Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to install XCarLink iPod/iPhone adapter [ Mazda 6 ]

Note: This will not work, if you have a satellite radio, or any other device that uses aux port on your stereo.

Ok, I installed this kit couple weeks ago, but finally found a time to write about it. So, first things first – a kit itself:

[ Package content ]

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

[ Bluetooth harness, iPod/iPhone connector, XCarLink module ]

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter - Bluetooth harnessMazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter - iPod/iPhone harnessMazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter - Module

Next, tools you’ll need:

  1. Ratchet wrench, extension, and 10 socket;
  2. Phillips screwdriver;
  3. Small flathead screwdriver;
  4. Some cable ties;
  5. Electric tape (optional, but highly suggested);
  6. Pliers;
  7. Bicycle wheel mounting tool (I don’t know whether its called like this, and you may not need this, but I found it useful);
  8. Scissors;
  9. Light;
  10. And, maybe, some cloth.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter  Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter  Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter  Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapterMazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapterMazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

OK, lets get it done.

Put your car on a brake. And start with removing cupholder and gear shift panel. You don’t need any tools to remove it, just pull it up and will pop right away. Be careful, do not break clips that hold it in place, just don’t put to much force in it.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Do not remove shift panel just yet. Start your car and put it into reverse gear (“R”), if you have ATX (as I do). Unscrew the shift knob.

Stop the car, and disconnect negative (black wire) from battery (its better be safe than sorry).

Now, easily remove shift panel. Remember that you have two wires underneath – cigarette lighter and illumination for shift panel. Turn over this panel and you will see it.

To remove illumination harness, grab that plastic piece near the wire and turn it, this way you release a bulb and pull it (do it for both).

To unplug a cigarette lighter, use a small flathead screwdriver,  find a clip that holds it and gently press on it and pull it at the same time. 

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

When you’re done, give them a good cleaning.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter 

So, now it should look like this:

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Then, remove the liner from the armrest compartment. You can see a vent (?) holes on the bottom, I put iPod connection wire thru this holes.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Now its time to remove center console.

Note: Center console secured with two screws at the front and one bolt on right (behind the glove box). Do not forget about that bolt!

To find out how to remove glove box read my earlier post here.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter


Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapterMazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter 

Note: Be careful not to drop that bolt (as I did). I was lucky that it fell where I was able to reach it with some long pliers.

Start removing the console. I wasted a lot of time doing it (everybody says its easy, but for me it wasn’t). Start pulling from the top. Then from the bottom. Use a tire mounting tool, that I’ve mentioned before that. Insert that tool into the holes and press the clips inside, pulling console at the same time (take your time).

Note: Do not use anything sharp, metal around console, because you can end up scratching/damaging console cover.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

 Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Now put some cloth on gear-change shift lever, pull of the console and lean it against the lever (don’t try to remove completely, you don’t need to do this extra work, besides its not that easy :)).

 Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Now, connect XCarLink module to the aux port.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Its up to you how you will run the wires, but here’s what I did.

Remove plastic cover that hides a bolt on your driver’s side center panel cover. And run the wires behind this panel. If you have a Bluetooth kit, don’t put that screw back just yet, Bluetooth wire will go behind that panel too.

 Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Now, couple notes about installing Bluetooth. I decided that I want a Bluetooth mic to be on a driver side front pillar. Mount mic on a pillar and run wires from it under the steering wheel and behind that drivers side. Secure it underneath with cable ties (use pliers to remove excessive ties).

I don’t have pics how I did it. But schematically it looks like this (orange – bluetooth harness):


Its time to run wire for iPod connector. Open armrest compartment, use pliers to cut a hole big enough to put a cable thru it. Run a wire thru the hole. Take a scissors and cut a small hole in liner, put a wire thru it and then thru the hole in compartment. Measure the right amount of cable that you want to be available in compartment, rest should go inside the center console.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Ok, when you’re done with wires, its time to connect everything together and test. Connect all cables to module, put back battery and try it :). Enjoy the sound and ask your friend/family member call you, so you can test bluetooth.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapterMazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter 

So, its time to put everything in place/together. Don’t forget to secure all wires/module inside the console.

Photos below show where I put my XCarLink module (you can use another place, but for me that one worked best). New wires with orange tape on it.

Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter Mazda 6 - XCarLink iPod adapter

Steps to put everything back:

  1. Install center console (make sure its secured);
  2. Check all climate control knobs, there is a big chance that you can mess with temperature control wire. If you can not turn that knob left completely, it means you “broke” it. Put console back and start turning back and forth that knob slightly. Look inside, where that bolt that suppose to hold console is. You will see a moving wire (that moves a lever). Loose that wire from a clip that holds it. Rotate knob on left completely, and than put pack wire inside a clip.
  3. Put back bolt;
  4. Put back 2 screws;
  5. Install glove box;
  6. Connect cigarette lighter and two bulb from shifter panel;
  7. Secure shifter panel;
  8. Secure cupholder;
  9. Clean up all the mess :).

And.. you’re done. Congrats, and happy DIY’ing.. :).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Just ordered some LEDs for Mazda interior.. will see how it will come off.
PS: Ordered from

Changing cabin air filter [ Mazda 6 ]

Now, I want to show you how easy is to change cabin air filter.

Tools / materials you’ll need:
- new cabin air filter;
- hands.

First thing first, your air filter is behind glove box. So, first thing to do is to remove glove box:


The easiest I found to do that is to unfasten that rope that you see on image above. When that done, you can remove glove box (it holds by to hinges). Press slightly at the top of the glove box and bend it and pull it. It will come off easily :). Be careful, as soon as you pull it off, it will just fall down.


[ Removed glove box ]


Now, locate the air filter box. Grab little handles at the bottom and pull them gently, this way you’ll remove air filter housing cover.



[ Cover ]

Remove old filter and put your brand new one :).


[ Old filter in place ]


[ Brand new filter from NAPA… ]


And, put everything back in reverse order: cover, glove box and fasten back the glove box “holder”.

And.. one scary picture of my old air filter :)


Have fun and happy DIY.