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Definitive Replace Alpine Unit, Seat, Centre Consul and Dash Removal Guide

Discussion in 'Roadster: Technical' started by Jonathanm, May 15, 2017.

  1. Jonathanm

    Jonathanm Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Monaco
    CHANGING OUT ALPINE RADIO IN TESLA 2.5 ROADSTER FOR XTRONS ANDROID HEAD UNIT

    Some of the information mentioned here has been mentioned on other threads - I wanted to try and put it all together so it could be easily accessed. I wanted to add more photos but it seems I am limited to 10 per post...


    Procedure


    Order new clips for passenger airbag from Tesla. You will need to order 4. Part number is 2001315. Get yourself 50 new black electrical cable ties.

    IMGP2174.jpg


    Choose your new unit and bench test it thoroughly. Remember you will lose about 2-3mm from side of the screen because of the Stereo cover plate. So be careful with frame controlled units. I chose Xtrons TB706APL…make sure you get Octa core, 2GB of RAM, 32 GB of ROM and Android 6.0. They are priced around €300. You also have a slot where you can put a micro SD card and it accepts up to 32Gb…
    You can find it here but there are other places as well. I’m sure there are other units that will also do the job – this is the one that I thought that ticked most of the boxes.
    XTRONS TB706APL 8-Core Android 6.0 Double DIN Sat Nav Car GPS Stereo DAB+ Radio | eBay
    Once you are satisfied with your choice and thoroughly bench tested you can start the job…If you have never done a big job on your dashboard you should allow yourself a weekend as there are lots of things to learn – but nothing too difficult. Take your time with everything – that way you will brake nothing.



    Removing Drivers Seats and Centre Consul

    If you don’t want to remove the seats and centre consul go straight to the section “Dashboard”.
    1. I removed both seats and the whole of the centre consul because I wanted to get in and have a good look and clean. Under the seats was disgusting – in normal position, it is not possible to clean under them so 5 years of dirt, leaves sand and lots of coins were found. I even found a nice Tesla key ring! Remove the driver’s seat (left) first – remember the plugs to disconnect – at the rear side of both seats is the heating connection, front of driver’s seat looks like a power supply for seat belt indication to disconnect and also handbrake indication connection on the passenger seat. The passenger seat and the rear driver’s seat bolts are all Allen key type – some of them a little difficult to access but if you have a various shapes of Allen keys, with a little patience, you will be fine. Passenger forward right side is the most challenging. The front of the driver’s side is 13mm socket bolts. 17mm spanner is used for the bolts that are connecting the seat belts to the seats which must be removed for complete removal from the car…
    2. Once the driver’s side seat is out then you can do the passenger seat. This seat is connected to and forms part of the handbrake centre consul arrangement. The handbrake arrangement should be disconnected from the centre consul first. Open the little cover below where the traction control/seat heating buttons are. (and where your IPod connector was) Remove the rubber piece where you place your phone. Then you will see a small silver Allen key bolt that needs to be removed. It is now just held on with clips but can take some force to remove. Inside, as well as a number of connectors, you will see a small chromed Allen key bolt that connects to the handbrake arrangement. Remove this.
    IMGP2254.jpg


    Remove the handbrake cable from the handbrake. Remove the transverse bolt that connects the rear end of the handbrake assembly with the rear bulkhead. Remove the similar transverse bolt at the forward end of the hand brake. If your connections are all disconnected and the 4 Allen key bolts for the seats are free then the seat should lift clear with the handbrake assembly. Go gently in case you have forgotten an electrical connection.
    IMGP2149.jpg

    3. You will find the rest of the centre consul – with the VDU is now a little loose – to fully remove this – firstly remove the big plug at the back of the VDU. There is 1 central tab to push down on to separate the plugs. If you can’t get to it now don’t worry, you can also do this as the unit comes free…You may get a fault light on the dash – but don’t worry about this. There are too large Allen key bolts holding the VDU to the underside of the dash board. You really need to get to these by feel. When these are clear the whole VDU and gear control panel will lift free. I noticed on the underside of this a very large Red LED – no idea what this does – never seen it lit…
    4. Now you can remove the centre plastic pillar that contains the 12VDC outlet and also the USB for downloading your log files. There are 3 small Philips screws each that will remove with their sockets. You will find that this piece is now free to do with it what you wish… I put a USB socket in there – more later on this.
    IMGP2185.jpg


