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Old 01-01-2006, 11:13 AM   #1
robotmonkey
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Default Sirius install in black Jeep Liberty

ROBOT MONKEY'S JEEP SIRIUS INSTALL
====================================


Okay, strorg put up a great how-to for installing a Starmate Replay in his red Jeep Liberty, so here's a slightly different approach I used for my black Liberty. The install I did was easy to do and is very low profile.

Here's what it looks like right now:


Pretty fly, eh? That's how I roll.

All cables are hidden, except for the DC power cable and the annoying plugs on the side of the Starmate Replay. I only made two permanent changes: 1) A small slot cut in the top of the center dash junk bin and 2) A small slot cut in the bottom of the under-armrest storage bin. Neither of these are visible. The install is pretty much done except for the DC power. I will hardwire the power into the Jeep so it is completely invisible and I don't take up my precious, precious dashboard power socket.

Disclaimer: I'm no expert. You could break your Jeep, void your warranty, electrocute yourself, develop eczema or even suffer occasional drowsiness if you follow these instructions. Also, this how-to should work for many differently colored Jeeps, but I only know for sure that it works with black ones. I suspect it will go faster with red ones, though this hasn't been proven empirically. Yet.


YOU WILL NEED
====================================


Phillips screwdriver
Soft membership card/credit card
Rotary tool like a Dremel (relax -- it's nothing major)
Torx bit for drill / Torx screwdriver (for removing third-brake light housing)
Flux capacitor


STEP 1 - ANTENNA INSTALLATION
====================================


I followed strorg's outstanding directions for this. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll just show you a handsome picture of the antenna in action. It isn't really in action -- I ran outside to snap the pic, but you can put on your imagination caps for that.


Image 1. Handsome antenna in action.

I will add that, like strorg, I also had the wire exit the third brake light assembly to the side where the gasket is thicker. It comes out just under the left screw, where the compression is (probably) the most.

Step 2 - RUN ANTENNA CABLE
====================================


Following strorg's instructions, run the cable through the interior on the driver's side. When you get to the bottom of the A-piller, pop open your fuse panel and drop open the trim panel under the steering wheel.


Image 2. Opening the trim under the steering wheel

See the two arrows? That's where you pry the panel out and down. Or down and out if you're in Beverly Hills. This is what you get:


Image 3. The dash got pantsed.

Now, run that cable into the fuse area and under the steering wheel. Let's pause here and open up the center dash panel.

Step 3 - OPEN THE CENTER DASH PANEL
====================================


There is a philips head screw in the back of the junk bin (next to the power socket). Unscrew it. Do you see the two arrows in the image below?


Image 4. Do you see the arrows?

I put the ignition in the "on" position and moved the gear selector all the way aft to give myself a little room.

Stick your credit card or whatever in the center of the panel seam, pull it out enough to slip your index fingers in and then slide them out towards the arrows. I used a soft Giant supermarket bonus card, because it is unlikely to damage anything. The top part of the center piece should pop out. Ease out the bottom part, too. Don't pull too hard -- your HVAC controls have wiring harnesses connected to the back of the panel. I was able to work with them connected, but you can easily remove them and pull the whole panel away from the dash. So here's how it looks for me at this point:


Image 5. Center panel pulled away.

STEP 4 - ROUTING MORE WIRES
====================================


Do you see top of the junk bin in the pic below? I carved a slot in the far left top of the enclosure with my $25 Black & Decker knock-off of a Dremel. You can see wires going in there.


Image 6. Center panel pulled away.

Now, you see that bundle of wires disappearing into the oval shaped cut-out (shown in Image 5)? That runs down to floor.

Take your antenna cable and run down into the hole the arrow is pointing to in this image:


Image 7. Ignore the test-installed Starmate Replay.

Now, fish the antenna cable up into that bundle of wires. Stick your hand in the hole the go into and fish the cable out. Run it into the slot you cut in the bin.

If you are using an AUX input like me, grab a 6' angled mini to RCA patch cord . Stick the mini side in the slot and drop that down the same hole you fished the antenna through. I used the patch cable that came with my home kit. Bring it out the hole in the bottom, just like in Image 8.


Image 8. Good enough for now.

STEP 5 - FOOLING AROUND WITH THE ARMREST BIN
====================================


Now I'm taking the bin out of the armrest. There are seven screws, indicated by arrows below that need to come out. FYI, the two screws in the very bottom of the bin are shorter than the other five. Also, Yogi is smarter than the average bear. Or so the government would have you believe.


Image 9. These screws come out.

Once the bin is out, I Dremeled a little slot in the bottom right for wires to feed through. No image of that, sorry.

Now that the bin is out, you can rock the entire center console side-to-side a little bit. Remember that audio patch cord? I used the little bit of give in the center console to feed that cable all the way back and brought it up in the cavity below the bin. You can see the audio cable as well as the bus cable for my AUX input device. Make sure you aren't putting cables where they can get damaged or worse, interfere with your parking brake, rear power window wires, et cetera.


Image 10. I feel so exposed.

