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Thread: Upgrading my car

  1. #1
    Why must hard drives fail together? TheMainMan's Avatar
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    Default Upgrading my car

    So I thought it was finally time for me to put a worklog together for my car. I got my first car in May 2012 from a family member. It's a 2002 Mazda Protegé in silver and when I bought it there were a mere 65,000 kms on the odometer (roughly 40,000 miles). It was well taken care of and is my kind of preferred daily driver being a fairly light, 4-cylinder sedan.




    The first order of business was a wash and wax because while it was well maintained, it was dirty.






    I wasn't crazy about the stock wheels but since it came with snow tires not on rims I figured that once I put the snows on I could look at new wheels for the summer.


    Next up was cleaning the interior and after a good vacuuming (thanks to my lovely assistant modelling vacuuming technique) and Armour All treatment, the interior looked like it had just rolled off the assembly line.


    Apparently, I was too excited when I was clean to go out driving that I forgot to take pictures of the final result.

    After buying the car I had to wait a few months until my birthday to get some money to upgrade the stereo as the 2002 stereo was merely mediocre and didn't have any modern features like handsfree. After getting the cash together I purchased a Pioneer AVH-P8400BH as I wanted to make use of the Double-Din format. Once I looked at putting it in, I realized that I needed a lot of peripherals to create the clean factory-esque install I was looking for. So I started collecting trim pieces and cables and put the stereo install on hold for a while.

    Just before I would have switched to my winter tires, I blew out the front left tire. When the mechanic swapped the rest for the winters, I realized that all three other tires had the same issue. There were tears in the sidewalls from being mounted and unmounted year after year. This meant that I could leave the winters on the stock rims and look for an upsize in the spring. Sure enough I found a set on Kijiji that came off a Mazda Miata. They had been in the guy's shed for a while so they needed a good cleaning when I got them but in the end they shined up nicely. This is part way through the cleaning process.




    Before


    Part done


    After




    They are 16" FAST Jazz rims with Fuzion ZRi 205/45R16 W-rated summer tires.
    TheMainMan

  2. #2
    Moderator TLHarrell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    Nice! I just got a 2014 Subaru Outback and am trying to figure out things I can do with it to make it a little less stock. Thinking first up to have the rims powdercoated matte black or something.

    Always fun to get a new ride.
    I have a hammer! I can put things together! I can knock things apart! I can alter my environment at will and make an incredible din all the while! -Calvin

  3. #3
    Why must hard drives fail together? TheMainMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    Okay, so a few more glamour shots of the wheels before I move on with the rest of the upgrades.






    So having finally collected all the trim pieces and cables that I needed to extend out the various connections I found myself a spare long weekend (yay for national birthdays!) and dove in to swapping the radio head deck out.

    Start with a trunk full of tools and parts.


    Open all the doors.


    Photograph what it used to look like in case you can't put it all back together again.



    Then start ripping things out. Seats have always been overrated in my opinion anyways.



    I don't wear gloves so the glove box can go too.


    Cup holders and armrests are for wimps so lets get rid of those too.


    Now I can take out the radio, HVAC, and trim ring from the dash.


    By this point my girlfriend's parents had gone inside cringing as apparently no one in their family gets the urge to disassemble vehicles and watching me do so was unpleasant. However, their Poodle found the large open space even more exciting than riding in my car normally is so I looked up from a break to find this.



    So the plan here was to re-route the additional inputs to the center storage bin so that I still had access to the plethora of inputs the AVH-P8400BH has as well as keeping the look as factory-made as possible. On the back side of the center console I hand drilled 3 holes for the panel mount RCA jacks to extend the AV2 input (AV1 comes from an iPod with special adapter that will be in the glovebox).


    Then I drilled the holes for the USB2 connector and the AUX 3.5mm jack that will go on the front side of the storage bin. These were much easier to do as I could drill them from the outside and therefore use a power drill. Second photo has the panel mount jacks installed.



    Then I did a test fit while planning out the way the cables run under the console, since there is nothing worse than finding out they are too short or too long once once I had hot-glued them in place.


    Storage lid re-installed and all connections mounted, ready to go back in the car.


