When my wife got her new company iPhone 4 with Otterbox Defender case we wanted a car mount for her 2003 Subaru Outback which would look like a factory mount and would cradle the iPhone 4 with the Otterbox Commuter case on it. We also didn’t want to drill into the dash, console or flooring of the Subaru to maintain resale value.
There are a number of car mounts and mounting systems for the iPhone 4 and other Phones but most of them are either designed as Universal one size fits call clamping cradles or custom fitting cradles that work with the bare phone but do not work if the phone is in a case. In order to cradle the phone you have to remove it from the case which can be a pain especially if your using a wraparound case like the Otterbox.
Another problem with most car mounts is they’re generally poorly made suction cup or vent clip mounts with don’t securely fasten to the vehicle and end up falling off after you hit a bump.
Lastly the more stable and sturdy iPhone mounts which look like factory mounts generally require drilling into the dash, console or flooring which can lower the resale value when selling the car in the future.
There are three mounting systems for the iPhone 4 and other phones and GPS units which I’ve used before with great success.
1.) Ram Mounts – Ram makes excellent mounts and cradle systems for most phones, tablets, GPS units, iPhones, iPads and laptop computers. They make both a fixed and temporary suction cup systems. The Ram fixed mounting systems are rock solid but generally require drilling two or more holes into the dash, console or floor.
2.) SlipGrip - SlipGrip makes a number of custom mounts for iPhones, Android Phones and other smart phones and GPS units. Slip grip mounts come in two types Suction Cup Mounts and Air Vent Mounts. Lastly SlipGrip makes custom cradles to fit the iPhone 4 with the Otterbox Defender Case attached!
3.) ProClip – Proclip like Ram makes a variety of mounts, mounting systems and cradles for various electronic devices including iPhones and iPods. The unique thing about the Proclip system is that it gives you a custom look mounting bracket without drilling any holes. I personally have used the ProClip iPhone 2 and iPhone 4 mounts on a Honda Ridgeline Truck, Ford E250 and Ford E450 vans. The only problem with the ProClip systems is they’re cradles are usually designed for the bare phones without a case and they do not make a mount and cradle for the iPhone 4 with the Otterbox Defender Case attached.
What to do?
No single manufacturer built a mounting system which would enable me to mount the iPhone 4 with the Otterbox attached in the 2003 Subaru Outback with a factory look so I decided to use Part of the ProClip mounting system together with a Modified SlipGrip iPhone 4 defender suction cup mount and modify the SlipGrip mount to work with the ProClip System.
SlipGrip Modified Cradle ProClip Subaru Dashboard Mount ProClip Swivel Mounting Plate
The first thing I needed to do was remove the suction cup, flexible arm and ball assembly from the SlipGrip iPhone 4 Otterbox suction cup mount. There is no way to easily disassembly the SlipGrip flexible arm assembly because the ball mount is molded into the back to the SlipGrip iPhone cradle so I had to carefully cut the plastic swivel ball mount off using a fine toothed wood hand saw. Once I cut the ball mount off the rear of the clip the next thing I needed to do was sand the back of the SlipGrip iPhone 4 Otterbox Mount down so it was flat on the rear of the cradle.
Drill 1/2” hole in the center of the mounting plate on the SlipGrip iPhone 4 Cradle to allow a mounting screw access hole needed later in Step 4 for the Pro Clip swivel mounting plate.
Attach the back ProClip mounting plate to the ProClip Subaru custom dashboard base.
Next I needed to mount the glue the front ProClip mounting plate to the back of the Otterbox iPhone 4, Otterbox cradle making sure I kept the screw hole I drilled in Step 2 centered. I used a silicone epoxy glue called GOOP with I’ve found works excellent and has a very strong bond once the glue has dried and set. Let the glue (Goop) dry and set for 24 hours.
Note: The SlipGrip cradle was designed for the Otterbox Defender case however my wife had the Otterbox Commuter Case which is smaller and therefore the iPhone 4 fit very loosely in the SlipGrip Mount. In order to Tighten the fit of the cradle I used a heat gun to heat, bend and mold the grip clip and corners of the SlipGrip cradle to snuggly fit the iPhone 4 with the Otterbox Commuter case attached. This step is not shown in the pictures or video.
Once the glue has dried and set you can now assembly your mount by screwing the SlipGrip iPhone 4 Otterbox Cradle onto the ProClip Subaru custom dashboard base. Tighten the screw and you’re now ready to install the complete assembly into the Subaru.
When installing the ProClip custom dashboard mount first remove the double sided tape off the left hand side of the dashboard mount. Next using the ProClip supplied Gap Opener, open a gap between the dashboard and the radio and slip the left hand side of the Proclip mount into the gap. Next push the right hand side of the ProClip mount toward the dashboard and glove box until you hear it click or snap into place. Once it clicks or snaps into place that’s it your mount is ready to go. Insert your iPhone into the cradle and check the tightness of the swivel screw by swiveling your iPhone from portrait to landscape mode. It the swivel is too loose you can remove the phone and tighten the screw to our desired tightness.
Combining these two mounting systems gave my wife exactly what she wanted, A custom factory looking iPhone 4 dashboard mounting cradle which would work with her iPhone 4 with the Otterbox case attached and didn’t require drilling any holes and did not use a flimsy suction cup or vent mount.
The end result was a very clean, professional looking installation with the iPhone installed at just the right spot to make it easy to reach, dial and control.
If you’re looking for a mounting system for your iPhone, iPad, GPS or other device I strongly suggest checking out ProClip, SlipGrip and Ram mounting systems. You may get lucky and find the exact mount from one of these manufacturers which will meet your needs and if not keep in mind that with a little time, patience and ingenuity you can combine these mounting systems to design the exact mounting solution for any phone, case and vehicle.
If you’re not a do it yourselfer and would like us to custom design a car mount for your iPhone, Blackberry, Android phone or other device, give us a call. At DJ’s Sound City we can custom design and fabricate a mounting solution for your vehicle or home to mount an iPad or iPhone. Call Doyle at 780-489-5522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note on SlipGrip Cradle:
The SlipGrip cradle is made of a material called Kydex. Kydex is a very durable material which has just enough flex in it to maintain it’s shape and memory yet bend over and over again without becoming weak or brittle at the spot of the bend. Kydex is the same material used in form-fitting handgun holsters and is similar to Lexan virtually indestructible.