    5. Lastly is the base of the centre consul containing the cup holder. This is held on by 2 largish Phillips head screws.
    6. Now the whole consul has been removed!
    7. Note – when putting the seats back – put the passenger seat back in place first – before screwing it down connect all the electrical connections, the handbrake cable – then place the seat in position to screw down – then reverse the above to put it back.
    IMGP2147.jpg
    IMGP2189.jpg
    The below image is looking behind the seat at the electrical connections...
    IMGP2188.jpg
    IMGP2182.jpg
    Dashboard
    1. Remove both running boards – they are just held down with Velcro. Strictly speaking you don’t need to remove them – but it is good the clean under them when they off.
    2. Next you can remove the “waterfall” areas on both sides – the left side has two small Philips type screws to remove to allow access inside. You can remove the plugs for the main light switch, fog lights, rear hatch removal and dashboard intensity. There you will find 2 Allen key bolts + another set of small Phillips screws holding the main panel on. Right hand side is the access to the fuses with a 90˚ slot screw. Then it is essentially the same as the left side.

    IMGP2175.jpg
    IMGP2176.jpg

    1. Remove the stereo head cover (that also forms part of the AC outlets) – it is held on with 4 clips – it needs quite a lot of force to remove it – probably some clips will fall into the hole – but you can get them later.
    2. Remove the passenger airbag over – just pull on the top fairly hard towards you - you will break the clips – you have to put the new ones in when you are finished – pretty simple though…
    3. Remove the steering wheel cowling – starting with the bottom – 2 Philips screws on the bottom, then 2 on each side – inner and outer. Once the cowling comes free remove the plug that resets the trip meter. Remove the upper part of the cowling which is now free. Remove the upper instrument cover cowling – the upper part is held at the front end on top of the binnacle by Velcro – the part of the cowling around the speedometer and energy meter is held on with 4 clips. So you have to lift to remove the upper part clear from the Velcro – then pull the ensemble towards you. It’s really pretty tough to shift. You can use screw driver wrapped in a rag to help lever it open.
    4. Remove the stereo cover plate – it is held on by 1 top centre Allen key bolt – (also holding down the top main dash cover) and 1 screw either side.
    5. Now you have full access to the top of the dash board cover – there are 4 screws (1 you have already removed) holding it in, only on the front edge – the rear edge just has 2 locating pins and that’s it.
    6. Remember to remove the front speaker connections as you gently remove the top of the dashboard.
    General Comments
    Completion – basically reverse the above – BTW the sound from the new stereo was great – the DAB radio is great addition as I had at least 30 stations available – as is YouTube (install the app from Play Store), Wi-Fi worked ok (has its own small antenna fitted at the back). I fitted a driving camera (Xtrons DVR 015) which is USB plugged in. I also added a female USB plug:
    Car Truck Dashboard Flush Mount USB Type A Extension 1m Cable Lead Adapter MA951 | eBay
    above the existing USB (where you dump your log files) 1 USB from the radio is routed to this female plug. I can then change between the camera, 4G dongle (if needed) and a USB cable that I ran to the old IPod position. The new Android head unit will not support a USB Hub – there are only 2 USB’s that come with the unit – One, I use exclusively for DVB radio and the other is varied as noted above.
    Google maps works fine for GPS + being Android you have a squillion programs that you can download though “Play Store”.
    The standard Alpine reversing camera works fine on the Android unit. Just keep the J-box that you will find inside the dashboard. – find the activating cable from your new stereo and run a RCA video cable back to your new system.
    I removed all unnecessary boxes – GPS, Bluetooth and whatever else I thought was superfluous.
    Check the ISO wiring connection on the sticker on top of the Alpine – (it’s not actually an ISO connection but it looks like one…) (this is the only place that powers the Alpine) – the wiring diagram in the owner’s manual made no sense to me (neither did the Tesla one for that matter) – the colours that Tesla have used are very different from standard. EG. +12V is Brown, - 12V is black. You can see the speaker cables as they are all the same colour and they are all twisted pairs. The blue cable goes to activate the amplifier. This cable you need to connect to the corresponding amp cable on your new stereo. Just make sure that when you bench test your radio that this wire is getting +12V – initially on my unit it was not – but there were 2 options about where to place this connector on the back of the unit initially it was plugged into the wrong connector. The pink wire I did not connect to anything and there is a spare white cable with +12V. Green was the ACC connection. Firstly, use any method to identify your speaker cables – I just used the new stereo with trial and error and then marked all of the speaker wires. There are 2 wires twisted for FL, FR, RL and RR. I had the enhanced stereo system with the amp in the passenger foot well – at first 1 channel was not working correctly – I played with the plug down on the amplifier and it all seemed to have come to life.
    There is a strange green cable and a black cable connected together – not sure what they do but have seen elsewhere on the forum where strange things have happened if they are disconnected. I just left them in situ.
    After trying to use crimp connectors; I gave up after a while as they are too temperamental and I had problems. In the end, I soldered everything and then used heat shrink on every connector to secure and protect it.
    Don’t worry about connections for the door tweeters and the sub-woofer – they will just come to life by themselves as long as you connect the 4 speaker cables directly. I found the sub-woofer was driving too loud with the new stereo – in the new stereo there is an “AMP” setting on the Android head where you can reduce the level of the sub-woofer.
    FOB Improvement
    In the left side waterfall if you look carefully you will find a purple wire twisted around a whole bundle of wires. This is the FOB antenna – you should untwist it and place it up on the dashboard under some tape running towards the side of the windscreen – you will find the improvement to FOB working distance improved by a factor of 3.

