Archive for the ‘Non Car Related’ Category

My absolute favorite thing about my day job is installing 12-volt electronics where they do not easily fit and making it look like they came that way from the automobile manufacturer. In this case, it was installing the new Alpine X009-U 9″ head unit into the dash of a 2003 Ford F-350. As you can see in the images below, the X009-U is virtually the same height as the Ford double DIN radio and climate controls combined… and quite a bit wider!

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Since the X009-U will need to be custom installed into pretty much every vehicle out there, Alpine graciously supplies a trim ring that can be molded into the dash. This makes it a tad bit easier on the installer and gives him/her a nice starting point. Said trim ring can be seen in the previous two images.

First thing is to cut a VERY large opening in the dash panel to house this behemoth of a head unit’s trim ring. I then like to hold the ring in place with superglue, in a few key places. This will hold the ring in place while I permanently glue it in place with Norton Speed Grip 2-part plastic epoxy:

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Once the epoxy is set up, I then grind/sand any extra off that squeezed through to the front. I make sure to maintain the shape of the trim ring to the front of the OEM dash panel. In the next image, you will notice that I had to build up a section under the head unit buttons to make for a seamless transition from the Alpine trim ring to the OEM dash panel. For this I use Evercoat Fiber Tech, which is a Kevlar reinforced filler. I then use Evercoat Rage Gold for any “fine tuning”:

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Once I was happy with shape of everything and filled any little pin holes etc., I sprayed the entire panel with several light coats of texture to get back to the OEM textured finish. For this texture I like to use SEM Satin Black Chip Guard:

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Once the texture coat dried, I applied a OEM matching top coat to give its final finish:

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Now that the dash panel was basically finished until final install, it was time to find a good place for the climate controls. Luckily there is a pocket below the dash panel that is of little use. Although the pocket itself isn’t near large enough to house the climate control, the surrounding area is:

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The first thing to do was hack the pocket out of there with an air saw:

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It was immediately clear that I was going to need to build this area out a little to make room for the climate controls to be rear mounted. So I made a perfect frame out of a solid piece of 1/4″ ABS. This would give me a framed-in area to rear mount the climate control and also give me a place to build onto to get the shape I want for that area of the panel. A quick test fit before trimming it a little on the corners and then tacking it in place with super glue:

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Just like the head unit trim ring, I used the Norton Speed Grip to permanently bond it in place:

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Again, I rough sanded the Norton Speed Grip and then used the Evercoat Fiber Tech to build up the transitions to the OEM panel. This is after rough sanding and using some more Evercoat Rage Gold filler for the finishing work:

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A quick coat of texture in the modified area, some sanding to blend to the panel, just to check to make sure my shaping was good etc:

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I then used the same 1/4″ ABS and Norton Speed Grip to make mounts for the climate controls to screw to the backside:

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A quick test fit of the climate control:

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A complete texture coating of the panel:

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And finally the OEM matching color and mounting of the climate control:

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Now that all the panels were finished, it was time for what I consider the hardest part… securely mounting the head unit in the dash. This is typically very time-consuming since there isn’t really any mounting points for the new radio. It needs to be EXACT so that when the dash panel is secured back onto the dash, the head unit sits perfectly into the opening I just created. The first thing is to cut out supports that are in the way etc. The new head unit is huge, so it needs space! Then it’s a matter of coming up with a mounting system that I can attach into the dash and is adjustable so I can fine tune the fitment as I go. So there is a lot of putting the dash panel on, take it back off, adjust the head unit a little, but the dash back on, take it back off, adjust again, put the dash panel back on…. you get the idea. I did not take any pictures of this as it’s behind the scenes and boring. So you will just need to take my word for it when I say this thing isn’t budging.

Installed images:

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This is my first FD cluster I have done. A FD cluster is different from most clusters since each gauge has its own opening in the facia. All of the other clusters I have done have one large lens that the gauges sit behind. Keep in mind that I use the term “gauges” loosely. OEM gauges are not like aftermarket gauges where each is in its own separate chassis. OEM gauges are simply just the faces(dial) and needles(pointer) slapped onto one large plastic housing with the electronics/mechanics underneath the faces. Then typically a black facia over the front of the dials to divide them and make them look like separate gauges. Then of course the clear lens over the front. So the unique design of the FD cluster allows for more of a “drop in” of aftermarket gauges. The OEM sizes are somewhat close to the size of aftermarket gauges, but not near exact enough for me. Unfortunately this customer sent me a carbon fiber facia, so I couldn’t really modify it to fit the gauges how I would have preferred. Ideally I would fill or enlarge the OEM gauge openings to fit the aftermarket gauges exactly. I would then re-texture the whole facia and give it back the OEM look/finish. I just finished another FD cluster where I did exactly this… so stay tuned for that post. In the meantime, enjoy some images from this carbon fiber facia cluster.

