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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy! This is my first post to the forums. Thank you for all of the helpful information so far! I'm a proud new owner of a used 2017 Smart Fortwo 453 which I bought with less than 2200 miles! It's a Fortwo Passion trim with Lighting Package. It does NOT have the JBL sound nor the Smart Media touch screen, just a stock radio.

I have so many questions! Let's start with what I know:

HEAD UNIT

I have ordered and will get professionally installed the popular Android head unit that is compatible with the 453. I believe I also need to order and install the Apple Carplay dongle. The use of Siri voice commands and Apple Carplay is the main reason I am buying this head unit.

REAR REVERSE CAMERA

I plan to order the following camera which fits in the 453's license plate light cover. The head unit seller tells me it works with the Android head unit.


ADDITIONAL COMPONENTS

I also plan to:

  • Replace the factory door speakers with upgraded 6.5 inch speakers. I understand that the external doors plates need to be removed, not the internal covers, to do the install and I have downloaded the PDF instructions for that from these forums.
  • Purchase and install 4 inch rear speakers in the empty spot for the speakers in the rear part of the car.
  • Order and install the JBL Tweeter Speaker upgrade kit which installs tweeters on the inside mirror cover plates. Let me know if you recommend a particular source for this purchase. Needs to ship to the U.S.
  • Order and install an amp
  • Order and install a subwoofer
 

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QUESTIONS

Has anyone installed the OEM JBL Amplifier (453-900-05-02)?

I believe this is amp is designed to fit under the driver's seat, correct? The price is cheaper ($211 USD) than what my local radio installer quoted me and the form factor seems smaller than other amps. If the price is better and this is designed to fit in the car, it seems like a good choice. I believe this is an 8-channel amp which I believe is more than what I need for my 2 front speakers, 2 rear speakers, 2 tweets and my amp. Does that sound right? Is this amp a good choice? If not, what's a better choice AND what location in the care should I install the amp into?

What subwoofer is recommended for the 453 and what location?
I am buying the OEM Shall Boot Tub Liner (A4538140141) for the rear storage area which limits my ability to put a sub into the rear section. This would eliminate using the removable JBL subwoofer due to space concerns (i.e., the sub won't fit if you use the boot tub liner). I saw that Smart Madness offers a custom under-dash sub enclosure but it's designed for the 451. I have NOT been able to locate any custom sub enclosure or subwoofer designed specifically for the 453. I was VERY disappointed in the subwoofer options offered by my local radio installers. Has anyone had any luck with under-seat subs for the 453? If not what location is recommended for a small sub OTHER than the rear cargo area? Please keep in kind I only want improved audio sound. I am not an audiophile and I do not like huge booming speakers just to make my neighbors angry. So a small sub is fine with me but after many days of research, I can't find anything custom made or even cleverly installed for the 453. Under-seat and under-dash is strongly preferred.

Has anyone installed rear spears in the 453's empty rear speaker slots?
I am installing 4 inch rear speakers. Anything special I should know? Are there any additional OEM parts I should order to make the install easier or will my radio installer be able to figure something out? Do I need the rear tweeter brackets (453-545-07-40 and 453-545-08-40)? Or are those for that smaller speaker only? What about the Hexagon Nut W Flange (415-990-37-50)?

Has anyone installed an aftermarket head unit but continued to use the OEM 453 microphone?
I make a lot of calls in my car an need good microphone sound quality pickup. I believe -- but do not know for sure -- that the 453 microphone is located next two the interior lights unit above the rear view mirror. Is that true? If so, can I use that microphone with my new head unit? If not, what is a good location for the replacement microphone that comes with the head unit? I am concerned about noise and vibration. Any thoughts on an improved microphone or microphone placement?

Has anyone installed the OBD Adaptor with the Android head unit for the 453?
The head unit seller offers an OBD Adaptor. Has anyone installed an OBD Adaptor for the Android head unit on the 453? I read the Evilution article about OBD Adaptors and it was pretty grim so I am concerned about installing it. I am curious if any 453 owner has installed it and what the benefits and uses are. The head unit seller says it replaces the Wifi adaptor.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has additional information for me. And thank you one more time for all the information these forums provided me before I bought my Smart car. For those of you who find this post in the future through Google searches, welcome! I have tried to gather lots of information here for you too.
 

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Love to see all the info and pictures after you done or during......thanks for sharing the info! I might go down this path after my power mods.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Turned out great! Just finished the upgrade in the last few weeks after sourcing the parts for several months. Here's where I landed:

--Replaced the door speakers with third-party speakers. My sound guy mounted them into the OEM speaker brackets.
--Added third-party tweeter speakers using the OEM part that covers the inside of the door mirrors. I bought a kit but I believe the parts are A453 811 55 00, A453 811 56 00, A453 811 03 00 and A453 811 04 00. We removed the OEM tweeter and mounted the third-party tweeter into the OEM mount.
--Customized the OEM rear speaker brackets (453-545-07-40 and 453-545-08-40) to add larger third-party rear speakers. My sound guy had to modify the metal brackets to receive the larger speaker.
--Added the Android head unit. Looks like it's OEM since it perfectly designed for the car.
--Added a third-party CarPlay dongle. My sound guy installed it in the third-party center console/arm rest after routing the USB connector into the console and replacing the power slot there with USB plus sound connector. It's invisible except for the cable!
--Added a rear backup camera. Works great! The digital guide rails show distance and turn when the steering wheel turns.
--Added a third-party self-powered subwoofer under the passenger seat.
--Added a third-party center counsel/arm rest with matching orange stitching.

The tiny 453 has a surprisingly good sound stage with all this gear installed. I've heard sounds I've never heard before in music. So I am very pleased.

I'm still having issues with the CarPlay function. The map tends to rotate when stopped at a traffic light but it's fine when the car is moving. I don't know if its the CarPlay dongle or the Android head unit causing the issue.

I highly recommend using subscribing to evilution.co.uk. This audio upgrade was like doing surgery on a Swiss Army Knife according to my sound guy. I would not do an audio upgrade without consulting that site; it was a major time saver!
 

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Thanks for the quick reply, slight thread necromancy on my part. I've been looking at Evilution's stuff, going to throw them some coins for sure. I'm back in the smart game (used to have one from 2009-14) and am trying to get up to speed.

One thing I've not found is whether there's a separate amp somewhere? Or are the speakers run straight from the head unit?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I didn't need an amp for the door speakers, tweeters and rear speakers plus a self-powered subwoofer (which contains its own mini-amp, as I understand it).
 

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Seems like the stock amp is under the dash somewhere and not integrated in the head unit. Not sure whether I want to get into tearing the whole dash apart though. :)

More questions!
Did you end up disconnecting the center tweeter as described in this thread?
The bigger rear speakers, were they 6.5" like those in the door?
 
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