One of my favorite mods for the 2008 Mazda MX-5 (Miata) is the installation of the double DIN Pioneer radio taken out of the 2006 Mazda Tribute. The install was especially easy since the wiring harness plugs are the same in the two Mazdas. I did add a few additional pins to the wiring harness plug to activate the dimmer function and to allow the steering wheel controls to function.
What I really like about this installation are the steering wheel controls. I selected the PAC SWI-RC steering wheel control interface for my Mazda. The control interface is available from Crutchfield for $69.99. This control interface allows you to program each of the switches on the steering wheel to control a radio function.
I also added a custom background with the Mazda logo and ZOOM ZOOM to make it look stock – most people get in the Miata and say “I didn’t know Mazda used Pioneer radios”.
The trick to make backgrounds work with the Pioneer AVH series is to stretch your image before loading it on the Pioneer head unit. Specifically the steps to get a good looking background image on your screen are:
- Edit your .jpg image to a 16:9 ratio (example 720×405)
- Now stretch it to a 16:13 ratio (example 720×585)
- Save image on your sd card
- Put the sd card in your Pioneer head unit
- Capture image as the background.