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I was looking around for awhile to see if there was a solid writeup somewhere that went through the steps of installing a XCarlink IPOD kit. I came up with some info, but nothing solid. I decided that to help out this part of the Mazda community I would make one up, seeing I couldn't find one. I want to give a BIG shout out to Dave from RPM for having truely awesome customer service. Thanks again man!

So I got my gf a XCarlink for Christmas and figured it was about time I got around to installing it. Last week I was under the hood of the miata putting in a new manifold and downpipe, so I enjoyed this, seeing it was a much cleaner and easier job. I was lucky enough that my buddy that owns a detailing shop let me use one of his bays to work on the car inside, not to mention I got to use all his tools and supplies! :)

So here it goes, this is my write up for installing the XCarlink in a 2006 Mazda 6. I should note, that according to other install notes, this 03/2006 Mazda 6 must be considered a late model 2005, seeing that instructions I found offline were a little off on one step.

Tools needed: 10mm socket with extension, screwdriver, and a small flathead.

1. First step is disconnect the negative battery terminal.

2. Next put up the emergency brake and start working the cup holders out. Gently but firmly. In my case the cup holders were semi attached to the other console piece, so a firm yank on them separated the two (If your lucky you'll find a $50 bill under there like I did!).



3. Now turn the key on and move the shifter into neutral, then spin off the shift knob.

4. Start taking out the center console by pulling up slowly, then look behind to remove the clip that holds the cigarette lighter. It should come off easy with a small flathead screwdriver.

5. Now remove the 2 lights that twist into the console by the shifter. Once they are out, you can now take the console out of the car (I did it this way so I could give the parts a good cleaning).



6. Next is the brass bolt that's behind the radio console. You'll need to drop the glovebox out of the way by pressing the sides on the top, to drop it past the hinge, then lift off the bottom clamps on both sides (I left the side cord attached and just moved the glovebox out of my way).



7. Now using the 10mm socket and a extension, carefully remove the brass bolt being careful not to drop the bolt, nor the socket off the extension like I did.



8. Back to the front of the console, you can now remove the 2 upper screws located at the bottom of the radio console, underneath the lip. The bottom 2 screws do not need to be removed.



9. Now this is where some years might differ from others. The instructions I was following said to "remove the air control knobs and the screws behind them", and that this was easy. Well, I started removing the knobs with a plastic pry tool and came up empty handed on the screws. A quick call to RPM and I asked Dave if I was mistaken, or if I should be seeing screws. He mentioned about 2005 models not having the screws, but this is a 06. In any case, with Dave on the phone, I pulled on the radio console with some force and it popped right out (I lost some time on this step fooling around with the air knobs when I didn't have to).



10. Behind the radio you can see on the bottom left side, there's an empty plug, this is where the XCarlink plugs into.



11. I decided to run the cord back under the center console, cup holders, and into the storage console between the seats. I used some snips to cut some of the plastic mesh that I found under the carpet piece. I must say it worked out pretty easy. No drilling required. :)





12. I ran the cord through a hole I made in the carpet piece and back under toward the cup holder area. Then I plugged it together and re-connected the battery to test it out (It worked).



13. Once you verify that the XCarlink is working, you can now reassemble the radio console, center console, glovebox, and cup holders. Be careful when putting everything back together that you snap clips back into place, as well as route wires through clips they came out of.









All and all this was pretty self explanatory, but I know its nice sometimes to have writeups to reference when DIY. This job is definitely do-able by the average car guy/girl, and is about an hour long job if you take your time, 30 mins if you are rushing and want it done. I also took this time to clean the shit out of the console edges with a detailing brush my buddy let me use. I highly recommend doing it while everything's apart, you'll thank yourself later.

First impressions on the XCarlink? Awesome! The sound is superb and it sure beats the FM transmitter I took out. Sound is CD quality and has no interference or static. The controls on the radio and steering wheel work to control the IPOD as described. Only issue I came across is the disc up and disc down controls are going to take some getting used to. Depending on what you have the radio on, as far as EX:1, EX:2, etc, it might or might not let you use the IPOD controls directly. It may be covered in the manual, but I didn't read it. I'm just voicing my opinion on it right out of the box and the drive home.

Hopefully this writeup can help someone when they are installing their XCarlink a little easier next time. When I pick my gf up tonight and she sees its done, nothings broken, and its sounds awesome, maybe I'll get lucky. lol :)
 

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Thanks for the write-up! I just came on the site to look for one, as I just bought one (not the iPod version though). I've just finished printing it out, and I'll give it a shot this weekend.
 

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QUOTE (mclarenf3 @ Feb 2 2010, 09:31 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=1634338
Thanks for the write-up! I just came on the site to look for one, as I just bought one (not the iPod version though). I've just finished printing it out, and I'll give it a shot this weekend.[/b]
Awesome! Let me know how it goes.