    Center console looks exactly the same. This is both a happy and sad moment. Happy because you can't tell anything new was added, but sad because it was a lot of work without looking like it.


    Having completed the center console, I moved on to tapping the reverse light wiring for the signal for the head unit to switch to the backup camera. After pulling back all the lower trim on the drivers side and not being able to find the right colour wire, I had to resort to googling to find out that in my car the rear lights are wired through the roof and down the A-pillar, a fact the service manual neglected mentioning.



    Just to be sure, I took the back dash out to trace the wire up to the point it entered the roof.


    While I had the A-pillar trim of I also ran the wire for the handsfree microphone since I wanted to mount it just below the headliner.


    The white wire is the reverse light tap and the bundle of green is for the parking brake by-pass (don't worry I would never even think of watching video while driving). Only thing it's missing is the tap on the 12V switched to supply power to the backup camera but that had to be done with the harness much closer to the dash. All of the connections are soldered and covered in heatshrink and collected with a few zip-ties. Not that I really didn't enjoy making the harness the first time or anything... but I really don't want to have to pull it out to fix it like I've had to do for friends in the past.


    I did not take anywhere near enough photos as the process dragged on but it actually took me three solid days of work to get to this point due to numerous small hangups. So before I put all the trim back on I put the radio in for a first power on test.


    Having confirmed that it works, I went back to putting on all the trim. The end result is a very clean, modern upgrade that in my opinion doesn't stick out like an aftermarket add-on. I didn't get the microphone attached to the windshield on the weekend and still had to set the colour to match the rest of the interior illumination. Finished that up on the Tuesday and it all looked like this.




    At that point the backup camera wasn't installed (though the cabling was run). I don't have photos of the cable that runs to the glove box for 30-pin iPod connection either, but it was done at that time as well.

    Swapping the head unit made a huge difference in the quality of the sound in the car. I wish I could afford to upgrade the speakers and electrical as well but adding in features was the main reason for the swap and my budget doesn't allow for any changes worth making. My phone now pairs with the head unit every time I get in the car and will seamlessly transfer calls from the phone when I turn the car on, and send them back to the phone when I turn the car off. I love being able to connect my 160GB iPod in the glovebox with complete playback controls on the head unit.
    TheMainMan

  4. #4
    Yuk it up Monkey Boy! Airbozo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    Nice work MainMan! Always good to see someone pimp their ride... lol!


    Quote Originally Posted by TLHarrell View Post
    Nice! I just got a 2014 Subaru Outback and am trying to figure out things I can do with it to make it a little less stock. Thinking first up to have the rims powdercoated matte black or something.

    Always fun to get a new ride.
    Love the Outbacks, we are on our 4th one. (didn't like the Impreza Outback sport version though, it went through tires in less than 4k miles.)
    "...Dumb all over, A little ugly on the side... "...Frank Zappa...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    very nice man! very clean. i'm impressed.

  6. #6
    Water Cooled Stonerboy779's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    Nice install, clean and simple. I like what you did with the inputs.

  7. #7
    100% Recycled Pixels. Twigsoffury's Avatar
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  8. #8
    Custom Title Honors Snowman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    Looking pretty good. Side note: in the future stay away from armor all prolonged use has proven to do more damage than good and the oil often evaporates only to end up on your windows. It is mentioned briefly in this video from a professional detailer.
    Regedit'ed, Rooted, and Jailbroke anymore questions?
    Here’s a bumper sticker I’d like to see: “We are the proud parents of a child who’s self-esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car.”

  9. #9
    Moderator TLHarrell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    Same goes for that 'wet look' tire shine stuff. It eventually turns into ugly brown goo which is ridiculously difficult to remove.
    I have a hammer! I can put things together! I can knock things apart! I can alter my environment at will and make an incredible din all the while! -Calvin

  10. #10
    Why must hard drives fail together? TheMainMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Upgrading my car

    Quote Originally Posted by TLHarrell View Post
    Nice! I just got a 2014 Subaru Outback and am trying to figure out things I can do with it to make it a little less stock. Thinking first up to have the rims powdercoated matte black or something.