    Overall a fairly successful job – very happy with the versatility of the new radio – and the good news doesn’t cost a fortune…
    Any questions please ask.
    Jonathan





     
    • Informative x 4
  2. Jonathanm

    Jonathanm Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Monaco
    Some more pictures... IMGP2110.jpg

    This is how the unit looked with just the Alpine removed...

    IMGP2177.jpg
    Removing waterfall

    IMGP2180.jpg

    Removing waterfall

    IMGP2118.jpg

    Tesla ISO cabling - note the speaker cables are the twisted pairs..

    Check the ISO wiring connection on the sticker on top of the Alpine – (it’s not actually an ISO connection but it looks like one…) (this is the only place that powers the Alpine) – the wiring diagram in the owner’s manual made no sense to me (neither did the Tesla one for that matter) – the colours that Tesla have used are very different from standard. EG. +12V is Brown, - 12V is black. You can see the speaker cables as they are all the same colour and they are all twisted pairs. The blue cable goes to activate the amplifier. This cable you need to connect to the corresponding amp cable on your new stereo. Just make sure that when you bench test your radio that this wire is getting +12V – initially on my unit it was not – but there were 2 options about where to place this connector on the back of the unit initially it was plugged into the wrong connector. The pink wire I did not connect to anything and there is a spare white cable with +12V. Green was the ACC connection. Firstly, use any method to identify your speaker cables – I just used the new stereo with trial and error and then marked all of the speaker wires. There are 2 wires twisted for FL, FR, RL and RR. I had the enhanced stereo system with the amp in the passenger foot well – at first 1 channel was not working correctly – I played with the plug down on the amplifier and it all seemed to have come to life.
    There is a strange green cable and a black cable connected together – not sure what they do but have seen elsewhere on the forum where strange things have happened if they are disconnected. I just left them in situ.
    After trying to use crimp connectors; I gave up after a while as they are too temperamental and I had problems. In the end, I soldered everything and then used heat shrink on every connector to secure and protect it.
    Don’t worry about connections for the door tweeters and the sub-woofer – they will just come to life by themselves as long as you connect the 4 speaker cables directly. I found the sub-woofer was driving too loud with the new stereo – in the new stereo there is an “AMP” setting on the Android head where you can reduce the level of the sub-woofer.

    IMGP2240.jpg
    Connectors soldered and then covered with heat shrink.

    The following photos are showing the various options of the Android Stereo.

    IMGP2242.jpg
    IMGP2243.jpg

    IMGP2244.jpg

    IMGP2245.jpg

    IMGP2246.jpg

     
    • Informative x 1
  3. Jonathanm

    Jonathanm Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Monaco
    The old Alpine stuff to be removed...
    IMGP2113.jpg

    Blue tooth module that did not work...

    IMGP2115.jpg

    The purple wire that need to find in the left waterfall - place it up on the dash for significantly improved FOB reception.
    IMGP2116.jpg

    Antenna Install for DAB. I have used the aluminium foil ground plane as mentioned in another thread....

    IMGP2158.jpg
    Testing of the DAB unit before remounting

    IMGP2162.jpg

    Showing new installation - I have placed the GPS antenna on the top of the retained Alpine camera module...it is magnetic
    IMGP2168.jpg

    Image showing UTube image of some hippy music that I still like...this is on wifi but will also work well with a 4G dongle plugged into the new USB plug below the centre consul...
    IMGP2251.jpg
     
    • Informative x 4
  4. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    :D

     
  5. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Awesome report and very good instructions. I have pulled the seats and dash and your information is clear and accurate.
     
