MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Detailed descriptions of how to do things to your Liberty.

MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Stacks » Mon Nov 30, 2015 7:40 pm

Got around to putting a new head unit and amplifier in my 05GT to upgrade the existing McIntosh System. Since i had a sat nav already installed from factory, i went for a non-navi double din headunit from Alpine.

Initially i only wanted a new headunit so that i could play my phone/iPod through the car like my old car did. I’d read other people say that a new amp will make a big difference to SQ, even with the factory speakers….and it’s definitely true. The adjustability of aftermarket HU’s and amps mean you can get a much fuller sound from the system. Yes it costs more that an Anycar link or similar, but if you actually enjoy your music it’s a sound investment (pun not intended).


The head unit i’ve chosen is an Alpine IVE-W535ABT, paired with a 5ch Alpine MRV-V500 amplifier with Stinger 6000series RCA cables. Speakers were left as stock. This is my 3rd Alpine system across two cars and i’ve got nothing negative to say about them. They are more expensive than a lot of what’s available, but they work very well and sound very good.


Below is my install walkthrough as i hadn’t seen one done for a manual transmission, nor a few details that might help someone else. If anyone has any questions post up here or pm me and i’ll try to help you out.


Equipment:
2-din facia kit : $140 from eBay
Wire cutters/strippers
4ga power/earth cable (~4m required)
60A In-line fuse and holder (dependent on system)
12ga remote wire (~2m)
Antenna adapter from Autobahn ($15)
3 pairs of RCA cables




Original Layout:
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Stock McIntosh head unit. Thankfully it’s separate from the climate control system, making the facia kit much cheaper.

Start by removing the plastic from around the gear stick. Lift from the base near the cup holders until it unclips. Then unscrew the gear nob and remove the whole lot.
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Next remove console side covers by again lifting from the cup holder end.
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With the covers removed, there are 8 screws that need to be undone to get the headunit and climate control out as a single unit. It’s a good idea to cover up the gear stick to avoid damaging anything.
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Disconnect the various plugs behind the unit, including the hazard light switch. With the unit removed you have full access to the wiring system.
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This is the rear of the headunit if anyone is interested.
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Remove the hazard light button from the Mcintosh unit and install it straight into the new facia panel.
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Remove the mounting brackets from the existing unit and use these to mount onto your new HU. If it’s a standard 2-din unit the brackets should fit with minimal modification. the alpine unit directly connected to 3 out of 4 holes without modification. Good enough for me.
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Connect back up the climate controls and the system is ready for remounting. It’s a good idea to test it out and make sure everything is lining up well.
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Onto the wiring. Since i’m putting a new amp in wiring is straight forward through the use of RCA leads. From a bit of browsing and abet of creativity with a multimeter you can get around most issues easily. Important wires listed here:
Radio Constant 12V+ Wire: Blue/Red
Radio Ignition Switched 12V+ Wire: Yellow/Red
Radio Ground Wire: Black
Radio Illumination Dimmer Wire: Purple
Radio Antenna Trigger Wire: Yellow/Black


The standard radio antenna in there cars will need an adaptor to work with most aftermarket headunits. I used a Nissan Double Diversity adapter from Autobahn ($15) which appears to be working fine across AM and FM bands.

If you get really excited and want to rewire a loom you can, but since there’s only half a dozen wires i just used insulated crimped bullet connectors.

The amplifier should be powered directly from the battery so connect your power cable to the positive terminal and run it as neatly as you can through the engine bay to the large rubber grommet on the passenger side of the firewall. Pry the grommet out using a flat blade screwdriver and using a sharp knife cut a slit in it to pass your power cable through. You don’t have to use this spot, but its the simplest and neatest way to go about it.
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Next remove the passenger seat by undoing the 4 mounting bolts. The seat also has two leads connected to the bottom of it so tip the seat over carefully and undo these before pulling out the seat.

This presents the Mcintosh amp
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Undo the mounting screws, disconnect the cables and remove the unit.


To run your cables under the carpet you want to remove as much trim as possible, but be careful because the plastic gets brittle the more it ages. The plastic facades over the carpet are connected to the pinch weld door seals so lift it all as one piece, then you can unhook the seals from the plastic.
I only removed the lower trim because i was a bit lazy but i could reach everything i needed so it was ok.

Feed your power cables, RCA cables and remote wire down under the carpet. There are existing holes in the carpet hat you can pass the cables through so you shouldn’t have to modify anything here. Its important to keep your power and speaker cables as separate as possible to avoid signal interference, i ran my RCA’s along the centre console and the power/remote wires along the door.

By this stage there’s wire everywhere and its looking messy, but it improves quickly from here.
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The last cable you need to run (assuming you’re not replacing the speaker wires) is the ground cable for the amp. Having not planned this install at all i looked for the easiest way out. Using a crimp terminal from jay car, i noticed the oriface was perfectly sized to put under one of the seat mounting bolts. So, that’s what i did. You’ll need to scrape away some of the paint on the body to ensure proper contact for the earth lead.

