Radio installation in 1996 toyota camry

we bought a JVC stereo for my son’s 1996 toyota camry. Now I am told we need some kind of a box unit and a harness to go with the harness that came with the radio.
2 questions

  1. How hard is it to get the old radio out/
  2. is the new install going to be self evident, or should I invest another $100 dollars to have someone install the radio after I have all of the parts.

You can install it without a harness adapter, but that can be a real can of worms. Harness adapters are easy to install and make going back possible if you decide to sell the vehicle and want to keep the new audio system. and they are just about foolproof. They don’t cost very much either.

Your new radio should have the plug that goes into it, the wires are color coded with the universal color code for aftermarket radios. You get one of these and you crimp or solder the wires together by matching the colors. Then this adapter connects to the plugs that used to plug intot he back of the factory radio and you are on your way.

You can also find faceplate adapters that will make the aftermarket radio look like it was installed at the factory. Not all vehicles need this though. Mostly this is for vehicles that had an odd size opening for the radio.

If you are replacing the premium factory audio system, this is the adapter you will need. The premium system has remote amplifiers.

Go to they will have the info and installation parts for your car. Not hard at all.

One more thing, to remove the old stereo, you usually have to start at the back of the console and work forward. Most vehicles have a storage box at the back of the console between the seats. Lift the cover and empty it out. In the bottom you will see a couple of screws, or a removable plate covering a couple of screws. remove these and pull the box out. That will reveal more screws for the cover around the shifter and brake handle. remove these and the screws for the front panel cover will be revealed. You may also find more mounting screws for the panel cover at the back of the ashtray or inside the box where the lighter/power port is located and at the bottom corners under the dash.

Once the covers are removed, you should see two screws under the radio, undo these and pull the radio forward. You may have to put the gear shift into drive or low by sticking the key into a slot next to the shifter in order to have enough room to remove the front panel cover and the radio.

None of this is very hard and only requires a #2 Phillips screwdriver. Having a stubby #2 and/or a long #2 in addition to a regular one might be helpful as well.

All you do is pop the plastic bezel off around the radio. Then there are 4 screws holding in the radio. I always buy the wiring adapter. It plugs into the factory plug. You just match the colors to the DIN plug that comes with your new radio. You can either solder the wires together and cover them with heatshrink or use crimp butt splices to connect the wires. Do not use electrcal tape, it will come apart due to the heat of the summer. Work with your son or get a friend to help him. He will feel proud he did it himself.

If I could return that unit, I would and get everything (unit, harness adapter, and detailed instructions) from Crutchfield.

Thank you all for your comments. I especially appreciate Knfenimore’s comment. I will absolutely let him do it, no matter what our decision is.

I am going to make one more suggestion here. Don’t solder if you don’t have some experience soldering. Granted that this is a good place to start to learn soldering but you need someone with training in soldering to show you/him how.

Crimp splices work very well, but they work better with a better crimp tool. The best crimp splices IMO are the kind you find at a hardware store. They look like wire nuts but instead of twisting on, you crimp them in place. If there is enough room in the crimp cap you select, then you can trim back about an inch of insulation, twist the wires together, then fold the twisted part over and insert into the crimp cap and crimp.

The absolute best splice would be environment butt splices. These are more expensive and you need a heat gun. A hair drier might work but a professional heat gun is better. With these splices, you insert the ends and on some you crimp first. When you take the heat gun to them, they melt a little low melt solder into the connection, shrink the sleeve and melt a little hot glue around the ends to completely seal in the connection. A little pricy, but the best.

I recommend very strongly that you do NOT install the radio without the adapter harness. Butchered wiring harness are notorious for creating wiring problems.

The adapter harness will splice or solder directly to the aftermarket unit wires with easy-to-follow instructions (that come with the harness) right on the kitchen table. Then, once you’ve physically removed the old unit, you simply unplug it and plug the new unit right into the original wiring harness.

The reason you have to buy the harness separately is that the same aftermarket system can be installed into countless different cars, and the different cars use different harnesses/connectors. So the harness manufacturers make various adapters, with plugs designed to interface directly with the OEM harness.

Not to be redundant, but I STONGLY urge you to spend the extra few bucks for an adapter harness. Doing so will not only prevent a possible disaster, it’ll also teach your son the proper way to do installations. Let him also connect the harness to the aftermarket unit. He’s bound to learn from that as well.

Keith has made some excellent suggestions for the wire connections.
I prefer soldered connections, however, and if you son is hands-on and you think this would be a good opportunity for him to learn, I believe you can download J-STD-001 and IPC-610, the nationally recognized soldering standards (the first is a “how-to”, the second the standards themselves). It might be a good learning opportunity for him. .

Good luck.

Has anybody worked on cars after 'The Good Guys" installed a sound system?

Talk about hacking up the car, including the harness and door panels, etc.

Is that chain even still around?

I think one of the requirements for getting hired was that you’re a butcher

If you decide to do this as a DIY job, it will be easier if you can secure a basic repair manual to read the recommended procedure first. A Chilton’s or similar manual will do. Just make sure it has a section on how the radio is removed and installed. Most of these aftermarket manuals include that info, as it is a common DIY task.

When working on the electrical system, most manufactures recommend disconnecting the battery negative first to avoid expensive problems later.

Db, I’m not familiar with “The Good Guys”, but I’ve seen enough butcher jobs from “expert” audio installers to suspect that they consider chopping up wires to be acceptable practice. The first one I ever saw was a “what the heck” moment, but a few more made me realize how common it is.

George, you make a good point about the battery being disconnected. Personally, I feel comfortable just unplugging the old unit. If I were chopping wires like most installation instructions say to do (and which I would NOT do) instead of using an adapter cable, I’d definitely disconnect the battery.

The Good Guys were an electronic chain I believe mostly in CA. Probably higher quality than Circuit City and Best buy, but that does not mean much. For whatever it is worth, I had one radio installed in BB back in 2002 and they did a decent job. The radio was on sale and they had free installation as part of the deal, otherwise most of these installs done with the proper harness is very easy, one just has to give it some time and not rush through things.