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    Thread: Pioneer AVIC-D3 DIY

    1. Member GomobileR32's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 01:44 AM #1
      As promised, here's the DIY AVIC D3 thread covering some of the basics of the install.

      In this thread I'm only covering the install done with the Pioneer ADT-VA133 Double-DIN Installation Kit. This is an installation 'cage' available from Pioneer that makes it possible to easily install it in the MK4 dashboard. The cage allows a fairly flush mounting for the radio, but for those of you interested in a completely flush appearance, the radio will have to be custom mounted in another fashion that is too long and complicated for a thread and not recommended as a DIY, (and I'd be more than happy to suggest a professional for that job ).

      Begin by removing the factory head unit. Insert the keys in all four corners with the angled sides of the keys facing inwards. I point this out because this is a pretty common mistake made. The release tabs inside the radio are pretty delicate and if they get bent from improper insertion or using some 'home-made' keys, taking out the radio becomes a real chore and the dash needs to be disassembled to get it out at that point (and good luck with that one).

      The connector at the back of the radio has a release that needs to be 'pinched' (like a 'loaf') so the locking arm can be swung open to unplug the connector.

      After pulling the radio, it's time to start looking for some of the other wires we'll need for the install not found behind the radio...(But first, a little 2010 UPDATE- At the time of this original thread, many radio installation CAN BUS interfaces either did not exist, or they were prohibitively expensive. Nowadays, we can get an installation harness/interface that provides power, lights, VSS, etc., making the rest of this thread unecessary! Go to ENFIG CAR STEREO.com and look 'em up! It will save a bit of installation time!)

      While it's completely optional, it's still a good idea to grab a parking light wire so the D3's display will dim at night and not be so distracting and/or annoying. The Gray/Purple at the light switch is a suitable wire to supply power to the parking light input. Note; Only OEM navi installs should use the Gray/Blue wire at the light switch. This wire is for the dash lights and is controlled by the rheostat. It varies the voltage supplied to dim the dash lights and while it's OK for the OEM navi, it's not good for an aftermarket radio.

      The next wire is an ignition source. Many people will often go to the last 10mm nut on the distribution block labeled '75x'. While this is a safe location, I usually only suggest that as a source for radar detectors. The reason being is that it only shows power when the key is on. The original radio is nice that it turns on when the key is moved to the on position and stays on even after the key is moved back to the 'off' position. It turns off only when the key is removed from the key cylinder. An aftermarket radio can be made to function the same way, but it requires you to tap into the key sense circuit at the key harness. The key harness can be found exiting the black plastic column cover at the upper left hand side. Disassembling the driver's underside dash will gain you access to that wire. In the next 'weird perspective' picture of mine that no doubt many have seen, you'll see the Brown/Red pulled out, looped, and ripe and ready to be tapped into. (Don't forget to throw an inline 5 amp fuse on it and then route your wire into the radio cavity for the radio)

      Next, we'll be scouring the countryside for that elusive animal known as the 'VSS', from Latin term for vehicle speed sensor.

      The search begins behind the instrument cluster... *cue the ominous music*

      Pulling out the cluster can be achieved by pulling out the little trim panel below it. Now, you can just pull it straight out and you may get lucky and not break its tabs, (trust me, I've seen people break them all the time) but since you have the lower dash removed already, you can reach up with a pick tool and pull on the little tabs that keep the locked in. (sorry guys, no pictures here as I forgot to take one) Once that panel is removed, you can access the two torx screws at the bottom that secure the cluster.

      On the back of the cluster you'll see a blue connector and a green connector. They're released by moving the locking levers in a similar fashion as the radio's release arm. In the harness going to the Blue connector you'll be looking for a Blue/white stripe wire as seen here;

      Solder ONLY, (not wrap, nor use ANY connectors on the VSS wire) The wire you'll be soldering on the Blue/White is the Pink wire from the D3. Run that down and back into the radio cavity, and VOILA!, you now have your speed sense wire done.
      Another quick note here...The D3 will operate just fine without a speed sense wire. The wire however, will make the navigation function much faster and more accurately, so you're better off hooking it up.
      Yet one more quick but important note (boy, these quick notes are getting annoying) DO NOT turn on your ignition while the cluster is unplugged. This causes a break in the CAN BUS chain and will trigger every fault known to man kind, (so many faults, the check engine light will be on in the Chevy parked next to your car). So unless you like your cluster looking like a Christmas tree on December 25th, leave your keys across the room.

