We recently got a call from the folks at Sony to ask if we would be interested in installing an audio system in a 2017 Toyota RAV4 demo vehicle based in Frankfort, Illinois. The plan was to use their GS Series products to build a system that sounded good, but didn’t break the bank. Sony dropped off the product and the vehicle, and it was time to start this Toyota RAV4 audio project!
Foundation Layer for the Build
We started by removing the factory radio, factory speakers, door panels and rear hatch trim panels. We stored everything away from the work area to keep these parts clean and safe. We ran wiring from Stinger that includes a power cable, speaker cable and interconnects. We also provided a connection point for a Stinger power supply to keep the vehicle charged when on display at an event. We applied a generous helping of Soundskins sound deadening to the doors and hatch area.
Head Unit by Sony, Of Course
We used a double-DIN dash kit, antenna adapter and vehicle integration harness from Metra to install the Sony XAV-AX100 multimedia radio in the dash. A video interface from PAC integrates the factory rear camera with the aftermarket radio. We also installed a CMOS-200 camera on the front of the vehicle to make parking and maneuvering easier and safer.
Amplifiers Provide Plenty of Power
The system plan was to use two amplifiers. An XM-GS4 powers the front and rear speakers while an XM-GS100 powers the subwoofer. We started by cutting out the bottom of two storage bins at the back of the trunk. We made a plastic mounting panel for the amplifiers to allow us to run the wiring underneath and keep things neat and tidy. Our technicians created a trim piece for the top of the storage area and wrapped it in vinyl with a piece of Plexiglas with the Sony logo etched into it.
Expert Speaker Installation
Our technicians created a set of two-layer HDPE adapters to mount the woofer from an XS-GS1621C component set in the door. The tweeters from the set are mounted to another set of small adapters that mount to the factory locations in the dash. We created small gaskets from open cell foam to ensure the factory grille would not buzz against the tweeter. We also installed Sony XS-GS1621 coaxial rear speakers in the rear doors, along with more Soundskins damping material.
Custom Subwoofer Enclosure
To keep the system out of the way and the vehicle usable, we constructed a compact fiberglass enclosure in the right rear corner of the trunk. We started by masking off the plastic trim piece and laying down many layers of resin-impregnated fiberglass. We built up the face of the enclosure and molded it flush to the trim panel before wrapping it in gray vinyl. A pressed grille and vinyl-wrapped trim ring finish the enclosure nicely.
Convenience and Comfort Accessories
We added a set of fog lights with a factory-style switch. We also installed a Compustar starter and security system, complete with a DroneMobile smartphone interface, Slice two-way remote, ignition kill, a shock sensor and a field disturbance sensor. We installed a set of Rostra seat warmer kits in the front of the vehicle with factory control switches. Finally, we tinted the driver and passenger windows to match the rear windows.
Toyota RAV4 Audio System Delivery
Once we were done and tuned the system, it was time to turn it back over to the Sony guys. Right away, they took it to an industry event to show off. Anthony Tozzi of Sony commented, “They built one of the best-sounding Sony demo cars I’ve ever heard. No disrespect to anyone, but I’m shipping them my next car.” Mike Rundel of Sony added, “Super-huge shout-out to Eric M. Carter, Troy White and the rest of the guys at Cartronix for building our ultra-super-stealthy 2017 Toyota Rav 4 for KnowledgeFest. So crazy stealth, no need to post pics because you can’t see a thing besides the head unit and custom sub enclosure.” The RAV4 took second place in its class at a sound-off event held in conjunction with KnowledgeFest.
Thanks to Sony for choosing Cartronix in Valparaiso, Indiana, to build their latest demo vehicle. It was a lot of fun! If your car needs a Sony upgrade, drop by the store or send us an e-mail HERE.