Mazda CX-5 ALP Install

Maz3

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What do you do when you buy a brand new car? Well tear it apart of course and install an ALP 😂 For me it's more about the tech and clean install as I very rarely go faster than the general flow, and as a result I don't risk getting pulled over for speeding.

Dash Trim Removed.jpgDriver Side Rear Passenger.jpgGrille Removed.jpgRear Cargo.jpg

My desire was to have this install as stealth as possible primarily just for cosmetics, but also so as not to attract attention. The current CX-5 has the worst possible grill design though - the front sensors almost glow to the eye with the tight grill pattern suddenly missing from the area of the sensors. I'm open to suggestions on how to "hide" them if anyone has some. I have lots of IR acrylic left over, and have considered getting an aftermarket grill similar to the previous generation of CX-5 as that grill would be a better configuration to cover the heads with IR acrylic. The set-up is two RX and 1 Tx both front and rear, and I tested mock-up versions before committing to the final mounting locations and taking a Dremel to my brand new grill.


Front Angle.jpgFront.jpgMazda CX-5 w Previous Grill.jpg

The original plan was that I would make covers for the rear sensors, but I bailed and had a install shop build the covers for me, using their ABS for the frames and my IR acrylic for the covers' face. I had hoped to run the acrylic across the entire area above the licence plate, but it blocked the hatch release and back-up camera, so we went with two separate covers. I use J-B Weld Putty which is great to work with to match dissimilar shaped surfaces like the rear Rx sensors faced. If you're interested in more detail on that process, I cover it to ad nauseum ;) in this thread.

Rear.jpgRear Angle.jpg

For the inside I was seeking complete stealth, and I think I'm pretty successful with that aspect. I didn't want the control set to be visible at all; i.e. Not hidden in a compartment that is accessible when in use. The point clearly cost me the most time to complete, more than the rest of the install combined. I decided to use two of the factory switches that were un-used in the switch panel. I discovered however, unlike other cars where the un-used switch can be made functional, but have an insert so they don't move, Mazda simply puts a clip-in face where the switch would go - there is no mechanical or electrical components in these un-used spaces. That caused me to order some used switch panels off of eBay to acquire the plunger shaft and button faces to install into my switch panel - the switch panel completion is shown later in this posting.

Switch Panel Shell.jpgSwitch Panel Button & Shaft.jpg

Again with no electrical components in place, I ended up using a magnet and reed switch for each of my two switches. LOTS of time was spent getting the magnets in the exact position that they would active the reed switch, and still release it when the button was released. In the end I got it done, and covered the wiring from the reed switches with heat shrink where the exit the switch panel, and they terminate in a female network jack.

Switch Panel Mockup.jpgSwitch Panel Rear.jpg

Why a network jack? Here's where it gets real fancy :laugh: I put the ALP control set and Bluetooth module in-behind the "B" pillar kickplate, where they are not only out of sight, but not readily accessible. Using this Network Splitter I found on Amazon, I then ran a network cable from there to the network connector on the back of the switch panel. This wires my switches in parallel with the control set power and menu buttons, so I can control the ALP as if I was using the control set buttons directly. This allowed me not to take the control set apart or damage it in any way to get access to the power and menu buttons.

I was going to come through the firewall with the factory wiring, but in looking at it closely I didn't see anyway to do it and have it blend nicely or risk damaging the factory wiring. I decided to bring the three sensor cables through a dedicated Firewall Grommet/Boot that I found in eBay which worked fantastic - heavy fire resistance PVC construction, and heat shrink to seal it (I added a bit of butyl tape around the cables to fully seal them off inside the heat shrink. All of my wiring is either wrapped fully in "Tesa" tape or "Alex tech" mesh wire looms. The factory grommet is under the green arrow, mine add-on is under the read arrow.

Firewall Engine Bay.jpg

Once through the firewall I kept the cables behind the sound proofing insulation and merged them with the interior portion of the factory firewall boot so it exits that portion of the boot with the factory wiring. The CPU is mounted under the dash above the driver's vent, and is not viewable from under the dash looking up. The GPS is similarly located, and this location works just fine for getting good GPS signals. I haven't finalized where my external LED is going yet, so it's just friction fitted in the dash.

Firewall Cabin.jpg

The rear hatch was fairly straight forward as the mounting options were limited. I ran the two cables with the factory wiring on the floor, and up into the roof liner before coming into the hatch via the factory wiring boot which had just enough extra room. The sensors are shown with the red arrows, as is the splitter for the two rear Rx sensors.

Liftgate Interior Sensors.jpg

And there you have it. I would estimate not counting the switch panel, I had about two days worth of work to complete the job. The switch panel I'm embarrassed to say was probably 40 hours - There was LOTS of R&D when I discovered there was no mechanical/electrical components in the un-used switch positions. Plus my original concept didn't work as I had hoped resulting in the magnet/reed switch concept, and then there was the cracked switch panel circuit board that I had to replaced :mad:

I haven't been able to quite match the colour of my two switch buttons to the factory buttons, but I'm keeping my eyes open for the right colour spray paint.

