xluben's 2012 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium

Discussion in 'Photo & Video Gallery' started by xluben, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. jles
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    jles Member

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    That's awesome Ben!
     
  2. ryjacobs
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    ryjacobs Well-Known Member

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    I can't figure out why that Camaro is on a trailer. That cruise must be pretty lame for someone.

    Pics look great!
     
  3. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if there is some big meet or track event in MN/IA/Chicago or something. We saw a couple others on the road. one had the front end all taped up.
     
  4. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Happy 4th of July everyone!
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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  5. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Some more photos from the trip:

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  6. TickTack
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    TickTack Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a fun trip!
     
  7. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Brian drove my Forester a while back and said the stereo totally sucked. I agreed. Finally got around to doing something about it last night. I'm currently in the middle of some upgrades on my 2002 WRX and decided to remove the head unit and install it into the Forester. The Bugeye came with an Alpine CDA-9886 single DIN head unit and it sounded pretty good (waaaay better than the stock Forester setup). Since I drive the Forester far more I figured it made sense to put in the HU into that car. Here is a photo of the interior of the Bugeye when I bought it, and a link to more info on that build.

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    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2528768

    I had previously toyed with the idea of a nice double DIN touchscreen setup in the Forester, but once I bought the Bugeye I decided to put the mod budget into that. The CDA-9886 is by no means great, but it's still a decent unit for what it is. It has USB, RCA, iPod inputs and is compatible with the stock steering wheel controls (with the correct adapters). I actually had the CDA-9856 in my old Honda Accord (head unit was current at the time that I had it) and I really liked it. The 9886 is a few years newer (although still quite a few years out of date right now).

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    http://www.alpine-usa.com/product/view/cda-9886/
    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-qDqVHDpjtHO/p_500CDA9886/Alpine-CDA-9886.html

    To install the HU into the car, and keep as much of the OEM functionality as possible, I needed various adapters and wiring harnesses. I purchased as much as I could from the very informative ae64 site. I got the 20 pin HU adapter (includes 3 wires for SWC), Axxess ASWC module and harness, and the 3.5mm aux jack adapter. Here are the relavant links that I used for purchasing and installing everything from ae64.

    http://ae64.com/
    http://ae64.com/aftermarket-HU-install-parts-Impreza-BT.htm
    http://ae64.com/20-pinfwdharness.htm
    http://ae64.com/ASWC-steering-wheel-interface.htm
    http://ae64.com/aswc-install.htm

    The only other things I needed were the dash adapter kit, and the USB adapter harness. Normally ae64 sells the USB adapter, but he was out of stock so I just ordered it from Sonic Electronix along with the dash kit. Unfortunately I chose the slow shipping method so these things did not arrive yet. The parts from ae64 shipped very quickly and arrived in just a few days. I was too eager to install so I did it without the dash kit or USB harness, so I will have to go back and install those once they arrive.

    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_68607_Axxess-AX-SUBUSB.html
    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_13401_Metra-99-8902.html

    Now, onto the actual installation process. The first step is to remove the old stereo. Before you do this, make sure to disconnect the battery. I did not do this and got a nice shock when I removed the antenna connection.

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    The trim around the radio and center vents just pops right off. No need to remove any other panels from the interior. I just started in the corner and carefully popped off the tabs. I used a plastic baby spoon and it worked perfectly.

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    Now there are just (4) Philips head screws holding the stock HU in place. Unscrew them and pull the head unit out. It will only pull out a few inches and then you have to unplug everything.

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    Here are the wires that are plugged into the back of the head unit. Two larger white ones, one small black one, one small grey one, and the metal antenna adapter. The largest white plug is the main harness that has all the speaker connections, power, ground, SWC's, etc. The smaller white one is the 3.5mm aux input. The grey plug is for the USB input.

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    Here is a photo of the stock HU and bezel out of the car.

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  8. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Now, onto wiring up the new head unit. This also could have been done before tearing apart the car it's going into. Thinking back, this would probably be preferable. Just in case something goes wrong or you find out you're missing a part you don't have a torn apart car. Oh well. I wired it up after taking apart the Forester. Here is the new head unit.

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    Hooded mystery man (aka my brother) is wiring things up. The harness from ae64 made this quite easy. There were a few wires from the ASWC harness that needed to be connected (see link I posted above) and the rest of the ASWC wires are just left disconnected. The ae64 harness was color to color match with the Alpine harness. We just matched colors and connected.

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    In the photo below you can see all of the connection off the Alpine head unit. The far left green connector is for the iPod interface, which I will not be using. The next is the RCA input, which has the adapter on it to connect to the OEM 3.5mm aux input. The next is the black USB input, which I will be using once I get the adapter. After that is the ASWC box which is wired into the main connector. Far right is the antenna connection.