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The first one is the driver’s door handle/vent trim from an S14. The customer felt that a boost gauge was more important than a door vent… I can’t say I disagree with him:

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Next up for another S14, flush mounted Speedhut gauges in place of the HVAC controller:

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My true love, S13 goodness. Again, three Speedhut gauges flush mounted in place of the HVAC controller:

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Another S13 utilizing some risky gold bezel Speedhut gauges… I love the outcome!

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Overall Update

Posted: October 26, 2013 in Non Car Related
Tags:

First off I am still alive… and yes, I still have the S13. I will be posting various updates in the next few days covering customer projects, my car and whatever else I feel is important enough to talk about. I haven’t really touched the car this year because I’ve been trying to heavily promote my Broadfield Customs business. I released my first website a couple of months ago. It’s my first attempt at a website… and while pretty basic so far, I’m fairly pleased with it. One of the main reasons for the site was to better explain the process of the work I do. I kept getting the same questions over-and-over and/or there was a lot of confusion on the process of having me fabricate a custom interior piece. So the website gives me a place to direct potential customers and also hopefully gain new customers through searches engines etc. Please take a look around and see what you think:

Broadfield Customs Website

Likewise, what is social media without a Facebook account!?! So I have also been trying to get the word out on Broadfield Customs Facebook. Please take a gander and like my page. You can also friend me on my personal Facebook at Toby Broadfield’s Facebook.

Stay tuned!

Last week I finished some fabrication work for a S14 customer. I angle mounted his AEM gauges into the vent area on the HVAC panel. I also made a spot to fit his Greddy boost controller. I did this in the area below the HVAC controller where four buttons/panels typically reside. He didn’t mind getting rid of the security light panel and the blank panel… which sit on the outside corners. So I moved the rear defogger button and hazard button to the outside locations. I had to modify them since they needed to have a rounded outside corner to mount in the corner locations properly. I then bonded in ABS material and shaped it to form a housing for the boost controller. I have talked about this exact process on another customer’s project in the past… so I’m not going to go in-depth about it again. You can simply search for my Custom Interior Fabrication off to the left if you want to see step-by-step process.

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I also fit his Greddy turbo timer into the cluster shroud on the right side. There use to be a couple of OEM buttons located in that area that were no longer of use to the customer. So I removed those, plastic bonded the area closed then opened an area back up to fit the turbo timer.

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I am in the process of becoming an authorized XRP dealer and need to make an opening order. I figure if anyone is in the market for some AN product, this could be a great opportunity for all of us. I have to place an opening order… and the bigger the order, the more I save. Which means I’m willing to pass along those savings to you if it helps me with a larger initial order. Now keep in mind, if it’s something you need right now, then this is not going to be a good option for you. As it will take time to get everyone gathered up that’s in for this and receive payment from those people so I can place the order. This would basically operate as a group buy.

If you are not familiar with XRP, then you need to familiarize yourself! They have EVERYTHING when it comes to AN product. XRP is widely used in professional racing, NASCAR, ARCA etc. They have some very innovative product. I’m pretty sure if they don’t make it, it doesn’t exist. You can download their 96 page catalog here:

http://www.xrp.com/xrp_catalog.pdf

If you are interested, please email me at Toby.Broadfield@Gmail.com with the XRP part #’s you need, along with quantity, color etc. I will then reply with a quote and we can go from there. Please be patient as they have thousands of part #’s that I have to search through to get you your quote. I will most likely have your quote back to you within 2-3 days. Please do not request a quote if you do not have any intentions of getting in on this opening order. Once I’m a dealer and have made the opening order, then you can flood me with the standard product quotes.

I’m hoping you guys can help out a good customer and friend of mine. He has entered an onion decorating contest good for a $1000 shopping spree at Rooms Direct. He’s really hoping to use that money for some new mattresses for his kids. Now normally I don’t ask others to help someone they don’t even know, but this guy is one hell of a person and deserves it more than most. You just need to simply follow the link and “Like” his submission. If you care to share it with others on your Facebook that would be great too!

PLEASE LIKE/VOTE HERE!!!!