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PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
6/11/21 2:57 p.m.

Interesting thing I learned. Should've probably read the manual, but who ever reads these?!

 

We know using the left paddle to downshift sets the "maximum gear" (ie the car can still choose to be in a lower gear if it feels like it, it just won't go above that one). Well, if you press and hold the left paddle to downshift, it will downshift to the highest feasible gear (ie around 5,000-6,000 rpm). Hold the right paddle in C or S mode and it will reset the maximum to "D" (ie 7). Neat! I kept clicking the right paddle a dozen times to reset the upper limit. Not sure the left paddle is useful, as the car doesn't have rev matching so the downshift is a little extreme - I'd prefer a gear higher. But still good to know.  

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
6/19/21 7:08 p.m.

Replaced the cracked fog light today. Threw on some Philips XtremeVision bulbs in as well, but can't tell any difference for the life of me. 

Successfully lowered the car about 1" using Star. Woohoo! Money well spent? :P

Sadly, unable to turn on mirror tilt in Star though (it doesn't work by setting the right mirror and adjusting it in reverse). Reading forums, it would appear that MB removed it in 2007 model year cars across the board for no reason at all. Seems like in some cases you can reactivate it in Star (Instrument Cluster > Special Functions), but it's missing on mine. I'll have to dive into proper coding using DTS Monaco I think ... 

 

[edit] so the lowering didn't work, car just raised itself after. Oh well... maybe I'll figure it out one day.

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
7/13/21 2:56 p.m.

Hrm. Well - that's annoying. I guess I should've heeded the warning that these go in pairs ...

 

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
7/16/21 5:59 p.m.

... and fixed! Yay RockAuto and their ultra fast delivery. 

Interesting thing I discovered: I previously complained that the OEM springs were ATE whereas I thought they were Bilstein. Silly me - they're the same company (the Bilstein springs I got have ATE branding on them as well). This solved one problem that I completely ignored last time and was worried about happening today: there's a plastic thingie at the top of the strut that holds the rubber grommet on top of the shock, and it's supposed to be replaced when removing - and the Bilstein shocks do not come with it. Well, I paid careful attention to it and it looks like for Bilstein specifically, the rubber grommet isn't attached to the shock - so you retain the rubber grommet AND the plastic thingie in the car body and don't need to replace it. Good stuff. 

 

Also, Star came in useful, sort of. Last time I stupidly just dropped the car onto the new shock and let it auto-inflate itself. I was lucky - nothing had happened - but apparently you're NOT supposed to do that. So this time, I carefully lowered it slightly, then manually inflated the shock psi by psi until it was good enough to hold the car, then dropped and let it auto-level. 

So this means I now have a brand new compressor replaced by the previous owner, and two brand new rear shocks - and I have an Arnott front as a backup, so I'm not far away from the whole suspension being renewed. 

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
8/9/21 9:45 p.m.

Good news! Oil change complete. Thanks to @NoahWeb for preparing the oil change kit, even included replacement oil drain bolts and washers. Very considerate.

Bad news! I am a N00B when it comes to oil changes on this car. First of all, it took me FOREVER to find the oil cooler drain. The main drain was relatively easy once I realised I have to take off the underbody. But the oil cooler was a nightmare to find because every video I watched of C63s, ML63s, etc clearly showed it around the front of the car, a little forward of the main oil pan. Easy but... I couldn't find it on this car... until I realised just HOW shoehorned this engine is into this thing. The oil drain is in the front bumper! Wtf.

Once I figured it out, I started undoing the oil filter, and more bad news. It looks like it was in pretty tight, so when I opened it, the oil inside did not drain downwards (despite all the drains being open) - instead, half of it just poured right out the housing and down the engine. Argh! Once I carefully removed the oil filter, it all drained down, but now I have a huge swath of oil that leaked down the engine belt and pulleys. Incredibly annoying, because now if I ever sell the car, I'm going to have to explain to the prospective buyer that no, I didn't leak a litre of oil, I'm actually an idiot and I opened the oil filter cap wrong. Facepalm.

Also: draining the oil cooler through the bumper opening feels like a really dumb way of doing it. Of course it went all over the bumper and so on and I had to wipe it after. Irritating.

At least it's done and I don't have to worry about it for another few months.