    We used screw on wire nuts because that's all I could find in my house. This is not recommended for car audio use, but was done because it was convenient. If I have any signal issues I will go back and crimp or solder the connections.

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    Here it is all plugged in and working! The ASWC module automatically connected and configured itself. I didn't have to do a thing. Volume, mode, and track/channel changing work as expected. Very happy with the result and ease of use.

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    Last shot is the HU in place (kind of) with the bezel mocked up in place. I will get the dash kit soon and finish up the install at that point. Right now it is in and working and sound way better than stock! Very happy with the result and it was quite easy with the parts from ae64. Install didn't take more than an hour or two.

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    And the Bugeye still sitting in the background with no motor :(

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  9. that-dude
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    that-dude Well-Known Member

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    nice looking fozzy. i might go the same route on the suspension on my 09. question, how is the clearence level? you think it will it be good enough during the winter? also, if you want to get rid of the stock head unit on the fozzy, i'll take it as mine cant skip track during cd play.
     
  10. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Clearance seems OK. I have the Forester height tires on, so that makes it sit a little higher than an Impreza or WRX, and the suspension itself also sits a little higher, even with the WRX springs and struts.
     
  11. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Some quick interior shots of the finished head unit install:

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  12. that-dude
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    that-dude Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the input, it helps a lot, especially seeing one on how it looks.
     
  13. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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  14. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    More on the speaker install:

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    Speakers
    Adapter Rings
    Wire Harness Adapters
    Weatherstripping
    Tools

    The rings are from:

    http://www.subaruaudio.net/subaru-speaker-spacers/

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    My helper:

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    Master sheet has info on removing panels:

    http://www.subaruaudio.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/09+-Forester-Master-Sheet.pdf

    Door panel removed:

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    VERY poor quality stock speaker:

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    TINY magnet:

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    This is the "basic" 4 speaker system:

    http://www.crutchfield.com/learn/2008-11-subaru-impreza.html

    Higher trim levels get a better 6 speaker setup with components in the doors and tweeters in the sails. This is what the 2011 WRX comes with. It sounds considerably better than this. This setup sounded truly awful.

    Wiring adapter plugged in, then wiring shown routed through the inside of the door panel:

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  15. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    That's all the further I got until later in the evening. Here is the rest.

    Weatherstripping on the door:

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    Speaker rings. The ones I got are 3/4". The screws I had were only 1" long. This ended up not being long enough to thread in, so I had to countersink the holes. I did it with a hand drill and it wasn't the best, but it worked.

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    Hard to see, but I did pre-drill the 4 holes for the speaker to mount to:

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    Weatherstripping on the speaker rings:

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    Wiring adapter on the speaker:

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    Installed photos:

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    The screws I had ended up being #8, and the inserts in the doors are for #10, so they didn't hold. I had to use u-nuts to get them to stay in place. I bought some #10 screws the next day, but I haven't gotten around to re-doing it.

    Also note that it may look like there is plenty of clearance in the door panel for the bigger speakers, but if you don't use them the window will hit the magnet when you open it! You definitely need the rings with a speaker this large.
     
  16. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    And finally, some more comparison photos of the stock speakers vs. the Pioneers.

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  17. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Very nice, its amazing what just a head unit will do for the sound. I'm curious to hear (no pun intended) your review on the sound after the upgraded speakers as well. I currently have a subwoofer and high pass filter set for the stock interior speakers in the saabaru, and it doesn't sound too bad. I'm willing to bet that upgraded speakers would make a big difference as well, but I haven't taken the time to figure out fitment, the right spacers required, etc.
     
  18. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    The head unit definitely makes a big difference in sound. Do you know what speakers your Saabaru has in it stock? I bought the Bugeye with this head unit and stock speakers. It sounded quite good. I actually had assumed they were aftermarket speakers until I actually opened it up and looked.

    The Bugeye has a component setup stock (ie. tweeters), so it sounds quite a bit better than the Forester (and other 08+ Impreza/WRX/Forester/Outbacks with the "Base" sound system). The 2011 WRX came with factory tweeters and it sounded much better than the Forester when stock. Basically these are some of the worst OEM speakers that have been offered.

    So, for me it was a pretty huge change. I initially just installed one and did some back to back listening (fading the head unit back and forth). The new ones are MUCH more clear. They can be turned up a lot louder without distorting. They don't really have much more bass, but that's not too surprising from a modest size speaker.