      While we have the cluster out, (and not turning on the key), we'll hide the GPS antenna. Its got a magnet on the bottom, so it can be stuck on the metal cross member behind the cluster. You can see the little SOB hiding in the back in this pic;

      OK, we got all of our wires and I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel...I think.

      Christian at enfig supplies the harness adapter and antenna adapter needed to connect to the factory radio harness. It's straight forward and just requires the installer to match up the speaker wires color for color, so no real detail is needed here, so let's just go to the actual radio mounting.

      First, look into the back of the radio cavity. There's a support for the OEM radio back there. Cut it out so you get a little more depth and clearance for connectors, wire, etc and to just plain be a little less of a PIA. When removed, the cavity should look clean, like this;

      Fit the cage from the installation kit into the cavity... and now we hit another problem. There's no edge to catch with the cage's tabs that are to be bent outwards. The tabs are there to secure the cage to the cavity. With the cage in there, with a scribe tool, mark where the tabs are;

      Remove the cage and the fun begins. With a dremel, cut the holes along the sides that will allow the tabs to bend into and secure the cage.

      Place the cage back in, bend the tabs out and the cage is now secured.

      Mount the side brackets as described in the instructions to the side of the radio and move on to the last steps...

      Connect all your wires into the radio, push it into the cage and secure it on all four corners with the little screws that come with the install kit. A bezel comes with the kit and once you put that on, test the operation, then, you can open up your beer in celebration.

      When you're all done, it should look like this;

      ...Or, if one was to get a little creative, paint the black bezel and add a black Climatronic bezel, it would look like this...

      It sits fairly flush as seen in the next pic, but if you want it to sit in there tighter, you'll have to come and see me and leave it to us who actually do this type of thing for a living.

      Good luck guys! and enjoy your D3, it's an amazing little piece of technology.


      Modified by GomobileR32 at 11:45 AM 3-19-2007


      Modified by GomobileR32 at 10:28 PM 4-5-2007

      Last edited by GomobileR32; 10-26-2010 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Update info
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    2. Member Spoolin1X's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 01:50 AM #2

      Hitting switches in NYC.

    3. Global Moderator iThread's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 01:54 AM #3
      Added to FAQ/DIY

    4. Member Code3VW's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 02:06 AM #4
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »
      This causes a break in the CAN BUS chain and will trigger every fault known to man kind, (so many faults, the check engine light will be on in the Chevy parked next to your car). So unless you like your cluster looking like Christmas tree on December 25th, leave your keys across the room.

      LMAO!

      This DIY is useful for the installation of pretty much ANY navi deck...I wish this was around when I installed my Eclipse!

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    5. 03-19-2007 03:17 AM #5
      Thanks for the DIY! Hoping to drop the cash for one this summer -- btw, you have model worthy hands :/

    6. Member vdubbin0.'s Avatar
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      03-19-2007 06:49 AM #6
      I want in on the Next Group Buy !!!

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      03-19-2007 07:25 AM #7
      How to install a Pioneer AVIC-D3

      Step 1) - Call Greg, make appointment for installation.

      Step 2) - See Step 1


      --Chuck--

      Edit:
      Greg, your instructions are clear and concise, but the
      bumbling fools like me will still rely on the Pros like you


      Modified by speedbump2 at 7:27 AM 3-19-2007


    8. 03-19-2007 08:18 AM #8
      Quote, originally posted by speedbump2 »
      How to install a Pioneer AVIC-D3

      Step 1) - Call Greg, make appointment for installation.

      Step 2) - See Step 1


      --Chuck--

      Edit:
      Greg, your instructions are clear and concise, but the
      bumbling fools like me will still rely on the Pros like you

      I have to agree with Chuck. Great DIY, but save yourself the aggravation and just go see Greg. I observed his excellent wizard-like skills first person. I actually think we could have blind folded him and gotten the same result: picture perfect Navi installs.

      So on that note, a big to Greg once again for an awesome job.


    9. Member GomobileR32's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 09:03 AM #9
      Quote, originally posted by Code3VW »

      This DIY is useful for the installation of pretty much ANY navi deck...


      Yes, absolutely. I thought about that while I was typing, but forgot to mention that in the original post.

      Quote, originally posted by speedbump2 »
      How to install a Pioneer AVIC-D3

      Step 1) - Call Greg, make appointment for installation.

