longest head unit install in history

Crazy Mary

One of the few casualties of the Big Wreck of 2008 was my JVC head unit. It shot out of the DIN socket and broke the faceplate on my Voodoo shift knob. Getting hit at 70 mph causes weird things to happen, I guess. Bummer cause I really liked that stereo. It looked nice, worked well, played mp3 CDs, and had a line-in for the ipod. Poor little stereo…

So I shopped for a new one. Holy crap are there some UGLY stereos out there. I’ll not bore you with details. I got another JVC. It has a nice chrome volume knob, a large display, and a USB jack to not only play, but power and charge an ipod. Woo!

The head unit install took me 2 days. I started really late on Saturday, but that’s not much of an excuse. See, I started out just wanting to put in the stereo. Then I wanted to also put in my gauge pack. Then I wanted to run wires into the engine bay for the sensors. Then I decided to change the colors of the hazard and popup switches…. I’ll sum up with a bullet list.

  • Ripped out old Pioneer CD player. Good riddance.
  • Ripped apart old gauge pack wiring. It was shoddy and shameful. This happened outside of the car.
  • Made new wiring harness for gauges. Was proud of self. This took a good hour.
  • Got distracted by the 97. Stopped working on gauges. Spent 2 more hours ripping parts off the dead car.
  • Went to bed. Woke up. Started work at noon.
  • Installed DIN sleeves in center console
  • Found out that the 95 center console was different than the 97 and my gauge pack looked like poo.
  • Ripped out entire center tombstone and swapped with the 97.
  • Ran more wires. Installed the switch to keep my power antenna from going up when I don’t want it to.
  • Almost forgot to install my chrome HVAC slider knobs! Can’t forget those.
  • Finished wiring for the gauges. Got it all ready to hook up…. and….
  • Got distracted by buttons. Switched the Hazard and Pop-up switch colors from green to white (45 minutes cause I’m an idiot)
  • Installed new center tombstone. Re-silicoed my shiny vent rings to the center two eyeball vents.
  • Wired up gauges. Didn’t test gauges.
  • Plugged in stereo. Didn’t test stereo. I was that confident in my wiring.
  • Fixed passenger side door rattle while installing new/old speaker in the door
  • Turned the key…. and? VICTORY! No problems, and it sounds great.

It was far too much work. Took me from noon till 4:30. And it was cold and windy. Most of the time, I was tucked inside the car with the door closed. It was even windy inside the garage, so being in there wasn’t really any warmer. But I got it done! Tunes for me! And gauges! And when I put the 99 engine, the gauges will even work again!

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  • Koich says:

    I’m with you on the ugly head units. Most of them look like the Vegas strip! I want something simple that’s easy to control. The Crutchfield catalog seems pretty good, since it lists the headunits in a matrix with the features. One thing I want is a USB connector in the back so I can run a cable and hide the memory stick or iPod in the arm rest.

    Ah, the arm rest. Something I’ve kept in the Miata I have here in San Jose since it’s my commuter. My Miata in Japan was my canyon/track car, so it had no arm rest.

  • Kyra says:

    Just wanted to say I stumbled across you web site and it is great! I had wanted a miata from the day they were announced. I got my 96 (I call her Mieko) about 18 months ago and you site has inspired me to follow thru with my plans for her.

    As for the head unit I feel for you. Mine was torn from my car 3 months after buying it. I have one now that is not what I really wanted but what I could get at the time.

  • Dunwood says:

    I’d like to say that you choose to always provide clear information and photograph an avid reader of your site for a long time. Just wanted to thank you really for all acknowledge that there are work you do!

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