Once this is run, get your amp, connect everything quickly just to run a test to make sure everything is working as advertised. Check your speaker balance/fade, as well as making sure the stereo turns on with the key switched to accessory.
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Assuming there’s no poor connections and everything is working, disconnect the amp and tidy up the wires. I cut the wires off the loom to the Mcintosh amp and just reused them. It’s a lazy way to do it but it was getting late and i wanted to get it finished.

Once the wires are cleaned up, remount the headunit. Make sure that you’ve run any microphones/usb/camera cables to the headunit before remounting. I ran a USB into the glove box through the cubby hole on the top right. Assuming your satnav drive isn’t mounted here, the cubby will just pull out, allowing you to drill a hole to run the cable through neatly.


Screw the unit into place, test everything out once more and if its all working well replace all the plastic around the stereo and the gearstick.

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The only thing i haven’t solved yet is how to get my factory sat nav audio to play through the HU, but once/if i figure it out i’ll post an update.



In terms of where to buy things, i’m all for supporting local business but it’s hard to do when some of the prices are so much better overseas. I bought the headunit form my local shop in Mitcham, and the amp from a shop in Dandenong since they are the big ticket items i would like a local warranty for. But i got the RCA’s from Amazon because they were literally 1/3 of the price of buying them here. And that’s including delivery to my doorstep. For cables and fuses and connectors, jay car has everything you need.
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby TwistdInfinity » Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:31 pm

Nice write-up mate!

As this gen of car gets older and cheaper, more P platers will be buying them and wanting to install stereo's so I'm sure this guide will come in more handy!
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby B-SpecOwner98 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:30 pm

.
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Jasti » Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:37 am

Do steering wheel controls work? Or was there an adapter harness required?
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby jslayz » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:51 pm

Put power lead inside hard tube for safety?
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby oldmate » Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:32 pm

nice write up man
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby minidee » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:33 pm

This is a great write up Stacks. Thanks. I am currently considering doing the same type of install as you and hoping to keep the stock speakers for now. For the wiring from the amp to the speakers was there anything you did that was different to how it was wired to the original Mcintosh amp? Any pictures of that would be great. I see you are a bit of an Alpine fan. are there any particular HU and amps not necessarily Alpine brand that you would recommend? I don't need anything high end just a good value HU and amp combo that has the usual features common now days like BT, USB etc...
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Stacks » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:20 pm

minidee wrote:This is a great write up Stacks. Thanks. I am currently considering doing the same type of install as you and hoping to keep the stock speakers for now. For the wiring from the amp to the speakers was there anything you did that was different to how it was wired to the original Mcintosh amp? Any pictures of that would be great. I see you are a bit of an Alpine fan. are there any particular HU and amps not necessarily Alpine brand that you would recommend? I don't need anything high end just a good value HU and amp combo that has the usual features common now days like BT, USB etc...


if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right. Yes, i like alpine stuff as it's always worked well for me, although some of their low end units are pretty average these days. Pioneer seem to be ok also, i've used one of their units before without hassle. Nicer screen, but slower processor. If spending around 800 for amp, HU and leads is asking too much, i'm not sure i would bother. Instead install an AnyCar link or similar.
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Stacks » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:20 pm

minidee wrote:This is a great write up Stacks. Thanks. I am currently considering doing the same type of install as you and hoping to keep the stock speakers for now. For the wiring from the amp to the speakers was there anything you did that was different to how it was wired to the original Mcintosh amp? Any pictures of that would be great. I see you are a bit of an Alpine fan. are there any particular HU and amps not necessarily Alpine brand that you would recommend? I don't need anything high end just a good value HU and amp combo that has the usual features common now days like BT, USB etc...


if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right. Yes, i like alpine stuff as it's always worked well for me, although some of their low end units are pretty average these days. Pioneer seem to be ok also, i've used one of their units before without hassle. Nicer screen, but slower processor. If spending around 800 for amp, HU and leads is asking too much, i'm not sure i would bother. Instead install an AnyCar link or similar.
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Stacks » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:22 pm

jslayz wrote:Put power lead inside hard tube for safety?


ideally yes. Didn't have any on me at the time. Still haven't got around to it. Meh.
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Stacks » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:24 pm

Jasti wrote:Do steering wheel controls work? Or was there an adapter harness required?


Don't have the controls in this car, but they'll work fine as long as your HU is up to it. Will require rewiring, but only minimal, i wouldn't bother with a harness, easier to just cut, solder and shrink.
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Stiffy.21 » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:05 pm

Stacks could you please post the link to the head unit fascia kit that you used.

Thanks
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Tewaka » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:17 am

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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby Stiffy.21 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:39 pm

Thanks heaps buddy ill keep an eye on it!
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Re: MY05 Liberty GT Stereo Upgrade walkthrough - HU & Amp

Postby huntersubie » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:19 pm

Is there a way to access the pictures? The seem to no longer be hosted on that website...
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