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Re-greased my front brake caliper slide pins, they really needed it. Brakes do not feel so "sticky and grabby" now. I will hopefully get to the rears this week after I get the correct socket from my parents' house. Also, the caliper paint is holding up really well so far. Just spraying Brakleen was enough to knock the brake dust off and everything was still shiny silver beneath.

EDIT: Brakes feel immensely better, I think one of pads was sticking and causing part of my steering issues. I was getting a pull to the right even though my alignment was nearly perfect, it is effectively gone now after greasing the slide pins.

Additional edit: Brake squeal from the front left is back, I am going to try swapping the pads out with ceramic Akebono to see if it is the semi-metallic pads causing the noise. I am not sure what else it could be with the new grease.

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Suggest cleaning the grease off the side of the pad to avoid future issues.
 

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Sounds like you need new headlights. Nothing will fix pitting. Either find a used pair that are in better shape or get a new set when dealers offer parts promotions - that's what I did.
Wet sanding surface would probably get the surface putting to a minimum? Deeper pitting not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
Alpine Amplifier + Subwoofer
I have been thinking about a subwoofer add-on for a little while now. I have the Harmon Kardon system, and even though the low end isn't too bad, I have been getting more and more rattling in the passenger's side front door, apparently a common problem. I started looking into small under-seat subwoofers and tube-style subs, and what would be needed to wire them up. Then I came across Bhom's sales post in which he had a wiring harness he made for his sub amp for sale. After talking to him about it he asked if I would want to buy his amp + sub + harness altogether and I lept at the chance. I quickly got the dimensions for the subwoofer box and made a cardboard stand-in for it to make sure it would actually fit under the false floor in the trunk of my V60. The sub is an Alpine SBR-S8-4 and it JUST fits, with some very minor modifications. The amplifier is an Alpine MRV-M250 and fits nicely into the little hidey-hole on the left side of the trunk directly behind the wheel arch.

In order to fit the SBR-S8-4 subwoofer under the false floor in the V60 you must remove the decorative ring around the speaker grill, place it with the speaker facing down, and rotated so that the "wider" side of the box is facing the rear of the car.
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This allows the speaker grill to rest against the "muffler hump" with the grill in the deeper part of the trunk just forward of the "muffler hump". Also, you will need to take a rubber / deadblow hammer and dent down the spots where the corners of the subwoofer touch on the forward edge of the "deeper" part of the trunk, you only need a few extra millimeters of space to get the false floor to close flush.
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You can easily get power for the amp from the fuse box on the left side of the trunk. Depending on the year and car packages you have, you may have the unused trailer circuit available, or you can tap off of the (4) 30 amp fuse row. The 4th slot in the 30A row was open for me and I used a spade connector to attach to the "hot" side of the fuse box from underneath. No need for an add-a-fuse or anything, the spade connector fit snugly into the bottom of the fuse box where the hot connectors are. I ended up using the grounding point that is under the plastic lip of the trunk area all the way at the back left of the trunk. I had to extend the ground wire that came from Bhom's system, but it makes moving and messing with the amp easier than when I initially had it attached to the grounding point under the rear left seat.

Now onto wiring the speaker inputs and remote signal wire. First off, you are going to need to remove a bunch of trim pieces. First, remove the kick panel under the glove box, which requires a T25 torx bit and unplugging the footwell light, then pull off the passenger's door still trim, then the passenger's dashboard end cap, then the curved piece that goes up in front of the front passenger's door, between the door sill trim and up to where the headliner starts, lastly, the passenger's center tunnel side trim. You need to remove these pieces so that you can pull back the carpet in the passenger's footwell to run your remote signal cable from the switched 12v sockets.
Next, remove the rear bench seat via the 2 clips on the outside edge of the bench. Just push in and slightly down with a flathead screwdriver and pull up on the seat. It is easy once you get the flathead on the actual clip mechanism, but it does take a good amount of pushing and pulling force. After the bench is out of the way, you can remove the plastic door sill trim on the rear passenger's side, and lastly, the passenger's side bolster under the seatbelt by prying it out from the top, then lifting up and away.

I added some additional 12v sockets that will live behind the center waterfall console in the near future, so I already had a wiretap on the switched 12v line, the thicker green/orange cable on the passenger's side of the center tunnel. Tapping this line is the easiest and cleanest way to get a remote signal for an amplifier. However, when locking the car the switched 12v power comes on for about 10-15 seconds before turning off again. Just something to keep in mind.
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After you connect your remote wire to the switched 12v, you can pull back the carpet all the way to the front of the passenger's seat. I fed the remote wire behind the black plastic air ducts that run vertically in the above picture, then ran the wire under the carpet along the air vents, where they go under the passenger seat. The cable then runs straight over to the door sill, in front of the passenger's seat. The remote wire then meets up with all the wiring running towards the back of the car.

