lensovet's current and future mods thread

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by lensovet, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    So after driving the car for two months, you start thinking about how it's deficient and how awesome it would be to make it just a bit better!
    So, in no particular order, here's my wishlist of mods to apply to the car.
    And here are some things I've already done…
    I'd love any sort of feedback on this list (things I shouldn't do, places to buy parts cheaply, existing walk-through threads on the forums, etc). I'll be keeping this post updated as things get bought, installed, etc.
     
    F8L and Tracksyde like this.
  2. mrbigh

    mrbigh Prius Absolutum Dominium

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2005
    3,686
    684
    2
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Wow !!! that's a long list...
     
    lensovet likes this.
  3. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Yeah, and it's going to be expensive as balls. I'm going to say at least $3k total.
    Btw, much to my surprise, no one has said anything about the mods themselves, so I'm going to follow up with specific questions…
     
  4. 13Plug

    13Plug Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    581
    101
    0
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    lensovet likes this.
  5. Tracksyde

    Tracksyde Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    1,429
    757
    0
    Location:
    So Cal
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    Its kind of an overwhelming list :) but going down your list, I see you pretty much hit everything.

    I can speak directly to a few items on your list:

    Stage-10 Shifter
    I think its totally cool. It looks cool at night and everyone notices when they see the absence of the stock shifter. As much as I like it though, it doesnt really do much the stock shifter doesnt do, you know what I mean? So if you have other mods you'd like to do that are more functional vs aesthetic, then you might want to make this one a lower priority.

    Homelink Autodimming mirror
    This was probably the first thing I did. I need the Homelink. Yeah, I could've just clipped the remote to the sun visor, but the range on a regular remote sucks. The autodimming doesnt really do much, I dont think. I think its a combination of (1) tinted back window and (2) the weird split in the rear hatch kind of blocks a lot of headlight glare from the car directly behind you.

    Window tint
    This was actually the very first thing I did. I drove the car for about 2 days I think before installing tint. Its something I always try to do soon after getting a new car. The reduction in direct heat is a huge difference. There's plenty of threads here discussing tint. But just a quick summary.. 3m Crystalline is supposed to be the best.. its also the most expensive.. close to 2x the price. Ceramic would be the next best thing. The regular dyed tints are the cheapest and reject the least amount of heat. IR, UV, etc. Longevity-wise, I'd hope the 3M stuff lasts the longest. But I have my doubts about ceramic lasting any longer than the current generation of dyed films. I used 20% on the rear hatch, and 30 or 35% on all the other windows (including that small one on the hatch). 20% on the rear is good for obscuring the contents of the rear hatch.

    Cargo area lighting
    There's a JDM Toyota kit that replaces those little plastic access doors (the ones you open to replace the license plate bulbs) with lighting. The kit is ridiculously expensive (something like $350?), It should be an easy DIY project. I ordered a couple LEDs I plan to use for that project.

    JDM Turn Signal mirrors
    This has been on my list for quite sometime.. I will do this too some day. The car should've come with these from the factory!

    Steering wheels skin
    If you're happy with the way they look installed, then that's cool. I wanted something a bit more "integrated". Ideally, the OEM leather or softex steering wheel would've been my first choice. But the cost for the steering wheel was a little excessive since you can get "JDM" ones for less. But if you're even a tiny bit handy with a screwdriver and socket wrench, you can replace your steering wheel in about 15 minutes. The wraps I was looking at were like $50? and took like a few hours to install. The steering wheel I got cost $210 and took me about 15 minutes to install. There's a long thread about the JDM steering wheels in the Gen3 Mods forum.

    OBD2 stuff
    Yes.. the only thing is, and this may be a non-issue, the BT dongle I bought "stays on" even when the car is shut off. There's a little light on it. I used to leave it plugged in, but I've since started unplugging it when I dont use it.. especially since I dont use Torque all the time.

