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-   -   In-Dash Navigation Options For Defender (http://www.expeditionexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=992)

johnlee March 16th, 2007 09:22 PM

In-Dash Navigation Options For Defender
I want in-car navigation in my Defender. I used to have an old Garmin GPS III+ velcroed to the top of the dash, but it started looking GPSsexy after I installed my 706, so I removed the III+. But I miss the GPS. It was handy on the trail and road.

That III+ is a POS by today's standards. The current navigation systems are kick ass. Every time I drive an LR3, I marvel at the navigation. And from what I gather, the LR3's system sucks in comparison to what else is out there. I even marvel at Ho's Garmin 276. And Sheki's touch-screen nav is sweet as well.

So I want navigation badly. The challenge is how to fit navigation into the Defender while preventing the result from looking navigationsexy. As you know, I try to keep everything as factory looking as possible. Navigation in a Defender is hardly "factory", but I want navigation. The current systems are too bad ass and convenient to turn away.

I've been tossing around an idea and wanted to bounce it off you guys to hear your thoughts and possible alternatives.

You guys have probably seen the MUD-UK Defender Dash Console:

As you can see, there is a Double DIN recess in the face of the Dash Console. I was thinking of installing a Pioneer AVIC-Z1 into the Double DIN recess:

The AVIC-Z1 is a Double DIN unit and fits into the recess perfectly. I like this AVIC-Z1 primarily because it's not all pimped out like the vast majority of aftermarket mobile audio stuff. It's actually black or very dark gray, and either of those colors is fine with me. I think it would look pretty tame when mounted into the MUD-UK console.

I'm not sure, but I believe the AVIC-Z1's blue buttons can be changed to red or green if desired. I believe this because Pioneer's other units have this feature. Obviously, I would like green the best but if the blue cannot be changed that would hardly be a deal breaker because the buttons are very small in comparison to the video output of the monitor.

Here's an interactive overview of the AVIC-Z1's features:


And here is a video on the AVIC-Z1:


This AVIC-Z1 is crazy. It'll do basically everything. The plan is to have this AVIC-Z1 replace my current factory stereo and CD changer in addition to adding navigation. The AVIC-Z1 features an FM/AM tuner and can hold 10 GB of songs. 10 GB is a lot of opera; I doubt I would ever use it all. And if I wanted, I could get an iPod interface (probably won't given the 10 GB of song space) and digital radio.

Installing the MUD-UK console and AVIC-Z1 would mean I would have to do some shuffling around. My current dash looks like this:

Installing the MUD-UK console and AVIC-Z1 would mean losing access to the 706, hazard switch, clock, and cigarette lighter.

I could mount the 706's control face on the top DIN recess on the console, but I'm hesitant to do that because I'm afraid the result will look hamsexy with the monitor sitting immediately below the 706. The reason I removed the Garmin III+ in the first place was because it was so close to the 706 and they looked hamsexy to me so close together.

So instead of moving the 706 elsewhere, I was contemplating replacing the 706 with an ICOM 7000 and running a video output from the 7000 to the AVIC-Z1's monitor like this:

The AVIC-Z1 would replace the factory head unit and CD changer, so I was thinking of mounting the 7000 in the factory head unit position or inside the center console. The 7000 features a DTMF microphone, so most of the radio's functions could be operated from the mic anyway:

And with the 7000's output going to the AVIC-Z1's monitor, I don't have to look at the 7000's control face anyway.

The 7000 takes the same mounting bracket, AT-180 resonant tuner, and head separation cable as the 706, so swapping out the control face and radio body would be a breeze. And I could just sell my 706 to one of the many guys who will have upgraded to Amateur Extra class by the time I finish the project. :gee:

The hazard switch and cigarette lighter switches are accommodated on the MUD-UK dash console. For the hazard switch, I would probably just use a UK-spec rear wiper switch in a worst-case scenario. If there is a lighter-shaped hazard switch available, of course I would use it.

I would lose the clock. I dig the analog clock but I think it's a worthwhile trade-off. I would rather have nav than a clock. I wear a wristwatch for the time anyway. And the AVIC-Z1 probably displays time anyway.

I would have to cut the factory dash like this to make clearance for the AVIC-Z1 behind the MUD-UK console:

So if I did this, there's no going back. Remember though that my dash is already ruined by the previous owner's drilling holes into the dash. I just checked and the holes would be covered by the MUD-UK console, which sweetens the idea for me. I would have to fab a bracket to hold the weight of the unit, but that should be easy.

So, what do you guys think? Good? Bad? Alternative nav units you can think of? Any other nav ideas you can think of that might work in a Defender?


dchapman March 17th, 2007 08:49 AM

I think that IS the system to have for in-dash. I don't like all the buttons associated with most units, they just look clunky. The Pioneer is one of the cleanest looking units out there.

