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  • Writer's pictureJustin Turner

Best Interior Mods for your 3rd Gen Tacoma

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Besides being known for durability and reliability, the 3rd Gen Tacoma is also known for having LOTS of modification options. It may not be on par with Jeep, but Tacoma owners have many options available to customize their rig. This article won't list EVERY mod on the market, but I'll run through the modifications that I have personally done to my 3G Tacoma.

Mod #1 - Vinyl/Leather Seat Covers by Clazzio

Clazzio is a seat cover company out of Utah and has been around since 2009. They make good quality seat covers for the Tacoma that look OEM. I have had many people look at the interior of my truck and ask, "How did you get leather in this model year?" Well, I didn't, they are covers!

In my truck I have the Leather set for all seats, in the color Dark Gray. The Leather set has a 3-year warranty, high grade vinyl body, and perforated leather insert. They fit VERY snug and look OEM. I am about 6 years in and they are holding up well. I will say that the driver side seat cover, given the heavy use it sees, has definitely shown wear with some discoloration, a few small cracks/tears, and a small hole where the lumbar adjustment wheel is. The great thing, however, is that Clazzio will sell you replacement parts, and I was able to order a seat cover only for my driver side.

Pro Tip: Set your covers out in the sun before installation. It'll soften/loosen up the material and make it a lot easier to install.

Mod #2 - Tacoma Track Mount (TTM)

Expedition Essentials is a company out of Ferndale, WA that makes accessories for the Tacoma. My favorite of the bunch is their Tacoma Track Mount. This clever accessory installs above the stereo and provides you with a simple and functional mount that works with the RAM Mounts Tough Track. It it constructed from 1/8” 5052 Aluminum, powder coated black: features flush mount threaded inserts for easily mounting the RAM Tough Track. Installation was fairly easy and they have a YouTube Video that aids in the process. Overall I think this is one of the most durable ways to mount a cell phone, especially while off-roading. I even routed my iPhone charger cord behind the radio and out the stereo bezel (added a rubber grommet for a cleaner look) so that I could charge the phone when it's mounted in my RAM, avoiding having the cord hanging down in front of everything.

Mod #3 - Vehicle OCD Console Organizer

Amazon sells a simple yet functional divider for the Tacoma center console. It's literally 3 pieces of plastic that interlock together to form a 6-section divider. This is a nice way to segment the "stuff" you put in your console, and keep it from becoming one big pile of junk.

Mod #4 - WeatherTech All-Weather Floor Mats

If you plan to get your truck dirty in any form, one of the first things you should do is remove the carpet mats and install a good all-weather option like WeatherTech. I had these in my 2nd Gen Tacoma for 10 years and they held up nicely, so I didn't hesitate to buy them again.

The mats are laser-cut for a perfect fit. They are also rigid so that if you have mud/dirt/rocks/water in the mat, the side walls and rigidity will allow you to take them out without all of the grime falling out into your truck. Other manufacturers that make floor liners for the Tacoma are: Toyota (OEM), Husky, Oedro, Wade Automotive, and Westin.

Mod #5 - VLED LED Bulbs

VLED's Inc is based out of Bellingham, WA and they make LED bulb replacements for your interior Tacoma lighting. It may not seem like a huge deal, but the LED light output is MUCH better than the stock halogen bulbs. I purchased a set that included the following: Map lights (2) , Dome light (1), Vanity lights (4). Installation was easy.

Mod #6 - Stereo/Speakers

Although not terrible, the stock SR5 (non-JBL) sound system in the Tacoma is not great. After about 5 years or so of owning my 2017, I bit the bullet and upgraded my speakers/stereo. Although there are all-in-one options available (like OEM Audio), I opted to piecemeal my setup via Crutchfield & Amazon. Below are the components I used:

Stereo - Alpine iLX-407 shallow chassis 7-in multimedia receiver with Apple CarPlay

Amplifier - Alpine KTA-450 4-channel power pack amp

Tweeters - Genuine Subaru tweeter kit by Kicker (100% plug-n-play and YES it fits the Tacoma!)

