well, after my initial quest to complete this task in part 1, i'm happy to report success!
this is a little patting of my own back ... i'm shocked that i actually did it on my own, without cursing, without getting mad at my family, and in the first attempt! i didn't take pictures of the process as i was on a pace that i didn't want to disturb. needless to say when my wife came to check on me while doing this project, she was in awe to see my entire back seat sitting in the garage and carpet everywhere. i was in awe as well and really didn't think it would all fit back together quite the same.
but it just under 2 hours, it was complete and i was en route to the grocery store for a victory mt. dew. here's the final implementation...no visibility:
and when i want to connect my ipod:
very, very tight integration. i do have a few after thoughts. first, i figured i would mentally pay attention to things i was unplugging and would be able to find their way back to their homes. after completing the core installation i was left with one 4-pin attachment that for the life of me i couldn't remember where it went, nor could i find a glaringly obvious place for it. luckily the car still runs, i can shift gears, stop when needed, etc. but i truly do have a "spare part" somewhere...frankly i'm sure it isn't vital (probably a light)...or at least it isn't until my airbag randomly deploys on me when listing to music.
what helped me was preparation...something i rarely do when it comes to handy work in my personal life. the instructions were awesome...very, very detailed. they didn't read "remove your back seat" but instead read "you'll find two clips under your seat, life directly straight up on these...if you don't they will bend and you wont be able to put them back. lift up and then pull at an upward angle to remove the seat..." etc. every step was like this leaving no doubt what i was supposed to do. even when i questioned one step (and tried to skip because i thought it was trivial), it proved to be necessary. the night before i went on this adventure i read the instructions several times to familiarize myself with the carnage i was about to put on my car. i went to the manufacturer web site to find links to youtube videos demonstrating the steps...awesome. this truly helped solidify that what i was about to do would be doable in my skill set. the videos were broken out into 7 minute chunks in about 8 steps...and very easy to follow. what a great use of the internet and free video service to demonstrate installation -- and they save some trees in the process (although maybe the carbon count increases...who knows). i wish more companies would do this to the level of detail i had.
in the end i'm very pleased with the product and myself. i have to learn the less-than-intuitive menu structure (to sync go to disc 6, track 3...wait a few seconds, then back to disc 1, track 4...browsing playlists is a series of different discs, etc. -- note: this replaced my cd changer), but i'm okay with that. i tried with a 2nd gen nano, an iPhone and an iPod classic. all worked well. the iphone was the most disappointing, but i somewhat understand. once connected it requires it to be in airplane mode to reduce noise in the communication, and also 'locks' the menu (meaning i can't navigate to songs on the iPhone). the other models work fine and i can choose to use my radio or my ipod navigation itself. very cool. it isn't ideally located to see the screens, but i anticipate using playlists anyway.
i'm a happy man. all my music in one place, portable, using factory features, and a slick installation. yippeee.