    • Like x 1
  6. ion_1

    ion_1 Member

    Joined:
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    Truly outstanding and accurate report that brings together so much in one post!
    I just put back together my dash from installing a single din Alpine HD149BT head unit in my 2.0 two weekends ago. The purple key fob antenna is an absolute must do. Ten seconds of work and the fob range went from 15-20 feet to the approx 70-80 feet I typically get now. Just pull it from its harness and used 1 piece of electrical tape to secure end to the upper dash structure. No need to extend it unless you need further range. Also , as you stated, no reason to pull the sills to remove the waterfall, just be careful when you remove and reinstall as the clearance around the sill is tight. Also, if anyone wants to pull their HVAC tubes to access deeper in the front dash (I had an ancient mouse nest that needed to go..ugh), they are secured with generic plastic pop rivets to the front dash frame. So don't worry if you want to remove them, just buy a simple plastic pop rivet gun and the fastening will even be better than the original. If any single DIN roadster owners are thinking about the hd149bt, just do it, it is absolutely amazing for a number of reasons.
     
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  7. Adrian Cockcroft

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2013
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Los Gatos, California, United States
    Thanks for this, my old 2.0 JVC head unit keeps having BT errors and I'm ready to replace it. The Alpine HD149bt looks good, but the Alpine 164bt has a front USB and some dedicated Pandora buttons that look useful. Any thoughts on the differences between these models? In the Bay Area, any suggestions for getting a new head unit installed? I've done installs myself but I think I'd rather get it done by someone who's upgraded Roadsters before.
     
  8. strider

    strider Active Member

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    3,137
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    NE Oklahoma
    I am needing to do this at some point. Moved into our house last summer and there was a mouse in the garage. Trapped him but not before he got into my car and peed or something. I swore he had gotten into the cabin and peed on the carpet but I sniffed every square inch and no offensive odors were found. I even sent my 5-year-old all the way into the footwells to smell the carpet and no dice. Now I 'm thinking he ended up in the ducts somehow. The smell got much better over the winter. Now that summer is here we'll see if it comes back. I am NOT looking forward to ripping out the whole dash just to clean up some mouse pee but I'm comforted by the fact that I'm not the first :)
     
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  9. ion_1

    ion_1 Member

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    164bt seemed to be a solid unit also. I went with the 149bt for:
    1. brightest, clearest display (for when top is off). Very sharp to read, even with top off and sunglasses on. (finally 90 degrees in NJ!)
    It is a different display than the 164
    2. I wanted the USB in the rear to hook up to the stock USB extension by the handbrake. Works perfect
    3. Built in HD tuner, I didn't expect much with the crappy antenna, but it pulls decently well. However, I use sirius/xm most of the time (which works better than my stock unit in my infiniti), just mount your sat antenna in your instrument binnacle.
    4. Custom equalizer works well, but he 164 may be good also
    5. Surprisingly the alpine microphone works decently well in the stock location

    Three images below, one is where I mounted the sat antenna in binnacle with some velcro, the other two where I strapped the satellite tuner: IMG_20170429_120309.jpg IMG_20170429_122225.jpg IMG_20170429_132038.jpg
     
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  10. ion_1

    ion_1 Member

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    Not fun, but if you are going to pull the dash, might as well think about any and all upgrades you would like to do while it is open and have some fun. At least you can re-position the key fob antenna. You want to get the mice out. I was lucky as it was an ancient nest with no odor, but you do not want them gnawing on your wiring harness. There are examples of some very $$ rodent damage posted in previous threads. I don't think the wire insulation is made out of the biodegradable = tasty, edible rodent food, that many new cars have , but mice still like to gnaw on wires regardless. Removing the dash is not a very difficult job, just take your time. There are some great threads on dash removal.
     
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  11. smac

    smac Active Member

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    Looks great.

    I've been wanting to do something similar with my Lotus for ages, but I can't get hold of the double-din central cowl that Tesla use for love nor money :(
     
  12. Nvbob

    Nvbob Roadster 1256

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    Just east of Lake Tahoe, Ca.
    We replaced our failing Alpine with a newer version - INE-W957HD with built in Navi X008U about three weeks ago. It was pretty much plug and play with the exception of the brake connection. Unfortunately, no photos.

    The difference is like night and day with the sound quality and reception. We can now listen to our FM stations without any static!

    Since everything is built in, we removed all of the old modules that were scattered under the dash and in the wheel wells. This and adding some extra weather striping when putting the dash back together has resulted in a much quieter ride!

    The only problem was having to get an engineering degree to configure it ;)!
     
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  13. strider

    strider Active Member

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    I got the little sucker and maintain traps in the garage in case any more move in. I'm not even sure there's a nest in there. He might have just did his business in the ducts. The Alpine unit is working fine so no plans to change that. Will definitely move the key fob antenna. Sounds like it will make for a good weekend project. Thanks!
     
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