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Thread: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

  1. #1

    Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    Hopefully Joker will chime in here, but I'm up for everyone's thoughts on this as well.

    I've decided against going the Sync route. I'd have to downgrade to the Shaker 500 head unit and by the time you add up the cost of the radio, Sync unit and installation you're looking at $1,600. Not worth it for a non-touch screen system, IMO.

    So...

    The Z110BT that Joker recommended in a previous thread is being phased out. You can still find it and the price is right (~ $900) but I've been looking at the new models. The upgraded feature sets and interfaces are much nicer, IMHO.

    Right now I'm looking at 2 specific units, the AVIC-Z120BT (successor to the Z110BT), and the AVH-P4200DVD. The Z120BT is a full featured touch screen nav unit with bluetooth and media connectivity (DVD, SD, iPhone, USB). Very nice system, but pricey. The P4200DVD is a Multimedia A/V receiver only (DVD, SD, iPhone, USB), no nav or bluetooth. You can add both capabilities by buying add on units though.

    Z120BT: Great interface, does everything you could ask for, incl. voice commands. Expensive, but if you absolutely have to have nav functionality, I think this is the way to go. $1,400.P4200DVD: Amazingly nice interface. Fully customizable and easy to use. It'll even display album art when an iPod/iPhone is connected as the source. $495.If you need bluetooth connectivity, you can buy the CD-BTB200 unit which connects to the head unit and provides hands-free calling and bluetooth audio streaming. $179.You can add nav to the P4200DVD with the AVIC-U220, but the price is $400 and the functionality is not as nice as the nav head units.

    Summary: If you absolutely NEED nav, get a full up nav head unit. Otherwise, look at one of the Multimedia A/V receivers and add a bluetooth unit. At this point, I'm looking at $1,400 vs. $675 and trying to decide if I really NEED nav and voice commands.

    What do you think? I'm open to any thoughts, criticism and advice.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    After spending most of Saturday and all of Sunday researching and evaluating, I finally reached a decision. Hooray!

    Pioneer AVIC-X920BT

    Even came with a free set of speakers (Pioneer Premier TS-A702C) and a Pioneer iPhone cable. Dunno what I'll do with the speakers, I don't think they fit the Mustang.

    In the end, I had to have nav. Otherwise I would have gone with the AVH-P4200DVD with the CD-BTB200 blue tooth add on. I spent quite a bit of time agonizing over the AVIC-Z120BT, but in the end I couldn't bring myself to spend $1,400 on a head unit.

    I think the X920BT will fit the bill nicely. Nav, BT, voice commands, multimedia - DVD, SD, USB. Everything I wanted, with a nice touch screen user interface.

  3. #3
    Quitter Joe G's Avatar
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    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    That looks nice.

    I don't use my current system enough (~6 mo/year due to weather, typically on the weekends due to work travel) to worry about all the bells & whistles I'm missing, but someone like you who drives it a lot I can see why the upgraded system is necessary.


    Take lots of pics of the install. Looking forward to your feedback after.
    Stangs United: We Have More Horsepower Than You

  4. #4
    Quitter Joe G's Avatar
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    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    I just noticed this...

    "The ECO Graphs function even lets you keep track of your carbon emissions and gas mileage when you're taking a trip."





    I guess this must be the Al Gore edition.
    Stangs United: We Have More Horsepower Than You

  5. #5

    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    Yeah, I'm not especially worried about that function.

    I did just order a Pioneer backup camera, a 16GB microSDHC card and a 32GB thumb drive though. Between those two drives, I can put most of my digital music library on this thing.

    Thanks, Joe!

  6. #6

    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    Looks like a great choice Quag...Be sure to take pics of the install for us . I may be going this route myself later on.

  7. #7

    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    If I can find instructions on removing the stock radio I'll probably do the install myself. If I do I'll take pictures.

    I think I'm going to remove the key lock in the trunk and place the back-up camera there. RayMan on the fordgt500 forum did this and it is a really clean looking install. Not looking forward to routing that video cable all the way back through the car though. I'm hoping that I can mount the new GPS antenna under the dash where the stock antenna is located now, we'll see.

    It's amazing how you can see something on another car and decide that you have to have it on yours. This won't be as slick as the Sync package on my wife's car, as there are no steering wheel controls, but it'll be close enough.