Front Door Speakers - Kicker 47KSC6504 6.5" 2-way

Rear Door Speakers - Kicker 47KSC6904 6"x9" 2-way

Mod #7 - Noico/NVX Sound Dampening

This mod can get out of hand quickly! If you search YouTube you will find videos of people sound dampening their entire vehicle...rear, floor, doors, ceiling. I knew I wouldn't have the patience for that, so I opted simply to sound dampen the doors to help improve the sound from the new speakers. There were two steps I took:

  1. Noico 80 mil butyl and foil - This was installed inside the doors, on the outside (the walls of the outside door). You adhere the strips and then roll them flat.

  2. NVX tri-layer sound dampening material made of: butyl rubber (bottom layer), aluminum (middle layer), acoustic foam (top layer). This was installed on the interior wall of the door. To install this I first made door templates using plastic sheathing. Once I had the plastic template I transferred that to cardboard. Finally, I used the cardboard to trace out onto the NVX.

NOTE: This entire process is a pain in the rear!

Mod #8 - Matt Gecko LED Camper Shell Lighting

My truck has an ARE Z-Series shell, and I got tired of trying to find things in it at complete darkness! On TacomaWorld I found a guy named Matt Gecko who sells pre-made lighting kits.

In my application I was planning to adhere the LED strips to the top frame of my shell windows. I has Matt make me a lighting set with 3 strips of LED lighting pre-connected with soldered wiring. I also had him include a quick-disconnect and push-button switch. The install was easy and I made the connections behind my rear passenger side taillight, running the main wire alongside the passenger side frame to my battery.

*TIP: Do not order the remote module. For some reason I had nothing but issues with it. Matt had to send my two replacements and I eventually ended up cutting out the 3rd one.

Mod #9 - Front and rear dual USB ports & wireless Bluetooth CarPlay module

The OEM auxiliary/USB port is not meant to provide a fast charge to your phone. After the addition of the Alpine head unit with Apple CarPlay, the OEM USB port played the primary role of connecting my phone to CarPlay. However, the downside was that the phone was NOT getting a fast charge.

I solved this with the addition of a Cllena Quick Charge 3.0 port (front dash) and a Teeran wireless CarPlay adapter, both from Amazon. The dual 3.0 port was installed directly into the blank located to the right of my ECT Power button. The Cllena did come wired with a quick connect. However, I did have to connect it to the vehicle for power. For that I simply used heat shrink butt connectors to connect red/black 14awg wire extended to the cab fuse box. From there I used a ring terminal to ground black to an existing bolt, and wired in a fuse tap to the red wire. Fuse tap utilized a 10a fuse and the existing 7.5a fuse from the ECU/ACC fuse location, which I tapped. The addition of this new dual charge port allowed me to use this to charge the phone! The OEM aux/USB port was then used to power the wireless CarPlay adapter.

Note: The OEM aux/USB port (right side port in below pic) is wired to the stereo. In order for the wireless CarPlay adapter to sync with your CarPlay functionality, the adapter must be plugged into a USB port that is directly wired to the head unit.

While I was doing the front USB port, I decided to add a rear Blue Sea Systems dual USB port so my kids can keep their tablets charged on road trips. This install was easy! Just remove the back panel of the console, drill a 1 1/8" hole for the charger, and run 14 awg wires from the USB charger to the console cigarette lighter; you'll need to remove the center console for this. For the charger side I added spade connectors, and the other side I tapped into the cigarette wiring using Posi-Taps. I found this YouTube video of the process useful.