The only real problem I have with those units is the motorized screens. I have not had the best of luck with a face plate that turns under its own power. They always break or get jammed up.

Personally, I like a big screen. I know it's not what you are looking for, at all, but I use a laptop with a 17" screen. I'm just not coordinated enough to look at a smaller screen and drive at the same time in congested, unfamiliar areas. Point being, I would go as large as you can with the screen.

BTW, You may hold off a month or so on the Z1. It appears in April, a Z2 will be released. So, the prices may drop a tad on the Z1. http://www.crutchfield.com/S-p1ZXmB9...50&I=130AVICZ2

......and trade in that Opera for some Flogging Molly

parantaeyang March 17th, 2007 10:08 AM

only thing about having touch screen interface on the dash is that it takes your eye and attention from the road.

My G500 has a nav/radio monitor in the center console. When compared to where the MUD-UK double DIN opening is, it is little lower in relation to the driver position. The thing I don't like it is any kind of input (such as changing routes or detour programming) while driving requires taking attention from the moving traffic. It is usable only because it has a secondary quick disply in the dash for upcoming turns and has voice instructions.

Compared to that, having 276C on top of the dash close to the 2 o'clock position of my steering wheel, it is more convinient and safe. I do admit it looks ugly and bulky up there, but.....

John, another thing you should consider is the reflection. With the 276C it is possible to tweak the unit incase you get reflection or sun in the screen.

With hard mount to the MUD-UK dash, which is high on th dash directly facing the flat rear glass, if you get reflection, only remedy would be to change your driving position? Maybe a mock-up trial mount with something close to TFT screen (or some shiny plastic surface) is in order before you hack the dash?

johnlee March 17th, 2007 12:02 PM

From what I hear the AVIC-Z2 is merely an AVIC-Z1 with software upgrades. I'm far from sure though. But if I drop the coin to get the nav, I would probably get the Z2.

The reflection is a big concern. I don't like tinted windows and refuse to tint my truck's windows. Every time I see a Defender with tinted windows I want to barf. The AVIC-Z1 has a tilt feature that can tweak the monitor slightly to avoid bad glare. I believe the tilt works only up and down and not side to side. I'm sure the tilt would help but I doubt it would eliminate glare entirely. I'll just have to live with the glare.

The AVIC-Z1 also comes with a microphone and accepts voice commands. I'm not sure how well it works, especially in a very noisy Defender environment, but at least it's there.

I just can't do the 276 thing. It's a sweet unit but it's too GPSsexy for me, especially with my 706 mounted right below it.

sheki March 17th, 2007 12:30 PM


Originally Posted by johnlee
...And I could just sell my 706 to one of the many guys who will have upgraded to Amateur Extra class by the time I finish the project. :gee:

Maybe Aaron's son Evan can buy it off you, you should be done with all this by the time he gets his Extra ticket.

first of all I have to say I am beside myself with amazement that you are even thinking about this. I think it is an awesome project and something I too have given thought to. Off-road I don't know how useful the GPS will be, I have had issue with mine. Mine doesn't give thousands of seconds when it comes to coordinates, so it rounds up or down. Jack and I figured it could be off by as much as 5 miles off road using the coordinated and a paper map. On road it is awesome and works very well, easy to program and view. I have no glare on my screen, it sits in the same location as yours would. The screen on mine has an anti-glare matted finish and the screen is brighter than the suns reflection.

All the features on that system seem pretty kick ass, it definitely would give you everything and then some. Seems more like something I would do as opposed to you. Think about my last statement and then decide if it's right for you. Remember how you scoffed at all the wiring in my center console? Welcome to my world.

johnlee March 17th, 2007 03:11 PM

Oh please. I've seen the inside of your center console. Unpretty. If there's so much stuff in there that Pendy won't touch it, that's very telling.

I wonder just how long this AVIC install would take. The 706 install took me forever because I thought I might as well do my flooring to install the antennae, and then I might as well install my roof lights if I'm going to install the flooring and run the wires for the antennae, and so on. In contrast, this AVIC installation is largely within the vehicle. Of course I would have to run the GPS antenna somewhere but that's nothing. And the AVIC install would require very little handwork and hand fitting. The roof flooring install was a nightmare because it was all hand fitting.

But even if I could pull off this install quickly, it would be a lot of work. There's no doubt about that. And I would have to cut into the dash and ruin it for any other purpose.

I have to take a closer look at your navsexy system. I had largely ignored it up to now, but now I'm intrigued.

sheki March 17th, 2007 03:58 PM

You'll have plenty of time to look at while you help me rewire my aux lights and figure out what the hell happened to my tail lights. While we're at it we can do a Lee wiring job on my heated windshield to get thing to finally work... now that summer is almost upon us.

johnlee March 17th, 2007 04:20 PM

Here's the heated windscreeen relay installed:

I'll walk you through the install when you're ready to get started.

