When we got this vehicle, I was happy that it had the upgraded JBL sound system. I know normally that's not the preferred starting point, but my plan included installing an amp, so having all the speaker wires centrally located in the rear of the vehicle was going to be handy.
So, the plans are for an aftermarket double-din head unit, feeding into a DSP and amp for an active 2-way setup plus a subwoofer.
Additionally, this build is to serve as a "practice" before I tackle my Porsche Cayman GTS
I bought a Kenwood DMX905S as the head unit. The rest of the major equipment list is comprised of repurposed gear:
- Audison Bit One (the OG)
- Hertz HDP5 five channel amplifier
- MB Quart PVF-216 (German ones, from before they sold out)
- Hertz ES250.5 subwoofer
Let’s get started!
There was some confusion on what mounting adapter was to be used for the head unit installation. Crutchfield listed the Metra 95-8202, but on Metra’s website, they say that fits everything EXCEPT Limited trim levels. Well, I have a Limited. According to Metra, the 95-8210 is what I needed. I called Crutchfield with this information, and they sent me both, just in case Thanks, Crutchfield!
Turns out, I ultimately needed the 95-8202 (what Crutchfield originally listed), but I had to “combine” it with the OEM bracket.
This is the OEM radio with the bracket still installed:
And what ultimately worked (I actually later had to move back the plastic adapter so it would sit further back for a better fit. Didn’t get a picture of that):
To route the signal wires to the back, I put all the RCA cables into tech flex (blue), and routed it behind the glove box and down the passenger side.
Used the PAC RP4.2-TY11 as the harness and to retain steering wheel controls, etc. Ended up stuffing it in the area below the radio itself, behind a HVAC control panel.
For sound treatment, we pulled out the entire interior (except the upper half and headliner). I sure hope we remember how it all goes back together… :P
Used Knukonceptz Kolossus CLD
I forgot to include the backup camera cable into the tech flex bundle. Screw it, just run it alongside and wrap it with some Tesa tape!
At this point, I was still waiting for the CCF to arrive, but might as well starting laying out the MLV.
What a royal PITA that is to work with and to cut! I later treated one of the doors with Soundskins Pro, and by comparison, that stuff is a dream with work with! Cuts so easily! I personally won’t ever do the CLD+CCF+MLV again, I’ll just use Soundskins Pro. I’m sure overall performance isn’t as good as doing it the “proper” way, but it’s good enough for me. I ended up doing the rear wheel wells in Soundskins Pro after I did the door (forgot pictures of both of those).
Ran power down the drivers side, then brought it over to the passenger side behind the rear seats in order to minimize the distance of power and signal wires being next to each other.
At this point, I hooked everything up to make sure it was working and to set gains. And this is when I realized that my Bit One has developed flaky RCA input connections, meaning if you breath on the cable wrong, it would cut in and out. At least 4 of the 8 inputs had this problem. I’m pretty sure it’s because of how a previous shop installed it in a previous vehicle. There was a lot of stress on the RCA connections, and it took its toll. In fact, I was experiencing that cutting out in that vehicle for a few months before I pulled it all out and sold it (traded on the Porsche, actually).
Anyway, Bit One is out, not sure what I’ll do for a DSP yet. For now, I just hooked it all up to the amp directly, and built an amp rack.
At this point, head unit is installed; rear view camera installed; sound treatment is done on the floor, rear cargo area (including lift/hatch), wheel wells, and driver’s door so far.
Along the way, I also discovered that there’s only one pair of speaker wires going to each door, despite it being a component system. The OEM tweeter simply has a capacitor as a passive crossover. Of course, that means I need to run another pair of speaker wires if I want to run active. For now though, I had had enough, and needed a break! I left the stock speakers in there, passive, powered by the new amp.
The DMX905S has time alignment, so I went ahead and set that up for now, and tuned it as best as I could with the limited (and single) 13-band graphic EQ.
I eventually also have plans for a fiberglass subwoofer enclosure, but for now, I just put in a powered subwoofer I had laying around (Hertz DBA200).
I’m calling this “Phase 1 complete”
And I must say, it definitely sounds “better than OK.” I wouldn’t say it sounds “great” yet though.