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Thread: 2004 Altima install

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate Superduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Vancouver BC

    2004 Altima install

    Hello people.

    Here's my project so far. This has been years in the making so I'm so relieved to finally be almost done.

    My goal was to keep a relatively stock appearance without permanently modifying anything. It's all completely reversible without having to replace anything.

    It's not really anything special these days. Same basic components as most setups now.

    D945GCLF2D Motherboard
    2GB DDR Ram
    320GB 2.5" HD
    EBY-701 Lilliput 7" TS
    Cheap USB Wi-Fi Adapter
    Microsoft GPS (Came with Streets & Trips 2006 - shows how long I've been planning. That's nothing, I did really start when was still young and store-less)
    Direct HD module
    MitchJS Cable and MitchJS' USB Audio input.
    Metra Dash Kit and Wiring Harness
    Used MTX Thunder 4-channel amp
    Cheap OBD2 USB adapter *
    Cheap backup camera *
    *Not installed yet

    Sorry for all the photos, as with most, it's also a place to document everything for myself.
    First, here's a stock photo of the factory dash. I totally forgot to take a proper before pic.

    This is as close as I got to a before pic.

    Initial measurements of dash space and LCD fitment. My goal was to install the entire PC in the dash. There was a moderate amount of space. After install, I'd say not QUITE enough space, but I managed it.

    Here's the Lilliput bezel beside the Metra kit. The most unfortunate part about the Metra kit is that the curved parts don't QUITE go all the way to the top of the opening, so I had to adapt. Unfortunately, I didn't always have access to the car to take measurements. Next time I'll definitely follow the 'measure twice - cut once' rule. Oh well, lesson learned. In the end, it's pretty close.

    Next, after some really rough cuts using my BBQ on my patio as a workbench and a dremel freehand, I used some rigid epoxy-type stuff and ended up with this.

    Not pretty, and you can see the big height difference. (Admittedly, I didn't measure properly and had to shave the top down a fair bit in the end anyway. Hindsight is 20/20. The bottom was really hard to compress anymore anyway thanks to that horrible curve.

    Next, I slathered it in body filler and got to work sanding.

    After what felt like six months of sanding, I was finally able to switch to priming then more sanding. I must have sprayed it with primer then sanded it all off at least 20 times I think. I also drilled the hole for the IR LED for the remote.

    Another major hurdle in the fab process for me was that the rounded pieces also had an outward curve whereas the Lilliput bezel was flat, so I had to make the height transition relatively smooth which proved to cause more headaches. As you can see, continuing the shape along the top wasn't very easy either. I could have done better, but in the end, it doesn't look too bad.

    Then came the SEM texture coat. I could have been less aggressive with the texture, it was my first time using it, and I should have practiced a bit more, but after a couple of tries with distance and then sanding, here's the final texture.

    Finally together again, LCD and bezel.

    And the back, with some creative use of take-out plastic containers. Kinda mickey-mouse, but it works. Don't tell anyone.

    Finally comes the computer frame. I started with a double-din radio sleeve that a nice stereo shop donated. I got a spare set of stock Nissan radio brackets to bolt it into the dash with, and attached them together. Then I used a couple old computer case doors and cut out the motherboard base and a smaller one for the hard drive and power supply to attach to. Again, nothing fancy, but it works.

    Motherboard and power supply and hard drive installed into case. It was a tight fit, but it all worked. I could have spent more time on cable management but it all fit, and with an open case, I figure there's enough air for it all to breathe okay.

    Finally I was able to test-fit it all in the dash. It was tight, I ran into issues with the VGA plug hitting the inside dash panel, so I hacked the cable a little bit so it could turn sharper and it worked. I tried a 90 degree vga adapter, but it didn't really help, just angled the cable up instead, so I just cut the connector a bit so it'd bend easier.

    A lot of messy wires. That was just with the USB extension cable for my wifi adapter. There's also the MS GPS mouse now sitting up in that tiny cubby close to the windshield. It's just big enough for the GPS and wifi adapter. The Directed HD box and all its associated wiring JUST fit in a small alcove to the right of the computer case, next to the glove box/airbag.

    Finally installed in the dash. OMG what a lot of work to get this far. It's all worth it that first time it fires up and the sweet sound of the Windows Startup blares out of your speakers.

    I just want to thank the entire MP3Car community for all the help with the planning stages, and for all the mistakes people made that I was able to learn from. I made plenty of my own and hopefully someone can learn from mine too.

    Thanks for reading, feel free to share your ideas or comments or criticisms.


    How Much Horsepower Can I have And Still Go To Heaven?

  2. #2
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Wow, looks very OEM. Love how you made it look textured like OEM.
    Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

    1X Ainol Novo Flame Tab
    4X MK808b
    3x Perixx Touchpads
    3x 7 inch Screens
    1X 7 inch motorized Screen
    1x Win 7 PC

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate Superduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Vancouver BC
    Thanks, dude. That's what I was going for.

    After having some time to play with it now, I have noticed a couple minor issues.

    One, I'm using DFX4 and I can't seem to get it to sort the playlist at all. I tried searching, but didn't come up with anything definitive. Do I just have to do all my music management in Winamp first?

    Second, I noticed once in a while, perhaps depending on what I have it on when I shut the car off, when I hit 'Music' it gets stuck on 'linein://...' from the HD Radio input plugin. Is there a way to avoid that?

    I've worked out most of my bugs myself after extensive searching and trial and error though. I've learned a lot from this experience. I've already got a coworker that wants me to build him one in his truck now.


    How Much Horsepower Can I have And Still Go To Heaven?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Very nice work!
    How about HU? Do you use one?

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate Superduck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Vancouver BC

    No, I don't have a HU. The factory speakers (mids and tweets up front and coax in backs) are powered by an amp under the passenger seat (I said MTX, but it's a Rockford Fosgate). Radio is supplied through the Directed HD box. It all works quite well. I've got four-channel surround sound and it's crystal clear. No alternator whine or anything.

    Another side note though, I did notice last night, that my gps won't find any satellites now. The other day, I was able to get a few, but was just parked in my parking lot at home. Driving around, I got nothing. Some people did mention that wifi adapters can get in the way. Unfortunately, my wifi USB adapter is RIGHT beside my GPS mouse. I'm guessing it's messing it up? XPort shows data flashing by at the bottom of the screen, but I'm not able to get a single satellite to show up. I guess I'll have to tear it apart and separate the two things and see if that helps.

    How Much Horsepower Can I have And Still Go To Heaven?

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