On the upside: the oil that came out was actually not that dirty. Sure, it was dark-ish, but it still retained some transparency, which surprised me as that means it didn't really get all that dirty - and I've done 6,000 miles since the last oil change.

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
9/6/21 9:26 p.m.

I'm proceeding with my projects. Next one is the navi, finally. Got my hands on a prrtty good unit ... only to discover that pin 15 in the main audio harness is supposed to be switched, but isn't. I guess the OEM nav maybe switches off via a CANBUS signal? The weird thing is, people on the forums are saying theirs isn't like that ... I am mystified. 

 

[edit] oh E36 M3, I figured it out. Awesome. Details forthcoming.

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
9/12/21 10:36 p.m.

Ok, update. So as I posted way earlier in the thread, I decided to throw out the OEM navigation system and proactively be forgiven for somewhat decreasing the "OEM-ness" of the car; the nav was basically garbage (and I feel guilty for making the previous owner get it properly configured for backup cam operation, as it wasn't trivial). But after the DVD wasn't even being read properly (might have been due to the quality of the disc I burned... was trying to keep the original disc intact), I got annoyed and decided to do something about it.

Enter Android. I think there are probaly like two or three companies in China that make the actual devices, and then there are hundreds of customizers that adapt them into faceplates for various cars, and then on top of them, thousands of resellers on Alibaba. What it results in is basically the same devices being rebranded and resold under a variety of names, one weirder than the next. On the upside, oddly, it results in a very consistent installation and use experience, since many of the interfaces are generally similar and all of a sudden, every car you get into has a similar interface, which is surprisingly helpful in creating a unified user experience. Of my three cars, two now have an almost identical interface, and the third has a slighly modified one that quickly reverts to standard Android after a few taps. Anyway, I digress.

The install was supposed to be pretty easy, since the unit came prewired into a harness. Oh, but things never are, are they? I don't know why I always end up with cars where the wiring makes absolutely no sense. For all the hate I spew on the RS6 that I had, that was probably the only car where an Android device literally plugged in and just worked, no funny business.

It looks like the R63's wiring harness is not only unique, but also undocumented. Probably because it was such a limited run model, Mercedes did not see fit to document the wiring diagram in WIS, so when you actually look at WIS, it's kind of wrong (if you can even make heads or tails of it). Also, no websites list the schematics for a pre-facelift R-Class - everyone has the updated wiring diagrams for the NTG 2.5 device (the one with the exposed DVD slot and a SD slot on top of it, featured in the facelift model). For some reason, similar generation GL and ML cars also had a different harness, as if it made any sense to customise the damn harness for every car that rolled off the assembly line.

In specific terms, what this meant in my specific case was three things:

1. Rearview camera would not work by using a FAKRA-RCA adapter

2. Power would not work as expected, and

3. FM radio would not work.

Anyway, I first started by taking apart the dash. For posterity, this is what I started with:

Comparing the old and the new:

Since I had to run the 4G antenna and the GPS wires (in retrospect, I could've reused the OEM GPS wire, so maybe could've avoided running some...), I had to take out the vents. While the passenger side vent was a pretty easy one to take out, the center one was a right BITCH to get out. Besides the fact that you have to be an octopus to get all the clips lifted (many DIYs just say rip it straight out... but that's a really dumb way, since it really isn't designed to be ripped out - it's designed to have the clips lifted, dammit!), they are inconveniently placed, and are VERY hard to reach. It's a much smarter idea to just remove the slats.

Don't forget to remove the wires once you do have it out.

............... except once you remove it and have it in your hands... you realise what a DUMB idea it was to remove those slats. The design is INSANELY hard to put back together - think of a structure with the rigidity of a house of cards right up to the moment where you click it all together, at which point it regains rigidity... but until then, you will swear, curse and invent new words because the goddamn slats will keep sliding, falling out, flapping around - and don't even get me started on the metal bracket behind them that, in principle, makes them all move up and down in unison. A guy in a Youtube video couldn't take it anymore and superglued them together so they hold together... I was laughing at his impatience until I spent two hours putting the f'n thing together. Fortunately, eventually, the wife stepped in and got it all reassembled in a quarter of an hour. I have no idea wtf she did. Anyway, it looked like this after her wizardry was complete - and no superglue used!

