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I worked hard on making Ay Caramba unique and functional on the exterior, engine compartment, and undercarriage so now it was time to upgrade the interior. I had already upgraded the dash with a double din head, gauges where the OE stereo was installed but I decided to change that up as well, by installing a CB in the OE stereo position and moved the gauges to the driver side pillar. My sound deadening project was a tremendous success so now it is time to finish the interior.

I procured a set of grey leather seat covers from another forum member at a great price and they were in new condition, still in the plastic. I removed the seats, completely disassembled, removed the original seat covers and installed the new leather covers. On the bottoms of the front seats I added memory gel padding to the rear, front, and each side of the seat. Between the leather covers and the memory foam, the seats feel much much better.

I then removed and replaced the headliner, this also included installing a XM Radio sharkfin style antenna on the roof, roof rack rails, and a solar panel. The headliner was actually quite easy to remove and skin the original headliner material off; you simply pull the old material off at an angle, where it was difficult I would pour some mineral spirits on it to make it easier. I then used mineral spirits to remove the glue. I used 3M Headliner Adhesive to attach the headliner material, I sprayed it on the hard headliner and to the fabric and carefully lined it up so that the quilted diamond patterns were straight front to rear. Now it was time to run the wiring on the ceiling for the overhead console and the speakers. Now it was time to install the new headliner panel all prepared.

I prepared the overhead console by disassembling it, removing the headliner material and glue (again with mineral spirits) from the lower mount area, removing the light bulbs, cleaning the bulb contacts, and installing LEDs. The overhead console had a time, temperature, and diagnostic panel on it but it was only compatible with certain Gem trucks, so that was not used at this time. It is likely to be replaced in the near future with a ScanGauge II. This really improved interior lighting over the stock front overhead light which I did not reinstall. I also installed an external speaker in a bay that was for CDs.

Next I covered the speaker pods in the same headliner material and mounted them to the headliner. I reinforced the headliner on the back side with an aluminum panel so the the pods with speakers wouldn't pull down or damage the headliner. I cut access points for wiring the speakers through the headliner. At long last I wired in the speakers and mounted them to the pods. The sound is so much better now than those two speakers facing each other behind the rear seats.

I replaced my old grab handles using the same bolt in positions, with large washers to hold them securely.

I painted the upper plastic vehicle panels with matt black vinyl/plastic paint, the lower sections were left grey to match the seats.

The lid to my center console where the hinge is broke so I reinforced it with Aluminum bar stock and reinstalled it.

Overall, I'm more than pleased with my "new" Rav4.1, with all the maintenance and upgrades Ay Caramba has a great look, functionality is improved, the sound deadening project I did has made her a lot quieter, the interior project has made a big difference in appearance and comfort.

The below lists all the materials and parts that were used.

- Reupholster project
-- 1 st - Gray leather seat upholstery for all four seats (from a RAV4World member)
-- Added memory gel padding to the lower front seat cushions, this really made these seats a lot more comfortable (amazon.com)
-- I used one of the leather panels for the rear side panels to reupholster visors
-- I got creative and repaired the broken hinge mount on the center console arm rest

- Replaced headliner with a padded headliner
-- 4 yds - Suede Quilted Auto Headliner Charcoal Headboard Fabric with 3/8" Foam Backing Upholstery 58" Wide (amazon.com)
-- 3M Headliner & Fabric Adhesive, 38808, 18.1 oz (Advanced Auto)
-- Recovered the rear side panel arm rests with the same material
-- Recovered the cloth on all 4 door panels with the same headliner material
-- 1 ea - Overhead console with courtesy light, front and rear map lights, and storage compartments from 2000 GMC Jimmy (salvage). This replaced the stock front dome light. It also has a small screen with outside temp, etc but it only works with certain GM vehicles.
--- 1 ea - LED dome light - SiriusLED Extremely Bright 400 Lumens 3020 Chipset Canbus Error Free LED Bulbs for Interior Car Lights License Plate Dome Trunk Courtesy 1.72” 41MM 42MM Festoon 211-2 569 578 6000K Xenon White
--- 4 ea LED map lights - JDM ASTAR 10pcs Super Bright 194 168 175 2825 T10 PX Chipsets LED Bulbs,Xenon White
-- 1 pr - Speaker pods as far back as I could to get the speakers out from behind my work equipment boxes that I usually keep in the back
-- Replaced old grab handles with Opar Windshield Pillar Roll Bar Seat Grab Handle for 2007-2018 Jeep JK Wranger Unlimited 4-Door (Red,Pack of 4)(amazon.com)
-- Reupholstered sun visors with matching grey leather of the seats. I also modified the visors to accommodate the larger rear view mirror.


(Overhead Console)


(Headliner with Speaker Pods)


(Closeup Speaker Pod)


(Closeup Rear of Speaker Pod)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Seat Pictures. Note the wrinkles in the leather you see in the seat pictures smoothed out after a short while. The rear seats were about the same degree of difficulty to do.

