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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished a build in a similar truck here: http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/diyma-build-logs/88480-basic-center-console-1995-f-150-a.html

That one was a large center console between the front seats, no stealth at all (except for using beige carpet to match the interior). Turned out to be more complex than I thought it would, and the results sounded great, but I don't intend to give up any seating on this build.

For the record, this is one of my own vehicles, not a customer's. In other words, I will take my time if necessary. Scooter, here's another good ol' Ford for ya! :D

Here's what I've done so far:

Here's my favorite car audio battery, that never gets credit for what it is. That's right, the Duralast Gold:



Here's why I love it so much:



Here it is, installed in the truck:

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's a trick I use on pretty much all old Fords. Rather than wiring from the positive post of the battery, I wire directly from the starter solenoid:



Going up and over the engine:



Coming down the other side by the brake booster:



I used one of those waterproof compression bushings, by Phoenix Gold or Stinger, don't remember which one. I also used some clear silicone caulk around the edge for good measure:



Here's another view of what I did with the wire:

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh I'm definitely in!!!
I knew you would be. ;)

Don't hold your breath, progress may be a bit slower on this one than last one. As a consolation, though, here's a rundown of equipment I plan to use:

Clarion DXZ785USB head unit
Bi-ampable Vibe Hex Coaxials
Xtant amplifier(s)
Second Skin or similar damping in the doors
Fiberglass, plus possibly Baltic birch or other fun materials

===========

Since it's my own build, I can afford to be idealistic. Here are some guiding principles for this build:

1) In the words of Fourthmeal, "Always push the stock locations as far as you can go before resorting to permanently defacing the vehicle for resale."
I don't plan to ever resale this vehicle, since it is my off-road rig and work truck. However, everything is for sale at the right price.​
2) Don't use more than the necessary number of components!
While I have nothing against a good audio processor, I'll be going the KISS route with this build. 2-way active plus sub, all crossovers and processing confined to the head unit. At least that is the idea.​
3) Many people say "do it once, do it right". For this build, I'll say "do it once, but leave it open-ended just in case".
It took me seven years to get the system in my Sentra to where I want it, and soon I'll be gutting the interior and re-doing the front stage. While I like the "do it right the first time" mentality for satisfying customers, I know I am personally too picky for that. My goal here is to not make it too difficult to improve the system in the future if necessary.​

I think those three guiding principles will give my system very good karma. Or is it truck-ma in this case?

===========

Just a few hints about what is to come over the next month or two:

1) I may re-do a few aspects of the interior, while maintaining the stock XLT Lariat look. One area that needs attention is the front seat.
2) I plan on building a ridiculously thin subwoofer enclosure under the rear seat, spanning the entire width of the vehicle. That enclosure will house a ridiculously thin subwoofer, an adaptable amp rack, and one or more Xtant amps.
3) I've considered MLV under the carpet, but I don't know how soon that will be a reality. I may wait to do it at the same time I replace the carpet, but then again it may be convenient to do while I have the seats out. That is a tossup, no promises there.

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I'm excited for this build, if you can't tell. I've been stocking up on components since last winter, and I'm finally ready to go for it. Unfortunately, I'm pretty busy with work right now, and today is my only day to run errands and buy tools.

Just bear with me and be patient, I will try to make this worth your time.

:D:D:D
 

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Sounds like a pretty good plan! I'll be watching for sure. I don't know how anyone can work at a break neck speed on any of these projects, unless you're A) Single, B) Have no Kids, C)Single with no kids! Otherwise there's always things to do and ways to slow down the progress. You do what you gotta do and we'll just watch you do it when you do! Good luck! I'll be watching!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just out of curiosity, why did you decide to go all the way across the engine compartment instead of finding somewhere at the passenger side to go through at?
I was asking myself that as well. Here's my fuzzy logic:

I think it was a case of sheer laziness, plus an obsessive compulsive urge to put the amp behind the driver's seat.

What I mean by sheer laziness, is it's the best place I could find to drill a 7/8" hole for the firewall grommet.

The amp placement is somewhat logical as well: I don't want to run my RCAs anywhere near the truck's main wiring harness and of the other electrically noisy stuff on the driver's side of the car. I also have an old superstition that I should run the RCAs and the power wire on opposite sides of the cab. So running the RCAs down the passenger side means running the power down the driver's side.

Two more reasons I did it that way:

1) Default, the amp is on the left in my Sentra, that seems to be how it ends up on 70% of the systems I build.
2) It will make it easier to tune the amp, I can easily take it out and hold it on my lap while listening from the driver's seat.

