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Mazda6 Accessories and Modifications

maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
Mods:
Class I receiver hitch - custom job
$40 Whistler radar detector from Wal-Mart
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Comments

  • I had trouble finding an efficient 5x7 component speaker system to fit up front that wouldn't require an outboard amplifier, until I eventually found JBL's power series coaxial speakers have a detatchable tweeter. JBL's are typically very efficient, though, on a price/performance ratio, I typically like their sister company Infinity's car speakers better for their more natural sound. Nonetheless, I also bought JBL GTO 5x7's to go in the back, which have the swivel tweeter to aim upwards into the cabin. Both speakers are efficient and have a good low end for their size, so I should be able to get by without an amp and without a subwoofer.

    Having never heard them, I admit I'm gambling on the JBL power series being smooth in the mids and highs, but I really like the equivelant Infinity's in this price range, so I expect to be pleased. Keep in mind, I don't want it to be so good that I'll want an outboard amp. I had JBL components all around in my last car with a Rockford Fosgate head unit and was happy with that, but the car was very small and got loud quickly.

    My last system, courtesy of eBay, came only to $200. The four speakers I ordered for the '6 came to $133, shipped, courtesy of www.ikesound.com. I'm a pretty big audiophile and listen to mostly modern/classic rock, but don't like spending a lot on car audio. My home theater was hand-picked and cost many thousands of dollars. If I see the need, I may cut into the rear baffle and install a subwoofer in the car, but I hope not to have to do that. I have no doubt that with a voltmeter one could fairly easily figure out which pins on the back of the factory unit are pre-outs, but I just don't care enough to do this. Honestly, I detected a similar harshness in both the factory BOSE system and the base system, so if the head unit is the source of that, an amplifier wouldn't help anyway.

    The speakers I ordered are 91/92db efficient (1w/1m), and the stock head unit puts out 25w x 4. This should produce the same volume as a 50x4 amplifier if wired to 'normal' 89db efficient speakers. Bass extention should be solid to 50-60hz. JBL's systems in Toyota vehicles are some of the best around, IMO, as are their professional loudspeakers.
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    ... my relatively basic home theater has JBL speakers as well. The N24's (4 of them) lack punch, but reproduce their entire range VERY well indeed. The N-Center2 is absolutely amazing, though. And coupled with a Yamaha sub, I have a system that I can't even play higher than, say, 1/3rd volume without risking inviting the wrath of my neighbours ;)

    BTW - I thought JBL (J.B. Lansing) and Altec Lansing were the twin companies - didn't know they had anything to do with Infiniti.

    Also, FWIW - I've heard the similarly rated Infiniti and JBL car speakers they have on demo at Circuit City, and prefer the cleaner sound of the JBLs (IMO). Of course, both were out of my price range and I went with 4 Kenwoods for my car :)

    Keep us posted on how the setup sounds, especially if you go tinkering with the interior and the head-unit to find pre-outs for your sub amp and subs. I know I'll need to do that (tinkering) when (if? !) I get the 6 hatch and add on XM satellite radio (naahhh, not Sirius - if they're even around that long)
  • is going to be alloy wheels. I'm probably going to get the OEM 17" wheels that come with the sport package for $125 each, or, for the same price, get the ultra-light 17x7.5", 16.5lb Rota Subzero wheels. The stock wheels have a 50mm offset, and Mazda themselves claims this high offset to be a factor (even if minor) in their advantageous handling. The aftermarket wheels are some of the very few that are similar in offset, but wider and weigh 4.7lbs less each (OEM 17x7's weight 21.2lbs). The aftermarket wheels would clearly be better performers, but the OEM wheels look much nicer. Any thoughts?


    ashutoshsm- Infinity and JBL are both owned by Harmon International, a la Harmon Kardon. You'll notice Infinity and JBL speakers often share a lot of technologies.

  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    Where did you get the offset info from? Do you have the bolt pattern and centerbore specs?
  • I'm no audiophile but I like to listen to loud music with lots of Bass and no distortion. There is no practical way to replace the stock head unit so I went to my local car stereo shop and here's what they did. Mounted a Sony 80 x 4 + 300 watt amp behind the left rear seat back, installed a kicker 10" subwoofer in the trunk (with a quick disconnect mount so I can remove it if I need the space to haul something) 4 Alpine speakers in the doors and 2 swivel tweeters on the A pillars (they're tiny). The sound is awesome. The installation was a little scary - it was tough seeing all the door panels off, the panels under the dashboard removed, the glove box taken out, the seats taken out - and keep in mind that no one in the shop had ever even SEEN a 6 before. When all was done, you would never know that the whole interior was practically disassembled and put back together. It looks and sounds great.