These are the only tools and supplies you need, the only specialty tools are the hog ring crimpers.

(Tools needed)

A picture of an upholstered and one that I haven't worked on yet to show the comparison. It also has the tools and the leather for the seat remaining.

(Upholstery shot)

A seat after disassembly.

(Disassembled seat)

This is what the foam pad at the bottom of the seat looks like.

(Seat bottom foam pad)

And this is the back foam. I didn't augment the foam in the back because I didn't want to get pushed any closer to the steering wheel.

(¡Ay, Caramba! RAV4.1, seat back foam)

Here I'm crimping on a hog ring.

(Crimping new hog rings locking down center seat seams.)

And in this one it shows the installed hog ring. The hog rings are used to secure the seams down, there are wires in the seams to have to be secured to wires under the padding.

(¡Ay, Caramba! RAV4.1, new hog ring in place)

Here you can see where I have stuffed memory foam int the forward part of the seat bottom and the two side areas. The rear area behind the seam was already stuffed.

(¡Ay, Caramba! RAV4.1 Seat bottom getting stuffed with memory foam, memory foam has already been placed in the rear section of the seat.)

Front seats showing old fabric and new leather.

(Seat comparison)

Back of the front seats showing old fabric and new leather.

(¡Ay, Caramba! RAV4.1, comparison from rear of seat)

My photos of Ay Carambe with the seats installed didn't come out too well, too much glare, I'll retake and post them later. Same for the dash photos.
 

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I should have pointed out a few things about the tools:
  • The item on the left is the hog ring crimpers, this type loads the hog rings inside like a stapler does and makes it tremendously easier to operate, well worth the price tag
  • The diagonal cutters are used to cut out the old hog rings
  • The needle nose pliers are used to remove the cut bits of hog rings
  • The scissors and box cutter are used to cut out parts of the old seat covers for easier removal and to trim places on the new ones.

(Tools needed)
 

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I forgot to mention to mount the overhead console I put a length of 12"x 30" sheet aluminum above the headliner between the mount for the front dome light and rearview mirror and one of the ceiling supports about 30 inches back. This keeps the overhead console from weighing down the headliner and making it a lot more secure.

I also ran Cat 5e Ethernet cable from under the dash to the overhead console to make it easier to install the ScanGauge II at a later date. The ScanGauge II uses for a Cat 5e wire as the data cable to the OBDII port. I did not attach the the RJ45 plugs to the cable yet because I'm not sure if the ScanGauge II uses the same wiring order that an Ethernet system does.
 

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Looks great! Now your giving me ideas to add to my growing list of mods and upgrades!

Do you have any more info on the Gray leather seat upholstery you used for all four seats?
 

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Looks great! Now your giving me ideas to add to my growing list of mods and upgrades!

Do you have any more info on the Gray leather seat upholstery you used for all four seats?
I have no idea about who made them, there was no labeling at all but I've heard good stuff about Katzkin.

The seats went together easily once I got figured out how to use the hog ring crimpers in tight spots. It was educational, now I know that the seats will completely unbolt from the seat rails so when I decide to upgrade the front seats I know that I can use the original seat rails with possibly some modifications to mate up to whatever seats I decide to use. But, between the new upholstery and the additional memory foam padding in the seat these seats have gotten a new lease on life.

I've made a lot of mods to Ay Caramba, check out my garage and you will see that she is practically a new car. The next major mods will be a six banger because I want the low end torque and rear disk brakes.

I like those fender flairs on your rig.
 

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Now that I've had time to drive around and take stock of my interior upgrades here is my review.

You would not believe how nice it is having great lighting in the RAV4 from the overhead console I installed, from the aimable map lights to the large centralized dome light they all place light right where I want it. My new rearview mirror also has map lights that add to the light as well although nowhere near as good as the console lights.

I now have a convenient place to keep my sunglasses as well.

Mounting the CB speaker in the unused CD holder area makes the CB easy to hear. And yes I use a CB when convoying with other RV folks and just finding out why the traffic is stopped.

I also managed to get my NAVDY HUD GPS to work again and added that to top off the interior upgrades. It is so convenient to have the GPS and phone interface on a HUD display. It also tells you how fast you are traveling according to GPS and when it has the proper speed information it displays the speed limit if you exceed it.

The updated rearview mirror is self dimming and has LED direction and temperature which I find very useful. It did require modifying the visors because the mirror is wider than the stock mirror and the visors interfered with it.

If you haven't considered adding sound deadening material, you should. You don't know how nice it is to be able to hear the stereo without blasting it. Plus, the music sounds so much better.

The leather seat upholstery with the added memory foam is a big improvement over the stock seats. I may have added a little too much foam to the bottom of the seats and I may remove some of it at a later date, I want to see if it packs down some on it's own.

The gauges on the pillar are in a good spot but the fixed mount angles them a little too high, I will be looking for a better approach, I may be able to modify them to improve the angle. I have considered the swivel gauge pods appear to be too tall and may block vision too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Looks great! Now your giving me ideas to add to my growing list of mods and upgrades!