After I ran the wires, I looked at that for a while and wondered if I was being stupid. But since I don't plan on a super-heavy current load, I am not all that concerned about it being a slightly longer run. On the '95 I did, I ran the wires down the passenger side and put the amp behind the passenger seat. That one was simply a case of saving money by making the wire a few feet shorter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sounds like a pretty good plan! I'll be watching for sure. I don't know how anyone can work at a break neck speed on any of these projects, unless you're A) Single, B) Have no Kids, C)Single with no kids! Otherwise there's always things to do and ways to slow down the progress. You do what you gotta do and we'll just watch you do it when you do! Good luck! I'll be watching!
My situation is married (but no kids yet), full-time job to keep up with, college education to finish, a house and two 22-year-old daily drivers to maintain, and a business to run on the side. I won't feel guilty about taking my time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay, I have bad news for my wallet, but good news for my spare time: my job has no overtime available this week. That means I have Saturday and Monday to myself, and I will be moving forward tomorrow with this build.

I got a new DMM, and did some quick electrical system testing tonight. I just wanted to be sure the battery and alternator are functioning properly before proceeding. You can see from the first few pictures that I upgraded my battery negative to chassis ground wire with 1/0 Monster Cable, as well as the battery positive to starter solenoid wires. I may add a few extra engine to chassis ground wires later if I feel it's necessary.

So here are the results of the testing, averaged over a few trials. I took these readings at the terminals:

Battery only, engine off: 12.57 volts
Engine idling, between 900 and 1500 RPMs: 14.08 volts
Highway cruising speed, between 2500 and 3000 RPMs: 14.21 volts
Battery voltage while cranking starter: 11.97 volts

This is a pretty strong performance, in my opinion. I didn't have a simple way to check the amperage output of the alternator, or the current draw of the starter, but I'd say everything seems to be in order. Tomorrow I will probably install the Clarion DXZ785USB, and possibly even the Vibe Hex coaxials. I also might build prototype box for my Power Acoustik Thin-13. Expect a handful of updates between now and Monday!
 

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Great start so far bud:cool:

The numbers you posted on your charge system seem really nice. I only wish my little beater would post such numbers. I've done older Fords and Chev's of that vintage, and some Goats. Best I recall I also ran the power wire along with the factory wad like you did. Only thing I would do diff would be to match the factory split loom. Lastly, I would (if you have enough wire to do so) would be to tuck it a bit closer to the fire wall, again to give it a more factory type job. Your only talking about 4-6" at the very most to do so. It may make it look quite a bit better and a bit tighter to the car. I would guess also you will use this car to kind of showcase your talents. So the easy to do details that stick out or look a bit out of place may not appeal to a customer. This is only my very humble opinion, you do good work take that extra 15min and make it look like its a part of the car so you have to make a point to point to show it to the customer. I would even go so far as to use wire ties in the same or close to the same locations as what the factory would. You know, don't just tie it down to an AC line or something like that.

I like the use of the type grommet, I've used those also when I had to run really LARGE wire under the car. You know, looking at your pics I may would run that wire under that AC line in that bundle, then follow it down and under the break booster, or minimum follow what looks like a vac line as it runs just under the fluid fill. Just an idea. Not at all meant to bash what your doing.

That battery you used is rather handsome, I would guess it has an equally attractive price tag? Wish I could use something like that but because I need to run two my best route is one of the audio specific really small deals.

You said you were working at a slow pace, we'll see still just how much faster your able to progress in relation to my sled.

Keep up the good work and great updates! Very thorough.

Sorry for the long post, I was both bored and on my meds:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Great start so far bud:cool:

The numbers you posted on your charge system seem really nice. I only wish my little beater would post such numbers. I've done older Fords and Chev's of that vintage, and some Goats. Best I recall I also ran the power wire along with the factory wad like you did. Only thing I would do diff would be to match the factory split loom. Lastly, I would (if you have enough wire to do so) would be to tuck it a bit closer to the fire wall, again to give it a more factory type job. Your only talking about 4-6" at the very most to do so. It may make it look quite a bit better and a bit tighter to the car. I would guess also you will use this car to kind of showcase your talents. So the easy to do details that stick out or look a bit out of place may not appeal to a customer. This is only my very humble opinion, you do good work take that extra 15min and make it look like its a part of the car so you have to make a point to point to show it to the customer. I would even go so far as to use wire ties in the same or close to the same locations as what the factory would. You know, don't just tie it down to an AC line or something like that.

I like the use of the type grommet, I've used those also when I had to run really LARGE wire under the car. You know, looking at your pics I may would run that wire under that AC line in that bundle, then follow it down and under the break booster, or minimum follow what looks like a vac line as it runs just under the fluid fill. Just an idea. Not at all meant to bash what your doing.

That battery you used is rather handsome, I would guess it has an equally attractive price tag? Wish I could use something like that but because I need to run two my best route is one of the audio specific really small deals.

You said you were working at a slow pace, we'll see still just how much faster your able to progress in relation to my sled.

Keep up the good work and great updates! Very thorough.

Sorry for the long post, I was both bored and on my meds:D
Good to have you here, Fly! As for the wire, you make a good point. I won't worry about it for now, but I may go back later and cover it with some black techflex or at least a black split loom.

