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Registered
2003 Forester XS
Joined
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
.... by ME! :woohoo:

With baby #3 arriving and the Subaru being just a little too tight for three carseats side by side, she finally caved and conceded to getting a mommy-mobile minivan. That meant that I got to take over her '03 Forester XS and get rid of my old Civic.

The Subie is MINE!

First, I had to remove the car seats and inch of crumbs on the floor. Secondly, I decided that a tape deck adapter feeding the stock stereo was NOT how I wanted to listen to my iPod. That began the slippery slope of the stereo installation project! I haven't done a stereo install since high school, but I figured if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it all the way.

Before:


Crumbs and Car Seats


Crappy stock deck with iPod tape adapter.


The Gear:

I tried to keep it relatively cost effective, bought all used gear off ebay and craigslist.

Pioneer AVIC F700BT DVD/Navigation Head Unit - $230 (refurb Ebay)
Focal 165 V2 6.5" Component Set - $190 (used Ebay)
Alpine SPS 13C2 5 1/4" Coax - $20 (used Ebay)
Soundstream 204 amp - $45 (Craigslist)
JL Audio 8W6 8" sub - $100 (Craigslist)
Raammat/Ensolite - $150
Factory Tweeter Kit - $35
Cables/Wire/Harness/Mic/Etc - ~$100


The Install:


After reading the various threads by Sea-Scooby, I figured I would follow his lead on hiding the 8" sub in the stock location on the rear drivers side, and that I would also use his pre-fab spacers for all four door speakers. Buying this gear from him was totally worth it, saved me a huge amount of headache in trying to fabricate it all myself. Plus, I decided to also follow all his advice in the quiet-car thread for sound deadening the car. I owe a huge thanks to you, Sea-Scooby!

Front doors were raammatted inside and outside, spacer installed, and then everything was wrapped in ensolite. Crossovers were mounted on the side of the door, screwed straight into the sheet metal. I took the stock tweeter kit, popped off the OEM tweeter with a pocket knife, and hot glued the Focal tweeter in its place. It's a tight fit under the grill, but there's just enough room. I also routed new speaker wire to the door. I tried like heck to get the wire through the factory routing tube, but eventually gave up and cut a small hole in each grommet and routed the speaker wire alongside it with a zip tie. The speaker wire was wrapped in black electrical tape to keep it looking stealth.



















Rear doors were pretty much the same as the front, Raammat inside and out with a double layer behind the speaker, spacers screwed into sheet metal, covered in Ensolite and buttoned back up. No new speaker wire for these since they are just powered by the head unit as rear fill.


Old vs New





--------- Continued in next post ---------------
 

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Registered
2003 Forester XS
Joined
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
The rear sub kit was pretty much exactly as recommended by Sea-Scooby in his install thread. Totally lined inside the rear fender with Raammat, installed the sub kit and sealed it up air tight with raammat, everything was stuffed with polyfill, wrapped a piece of blue camping mat foam over the air vent. I also rammaated the upper metal frame around the window, raammatted the back of the window trim and also lined the edges with soft weather sealing foam, then covered everything with ensolite before buttoning it back up. The passenger side rear was the same, except that I didn't cut out any of the stock sound deadening material, just reached up underneath it to apply as much raammat as I could and then stuffed the fender with polyfill. The rear gate was raammatted inside and out, covered with Ensolite, and I also cut a piece of blue camping mat foam to line the rear trim panel in addition to the stock sound absorption material. I tightened up the license place and used a couple thin vertical strips of blue closed cell foam behind the plate (camping mat again) to keep any vibrations away. Finally, I laid the last of the Ensolite on the floor pan underneath all the styrofoam.

















The amp install and routing cables was fairly straightforward. I located the amp under the drivers seat, and mounted it by securing bolts to a 1/4" piece of fiberboard then sliding it under the carpet and cutting holes for the bolts to go through. Power and left front speaker cable ran down the drivers side door well. RCA, remote amp wire, and right speaker cable ran down the center tunnel. Sub speaker wire came up the drivers side rear door well and I grounded the amp to the mounting bolt for the drivers seat (sanded down through the paint).


Slid underneath the carpet


All mounted and wired up before the seat went back in. Old school Soundstream four channel amp. A conservative 40W x 2 for the front separates, bridged mono 100W x 1 for the sub from the rear 3 & 4 channels.

Head unit was also fairly straightforward, other than that there were a LOT of cables to route. I mounted the GPS antenna underneath the dash to the rear right side of the top tray, secured to the top of the dash with a strip of raammat. The bluetooth mic for handsfree phone was mounted on the top of the steering wheel. I took out the top tray and drilled a hole to allow for the iPod cable to run into the pocket and have the iPod sit out of sight in the top tray. RCA front outputs ran to the amp, rear speakers powered from the head unit.


GPS Antenna Mounting location


Whole MESS of cables!

I did a bunch of reading on the head unit at the AVIC411.com forums, and came away with a lot of helpful info to modify the head unit. I did the hard wire parking switch bypass that will allow you to control the GPS and watch movies while driving, plus installed a software mod to disable the constant warning screen that comes up when you start the map. I upgraded the firmware to version 3.02 which effectively makes it into an X series head unit. I also upgraded the bluetooth software version, which I needed to do to get my Blackberry to stay synced with it. Finally, I added a cool Subaru splash screen.



Having finished the project this week, I have to say that I am VERY pleased. The ride is much quieter and more damped without all the rattles, the doors are all solid and close with a very nice thunk, and the sound system ROCKS! There's not the kind of bass that annoys your neighbors, but just a real good full range sound with excellent clarity and a good bottom end.

I finished detailing the car today, and she is a beauty - my very own scoobie!

 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
Joined
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9,827 Posts
Some things we never forget :biggrin:Very nicely documented install.

Cheers for a job well done:Banane35:
 

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BLUE WASABI, (#2 Info Provider)
2008 SG Model D
Joined
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9,051 Posts
Awesome!:icon_cool: I am soooo jealous! I still have my goodies and my sea-scooby kit and spacers from 2+ years ago that are waiting to go in.:icon_redface: Feel like coming out to VA to help me get mine installed? :lol: Awesome write up and pics, BTW!
 

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Registered
2003 2.5x
Joined
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645 Posts
You did a fantastic job my friend! Both on the install and the walk through. Great pics too!

I am thinking about going to a DDIN DVD setup but I cannot find a suitable unit that has 2 video outs and that plays *ahem* Divx.
 

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Registered
2003 Forester XS
Joined
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
awesome write-up, and great shots!
you've got the resolution cranked way up on your camera don't you? :lol:
Thanks everyone! It was a lot of fun, and most of my scraped knuckles and sheet metal cuts are healing nicely. :icon_razz:

Yeah, camera resolution was cranked way up. Had down downsize the images just a little bit to get them to fit on the screen (21 megapixels down to 0.3 megapixels). :icon_wink:
 

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Premium Member
2013 Kia Rio Automatic
Joined
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1,614 Posts
Tape deck? whatsa tape deck????????? :lol:

Seriously though, good job!
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
Joined
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13,008 Posts
Very nice! It feels good to see my stuff get put to use! I'm a big fan of clean, stealthy installs like this.
 

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Registered
2003 Forester XS
Joined
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
How do you like that head unit? I've been eyeing one for some time but poor reviews have turned me away.
So far it seems great! I think a big part of the poor reviews was the initial software being buggy. That was fixed by a recall and a release of v2.0 firmware (how I got this as a refurb). Upgrading it to 3.0 firmware has sped it up even more and made it very user friendly. For $230 and a little bit of legwork upgrading the firmware myself, it was a very good deal.
 
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