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Discussion Starter #1
I've done lots builds, used to be an installer, but it turns out, I hate retail. After leaving the industry, I took a LONG break from tinkering with car audio. However, I did have a bunch of nice gear sitting on the shelf. A few years ago I started lurking on the forums again, and in 2013 started playing with my 1986 Bronco. In 2014 I did a whole bunch of work. I'm about to start another round of work, so I thought I'd start a build thread.

I'll start off by recapping my ownership of it.

Here is the Bronco the day I bought it in late 2013:


Days like this are why I love it so much, top down on the beaches of Carova:


Moving from Virginia to Texas last summer, I got a flat on the trailer:


I converted from a carb to Holley Terminator EFI:


Spectre Performance ram air setup, you can also see a bit of the battery and the headers:


The headers are Bassani and ceramic coated. They feed a Bassani 3" y-pipe and Gibson cat-back. The stock cat has been removed.


It sounds pretty good (VERY short video):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwRtBU8zBt8

The battery setup, I also upgraded to a 130amp 3G alternators and did the big 3:


I have a few JL ground lugs in the vehicle, I want to tie them all together. I was lucky that this one screwed right into a factory nut welded to the fender:


I did all the typical DIYMA sound damping stuff, I went a little overkill on the doors:


The bracing you see is also tied into the outer skin in two places with bracing on the outer skin as well. The doors are no longer like a skeet of tin foil, they are sturdy, close with a solid thud you've never heard from an 80's Ford, and sound like solid wood when you knock on them.but I still have some more work to do ;)

For the last year or so my system has been this:

My iPhone has been my main source, with a Pro-Clip mount holding it to the dash. A Pioneer DEH-P800PRS has basically just been a volume control, with a PPI DEQ.8 handling the processing duties. After that I have Image Dynamics CD2 Comps with mylar diaphragms on big bodies, powered by a Zapco AG200. A pair of super cheap Pioneer 6.5" coaxs with the tweeter and crossover disabled, powered by a bridged JL 300/4v1. And last, pair of Image Dynamics IDMax12v3's powered by a Zapco ST-1500XM.

It has worked ok-ish, but I knew the mids were living on borrowed time. Yesterday the left mid released the magic smoke. I was actually surprised it lasted that long, I wasn't exactly gentle on it:


Smoking the mid has prompted the next round of upgrades, they will happen over the next week or so. I'll still be using my iPhone as the source, but I'm eliminating the head unit. I'm replacing it with a Lighting to HDMI adapter and HDMI audio stripper feeding a digital signal to the DEQ.8. I had a custom faceplate made up for the DEQ.8 controller by a DIYMA member. It has a spot for the bass knob on the right side so it'll look like an old shaft radio. I'm not sure if I should use the big knobs or little knobs:





Tonight I took my dremel to some cutting boards to make some speaker rings, I'll trim them as needed tomorrow.


I'll have a pair of IDQ8v1's and Audax PR170M0's to go in the doors. The IDQ's will be powered by the bridged JL 300/4, and the Audax mids will be powered by an MTX RT2400.

The speakers:


I'll take more pictures of the install as I work on it this weekend. The amps and processor are mounted to the sides of the bed so that I can build new panels to hide them. At the moment the subs are in a prefab box I picked up from Amazon Prime for $40, they have about 1.5 cubes each. I plan to build them into the sides of the bed as well. All the RCA's are custom made by me and I made a cargo cover to hide it all until I can build the new interior panels.

More to come this weekend...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had planned on working on the Bronco over the last week, but the weather got too cold. Now it's warming up but I leave for a work trip tomorrow. I'm packing today, but did find a few minutes to mock up the mid mounting plates.



I'll need to cut a pretty good chunk from the doors, but as you can see in the next pic, they'll fit nicely behind the factory panel.



If I mount the mids on the back side of the plates then the panel insert attachment pins won't hit the mids when installed. I'll have to do more cutting this way, but everything will fit better.
 

