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2021 Driverge Getaway
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I wanted to share some information about a stereo upgrade I made to my Audio 40 with Becker map pilot. First I would like to thank thefinnisher for his post-- https://www.metrisforum.com/threads/amplifier-installation-using-custom-rack.10505/post-120009-- which is immensely helpful for this type of DIY install. Much of what I did was fashioned after his install.

My criteria for install was basically to keep everything as OEM as possible while getting the most sonic improvement for the least amount of work. I also wanted the install to not be obvious to the casual observer. After much research on this forum and elsewhere, I found a a wiring harness that would allow me to tap into Audio 40 without cutting the OEM wire harness. I had to call up the american distributer for Audiotech-Fischer--https://www.msc-america.com/audiotec-fischer-helix/-- to find a local dealer to order the harness--PP-MQS-1.4-- the shortest harness for my application. I also decided on Kicker 46KISLOAD4--https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20646KILD4/Kicker-46KISLOAD4.html?omnews=17693371 to make sure that Audio 40 works ok with the aftermarket subwoofer/amp/EQ. I chose an Alpine PWD-X5 --https://www.crutchfield.com/p_500PWDX5/Alpine-PWD-X5.html?omnews=17693371--to amplify my existing OEM speakers with a high pass signal and a powered subwoofer to provide the low end that's missing.

I basically took the Audiotech fischer harness and spliced it into the speaker inputs of the Kicker smart radio interface. The output wire harness of the Kicker smart radio interface was spliced into the Alpine's high level speaker inputs in the harness. The amplified output signals of the Alpine's wire harness were then spliced back into the audiotech harness output side. After completing all of the splicing work on the bench, installation of the amp was plug and play. I tapped the amp's power and ground wires to the open spots under the driver's seat. I wanted to tap that battery in case the amp drained it, I wanted to still be able to start the van.

Wanting to keep the ability to travel back between the seats, I also made a cover. It's made from 3/8 inch plywood. I used that because it's a good fit in the slot between the seats and vent hump. I was initially concerned about flex, so I braced it. With the bracing it doesn't flex much, if at all. If it does flex, it does so much less than the vent hump. There's notches in the cover to allow access to wires/chargers/etc.. The speaker cover is magnetic. I was advised to use strong magnets to prevent rattling. The shop where I got the wire harness recommended KJmagnetics.com over the ones from Amazon. In order to fit the carpeted cover it's necessary to unbolt at least one of the seats to fit it in.

I haven't had the chance to tune it yet. I'm having the shop who sold me the harness tune it with a RTA but that's not scheduled until early September. But, even without extensive tuning, the stock speakers sound amazing compared to before. I can totally hear every word that's sung and can now hear the difference between the main and backup vocals. The low end is now present and it slams pretty hard. It sounds better than the Mbux systems in the 2021 and 2022 loaner SUVs I had recently. The subwoofer is way deeper and louder than premium subwoofer OEM systems in a 2007 RAV4 (JBL) and 2017 Accord
. It's not as loud as a 10 inch sub in a sealed box with 200 watts through it though (that was in my Subaru wagon). Not enough to rattle the windows but still loud enough to make your ears ring if you wanted to!

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Nice.

You would be so appalled at what the area between my front seats looks like during a typical week. Its a hard core food and drink blast zone. My pre family sensibilities would embrace electronics and ultrasuede in the area. Now anything in arms reach needs to be biohazard friendly lol...

I've had thoughts of adding a sub to the passenger rear side panel or deleting the lower shelf and doing a Honda element style sub in the lower console.... But my kid keeps telling me to turn down the Skrillix and Beastie Boys so maybe I need to wait a decade :LOL:

When I put in my head unit I fitted a Kenwood Excelon P-XW1001B between the seats. Looked perfect.
 

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Fantastic build. That looks very clean. I didn't know such a product existed that had both the amplifier and sub in once box. Great solution for adding some oomph in the Metris. I appreciate how you covered it up and used the magnets for serviceability. I too have ordered magnets from KJ and can attest to their service. Enjoy the tunes!
 

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That's some great work! Would you mind posting the outside dimensions of the top and side pieces of the cover/box? I'd like to copy it -- the flex on the vent drives me nuts when I cross over it. Thanks!
 

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@focus805 I'm working on drawer/console right now and have some dimensions for you. I'm modeling it by the excellent writeup by brow:


I bought the exact same cash drawer as I think that is an excellent choice. Building the box out of 12mm baltic birch that I still had some left of. Eventually I'll have a writeup with some photos but here some dimensions in writing.

The width between the two seat bases are 383mm (give or take a mm or two). The height I'm making mine is from the bottom to up 182mm (and I'm still adding a 2,5mm vinyl to the top) and that gets you pretty much flush with the seat base. You could go a bit higher, depending on if you want to surpass the seat base and/or if you have a swivel.

The way I have cut my 12mm plywood pieces is so that they taper at the bottom. I made the very bottom have about 6mm in width, which sits nicely and doesn't push towards the center of the hump. If you have precision tooling you might be able to do 7-8mm at the bottom.