Mod #10 - Z Precision large cup holder

This is a newer mod available for the Taco, and it gives you the ability to fit larger water bottles in the front cup holders. The install is super easy and fast. All you do is remove the center console, and the OEM cup holder is removable via 6 screws. Once unscrewed it drops right out and you screw in the new cup holder. The Z Precision cup holder looks 100% factory and seems to be well made. I'd highly recommend this as a quick, easy, and functional mod. Also, you can use promo code AdventureBuilt for 15% off your purchase.

Mod #11 - Extended Fuse Cover

If you to any wiring that will require an add-a-fuse, you'll know that those devices will render your OEM fuse cover unusable, as the add-a-fuse protrudes too high. The solution (if you want to keep it covered) is to order an extended cover by Guild Outfitters. It's a simple plastic cover that is thicker to accommodate the fuse. It also comes with knock-outs on the side for the wiring, as well as stickers that show which fuse are in which location and at what amperage. Overall a simple yet effective product.

Mod #12 - Blackout Decals (Chrome delete)

It's a nearly unanimous decision that anything chrome needs to go, and one of the offenders is the interior. Depending on your trim there are various areas that have chrome plastic pieces. In my 2017 SR5 that includes:

- Key hole for glove box

- Air conditioner vent rings (4)

- 4WD knob

- Shift knob ring (above leather boot)

- Center console tray/cup holder trim

Meso Customs makes a chrome delete kit that (from what I have seen/read) is pretty solid. However, I didn't want to have to remove everything and was instead looking for a simpler/faster solution. I found that in the TVD Vinyl Decal product. They sell direct from their website but I happened to buy from them via their Etsy store.

Basically it's a dashboard trim decal kit precision cut to perfectly cover the chrome with matte black vinyl film to reduce reflections and customize the interior of your truck. Below are some of the details:

  • Covers the chrome rings around the dashboard AC vents, the start button, shift knob trim, 4WD knob, shift boot ring, and the center console bin

  • Made from ultra-thin premium cast Oracal 951 and 751 vinyl film

  • Available in colors that complement your Tacoma paint color

  • Refer to our blog for vinyl color recommendations

  • Includes 6 vent rings, 1 start button ring, 1 4wd knob ring, 1 shift boot decal, and 2 center console decals (in case a do-over or two is necessary!)

  • Detailed installation instructions available on our Support page

  • Lifetime Warranty against peeling, cracking, and shrinking.

  • Normally ships within one business day!

I found it relatively easy to install and they have held up nicely for a couple years now. Below are some pics:

Mod #13 - VLED Footwell lighting (front driver/passenger)

While not an absolutely necessary mod, this is a nice-to-have. I purchased the 16-23 Toyota Tacoma new switched LED footwell kit dual output in Pure White. Like the previous version, there is no splicing or tapping into your factory wires. The new, easier-to-install OEM-style breakout harness by Redside Electric now installs between the factory harness and the overhead panel assembly. This harness enables paralleled functionality by combining footwell and dome lights with the factory overhead light switch.

Dual Output - PWM dimmer module allows for two output modes depending on the scenario.

  • COURTESY MODE: Open the door, and the lights are at full output (200LM per side) and fade out with the map and dome light when the door is closed.

  • NIGHT MODE: While driving at night, a soft ambient light adds a sense of spaciousness throughout the cabin. If you want it brighter, use the included screwdriver and turn it up to your liking. The output is factory set to approximately 10LM (the lowest setting).

5X Brighter - The strip light bars are small but produce a considerable amount of light compared to cheap, flexible strip lights that are ten times the size. No plastic or fiberglass parts here! The circuit boards are aluminum metal core PCBs housed in a CNC'd aluminum (not cast) body and then finished with a high-quality exterior-grade black anodizing. They not only look amazing, but they will last you for years!

Installation took less than an hour and requires minimal tools. VLED packages the kit very nicely, and even includes a small pack of zip ties, as well as a small tool for prying off the A-pillar bolt cap. I've run the VLED interior light kit for several years now with no issue. You can take a look at the installation process via this video from Chloe Kuo.

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