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Old 10-08-2006, 09:13 PM   #1
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Default Installed: Starmate Replay in 2004 VW Passat

I've been dropping hints to the little woman for some time about how much I wanted a Sirius radio. Finally, I was pointing out that Best Buy had the Starmate Replay on deal for $69 after a rebate. She caved in. Yesterday we took a trip to the store and she let me know that I just got my "birthday present" a month early.

So after we got home, I got online, got my new radio activated and was ready to install. The recipient, my beautifully German engineered 2004.5 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T



First off, the Starmate's built in FM transmitter/HU receiver sucks (at least it did for me) -- I could never find anything without nasty background static. My stock VW headunit has AM/FM/Tape/CD/Trunk CD Changer, so, I took a trip to the local Wal-Mart and picked up a Phillips tape deck adapter. While the quality isn't as good as being hardwired, it'll do for now.

Again, much to my disappointment and frustration, the car mount that comes with the Starmate sucks. It has a suction cup that would not stay sucked to my window -- and even if it did, I hated it being there. It was in the way and broke up the beauty of the interior. On top of that, it was obvious to any passer by that I had something interesting in my car. While I live in a fairly low crime suburb of Kansas City, the university I work at is right in the middle of an area with the highest crime rate in KC. Cars being broken into on campus is a regular thing, so I needed something semi stealth.

After searching Best Buy for alternative mounting options and coming up empty handed, I had settled on ordering a custom ProFit Mount. I drive a european car, I'm used to not being able to find what I need in local stores.

However, I still was not a fan of the ProFit and the way it put the Starmate off to the side. I still couldn't help but feel it was breaking up the "semetrics" of the interior.

I had my heart set on mounting this deal in the middle of the radio console, and I knew just he place. The Passat has a spring loaded cover for the ashtray. This ashtray is quite deep and wide -- and I don't smoke. So, I took the ashtray out, used electrical tape to cover up the lighter and using some brackets, screws, some other parts of the original mount, some electrical tape and double sided tape, fashioned a stand to level the Starmate in place.



What I plan to do is actually remove the innards of the tray so that the Starmate will actually sit under the spring loaded door. This way, to hide my radio I just can shut the cover. However, I lacked the tools and time for that today, so for now...



The electrical cable isn't the prettiest way or cable organization, but I'm going to get some of that flexy-mesh stuff to run it through to make it look nice and pretty. However, the door and casing keep the Starmate nice and snug. It is also easy to remove and reinstall as needed.

The power and antenna run under the passenger side seat and are taped to the bar in such a way that the seats can be moved back and forth and give slack but stay out of the way from being crushed. (excuse the dog hair)



The antenna is sitting on the back part of the dash. I get excellent reception where it is at, so unless that changes it'll stay there. I need to straighten out the cable and figure out a good way to secure it in place.

The unit is powered via my 12V power source in the trunk for now. I bought a 10' extension cable from RadioShack and taped them together so they're nice and snug. My spare Mobil 1 0W-40 bottle had to make an appearance for this shot. Gotta represent the VW502. (Anyone who knows anything and is running a VW/Audi 1.8T engine will know what I'm talking about.)



And last but not least, the unit at night is all powered up and working. I used to think my interior panel was blue and red, but the blue of the Starmate screen makes the rest look purple and red. There has to be something I can do about that



Future Plans
- Fit the Starmate into the tray so that it can be covered by the spring loaded cover.
- Hard wire the 12V power.
- Hard wire the audio input to my stock VW Monsoon head unit. The tape deck doesn't seem to take advantage of my 8-speaker/amp/sub like I think it would if it were hard wired.
- Hide all the cables even more and make it even more pretty.

Anyway, if you actually read all this, thanks.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:33 PM   #2
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Thumbs up Not bad !

If you are going to the trouble of getting the receiver to fit in the tray, you might as well drill one hole in the back to hide the wires. Then you don't need the wire loom. Have the wires enter from this hole and plug into the rec. Then if you ever get rid of the car, plug the hole witl a grommet plug (like a firewall plug), shut the tray cover, and you're done!
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guinnessfan
If you are going to the trouble of getting the receiver to fit in the tray, you might as well drill one hole in the back to hide the wires. Then you don't need the wire loom. Have the wires enter from this hole and plug into the rec. Then if you ever get rid of the car, plug the hole witl a grommet plug (like a firewall plug), shut the tray cover, and you're done!
My ambitious plan is removing that entire tray down there at some point and building a custom holder so I can just slide the cover over it. However, the more I think about that, the more I don't think it'd be at a good angle to read at if I do that. Either way, eventually the cables will all go away when its fully hard wired.
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Old 10-14-2006, 08:52 PM   #4
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I just hardwired into the HU with a Blitzsafe adapter, holy crap does that sound 10x better then that tape deck POS! I'm going to have to redo some of my cabling and the mount a little bit but its worth it for actually being able to enjoy the music!
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