Hook up your wiring harness with amp wires, run the wires underneath the passenger's seat, and into the little groove where the front and rear pieces of the carpet overlap.
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Fish the cable between the pieces of carpet and it will be at the same spot where you have your remote wire. I also had a subwoofer knob, which I placed behind the waterfall console and I ran the wire down to where the remote wire splice was, then followed the same path. With all of your wires ready to go to the trunk, start by fishing the wires under the edge of the plastic trim on the B pillar. All 3 of my cables easily slid under the edge between the plastic trim and the carpet. Once you are past the B pillar trim, you will either need to cut the carpet, or feed all the cables through the "slot" in the carpet so that they do not obstruct the rear door sill trim clip. I pushed the cables through the "slot" so that they all go down into the void where the factory wiring harness is coming up from a lower depth and into a plastic cable tray. Then route the cables into the plastic cable tray.
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Now you can simply follow all the wires that are heading into the trunk.
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Next, you will need to remove the false floor in the trunk and the fiberglass insert. Pull back the insulation and you can see where the wires come into the trunk on the passenger's side. Run your cables underneath the insulation, just in front of the trunk wireless key sense module.

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You can see where I tucked the amp in, just behind the driver's side rear seat. It is the perfect size for the Alpine amp and I stuck it down with adhesive velcro. I also used adhesive velcro to hold the subwoofer in place.

IMPRESSIONS
The sub can hit pretty hard, but not insanely low, its real beauty is how well it blends with the system under normal volume. If you crank it way up you will quickly find that it plateaus in volume, but still very loud and tight. Luckily, almost nothing rattles when I really push it, but there are definitely a few rocks trapped behind the muffler heatshield that I can hear rattling around from outside the car. Inside the car, there are no rattles. I turned down the 60hz frequency in radio to 2 clicks above the minimum, which has eliminated the rattling in the passenger's door and acts as a low pass filter for everything but the subwoofer. I boosted the 200hz a little to give a little more midbass oompf to the door speakers since my subwoofer is currently set to ~90hz cutoff. For daily listening I have the amplifier gain set at nominal, "bass boost" set to +4 to compensate for the lowered 60hz from the radio, and the remote knob set to just under halfway. I can easily crank it for songs with the knob placed behind the center console, used Tessa tape, and it's holding up to the summer heat so far. The installation was surprisingly easy, aside from ultimately needing to run the switched 12v line and one weird issue that seems to be coming from the amplifier itself. If I try to set the gain above nominal the sub will start humming at like 60hz when you lock the car and gets extremely loud. The biggest part of the job would be finding the correct harness and splicing it up, which I did not have to do since I bought this as an already complete and functional system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Front Lower Control Arm Replacement
I finally got around to editing my videos together from when I replaced my lower control arms. The hardest part of the whole job is getting the struts in and out. I also realized that you absolutely cannot reuse the strut to knuckle stretch bolts. Even way over-tightening them is not enough to keep the knuckle from slipping on the strut, which caused the "alignment" nub on the strut to get sheared off. The nub is not important, it just acts as an alignment point for how deep the strut is supposed to seat into the knuckle.

For the price, I would recommend getting the Meyle HD LCAs over the OEMs. The rubber looks to be a little bit better in the bushings and supposedly the ball joint is a bit tougher.


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Dude, awesome, please post this in the suspension thread as well if you have the time. Appreciate you making videos of these installs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
Silver Project Camber/Caster Plates
I also got the Silver Project Camber/Caster plates installed. I don't know how long the bearings might last, but the used set I bought was completely shot. I ended up buying new bearing assemblies direct from Silver Project at about 38 Euro each +shipping which was absolutely worth it. The assemblies consist of the silver caster plates with the bearings pressed in AND they come with new top nuts which are extremely beefy and extend down into the bearing for an excellent bond. Honestly, you should not try to use a normal nut like I originally planned to hold the bearing plates on. There just isn't enough surface area for the nut to properly hold the strut together.

I set the plates to almost dead center for the camber and set them to max caster. This resulted in caster going from about -3.2 to -5 and camber from -1.3 to -1.5. At highway speeds it feels a bit more stable, but it could be my imagination. Higher speed turns should have more grip with the extra caster thanks to the additional negative camber it gives only while turning.

If you plan to change the caster, you will need to cut out the top of the strut turret, or else the strut nut will hit the turret which will cause damage to the turret and the nut.
You will also want to get some "thicker fender washers" to go between the strut turret and the bearing plate nuts. For whatever reason, going to studs on the Silver Project Plates from the bolts on the OEM setup, that attach the strut to the strut turret, the nuts really want to deform the strut turret holes. I tried normal thickness washers and even at the correct torque value, the holes were slightly deformed after a few days of driving. I ended up using 1.25" M6 "Thick fender washers" which fit perfectly and really help to spread the force out on the strut turret.
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Great write ups!
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Rally Armor Mud Flaps
I have been thinking about adding some mud flaps to my V60 for a while, but I honestly don't like the OEM mud flaps. They don't look like they would do much and I kind of wanted a more aggressive look from the side profile, but mostly stock looking from the rear. This meant I would need to custom cut some urethane mudflaps so they would not stick out from the side of the car almost at all.
I ended up buying an open box set of Mazda 3 Rally Armor UR mudflaps. The "universal" set is $104, but I got the Mazda 3 version for $65 on ebay. The shape looked about right, and if I was going to have to cut up the universals anyway to make them work, I might as well save $40 and cut up the Mazda ones. I had to do a fair bit of cutting on the front mud flaps, but the rears only needed holes drilled and a tiny bit cut off near the bottom "flap with a slot" part. Overall, it's exactly what I was looking for. Not too big or out of place looking, and I turned them all "backwards" so the logos face into the wheel instead of being seen from behind the car, making them just a little more stealthy.