Switch Panel Far.jpgSwitch Panel Close.jpg

For anyone doing a CX-5 install, the measurements for the sensors are:
Front Rx sensors are 24" center - center apart, and 29 3/4" from the ground;
Front Tx "sensor" is 27 1/4" from the ground, centered between the Rx sensors;
Rear Rx Sensors are 23" center - center apart, 39 1/4" off the ground; and
Rear Tx sensor is about an inch of center between the two Rx sensors at the same height.
 

Smason

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Looks good! Ive got a 20 20 we can use for testing.
 

Maz3

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Looks good! Ive got a 20 20 we can use for testing.
Thanks, I haven't tried it with the 20 20 so the more the merrier. When this COVID is over I'll give you a shout.
 

Godowsky17

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Nice stealth install and use of the factory switch panel. I know firsthand exactly how frustrating and time-consuming the install process can be - when I did my ALP I kept running into problems and all in all it was about a three week period from start to end. And enjoy the new car, I haven't been in one myself but I hear they are quite enjoyable to drive.
 

Maz3

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Nice stealth install and use of the factory switch panel. I know firsthand exactly how frustrating and time-consuming the install process can be - when I did my ALP I kept running into problems and all in all it was about a three week period from start to end. And enjoy the new car, I haven't been in one myself but I hear they are quite enjoyable to drive.
Thanks, and nice to know I'm in good company on the install process. From start to finish I think I was probably fairly similar to you in that it was three'ish weeks to finalize largely with the switch panel issues, and plaiing the actual install layout etc. I didn't include any of the time to mock-up front sensor placement and time testing them pre-install - probalby another day's worth of time.

I was disappointed to discover I couldn't access behind the front grill to mount the sensors without removing the entire front of the car. That being said I was amazed at how easy it was to remove the front end! If I recall there was six screws in total, and a whole bunch of push clips, and that was it. Now I know why you see a person's front end laying in the intersection at a minor accident; there's not much holding them on.

The CX-5 certainly isn't a sports car, but for me it's a good value for the features, handling and comfort for the dollar. I've had it for two months now and there hasn't been any buyers remorse, so that's a good sign :)

I'm still not sure what to do about the front sensors' appearance, but I'm going to take a break from it for a bit and just enjoy the car and the ALP. My wife will be happy not to hear about it all the time too :biggrin:

Hopefully the next CX-5 person can benefit from my time, and anyone from some of the tricks to hide the ALP's control set etc. Hence the amount of detail I provided.

Cheers
 
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SquirrelMaster

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Beautiful install on a beautiful car. Normally we ban mazda drivers for being radar/lidar polluters but I think we can let this one slide 😉

If you do end up going for an acrylic install in the front later on, what I did on mine was remake the mazda logo out of acrylic and stick the TX head behind that, right underneath the view of the radar module. It doesn't **** with SBS/MRCC at all.

Considering your grill, that front sensor install looks great though!

Great job hiding the controlset and the buttons. I did something similar and highjacked my paddle shifters for the two alp buttons and put the alert on my HUD. Where did you happen to shove the hifi speaker? I haven't found a good location so mines under my cup holders.
 

Maz3

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@SquirrelMaster - Thanks! Yes I appreciate the reason for the Mazda ban and appreciate the understanding in my instance ;). I'm not running a RD at the moment because of it, and fingers crossed on Theia's capabilities and of course price.

I would love to see a photo your Tx head install. I thought about doing something like that, but wasn't sure how to go about it, and if the clear "plastic" face was acrylic (Plexiglass, Perspex etc.) or polycarbonate (Lexan, Makrolon etc.), and would pass the IR. I know all clear acrylic will pass IR (blocks UV though, which is normally a good thing), but I've not researched polycarbonate yet. If I could get the Tx head from being mounted under the Mazda logo to your location that would be great!

Thanks, and awesome use of the paddle shifters! The model line in Canada is slightly different than the US. We have the base models, then the GT (Mine) then the Signature. We don't have the GT Reserve, so the Canadian GT has some of the features of the US GT Reserve, but only if you go turbo do you get paddle shifters. I opted for the normally aspirated 2.5L engine as my driving pattern didn't make sense IMO to go turbo, and the Signature is turbo only - hence I have the GT ;)

I too am still looking for the ideal HiFi location, but yours sounds like an ideal spot. Currently I have it zap strapped high under the dash, and if you look in the right spot you can see it, which is not my ideal - no problem hearing it on level 2, level 3 if the music is up. I want to see if I can hook up the mute lead from the CPU to the radio, but I suspect not unless I go with a relay and right now I'm taking a break on the R&D :coffee2:

What is it about under the cup holder location that you don't like?
 
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Andrew21

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Awesome write up! And to take apart a brand new car on your own, bravo there! :)
 

Maz3

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Awesome write up! And to take apart a brand new car on your own, bravo there! :)
Thanks!

I was certainly WAY out of my comfort zone pulling a car apart, but I took it slow and researched a lot. My background is telecommunications electronics; microwave, analogue & digital radio, fibre-optics, switching, DC power etc. so the electrical/technical part was easiest for me.

Hopefully the detail in the write-up helps the next person, but it does make for a long read ;)
 

cbbr

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Very clean install. With all of the sensors on new cars, I'm not sure that anyone would ever look twice at your front sensors.
 

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