    Always fun to get a new ride.
    Thanks! Matte black is definitely the popular choice at the moment where I live, plus it matches everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Airbozo View Post
    Nice work MainMan! Always good to see someone pimp their ride... lol!
    Thanks, that's the way I think too!

    Quote Originally Posted by xr4man View Post
    very nice man! very clean. i'm impressed.
    Glad you like it, I'm still impressed by it too and it's been in for 4 months now,

    Quote Originally Posted by Stonerboy779 View Post
    Nice install, clean and simple. I like what you did with the inputs.
    Thanks, I spent a lot of time just thinking about the best way to do them before I even started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twigsoffury View Post
    Ha ha, not on this one. ROI is very low on a body kit for an older daily driver in my opinion. I'm more of a sleeper fan myself (with the exception of wheels), I want it to look close enough to stock to not get noticed unless you're into cars. The only external mod I have planned still is to shave the antenna and replace it with the rear defroster. This is why:


    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman View Post
    Looking pretty good. Side note: in the future stay away from armor all prolonged use has proven to do more damage than good and the oil often evaporates only to end up on your windows. It is mentioned briefly in this video from a professional detailer.
    Thanks for the advice. That site is going to cost me a lot of time I love making my car's finish gleam and learning new tricks is great! It also explains why my windows were always the hardest thing to get and keep clean.


    Okay, the last thing I have done so far is installing the backup camera and and a really cool circuit that keeps the radio on until any door opens. For those with modern cars, this probably isn't really something you think of as a feature anymore but for an older car, particularly one with a stereo that has a removable face plate, having the power stay on is great. I stumbled across a pre-made PCB on Tindie.com for a very reasonable $12 plus shipping and had to order one. https://www.tindie.com/products/UnaC...ay-controller/

    The camera is going to be attached to a small piece of trim just above the license plate which allows me to easily hide and weatherproof the hole.


    Taking the trim piece off revealed a lot of built up grime and also showed me that my original plan of going through the edge of the license plate light cover was not going to work. I didn't want to have to drill a hole as that was going to be hard to seal or mean cutting the camera connector.



    I ended up cutting the camera connector and splicing it back together once it was in the hole.


    Put a dimple where I needed to drill so the bit didn't wander, drilled the hole and threaded the camera end through.



    I then had to reconnect all three wires from the camera end to the plugs.



    Once I tested it to make sure I was still getting a signal I sealed the whole bundle up with a few stages of heatshrink.


    Then I measured and pre-drilled the holes for the self-tapping screws and screwed the camera to the trim piece.


    I had to adjust the angle and rotation of the camera to get a decent, right-side up image and then test to make sure it activated when the car was put in reverse.


    I have it wired up to the switched 12V line so that the camera is powered as long as the car is on. I did this because the head unit has a mode that allows you to switch to the camera manually and I wanted to have the option. The ground line is tied into the ground for the license plate lights. The angle of the camera means that water drips off and it's somewhat sheltered by the overhang of the trim piece. I still have to calibrate it for the distance lines but it's been nice to have another view out the back even still.

    Adding in the radio delay circuit was even easier as the aftermarket head unit means I already have a colour-coded wiring harness to splice into. First step was to remove the drives side door position switch and identify the colour of wire I needed to splice into. One screw is all that held it on but taking the interior trim off was way more complex.


    Once I had the trim off I could open up the wire loom and find a place to tie in near the fuse box.


    After the door sense wire, there are only four other connections to make: 12V constant, ground, 12V switched from ignition, and 12V switched to the radio. The board came with a nice large print out with the schematic as the first batch of the seller's boards did not have the full screening. I found this to be much nicer than just labeling the board as it is way easier to double-check while wiring inside the dash.


    In order to get to the back of the radio I had to add a few more trim pieces to the ever-increasing pile in the back seat.


    Here you can see the circuit board on the left with the various wires going to the harness. At this point I still have to tie the lead from the board to the splice I added to the driver's side footwell. Before I did I zip-tie the board to a support inside the dash so that it won't bounce around.


    Finally, a video of the end result.


    That's everything up until now, I won't be doing anything more to the car for the winter as I don't have an indoor space to work and it's already too cold out here.
    TheMainMan

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