After I got my H2, I put a lot into a variety of offroad upgrades like the winch, Sirius, iPod audio, and rack mounts. Since then I haven’t spent much on upgrades. Late last year, my eyes started wandering to other trucks. Look at the cool stuff they have! So I decided it was time to refresh the truck and update a few of the things that are outdated. Otherwise known as “pimping my ride”!
First and foremost on my list was the stereo. My truck was produced just before they started putting navigation systems with big screens in this truck. So I got along with my Garmin portable just fine. Later, I added my Sirius radio. More cords. Then tore the dash out and put in an iPod AUX jack. More cords. I had a decent setup but you couldn’t just jump in the truck and work it. You need a course from me. So my wife usually would take my truck and end up listening to AM radio or something because she couldn’t figure it out. It was always OK with me but I wanted more.
I had been looking at replacement stereos forever but none ever fit the bill. The car stereo companies need to re-invent themselves and take it further. Like how Apple redefined the phone, car stereos are hurting. I wanted a perfect iPod interface with full screen cover art. And video from the iPod. And a cool phone interface. And navigation as good as my Garmin. And and and and. The list was so long that I put myself out of the market. So I watched this year’s CES to see if there was some breakthrough product. Nada. It was time to move. Car Toys was having a big sale so I picked up a Pioneer AVIC-F90BT for nearly half-price! I haven’t been a big Pioneer fan over the years but this product line is great. Better value than the competitors and had nicely polished features. Car Toys wanted me to swap out my speakers to but it was too costly. I have a 10-speaker factory-installed Bose system. You would have to replace all the speakers and the amp evidently. That was a lot of money. Scratch that. Just the stereo with iPod and Sirius option. Also, need to keep the steering wheel controls. They were ready to install that day. Finished in hours!
So here is the old factory setup. I hated the damn OnStart thing too. Never use it. They said they could tear it out and put in a dash slot so I could store stuff. Nice.
And the finished product! Here is an iPod screen. On the touch screen you can navigate the iPod menu just as if the iPod was in hand — but this is much safer! It also responds to voice control. Push one button and it goes into listening mode and you say “Play the artist Metallica” or “Play the playlist 70s disco grooves”. And it plays. Magic! In Kim’s MB, I am always up/down menu-ing for hours to find one song. Now I can just say “Play the song Billie Jean” and I am off to bust a move. Oh, and it shows cover art and you can play videos from your iPod — but only the audio while you are moving. When stopped, you can turn on those TV shows or movies. If not on your iPod, it plays DVDs too. And DivX. Kim still wants to know when I am going to use that.
I haven’t really used the navigation system yet but its fun to watch the map. The display is clear and the map is cool looking. The navigation can also track if you are speeding or not and give you a warning based on tolerances you setup. It has a 3D view too so you can see buildings and landmarks. Unfortunately, you can’t change the voice — I used to like the Australian chick I had on my Garmin. I believe that she was very sexy and was trying to seduce me.
The main menu gives you simple choices from nav, contacts, and audio. The contacts does the phone dialing off your address book. It also uses the voice command thing so you can say “Call Home” and it phones home. I need to keep my eyes on the road because I drive on everyone’s ass (according to my wife).
It also plays music off of a SD card but I can’t figure out why they did that. Maybe there are some loser MP3 players that use that as memory. Then you could swap it in? Not sure. I used it to load a splash screen on the radio. That was cool. Anything that extends, I like. Firmware upgrades seem to be real good too. Love when things get better over time. Anyway, it is a great upgrade and it makes driving a bit more fun. Sounds better too. Better components I suppose.
My windshield didn’t have any big cracks yet but it looked like I drove cross country behind a gravel truck. I figure it would be a million dollars to replace since it is so big. Turns out it was only $200 so I should have done this a long time ago. I was in and out within an hour. When I started driving, it was like I had been driving without glasses for years and now had some specs on. So clear!
3. Full Detail
I took the truck to my favorite carwash and had them do the works. Full leather and interior cleaning. They scrubbed out every piece of dirt and the things looks new again.
4. Wheels and TIres
The big luxury upgrade that I had been looking at for months was new rims. I became infatuated with black rims. My factory 17″ rims were not cutting it. I needed something new.
So I shopped and shopped. Looked at every truck. I would scope out trucks in parking lots. Like those rims. Not those rims. I would take pictures of the rims and catalog them. Which to get? There are too many choices. Finally something clicked and I decided on Moto Metal 951s in black. 8 on 6.5 bolt pattern. But I felt like I wanted to go bigger. The H2 comes with 17″ rims standard. Could I go up to 18 or 19″? I started shopping that option and found out that the tires are way more expensive in 18″. That was the big cost in the operation. Rims are 1/2 the price of the tire! Good offroad tires are not cheap. I had BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO LT315/70R17 on. So I could go to the same model but in a LT325/65R18. That would make the tire about an inch wider but no taller. The no taller is key — if my truck goes up by more than 0.5″, I can’t pull into the garage! It is that close. So I had them double check that the truck would not rise. Basically the rim is bigger and you just remove that space from the sidewall of the tire. Have a look.
So last night, Discount Tire got them mounted and on for me. Did the detailing today and made the truck pose for a picture near home. What do you think?
You either are going: 1) I don’t get it, OR 2) sweet. My wife was in camp #1. Wheels are wheels. I know most of the dudes get it. On the way back from the car wash, I had to stop at 7-11 for a Dew. I came out and 4 dudes where checking out my new wheels. They gave me the nod and told me about how cool those rims looked. I cranked up my stereo and drove away with a big smile. The H2 version 2 is ready to roll!