Car Stereo Upgrade For The 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner – Head Unit With Massive Display + OEM Look: Complete Install & Review
As any 5th Gen 4Runner owner knows, it lags behind the times with interior features, technology, and creature comforts. This is my second 10’+ 4Runner and it’s always fun to get a new project off the ground, especially with this platform in particular. However, every time I jump into one, I’m immediately reminded of the 4Runner’s age.
I purchased a 2021 RAV4 Hybrid a couple of years ago to serve as our daily driver. While an equally popular seller as the 4Runner, the interior features are lightyears ahead.
Toyota has made some minor improvements over the years when it comes to interior tech. It wasn’t until 2020 that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay became standard in the 5th Gen.
Compared to the factory Entune infotainment system, it breathed new life into the antiquated interface and was more in line with what you’d expect for such an expensive SUV. In fact, we’ve even posted 11 Must-Have Interior, Performance, and Tech Features for the 6th Gen 4Runner. Hopefully, Toyota read that one!
Despite Toyota now including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard in all newer model years, the screen size is still fairly underwhelming. In the automotive industry, we’re seeing manufacturers move away from physical buttons in favor of touch-screen and verbal command options.
Love them or hate them, even the newer 4Runner center dash displays are still surrounded by buttons and large knobs. If these were removed, it could make room for a larger center display. Here’s to hoping Toyota’s highly anticipated 6th Gen redesign takes queues from its competitors.
So, what options are there if you have a 5th Gen 4Runner and want to upgrade your center dash? We’ve covered the T8, T9, and T10 head units, but I was surprised to not find any information on the Dasaita Vivid11 head unit, specifically designed for the 5th Gen.
Compared to other models on the market, it features an OEM look with its display built into a replicated dash surround. It also has modern tech such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
I was intrigued, looking to make an upgrade, and after watching a few YouTube videos on the product, decided to take the plunge.
Find Android Head Units Online:
- Dasaita Vivid11 Toyota 4Runner Car Stereo: Check Price
- CarTrimHome T10V3 Knobless 12.3″ Head Unit (larger unit without knobs): Check Price
I’ve had plenty of cars over the years and with most of them, I’ve upgraded the head units. Between adding a CD player to my 1992 Chevy Lumina and even trying out this new feature (at the time) called Bluetooth, I’m no stranger to ripping apart the dash and building out a wire harness.
Most aftermarket head units are single- or double-din and can fit most make and models. So, I’m of the mindset that if a head unit is designed for a specific make and model, the manufacturer should make it plug-and-play.
That’s what Dasaita has done with the Vivid11 head unit. It comes with all plug-and-play harnesses that connect the back of the head unit to the factory 4Runner harnesses. It also includes a module that retains your factory steering wheel controls. No need for wire shrink, butt connectors, color-matching wires, or soldering connections. As you’ll see below, the installation felt almost too easy.
Wireless Apple CarPlay
Another huge draw for me was having Apple CarPlay. You’re either an Apple or an Android person and both have their pros and cons. For me, the Apple CarPlay user interface is clean, almost identical to the phone layout, and dummy-proof. I enjoy having everything integrated into one platform.
Staring into your lap at your phone going 70mph down the highway is obviously unsafe. Having my phone integrated into the head unit makes things much safer. To boot, the head unit comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
The Dasaita Vivid11 head unit display measures 10.25″ diagonally, which is huge compared to the 6.1″ OEM screen size in my 2019 TRD OR. Not only is the screen larger, but it’s also much clearer. Maps are bigger and you have more landscape with the CarPlay split-screen mode (three widgets showing GPS of choice and recently used apps).
The dash surround included with the Dasaita Vivid11 head unit is similar in look and feel to the OEM one. Some options on the market offer generic larger displays akin to tablets, like the Alpine Halo9. However, they don’t integrate well into the interior and some can even block factory controls, switches, and air vents.
The Vivid11 comes with seamlessly integrated touch-screen buttons and illuminates with the 14+ interior blue lighting by default. That color can be adjusted to whatever you want. You can even match it to the orange interior lighting on the 10-13 models.
From start to finish, you can expect installation to take 1-2 hours to get the head unit installed and powered up. When it comes to customizing the interface, that can take hours, if not, weeks! Since the head unit is built on the Android platform, you can download a plethora of apps outside of Apple CarPlay to make the experience that much better.
- Plastic pry tool
- 10mm socket and wrench (w/ socket extension)
- 8mm socket and wrench (w/ socket extension)
- Standard size Phillips head screwdriver
- Smaller size Phillips head screwdriver (something like you’d use to repair glasses)
- Smaller size flathead screwdriver
- Towel or blanket to lay both head units on
Step 1. Disassemble OEM Dash Elements
If you’ve never removed parts from your interior or dash before, you’ll be surprised by how much plastic can be removed just by giving it a good tug.