So far so good with her setup. The sound is a world different from that shitty FM transmitter. Not to mention it also frees up a cigarette lighter, and keeps the console looking clean.
 

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QUOTE (Vashthestampede @ Feb 3 2010, 08:18 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=1634678
Awesome! Let me know how it goes.

So far so good with her setup. The sound is a world different from that shitty FM transmitter. Not to mention it also frees up a cigarette lighter, and keeps the console looking clean.[/b]
Once again, thanks a bunch for the instructions. I read through them before doing it, and then was able to get it all done in about an hour. I (like you) dropped the screw also and wasn't able to get it back so it's somewhere down there. But otherwise everything went fine. The unit works great, and sounds great! I got the bluetooth adapter also, but haven't given it a shot yet, not sure if I'm going to end up using it as I'm going to be installing a Garmin Nuvi 765T into the map box.
 

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QUOTE (mclarenf3 @ Feb 6 2010, 12:55 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=1635180
Once again, thanks a bunch for the instructions. I read through them before doing it, and then was able to get it all done in about an hour. I (like you) dropped the screw also and wasn't able to get it back so it's somewhere down there. But otherwise everything went fine. The unit works great, and sounds great! I got the bluetooth adapter also, but haven't given it a shot yet, not sure if I'm going to end up using it as I'm going to be installing a Garmin Nuvi 765T into the map box.[/b]
Awesome! Good to hear and glad I could help someone out with it.

lol luckily I didn't lose that screw. I dropped the socket off the extension, but I was able to finger it out of there. Although if I did drop the screw, I probably would have left it. That's like no man's land back there.

I didn't get the bluetooth adapter on hers. I figured she probably wouldn't use it, so I skipped that option. I also picked up a refurb unit to save some cash, rather than a new one.

Anyone else planning on installing one of these into their 6?
 

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Hey Vashthestampede,
Thanks for sharing.

Question: I have an 05 Mazda 6s (with Bose System and InDsah CD Changer). I am looking to buy the XCarLink iPod Integration Kit for Mazda XCarLink [AL2007i-MAZ].

Does anyone know if a stereo jack is part of the unit?
On the website: XCarLink iPod Integration Kit for Mazda - Revolution Performance Motorsports!, the first picture shows the connector, and the 2nd picture, the 1/8 line input is shown.

I want to be able to use my iphone as the music is playing. Is this possible? I am mainly interested in an aux input so I can plug in, control music directly from my iphone, and be able to txt or read emails as well (not while driving, of course).

Steering wheel controls would be nice too, but I am under the impression that if you connect your iphone with the the xcarlink ipod connector, user control intreface won't work?
 

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Hey Vashthestampede,
Thanks for sharing.

Question: I have an 05 Mazda 6s (with Bose System and InDsah CD Changer). I am looking to buy the XCarLink iPod Integration Kit for Mazda XCarLink [AL2007i-MAZ].

Does anyone know if a stereo jack is part of the unit?
On the website: XCarLink iPod Integration Kit for Mazda - Revolution Performance Motorsports!, the first picture shows the connector, and the 2nd picture, the 1/8 line input is shown.

I want to be able to use my iphone as the music is playing. Is this possible? I am mainly interested in an aux input so I can plug in, control music directly from my iphone, and be able to txt or read emails as well (not while driving, of course).

Steering wheel controls would be nice too, but I am under the impression that if you connect your iphone with the the xcarlink ipod connector, user control intreface won't work?
If I understand you correctly, you only want something will allow you to plug in your iPhone to your car's stereo system to listen to music. But don't particularly want to control it through your stereo, but directly from your iPhone?

If so, I would look at just getting an AUX Module for your car, as they are cheaper than the iPod Integration module.

And, there's one for sale here too. PS: Yes, I'm selling it. ;)
 

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If I understand you correctly, you only want something will allow you to plug in your iPhone to your car's stereo system to listen to music. But don't particularly want to control it through your stereo, but directly from your iPhone?

If so, I would look at just getting an AUX Module for your car, as they are cheaper than the iPod Integration module.

And, there's one for sale here too. ;)

lol that's exactly what I'm looking for. Does the GROM Aux plug into the same port as the xcarlink and then just route the cable to where you desire?
 

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lol that's exactly what I'm looking for. Does the GROM Aux plug into the same port as the xcarlink and then just route the cable to where you desire?
Yes, on the back of your car's stereo there is a port for an external CD changer. Both the GROM Aux module and the XCarLink Module would plug into that port (but you obviously can only use one). Then you just route the cable, and module to wherever you want (I placed mine in the map compartment above the stereo).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just checked back on this thread and I'm glad to see some other members got use from it. :thumbup:

My gf's is still working great and she loves it! Definitely a good purchase!
 

