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.
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?
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