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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1997 Rav4 and wanted to replace my factory installed radio with one that has bluetooth that's easy to pair with my smartphone so I can take calls when I'm driving. Also would be useful for using Google maps to navigate. Anyone done this recently, and what units would you suggest?
 

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I just bought a basic Bluetooth unit and a adapter loom to go from toyota plug to my stereo. Could not have been easier. Just need to fit the microphone up under the pillar trim.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
More info please

Thanks for responding. I'm not very handy with this stuff so would have to get a professional to install it for me. What kind of unit did you buy, and where is the Toyota plug? Would you have any photos that show more detail?
 

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It's a pioneer unit and the same place had the patch loom. I think they are the same for most older toyotas. It's a good project to tackle yourself. Just remove the centre console cover and it's pretty easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I called one of the mai retailers here, Crutchfield, and they recommended a Pioneer unit too. The reviews were not that good but I think it was one with a built in mic so that might have accounted for some of the poor reviews. What is a patch loom?
 

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Mine has the mic that plugs in the back with a long cord to run up the pillar. The patch loom is a premaid loom to go from aftermarket stereo to toyota plug. Super easy.
 

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Wanting to replace my factory head unit was the reason why I discovered this forum back in 2010 and became a member.
This is the first modification I did and, like you, was also apprehensive regarding the installation process.
As far as I am concerned, NOBODY, no matter how qualified or professional they may be, will take care of the whole process (and your car) as good as yourself. So, if you can find the time, I would urge you to go for it.

A guide I made at that time may be helpful: TinyUpload.com - best file hosting solution, with no limits, totaly free

Bear in mind that some of the links may be outdated so feel free to ask for more assistance.
P.S.: A patch loom, or Toyota-to-ISO wiring harness is the quickest and "cleanest" way to connect your new stereo (presumably having ISO connectors in the back) to the connectors you will unplug from the factory stereo.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mick, thanks for taking the time to upload the file. Having read through it, I know this is something that I don't have the expertise to attempt (also do not have the tools). I looked up some car stereo installers in my area, and after having read the reviews on Yelp, can truly say that your statement, "As far as I am concerned, NOBODY, no matter how qualified or professional they may be, will take care of the whole process (and your car) as good as yourself.", was perfectly correct. There were numerous reviews about botched jobs, cheaters etc. As detailed and helpful as your instructions are, I may just not bother with the upgrade as there are just too many horror stories of things that stopped working after an attempted install, and not having the necessary expertise to correct any mishaps, it might end up costing me more headache than it is worth.
 

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The only tools you need are your fingers, a Phillips head screwdriver and a 10mm wrench/socket. The latter tools can be borrowed or even bought for next-to-nothing. The Toyota-to-ISO adapter harness shouldn't cost more than 5-7 dollars.
Since you don't have to solder, crimp, splice or drill through anything, there really isn't any way to harm your car (added bonus: everything is reversible this way).
Take your time, be it 30 minutes or 5 hours, nobody will judge you. Have a friend or family member around for a second opinion/suggestions. Trust me, if you are able to plug/unplug an electrical appliance to a wall socket, you are more than qualified to undertake this job.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to all of you for your encouragement to try and do a self-installation. However, it's too far outside my comfort zone for me to do. Because my main reason for wanting a bluetooth radio in the car was just so that I could make/receive calls while driving, I decided the next best compromise is to get an iPhone holder. That way, I can see and better hear the phone when it rings, and decide if the call is important enough for me to answer while driving. So, am now on the hunt for a good iphone holder.
 

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I am sorry to hear you are not going to attempt this little project. It's not something you can really mess up. You won't stop your car running if the radio doesn't work.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It wasn't only to my not being comfortable trying to install it myself, it was also whether it was "overkill" for what I am trying to do. Music quality is secondary to me, as is the ability to play digital music from my iphone. I just want a way to see/hear when a call comes in on my cell while I'm driving. I have subsequently discovered that there are less complicated ways to achieve this without changing out my head unit. In addition, when I read the reviews of the various units on Amazon (both cheap and expensive ones), and other sites, all seemed to have very finicky and temperamental Bluetooth connections that would sometimes not work. Mic noise and feedback were other negative issues. With all of that going on, It just made me rethink whether all the effort I would make to put in the unit would be worth it if it does not function as well as one needs it to. Anyway, the idea is on the back burner for now until my existing radio packs it in, and then I would have no choice! Thanks again to all. This is such a great forum for Rav4 4.1 owners!
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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I installed a PIONEER AVH-X5800BHS 7" DVD Receiver and Sirius/XM SXV300v1 (amazon.com). The receiver is double din and I mounted it in the lower double din space (where the CD player and cigarette lighter was installed). Had to make some mods to the bezel and cup holder to make it work and now I no longer have a cup holder.

Where the stock radio sat I installed a single din 3 gauge adapter (ebay) and the following gauges (amazon.com):
GlowShift Tinted 7 Color Transmission Oil Temperature Gauge
GlowShift Tinted 7 Color Oil Temperature Gauge
GlowShift Tinted 7 Color Oil Pressure Gauge

See my thread at this link.
http://www.rav4world.com/forums/84-4-1-accessories/227009-install-double-din-radio-gauges-12v-power-point-usb-power-point.html
 
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