The depth (fwd to rear) is a personal choice (or depends on what you may add to the area below - like a subwoofer as in the OPs post - or a drawer as in brow's post). Mine is currently cut at 425mm but I may trim a few if I can. I'm trying to make it so it's easy to move from the front of the cabin to the back, without too much hassle.
 

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@focus805 I'm working on drawer/console right now and have some dimensions for you. I'm modeling it by the excellent writeup by brow:


I bought the exact same cash drawer as I think that is an excellent choice. Building the box out of 12mm baltic birch that I still had some left of. Eventually I'll have a writeup with some photos but here some dimensions in writing.

The width between the two seat bases are 383mm (give or take a mm or two). The height I'm making mine is from the bottom to up 182mm (and I'm still adding a 2,5mm vinyl to the top) and that gets you pretty much flush with the seat base. You could go a bit higher, depending on if you want to surpass the seat base and/or if you have a swivel.

The way I have cut my 12mm plywood pieces is so that they taper at the bottom. I made the very bottom have about 6mm in width, which sits nicely and doesn't push towards the center of the hump. If you have precision tooling you might be able to do 7-8mm at the bottom.

The depth (fwd to rear) is a personal choice (or depends on what you may add to the area below - like a subwoofer as in the OPs post - or a drawer as in brow's post). Mine is currently cut at 425mm but I may trim a few if I can. I'm trying to make it so it's easy to move from the front of the cabin to the back, without too much hassle.
Thank you so much. I have a good supply of 15/32 AC plywood around, so I can match your 12 mm. Given my limited ability to visualize, next steps after your measurements are SketchUp and maybe a corrugated plastic prototype.

I'd like a truly stealth storage area for small valuables, so I'll have to do some extra thinking. I do like to be able to move from cockpit to rear (usually the other direction), and I always bump into the lower storage tray I added as an option. The tray is convenient but I'm not sure if buy it again. Not worth the effort to do a delete at this point

Thanks again!
 

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Thank you very much for starting this thread and sharing your solution. I have the same goals with our van...we want to keep the Audio 40 head unit but improve the sound without getting too involved. I'm not comfortable doing the work, but hopefully a local shop could make sense of what you detailed and perform the install.

I haven't looked in the passenger side rear panel in a long time, but wonder if you might be able to conceal something like that Alpine sub/amp in there. Or is it too far away from the head unit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Handwriting Rectangle Parallel Font Slope

Here's a sketch of the approximate measurements. I only had a drill, jigsaw, and dremel tool to craft this, so I made cardboard templates of all of the pieces. If you build this without an electronic accessory mounted into it, I'd suggest something thicker than the 3/8 inch plywood so you can skip some of the bracing. I went with the 3/8 top because the remote commander has a wire that sticks out the side of the screen. The 3/8 fit really well between the seat and hump without any need for modification even with a layer of speaker cabinet carpet on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you very much for starting this thread and sharing your solution. I have the same goals with our van...we want to keep the Audio 40 head unit but improve the sound without getting too involved. I'm not comfortable doing the work, but hopefully a local shop could make sense of what you detailed and perform the install.

I haven't looked in the passenger side rear panel in a long time, but wonder if you might be able to conceal something like that Alpine sub/amp in there. Or is it too far away from the head unit?
I considered placing the subwoofer in the same panel you mentioned. However, I felt it was easier to keep it close and hide it by building a cabinet rather than tearing up more of the interior to run the wire harness. An added benefit of the cabinet is that it works really well as a place for bags and other things that you don't want rolling around on the floor. Plus it easily supports my 180 lbs when I do step on it to get into the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks. If I'm understanding correctly, since the sub is also processing/amplifying the stock speakers, wouldn't that mean that wires would need to go to the sub and all the way back to the front? Specifically, it's the round trip wiring that I'm wondering about.
This particular Alpine has a single wire harness that has all of the wires together (its the part with the woven plastic sheath). According to Crutchfield, it's 15 ft long. I cut mine down a lot because it's so close to both the head unit and the battery. The speaker wires are both diverted and reconnected behind the head unit using the original wire harnesses. Having the amp/sub close also makes for a short run to the battery. I would recommend going for your secondary battery... I like listening to the stereo with the engine off without worrying about a dead starter battery. I figure it's easier to connect the shore power to charge the secondary battery than to pop the hood for a dc charger at a campsite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I finally got over to the shop to have the DSP and crossover tuned with a RTA. All I can say it sounds even better now! It was a little weird to hear the center front soundstage at first, but I'm really enjoying it now. The Alpine comes with 6 presets, but this tune accounts for the Getaway's acoustics. The only variables might be that I have a big e-cooler that was behind the driver's seat and my little trash can sitting right by the speaker when they tuned it. But then again that's how all that stuff rides in my van anyway. The bench was also pushed all the way back. This first picture shows the gain settings for each speaker in the program that you download to access the controls. What's to follow are the EQ/crossover settings for each speaker.
Font Slope Audio equipment Parallel Technology
 
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