This weekend was about two things: installing a dashboard and finally getting some tunes in the Mini. And after quite an incredible amount of needless bloodshed, not enough coffee and a very cold Scottish day in the garage, the job is done. Sort of. Anyway, photos of where this all started:
Last weekend - assessing the terrifying wiring mess already in the dash area left behind by the PO. Since owning the car I've simply zip tied the whole lot out of the way and ignored it, but the time is now...
Eek. Dodgy bonus fuse.
Old wiring harness. To be honest I had hoped it might just slot into the back of my cheap-and-cheerful eBay stereo. I've never done this before so can't claim to have known any better!
Speaking of which, looks like it may have been designed to go into a slightly bigger vehicle...
New harness temporarily in and testing the speakers which will go in the dashboard. I cannibalised these from some ordinary household stereo speakers that I've had for about 10 years, but which I don't use anymore and have had knocking around.
It was then that I discovered that the live ran straight off the battery - I had been idly wondering what this was:
In fact on the old harness both the live and the ignition ran to this cable. It was getting late and I'm not that bright, so rather than muck about finding a new decent live, and isolating an ignition source, I simply wired up a spare switch I've had knocking around which will stop the stereo draining the battery when the car's laid up for a week or two. Plus extra switches:
Then on Tuesday the dashboard arrives. If the company have custom tape, their gear's going to be good, right?
New dashboard and a speakerboard for underneath the rear seats
Binnacle out, things are getting serious...
I decided to ditch the front air vents in favour of the cannibalised speakers - but without any welding skills to properly block up the holes which open onto the inner wings, I decided that coffee is the answer, regardless of the question. Before:
After (please don't hate me)
Then the only genuinely terrifying part of the process - using a hacksaw to cut down the white tubes which house the indicator bulbs, whilst trying not to scratch the clock faces. Eep. Notice the rough edges - which luckily aren't on show when in the car.
Prepping the dash, the clocks are screwed into this too.
New cables running for the rear speakers (we nearly forgot to do this before fitting the dashboard, which would have been an immensely basic error...) - I'm glad we went to the trouble of hiding these as much as possible...
Dash in. I can't tell you how awkward and stressful this was. For reference, we had to roll the car out onto the drive and open both doors to get enough elbow room... Happy with the results except that the clocks seem to point downwards so I can't really see the top of them. Good thing I never do anything like 70 mph...
Curse word. Pictured: glamorous assistant.
Speakers going in.
Head unit in. Also note my hillbilly iPhone holder (it's a coke can and two zip ties attached to the heater hose).
And the rear speakerboard in. I fitted the speakers to the rear because I ordered the wrong size and they wouldn't drop into the front. But they sound pretty good regardless. The fit was so tight that I didn't even bother with the brackets, just beat it into place with the bloodied stumps left where my fists used to be.
Job done. It sounds immense. But - rather worrying - when I got back from the test drive I parked the car in the garage and with the engine running a thin vapour or possibly extremely thin smoke started wisping out of the screen heater vents. What the hell is that? I was too knackered to start investigating so it's parked up as a mystery. Any ideas?
Thanks for reading if you made it this far!