difficulty get a confirmation on either a good kit or a shopping cart together to do a full replacement. If it helps, I prefer to use Amazon if anyone happens to have any recommendations and a link handy.

Interior Footwell Lighting: I'm looking to add a bit of lighting that is either controlled by a switch or ties into when doors are opened/dome light comes on type of situation. I was wondering if someone could just confirm or recommend what they've done to get this setup for them. Again, I'll be going blue if possible or white.

Digital Guages/MPH: This is the lowest priority item but was thinking about seeing about adding a MPH additional gauge to the side column or in the dash itself. Again, just something that sounded fun and would be nice to maybe have an extra gauge on the side column with MPH but by no means something I'm really considering if it's a huge undertaking or overly expensive.

Closing... I'm sure I'll get more and more into this, as I mod everything and it's partially my job to mod things (cyber/IT/programming side of things though). Any help while I get my feet wet or any contacts via Skype or such are welcome and appreciated. Hopefully I can then help others in the future with this model and eventually the next RAV4 model I get, whenever that may be. Thanks in advance for any help and links!
 

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Hi there,

Got you some small answers:

Dashboard lights and gauges can be dimmed from about 20-100% with the small dim-wheel on the left part of the dash next to the steering wheel.
If the 100% amounth of light is not enough, or you don't like the amber LED light color, you're quite stuck with it. All LED's ligts are integrated in the switches or PCB's of the dash electronics, so it's not a simple matter of exchanging bulbs.

Amber LED color theory: Amber color light is the best color for your eyes in dark situations, to prevent blinding, and to prevent the eye's iris to close to much. Which will effect in less night sight, and valuable time to correct to night situation again.

The interior footwell lighting should be present containing again amber LED lights in the back of the lower dash part. They light up as soon as you open the doors. If you don't have any light in this spot, maybe other members of this forum can help you in finding the purposed wires in the full configurated harness, purposed connectors, etc. Some RAV4.3 version may not had this footwell light option standard, I'm not sure.
In case the footwell lights are present, they are easy accesible, and probably can be exchanged quite easaly in to another color, and/or brighter LED version. Just keep the voltage on the original footwell lights in mind when choosing another light source.

The gauges also have PCB integrated LED's on board. Not easy to change, but not impossible if you are well willing to open half the dash, and heat up the welding gun. Accessing/removing the gauges can be found on this forum if I'm right.
I also know that some companies sell EL-Foil based gauges, customized for a lot of different brands and car types. The should fit it quite easy. If this kind of gauges is also made for the RAV4.3 I don't know. And I don't know if the amber LCD display part will also be replaced by another (color) LCD screen. And take in mind that EL-Foil and EL wires have a life span of about 5000-7000 hours only...

In a short line it's not an easy job to change all dash LED's, but again not impossible when you have lot's of time, patience and welding/soldering experience.

A more easy job is to exchange the interior LED lights in the roof, etc. Those lights have quite common light bulbs which can be exchanged for a wide range of suitable LED lights. Mostly bright cool white, if you like the RAV4.3 interior to change in to a refridgerator ambiance. ;-)

About the halogen bulbs in the head lights, most people choose Xenon HID's, BUT only when the head lights have projector lenses. Otherwise HID is absolutely not done. In that case choose your self a nice set of xenon look halogen lights, like the "GP Thunder" bulbs in 5800K cool white xenon look, which I advise from experience. Cheap, 30% more light and a long life time.
 

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You could permanently mount a GPS unit that can display MPH or you could install a smartphone and hook it to your obd port to display real time information...some have even installed tablets for a stereo and run the information to the tablet...do some searching and you will find plenty...
 

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I have a couple OBDII computer applications. One works with an iPhone using a blue-tooth OBDII plug. It is very convenient. The other works with a wired OBDII to my Mac Air (with an extension cord), and it is more capable.
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I have installed a model x5 HUD with a 4" x 5" mirror sticky on the bottom of the windshield (partially see-through) to be able to know what speed I'm going. At night the dash is bright enough but in the daytime in sunny AZ, the dash is dark enough to not easily see the numbers or indicator. I'd love to find a aftermarket LED that could be attached to the top, inside of the dash hood to add lighting to the dash but so far I've not found anything that can do so without blocking part of the gauge.

Who ever thought that silver and gray was a good choice didn't drive in bright sun conditions.

Any ideas?
 

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I'll assume you have the dimmer wheel turned all the way towards "bright" during the day.
When I drove my 2010 RAV home from the dealer after buying it, I couldn't see the dash display. Since I had no idea about the controls, I had to figure it out after I got it home. Duh!
 
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