Start by removing the plastic surrounds around the climate control knobs, pulling from the inside out. An optional step here is to remove the center console plastic surround. However, I always found this to be an unnecessary step.
Slowly pull the climate control knob surrounds from the inside out, with your hand on the bottom will avoid scratching any pieces during this step. Set both pieces aside.
Next, remove the climate control knobs by similarly giving the unit a good tug. I held down both of the outer knobs and pressed down; you’ll hear and feel the module unclip itself.
As you pull out the climate control module, unplug the harness from the rear and depress the clip holding the wiring into place. Set this piece aside where it won’t be in the way of your installation.
Using your 10mm socket and wrench, remove the four mounting bolts holding the head unit in place. Set all bolts aside as these will be reused when replacing the head unit.
Step 2. Remove Factory Head Unit
With the plastic dash elements and mounting bolts removed, it’s time to remove the factory head unit.
As described above, give the head unit a gentle tug from the underside and while having one hand on the top. It should free itself from the plastic clips now keeping it in place.
Gently lay the head unit down on one hand and begin unplugging all wiring harnesses connected to the back of it.
With the wire harnesses unplugged, you can bring the head unit inside to start preparing the Dasaita head unit.
Step 3. Remove Factory Head Unit Elements
Before installing your new Dasaita head unit back into the 4Runner, you’ll need to swap out some parts from the factory one. Start by removing the steel brackets on each side of the head unit.
Using your 8mm socket and wrench, remove the four bracket bolts from the right side of the head unit. Set them aside as you’ll need some (not all) for the Dasaita head unit.
On the left side of the head unit, remove the four bracket bolts as well. You may need to move around the hazard light wiring. Using a socket extension or just a long sleeve helps.
As you remove the left-side bracket, you’ll want to disconnect the hazard light harness from the back of the head unit and off of the mounting bracket entirely. Slide your smaller flathead screwdriver beneath the clip and it should pop off. Pinch the plastic clip holding the wiring into place and the wiring harness should free itself from the bracket. Set this aside as it will be reused on the new head unit.
At this point, the lower element of your factory head unit can be removed and will not be used on the new one. If you left the harness on like I did, set it aside as it will be reused.
Now, remove the four yellowish clips on the back of the factory head unit and transfer them to the new one. So as not to break the clip, I found it best to get one side started with my plastic pry tool, hold my finger underneath and move the other side. They should pop right out (and maybe fly across the room).
Next, remove the top flat plastic plate from the factory head unit using your Philips head screwdriver. Again, this will be reused but set it aside for the time being.
Remove the two black brackets housing the white clips with your Philips head screwdriver. Set them aside with the four screws as these will be reused on the Dasaita head unit, but not yet.
Now, pop out the hazard light from the back of the head unit towards the front. Set this aside as it will be reused.
Now it’s time to remove the factory AC/heating vents. This can be tricky at first, but not impossible. First, use your smaller Philips head screwdriver and remove the two screws holding the vent open/close frame in place.
Next, remove the vents. Essentially, there are four clips on each side of each vent. Be patient and do not pull too hard. Using your smaller flat head screwdriver, simultaneously loosen and gently pull each corner of the vent. As you repeat this process on each side, the vent will eventually become loose.
On the upper side, you’ll notice a bigger retaining clip that also needs to be pressed open and I found the plastic pry tool to work better here. Remove both vents and put them aside.
Step 4. Swap Factory Pieces To Dasaita Unit
Now that you’ve stripped down all the essential elements on your factory head unit, it’s time to start putting the remaining components back onto the Dasaita. I decided to leave the protective film on the front screen until it was installed back in the 4Runner.
Snap in the factory hazard button from the front side of the head unit. It should just click into place.
Snap the appropriate AC/heating vent into place. You’ll know immediately if you’re putting the wrong vent into the wrong spot, so don’t force it!
Place the appropriate vent open/close frame back on the front and screw the plate in. These tiny screws can be a pain to keep on your smaller Philips head screwdriver; I used the tiniest amount of grease on the end to keep the screw on the driver after the screw fell off ten or so times!
With the vents now in place, install the two black brackets holding the white clips back into place (not pictured).
Now, mount the head unit brackets you removed from the factory unit on the Dasaita unit. While you saved all eight bolts from the factory head unit, you’ll only need to use two on each side of the Dasaita unit.