I'll also teach you how to use the Power Probe.

dmarchand March 18th, 2007 03:24 PM

An interesting install to say the least. Had I not been so gauge and switch happy, getting the GPS off of the dash would have been a great use of the console.

As you have probably realized, you can buy the major components and "place" then on the console, mock everything up before cutting your dash (and the console even). I spent quite a bit of time doing this to make sure I would be happy with the results.

Otherwise, I say go for it. Update the interior and make it very functional yet professional.

traveltoad March 18th, 2007 07:30 PM

John if the Pioneer is replacing your stereo can you relocate the 706 to the stereo's location?

hochung March 18th, 2007 09:35 PM

well, if John goes with the pioneer thing, I'd think he'd ditch the 706 and go with the 7000.

JSQ March 18th, 2007 11:26 PM

I hate this idea.

hochung March 18th, 2007 11:50 PM

oh well.

traveltoad March 19th, 2007 05:05 AM


Originally Posted by JSQ
I hate this idea.

You probably have a couple years to talk John out of it.

dchapman March 19th, 2007 07:33 AM

Here's your retirement project, John. Invent a Heads-Up Display that will work with 3D GPS. Just use the windshield as the screen. You could also incorporate a radar detector display, HamHUD, stereo controls, etc...

But, I will swallow my pride and agree with Jack on this idea. Although the in-dash units are neat, I've never been a real fan. The only reasonable benefit I see with those types of units is the ability to get directions. You can do the same thing with a map, and you've saved $2000.00.

With the in-dash units, your options are too limited. The device cannot be taken out and used off the trail when hiking, exploring, or utilized in any Geocaching events. Also, downloading routes you've traveled to a computer to print maps, share with others, etc., becomes complicated.

IMO, the laptop just kills several birds with one stone. OBD-2 software, storage for pictures, RAVE Manuel accessibility, GPS, etc, etc, etc.... the list goes on forever. These days, it seems like a laptop is about as valuable as a cell phone - how many people leave their home area without a cell phone or laptop? I know you probably have a concern with mounting a Jotto or RAM mount to your vehicle, and then the hassle of dealing with the computer..... But, once it's there, it really is convenient.

I guess it's all in what you want. It's a lot of money for those in-dash devices. I just feel in the long run, it's not going to be something to write home to mom about. And, it's a little too "Honda Ricer wannabe" for a Rover - especially a Defender.

johnlee March 19th, 2007 02:42 PM

The laptop is definitely the most practical way to do it. There are many different navigation systems for the laptop, and the laptop can do a heck of a lot more than the AVIC can to boot.

I have thought long and hard about the laptop but I just can't bring myself to do it. The in-vehicle laptop would be a wonderful tool, but it just looks horrible to me. To my way of looking at things, the in-car laptop looks like something a traveling salesman uses when he's not using the local Starbucks as his virtual office. Or, the laptop looks a little wannabe to me, like those guys who stuff everything possible into and onto their trucks because they think it looks cool.

So your points about the laptop being the best choice are well taken. However, I just can't bring myself to do the laptop thing. It's just too dashsexy for me. The AVIC in the Defender would be dashsexy as well, but I think it would look far more integrated into the vehicle than a laptop would.

The AVIC costs a lot, but I would get the good-guy price on it. And the cost really isn't a big factor for me anyway. I'm far from rich, but I would be willing to pay the AVIC's high cost if the result warranted the cost.

dchapman March 19th, 2007 03:08 PM

Just throwing out ideas (brainstorming) and I'm not at all shooting down your Z1 idea. But, what if you built something like a Shuttle PC that would fit under a seat or in a console. Then, mount a monitor to the new console you have. It keeps the same basic look as the in-dash receiver, yet add a ton of flexibility to your set-up. Something like this could get very creative, yet remain "stealth". I mean, if people can do this http://www.thewolfweb.com/message_to...x?topic=385741 just this of the possabilities....

.....Now you have me thinking

johnlee March 19th, 2007 03:12 PM

Thanks for the brainstorming. That's why I asked for advice. Nobody can think of it all

A few months back, Sheki was contemplating installing a "caputer" into his truck and fit a wireless keyboard inside the cabin. This way, he could toss the keyboard aside whenever he wasn't using it. I think this is a great idea.

I just googled for "carputer" and got this hit:


Imagine something like that in the dash or under the seat or wherever. Add a wireless keyboard and you could be styling. The video output could go to some stealth monitor inside the car or on the MUD-UK dash or wherever.