Do you have any more info on the Gray leather seat upholstery you used for all four seats?
I found the information, they are official Toyota leather seat covers, sorry it took so long to find.
 

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THAT overhead console, FOR WHAT VEHICLE IS THAT FOR? :eek::cheers::cheers::cheers::D::D::D:

Thanks, it came out of a 2000 GMC Jimmy but the it was in several other years and the Chevy Blazer as well. There should be lots available at salvage yards. It had headliner material from the Jimmy on the part that you see with the new headliner on it. I took it apart, removed the old headliner, cleaned the contact points for the lights, added dielectric grease to the contacts, and put it back together with the LED's I noted in the first post on this thread. If you want to do this you would have to remove the hard headliner to install a sheet of aluminum behind it between the roof supports and the place where the old front overhead dome light used to be mounted to support the weight of the console. While you have it out replace the headliner material with something you like, it's really easy, just make sure you only use a headliner adhesive, anything else will likely fail due to heat and humidity.

I really like it, I love having a place to keep my glasses and plenty of light all over the cabin.
 

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OH MAN THAT IS JUST SO COOL. ESPECIALLY THE ROOF SPEAKERS. YOU GOT TO GIVE US THE INSIDE SCOOP ON THAT SETUP.
Thanks, again

-- Rear Speaker Project
--- 1 pr - Speaker pods mounted to the headliner (reinforced with sheet aluminum) as far back as I could get the speakers. These allowed me to place the speakers where they would face forward and not be blocked by my work equipment box that I usually keep in the back (ebay.com)
--- 1 pr - Speakers for the pods, Rockford Fosgate P1675 6.75" 240W 3 Way Car Coaxial Audio Speakers (amazon.com)
--- Covered the pods with the same padded material as the headliner

There is room on the pods for tweeters if you wanted to add them.

This along with sound deadening the engine compartment and cabin really made a big difference on the sound quality in ¡Ay, Caramba!
 

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In these photos you can see my pillar mounted gauges (well 2 out of 3 of them anyway), the NAVDY HUD type GPS sitting on top of the dash, the CB where the stock single din radio would go, the Pioneer double din stereo, and bellow that power points and a power gauge. You can also see my new leather upholstery. I painted the center console and dash a satin black with trim paint and it is holding up extremely well.

That round thing strapped to the right inner side of the steering wheel is a selector for the NAVDY GPS.




 

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While I had the interior stripped, I mixed up some laundry detergent about 4 oz of tide concentrate to about 4 gallons of hot water and saturated my carpets. I used a stiff brush to work the mix into the carpet well and then rinsed it out with an 1800 psi electric power washer (I have a 3000 psi gasoline power washer but I was afraid it would do some damage). I didn't spray directly on the liner because I was afraid I would damage it. That was some filthy gunk coming out of the carpet and pad and it just kept coming out; I kept at it until it rinsed clean and the foam stopped. I then let it dry for two days turning every few hours on hot clean concrete in the daytime and hung them up at night to make sure I didn't have any mold or mildew problems. The carpet looks and feels like new again!
 

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BTW, I saw the overhead console on Ebay. Question: is there a kit to get it up there? Or is it just a simple install with screws? The electrical installation, was it a pain, or simple?
When you buy an overhead console try to get the wiring harness

Here are the steps:
- Once you get the console, clean the electrical contacts for the bulbs and put some dielectric grease on the bulbs and install them, test to make sure it works. Unless you need the garage door opener don't worry about it. The display built into the overhead console only works with GM cars so don't bother with trying to wire it up
- If you have a Scangauge II you may want to replace the GM screen in the overhead console, I think it would fit with some minor mods with a dremel tool. If you plan on doing it in the future run a CAT5e ethernet cable from the overhead console down under the dash, the scangauge uses that style of wiring so all you would have to do is cut the connect off and splice it in rather than having to take it all apart again later
- Take down the hard headliner
- Install a sheet of aluminum about a foot wide and 30" long to run between the front dome light mount and the roof brace about 30" back from it. This acts as something substantial to support the overhead console, not that it's heavy, it's just that the hard liner is too flimsy to safely support it, could you image hitting a pothole while driving and that thing coming down on you? This is a good time to do any work you may want to do on the roof, installing sound deadening material, new headliner material, antennas, etc.
- You can use the wiring going to your old dome light for the overhead console dome light. If you got wiring harness so that you can just plug it in wire in the harness to your RAV4
- You will need an always on or on when on accessory for the map lights
- Reinstall your headliner
- Now connect your console and test again
- There are four screws that hold it up, just drill pilot holes and screw it down and tada you're done.
 

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And if you just install the over head console without removing the headliner, what then? Also I do have the Scangauge II. That I don't think is difficult to fit. But the hanging of the console is what I'm looking the most difficult. If its isn't too much to ask, do you have a template of the aluminum part you used? I'd love to have the head-console. I already saw on on Ebay.
 
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