      Step 2) - See Step 1


      --Chuck--

      Edit:
      Greg, your instructions are clear and concise, but the
      bumbling fools like me will still rely on the Pros like you


      Quote, originally posted by JFlex »

      I have to agree with Chuck. Great DIY, but save yourself the aggravation and just go see Greg. I observed his excellent wizard-like skills first person. I actually think we could have blind folded him and gotten the same result: picture perfect Navi installs.

      So on that note, a big to Greg once again for an awesome job.

      Thanks guys! ...and I agree. I offered this because some people just want to learn or give it a shot themselves, but bringing it to someone like me is always going to be the best way of doing it. Watching me, or reading this DIY makes it look and sound much easier than it is. There are many little details involved that, while I take them for granted and blow through them, a DIY'r may make it much worse, (breaking parts and panels comes to mind because many don't know where clips and screws are and/or how to 'finesse' the panel out without breaking it) That's why people like me still exist.


      Quote, originally posted by ChiNoah »
      -- btw, you have model worthy hands :/

      Much appreciated that you noticed. All those manicures and soaking in Palmolive really worked!

      Actually, my life story was the inspiration for the character in the film...




      Modified by GomobileR32 at 9:07 AM 3-19-2007

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    10. 03-19-2007 09:19 AM #10
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »
      It sits fairly flush as seen in the next pic, but if you want it to sit in there tighter, you'll have to come and see me and leave it to us who actually do this type of thing for a living.

      (arnold voice) ill be back!!

      greg! you truly are the master! when i get this done i cant imagine anyone else but you doing it for me


    11. Member VDubFan32's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 09:52 AM #11
      Thx Greg. You da man! As many installs as I have under my belt, it's always appreciated when someone give me the benefit of their chassis-specific install. My 9800BT sounds great btw, but the wife is giving me the look whenever I talk about it. Know anyone that might want a second-hand 9800BT?
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    12. 03-19-2007 10:20 AM #12
      Great DIY Greg

      I am particularly glad to read that even a professional installer such as yourself has found that the plastic cage type arrangement which is found in the head unit alcove must be removed to provide sufficient depth for the aftermarket double DIN head unit. When I personally tacked an installation such as this for my Kenwood DDX7025 back in 2003/2004 I also found that this part had to be removed but part of me was saying I was ruining the OEM feel of the R by removing parts although it all turned out well in the end.

      Also, many thanks for the detail on the mounting of the GPS antenna. I will soon be purchasing the Kenwood DNX7200 Double DIN DVD Player and NAVI Combi and this will require the placement of a GPS Antenna. I was concerned that the complete dash would have to be removed in order that the antenna could be mounted on the dash just beneath the windscreen and the cable dropped down into the guts of the dash to connect up to the head unit. Now I feel I can capably tackle the install of my new HU.


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      03-19-2007 11:11 AM #13
      Greg, thanks a ton for this DIY! I wish it wasn't Monday morning because I want to jump both feet into this right now. You actually gave me a couple ideas for a little bit of customizing. I'm not going to say what it is yet in case I fail of course Thanks again though, it's always a better feeling knowing what to look for ahead of time.
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    14. Member GomobileR32's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 11:32 AM #14
      Quote, originally posted by VDubFan4Life »
      Know anyone that might want a second-hand 9800BT?

      I'm still hanging on to mine regardless of how tempting the D3 is. Nothing beats the 9800 for sound quality and features. Pioneer obviously thinks it's a perfect radio too. It's the only model in the entire line that has gone completely untouched and/or updated for 2007.
      If you do decide to pull the trigger on the D3 though, what are you looking to get for it? I have a customer who wants one. (IM me)

      Quote, originally posted by FiftyPence »
      ...I also found that this part had to be removed but part of me was saying I was ruining the OEM feel of the R by removing parts...

      I with you 110% on that one. I hate permanently altering any car and always make/install in such a way that things can be returned to stock. But in this case, it's not terrible. It doesn't hurt the OEM radio from going back in if need be and will never been seen.

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      03-19-2007 11:35 AM #15
      Nice right up Greg.. I'm still going to have you put it in..

    16. Member R32 Turbo no more's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 11:40 AM #16
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »

      Actually, my life story was the inspiration for the character in the film...


      Once again, thank you Greg for the amazing install. I have enjoyed every second playing with this new toy. The DVD's play perfectly, the color is much better after you messing with it thanks. Ipod and video ipod work seemlessly, I honestly couldn't have asked for a better install and product. Now I just have to drive it more and let it learn. I have never owned an item that got better/more accurate as you used it.

      Steven


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      03-19-2007 11:51 AM #17
      Quote, originally posted by ATM3222 »
      Nice right up Greg.. I'm still going to have you put it in..

