2005 Toyota Tacoma Stereo Upgrade – Aftermarket Head Unit Install with Auxiliary input for iPod/MP3 player

UPDATE 10/11/2010: This stereo got stolen a couple months ago and I’ve replaced it with a JVC KD-R810. I wrote a new post about that installation process with more detailed instructions and new after pictures: My 2nd Toyota Tacoma Stereo Install

The Tacoma’s stock receiver does not have an auxiliary input and there’s no way I was going down the FM transmitter route so it was time for a head unit upgrade. Here’s a quick look at my installation of an aftermarket stereo/radio/cd player and auxiliary input for an mp3 player, Ipod or any other audio playing device in my Tacoma. The install isn’t too bad so if you want to breath new life into your Tacoma’s stereo on the cheap then this is a great little project.

Dash Kit Info: I got the Scosche TA2052B Single Din from Amazon, there’s also a double DIN version.

Head Unit Info: I got a Pioneer DEH-P4800MP, but it is discontinued now which is too bad since the finish matches the dash kit almost exactly. I keep looking, but haven’t found anything with as good of a color match.

If you want to buy new, these Pioneer units have a bit of the lighter silver color and have received good reviews: Pioneer DEH-P5000UB , Pioneer DEHP4100UB, Pioneer DEH2100IB.

This is the stock stereo I had to work with. The trend has been towards completely integrating the stereo into a car’s dash, it looks great but as soon as you want to install an aftermarket stereo in you might be stuck. The aftermarket dash kit is color matched to the silver around the vents.

Stock stereo in 2005 Toyota Tacoma

Step 1 – Rip out climate control, unbolt and remove dash and stereo, unhook everything.

Rip out the stereo and connected trim

Step 2 – Wire up the wire harness so you don’t have to cut any of the factory wiring.

Wire harness all ready to go

Step 3 – Hookup stereo and test to make sure everything works before putting the whole thing back together.

Testing before putting it back together

Step 4 – I’ve got everything in and just need to stick the climate control panel back on. Getting the head unit and hazards/clock panel into the replacement dash was the most time consuming part of the whole project. First I couldn’t get the hazards panel out of the stock dash but managed to pry it out after an hour. Secondly, the installation instructions for the dash kit were pretty brief, I guess you can consider a diagram and a few unintelligible sentences instructions. At this point I had also drilled a hole in the back of the pocket to feed the cable for the auxiliary input through.

Almost done

Finish – With everything put back together I actually like the look of the replacement dash kit more than the original bumpy texture.

Finally done with the install

Audio quality is much better after a little EQ’ing and I can now hook up an Mp3 player. New speakers would be a nice upgrade, but the new head unit really helps the stock speakers come alive.

Not a terribly difficult project and I’m glad I did it myself instead of paying an installer a good chunk of change to do it. I probably got lucky since most dashes aren’t this accessible and easy to work with.

36 Replies to “2005 Toyota Tacoma Stereo Upgrade – Aftermarket Head Unit Install with Auxiliary input for iPod/MP3 player”

  1. Now that’s what i’m talking about, installing Head Units!

    Looks nice. It’s amazing how much space they waste now-a-days with the stock Double Din units, but with a nice kit you end up with that little storage space. Now it’s time to get an ipod so you can store the player in the glove and don’t have to muck with cables and use the HU to control the music.

    What is the model number (it looks like a pioneer) I’m sure it has breathed life into the stock speakers and when your ready to replace the speakers it should be easy.

    I was surprised at how easy it was to remove the dash in the GM trucks (kind of scared me really) the thought of how quick/easy it could be for someone to steal the HU!

  2. It’s a Pioneer DEH-P4800MP and for $120 it is a great unit. I’ve actually been using the remote it came with, I’m usually flipping between talk radio shows on my way to and from work. The unit is just a little high up on the dash and the buttons are small enough to make it difficult to channel surf. Would be cool to have the iPod adapter and then be able to control it with the remote.

  3. Hi Andrew, the dash kit looks great, where did you get it? I’d like to do something similar with my truck–thanks

  4. hey man looks great. can you hook me up with the site/place you found that dash kit? Also, do u know if they make a double DIN kit?