    Stereo system stuff
    Something you may also want to consider is replacing the front dash speakers. Spiderman has a thread in the Gen3 Audio forum about it. But he said it made the stock stereo much much better (this was on a 2010-2011 stock stereo, but I'm sure it would still make a big difference). Its something I've had on my list for a while too. If that doesnt help the stock stereo, then you could always go the MS-8 route. But the speakers Spiderman used were only like $40 a pair.

    A few other things to consider that I didnt see on your list

    Suspension mods
    Without even talking about lowering your car, you have rear sway bar, mid-under brace, front-under brace, strut tower bar, and front sway bar. The under braces are about $100-200 depending on brand. The rear sway bar is about $230 (TRD/Plus or Scion xB). The front sway bar is from a RAV4 Sport. But they should all greatly enhance the feel of the car. If you like the current ride, then I guess these wouldnt do you any good. But one side effect I've read from others is that making the chassis stiffer does seem to eliminate some of the creaking from the interior.

    Sound deadening
    At least do the doors.. it will make the speakers sound better and will make your door SOUND like a Lexus door. It may not feel like a Lexus door, but at least it doesnt sound like its going to explode when someone closes it who isnt accustomed to the "tin can" like Prius doors.
     
    lensovet likes this.
  6. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Tracksyde, awesome, thanks for the feedback!

    Suspension…hah…I knew I was forgetting something! That's definitely on my list. The reason I didn't add it was because I forgot and also because I'm pretty clueless about the components and how the affect ride quality. Also, I feel like the skill level required to install these things is way out of my reach. Regardless, my main "end goal" personally is to be able to corner at faster speeds safely. I have not tested this car yet, but I know that on my 97 Accord, I was on the edge of full traction if I went 20 mph above the speed in the yellow square on road signs; on the 03 Prius, that went up to 25. If I could bring that up to 30, I think I'd be a happy camper. I'm concerned about lowering the car, because even at its current ground clearance, I've already had some issues with scraping the front bumper. So I don't think I want to lower the car at all. Also, thankfully, no interior creaking yet…

    The sound deadening – I hear you, but from what I understand, this will mostly affect the quality of the sound when the car is in motion. Is that correct? Because if so, that's a lower priority – to me, the stereo already sounds like crap when I'm parked in my own garage :(

    Now let's go over the rest of the list…lol.

    Shifter – yeah, it's certainly not anywhere near the top. Though, it is relatively inexpensive AND looks like an easy DIY install. The thing that bugs me about the stock shifter is how it's in the way of the climate controls. My right hand is almost never on the wheel and I always feel awkward having to reach over the shifter to push the climate buttons.

    Mirror – I just realized that if the rear window gets tinted, there's no real point in getting a dimming mirror. And since I don't have any use for HomeLink at the moment (no garage door that opens that way), I should probably just take it off the list. I will say though that in highway driving here, I want some kind of dimming very much – especially on longer night drives, I always find myself getting blinded by someone with either poorly adjusted lights, or high beams on, or just driving a tall vehicle.

    Tinting – yeah, 3M seems like the way to go. One thing I will do though is wait until the summer for the IR/UV stuff – this past summer, it barely registered 70 on just a few days, so blocking heat would actually be counterproductive in this case, lol. But thanks for the pointer. Just curious, do you know what the factory tinting level is on that lower window? Also, looking at the 3M website, they've got Color Stable, FX Premium, FX ST, FX HP, and Black Chrome tints (who comes up with these names??). Can you give a quick rundown/comparison of them? I understand that the last two are metallic tints.

    Cargo lighting – technically it's not quite Toyota but Modellista…but yeah, that is crazy. Also, I realized there are panels for replacing the taillight bulbs…wonder if those could be used as well? (or maybe a speaker or two in there? lol) Would love to see what you end up doing.

    Turn signals – yeah, no kidding. Particularly a shame given that the Prius c, which is over $10k cheaper, does come with these now!

    Steering wheel – I only said skin because of the price, honestly. I also discovered recently that apparently the Prius Three comes with a SofTex wheel, which makes me somewhat pissed off (honestly) that the Base Plug-in comes with the toy wheel. Where did you get your steering wheel? I guess it makes sense that this is an easy swap, since it's by-wire just like the shifter.