I wish I knew more about the mobile audio/video/computer stuff. I don't know anything about it because I'm generally not into it. In fact, I have been turned off by it if anything. But this desire for navigation has me wondering now.

Imagine the possibilities of such a unit. And it's total stealth.

dchapman March 19th, 2007 05:00 PM

I'm not a geek either. Ask Axle. lol

Actually, Chris Von C or even Mike Noe could give you some helpful info if you want to learn futher.

johnlee March 19th, 2007 05:15 PM

I can imagine the possibilities but all I want is navigation. I could be perfectly happy with a Garmin 276 in my truck, but I think it looks hamsexy on the dash right next to my 706. Thus the possible MUD-UK and monitor idea. The satellite radio, hard disc music, and so on are just bonuses. All I want is nav really, without looking navsexy.

And even the MUD-UK console and a plain black monitor might be too dashsexy for me. I'm still on the fence on this idea.

johnlee March 22nd, 2007 06:00 PM

I had a chance to study the ShekiNav system yesterday, and the more I play with it, the more I like it.

Here is a view of David's touchscreen monitor:

The monitor is quite large, and the entire unit is a hair larger than a double DIN. The touch controls are very easy to use. I like them a lot and would not want to go to a 276 type of unit after being spoiled on the touchscreen.

Reflection looks bad in that photo but isn't bad at all. When the driver is viewing this monitor in this location, the monitor is reflecting the passenger seat and there's very little reflection. In fact, I was playing with Ho's 276 in my truck today and there was a lot more reflection on it because I was positioning it on top of the dash and it was reflecting the light from the side windows.

Here's a front view of the ShekiNav monitor:

David said that his monitor came from the factory with a white aluminum trim. David pulled the trim piece and painted it satin black. I think the result is really nice and the painted piece looks very factory (Kenwood factory, not Land Rover factory):

I really like this monitor because I don't have to cut into the dash at all:

At most I would cut into the rear window switch box and these are readily available and cheap. The AVIC is a full double DIN and I would definitely have to cut into the dash to make clearance for the depth.

I checked online for a system similar to the ShekiNav and the only company that still makes such a system is Alpine. The Alpine nav is supposed to be the best nav system by far. That's good. Unfortunately, the Alpine monitor is silver and doesn't fit the Defender look the way the ShekiNav monitor does.

I played with Ho's 276 in my truck again today and I still don't feel it. So I think the AVIC is still leading the way in terms of nav choices. But I'm ambivalent on the idea, so my Defender nav search continues.

Here are some miscellaneous shots of the ShekiMobile:


David is iPodsexy and hamsexy. He's a sex machine.

JSQ March 22nd, 2007 11:37 PM

What no pics of the grapes?

dmarchand March 23rd, 2007 11:47 AM


John, this might be overkill. But have you looked at the Lasalle headliner with the single din sized opening at the top, above the rearview mirror?

Presuming you could mount a screen the hang down, so long as it isn't too large. Or you could put the 706 there. You canbuy them without the speaker mounts as I have.

Just some ideas.

johnlee March 23rd, 2007 04:30 PM

That headliner is a great idea, but for me it's just too truckified looking. It looks like those big rigs. It's very functional, but I'm not feeling it.

OK, just to complicate things further, I just found the Garmin 7200:


I don't know why I hadn't looked at Garmin's site before. This 7200 is really nice. It's got the touchscreen functions, full nav, MP3 player with SD card slot, audio/video jacks, etc.

Here are some more pics of the 7200:

The 7200 measures 7.5W x 4.5H x 2.2D. All functions are in the unit and there's no remotely mounted box or anything else.

The 7200 is gray in color and I wanted black, but it would be mounted on the rear window switch box, which is gray in color. So the gray isn't a deal-breaker for me.

The protrusion on the rear mates with the mounting cradle:

The 12v DC power goes to the cradle so that when the 7200 is removed the power remains connected, making removing the 7200 much easier.

I was thinking of mounting the 7200 Sheki-style:

The 7200 is considerably deeper front to back than the ShekiNav monitor, but I still think it would look decent.

The 7200 can transmit MP3 files and your existing stereo can pick them up, which is a very convenient way to integrate the 7200 into the existing stereo system.

When I find an LA-area Garmin dealer with the 7200 in stock, I'm going to play with it and see how it looks and works.

read March 23rd, 2007 07:42 PM


I stopped by Fry's on the way back home. They have a 7200 on the floor. I flipped through the screens a bit and it is quite nice. Real simple navigation through the screens and different functions. I just wish the screen resolution was better. Right next to it they had this model

the nuvi650. Granted, the screen is about 1/4 of the size of the 7200 so the resolution on that screen much better. It just made the 7200 seem lacking in pixels.

I will say the install for the 7200 would be super clean & easy.

For me, I'm still going to go for the MacMini install.

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