  5. For the climate control and the rest of the stereo once it is unbolted, I just slid a small flathead screw driver under and gently pried, it should come up pretty easy. The climate control is held on by plastic clips and the stereo part is bolted on and held in place with those clips.

  6. Hey, that looks great. I have been toying with the idea, of replacing my radio. The kit looks good, but where did you get the wire harness?

  7. Looks pretty decent…but just so you know you didn’t have to put in an after market head unit to hook up an MP3 player. If you look at the back of your factory unit there is a CD changer input. USA Spec makes Auxiliary input adapters that hook to this input. You can get ones that have dual RCA inputs or ones that actually allow you to control an iPod right from the factory head unit.

  8. I just put a new stereo in with the same silver scosche mounting plate. Was the easiest install I’ve ever done! Glad I didn’t pay the shop to do it. Bought the stereo at crutchfield where they had excellent instructions.

  9. I have a ’07 tacoma with volume controls on the steering wheel. will those controls still work with a new head unit???

  10. Looks awesome
    did you look at the metra dash kit as well. If so which kit do you think works and looks best

  11. I think I looked at the Metra kit but couldn’t find a single din color matched for a better price. Without having had a comparable Metra kit in my hands it would be hard to say which is better. In terms of negatives, the Scosche’s paint could be more durable (I scraped some off sliding in the head unit) and the actual installation of the head unit didn’t seem too well thought out, but I wouldn’t be surprised Metra had the same issues.

  12. I am just about to do the same thing, except I purchased the double din cuz im throwing in the Pioneer AVIC-D3 touch screen navi/dvd player, cant wait, only worry is the clock and hazard button, is it simple to remove them?

  13. looks great and i learned a good amount from your pics and comments…but circuit city installs head units for free…best buy does sometimes as well…

  14. Looking good! What did you wired the chassis ground to? I couldn’t find a spot to bolt down the chassis ground from the Pioneer or the Toyota harness kit.

  15. hey i just bought a dash kit and it came with the wiring harness but for some reason the harness doesnt work for my wires because of it has 2 rails instead of 1 so im wondering if the place i got it from gave me the wrong one the cd player mounting kit works just not the harness it came with please help

  16. that really doesnt look that bad buti was wondering if there was a way for me to get a amp hooked up witout hanging to replace my whole unit? because i know that newwer models have the rca cable port but if not where could i get the adapters?

  17. Steven,

    I’ve never amped a car stereo so I’m not the best to ask on that. A quick google search found this thread, http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/audio-video/8215-can-you-amp-stock-head-unit.html. Sounds like the stock Tacoma unit doesn’t have the RCA outputs, but you could go from the speaker outputs to an amp with speaker level inputs. You could also try a High to Low converter like this, http://cgi.ebay.com/CAR-AUDIO-RADIO-HIGH-LEVEL-RCA-LINE-CONVERTER-HIGH-LOW_W0QQitemZ350166269194QQcmdZViewItem. The other problem is the EQ built into the stock stereo which they talk about in the thread, sounds like the low end gets clamped down on. That was what I noticed the most after replacing my unit, the bottom opened up and sounded much fuller. Before cranking the bass setting on the stock unit just turned everything to mud.

  18. I have a 2010 Toyota Tacoma and it has a built in aux port so i just bought a dob cable and it works perfectly….but great half tutorial……

  19. Have you tried any of the OEM stereos? I know that the aftermarket parts are always cheaper, but I’ve read that the audio quality isn’t as good as that of the OEM stereos…

  20. Might I just say nice to read a alleviation to find someone who really realizes just what they’re sharing on the web. You actually learn how to take a major issue to light and make it essential. Even more people require to study this and understand this particular side of the story. I cannot believe you aren’t more popular because you essentially have the gift.

  21. esta bien tu intalacion pero como consigo la parte de lantera del frente del tablera de la tacoma donde esta montado el radio o stereo.espero la respuesta


  23. Can anyone help With my instrument panel lights not working after i installed the after market stereo. When headlight is on the off position my guages are all lit up buy when i turn my headlights on, all guage lights turn off. I have a pioneer dhe6400 in a 2006 tacoma. The stereo works fine but at the i cant tell how fast im going cuz its all black out!! Someone please help? And its not the fuse cuz it turns on when headlight is in off position.

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