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Toyota Highlander Accessories and Modifications



  • Hey ktt:

    It's a learning experience for both of us as I'm new to car audio too!

    I saw in the soundgate document the reference to relocate the HL HU, and I agree that's a ridiculous solution; I assume it relates to HUs in general and not to a specific model?

    Out of curiosity I downloaded the installation manual for the DEH-3700MP and they have a wire labeled "Blue/white -- To system control terminal of the power amp or Auto-antenna relay control terminal (max. 300 mA 12 V DC) / System remote control" which I take to be the "remote" line, so not sure why this wouldn't control the factory amp properly. I went the other way -- am controlling an aftermarket amp with the HL OEM HU; connected the OEM HU's "remote" line to the aftermarket amp's remote input, and it works fine.

    Anyway you've got your system working, and based on the above post from chrisb74, you're probably better off without the factory amp!!!

    Three years back tried contacting JBL to get specs for the HL's speakers but their response was the same as the one they gave you...
  • Someone else on these boards sometime back also said replacing just the HL HU improved the sound quality noticeably, but don't remember whether they had the JBL system and if so whether they bypassed the factory amp.

    I'd be very interested to see those pics!
  • kttktt Posts: 4
    Thanks again for your input and research, landdriver. What year Highlander do you have, and do you remember how many pins the HU connector had?

    I'm pretty sure the XR4 app notes refer to the specific Highlander HU that's paired with JBL amp. There seems to be some strange interaction between the to that makes replacing the OEM HU hard.

    I think Toyota switched the Highlander's sound system circa 2004, since aftermarket harnesses for Toyota Highlander HUs for 2000-2004 doesn't fit my 2006 HU, which has 20 pins.

    I'm leaning hard towards bypassing the JBL amp and drive the speakers directly from my Pioneer HU. Just a bit more research to see if I can use the JBL amp from the Pioneer HU's line level outputs...

    Congrats chrisb74 on a successful install! Love to see those pics too.

  • Khoa:

    My HL is an '01, as I believe chrisb74's is too. I never replaced my HU, just the power amp and speakers, but since chrisb74 just changed his hopefully he can tell you (hard to judge from chrisb74's photo in post 1046).

    I know the XR4 app note referred to the HL's HU, but I'm assuming the XR4 is a headunit model and thus that document was specific for the XR4, and maybe the XR4 for some reason can't turn on and off the HL OEM amp, whereas other aftermarket headunit models perhaps can.

    The 2004 model year seems reasonable for an upgrade to the HL's sound system as this model year saw a minor redesign to the HL.

    Out of curiosity do you know where the OEM amp is located on your '06 Highlander Hybrid? I suspect it's not in the exact same location as for the '01s-'03s as '04 saw the introduction of the third row seat and the relocation of the spare tire from the interior cargo area to the exterior under the vehicle; also I think the traction batteries for the hybrid are under the second row seat?
  • kttktt Posts: 4
    Yes, I do think there has been some major audio redesign for the HL Hybrid in 2006. My OEM HU has a 2 20-pin connectors and a 16 pin connector (I'll edit this post to add pics soon), with smaller pins than previous incarnations of the OEM HUs.

    Also, the amp I believe is somewhere in the right rear cabin. I will try to find it tomorrow. I remember sneaking a peak at the Toyota parts dealer's schematics on their computer. Yes, the hybrid batteries are under the 2nd row seats.

    BTW, the XR4 is a line level converter that's meant to go between after market HUs and OEM amps. This is the reason that I believe their assertion that the JBL amp needs the OEM HU to work. Afterall, it's not to their advantage to suggest "relocation" if it's not necessary, right?

  • I am not familiar with the newer JBL system in the Highlander, but I just got finished changing the HU in my 2001 limited. I bypassed the amp and I am driving the speakers with the HU only. I think the HU has more power than the factory amp did. The amp is physically very small and I dont think it is pushing very much wattage at all. You probably have 8 speakers so hopefully your amp is a little but better. I was planning on getting an amp eventually but right now I am very pleased with the JVC hu and the factory speakers. Better speakers would have a lower sensitivity and would probably need more power however.

    Here is a link to some pictures I took during the install. I just dumped all the pictures so some of them are reduntant.

    Highlander Head unit install
  • Khoa:

    Didn't realize the XR4 is a level converter; can't say I remember anyone in the HL boards saying they drove the OEM amp with an aftermarket HU, and you'd expect soundgate would know what they're talking about, so it may indeed be the case.

    Since chrisb74's 15W per channel estimate of the factory amp's output power agrees with mine made a while back (see post 289), and since the Pioneer DEH-3700MP is rated at 22W per channel, you're probably better off powering the speakers with your HU (although the installation will require running speaker wires from the HU to the speakers). You might first try temporarily running speaker wires to verify the sound indeed sounds good enough for you; if not consider adding an aftermarket amplifier...


    Wasn't able to see the photos; just saw the logo and a small box; may have something to do with the "MemberID" term in the URL. But judging from the photo at I imagine it looks pretty slick!
  • I am buying a new Highlander, want leather but don't want to pay for the Limited. Therefore, I am considering having the dealer install the leather. Some dealers claim they get their leather from the same supplier as Toyota and it comes with a 3 yr/36,000 mile warranty while another dealer claims they are lying and can't possibly be using the same supplier. Does anybody have any knowledge about this and any advice? I live in the Chicago area. Thanks.
  • middleageguymiddleageguy Chicago areaPosts: 42
    I also live in Chicago area and I have 2004 HL without leather, light gray interior. I have not missed leather.