    You know... You can buy a wired remote control harness for these units. They are commonly used to wire the units up to the steering wheel control. If you had a 2010 steering wheel and a wiring diagram I bet you could wire the controls up to the radio. That'd be way too expensive and would probably screw up the airbag and cruise control though.

  8. #8
    Doh! Joker's Avatar
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    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    Sorry for the late reply. Check the website http://avic411.com/ for more information.

    Unless they have increased the speed of the X900 series, let me give you a heads up. While it is a great deck and I had it for over a year, it is in no way comparable to the Z110 or Z120. My bluetooth on my X900BT took about 90 seconds to connect. Now it takes about 20-30 seconds. Everything is faster on the Z110. Boot-up, Nav etc.

    Also according to the AVIC website, the Z110 and Z120 are essentially the same with different software. A software upgrade will be available for the Z110 down the road. I didn't read all of the info, but I wanted to let you know.

    Also, there are cheaper places to buy it then Crutchfield.
    2008 Red Super Snake
    CSM # 08SS0067
    TVS, 2.65 VMP upper pulley, L&M TB & Plenum, 80 lb FRPP Injectors, Cobra Jet MAF, DynoTech 3.5 DS, Revan Racing Radiator and Heat Exchanger, KR Mufflers, Custom Stereo
    A.E.D. Tuned on 91 pump gas
    682 RWHP, 652 TQ

  9. #9

    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    OK, I've been scouring the internet looking for info on this installation. I quickly realized that things have progressed a bit since the last time I installed a head unit in a car. Used to just be power, speaker wires, antenna lead. It's a little more complicated these days.

    To properly install a Nav based head unit, you need to tie in to the following wires:

    VSS: Vehicle Speed Pulse Sensor. Lets the nav system use "dead reckoning" to show the vehicle position if the satellite lock is lost.
    RAP: Retained Accessory Power. Allows the head unit to stay on for 10 minutes, or until a door is opened, whichever happens 1st.
    Parking Brake: Safety feature. You can only watch video or set a nav destination when the parking brake is set, so you have to tap the parking break sensor. You can bypass this, but that's another discussion entirely.
    Backup Light: If you're installing a backup camera you'll need to tap this wire as well. It will allow the head unit to automatically switch the display to the backup camera video when the reverse lights are lit.

    The key to all of this seems to be selecting the correct wiring harness adapter. You can use an inexpensive adapter like the Metra 70-5521, but then you have to go wire hunting under the dash for the special wires listed above. Or you can go with a harness made specifically for the data bus on our cars, like the PAC C2R-FRD1. It's more expensive (a lot more), but Crutchfield sells it at a 50% discount if you buy the head unit from them (I did). Make sure you select a harness that supports an amplified system.

    There are other issues to work around, like installing a 5vdc regulator in the external amp turn on wire between the head unit and the Shaker amp to keep the door subs from popping at turn on. You may also want to add a relay to supply high current RAP power (using the 1 amp RAP line on the C2R-FRD1 as a trigger) so that you don't have to worry about how much power you're drawing when you turn the car off.

    At any rate, I'm almost to the point where I'm comfortable doing this. Hope to have everything nailed down by the time the equipment arrives later this week. I'll let you know how it goes. Worst case, I pay a shop to do it. Shouldn't need to do so though.

    C2R-FRD1 wiring harness diagram.

    Oh, taking the center console apart to get to the radio? Piece of cake. I hope.

  10. #10
    Doh! Joker's Avatar
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    Re: Down to 2 choices for an aftermarket head unit

    Taking the center console apart takes about 5 minutes. Remove shift knob, 2 screws on the back inside of center console behind storage space on the top. Remove it and lay it to the side. Then pop off the plastic panels on both sides of the deck and now you have access to everything.
    2008 Red Super Snake
    CSM # 08SS0067
    TVS, 2.65 VMP upper pulley, L&M TB & Plenum, 80 lb FRPP Injectors, Cobra Jet MAF, DynoTech 3.5 DS, Revan Racing Radiator and Heat Exchanger, KR Mufflers, Custom Stereo
    A.E.D. Tuned on 91 pump gas
    682 RWHP, 652 TQ

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