How I fixed my Car Audio with Zip Ties

I recently wrote how I replaced my factory head unit in my car with an aftermarket one. One of the problems I’ve been experiencing however, was intermittent sound AND no radio. I had a weird issue where the head unit also wasn’t powering up too. The speakers were dropping in and out, and also the next time I fitted the aerial wire, the head unit would no longer power up.

Needless to say this confused me, until I did a bit of investigation

Turns out that the ISO adapter harness I purchased to fit the head unit to my car, was connected to the block. However there was always a little bit of “play” where you could wiggle the connector in and out 2-3mm which I was never happy with

This small amount of “play” was enough to break the connection between the pins and cause a signal loss, and power loss. Hence why my previous testing on the head unit wasn’t showing any problems and why it randomly powered up again after I tested it

Basically I added two zip ties tightly against the harness, one near the speaker wires, and one near the power. It’s now permanently solid and worked flawlessly since

Finally some sounds in the car

This has been going on for some time now, but I’ve wanted to replace my factory head unit with a better one. The standard one in the Nissan isn’t exactly the best, it does the job but the CD player part was broken and it was annoying me.

I didn’t want to chop any of the wires incase I decided to sell the car at a later date, so I purchased an ISO harness.

As an FYI, the Nissan Almera doesn’t have an earth connection through the factory wiring harness. The earth connection is done to the chassis of the vehicle through the earth wire and the metal cage that holds the head unit in

Now, I fitted the head unit to the vehicle, wouldn’t power up. Balls. Went over it again, now worked. Great. I had to order an DIN–>ISO aerial adatper because the factory one didn’t fit my Alpine head unit. The standard aerial is one of those thick ones, and the normal adapter you get is usually the reverse (thin > thick), so I purchased a replacement

I went to it the next day, no power again…. annoying.

I pulled it out the day after, multimeter at the ready and tested the earth and +12 power wires. All working, test the head unit fuse, that works, ok, must be the head unit. No power… shit. Did head -unit

I unplugged the power wire and plugged in again, now working. What the hell. Sod it, it’s working for now. That will do

I’ll look into it further when I get the replacement aerial wire to see if I can figure out what’s wrong. It’s using a harness wire and there’s a connector which goes from factory harness (albeit it’s a bit loose) to the alpine ISO

I’ll post more if I figure it out

Nissan Laurel in UK

I always believe in when you’re down on your luck or when you need help the most there’s always someone in the right place at the right time. Today it wasn’t me who needed the help, but a stranded driver who’d just recently (probably 15 mins prior) just collected his car from the ferry and started the car (by jumper leads) but required Petrol at the nearest petrol station and had the unfortunately luck of a flat battery trying to start the car again

I needed diesel for my Golf, as luck would have it I spotted him stranded and he asked me if I had any jump leads. Was filling my car at the time, handed him my jumper pack out the boot and went to pay for fuel. Japanese performance cars tend to have shit batteries anyway, but when you’re stuck on a Ferry for 6 weeks or so any vehicle would be dead as a dodo.

I only know the car was probably on the ferry for that long because I happen to work for a company based at Port of Tyne where he collected his car from which regularly gets containers from Japan / China. As I said, there’s always a right place and a right time for everyone when someone is in need.

Now anyway, the car itself was a Nissan Laurel, apologies to the driver for the error I’d never seen one before and didn’t know what it was but he was clearly someone with a passion for cars. You generally get a feel for it when you’re into the culture and talk to people. I made the mistake of calling his car a Nissan Maxima. After talking with him and finding out his was the 3rd Nissan Laurel in the UK while trying to start his car, found out his engine was the RB26DETT, basically the same one as in the infamous Nissan Skylines. My knowledge on Nissan’s isn’t very par with experts, I thought the skyline engine was a 2.5T not a 2.6T but he corrected me it was from the GTS-T.

My jump station on the car wouldn’t start it as the battery on his car was fully depleted as the petrol station is merely 2-3 mins away from the Port so wouldn’t have charged and my jump start was too run down. We had some jumper cables but they weren’t able to supply enough power to the vehicle, they were too thin.

I thought I had mine in the boot (mental note, must put them back in) but stuck them back in the shed,,, bugger. After about 10-15 mins of farting around a van driver came in and luckily (as I mentioned, when you’re down on luck someone always there for you) had some heavy duty van/truck cables, they were around 3 metres long and had a 10-13mm copper core possibly thicker. Really chunky cabling and beastly clamps. You want a lot of current ideally need thick cabling and good clamps.

When I say good clamps I really mean some Heavy Duty Jumper Cables when you’re jump starting a car because in essence you are sharing the load from your vehicle to charge a dead battery. Don’t get the shitty thin ones, they do jack shit. Get some beastly clamps that look like they could rival an alligator and cabling that looks like it could hang a car from. Anyway, once we hooked the cables up did the usual jump procedure and I revved my engine to get the juice flowing and the Nissan Laurel fired up straight away. Sounded gorgeous too.


Thanked the drivers and went on my merry way. Felt happy doing a good deed for the day and saving someone the hassle of calling in a recovery truck and being stung for it. My good deed was rewarded, I won £4 on a scratchcard (woohoo) haha.


Still, if you see someone stranded and can help. Do the right thing if it won’t take up too much time. You never know when you will need help back