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Always wanted an old bronco. Good to see one being well cared for.
 

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now this is my kind of build! I never feel a 3 mid is enough..lol..ever.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Always wanted an old bronco. Good to see one being well cared for.
I was always interested in them, but never really sought on out. This one just kinda came to me from the original owner at a steal of a price. I needed to replace a cheap car so I bought it. I liked it, and it fit me needs perfectly, but it was "just another car" at first.

Then I slid it off a dirt road and totally destroyed the hardtop, or more accurately, the tree destroyed the top. I couldn't find another hardtop quickly, so I bought the softtop from softtoppers.com and that one change transformed the Bronco to my favorite car ever. Now I LOVE the thing.

I have a pair of NOS rear quarter panels that I picked up for $50, now I just need to find someone to install them for me. The rest of the body stuff is easy for me to do by myself, except for the paint.

now this is my kind of build! I never feel a 3 mid is enough..lol..ever.
What can I say, I like big sound :D
 

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Wow, that is too cool! Very nice upgrades you have planned. Always loved the Bronco and Ramcharger. Blazer, not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I forgot about this, when I gutted it to replace the carpet and do the sound treatments I actually took measurements of every step. A bunch of Bronco people thought it'd be useless to try and kill the road noise with a thin soft top, but my data says otherwise.

All measurements were done with an iPhone and iMM6 Mic in AudioTools. The phone was mounted in the same ugly phone holder on the dash. Al were measured with the soft top and windows closed.



Since taking these measurements I've changed from worn out mud tires to new Nitto Terra Grapplers, so my next test should look better still. I'm hoping for some more improvement when I finish the doors. I suspect the idle has gone up due to the new exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
After taking all day to get from Ocala Florida to home yesterday due to a ridiculous comedy of errors. I walked in the front door of the house to a bit a of surprise. My new 15's were sitting just inside the door, but there was an issue.



I ordered JBL's!

I quickly opened up the box and found this:





I appreciate the extra shipping protection, even if it had me worried for a minute!

I'm off work for four weeks, so I should be able to get some more work done, as long as the weather holds out.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Today was one step forward and two steps back. Sigh...

I got the Audax 7's in and running off the bridged 300/4, they'll be switched to a smaller amp when I get the 8's in.

Drivers door:


With an old door panel on:


A zooming out:


Passenger side done:


Now I can get new door panels and mounting hardware.

I also threw my GTI's in a prefab box and swapped them for the ID Max 12's.

Terrible picture:


I reset all the EQ's and left the time alignment and gains alone, though I haven't REALLY set the gains properly anyway. I high passed the Audax at 250 @48db and low passed them at 1600 @24db. I changed the high pass on the horns from 800 to 1600 @24db

Then I went for a quick spin. The horns and Audax blend so damn well together, it's like they were meant for each other. Just splendid.

The subs were sounding for for about five minutes, then the amp went into protect. I disconnected the subs and it still goes into protect right away. The funny thing is, I went from a 1 ohm load to a 1.5, so it should have been easier on the amp. I was contemplating buying a bigger sub amp anyway...

If that was bad enough, about two blocks from home something in the dash let out the magic smoke. I don't know what it was, everything still works. I pulled the dash panels and cap and inspected everything, it looks fine. I really don't know what it was.

I pulled the 800PRS anyway, tomorrow I'll add the parts to go digital from my phone to the processor. I hope I get that done tomorrow, in less than I week I leave on tour and won't get back 'til the end of July.
 

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I started today my putting my DMM on the subs, sure enough, one has a bad coil. The sub amp is still going into protect, even with no speakers connected to it. :(

I pulled the bad sub and boxed it back up. I put the one good sub on my old trusty MTX RT2400. Since I'll be replacing the sub amp, it's tempting to rethink the whole amp setup.