What threw me off was that the bracket sits on top of the two screws sitting on each side of the head unit. Don’t worry, it will mount up just fine.
Start by mounting the right side of the head unit reusing two of the bolts you held aside with your 8mm socket wrench.
Repeat this process on the left side and add your hazard harness back to the assembly.
Step 5. Wire It Up
As I mentioned above, everything is plug-and-play. To say you need to “wire up your head unit” should more appropriately be phrased as “plug everything in”.
I won’t go into painstaking detail here explaining which needs to go where because each harness is unique and only has one location. Just don’t go shoving things in with any force because you can easily bend or break the pins. If it doesn’t fit easily, it’s in the wrong spot.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is that in order to retain your factory backup camera, you’ll need to properly connect the red, yellow, and white AV cables. All of them are labeled and it’s fairly straightforward. I only call that out because it was something I forgot to do in my haste to check out the new head unit! Make these connections before you bring the rat’s nest of wires out to the 4Runner.
Additionally, Dasaita includes a harness that can be used to connect any additional sound system upgrades you may have made to your 4Runner, like a subwoofer or even a DVR player.
Step 6. Connect Harnesses & Mount Head Unit
The hard parts are done and it’s now time to mount your new Dasaita head unit. Having a second set of hands to hold the head unit while you make all the connections will make things much easier.
Make all of your connections by again matching port-for-port. There are two smaller factory plugs/harnesses that aren’t used if you’re going with the standard setup. If you’ve decided to wire in a front-facing camera, you can do so and Dasaita includes the necessary plugs/harnesses for that.
Gently sit the head unit in place (or have that second set of hands hold it in place) and turn on the car. You should have power to the unit immediately. I cycled through the radio to ensure I was getting audio, then turned off the car to complete the installation.
Mount the head unit in its final resting spot and bolt in the four mounting bracket bolts using your 10mm socket wrench. The holes may not be completely aligned to the bracket holes, but the steel has some flex to it and everything should mount up just fine.
Connect your climate control module back into the dash making the necessary connections.
Snap all the plastic interior panels into place and that’s it – your new Dasaita head unit installation is now complete!
It’s fair to say that the images speak for themselves. The Dasaita Vivid11 head unit is a tremendous leap forward from the factory one and so far, it’s exceeded my expectations in every way.
- The display is massive – As I mentioned before, the factory head unit screen pales in comparison to the Dasaita screen. The display is wider and taller, and the resolution is super clean.
- Wireless Apple CarPlay operates flawlessly – The ZLink app is how you make your initial CarPlay connection to the head unit. The connection is made through WiFi direct to the head unit. Once you’re connected, you can set the phone to auto-connect each time the car starts up. You can also plug it into the factory USB port for a direct connection. Through ZLink, you can customize the steering wheel controls to perform certain functions, such as switching the previous/next track buttons from up/down to left/right.
- Integrated backup camera – The factory backup camera connects to the head unit and you have the option of turning on turn-assist lines. For those with TSS, I believe you still maintain the safety features.
- Steering wheel controls work flawlessly – I had to install an aftermarket unit to maintain the steering wheel controls on my previous 4Runner and the wiring was a pain. I anticipated the steering wheel controls not to work as seamlessly here. Much to my surprise, they did.
- Back-up camera resolution is slightly distorted – The resolution is a bit distorted. In fairness, you’re taking an image that was designed to fit on a 6.1″ screen and stretching it out to a 10.25″ one. I’d like to see Dasaita make a software patch that allows users to resize the camera display to its original size. However, the image is definitely still useable.
- Dash surround isn’t a perfect color match – Dasaita offers the dash surround in both silver and matte black. From photos I’ve seen of the silver surround, it looks to be a much closer match than the matte black option. For those with the speckled black glossy interior parts, it’s just not an exact match. I’d consider having the Dasaita surround repainted at a local body shop. From the looks of it, the Dasaita display is not glued in and can be removed for this.
- Control knobs – As I mentioned previously, more manufacturers are getting away from actual knobs and moving towards 100% touch-screen functionality. I personally don’t mind the control knobs. In fact, they match the OEM control knobs found on the factory head unit and climate controls. This one is just a matter of personal preference.
All-in-all, I’m incredibly satisfied with the Dasaita Vivid11. There are endless possibilities with this head unit that go well beyond the standard Apple CarPlay features. You can hot-spot to it and stream Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, YouTube, etc.
You can even get your Google Mail on the native UI and tons of other apps through the Google Play store – all of which sound incredibly dangerous if you’re using them while driving!
Be safe, keep the car in park, and have fun customizing your new Dasaita Vivid11 head unit.