A note on the passenger side vent. Not sure if anyone is ever going to be looking for a DIY on how to remove the passenger AC vent for a W251 Mercedes Benz R-Class (R350, R500, R63) (see what I did there...) but there's a sneaky side snorkel that must be removed before the vent will come out, and of course, you can't see it until you take off the side panel. Smart design. Many hairs lost. Fortunately no clips broken because I knew there's secret trickery afoot, but took me a while to figure out where it was.

 

Next up, connect the Android unit. I like taking a pic of the whole console undone - in every car, it looks like a complete disaster because of all the crazy wiring, so it's fun to show this picture to people.

Ran the wires to the right side of the car. With the center vent out, it was a piece of cake, there's lots of space to put hands through. I didn't have to undo the A-pillar either - just ran the wires at the bottom of the trim, there's enough flex in it to bury them both with a trim tool. The gold colour box is a SIM card unit for when I decide to add a SIM card to it... for now, I just use my Wifi hotspot.

 

Main quadlock wiring harness with everything in it:

So I read somewhere that I can use the onboard backup camera without wiring another one. I really wanted this to be true, because I was absolutely NOT looking forward to undoing the rear hatch trim and running new wires (not to mention it would look STUPID to have both the OEM and an aftermarket camera). Tried blindly connecting the FAKRA to RCA adapter to various FAKRA wires, but after getting no signal I went to read the wiring diagram... and turns out that none of the FAKRA wires are actually the rear view camera (unlike on the facelift NTG 2.5, damn it). Further searching sugggested that the backup camera video feed is actually a wire on this quadlock connector, and the suggestion was to tap into it. I don'really, really don't like tapping into wires (with those tap-a-fuse devices or whatever they call them) because the whole concept freaks me out - essentially, you're slicing into the insulation to create contact with the wire; but what if you pick the wrong tap-a-fuse, and it cuts the wire clean off? Or creates a failure point because it becomes weaker in that spot? I really don't dig that, and I realised that there's a much simpler way to tap into this wire... like this:

Yup - since the rest of the connector is ground for the camera + some random unused wires (they don't even have a counterpart on the Android unit's harness), I could just remove this connector and tap right into it. It's not shown, but the other side of the white/black cable is just a standard RCA plug; I cut an old cable, cleared the shielding away, and just soldered the copper wire to this pin. Success!!! I got video signal, and it looks just fine. Low resolution, but it works.

I want to replace the OEM camera one day;  I've seen OEM mount Chinese cameras, but they all come with an RCA wire; the OEM camera has a 4-pin harness. If I can ever find a defective camera so I can chop off the harness, I will replace the camera with a more modern / better field of view one. It should be great. Unfortunately, the OEM cameras are all $90+ on eBay ... certainly not paying that to just chop the harness up.

 

Another issue I ran into is that pin 16, "MOST wake up", was being treated as an ACC by the Android unit's harness. I thought the unit would switch off by itself, so I left it, and it did switch off... as did the rest of the car, including door locks and keyless entry. I had to discover how idiotic the Mercedes door unlocking design is: sure, there's an emergency key, but unlike in a normal car, where you insert the key, turn it to unlock, then pull the handle, with this car, you turn the key, hold it while it's turned (because it's spring-loaded and wants to return), then pull the handle to unlock. Guess how many kind words I had for Mercedes design engineers at 6am on a school run? Let's just say the Delica got some unplanned use that day. Later that day, I also discovered that apparently this car is too upscale to be boosted by pedestrian vehicles, as my Delica was unable to boost it, so I spend another hour on the internet searching how to boost an R63 - I thought I was maybe using the wrong boost points or something. The things you question yourself about. Finally, I ended up charging up my portable booster, and that worked great - the car started up just fine.

Finally, after extensive research, I pulled the pin from the harness to disconnect the MOST wakeup wire. And amazingly, everything started working as expected. I have no idea where the unit gets its wake signal now, since there's no ACC wire in the harness (none of the wires on the large quadlock have switched power. It's a mystery). The car hasn't died since, so I guess I got it right this time.

I finally reassembled everything and here's how it looks like!

Overall, very happy with it. The screen is huge, Waze works well for traffic (with a Wifi hotspot) and although you lose multichannel and the sound output is technically analog (you lose optical), sound quality is still perfectly fine.