    OBD – we'll see. I think it's far enough down that no one is going to be seeing that light. I also have to figure out how I'm going to secure the tablet – obviously I won't keep it out, but I'm not sure where I'd want to store it so that in case someone breaks into the car, they don't just take off with it.

    Stereo – I have thought about that. But my understanding of it has been that finding speakers that are "plug and play" in terms of the form factor, padding, etc is fairly difficult. I've also been somewhat amazed at how well-reviewed the MS-8 is. The other thing is that I can get the MS-8 on amazon, go through a relatively painless install, and if it doesn't dramatically change anything, return it in 30 days with absolutely no losses. The speakers are a bit more complicated and from my understanding would require much more time to set up and install. But please do correct me if I'm wrong here.

    Thanks again for the feedback :)
     
  7. Tracksyde

    Tracksyde Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    1,429
    757
    0
    Location:
    So Cal
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    yeah, I wont go so far as to say it makes the stock stereo sound good.. and ot be honest, I dont even remember how it sounds before I did the sound deadening. But for me, that was more of a side effect since I really just wanted the door to sound and feel a bit more solid. There are a few folks we have gone pretty far in terms on sound deadening. I dont think I'd ever go that far though.. but just doing it doors is maybe $50 in material and a couple hours of time..

    Yeah, it makes access to the HV/EV button a lot easier too if you jam on that thing like a video game. And it is super easy to do.. the hardest part is just popping off that triangular plastic piece around the shifter. And did I mention how cool it looks at night :D?

    I'm not too familiar with 3M's window films. I only know their latest (or at least I think its their latest) line, Crystalline, is supposed to be their best. I forgot if I read it somewhere or if someone told me, but supposedly 3M's Crystalline film was originally their commercial window film. And it worked so well, they started marketing/developing it for automotive applications. The quote I got on Crystalline wasa $650 to do the whole car (not including windshield). The quote I got on a ceramic film (Llumar) was about $350.. for regular dyed film, it was $180.

    I know metallic film was popular a while ago. But I think ceramic has kind of taken that spot. There's a lot of discussion about whether or not metallic films affect GPS reception. I heard from a tint guy that for sure it does. I dont know if its true. But since ceramic is supposed to be better with heat/IR/UV, I think its safer to go that route (if you're thinking metallic vs. ceramic, that is). When I got my car tinted, I went with regular dyed film (Madico). But if I could do it over, I'd go with ceramic.

    Unless you are going to analyze all the specs of each brand and line of tint, I would recommend not getting too "hung up" on a specific brand or line. Your time is probably better spent researching a good window tint shop in your area. Once you find one, then take a look at what brands they carry. But in my opinion, a good tint shop is probably going to be carrying good tint (or at least they will think its really good). Any good tint will have a lifetime warranty.. so I would care more about getting a good installer to do the job.

    I got my steering wheel off of eBay. Just search for "jdm prius steering wheel" and you should come up with some hits. A few people also bought from "Nigel" (Nigel-JDMParts).

    I wasnt concerned with someone seeing the little light.. I was more concerned with it just being a constant draw on the 12V battery. Its probably not a huge deal, but just thought I'd mention it. I know the Scangauge will shut off when it knows the car is off. So I dont know if there are other OBD2 adapters that can do that. There is a setting in Torque to let the OBD2 adapter "sleep" when the car is off, but I tried it and it didnt seem to do anything.

    The speakers, at least the ones in the dash, arent totally plug and play, you are right. Thats probably why its been on my list for sometime now. But unless someone has found some that just drop in (I havent read about it yet), you have to grind/cut away some of the speaker hole so that the new speaker will fit. And you also need to add a capacitor to block the low frequencies from the dash speaker. It doesnt look like a HUGE deal, but yeah, you'll have to dedicate some time to it. Here's a good thread I just found too: New Speakers - PiP basic | PriusChat

    Anyway, keep us updated on your progress.. you got a pretty comprehensive list.. and reading about others modifying their car usually gets me motivated to do some more myself :D
     
