When my aunty bought her Toyota Rav4 about 12 months ago, she faced me with the task of supplying & fitting a CD changer, as Toyota wanted a healthy £450 for their version. After scouring a number of sites to try & find a Toyota one at a lower price (but had to be A1 condition), I gave up and pursuaded her to go the aftermarket route.
This suited me more as it involved a little bit of creativity (as you will see), and also that personal touch. Not to mention, she could also retain the tape cassette (yes, she does still use them! :blink: )
Product of choice would be an Alpine 6 disc changer with a toyota interface to retain factory headunit & utilise the CD changer controls. My aunt said she would like the unit fitting either under the passenger seat, or in the boot....... of her 3 door Rav!! :huh:
It was only when I pointed out that the 3 door has little to NO boot space, and the fact that the front seats need to slide forward to allow rear passenger access that she left the choice of location up to me.
After only a couple of minutes of thinking, I came up with the perfect place! Easy to use, safely tucked away from luggage/passengers/pets etc.. and most importantly, out of immediate view of any prying eyes! h34r: Added to the fact that the headunit remains a tape cassette, I was very confident she would be happy with the overall stealth result!
This was the location of choice... probably a familiar site to any 3 door Rav owners;
The first task was to remove the rear seats & all the side trim panels and create a mount to hold the changer in place. It was to be replacing the cubby hole tray, that hides behind the removable panel, so I decided to make use of the standard bolt holes (and the bolts themselves) to ensure the car could easily be returned to standard with no damage. The CD changer had to be mounted on a 45 degree angle to allow space for removal of the CD cartridge. The mount was fabricated from ply rather than MDF, incase any water managed to get into there (not that it ever should, as the window is permanent).
As you will see in the pictures below, the CD changer lead was ran along the existing car loom, to ensure it remains securly in place, and also to give a factory look.
Once I was happy with the shape of the mount and the overall position, the main panel was reinstalled to check for clearance & allignment (it is slightly out of line in the below pictures, but this was corrected later on). At the time of taking the pics below, the seats & trims were reinstalled, as my aunt needed the car back :unsure:
...to be continued
The next step of the installation was to make a frap panel to cover the unsightly gap around the CD changer. Some would not normally bother doing this, or they would simply cut up the original tray piece. However, I wanted to create a factory look finish, and also prevent any items being accidently dropped down the gap - CD's especially. I also wanted to retain the original parts for future use.
A rough piece was made from thin MDF (ok to use as it is not supporting any weight & it would eventually be trimmed). I masked off the CD changer (twice to be sure) and used fibreglass filler to fill right up to the edge of the changer. A number of hours were spent filling & smoothing, with plenty of trial & error fitment (including refitting the car's original trim panels to check gaps etc..), until I was happy with the shape of the piece. Then the piece was skimmed with fine filler to remove any imperfections on the surface, followed by a final sanding. Here are some pics I took during this process;
......more yet to come
I also made a cover piece for the gap you can see to the left of the last picture.. simply because I thought it was unsightly & distracted from my efforts, making it look like something I had removed & failed to reinstall. I understand that the gap servers a purpose (failsafe release for the fuel filler cap), which is why it would only me secured from behind using a combination of tight fitment & a small amount of adhesive. It would be easy to punch out of place should the need arise (I tested it a couple of times to be happy)
The last part of the fabrication was the trimming. Black leather was chosen because I could not get a colour match with the grey plastic that I was happy with. In the pictures below, the leather doesn't look quite as good, and actually spoils the apperance of the overall finish, but I can assure you that this is just due to bad photography on my part. The leather actually matches the colour of the black dash very well, and is more of a matt looking finish, rather than a shine/cheap leatherette as it appears in the photos. I was very happy with the look, as it contrasts against the grey panel in a complimentary way. The leather also has quite a soft finish to it.
Then the whole lot was put back together & handed over to my very happy aunty!
....lastly, a couple of pictures just to show the standard headunit controlling the CD changer (incase anyone wondered) - Note the THB-Bury handsfree kit that I fitted to the car whilst fitting the CD changer
If anyone would like to view more of the pictures, please feel free to: