August 01, 2004

XM Radio

Picked up a Roady 2 for my Aurora. Compact little devil that'll fit almost anywhere. No smokers, so I co-opted the ashtray on the dashboard for a mounting location for the box. I had to fab a bracket (sturdy enuf I can punch buttons to my heart's content) that velcro's into the compartment and covers the hole where the ashtray went, and the lighter is right there. I went with the cassette adapter - the FM modulator might work for some people, but there's as noticable dropoff in signal quality - could be due to no open channels in my area.


I've had problems with leaky seals and drooping headliners in the past, so I decided I really didn't want to encourage any water getting into the passenger compartment. I checked the signal strength with the antenna mounted all the way at the back of the trunk lid - kewl!

There's only an inch of antenna lead exposed. I ran the wire behind and around the center taillight and taped it tight to the inside of the lid to prevent damage when opening and closing the trunk. Ran the wire into the loom for the trunk lights and ended up going into the passenger compartment where the side carpet meets the back panel. From there, it was simple to tuck the antenna wire under the door moldings, run it across the dash and into the ashtray compartment with TWO INCHES TO SPARE!!

Here's a pic of the antenna. Only problem I see is it's a magnet mount, and I've already got a coupla small scratches in the paint from it's moving around. I figure to cure that with a blob of black silicone to hold it in place, and a bead of the same to mold it to the lid for that built in look.

X2 antenna on the trunk


As I said, no smokers in my car (I'm one of those militant ex-smokers that you love to hate), so that leaves me with a hole about the right size for the Roady 2. I left the lid in the open position and removed the ashtray. That leaves a big gaping hole and no mounting location for the radio, so I ended up fabricating a steel bracket with a cutout so I can insert the power supply into the cigarette lighter. The back of the bracket rests against the rear of the ashtray compartment, so it's sturdy for mucho button pushing. Cleaned the metal for good adhesion, attached the swivel bracket that comes with the radio, then painted it with textured panel paint to dress it up. Some velcro on the bottom, and it's removable if I decide to modify things later.

Here's what the bracket looks like mounted in place. Notice the large hole where the ashtray used to be. It was either make a bracket I could mount the Roady swivel mount to, or discover the secret of anti-gravity. I went with Plan A:

Aurora ashtray with XM bracket

And here's a pic of the bracket before it's mounted. I was careful to mask the swivel ball on the Roady mount prior to painting so it would move freely, and also added some foam tape to the back of the bracket to cushion the dash when I pushed the radio buttons:

Sideview of the homebru bracket


I was pleasantly surprised on how well it all looked when done. I went with the cassette adapter. Much better signal quality than the FM modulator, and the only issue is a short tail of wire hanging from the stock Delco cassette door, but it's hardly noticable. I'll be installing a burlwood trim kit shortly, and with any kind of luck I can run the wire under the trim piece that surrounds the radio. The Roady 2 also handles direct output for those of you who have aftermarket radios with RCA jacks for auxiliary input, but I'm pretty satisfied with the stock Delco system. You can also try the FM modulator - results may vary with each installation, and I've heard tell some people are real happy with it.

Here's the final product:

Here's the view from the cockpit


The radio darn near disappears when I park the car. Here you can almost see it hiding behind the gear shift:

And now watch it disappear

See, doesn't the car look better now?

Is it black enough?

Well, maybe not, but it sure SOUNDS better!


I had no choice. Two things I NEED when commuting are air conditioning and good jams. The talking heads of AM radio fame just don't do it for me, and even MP3s get old after a while, not to mention the sound quality blows compared to what XM can provide. XM is here, and pretty hard to beat, especially now that they've gone commercial free. Ten bucks a month is less than a twelve pack, and you won't get pulled over for having an open XM in the car ...

If you want to know more about XM, try these links:

(You need to go here to authorize your subscription to the XM service):

Delphi Roady 2 HOME
Features and Technical Specs

Here's a forum where you can hang with some hardcore XM fanatics. Good tips and tricks for maximizing your XM pleasure:

Posted by NIFAIRIOUS at August 1, 2004 06:52 PM