After much experimentation and a few weekends, I finally have an auxiliary jack in the dash. I've had a phone mount for a while but I couldn't get music or any other kind of audio (navigation instructions, trapster, etc) out of the car's speakers. I have a car that was made in the year 2000, so I don't have the aux jack from the 2003 models.
My first attempt involved the tape deck hack, which basically re-routes the tape signal into an aux jack. This is done by tapping 4 cables (positive and ground for left and right channels) on the back of the head unit (it doesn't matter if it's 4:3 or 16:9 because the harnesses are the same). I tried this but the volume was too low. I got a pre-line driver without much success and feared that sound quality wasn't gonna be that great. I believe that cars are some of the worst places in which to be an audiophile, but I don't want any hissing.
Any of the other solutions (dice, intravee, etc) didn't fit the bill because I'd have to run something to the front anyways. All I want is an aux jack because I play music through my phone. I didn't mind losing the CD player because I'd rarely use it if I had an aux jack.
As such, I stumbled upon the Bimmernav MP3 player
. This looks like it might do the trick. It also has ipod connectivity but I'm not a fan of apple and ipods, so I'll be having none of that in my car. However, it might be handy for some of you. These are the materials that I used for the installation:
Amazon.com: Mediabridge - 3.5mm Male To (2) RCA Stereo Audio Cable - (25 Feet) [New design accomodates smartphone / mp3 cases]: MP3 Players & Accessories
Amazon.com: "2 x RCA Male / 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Female, Y-Cable, 6 inch": Electronics
Amazon.com: Hosa GRA101 RCA Female to RCA Female Coupler: Electronics
Amazon.com: StarTech.com MU1MMS2RA Slim 3.5mm Right Angle Stereo Audio Cable - M/M (1 Feet): Electronics
The ideas was to install the 3.5mm female in the dash and then run the cable to the back and into the aux jack of the mp3 player. I saw a few installs with a 3.5mm male cable dangling from the dashboard and I wasn't a big fan of that. I didn't take any pictures during the install, but it was pretty straight forward.
I installed the jack on the little trim piece by the fog light switch. I have my phone mounted on the top air vent, so it made sense to have it there. I also fabricated a little stainless steel surround to have it go with the rest of my accent pieces.
I tried to run the cable through the center console but I wasn't able to lift the carpet that's immediately behind the air vent right in front of the back seats, so I ran the cable through the bottom of the driver's side (right by the door). The cable went behind the gauges, down through the footrest (where the hood latch is) and all the way down to the back nicely tucked with the rest of the wire harnesses (which are also run through here). I had to remove a few trim pieces to tuck everything nicely but it was worth it).
Installation of the MP3 player itself is pretty straight forward. Unplug the CD player and plug the 2 cables into the cd player adapter. The only thing I had to do was tap positive power from the phone harness (you can find the info on the instructional video that Bimmernav provides). Here are some pictures of the finished install:
As you can see, I have an aftermarket amp (and speakers) but this should work with the DSP amp as well. The mp3 player is tiny and I just used double-sided tape to secure it to the face of the amp. Some of the cables that you see there may not look familiar. They are from my custom audio setup, so don't be confused.
Here's the aux jack without anything hooked up to it.
Here's the phone hooked up. I used a 1ft 3.5mm cable. The phone attachment that I'm using is for the Motorola Droid from ProClip
. I like having it mounted there because I can keep the phone cool by blowing coo air directly to it and it's easy to view. They have tons of attachments. It's a 2-piece unit. One bit attaches to the car and another is for your specific phone. If you change phones, then you only need to get one piece of the puzzle.
Here's the rest of the setup.
Here's a picture of the phone in landscape mode running a GPS program (GPS Test). This one won't talk but you can see how it looks in horizontal mode.
1) I finally have an aux input! It looks great and it works great.
2) Sound is excellent and I can tweak it from my phone. I use the app called Poweramp and it's the best mobile music player I've used. It's only $5 but it gives you a ridiculous amount of options and features. You can try it for free for 2 weeks. I find it very useful while driving because I can just swipe the screen to change the song (side to side for track and up and down for artist/folder).
3) If I want, I can also use an SD card or USB memory stick (which will take priority over the aux input) and I can treat those just like the cd changer. 6 folders instead of CDs and songs inside of each. I haven't played with this setting because I'll never use it. Again, I only use the aux input.
1) The only con is that this has introduced an incredibly faint alternator whine. I know that it's coming from the unit because it's gone as soon as I unplug it completely. It's more evident after 3.5k RPMs. However, it's only noticeable if you don't have any music playing. Having some music playing (even at the lowest volume) will completely mask it. This is a non-issue because the work-around is so simple. I tried a few filters without much success, so I just tweaked my amp a bit and I'll just have some music playing (if only at low volumes). I can't tell if people with DSP amps will have this issue, but I suspect that they will. I'm sure that I can tackle the issue more but I don't think it's worth it at this point. It's far from an annoyance.
2) While installation of the player was a breeze, running the cable from the front to the back proved to be very time consuming. But hey! At least I got to know the car a bit more by taking it apart some.
Overall, very pleased and I'd definitely recommend this solution.
Thanks for looking!