 

The only thing that does not work is radio. In more wonderful design decisions, there is an onboard AM/FM signal amplifier. In newer versions, there's a pin on the harness to power it, so you feed it 12V, it turns on, and Bob's your uncle, you have signal. Unfortunately, in the 2007 R63, the wire isn't there, and it's powered by unicorns murmuring swear words in German, so I don't know how to get it to power on. The research continues. I don't really listen to FM; the wife does, but when she drives I'm generally not with her, so it's a problem that's somewhat lower on the list of priorities, lol. In seriousness, though, I'll have to figure it out, hopefully someone can read wire diagrams better than I can.

 

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
9/17/21 10:35 p.m.

Did a small thing today that I have really wanted to do for a while. Stupid North American rules require orange reflectors on cars, which I find look ugly, and needlessly detract from the overall aesthetic of a car. I've read the counterpoints on safety and so on, but somehow, Europe has just as much darkness and snow and whatever else this is supposed to prevent, and yet, they don't all go crashing into each other just because they don't have orange reflectors.

So I set out to look for replacement filler panels to swap out the orange reflectors. It was surprisingly hard to find them - the reason being that in Europe, the orange reflector is actually housing the PDC sensor, which means the bumper itself does not have a corner PDC sensor, since it's in the corner panel. Obviously I wasn't going to replace the bumper for something so minor, but after a long search, I found the left one in Los Angeles, and the right one somewhere in Austria. After having them shipped halfway across the world and sourcing some Alabaster White spray paint locally, I present the before-and-after!

It looks not terrible, but I will admit my painting skills can use a bit of work - considering the original piece was dark blue, I could've probably done a couple more coats to make it proper white. However, I've decided to respray the bumper, so I will just have them done at the same time. I was actually considering respraying the entire car to clear up some of the dings and bumps, but I was talking to a local AMG mechanic, and he almost threatened to lock me in the garage for an indeterminate period of time unless I a) promised him I won't drive this car in winter, and b) will not even consider respraying any metal surface (bumpers are fine, according to him, but any respray of a metal surface means "you're hiding something" - which seems a little extreme, but I suppose he isn't entirely wrong). So I think I can go with him on that; I will get the bumper resprayed, and I will park the car in the garage for the winter and drive my 4WD oddball minivan through the snowy days. After all, he was right to point out that there are so few of these cars - it'd be a shame to cause it to turn to a rust bucket.

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
9/24/21 9:54 a.m.

So I did a thingie today.

I know we've all focussed on keeping the Unicorn stock, and I almost completely keep that vision... except today, where I broke away from the path. This one time only, though, I promise - I won't lower it, put weird wheels on it, or supercharge it (unless I end up keeping it with the intent of it basically dying on me of old age, in which case I might supercharge it). Today, though, I fixed the one design problem with it that I, from the beginning, thought was the only true flaw: the exhaust note.

You see, I am a lover of sleepers. Many of my cars have been some variation of a sleeper, and the whole reason why I wanted an R63 was exactly that. However, I like sleepers that can unfold into monsters on demand, and the R63 is exactly that ... with the exception of its exhaust note. It never truly unfolds into anything - yes, it'll pop and burble, but it's still very tame considering what the engine is, and what the sound can be in the likes of the C63 Black and so on. That said, though, I have neither the desire, nor the financial incentive, to buy something insane like the Weistec exhausts for $4,500+++ - that's unreasonably expensive, makes the car too loud, and defeats the "sleeper" concept.

But resonator deletes don't.

Having spoken to a number of owners who have done the delete, I became convinced that the sound would be exactly what I was looking for... so I went ahead and booked an appointment at a shop to do it. It took me a while to find someone I would trust; seeing as the exhaust is stainless steel, I already wasn't willing to go to "a" muffler shop, since the several places I phoned offered me to do it for "50 bucks" but with MIG welding and rusty steel pipes, which is absolutely counter to my philosophy. As I wrote above, I will not drive the car in winter, but that doesn't mean I am willing to install rusty pipes on it. So the search continued.

Browsing our local car forums (which I judged to be a reasonable place to find someone who would do custom exhausts), it turned out that while there were many shops in the past, over the last decade they all went out of business for one reason or another. Until I came across a thread from 7 years ago that referenced "a guy who liked cars and did it on the side", which sounded just about the right level of trustworthy (lol). I called the number, and the person informed me that this "guy" is no longer "there", but if I want to search for him, here's his full name, go see if you can find him.