      Yeah, maybe one day you'll have a nice custom system to go along with the rest of the car... if you finally stop changing the color and the car can be out of a body shop for more than a week.

      Quote, originally posted by R32 Turbo »



      Good find on the pic. I looked for that exact shot but couldn't find it.

      Quote, originally posted by R32 Turbo »
      Now I just have to drive it more and let it learn. I have never owned an item that got better/more accurate as you used it.

      Steven

      Have you noticed the change in that diagnostic screen I showed you?

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      03-19-2007 11:53 AM #18
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »

      If you do decide to pull the trigger on the D3 though, what are you looking to get for it? I have a customer who wants one. (IM me)

      PM Sent.

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      03-19-2007 11:59 AM #19
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »

      Have you noticed the change in that diagnostic screen I showed you?

      Yes, my speed pulse is over 500,000 already. I have almost driven enough miles to fulfill the needs of the unit, but I need to take a ton more right and left turns. I like going straight and fast so sue me.

      Steven


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      03-19-2007 09:24 PM #20
      lol no way do i have the patience to do that. ill be paying you a visit for this when the time comes greg.

    21. Member ATM3222's Avatar
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      03-19-2007 09:27 PM #21
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »

      Yeah, maybe one day you'll have a nice custom system to go along with the rest of the car... if you finally stop changing the color and the car can be out of a body shop for more than a week.

      I here you Greg.. I promise you when this is done you can have it


    22. Member GomobileR32's Avatar
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      03-20-2007 12:44 AM #22
      A little bumpity-bump-bump to keep this on the first page for some more exposure.

      Quote, originally posted by ATM3222 »

      I here you Greg.. I promise you when this is done you can have it

      Hmmmm, I've heard that before.

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    23. 03-20-2007 10:04 AM #23
      Is the D3 a direct swap in to replace a Z1? I don't really need the hard drive...
      I wonder if any of my same accessories are compatible.

    24. Member VDubFan32's Avatar
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      03-20-2007 10:27 AM #24
      Quote, originally posted by smashtheqube »
      Is the D3 a direct swap in to replace a Z1? I don't really need the hard drive...
      I wonder if any of my same accessories are compatible.

      No as the screen's about an inch smaller and the D3 has an updated iPod control interface. Other accessories (such as the Bluetooth adapter) should work, but you can check w/Pioneer or Crutchfield (or Greg if he's around).

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      03-20-2007 10:39 AM #25
      Great DIY!! This will help so much when I finally get to install mine. Quick question though, did you have to modify/dremel the bezel/trim at all to make it fit? I have seen others complaining that it didn't fit right, but I wasn't sure if it was a better fit with the Pioneed DD mounting kit. Thanks!

    26. 03-20-2007 12:24 PM #26
      Quote, originally posted by smashtheqube »
      Is the D3 a direct swap in to replace a Z1? I don't really need the hard drive...
      I wonder if any of my same accessories are compatible.

      Yes, it is a direct replacement. The Z1 uses the same install kit as the D3. Bluetooth won't work as the Z1 has it's own adapter.


    27. Member GomobileR32's Avatar
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      03-20-2007 08:28 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by smashtheqube »
      Is the D3 a direct swap in to replace a Z1? I don't really need the hard drive...
      I wonder if any of my same accessories are compatible.

      No unfortunately. Everything is different, (with the exception of the installation cage in the ADT-VA133 Double-DIN Installation Kit). The Bluetooth and iPod interface are both D3 specific. Plus, the Pioneer power and RCA plugs are different.

      Quote, originally posted by looneyben6 »
      ...Quick question though, did you have to modify/dremel the bezel/trim at all to make it fit? I have seen others complaining that it didn't fit right, but I wasn't sure if it was a better fit with the Pioneed DD mounting kit. Thanks!

      Yes, for the 'standard' trim bezel that come with the D3. But the bezel that's included with the ADT-VA133 Double-DIN Installation Kit fits perfectly.

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    28. 03-20-2007 08:30 PM #28
      Is the bluetooth any better than that of the Z1?
      Mine doesn't download the contacts from the phone automatically and it has a terrible echo on the other end...

    29. Member VDubFan32's Avatar
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      03-20-2007 08:39 PM #29
      Quote, originally posted by smashtheqube »
      Is the bluetooth any better than that of the Z1?
      Mine doesn't download the contacts from the phone automatically and it has a terrible echo on the other end...

      If the bluetooth is anything like it is in my 9800BT, then it should work/sound fantastic!