All of this stuff made it's way into the Bronco today:


Here is the list of parts:

CableJive Lighting extension cable
Apple Lightning to HDMI dongle
Apple Lighting cable for power
Sanus HDMI cable
KanexPro audio de-embedder
Homemade RG-59 with RCA ends
StarTech.com 4-port USB 3 hub
Switchcraft USB pass though port



I have the same USB 3 hub in my nightstand and it works great. It can work off BUS power, a 12v wall wart and has a phoenix plug that accepts 7-24vdc. It will charge devices even with no computer plugged in. I need all four ports, one for the DEQ.8, one for the Holley Terminator, one to charge the phone, and one to power the HDMI Audio Stripper.


I wanted to do something similar to the Papasin Smart Car, but I don't need video. So I found a single port stripper on Amazon that defaults to two channel audio unless it gets a 5.1 signal. The USB to power adapter was found on Amazon as well. I ordered a bunch of different cables and just tried them out to see what works. It doesn't need much power, my laptop can power both the hub and audio stripper off of one port. It also disables the volume control on the phone.


I found this Switchcraft panel mount connector on Amazon as well. Most of my gear at work that has custom patch panels have Switchcraft connectors, they are VERY durable. Here it is mounted in the old cigarette lighter hole, it took a little work with a dremel to make it fit perfectly.



The Apple Lightning to HDMI dongle is zip tied snugly to the main dash harness above a gauges. It's still easy to get to if needed.


The USB hub and audio stripper are on the other side of the dash. If anything stops working, I can easily pop the top of the dash off and see all the LED's to see what's up.


A DIYMA member made this panel for me. I wanted to mimic the shaft radio look, mostly for simplicity, and as a theft deterrent. When you don't have a real roof, that kinda stuff matters! :p


Four screws do a good enough job of holding it in place. The old DIN mount dash kit is still in place and supports it nicely.


And here it is all together. When I first fired it up I had no sound. I unplugged the RG59 cable and plugged in a StreetWires UTP cable I had and it worked. So I ran it properly and all is well now. When I get back from the tour I'll make a new cable that matches my existing custom RCA's. I have a Switchcraft panel mount 3.5mm stereo input that I still need to install, in the meantime I have a 3.5mm to RCA cable coiled up in the glovebox.

I gotta do something about those terrible looking dash panels!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks man!

"Unfortunately" on Friday I hit the road for five months on tour, most of that on beautiful golf courses, so this build will go on pause. Hopefully Eric Stevens will be shipping his ES Audio 10" midbass drivers by the time I get home. If not I'll have to "settle" for the IDQ 8's I already have.

I did some tweaking with REW today and am more and more impressed with how well the Audax drivers and horns blend together. It's like they were meant for each other. After adding a few biquad filters, it sounds fantastic from 250hz and up, but from 250hz and down it's a total mess.
 

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Very cool. I'm going to copy this build when I finally get around to doing my 72 Blazer build up.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I had yesterday and today off and didn't really do much, mostly just prepping for 5 months of travel. This morning I fired up Ol Smokey to go to the SLev and it cranked REALLY slow. That's not normal. With 1500CCA on tap for a gear reduction starter, it normally sounds like the starter is gonna throw the engine out of the engine bay. Hmmm...

It was even worse when I started it when leaving the SLev. So I grabbed the handheld controller for the Holley Terminator and checked the voltage, 10.4 volts! Luckily it stayed running long enough for me to get home. I did some poking around under the hood, and there was no voltage on the ignition wire going to the alternator, so it wasn't charging.

I looked for the cause, and found the wire was pinched, and shorted to ground, in the engine bay and had completely burned to a crisp. I checked the fuses and none of them were blown. I'm damn lucky it didn't burn to the ground. I suspect this is the source if the smoke from in that dash this weekend. I'd bet there is a damaged wire in the dash too.

There is a slight chance that my sub amp continued to go into protect after disconnecting the subs due to low voltage.

I leave for a show tomorrow, so I didn't really feel like diving into it today. I put it on the charger and have been charging it all day. It'll be parked at work for the next several months with about three square feet of solar panels maintaining the batteries.
 
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