  8. seek

    seek Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    32
    6
    0
    Location:
    Tewksbury, MA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
  9. bzyrice

    bzyrice Active Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    803
    323
    0
    Location:
    West Palm
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    on-demand rear (and front if installed) camera switch Reverse video
    Are the wires the same for the 3rd gen? The pics are from a 2nd gen
     
  10. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Hah yes. I'm still thinking about that. I might just drain the supplied bottle of goo and use the OEM one together with this Slime 10011 Tubeless Automotive Tire Sealant - 16 oz. : Amazon.com : Automotive
    Saves me $40…
     
  11. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    No idea. Will find out once I actually get to it lol
     
  12. bzyrice

    bzyrice Active Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    803
    323
    0
    Location:
    West Palm
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    well keep us posted! If it is the same I will work on this mod as well!
     
  13. Adam Leibovitch

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    498
    101
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    When are you doing the MS-8? I am really interested in hearing from someone who does the install with the factory head unit, speakers, and no amp. I will probably do it soon, I have been watching for online sales, but I like that Amazon will let me return it within 30 days no hassle. A worthwhile speaker upgrade looks like it will cost at least $1000 with installation for an amp and good speakers with no sub.

    On the cost of the tint... most of my tint is 3m crystalline, the one that blocks the IR. At my shop I think it costs less than $300. My tint job was $320 and I had the front windows upgraded to Wincos which this shop charged more for. I also didn't do the windshield. I am really happy with it and highly recommend it.
     
  14. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    The MS-8 will be one of the first things I do once I get a job and at least two paychecks. You're dead on about amazon and the price is right there – some of the lowest it's ever been at this point.
     
    Adam Leibovitch likes this.
  15. Adam Leibovitch

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    498
    101
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I think I am going to get a used one and hope for the best. If it saves $250 its worth the risk to me.
     
  16. trentofdestiny

    trentofdestiny Master Finagler

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    1,087
    219
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    My $0.02:

    Eliminating the joystick shifter removes the only place to hang a plastic bag to put trash! Lol

    The JBL MS-8 I had tried in my previous Prius but it made the phone calls and nav voice sound spacey due to it not coming out all speakers (and the MS-8 does time alignment so the music did sound better). The Alpine KTP-445U would be an excellent choice if you were not interested in DSP capabilities.

    Tacotunes.com sells MDF and HDP (plastic) speaker brackets for front, rear, and tweeter positions (for the dash). It will run about $120 for a complete set of 6 brackets, hardware, wiring adapters, and shipping. I am contemplating buying the plastic ones depending on how my homemade ones stand up to moisture (I painted the MDF). You'll have to go under Tacoma or FJ Cruiser but they look to be the same size as the Prius speaker-holes.
     
    Tracksyde likes this.
  17. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Well, I'm planning to get the JDM clean box, so that's not a problem :p also, really??

    Can you describe a bit how the MS-8 install was? I'm honestly not too concerned about the voices because I try to avoid having phone conversations longer than 2 minutes while driving and the nav I use somewhat rarely as well. Plus sometimes I use my iPhone nav, which goes out to all the speakers via Bluetooth.
     
  18. trentofdestiny

    trentofdestiny Master Finagler

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    1,087
    219
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    It was a bit daunting, since I had a 2011 III with JBL and I wanted to make a plug-in harness (no splicing). It just went under the passenger's seat, and the factory amp was velcroed on top (no bracket). 10 gauge ran to the 12 V battery. I soldered and shrink tubed a lot of wires lol. The worst part was finding the actual plugs for the JBL amp and harness. Also you need to make a list of what speaker is connected to what number output. This is for when you configure it later using the display and remote control.
     
  19. lensovet

    lensovet Not your typical youngin :)/BP Brigade 207

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    2,606
    489
    0
    Location:
    Sunnyvale CA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Remind me – this was the "premium" system with 8 speakers?
    Did you make any sort of write-up or post pics?
     
  20. trentofdestiny

    trentofdestiny Master Finagler

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    1,087
    219
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg, PA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
Loading...