Upgrading an in-dash receiver, Musicar style

By Patrick Rollins, Musicar Northwest
Photos by Patrick Rollins, Pierce Barrett, and Nick Akin

The client approached us at Musicar looking for CarPlay for a recently-acquired 2013 Porsche Cayenne with PCM navigation and the Bose sound package. We discussed various options, and the client really liked the idea of a larger-format display integrated into the interior (Specifically, the Sony XAV-AX8000).

He originally wanted the standard, free-floating display in front of the vents, but then he asked about recessing it slightly. We looked at the vehicle carefully, and I suggested flushing the display into the dash. We cautioned the client that this would be time-intensive, but he wanted us to work up the time and materials required. We frankly thought the price tag would scare him off.

Mapping out the tasks involved, we came up with 40 hours of installation and fabrication time for the dash work (there were other tasks not included in that total, such as a rear camera and an audio upgrade). Some clients would have changed their goals at that point, but this client said “Let’s do it!” He didn’t just have us integrate the Sony receiver into the Bose system – he also agreed with our audio upgrade proposal, which was installing an 8-channel amplifier/9-channel DSP in place of the Bose main system amplifier. This delivered more power per speaker, and allowed us to retune the system from a two-seat presentation to a driver-optimized presentation with better fidelity (and better bass from the factory subwoofer).

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Here’s what it took:

The client’s 2013 Porsche Cayenne.
The Factory Porsche PCM Head Unit
The Sony AX8000 “floating-screen” receiver.
We put every vehicle on a battery tender at Musicar, and we protect the paint surface while we have it, too.
Here’s the air vent - watch this space.
There isn’t enough space between these two air vents for the Sony AX8000.
I mocked up the locking slide brackets that hold the PCM in place out of wood.
Then I fabricated the final brackets that lock into the dash. The main slider is made from 1/2” acrylic, and the “foot” is made from 1/8” aluminum.
I installed the new slide brackets onto the Sony radio.
Next, we had to change the display mounting bolts – instead of going in from the bottom, they had to come in from the top. No ribbon-cable extension was needed (as is sometimes performed on flush-mount installations of these “floating” head units). We also had to modify the mounting system, which had 1/4” “steps”, and we needed one in between those steps.
After that, I test-fitted the Sony into the dash.
Then I made a bezel, or “bucket”, for the Sony radio’s display. The part next to it is the “chin” trim piece that magnetizes under the bezel.
Then the Sony radio with the bezel was test-fitted in the dash in front of the vents
The AC vents were disassembled and then reassembled without the internal vanes, and reinstalled.
Then a template was mounted to the dash, using the bezel to locate it.
A router was used inside the vehicle to modify the vents at precisely the proper points. The vents were modified to hold the vanes.
Then the bezel was once again mounted to the vent assemblies.
The whole assembly was test-fit to the dash.
Once fitment was confirmed, the bezel was wrapped in brushed metallic vinyl to match the other interior cabin trim.
Then the display was installed back onto the radio chassis with the bezel attached. And then one more test fit! The magnetized chin trim piece is visible below the display.
The Bose amp was replaced with a multichannel DSP amp from Audiotec Fischer, and we tuned it for a driver’s seat presentation. The stock Bose subwoofer amp was driven with the preamp signal from the 9th channel of the DSP in the amplifier.
We added a Nav-TV handle cam, too.
And here’s the finished product. The client told us the result far exceeded his expectations.

Well, we did end up a bit over the 40 hours quoted – we were between 40 and 50 for the radio and dash work, plus the camera install and amplifier integration.

We thought we had 4 or 5 hours of buffer in there, but we did have to engineer the modification process.

Next time that whole thing will go a lot quicker, and I’d like to change the modification to the vent caps so they blend into the radio bezel better.