    On same similar subject, my back seats are looking dirty with teenagers spilling food on it. Any products to clean the seats out there someone would recommend.
  • jjsjjs Posts: 18
    Do not even consider unless they will show the car with leather installed by them. I was persuaded by the dealer that the leather they install is the same as the factory. Nether the leather not the installation come close to the factory. Never do that again.
  • For stains, before you use any other cleaners on them, use "TECH" Stain Remover. Works GREAT!
  • I would like to get seat covers for my wife's 2006 Highlander. Beside the dealer I would like to learn if anyone could recommend another source for a quality seat cover that fits well. Thank you, Bill
  • cino72cino72 Posts: 10
    I see 100's of post with people saying I have them and I dont but no mention of brand's, ease of instal, damage to paint and a good source to purchase them.
    I want the bug deflector for the hood, wind deflector for the moon roof and maybe the little visors for the windows
    thanks in advance
  • You're right -- a lot of people say that their wind deflector was easy to install but fail to mention which brand it was!

    I have the Toyota brand hood bug deflector and it was quite easy to install -- no drilling; just affixing adhesive-backed sheet plastic strips to protect the paint and tightening some set screws. The Toyota brand is shaped a bit differently than the aftermarket ones, so you should look at both to see if you have a preference.

    The sunroof wind deflector I installed was a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) Toyota brand, meaning it's the one sold in Japan for HLs there, and is different from the one sold here in the U.S. interestingly enough; available from and also quite easy to install; only reason I bought this one is the U.S. Toyota version wasn't available yet at the time.
  • fvpfvp Posts: 147
    I went with Toyota brand hood and sunroof deflector. They look good and install was a breeze.
  • jjsjjs Posts: 18
    I got my covers from for my 2005 HL about 1 year ago. They holding up ok.
  • goldstongoldston Posts: 110
    I put a Toyota brand wind deflector on the hood on my wifes 2001 H/L Limited in June 2001. It went on quite easily and is still functioning.
  • Any ideas/leads on a storage bin that would fit between the front seats?
  • cino72cino72 Posts: 10
    I went and talked to my dlr today about auto locks (dont ask) and he gave me the wind deflector for the moon roof for free they seem to be a great dealership.

    any idea where i can see pics of the toyota brand and after market hood deflector would be nice if shown on a bluestone. I would really like a nice form fitting that matches the hoods contours
    thanks for the replys
  • There's a Toyota brand stand-alone center console that retails for about $200 from the dealer; it's maybe 6" wide, 16" long and 10" deep, available in gray or beige to match your interior. There may be aftermarket center consoles available too; I'm not sure where but start with, one of the most popular online auto parts retailers. :)
  • I'd imagine the hood deflector would look pretty good on a bluestone; see for a pic of a Toyota brand hood deflector, and see 007230495QQcategoryZ38659QQtcZphotoQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem for a pic of an after-market hood deflector.
  • cino72cino72 Posts: 10
    Thanks for the links
  • I'm trying to flog my center console and wrote about it here some time ago. If anyone's interested in it please e-me:
    bhennessey at bluecrab dot org
    gazguzler, "Toyota Highlander Owners: Accessories & Modifications" #967, 8 Aug 2005 2:21 pm
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    I'm not sure what you mean by "flog", but just a reminder that buying/selling is not permitted here.

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  • cino72cino72 Posts: 10
    Any one know of a to hook my mp3 player up with either the FM or tape adapter? and whats the quality of sound from each?

    Also i would like to add 1 sub just for a little bass is there any easy way to do this.even a self powered sub would be fine.

    I have the limited HL with the JBL 6disc changer head unit.
    Thanks in advance
  • cino, I have been using an FM transmitter with my iPod and the sound quality is pretty ordinary. Dull in fact. Am looking to get a tape adapter which surprisingly, after doing some research appears to be a better solution. If I will the lottery I might even put in an AUX input for a direct line it.
  • I want to get at the connections behind my 6 disc in dash stacker. to do this it would eppear the simplest way will be to remove it. How do I get it out? This is my setup. image

    Do I just pry the surround which I have numebered (1)off? Or must I do something with the parts numbered (3) & (4)?

  • I did this on my 2006 HiHy to add factoryinteractive's XM radio. You do pry off #1 (#2 is attached to it). The bottom came loose first for me. I wouldn't recommend any tools, just fingernails and lots of careful pulling. For me, it came off just as I was about to give up. It is held on by compression fittings only.

    Once 1&2 are gone, there are 6 10mm bolts holding everything else in.

    Oh, and (at least on my 2006) you cannot do this without first popping the little cap forward and to the left of the shifter with a small flat headed screwdriver. Once the cap is off a small button is exposed. Pressing this button releases the shifter so you can take it all the way down and out of your way. Parking Brake HIGHLY recommended.

    Good luck!
  • Thanks Rodney, just what I wanted to know. If I stop worrying about breaking something for a couple of days it will enable my fingernails to grow long enough to pull it off ;)
    As an aside, I am in Australia and my car has the shift lock override button labeled and readily accessible. Different laws I guess! Cheers.
  • You're not the only one worried about fingernails -- see post 2243 in the 2006 Hybrid Toyota Highlander discussion for another person's experience in replacing the radio.
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