I don’t know why I didn’t wait for warmer weather to do this install, I guess I was eager to see how it works. And boy does it work well!
Just completed my first double din stereo install (like ever, in my lifetime). I went ahead and put in the Pioneer AVH-X2700BS replacing the stock BOSE sound system on my Miata. First impressions are pretty good! Although this job is still a work in progress… basically I’ve run out of day light to complete the install fully. And after breaking a whole bunch of plastic door clips, I think it would be wise to wait for warmer weather to do any further work.
So to start… yesterday was the coldest day of this winter season so far… something like a high of 30F or -10C, with temps going much deeper during the night. I took this opportunity to solder together some wires connecting my Metra 70-7903 harnesses to the Pioneer head unit harness, the Axxess ASWC-1 steering wheel controls harness and the MicroBypass parking brake video bypass wires. The job took a while but that’s because I took my time and was very happy with how the finished product looked. I forgot to add insulation on a few wires which resulted in me removing pins from the Metra harness, but now that I had practice it was easy. I used a heat gun to shrink the insulation and all was well.
Today was supposed to be a warmer day… a high of 40F, but you couldn’t tell walking outside in the morning. The car was covered in frost:
But since I was committed to get the radio installed, I decided to go ahead and proceed with the install. I defrosted the car by leaving it in the sun for a little while (the time it took me to run over to Advance Auto Parts to pick up a small tube of dielectric grease). Then drove the Miata around for another ten or twenty minutes and it was fairly warm enough to proceed with tearing panels off.
I decided to do the door speakers first. I’ve experienced a lot of bad noise coming out of the speakers but only on days that were wet or cold, so I bought XTC 8″ shallow foam baffles that were supposed to fit my BOSE speakers perfectly. In the process of removing the door panels I obliterated some of the clips that were holding the doors on. That really delayed my whole job, but more about that later.
BOSE speaker disassembly and reassembly went on really swiftly:
The OEM BOSE speaker does have a baffle standard but the area towards the bottom of the speaker where the electrical plug is was rather dusty and looked like water has been collecting there on wet days. My XTC baffle hit the window track, but I cut it off in such a way that it basically is sitting against this piece of metal. I left the windows down when I did the disassembly and noticed that the plastic window stopper was hitting my baffle, so I took it back out and cut some more of the foam off. Reassembly was easy but required a trip to the dealership to pick up a bunch of the little white plastic door panel clips which I broke. I asked for 10 to make sure I had some spares, Ramsey Mazda dealership on Route 17 had only 8 in stock, but it turned out to be enough. As to the price of the little fuckers…. quite steep: $3.96 apiece – over $4 with tax. Highway robbery if you ask me!
Sadly, the new stereo didn’t fix the noise coming out of the speakers so I’m afraid they’re blown. Although it’s pretty baffling why they’d work perfectly well whenever it’s 70F + but start making noise whenever it’s wet outside or when the temps drop below 65F.
Anyway, onto the head unit. Disassembly was super easy. I followed a YouTube video that walked you through all the steps. Just like in the video I had one of the 10mm bolts missing on the side of the radio. But it all popped out quite nicely. I did have a little bit of a hard time unplugging the original BOSE because it wouldn’t come out far enough, but I took my glove box off and was able to play around with my hand threaded through to the back of the stereo.
Once the BOSE was out of the dash I took off the climate controls off and moved them to the new Pioneer assembly:
I noticed that the Metra 99-7506 unit was note quite as snug as the OEM but it didn’t have major gaps either. I found that taking the white clips off of my stock BOSE and re-using them on the Metra bezel was better than using the ones supplied with the kit. After it was all plugged in, I routed my Microphone for the voice commands thru the steering column down to the part of the dash that had an opening to the back of the radio, taped it all up to give more insulation and plugged the new unit into the dash. It clicked in:
I pulled it back out, readjusted the wires some more, added more tape for insulation and put it in for good.
I found that the actual touch screen install was the quickest part of this job. The most frustrating were the door panels with the speakers. But it was necessary to do. I have yet to connect my backup camera and reattach the glove box where the USB wire will sit for my cell phone connection to the head unit. But I will do it later. For now I’ll just enjoy things as they settle in:
Since I ran out of day light and the temperature dropped drastically it was painfully obvious how terrible the speakers sound in the cold. So I will have to do more set up later on when it’s warmer. I will also be on a lookout for some new or used BOSE replacement speakers.
I made one phone call thru the head unit after I paired my phone with the head unit and the sound quality was fantastic thru the speakers, but since the radio beeps every time you touch the screen even the beep sound is distorted so its very hard to know what’s going on. For now I’m quite happy with the way things look!