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Guide To A Convincing Dummy Head Unit


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Guide now complete :)

Ok so this is my second attempt at a guide and may be useful to anyone who's fitted or thinking of buying an aftermarket head unit that will be appealing to scum bags and thieves alike and result in getting your windows smashed.

For my birthday my Missus kindly treated me to a new touch screen head unit to replace my current ford 6000cd (doesn't even have an AUX button) mainly so that she can plug her ipod into it.

Anyway, I am obviously a bit worried about my windows getting smashed in and my nice new head unit disappearing quicker than I fitted it.

I have been looking into dummy head unit face plates that basically fit over aftermarket head units to look like a standard cheapy head unit is fitted so thieves won't look twice at it.

This sort of thing:


Now I don't know about you but it looks a bit too dummy and a bit obvious for my liking. Even though potential thieves would be looking at it from a distance from the other side of the window I still think it's a bit obvious, and any knowing thief will know what the stock unit actually looks like and will also know what the readily available on eBay dummy units will look like.

So what I've started to do is create an OEM stock looking dummy faceplate, that once fitted you'd never know there was an expensive head unit underneath.

I was going to use my current stock unit and basically butcher it at the time once I've fitted my new head unit. But Clive kindly donated his faceplate from a faulty 6006cd he had knocking about doing nothing. This saved me butchering my current working unit, leaving the option open to either sell my stock unit on, or should I need to refit it when selling my car to keep my aftermarket unit.

If you are thinking about doing this mod, although it is relatively straight forward, it is rather time consuming with the amount of modification, cutting, trimming and grinding required.

When It arrived in the post. This is what I started off with:



First step of the modification is to strip out the circuit board, keeping the volume knob and screen. This is what you'll be left with:


Next you need to strip out all of the buttons leaving you with this:



Once you've done this, It's now time to get friendly with a dremel or similar cutting tool as you will be using it a lot. Safety glasses on (really, you need them)

You need to trim the excess off of every button. I started by trying to be safe and tape the buttons down on some cardboard:


Then using a cutting disc attachment, begin cutting the buttons:


But as I'm a bloke, I quickly grew tired of this as it was too time consuming to keep taping the buttons down, plus all the plastic dust on the cardboard meant the tape was covered in it and couldn't be reused. So I ended up simply holding the buttons in my fingers, being careful not to cut any parts of me off:


Once I finished trimming every button down, I started trimming down the faceplate itself:


Once finished I'm left with this:


(the edge looks messy in this photo but it's just flaked bits of plastic that brush off)

When I'd finished that, I started grinding away all the plastic moulding on the back of the faceplate that would of held the buttons in place. Basically the back needs to be completely flat so it all needs to go. So I set to work with a flat grinding stone attachment on the dremel that works rather well:


A long going over with the dremel later I was left with this:


Looks messy but all the mouldings on the back for the buttons are now gone and it's completely flat so it should fit over the after market head unit nicely. Once finished I was left with all these trimmed down pieces:


I then flaked off all the loose bits of excess and washed it under the tap to get all the dust off.

With the volume knob, I trimmed it down from this:


To this:


And with it's clear housing I cut it from this:


To this:


I will then glue the knob inside it's housing and then glue the housings tabs to the back to hold it in place.

Now it's time to glue everything in place. This is straight forward and once finished I've got this:



Now to line the back of it, what I did is cut a section off a thin mouse mat, big enough to cover the face of the head unit:


Think this is just temporary cause it looks a bit messy at the moment but it's doing the job of protecting me screen.

Finally and most importantly, In terms of fitting, this is pretty much up to you what you decide is best for you.

In my case, I didn't go for the most visually appealing route, but something I found actually works really well is good old velcro. It's very simple and works a treat so don't knock it if it stops my windows getting smashed.

It's readily available at supermarkets/wilkinson etc and can be found with the sewing stuff.

Firstly I cut two strips off, and stuck them either side of the back of the dummy faceplate:


It's looking messy I admit but it does the job n you won't see it anyway

Next I stuck 2 two strips of velco either side of my head unit fascia adaptor:


I now decided to take the dremel back out and trim a few mm off the edges of the fascia adaptor:


So that when clipped into head unit surround, instead of sitting flush with the surround, it will instead sit a few mm deeper into it:



Once fitted back in the car I'm looking at this with my nice shiny new head unit:


It is now simply a case of placing the dummy face plate over the new head unit and the velcro will hold it on:


Job done

And because I trimmed that few mm off the fascia adaptor, the faceplate won't stick unusually further out of the head unit surround

View from outside of the car that a would be thief would have:


You would never no there was something valuable underneath it and just looks like a crappy standard factory fitted ford head unit that ain't worth a second look.

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  • 7 months later...

minor update to this

i've since got rid of the velco as it was too annoying to pull off as it's actually too strong, noisy too

and in its place i've fitted magnetic strips

really wish i'd of thought of it before but it works so much better and feels a lot more swish

holds the faceplate on beautifully

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