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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2008 RAV4 base model that I'm considering replacing the stereo on. I would probably get an aftermarket one with built-in GPS, Bluetooth, etc. I'd also want a backup camera connected to it. My question is, since I have a base model, would I still be able to get the same functionality as if all those features had been installed at the factory? For instance, if I switch to reverse, would the backup camera automatically come on? Ideally, it'd be nice to have that, as well as the volume buttons on my steering wheel, but I'm not sure how that could be done without either a lot of expense or making it look hideous.

I love my RAV4 and I'd like to drive it until the wheels fall off. But if I want these features, I wonder if the expense of adding them would be worth it or if I should just trade mine in and get a different model.
 

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This stuff is cake to add...in order to use the steering wheel controls you would need a stereo that is compatible with that and generally a harness will connect the stereo and steering wheel....mine will do it but how effing lazy can people be to not reach over and turn the radio up...welcome to America in 2015 LOL...as far as the backup camera goes this again will be dependant on the stereo...cheap cameras can be had on Amazon or eBay that work very well and then you just run the wires up to the deck...there is a wire on stereos with backup camera function that will connect to a wire in the ravs wiring harness by the stereo that will tell the stereo that you are in reverse and then the stereo turns on the proper screen...very easy to do and well worth it...my advise is to buy the best stereo you can afford with the features you want...plenty of information on here about hooking one up...just use the search function and you will be good to go...
 

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I second buying the best stereo you can.
I like that I added my steering wheel buttons. I like to keep my hands on the SW. Less distraction. BUT you will also need to upgrade your clockspring (unless Toyota updated it with one which accepts SW buttons during the recall to replace clocksprings).

With most Chinese radios (like the one I have) you do not need an additional harness or trim kit. They are compatible with SW buttons and have the shape of the OEM base/Sport radio.
But the quality of Chinese radios are not the best. I wanted GPS in the car and could not afford more than $400.
e.g. my radio will not show GPS map when a Bluetooth call is on, sometimes I lose my front speakers when the GPS is on (this means no GPS voice too), ...
Most Chinese units are like this; you get what you pay for. On the other hand, I get to update my IGO Primo maps by copying "free" files from the web.
But don't expect any bug fixes to the operating system.If something goes wrong under warranty, guess who's paying for shipping back and forth....

If I had to do it again, I might spend more and get a decent JVC + harness + trim kit. Might come to $900+ though. And you might have to pay $80+ for map updates in the future. But you will have better support and a more reliable system.

Cheap backup cameras from Amazon or Ebay work fine.



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply, rav4system! I'm glad to know it should be an easy thing to do. As far as the whole lazy aspect of the volume button thing goes, I'm inclined to agree with you. But I know when I've driven other cars that have the volume knobs on the steering wheel, it's somewhat easier for me to keep my eyes on the road when I can change it there, rather than having to look over at the stereo and change it.

So basically, the key to this is finding a quality stereo system, probably something name-brand like Alpine, Kenwood, Sony or something like that. I'm not a car audio expert, but last I checked, those were the better brands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Vanib, I've looked at those Chinese ones on eBay. Thanks for letting me know the drawbacks to them. Currently, my steering wheel does not have any buttons and I haven't been able to find a place that would sell those. It'd also probably be some serious work to install some of those, wouldn't it?
 

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I could write a book on all the drawbacks ;)

Adding the buttons is easy, adding a new clockspring is easy; it is moving the airbag to another smaller airbag cover which is nerve-racking ... the first time at least.
Now it would take me no more than 45 min for the whole job!
 

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Not bad! I know I sound like a chicken (if this were home repair or a computer, I'd be fearless), but I'd probably pay someone to do everything because I am no expert at taking apart car interiors. Do you think it could all be purchased and installed for $1500 or less?
 

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it aint so bad, 2007 base AWD purchased in April
i put in a Jensen VX7020 and a CCD rearview camera from Amazon.

went to crutchfield.com and saw the metra kit they recommended
bought it too from amazon.

camera came with a bit to cut the hole in the plastic trim over the back bumper

tapped the reverse light on the drivers side rear.

ran the video cable from the back to the front under the car, tie wrapped liberally
came up into the cabin behind the left front wheel, there is a rubber grommet that pushes out and a piece of trim along the drivers side left foot.

there are dozens of youtube videos on radio install and the wiring routing under the car was easy to google up too.

you can get a guy to do it, your results will vary and if anything is wrong or janky you will have to take it back and hope he can find what he did wrong.

I do it myself so i can own the errors and know the trade-offs i made while doing it.
 

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My take on steering wheel controls and "eyes on the road"...if you think about it you take your eyes off the road constantly...look in mirrors...look at the kids...look at the wife...look at surrounding traffic and conditions...look for cops...look at airplanes...look for something you dropped or need...as far as both hands on the wheel goes how often does a person really have both hands on the wheel?...even with steering wheel controls you will still be looking over at the stereo...I have them and never use them...I feel that focusing too much on one area will cause you to miss something somewhere else and in my line of work the people I see being the biggest danger on the roads are the ones with both hands on the wheel look straight out the window...they have no idea of the world around them...
 

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I second buying the best stereo you can.
I like that I added my steering wheel buttons. I like to keep my hands on the SW. Less distraction. BUT you will also need to upgrade your clockspring (unless Toyota updated it with one which accepts SW buttons during the recall to replace clocksprings).

With most Chinese radios (like the one I have) you do not need an additional harness or trim kit. They are compatible with SW buttons and have the shape of the OEM base/Sport radio.
But the quality of Chinese radios are not the best. I wanted GPS in the car and could not afford more than $400.
e.g. my radio will not show GPS map when a Bluetooth call is on, sometimes I lose my front speakers when the GPS is on (this means no GPS voice too), ...
Most Chinese units are like this; you get what you pay for. On the other hand, I get to update my IGO Primo maps by copying "free" files from the web.
But don't expect any bug fixes to the operating system.If something goes wrong under warranty, guess who's paying for shipping back and forth....

If I had to do it again, I might spend more and get a decent JVC + harness + trim kit. Might come to $900+ though. And you might have to pay $80+ for map updates in the future. But you will have better support and a more reliable system.

Cheap backup cameras from Amazon or Ebay work fine.



I am a bit late to the game but I just finished writing my first impressions of a chinese head unit I purchased from Joying on ebay in the following posts:
http://www.rav4world.com/forums/1909753-post7.html

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/1909689-post8.html

I am probably still in the honeymoon period but my complaints are pretty minimal right now. Yes, the software could potentially have many bugs and spelling errors cuz it was probably slapped together by less than half the development/engineering manpower of famous brands. However, it is really impressive what kind of hardware is offered for USD 350 +taxes/shipping/customs. I was looking at some comparable top of the line JVC/Kenwood/Pioneer units which were wonderful but were inferior in some hardware aspects to the HuiFei units inspite of retailing for $1000+.
 

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v6dude, when you play the stereo on fm does it display the artist and song title like some car stereos do? My wife insists on that.
Thanks
 

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v6dude, when you play the stereo on fm does it display the artist and song title like some car stereos do? My wife insists on that.
Thanks
Depends,
look for a radio with RDS, digital FM will give you Genre/Artist/etc and even set the clock for you.
SiriusXM addition can add channel art as well.
My Jensen VX7020 does art on the USB MP3 files I play, I have limited Digital radio stations in my area but I am told it does RDS. It is ready for SiriusXM with and external radio/antenna and is supposedly capable of displaying channel art on Sat Radio too.
 
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