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Many months ago, the owner of a newly purchased 2nd hand 350z contacted me regarding her car...it seems that the vehicle had already came with a custom installed system but it didnt look or sound right, worst of all, it eat up a ton of space in the car and she couldnt really pack anything into it.

When i asked what was installed, she mention a Jense Headunit and Audiobahn flame amps...i pretty much stopped listening after that we came to an agreement to redo her car. :D

goals:

1. complete removal of old system and replace with new components and MUCH simpler design

2. on a pretty modest budget - achieve a decent level of sound quality

3. restore virtually all usable trunk space to the car and maintain a stealthy appearance.

so basically, make it simple and usable and sound a whole lot better.

When i finally took delivery of the car, i had a chance to check out the previous install...i have to say that from the surface it is by no means the worst i have seen, but some peculiar things started coming out as i took it apart...

aside from a plethora of oem panels being hacked to accomodate the build and about 80 percent of the clips missing from the hatch area, the worst thing for me is that virtually NONE of the gear was secured properly, a board housing the amps may be secured to the floor, but the amp themselves just sat on it...so anyway, here are some before pics:

the jensen headunit:



in the front doors were a set of MB Quart components, with everything in stock locations, and basically no tuning, so the system sounded extremely harsh with little midbass, the installation of the components themselves were okay, but i found it a lil strange that the xover modules were i think epoxied to the outter door skin...i could not remove it because pulling on it started to severely distort the panel badly:



This was the install in the back featuring audiobahn...again, on the surface, it didnt look too bad...poor fit and finish around the edges and the cap were the main standouts:





the subwoofer box is designed so you can see through it, with the inside of the box fleckstoned, there is a mirror there but with the odd angle of the hatch, you cant really get its effect:



and the build itself was quite poetic :) literally



so here is what i found after i pulled the floor panel off...as mentioned the amps were just sitting there unsecured, basically the box for the cap prevented them from sliding too much. what i also believe is the front of the subbox baffle was bolted on AFTER the rest of the box was put into the car, because i couldnt remove it until i took a crowbar and ripped the front baffle off.



then i noticed something strange...the right hand side amp had no rca wires going into it?! hmmm new audiobahn technology for wireless delivering signal? hehe



along with wirelessly delivering power to the amp?



at this point i got confused, how did a single amp power all the speakers in the car? that got sorted an hour later as i pulled off the cover behind the driver seat to find a cerwin vega 4 channel resting in there, the board it sits on was secured by nearly 15 screws to the car, but the amp itself was secured by a single screw through a plumbers tape secured with another single screw to the wood...so it was sliding in and out freely...but at least i found a decent piece in the car for the customer to sell:



the basic wiring and support structure of the trunk after removal of the amp rack



to my amazement, the power cable, a very expensive run of stinger xpert, was run UNDERNEATH the car...i couldnt even get it out as it is wedge above components and i dont have a lift...here it is coming back into the trunk through a grommet...i i am not sure what the condition of the cable under the car is...this will get yanked when the car goes in for service next time, as i trimmed it at both ends:



so...onto the new build.

to keep within the small budget and still achieve decent SQ, i chose to go with a Pioneer 80PRS headunit...here it is installed:



For the front stage i went with a set of Illusion audio Luccent L6 6.5" two way components. the shallow mount woofer means i can build a set of kicks that protrudes less than other speakers. if you compared this profile with many other Z kicks i have built, you will see what i mean. the downside of these speakers is that the grille for them is still a few weeks from being released, so i had to build my own press fit grille for the kicks. and as usual, i never bother with the oem door locations on the Z even though the illusion would fit no problem...the kicks off axis yields better depth, imaging and a whole lot less resonance.



pull the grille off and you see the L6 midbass:







same goes of course for the passenger side:







the illusion audio tweeters i molded off axis into the factory A pillars, a layout that i have done two dozen times with good results:





 

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here are some build pics of the front stage.

the kick panels were first scuffed with 40 grit and a few layers of glass laid down to give it some strength:



then STP gold damper was put on to reduce resonance:



ring baffles with walls were aimed and secured to the kick panel:



fleece was pulled, resin applied and then the pod was reinforced from the inside with a duraglass/resin mixture to make it almost a solid pod, then it was sanded:



then they were wrapped in black suede for its durability:



and the speakers wired up and installed:



here are the grilles before and after grille cloth:





for the A pillars, first the ring baffles for the tweeters are aimed and secured to the panel:



mold cloth pulled, resin applied, allowed to cure and then the duraglass resin milkshake poured inside to strengthen it:



then body filler was applied and the shapes sanded smooth:





next they were wrapped in black vinyl:



and the tweeters snugly press fit in place:







here are six quick pics of the wiring bundle as they go from the front to the back of the car. on the driver side went the 6 channels of rcas, remote turn on and left side speaker wires for the mid and tweet, while the passenger side went the 0 gauge power cable and speaker wires. they pass into the trunk via stock holes behind the seats:














moving to the hatch...so the idea was to regain all trunk space and maintain stealth...not to be showy or flash...so you can prolly imagine what it would look like...this is the floor with everything covered up:





 

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lift up the center cover and here is what you see, an illusion audio Luccent L12 12" subwoofer resides upfront, trailed by two arc audio KS amps, a 300.2 powers the sub with 700 watts, while a 300.4 sends 4x90 actively to the front stage. they are trimmed in white vinyl chosen by the customer, while the rest of the floor is in durable black carpet...nothing fancy just simple and to the point:







so thats basically it, a few quick build pics for you, this is the 1 cubic foot enclosure/amp rack before it went into the car





i forgot to take a before shot of the main white trim panel so here it is after vinyl application:



here is the top floor before and after carpeting:





and here is the press fit grille before and after carpeting:





and finally, three pics of the wiring organization underneath it all:








so thats it, a simple one week job and it sounds much much better. with an hours so of tweaking wtih the 80PRS, i got the center image dialed in pretty good, it is nice and high above the dash with decent depth, width is pillar to pillar...tonality is pretty nice as well, pretty balanced all around with nothing standing out. and the l12 providers plenty of low end to blend it all in.

i would say this is a pretty decent sounding Z for its modest budget :) the only downer for me is that i wish i didnt have to look at all the hacked apart panels on on the interior...:(

until next time!

Cheers!

Bing
 

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Super nice. How is the amp rack vented/cooled?
 

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the grille over the amps are vented to allow heat to escape... and the KS is fan cooled internally and can draw air from around the amp. from experience they run pretty cold, and the customer drove it 8.5 hours back to vegas with the trunk completely stuff with crap with no issues playing music the entire way :)

b
 

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2015 VW Passat TDI w/ Stage-2 Tune
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I really like your work. Well done. :)
 

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You had me laughing at Jensen HU and Audiobahn flame amps. I said a silent "WTF?" at the pictures of the old install (my 18 month grandson is sitting on my lap watching MNF, so I have to be on my best behavior :)). Simple or not, your install is outstanding as always.
 
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