Hi Matt, let me see if I can help.
First of all, hope you find a good FX35, but man, I love this car. Wife wants to trade it already, but I want to keep it for my daughters, or at least longer. I have had not one single issue with the car, just oil change and brake pads, not even a disc brake. The exhaust note still sounds amazing. I just wish I had bought the FX45 instead, I bought the 35 thinking I would put a turbo on it, that's it's easier to mod, etc. but in reality I never did anything with it. So if you don't plan to mod, go for the v8, the engine is lovely but I miss more torque. Maybe I'm spoiled by the Sequoia, which it is, and feels faster, in a straight line mind you.
Now your questions:
1. The stock screen is ugly in the back, bare metal, and it's kind of thick and squarish. It's the same thickness as the one used on the M35 (another sweet ride), there are some pictures in my thread there. So to mount it in the overhead console is doable, Turbocad did it, it works fine, it's just more fabrication work. The Xenarc, I just mounted it upside down (this way there's no buttons, logos, it looks more OEM), primed and painted, looks great from the back too.
2. I used one of the PAC audio interfaces to get me another AUX in, and a JL-Audio CL-RLC as a pre-amp. Today I would use another interface, the PAC-Audio can be noisy, and the two aux inputs cross talk, so if one if off and you select it when the other is playing, you can hear it in the background with noise, so not a high-quality solution that. I'd stay away from PAC interfaces, cheap plastic, connectors, etc. I used very thick cables to try to manage the noise, but still. There's another solution on ebay now, that also allows for a composite input if you have the nav interface, so I'd go for that.
3. The Xenarc is a bad screen all around. Bad viewing angles, it does not remember the brightness/contrast settings, it's a very thick and ugly screen that I paid $440.00 for it and I feel embarassed. I would try the Samsung transflective that's going on sale soon, with an enclosure today, or the mp3car transflective that it's NOT based on the Lilliput (which I rate even lower than Xenarc build quality wise). It's called Inelmatic, it looks very well built, but I never seen one in person, so YMMV.
But today I would probably install a Galaxy Tab with GPS (the AT&T/3G one) in there.
4. Yes, I would consider a tablet subscribing to 3G service, unlimited.
However, my computer has been rock solid, except for the Garmin GPS (crap, doesn't work on resume from hibernation, windows 7 driver is crap); and bluetooth, but that's mostly blue soleil fault. What I like best is the hybrid sleep thing. It's been working non-stop for more than a year now. I turn the ignition, computer is on playing in 2 sec. It's very impressive.
One thing I might have changed would be to ditch the spare tires and build the computer there. It's a pain having the computer under the seat. I would also look harder to fit the PSU inside the case with the computer, the external solution I had to use (due to the DSATX size) was a pain, and it doesn't look as good or clean.
Thanks a lot, hope this helps!
Thanks a lot for the reply RH. I've been reading a lot about the FX35 and really like the first generations. Had some other thoughts while I was reading your reply:
1) I know you added the Joycon later to control the carPC, but did you find it strange to lift your head up and touch the screen when navigating CF? Also, after adding the Joycon/sony stick did you find yourself missing the touch aspect of the touchscreen?
2) I see what you're saying about putting the Xenarc in the overhead console. If someone moved the OEM screen to the overhead console, then they would still use the center dash buttons to navigate the screen which is now located up to. And they would look at the Xenarc expecting a response. Might be confusing.
2) Can't tell from your pictures, but is your FX35 a keyless push-to-start SUV?
1. The reason I added Joycon later was to replace the Space Navigator as a secondary input. It's nice to have easy to reach controls where you don't need to look a screen for basic functions, and I feel that Joycon+Sony stalk work great for that, much better than the Space Nav. Totally reliable and behaves well on hybrid sleep, what's not to like.
Having said that it's CAN feel funny pressing buttons on the overhead console. Your arms are raised and if you're not supporting it on anything it can be very imprecise. I tend to hold the screen a bit with some fingers for support if I'm stopped and using a lot of buttons. I got used to it, but the wife is not a big fan. I guess it depends on what FE/Skin you're using. I like big buttons and I can't deny...:-).
Note that this seems like a characteristic of all touch screens. I had one in the stock location in the M35, and I also used the other fingers on the dash to help with precision, and actually just extending your arms all the way to the dash for long periods can be tiring too.
2. Yes, I had my stock OEM in the center console in the M35, it wasn't very much intuitive. But it was just for A/C and OEM radio, so it was okay. The FX had NAV, so I'd rather keep it that there.
3. It's keyless, but not push to start, it's more like twist-to-start. There is no key hole, but I believe because it's an early implementation of the keyless to start system, they wanted to keep it close to the feel of a regular key, they used a twist button. Same thing, keys stays in your pocket at all times, just not as cool looking as late models.
Did I say I love the FX? :-)
I've joined some of the Infiniti forums and it appears you are not the only person who loves the FX35.
Originally Posted by RipplingHurst
Could you explain your AUX input setup to integrate the carPC? I've read about the PAC device, but do not get a good sense of how it performs. From my understanding, you press the DVD or AUX button to switch between stock and carPC audio. Is this correct? You said there's a lot of crosstalk and there are better options. Have you seen any on eBay because I do not know what search for. Last question I promise, did you take off the headliner when installing your screen into the overhead??
Setup can be kind of tricky, I don't recall very well the procedure. I always go back to the pac site to download the instructions when I reset the car by removing the battery.
Originally Posted by matt11601
Other than that, operation differs if you have tech package or not, and sat radio or not. Because the buttons change too. Since I have the tech package and the sat radio, I have to lose two sat radio memory stations for aux 1 and aux 2. So I just use memory bank "B", Preset 1 for aux 1 and preset 2 for Aux 2. Preset 3, 4 and 5 on that memory bank work fine (i.e. you can save FM/AM or SAT radio stations to it). Memory banks "A" and "C" are not affected. Now a car without sat radio there's no radio button (to toggle sat/am/fm) just an am/fm button and so on, but I don't know the details.
It's pretty simple really.
Search on ebay for infiniti FX 35 aux input
I found this:
Today I would probably opt for one that would also allow me to display video on the nav unit, like this one:
I cannot vouch for any of those units though, since I haven't tested them. I think there are some on Amazon too, there maybe you can find reviews.
P.S. NO I didn't take the headliner out. That would be a HUGE undertaking. According to the service manual, it comes off from the 5th door, which meant also removing the rear seats. Very easy to bend or get it dirty. However, according to the service manual, that's the right way to remove the thing, because you can just remove the clips without risk of any damage.
The difficulty of removing the overhead console are the metal clips. I don't remember how many screws, they're easy to remove, behind the lights IIRC, but there are plastic clips (like the ones everywhere else on the dash) and those metal clips. They are very HARD to remove, and brute evenly distributed force knowing exactly where they are (so as not to bend the headliner) is the only way I know how to do it (so grab the service manual, or check a replacement overhead console in your local infiniti dealer. I just had to do it twice (drove around weeks without it, sanding, painting etc.), and it became easier to remove it each time, while still correctly secured (no noises more than a year later). Factory put something like painter's tape around the metal clips, so it doesn't make noise or slides with vibration. If you're curious on how they work, the metal clips are rare to find in the car, the closest one you can remove to inspect are in the foot guard on the driver/passenger side close to the doors. That panel has a metal clip just like the ones in the overhead console, only without the tape.
I was reading you other post on the CF forum and I noticed you have a Logitech Quick Cam Pro 9000 installed.
What is the image quality like?
I have been looking for a good quality webcam for a while.
What is your experience with that one?
Especially at night.