The bin goes back in and the seven screws replaced. I got the AUX input device from these people and it adds two AUX inputs. It plugs into the CD changer control jack in the back of the head unit and fools the OEM head unit into thinking that there's a CD changer. The second set of inputs is for my MP3 player.

There is enough room to fix the AUX input box below the storage bin. If I decide I need a little more room in that bin I may move the AUX input box there.


Image 11. Storage bin replaced.

STEP 6 - REPLACING THE CENTER DASH PANEL
====================================


Before you replace the center panel, pull excess antenna cable and sound cable through the slot you cut in the junk bin. I also pulled up excess DC power cord and zip tied it all behind the scenes. Panel goes back. Screw goes back in junk bin.

STEP 7 - FIXING THE STARMATE REPLAY IN PLACE
====================================


This is what surprised me. After fooling around with all sorts of stuff and contemplating drilling through the suction cup thingy, I discovered that I can just wedge it in the junk bin compartment if I configure it correctly -- and it won't move! See how it's set up in the image below?


Image 12. Study this like a menu in an unfamiliar restaurant.

Note how Screw #1 in the back is squared up and how that screw is also set to give a slight angle. Anyway, slide the whole thing into the junk bin. Look at the image above. That is actually the right orientation to slide it straight back into the bin. If it feels loose, just open the angle a little bit at Screw #1. Whatever you decide upon, make sure that screw is tight.


Image 13. Mount in place without receiver.

The mount swivels on the end, so I have the Starmate Replay tilted up and towards the driver.


Image 14. A winner is you!

You can see how the head unit is set for the non-existant CD changer that is really my little AUX input box.

LAST THOUGHTS
====================================


Everything was easier than I expected, but then I had strorg's great how-to and a lot of outstanding how-to's on Jeep KJ Country. That Jeep site has a how-to section that has great instructions for things like CB radio installation, which can help you planning your own Sirius install.

The last piece of the puzzle is to hardwire the power so I don't take up the socket and I don't have any cables exposed at all (except the little bundle that plugs into the Starmate). Whenever I do that I plan to write it up if there's any interest here.

Also, it occurs to me that if I can affix a tiny drawer slide to the top of the junk bin, I can attach the Starmate Replay to a hinge and then attach that to the slide. Then I can still use the junk bin for, well, junk. I'll look into this.

Finally, if you screw things up too badly, use the flux capacitor.
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Old 01-01-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
Cactus Joe
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Hey Robotmonkey -- Great install, and an outstanding writeup. Even in my post-New Year's hungover state, your humorous lines made me laugh . Those junk bins are proving to be pretty useful for installs. So it's wedged in and super-tight, and doesn't move? Nice. I'm assuming your sound quality is excellent using the aux input connection.

Your install looks great and I'm sure your excellent writeup will be very helpful for those looking to install Sirius in their black Liberty, or any other color for that matter . Nice job and thanks for sharing your pics and install.


-- Cactus Joe
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Old 01-01-2006, 12:47 PM   #3
robotmonkey
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Nope, it doesn't move -- yet. I'll need to give it a week before I can say that more extreme measures aren't necessary to fix it in place.

The nice thing about the location is that I don't need the remote to use it -- it's well within reach of the driver.

As for the sound quality, it sounds pretty good. I think the weak link here is not so much Sirius broadcast quality (or the receiver itself), but the factory head unit. I think it would sound tons better if I simply installed an aftermarket amp in between the factory head unit and the speakers. I might do this one day, as well as a small aftermarket, underseat subwoofer.

The hard-wired connection sounds better than the built-in FM transmitter to my ears, but the difference isn't that big. I think it makes a big difference with my MP3 player, though -- I rip with LAME at alt-preset-standard. I think there's a lot of depth and range that would be lost if I used an FM transmitter there. For $60, I'm glad I have the AUX connections.

Thanks for the kind words!
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Old 01-03-2006, 05:41 PM   #4
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Great install! Wish I'd seen your how-to before I did my install. In any case, others now have two options to choose from, each with a meaningful subject line to facilitate searching!

Cheers...Tom
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Old 01-03-2006, 06:31 PM   #5
robotmonkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strorg
Great install! Wish I'd seen your how-to before I did my install.
I don't have any real problems with screen visibility (and I love the fact that it is within easy reach), but yours is still very much superior for screen visibility. I just wanted things to be as low-profile as possible. Also, I needed an approach customized to black Jeeps.

Can't wait to get the power done!
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Old 01-07-2006, 02:56 PM   #6
jlinzer
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when hardwiring the 12v accessory outlet (i've seen it used on several other different installs around here), do you know if you need to use mini-taps, or will regular fuse taps work? and do you have any suggestions as to which fuse to plug it in to (i.e. one that turns on and off with the ignition)?
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Old 01-07-2006, 04:28 PM   #7
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Just had to ask....Will this work in a white Jeep Liberty too?
__________________
SIRIUS IS THE BEST THING SINCE HOWARD STERN
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Old 01-07-2006, 06:17 PM   #8
robotmonkey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FAFASTERN
Just had to ask....Will this work in a white Jeep Liberty too?
My research suggests that it should work for a white Liberty, but you need to do everything opposite the instructions for black Jeeps.
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