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Corolla Ae111 Head Unit Removal


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Toyota Corolla AE111 1997-2000 Factory Head Unit Removal & Upgrade


One of the common questions relating to the 97-00 AE111 Corolla on Internet forums concerns the removal of the existing head unit. I got a load of info from the excellent toyotaownersclub.com forums and have put this DIY together to share my experience of the job. My corolla is a 98 Irish spec model, so there may be some differences and regional variations between my model and yours.

Tools required

Sockets (8mm or 10mm, I can’t remember), wrench, extension bar, screwdrivers (Philips and flat) and a harness adaptor PC2-17-4 to connect the Toyota factory leads to an ISO connection. An optional tool I found useful for removing fascia in the absence of a dedicated fascia removal tool is a filling knife.


First of all, remove the air vents from the centre console to allow access to the two bolts holding the ‘pod’ and factory head unit in place. There are 3 clips on the bottom and two at the top. Use a flat bladed screwdriver, (wrapped in cloth so as not to damage the fascia) to pry this off. Since I was doing some work on the house at the time, I had a filling knife lying around, which was quite useful for this job as an alternative to the screwdriver, or to assist it.



Don’t pull the vents out violently since the electrical connection for the hazard lights will still be connected. Ease this off gently and place the vents to one side.


The two bolts that hold the head unit to the pod and the pod to the dashboard will be visible now.




Left-hand side close-up Right-hand side close-up

As you can see from the photos, they are in an extremely awkward position, and if you’re ham-fisted like me, you’ll let at least one of them fall down behind the fascia. To get these out you’ll need an extension bar for your socket (I think it’s either an 8 or 10 mm socket).



I tried sticking a piece of card in under the bolts so that if I dropped them when they came loose, they’d roll out and fall outside rather than inside the fascia. This didn’t work too well, since one of the bolts fell backwards and could only be retrieved once the pod had been lifted out.


Once these two bolts have been disconnected, the pod is ready for removal. There are two clips at the front holding the pod to the dash and two plastic lugs at the back that slot into receiving holes in the dash. I find when taking fascia off that it’s much easier to do the second time once you know what type of connectors you are dealing with, so I’ve included a close-up of the front connections. To remove these, use the flat blade screwdriver again, point it down slightly and wiggle it up and down at both fixing points and the pod should come loose.


Plastic clips (front) close-up

When the two front clips are loose, manoeuvre the pod upwards and towards you to get the plastic lugs at the back out of their receivers. The pod and head unit assembly can now be removed from the dash and the factory head unit detached from the pod. To do this, the two screws at either side need to be removed. These have a Philips head surrounded by a hex head. I tried unscrewing them with the screwdriver, and three out of four came out ok, but one kept shearing so I used a socket matched to the hex head size to get it off. The metal on these fasteners seems very soft, almost like a brass of some description.


I’m not sure whether it’s necessary to do the next step, but I did it anyway so as not to destroy my new head unit. I took the factory bracket apart and slotted the new head unit into the black plastic DIN mounting before reattaching the brackets. The screws highlighted below allow the disassembly of the factory bracket.


Once the pod and new head unit are attached together, the pod can be reattached using the reverse of the procedure above.


When reinstalling the pod, locate the two plastic lugs at the back first before applying downward pressure on the front of the pod to snap the two front fasteners into position.


Plastic lugs at back of pod

When reconnecting the leads, you’ll need a Toyota – ISO adaptor, I got mine in Halfords for 20 Euro, the serial number is PC2-17-4. Autoleads.co.uk do them also.


Toyota-ISO harness adaptor PC2-17-4

Then for me anyway, this is where things got a little hairy. First of all, the hole for the securing bolt on the pod wouldn’t line up with the receiver attached to the dashboard on the left hand side. I remedied this by trying to push the receiver in the dash towards the passenger door to line it up with the bolt holes on the pod. I also inserted the bolt at an angle and used the torque of tightening the bolt to align the three brackets (two on pod, one in dash). As you can imagine from the pictures, this kind of messing with alignment is not easy given the clearances in the pod, so a couple of times, I dropped the bolt behind the centre console fascia, which necessitated the removal of this fascia to retrieve the bolt. One bolt would probably have held it but I didn’t fancy a second one rolling about inside the console with the potential of causing a short circuit, especially since the engine management is located in there at the bottom.


This is the fruits of my labour, a shiny new Pioneer DEH-P7700MP where my old factory cassette player used to be.

Best of luck with the job, my email is doggy_ae111@yahoo.co.uk if you’ve any questions or comments.

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