Sounded like the right task for me, so a couple of hours of Googling around... and I was connected with this dude out of a far away suburb, far beyond our now-defunct airport, who would happily chop up the Unicorn's exhaust for me. I got his Facebook page as well, and having looked at the work he's done over the last 7 years (since the forum thread died), convinced me that this is exactly the guy I want doing this kind of work - custom Supra exhausts, custom fab work on downpipes, full turboback builds, you name it he does it. And of course, he has a TIG machine and stainless pipes, it's bread and butter work for him.

So I showed up at his place - he was a little surprised to see a minivan, since I (intentionally) told him it was "a 63 AMG", without referring to the exact model number, to avoid confusion. We lifted it up, he grabbed his saw, and up on the lift she went... (yeah, really needs a wash)

This is what we're working with:

A bit of sawing and.... here are the offenders.

Was tempted to leave the car like this... but figured this won't pass the closest police station.

 

New pipes welded in - keeping the option of undoing everything one day should it be so desired.

 

Supports welded, and the final product!

 

And of course, the mandatory cold start videos - before...

https://youtu.be/jyn4MyPPAno

 

... and after.

https://youtu.be/np1efhRtlYA

 

Basic quick review: THIS IS WHAT THIS CAR SHOULD SOUND LIKE. Idle is unchanged from before (wife didn't even notice). Under load, it WILL grumble more, and if you put it under intense acceleration load, then it really opens up. It's wonderful. It's closer to a Black series exhaust now, without the ostentatiousness; it's literally "present" enough to be felt, but you can't easily tell which car is the one emitting it. There is no drone at all (and I am very sensitive to annoying noises... I'll hunt rattles for weeks!), and the only un-subtle change are the loud backfires if you accelerate hard and lift. Good times.

java230
java230 UberDork
9/24/21 10:11 a.m.

I like this mod.

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
9/28/21 6:19 p.m.

Went to a DIY scrapyard today because I was notified an R-Class came into inventory. I procrastinated for a few days, so obviously when I showed up, the car has already been pillaged. It was an R500, which is a bit surprising to find in a scrapyard. I'd like to say I really, REALLY hate people who do not respect cars, and do not respect other people: some dude wanted the engine, so he ripped off the bumper and all the surrounds, so of course, the grille was basically demolished. Had he spent an extra 60 seconds more carefully unclipping it, I could've had a grille without broken tabs for the Unicorn. Infuriating. Now I keep searching.

The side mirrors started being pretty lazy opening; when I got the car, I thought, "hey, I shouldn't fold and unfold them with door unlock, because that'll probably snap the wires!" - well, by NOT folding and unfolding them, it looks like the motors went on vacation or something laugh I WD40'd them back into shape, but for 25 bucks apiece, it was worth picking up a pair of spare mirrors (wrong colour, though), on the off chance the motors in them are better. Maybe I'll just feed them 12V and see if they fold better or not. Winter's coming, need projects of some kind, right? lol

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
10/2/21 3:25 p.m.

The fun continues. I was driving the other day, and when I got home, I heard a click-click in the engine that seemed a little odd, was very rhythmical. I opened the hood, and saw something flashing by on the serpentine belt which seemed to match the rhythm of the clicking. I stopped the car, and found this:

This looked a little suspicious, but did not satisfy my curiosity. I ran the engine for a bit again, trying to capture a picture of different parts of the belt, eventually gave up, but when I stopped the engine, I saw this:

Right! Ok, that seemed like a great reason to NOT drive the car anymore, so I jumped on some websites, and started looking at what I need to do. After a quick email exchange with Mazdeuce, it looks like the last belt and pulley change was around 40K miles ago ... which, according to my mechanic, is right about when these engines eat the pulleys and the belts (he said it's around 50K, but who's counting), and if the tensioner has never been changed (and according to Mazdeuce, he never changed it, which could mean it's still original!), then it needs to go, too.

A couple of days later, this showed up:

I got lucky and got pretty good prices on all of these as OEM parts, even the belt, which is pretty much what I would have wanted.

After watching a few DIY videos, it was time to roll up my sleeves... first, the belt came off, and boy oh boy, that fraying looked a little scary when it was fully tight in the engine bay, but off the pulleys? Geez, I'm glad I stopped driving the car when I did!