    With your stock ones on a high pass filter that will help a LOT with power handling since it won't be overdriving the lows and causing distortion. Even if they are cheap speakers that will help them a lot. I still think a decent set of door speakers (coaxial or component) will be a nice upgrade.
     
  19. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    The saabaru does have the separate tweeter, which is why they still sound "ok." I'm sure some new aftermarket speakers would still help a lot though.
    I'm more interested in adding sound deadening though to cut down on road noise and increase sound quality....just need to find time!

    Thanks for the review though, I didn't realize that Subaru now has/had two speaker options. I've always thought older Subaru's sound systems sounded like poo, but my gf's 2010 outback sounds pretty decent. Must be the 6 speaker setup.

    Looks like the Forester 2.5x's at least have rear disc brakes now :p
     
  20. GiMp
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    GiMp Well-Known Member

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    When are we installing the 6 12 inch subs in the back?
     
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  21. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    I am not planning on doing that.
     
  22. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if it was ever mentioned before, but the head unit I installed was not fully functional. It was pulled from my 02 WRX (it came with the car). I never really tested it in the WRX, but once I got it into the Forester I found that the CD drive wouldn't read and the USB input (the main thing I would use) would not work (at least not with any of the USB drives I tried). The 3.5mm jack and radio did work fine. I have been using just the radio since installing it.

    For my birthday my brother decided to buy me a new head unit. I was originally looking at used CDA-9886's (same model I currently had) on eBay. They typically were selling for close to $150 for used, but functional units. He also found that it was somewhat common for the older Alpine units to have trouble reading some newer USB drives.

    So I started looking at newer Alpine models that would be comparable. All the lower end stuff had front USB. I already had wired in the USB to work with the factory USB port in the armrest so I wanted a head unit with rear USB to keep that functionality. I found the CDE-147BT seemed to be the best option. It was $180 with a free install kit from Crutchfield. My brother even found that they had an open box version for $20 off.

    So for nearly the same price as an old, used CDA-9886 I got a new CDE-147BT. Similar specs but a few more modern features (Bluetooth, iPod, Pandora, etc). The "open box" seems to have just mean there was Crutchfield tape on the box. Everything else seemed to be sealed in the original packaging.

    When I was researching this I hoped (but could not confirm) that this would would be a direct drop in replacement. I was fortunate that it was! I just unplugged everything from the CDA-9886 and plugged it into the CDE-147BT. It was a very quick and simple install. No new wiring or anything else was needed. Steering wheel controls worked automatically. USB works great. Very happy with the upgrade!

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  23. TMF
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    TMF Well-Known Member

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    Nice work! How are the pioneer's sounding?

    My leggy has the Harmon Kardon which is better than I expected. I'm still toying with the idea of a forester instead, but I'm enjoying some of the "niceties" in the leggy that I don't really want to sacrifice.
     
  24. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    They sound nice and clear, but I think they could benefit from an external amp to really get them going. They're rated for 50W RMS and these head units only 18W RMS.

    The Forester is a bit taller, which is nice with a kid. May also be nice for someone taller like you. The cold weather package is nice, but I'm sure the Legacy still has a lot more features.
     
  25. Papa Pappas
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    Papa Pappas New Member

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    I love your suspensions set up. I may have to copy it... What was the total budget on suspension, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  26. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    So far I have spent $0.
     
  27. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Photos from last night.

    First was an oil change on my wife's Civic.

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    Packing up a couple R160's to bring to NF.

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    Time for the Forester.

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    Stock rear sway.

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    Stock vs. Whiteline.

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    Whiteline rear sway, Whiteline braces, RalliTek endlinks.

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    Front 3/4 shot.

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    Side.

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    Parked for the night.

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    I'll put on the front sway bar some other day.
     
  28. Ctracey218
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    Ctracey218 Playpen Wrangler Staff Member

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    Ben, any updates with this?

    I know the bugeye has been getting lots of love lately.. Just curious
     
  29. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    Photo from last night:

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    Nothing really happening with the car though. Winter wheel setup is back on, but not much else.

    Enjoying the heated seats for my commute to and from work. No real plans for it other than driving it.
     
  30. NaMinesClarence
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    NaMinesClarence Well-Known Member

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    BUMP!

    Might have skipped over it but is there any clunking from the rear control arms with the WRX struts and 3/8th spacers? I am considering lowering with WRX/STI struts and springs.
     
  31. xluben
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    xluben Well-Known Member

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    I haven't noticed any strange noises. Is that a common issue? More recent photo:

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  32. NaMinesClarence
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    NaMinesClarence Well-Known Member

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    I have read that the upper control arm hits when lowered.

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