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Swap out your car stereo(s)

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Picture of Swap out your car stereo(s)
Swap-out-your-car-stereos_Ride.jpg
I was going to call this instructable "Stereo Echo Head Transplant"... here's how I swapped the CD/radio/cassette head unit (head transplant - get it?) from my Toyota Echo with the crappy radio-only head unit from Carla's car.

She had been asking for a new car stereo for a while, problem was that she wanted one with a cassette player as well as a CD player, which turned out to be impossible to find in aftermarket car radios. Since my car stereo actually does have a cassette unit, I decided to give her mine, as a Xmas present. Meaning I'll be stuck with the crappy one for now, but that's easily fixed.

Swapping stereos between two cars of the same year and make is about as easy as it gets - no need to worry about cable harnesses, etc. A good starter project for someone who's never worked on a car stereo before.

Yes, we have matching cars. Ya got a problem with that? Three guesses which one is hers...
 
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Step 1: Find info online!

There's all sorts of information to be found online about cars and cars stereos. In my case, I'm lucky there's a lively Echo fan community. These links were particularly helpful:

Echo Drivers Forum
Removing the center console
Toyota Echo 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Car Stereo Removal and Installation Instruction Guide
Install Doctor - The Do-It-Yourself Car Stereo Installation Resource
Toyota Radio Wire Harnesses

Step 2: Gather ye Tools

Picture of Gather ye Tools
The only thing you really need for this car stereo is a Philips screwdriver. I found a needlenose plier (to grab those pesky screws all the way in the back) and a flathead screwdriver (to unplug the connectors) to be useful as well.

Trusty Bag o' Tools on the right, printed out instructions next to it...
RLuster884 years ago
this really helped me. Mainly cuz this radio is the exact same in my 2001 toyota sienna, and since im pimpin my van, this helped me figure how the heck to remove the damn thing lol so thanks :D
Cool instructable! The only thing I was thinking is that you might not want to put your license plate on the internet.
I've never really understood why license plates should be hidden on pictures. Anybody care to enlighten me?
Because I could track down everything about you and become some type of stalker.
If I'd stalk anyone it would probably be someone that I got physical proximity to and then I got access to that license plate in real life. And/or the name and address. I really don't see the need of hiding my license plate more than being secret about my name. It's not like it's secret information or anything like that. Personally I'd rather stalk some crazy ass guy that pissed me off in the traffic than a random dude living half across the world. Still.... it might be a good idea to err on the safe side.... ;-)
Patrik (author)  matseng6 years ago
I think the issue is not so much stalking, but identity theft. Any dedicated stalker can find out far more about you than just your license plate anyway, by dumpster diving, stealing your mail, watching you from a distance, etc.

However, once you start putting personal information online, that opens it up to a whole different level of risk. Especially if you link pieces of personal information together, like a name with a birth date, or a name with a license plate. There are people out there who will "scrape" such information from the web, then assemble it into a fake persona to do credit card purchases, open bank accounts, forge ID cards, etc.

In this particular case - imagine doing a google image search for "Toyota Echo", filter out all the cars that match the color of your own car, and have a license plate on the image. Then try to get the name of the owner. Fake an ID card, fake a license plate, drive around without insurance...

I just whipped up this scenario on the spur of the moment - this particular one may not be feasible, and/or there may be other abuses out there that I haven't thought of. Fact is, it's hard to predict *how* your personal information will be abused, once the whole world can find it online.
I don't think the quesiton is answered here. I see thousands of license plates daily. If I wanted to use that info for nefarious purposes, it's right there in front of me. What's the dif' if they're on the 'net? Not being difficult; just haven't seen a definitive/convincing answer to this question.
if you guys would want to do anything like that then just look outside, there are lots of cars
or track you down and if you have a nice stereo, it wont be yours for very long anymore
Patrik (author)  joejoerowley6 years ago
Yeah, you're probably right. Fixed that - thanks!
oh yeah, no one is going to try this probably but it is not that hard to unblur a picture. Maybe next time a black bar. But this should be sufficient.
i know how but i have no reason to
Patrik (author)  Yerboogieman6 years ago
As I said - go ahead and try. I'll bet you a beer (or age-appropriate equivalent consumable) you won't be able to get it from this picture...
i dont want to, super bowl is on
Patrik (author)  joejoerowley6 years ago
Go ahead and try - I dare ya! Actually, I didn't just blur - I pixelized. A badly done Gaussian blur may still leave some medium frequency components which could be amplified to recover the original letters. Pixelization is much harder to undo.
snipir4 years ago
Aha! Thanks for the pictures :P I'll probably be using this to help swap out the stereo in my Baby 2001 Echo :D thanks!
twocvbloke4 years ago
Looking at your basic radio, couldn't that just be replaced with a standard DIN sized unit? just unscrew the frame and pull off the radio and replace it with something else of your choice (CD, MP3, DVD even!!!)... :)
CyberBill6 years ago
The only thing I can recommend is that you mention to UNPLUG THE BATTERY before playing around with your stereo system. Car batteries can drain a lot of power very quickly, enough to weld metal and melt the wires in your car. Dont risk it, just unplug the battery, it only takes a minute. Other than that, good instructable :)
i've done that, it sucks, plus the capacitor didnt help, good thing i knew not to ground it to the car battery
Patrik (author)  CyberBill6 years ago
Yeah, that would have been smart, wouldn't it? :-D
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Cool! I might have to do this in a couple months if I get a car. Great job!
Cool Instructable, the pictures are great, steps are easy to follow too.
Patrik (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Thanks! I'm not that happy with some of the pics, but I might go back and improve some of them - stretch the dynamic range on some of the darker ones, and maybe shrink the blurry ones by half. Combination of an overcast day + shiny black plastic + having to take many of the pics one-handed...
the pictures are good enough. (Better than most :)
Still a cool Instructable. The great wizard Patrik has posted an Instructable!
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