Midland MicroMobile MXT115 Installation

Overland, 4Runner, mountain state overland, Overland Expo, Expedition PortalWe love traveling with our friends into the backcountry but have always struggled on reliable communications between vehicles. We have successfully used our Yaesu 2m radio on larger trips but not all of our friends have their HAM radio license. A few years ago we started bringing a set of Midland X-Talker radios to communicate between vehicles but we quickly found their limitations when traveling through the mountainous West.

Thankfully Midland stepped up and offered us their new MicroMobile MXT115 GMRS mobile radio. Boasting 15-Watts of power this 'little' unit should serve our travel needs well.

We chose to install the unit in our 1998 Toyota 4Runner, affectionately called June. After much thought, we decided to mount the unit in the dash, directly below our Yaesu 1802 2m radio, where the factory ashtray resides.

Tools and Supplies

  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Soldering Iron and Rosin-core solder
  • Wet Sponge
  • Heat Shrink tubing
  • Heat gun, matches or lighter
  • Wire Terminals

Disclaimer

I am providing this write up for illustrative purposes only. Perform at your own risk. Any mods (including this one) you perform on your vehicle is your responsibility.

Step 1: Removing the Radio Panel Fascia

Mounting the radio in place of the ashtray does require the dash to be modified a bit. First, we started by removing the radio panel fascia. I won't go into much detail here but you can read how to do this over at 4Runners.org. Although you might be able to modify the fascia with it installed, we found it to be a lot easier when removed.

Step 2: Removing the Ashtray

Overland, 4Runner, mountain state overland, Overland Expo, Expedition PortalOnce the fascia has been removed it is time to remove the ashtray assembly. To do this, remove the ashtray and then flip the fascia upside-down to gain access to the ashtray slide's retaining screws. Using a Phillips-head screwdriver, remove and retain the two mounting screws. The ashtray slide can now be slid forward and out of the fascia.

Step 3: Modifying the Radio Panel Fascia

The ashtray opening is slightly narrower than the radio mounting bracket and will need to be modified. To start, place the mounting bracket up against the fascia and mark the extent of the interference with a silver Sharpie. Then, carefully cut the portion of the fascia that interferes with the bracket.

Step 4: Mounting the Radio Bracket

Overland, 4Runner, mountain state overland, Overland Expo, Expedition Portal

With the excess plastic removed from the fascia, slide the mounting bracket into the ashtray opening and align the mounting slots up with the ashtray slide mounting screw retaining clips. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, insert the ashtray slide retaining screws into the retaining clips.

Step 5: Running the Power

Although the MXT115 is supplied with a car power (cigarette lighter) adapter I chose to power the unit from the auxiliary fuse block I previously installed in the driver-side kick panel. To do this I modified the supplied wiring harness by removing the fuse assembly and soldering on extensions to the positive and negative wires. I routed the wiring over the steering column and attached wire terminals to the ends. Before I buttoned everything up I applied heat shrink to all of the soldered joints to prevent corrosion or possible shorts in the wiring.

Step 6: Installing the Antenna

I mounted the supplied antenna to our roof rack and routed the antenna cable along the door gasket and down the A-Pillar. Once at the A-Pillar, I ran the cable over the door gasket and into the cabin, just below the passenger-side dash. I then ran the cable over to the radio, zip-tying it to the underside of the dash.

Step 7: Finalize Installation


With the power wires and antenna cable run now it is as easy as connecting everything up. Slide the wiring harness and antenna cable end through the back of the fascia and attach to the back of the radio. Slide the radio into the mounting bracket and coil up any excess antenna cable and secure with a zip tie. Before you reinstall the radio panel fascia take a moment to make sure everything is working properly. Turn on the radio and attempt to communicate with a second mobile unit or hand-held radio. If everything is functioning properly, reinstall the fascia and mount the microphone mount.


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Author
Beau Johnston is the Co-Founder of Living Overland and the Editor in Chief for Toyota Cruisers and Trucks Magazine. Beau is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys exploring National Parks, fly fishing, and camping with his wife (Krista) and their two dogs.


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