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    30. Member GomobileR32's Avatar
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      03-20-2007 08:41 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by smashtheqube »
      Is the bluetooth any better than that of the Z1?

      It's supposed to be, although I haven't tried for myself yet.

      Quote, originally posted by smashtheqube »
      ...Mine doesn't download the contacts from the phone automatically

      None of them do, you have to manually DL all the contact info.

      Quote, originally posted by smashtheqube »
      ...and it has a terrible echo on the other end...

      Turn down the phone earpiece volume, (it still is functional even in BT HF mode) and turn down the radio's volume., (plus, there's a setting in the menus to help reduce that) By doing all 3 suggestions, it reduces it drastically, but doesn't completely eliminate it.


      Modified by GomobileR32 at 8:43 PM 3-20-2007

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    31. 03-21-2007 01:30 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »
      No unfortunately. Everything is different, (with the exception of the installation cage in the ADT-VA133 Double-DIN Installation Kit). The Bluetooth and iPod interface are both D3 specific. Plus, the Pioneer power and RCA plugs are different.

      I'll shutup now


    32. Member ThatGuyRyan's Avatar
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      03-29-2007 04:14 PM #32
      I have a couple questions for Greg, but I feel the answers may be helpful so I'm asking in the thread.

      First, where would you recommend for a grounding point? I used the bracket on the right side of the cage that appears to be a stopper of sorts for the glovebox, but now I am getting a hiss whenever the unit makes a beep or during quiet parts of songs so I am thinking this may be a bad location. The only other place I saw that looked viable are one of the bolts holding the shifter in place or drilling a new hole near there.

      Second, say you are setting the EQ for a few different R's with an otherwise stock sound system. Would you find that you can use the same settings for each car or that each has to be custom tuned? If it's the first then what settings have you been using as I seem to have a fickle ear, my settings will sound good at first, then I dislike them later and change it all up.

      Anyway, if anyone else can answer they are more than welcome, TIA.

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    33. Member WonderBucket's Avatar
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      03-29-2007 04:26 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by GomobileR32 »

      Solder ONLY, (not wrap, nor use ANY connectors on the VSS wire) The wire you'll be soldering on the Blue/White is the Pink wire from the D3. Run that down and back into the radio cavity, and VOILA!, you now have your speed sense wire done.

      Even the phone wire taps won't work here? Why is it bad to use these or should I ask, what is the benefit of soldering at this stage? Thanks Greg!

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    34. Member VDubFan32's Avatar
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      03-29-2007 05:34 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by WonderBucket »

      Even the phone wire taps won't work here? Why is it bad to use these or should I ask, what is the benefit of soldering at this stage? Thanks Greg!

      +1! W/any luck from UPS, I'll be installing this weekend!

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    35. Member GomobileR32's Avatar
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      03-29-2007 07:30 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by ThatGuyRyan »
      First, where would you recommend for a grounding point?

      Use only the ground (heavy gauge Brown) that is found in the radio's harness.

      Quote, originally posted by ThatGuyRyan »
      Second, say you are setting the EQ for a few different R's with an otherwise stock sound system. Would you find that you can use the same settings for each car or that each has to be custom tuned? If it's the first then what settings have you been using as I seem to have a fickle ear, my settings will sound good at first, then I dislike them later and change it all up.

      There really isn't a single, set-it-and-forget-it setting. Different music material has different needs. All sound recordings vary greatly (even from one song to the next on the same album) Plus, good sound is subjective. Everyone hears things differently, so what works for someone, may not sound good to another. You'll always find that things can be 'tweaked' from on CD to another. That's why there are EQs and bass and treble knobs.

      Quote, originally posted by WonderBucket »

      Even the phone wire taps won't work here? Why is it bad to use these or should I ask, what is the benefit of soldering at this stage? Thanks Greg!

      All taps have the possibility of loosening up, cutting strands, and/or corroding a bit which causes more resistance in the circuit. I'm not saying it will happen, but many times it can. I've had too many cars come past my toolbox that had problems somewhere in the install, and too many times I've found the source to be a bad tap that was put in at one time or another. I train all installers to not even think about using them, (regardless of one tap being 'better' than another).
      The VSS connection is almost like a data transmission, so soldering is the only way to completely eliminate the possibility of something failing. It only takes literally a second longer to solder than tapping one wire for piece of mind.

      If you insist on tapping it, go ahead. Most likely there won't be an issue, but soldering is the only way to absolutely guarantee there won't be.

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