As for the battery, the Duralast Gold is Auto Zone's top of the line, they usually cost $90 to $110, and last forever! Supposedly the lead plates are welded at all the corners, not just the top, to increase vibration resistance. I haven't dissected one to see, though. :rolleyes:

This one cost me $110 plus tax because I wanted to keep the old one as a spare, and didn't make a core deposit. I've had one in the Sentra for three years now, and that car is used in some abusive situations (read: big stereo). The headlights almost never dim noticeably with this batt. It really does stand up to a beating, and I've never had it go flat unless I leave the lights on. I wanted a gel cell for off-road durability, but I just couldn't justify the cost when this one had more CAs, CCAs, and a better reserve capacity.

So now that I'm done gushing about my battery, at least you know why it's my favorite!

As for the voltage numbers I threw up, they should be good enough. At first, I was a little disappointed. My Sentra did a solid 14.4 at idle when I first upgraded the alternator!

Enough typing for the morning, my next post will have pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, I'm taking a lunch break, I got another three hours in this morning. Here's what I accomplished:

1) Thought long and hard about buying some Second Skin Damplifier or Damp Pro, then broke down and bought some no-logo FatMat instead. I couldn't bite the bullet on the price for the good stuff. Even though the two products are not really comparable, I've certainly had acceptable results with FatMat in the past.
2) Took out the old radio and discovered a tangled rats nest of wires. It looks like I have my work cut out for me in that department.
3) Drove to Auto Zone, picked up a spool of 16-gauge Tsunami speaker wire, and spent the rest of the morning making wires. I would have used lamp cord if we had a Home Depot in town, lol.

Morning pictures will be up any minute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
So it's been taking all the discipline in the world to not take all my stereo money and buy a 1990 Ford Mustang that is listed locally. But seeing as I'd then have to do an engine swap, I'll stick with my current plans.

:D

First off, here's some of the equipment I'm planning to use:



Yes, that is a pair of DXZ785USBs. No, I don't plan to use them both in the same install...

The reason I decided to go with the Power Acoustik Thin-13 is that it's the shallowest sub I've ever found, and it most likely has enough cone area to get the job done. Mounting depth is 2", though I may try to leave enough room for the motor of a JL13TW5 in case I decide to upgrade in the future. Originally, I wanted to use this old-school Xtant A410, but I couldn't quite figure out a good place to put it in this vehicle, so I made a change of plans:





Who can resist a little amp porn? Here are the guts of my little A2002. I wish all 200 watt amps could look this way!



More pictures in my next post, then I'm headed back outside to see if I can do some damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here's the old radio, seen as it was when I bought the truck. Actually it was worse, almost falling out of the dash. It still works, but it's time for something fresh. This will be for sale soon, so watch the classifieds if you would like to pick up a very basic Pioneer deck for bottom dollar. Note the (plastic) burlwood and brushed aluminum trim, this is a motif I may use later if the opportunity presents itself.



Here's the rat's nest I mentioned earlier. I am surprised the CD player actually functioned:



Here's one end of the wires I made:



And here is the other end:



I figured labeling everything will save time in the future. This is especially true if I redo anything later, or especially if someone else tries to figure out why on earth there are twice as many wires as they need in each door.

Well, that's all for now, folks! You can expect at least one more update today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm now trying to decide whether I should put a 6.5" or a 5.25" speaker in the factory hole. I think the original speaker was a 6". I know I can make a 6.5 work, but I'm thinking the 5.25 won't beam as soon and might be better for that reason. It will be dark in an hour or two, so I will post more pictures soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Okay, I have another update pending. The memory card in my camera actually crashed, but I think I can recover the pics with a little patience. Once I have the pictures back, I'll post them up.

Here's what happened this afternoon:

I organized the rats nest and wired everything. I removed the passenger door panel, removed the old speaker, fished the speaker wires into the drivers door, and installed a new speaker. I said screw it with beaming, I'm using point-source drivers anyway, so I went with the 6.5".

Once I got the right speaker in, it was dark, so I'm saving the rest until Monday. I set up my crossovers by ear, and listened to my one speaker. It already has a ton of midbass from that one speaker, and I haven't sealed up the doors or damped anything. It will certainly take some tuning, but I'm not going to worry too much about that until I have both speakers in and the doors damped. Oh yeah, and it certainly can't hit the low bass the way I like, so I will for sure be doing the sub and amp as planned.

I'll post the pictures up tonight once I figure out how to recover them from my card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had lots of fun wiring:











The moment of truth (drum roll, please)... ...Yes! It fits, wires and all!



I'll have to shave that dash piece in order to fit the trim ring around the CD player. At least it's better than the previous installation already!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Door panel removed:



Old speaker removed, wires fished through factory loom:



Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words:



Note the separate tweeter and woofer inputs:



Ready to hook up the speaker:



This is just a temporary installation, I'll seal up the door later. Just wanted to get it playing tonight:



Well, that's as far as I got. I left the truck all torn apart inside, I'll deal with it on Monday. Believe it or not, this represents another seven hours of work, bringing the project total to 13 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The numbers you posted on your charge system seem really nice. I only wish my little beater would post such numbers.
Your little beater, haha! I didn't catch that when I first read your post. If your Porsche is a beater, then my Ford is a lowrider! :laugh:

 

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