USA SPEC PA15-TOY Do-It-Yourself Installation Guide
iPod Adapter for a 2006 Toyota Tacoma
by: Bryan Duke

USA SPEC recently released the PA15-TOY iPod adapter for 1998 & newer Toyota, Lexus and Scion factory generation 4 radios. I have the stock JBL 6-disk CD changer in my Tacoma. The PA15-TOY plugs in to the external CD port in the back of the stock radio and connects to an iPod using an extension cable. I routed my extension cable to the glove box, so I can keep my iPod out of sight. The PA11, PA12 and PA20 are similar models with slightly different specifications.

For my radio, there doesn't appear to be any new functionality with the PA15 over the PA12. You can buy a PA12 for considerably less money from Amazon.

Purchase and packaging
I ordered my PA15 online from Crutchfield, but several other dealers are available (including Amazon). The PA15 arrived neatly packaged with huge pile of foam popcorn to keep it safe from damage. The USA SPEC packaging is pop-open clear plastic. Included from USA SPEC is an Owner's Manual containing installation, usage and warranty information.

Before you begin
Installation in a 2006 body style Toyota Tacoma requires only two tools: a 10mm socket with a 6" extension and a puddy knife. A longer extension will work, but the radio bolts will be tough to remove with anything shorter. I picked a small plastic puddy knife to minimize damange to my dash. A small piece of double-sided tape is also nice to have to secure the PA15 behind the dash. There will be 4 bolts to keep track of, so I recommend getting a small cup to put them in.

For the average do-it-yourselfer, the entire project should take approximately 30 minutes including cleanup. The PA15 installation is easy, so almost anyone can do it.

It's worth thinking about where you'd like your iPod to live when it's plugged in to your car. I chose the glove box to keep the stock look and to keep my iPod hidden when I'm not in the truck. The armrest map case is also a great place to put the iPod. Some people may want their iPod in a Ram-Mount style holder so that they can see it while driving.

The Owner's Manual recommends removing all CDs from your stock stereo before you begin. As with any auto project, it's a good idea to disconnect your battery to prevent any electrical accidents.

One PA15 is essentially a box with some form of smarts inside to convert the iPod signals to CD changer signals & back. It has plugs to connect to your car stereo, XM, iPod and an Aux stereo input. Also on the unit are 4 DIP switches to set the PA15 up for how you plan to use it. Based on the Owner's Manual, the PA15 automatically runs in Hybrid Mode if your iPod is capable. Of note, the manual states that the PA15 does not support Hybrid Mode if you have the latest firmware (as of today, Apr 7, 2008) for many iPod models. Because of this, I removed version 1.1 firmware and reinstalled 1.0.3 in my iPod Nano. I haven't noticed any change in iPod functionality between 1.0.3 and 1.1.

Dash controls and radio removal
Below is a picture of the dash before starting the PA15 installation. Remember, the goal is to return everything to look like this.

The radio removal process begins with your puddy knife. Take a look at the bottom joint between the climate controls and the dash. Carefully insert the puddy knife tip between the dash and the climate control faceplate.

Once you have the puddy knife tip in, push the rest of the tip in and pull gently to pop the bottom corner of the climate control faceplate loose. Do not use a twisting motion or you'll mark up your dash under the climate controls.

Next, pop loose the bottom of the opposite side of the climate control faceplate.

You can now pop the top of the climate controls loose by pulling the entire assemby from the bottom with your fingers. Pull as straight out as you can while you do this. Once loose, you can pull a few inches of wiring out and let the climate conrols hang out of the way.

Using a 10mm socket with about a 6" extension, remove the 4 bolts holding the bottom of the stereo in place. The top two bolts are easy to grab with your hands once they are loose.

For the bottom two bolts, I had to put one of my fingers around the top of the bracket & the other below it. Doing that, you can pinch the bolt and remove it.

Put the four bolts someplace safe so you can find them later.

Now that the bolts are gone, the stereo is only held in by clips similar to those on the climate control faceplate. Pull carefully on the bottom of the stereo to pop loose the bottom clips. It's fairly easy to hit your hazard light button while doing this.

Once the bottom clips are loose, shift your hand slightly to pop the top of the stereo loose.

The stereo is now completely loose except for the wires plugged in to the back of it. There is enough slack that you should be able to pull your stereo out of the dash. You can rest it on the gear shift or something positioned to hold it in place.

Now that the back of the stereo is accessible, review the PA15 Owner's Manual and remove everything from its packaging.

Connect the thicker black cable to the PA15 plug labeled "radio."

Next, connect the Y harness to the end of the radio plug.

The smaller black cable connects to the PA15 jack labeled "iPod." If you would like to wire an aux stereo input, you should also connect a cable for that. You should be able to find a stereo RCA to mini-jack cable at any electronics store.

The Y harness has a male & female plug. The plug shown below on the left plugs in to the back of your stock stereo. In my case, this was the only jack on the back of the stereo that was open. I'm guessing the plug on the right connects to another CD changer-type accessory. Otherwise, it just gets tucked away behind your stereo.

There are several places you can mount your PA15 behind your dash. Mine fit behind & left of the stereo. A piece of strong double-sided tape seemed to be enough to secure the PA15 to a plastic air duct.

I routed the iPod cable by feeding it in to the right side of the stereo compartment. I stuck a finger in the gap between the open glove box door and the dash and pulled the iPod cable in to the glove box.

Make sure the power is off to your stereo (disconnected, right?) and plug the PA15 Y harness into the open jack on the back of the stereo.

Secure all the wiring behind the stereo so that nothing moves around and nothing will get pinched when the stereo is back in place. Align the stereo with its mounts and slide it part way back in to the dash.

Before pushing the stereo all the way back, I applied power to the stereo and connected an iPod. The iPod immediated turned on and displayed the "Connected" screen. The stereo started up in the newly unlocked "CD1" mode. It takes about 25 seconds for the iPod to turn on and switch to its external control mode.

After the iPod switches to its external control mode, the song title and artist name can be displayed on the stereo by pressing the text button.

I turned the power off and pushed the stereo all the way back in to the dash. It should "click" in to place and look flush with the dash.

Next, I installed the 4 bolts that hold the bottom of the stereo. I don't have the Toyota torque spec for these, but mine were not very tight when I removed them. They don't have to hold the engine in place, so make them tight - but not wicked tight.

Lift the climate control faceplate back to the dash. Push the top in until you hear/feel it click in place.

With the top of the faceplate seated, push on the bottom to click the bottom in place.

Your dash should now look just like it did before you started!

Take a look at the routing of the iPod cable. Make sure that it doesn't get pinched in the glove box door (or by anything else). I moved the cable to the back left corner of the glove box. There is plenty clearance there to keep the cable in good shape. Just be careful how much stuff you put in your glovebox. It would NOT be fun to slam your glove box closed an crush your iPod.

Congrats, you're done! Now, clean up your mess and enjoy listening to your iPod in your car!

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