Comparing it to the OEM one. I think it's a Contitech in there, and the OEM one is a full 1mm thicker, I'd say. Maybe got thinner with age?

Pulleys came off easy as well... they actually didn't look too bad, but hey, why not.

The only annoying one was the one that was deeper in, as it had some weird plastic cover on it, which was a nightmare to took off - but with a thin needle pin thing, I was able to poke it out. Annoying. For some reason, the new one had an odd metal cap type device which made it impossible to get the old bolt back onto it.

But after examining it, it looked like I could force it out ... and so I did, and all was well.

 

All of this was the easy stuff. The real bitch ended up being the tensioner, for two reasons. First, because the bolts are IMPOSSIBLE to get to; a DIY video claimed you can get to the bolts from the top, that's total bs (maybe on an E63 it is). WIS says to undo the bottom pan; that did help somewhat, but with no visibility, it was still really hard to get to the bolts. Second, again, the stupid DIY tells you to twist the lock bolt and secure the tensioner with an Allen key "if you have nothing else". That's a complete crock of E36 M3. If your radiator and fan are off, then maybe, since you'll just kinda remove the tensioner. If not, you're going to need to maneuver it through the tight opening between the fan and the engine block, and with all the pipes and so on there, having an Allen key sticking out is going to not work very well for you. And what's worse, is the tensioner is so tight that you can't really adjust the Allen key ... so you have to mount the damn thing back (remember those bolts you cannot see?!), undo the Allen key, and either replace it with a pin, or just leave it unsprung (it still goes out, though poorly). Putting the new tensioner back was significantly easier; I also discovered (via the failed Allen key experiment) that the best way to put the tensioner back was to start with the top bolt, because you can sort of get to it, and once you secure that one, then it's a little easier to get to the bottom bolt since at least you don't have to support the tensioner while you fish there with your hands.

 

Here's what the two tensioners look like. Interestingly, with both being OEM, both are made by Gates - I'd have figured it would've been someone else for some reason, but hey, they both say AMG on them, so I guess they're legit. :)

The old tensioner actually didn't look all that bad - there was no play in the bearing, and it didn't seem to be in bad shape in any way, but with neither Mazdeuce nor NoahWeb being able to comment on whether they've ever been changed, I figured it's best not to take any guesses on them, especially since I got a pretty decent price on it.

So after spending probably 20 minutes looking at the WIS diagram of how the belt goes on and checking every single groove and pulley, everything was back together and I went for a quick drive... and nothing exploded, which is amazing!

Now I can finally drive around and listen to that exhaust, since I discovered that fraying right around the same time I did the resonator delete, and I was kind of terrified to rev the engine, heh.

 

white_fly
white_fly HalfDork
10/14/21 4:13 p.m.

Thanks for updating the thread. It may be a bit silly, but it feels good to know that it's still out there.

PseudoNim
PseudoNim New Reader
10/15/21 6:59 p.m.
white_fly said:

Thanks for updating the thread. It may be a bit silly, but it feels good to know that it's still out there.

Happy to, and good to know people are still reading. I don't know how long I will own it for (cause hey, if I knew the weather next Wednesday, I'd be a millionaire now!), and what kind of owner the next person will be, but hey, the more I contribute to its history, the more I will!

In the meantime, I think I fixed my parasitic drain on the battery. The car ended up with a dead battery a couple of times over the last few weeks when I was giving it a break from commuting, and I had to charge it with a charger / start it with a booster, but then I got to thinking what had changed ... and it was my Android setup, or, more specifically, the MOST optical box, which, in retrospect, I connected to the constant +12V, rather than ACC; mostly because there isn't an ACC on the harness as I complained above. But after reflecting on the setup a bit, it occurred to me that the head unit itself has an AMP wire that goes hot when it needs to power the amp... well... that's exactly what I needed here! So I flipped the power to the MOST box from the constant-on 12V to this switched wire, and I think my gremlins went away.

I'm still a little sus on the FM radio, though - for some bizarre reason, none of the FAKRA connectors improve the reception (in other words, whether I hook it up to the Bluetooth, the GPS, or the FM antenna - whichever they are, because I'm confused with the colours) - all three wires basically have about the same halfass reception which seems to come and go. I don't know if I need to power the amp or not somehow, but I'm kind of slacking off figuring it out 'cause really, who listens to the radio, right.

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