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
Trunk Storage Box
After installing my subwoofer I wanted to try out another idea I have had in my head for a while, adding a storage box under the false floor. The fiberglass insert under the false floor is OK at holding small items, but it gives up almost 3" of depth because it is supposed to sit on top of the foam inserts that hold the tire iron, scissor jack, etc. I first made a cardboard prototype to figure out the exact dimensions that would work. I also went ahead and cut the fiberglass liner to fit the prototype.

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I then used the woodshop at work to quickly whip up a 3/4" MDF box and used spray adhesive to attach black carpeting. It was not my finest work, but it was cheap and fast, and it will be hidden anyway.

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It does exactly what I wanted it to do, and doesn't look awful!
I also thought about making ones that would go on the left and right sides of the subwoofer as well, but there are wires and a fuse box that would need to be moved around to make it worth doing. Maybe in the future, if I really feel like I need the extra storage room.
 
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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
To sum up a few things I have done recently, I got a windscreen shade, applied ShinEtsu grease to all the rubber seals (no wind noise change), and have used my quick trick alignment system to do a 4 wheel alignment, but I have not had it professionally checked to see if it is accurate. Car goes straight but wants to follow road crown and may have a small bit of dog tracking to the left the faster I go. I need to double-check that the thrust angle is straight. The rear toe adjustment isn't very fine so it's very easy to have left or right rear thrust.

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
3D MAXpider Front Floor Mats
I saw some pictures of these recently and thought they would be a nice upgrade from the OEM rubber mats. I have also used Weathertech floor mats in the past, but I was able to get these for a little cheaper with a sale on Auto Anything. These seem to be made to order and it took a little over a month to deliver. I really like how they look and the coverage they provide. I may cut the emblems off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
An update on the floor mats, nothing seems to stick to them, had a bunch of dirt on them and hit them with a pressure washer for a couple of seconds and everything came right off.

Update on suspension, I think the strut pinch bolts are not tight enough and the struts are twisting slightly, changing the toe of the car as I drive. I get random left to right movements in the steering that follows the road grade, and it's been getting worse. I need to get under the car and check everything in the spring, but I think a combo of loose pinch bolts and the anti-seize lube I put on the bottom of the struts to help slide them into the knuckles has the struts moving slightly. The car basically tramlines extremely badly at times, but on a nice smooth road without much road crown, it drives perfectly.
 

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Great thread! Thanks for documenting so many interesting diy jobs.
 
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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
VDASH Add-ons
I mentioned some of these add-ons / changes in other places, but I wanted to document them here too. I have had a DICE clone for a while and the VDASH software, but never got around to actually trying any of the add-ons or changes. After VDASH announced they would be requiring yearly account fees I reached out to them to ask about the different account levels and what I would need to make changes I wanted. They ended up giving me an account that gives access to all of the options for only $10 a year, instead of the like $100 it normally would be.

I believe they are targeting larger mechanic operations that have been using VDASH with these changes to make more money. Individuals looking to access all of the available options should reach out to them about cheaper account options, YMMV.

The first thing I did was pay $69 to disable the start/stop function. Unfortunately, this means that ECO mode is completely disabled. Pressing the button does nothing. I would use this on longer freeway driving to eek out a few more MPG, but not having to press the button every time I get into the car is worth it.

Secondly, I paid $179 to enable the key-fob remote start feature. It took me a few tries to get it working. I think VDASH tells you the steps to take to "activate" the feature after it is turned on in the software. I can't remember exactly what I did, but there is a combination of locking the car with the parking break on, unlocking it. Letting the car sit locked for 20 minutes, etc. before the changes take. After I got it working, the first dozen or so times I tried to use it, the parking brake had to be set. After a while, I forgot to set it and it started functioning without the brake being set.

Lastly, multiple people have said that the tire size change functions don't work correctly in VDASH as you need to change the ECM and another component in order for adaptive cruise control to work. I upgraded from 18" wheels to 19" wheels and the overall circumference is larger. This means my speedometer was reading lower than my actual speed. I took the chance and paid to change the Tire Circumference option (I calculated the new circumference) and everything has been working perfectly for almost 6 months. I should have done an exact before / after comparison with the change, as I did not double-check my "before" speed readings against my phone's GPS speed, but it should have been registering low in the car. I did check my car against GPS speed after the change and it is within .2 MPH at 75MPH. Adaptive cruise has been working perfectly as well, with my longest drive being about 30 minutes uninterrupted cruise.
 
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