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Definitely the hardest part of this install for me, was getting the stereo/climate control unit to pop out. I thought for sure I was going to snap something off. I had to work with it for a while, just prying one side, then another, till I got it to break free without actually destroying the little latches : P
 

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Definitely the hardest part of this install for me, was getting the stereo/climate control unit to pop out. I thought for sure I was going to snap something off. I had to work with it for a while, just prying one side, then another, till I got it to break free without actually destroying the little latches : P
The directions that I found said that you had to take the climate control knobs off to get to the screws that hold the center console in place. I lost some time fooling around with the knobs, only to find out it was a error in the directions.

One firm pull on the console and it popped right out. :D
 

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The directions that I found said that you had to take the climate control knobs off to get to the screws that hold the center console in place. I lost some time fooling around with the knobs, only to find out it was a error in the directions.

One firm pull on the console and it popped right out. :D
If you have Automatic Climate controls, you don't need to. But if you have the manual dials, (like I do) there are screws underneath the temperature and mode dials.
 

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Awesome guide!
Thanks Vashthestampede
I've been looking for ages and have found nothing but dead links.
This guide is just what i needed.
 

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I installed the XCarlink and it works well. Thanks for the write up and pics, it was very helpful. When installing the XCarllink, remember that the car radio must "recognize" the new device by turning on the radio from the off setting. I had the ignition switch on and the radio on when I pluged in the device. The radio did not recognize the XCarlink until the radio was cycled off and then on again.
 

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This looks like a really nice guide. The only thing is I don't have the confidence to do this myself (I'm confident about modifying/building computers... I have zero experience with cars). I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask, but is there a place that will perform these modifications? I just bought a used 2008 Mazda6 VE yesterday (first car) and would hate to screw things up more than 24 hours upon purchase... =_=;;
 

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installed xcarlink to 2003 mazda 6 with bose in may 2010 - no issues!

wanted to say thanks to the forums for helping me find xcarlink. i installed it in may 2010 to my 2003 mazda 6 with the bose stereo. it works just as describes, no issues. i had a professional install it as I didn't want anything to break. to them 45 minutes. i also go the bluetooth, but did not install it - its a waste. it requires you to use a mic that you attach to yourself. i guess i'd rather have the mic built-into the car - maybe my next car.
 

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Awesome guide!
Thanks Vashthestampede
I've been looking for ages and have found nothing but dead links.
This guide is just what i needed.
Hey man, happy to help! I hate when I'm looking for info on a particular subject, only to find dead links with no "true" answers or info. Sometimes I'll even bump the thread, hoping someone in the know will chime in, only to have it drift away again into the old threads category.

I figured while I was installing this I would take some pictures and take some notes to share with others. I'm really happy its helped so many people already! :)

I installed the XCarlink and it works well. Thanks for the write up and pics, it was very helpful. When installing the XCarllink, remember that the car radio must "recognize" the new device by turning on the radio from the off setting. I had the ignition switch on and the radio on when I pluged in the device. The radio did not recognize the XCarlink until the radio was cycled off and then on again.
Glad it helped you out! :) When I did the install I disconnected the battery. Probably the easiest way to insure a proper "sync".

This looks like a really nice guide. The only thing is I don't have the confidence to do this myself (I'm confident about modifying/building computers... I have zero experience with cars). I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask, but is there a place that will perform these modifications? I just a used 2008 Mazda6 VE yesterday (first car) and would hate to screw things up more than 24 hours upon purchase... =_=;;
I assure you that if you take your time and don't rush that you'll be fine installing it yourself. Its pretty basic, requires only a handful of tools, and there's not much room for error. As long as you are careful not to damage any of the interior pieces while removing them you should be good to go.

If you were local to me I would gladly give you a hand with the install. Otherwise if you're still thinking about having a shop do it, I assume that any stereo install shop could take care of you. I would recommend staying away from the chain store guys (best buy, circuit city, etc), due to general lack of competent employees that actual care about what they do for a living.
 

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Hmmm... that sounds really tempting. I bought a FM transmitter at Best Buy a few days back to listen to some tunes while charging my iPod at the same time and I found that it was something I couldn't live with. Being a human antenna and holding up the device is simply out of the question. In the end, I simply returned it and now I'm back to this option.

Before I make my final decision, I just wanted to ask how much do you think it'll run if I went with a professional installation. I'm an out-of-state college student so aside from keeping the costs low, I also want to keep the number of things I have to a minimum since I frequently move. If an estimated price for the labor is reasonable, I might probably just find a place to do the professional install. If not, then I guess I'll jump ship and try for myself over the summer.

I guess to be honest, my worst fears boil down to 1) breaking off some plastic tabs and 2) making matters worse than they already are (mixing wires or generally leaving the car in worse shape than it was to begin with).
 
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