    NOTE: I also wanted to have a remote start feature installed but there is a part needed to bypass the car's built in security features and apparently that part does not exist yet so that mod will have to wait.

    Oh - and the car nuts at this shop...they went nuts over the car (a dark grey S).
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    The Rota Subzeros and Circuit-8's are beautiful and strong, lightweight wheels! I got Konig Heliums (similar to the Circuit 8, they both are clones of the same high-end (forget brand) wheels) for my Protege.

    I think Rota also has a couple of 5-spoke models - the Tarmac and the Attack. Also quite light, and better looking for the Mazda 6's lines. Of course, this is all personal opinion - pick the ones you like!

    I actually downloaded images of each wheel I was interested in, and took a couple of digital picures of my car, and sat down with my PC and GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program - heaven!) and 'tried them on' for a few hours before I decided on the Konig Heliums :) (no 5-bolt version of them, although 17" is now available)

    Which tires do you plan to go with? What size do you need? I'd suggest keeping the steelies aside for winter (although its usually mild here in the MD/DE/VA/DC area) and getting summer/performance tires and enjoying yourself ;) I got Falken ZIEX 512 195/50-15 and didn't bother/need to change them this winter (my steelies have Michelin XH4 All Seasons) - very impressive All Season abilities on them Falkens!
  • My order (see post #2) was cancelled due to backordered items. I've rethought my strategy since then. I don't know if it's for the better, but it's certainly more interesting (and expensive).

    I have Kenwood 6"x8" components to go up front and two powered 6" Clarion super-compact subwoofers to put underneath the seats (just looking for low-end fill, not boom). I have speaker brackets that convert the 6x8" opening to a 5 1/2" round opening and have Cadence components to go in the back, also. If the 5 1/4" components sound better, I'll switch and put them up front. I'll probably not connect the tweeters for the back speakers to keep nice imaging up front.

    I did it all on eBay for under $300. The speakers are all 92db 1w/1m efficient and should have no problem playing loudly off of the stock head unit. This was the single most important thing I was looking for since I wasn't planning on adding an amp. I really like the sound of Infinity speakers, but only Kenwood makes an efficient 5x7 or 6x8" component speaker. I've heard Kenwood speakers before and thought them to be only slightly above average, so I may not keep these.

    The Cadence speakers I've never heard, so I took a risk. I saw they have what's called a Zobel circuit in the crossover, which indicates to me that it is a very high quality crossover. I've done a bit of DIY audio, and have built these circuits to control the rising impedance of the woofer.

    The subwoofers were $50 each. Talk about a steal!!! It was an impulse buy, and I bought two. They're made by Clarion and won an electronic's award when they debuted in the year 2000. It's a book-sized 120 watt, 6" subwoofer that goes down to 30hz. It should fit underneath my seat. I bought a discontinued model- the newer ones are even skinnier, use a 7" woofer, and play clean down to 20hz.

    I can't figure out how to get the door panel off. I found several anchors that pull out (on the left and right sides of the door) with a hard tug, removed the tweeter assembly, the door handle panel, and undid the screw behind the light lens. The door panel won't budge. I haven't even tried the back doors yet. I'm told there's a hidden screw underneath the power window panel that I missed, but the door was so solidly held on, I'd bet there's several screws and/or anchors I was missing. I pulled much harder than I was comfortable doing. Any suggestions?

    As for wheels, I found the ADR Concept Pro's are very similar to the Rota Subzero's. TireRack just put up a picture of the '6 for you to see different wheels on, and it is helpful. I think the Rage Vigors (from 1010tires.com) look good, but look heavy. Lastly, I like the BSA 291's. I'd rather have a set of aggressive all-seasons than a set of summer and winter tires. I'm in no rush to get wheels- not until the summer at least- and am still seriously thinking about getting the OEM 17s. If you're selling, I'm interested.

    There are a few Photochops of the said tires here.
  • Pictures @ http://mazda6.mredwards.net/

    I installed Kenwood 6" x 8" component speakers in the rear. It was a perfect fit. Once installed, the speaker sounded ok, but honestly not much better than stock. Why?

