Upgraded Navi/DVD in an "incompatible" vehicle.
If you have a newer luxury automobile you likely will have one central screen surrounded by many buttons that control everything from your radio, to climate controls, to engine and diagnostic information. While this is a great integration of separate systems from a design standpoint it does not take into account what the end user gets stuck with when the car ages and systems start to fail. Therefore it is not typically possible to simply upgrade to a nicer, newer car stereo with Bluetooth, and USB because removing the screen would disable all other features.
Enter: Acura TSX.
For this project I had an Acura TSX with factory Navigation that started to fail and was outdated to boot. The goal was to install an aftermarket stereo that could play files from DVD, USB, etc. It would be nearly impossible to remove the factory screen and replace it with a new radio due to the climate controls occupying the same housing. Luckily for me Acura designed a nice big extra glovebox right under the factory stereo. While the placement isn't ideal, it's as close as I could get.
Read on to see the build, and if you like it please vote for this in the Glovebox Gadget Challenge.
Also, sorry for the cell phone quality pictures!
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Step 1: Remove Unwanted Parts
The first step to making this dream a reality was to check how much space was really behind that glove box. A bit of disassembly gets us to this point.
-Remove trim around gear selector.
-Remote screws securing extra glovebox
-Pull hard on glovebox to release retaining clips.
Turns out there was quite a bit of space back there, score!
Step 2: Create a Template for the Radio
Once I had test fit that the radio would slide(actually squeeze) into place it was time to create a new trim piece. I like to cut and shape cardboard using small pieces and tape, then trace and cut it from a single piece of cardboard. If this fits well I will trace the design onto whatever the final material will be and cut that. For this I used some 18awg steel I had in the shop.
Check out those ugly tabs and not quite straight lines. The final product will be wrapped in faux leather with a little fluff under it so the lines don't have to be perfect, though you should always try your best.
Step 3: Make Way for the Screen!
Next I had to line up and cut out the center to ensure it fit snugly. Back to the cardboard to get the lines right, then trace back onto the metal and cut away. As you can see I put some painters tape on the dash to ensure I didn't scratch it all up taking the unwrapped metal in and out.
Note shown here are L brackets that are used under the radio to hold it at the right angle inside the dash. The stereo was such a tight fit it really didn't need anything else to be secure in the dash. Anything shy of a massive rear impact isn't going to make it budge.
Step 4: Glue Time!
Glue on the covering, double check the fit one more time, and you're almost there, for THIS part.... I use Super 77 spray adhesive for most things and it seems to work well.
Step 5: Take a Look at What You've Accomplished!
The "Final" step for this installation was really just the tip of the iceberg. The custom trim piece was just a cool piece of flair for this project. The meat and potatoes is actually wiring everything up so that it's all functional.
Behind the dash on this TSX the radio and climate harnesses are separate. I used a T-harness for the radio and kept it plugged in (more on that later) for power but not speakers. The aftermarket radio then spliced into the T-harness for power and all speaker connections. Simply match the colors and crimp/solder. Then I used a few special parts which were routed to the rear brain box of the factory system to trick it into taking video feeds of my choosing, namely video for a backup camera which was not standard equipment, and also video feed from the aftermarket radio for watching DVDs. The factory screen was basically a dummy screen, but since its location was much better it was still nice to use, especially for the backup camera.
I will likely publish a more complete look at installations and what is required for running wires, setting levels, etc, but this is more about the glovebox and dash.
End result: I now have an updated GPS deck for all my music and navigation needs, a backup camera on the factory screen when I switch into Reverse, and it's all completely removable if I decide to sell the car!
Participated in the
Glovebox Gadget Challenge