    The rear speakers are driven by a tiny, tiny amplifier. The stock amplifier is not 25 watts to all four channels as reported- the rear speakers are probably in the neighborhood of 2.5 watts. They pale in comparison to the volume of the front speakers, which I originally attributed to poor rear speakers. I specifically picked these replacement speakers because they were very efficient, meaning they should play loudly with even a small amplifier. Apparently the factory speakers are also very efficient, and despite my effort, the new speakers play about equal volume with the front loudspeakers with the fader set to +7 to the rear (out of 8).

    I only was able to hook up one speaker until rain resumed. Underneath the passenger's seat, seen above, fits a small powered subwoofer that will be run with speaker-level inputs. It is not yet hooked up. The subwoofer is a very tight fit- I had to move the seat as far forward as it would go, push the subwoofer in from behind the seat, and then move the seat back into place. It is now firmly in place without any mounting brackets.

    I'm so unimpressed with the volume of the rear speakers that I'm considering adding an amplifier or just selling my rear speakers. They're so quiet, there's no point in having them right now.

    I have Cadence 5 1/4" components that will go up front (with 6x8" mounting adapter). I may swap them with the Kenwood's- whichever sounds better will go up front, but I expect the Cadence speakers to have a clear advantage.

    The rear door came off pretty easily. There's a screw on both door handles- the one that opens the door and the one you'd grab onto when shutting the door. The latter is hidden by a cosmetic piece, but it pry's up. Be gentle, and pry the door off. You can see [in the picture on my web site] around the sides and bottom of the door where you need to snap the anchors out. Once they are undone, you need only lift the door panel upwards.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    sux about the rear speakers. I was hoping that would be a miracle cure for such a weak output. I'll try to comb over some manuals for a pin-out and see what else there is to play with. I'm curious how your bass speakers turn out. Keep us posted.
  • Malt, I consequently ordered a discontinued Pioneer amplifier (30x4 watts) and will hopefully have time to install it this weekend. Cost was $60 on eBay- not a huge setback, but an inconvenience.

    I also plan to tap some pins in the back of the head unit to find a pre-out. I'll be using a radio shack voltmeter. Any information (no matter how insignificant) would be helpful, if you have any diagrams.

    I've only seen pictures of the back of the unit- I haven't taken apart my dash yet.
  • I had been thinking about getting a remote car starter for my parents at Christmastime, but was told by someone that they are not good for cars. Wears something out (can't remember what), or something. Is that true? Or do they not hurt your car?

    Also - would you be better off just getting a Manufacturer remote car starter installed by a dealer ($300+ when I checked for my parents' Grand Marquis), or are the "discount" ones you see at Circuit City, Target, Sam's Club alright?

    When I do get my 6, I'll probably want a car starter. And since Mazda doesn't offer them when configuring the car, I need to know what my best option would be (or whether to even do it). I'm in Michigan, so coming out to a warmed-up, heated car in 10-degree weather would be nice, especially if I end up NOT getting the heated seat comfort package.
  • Guys, i'm sure you know that the JDM Mazda 6 (2.3L inline4) cranks out 178hp. or 18 more than USDM. I know part of it is due to our crappy gas supply. Any idea how tune it up to their counterpart in JDM form?

      thanks in advance!
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    ... with the more stringent emissions requirements in the US. This is the case with many other Japanese cars - the rated HP drops due to addition of a cat, or something like that.
  • skyrayskyray Posts: 156
    So, who's gone through with adding an amp and replacing the speakers on the stock stereo? Would love to hear about it.
  • ...but I'm still waiting on a bracket for the front speakers. I'll report once I'm 100% finished.
  • Got my brackets for the front speakers today. I've got all the parts!!! Woohoo!!! I've also secured a deal for the 17" OEM wheels w/ tires.

    I'm having trouble getting the faceplate off, so I can't check for a way to make pre-outs. I'm prepared to take the head unit apart if I can get to it!!!

    Has anyone gotten their faceplate off? There's two screws at the bottom, and one "secret screw" accessible only from the glove box. I think I've undone the secret screw, but maybe I unscrewed the wrong one? I dunno, cause the darn thing won't pull out. I'm surprised I haven't snapped, as hard as I was tugging.

    image
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    check your work e-mail
  • The one other thing I might as well ask you about- the panels that run along the bottom of the door ways. They just pull up, but in doing so I've snapped one of the tabs that keeps it in place. Perhaps it was because of the cold weather. Is there a special tool for this? They tend to come up more easily in some places than others.

    I keep feeling confident about how I go about working on cars until I break something :-(

    Luckily, that tab didn't make much of a difference.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    You just need to make sure you pull them straight up. I have never had one snap but they do feel like they will with the amount of force it takes to get them off.
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