Archive for the ‘Custom 12-Volt Installations’ Category

I typically don’t take build pics of projects as basic as this. But I figured it would make for some good write-up material since this type of enclosure can be used in virtually any vehicle. The goal is that if I can just show some detailed step-by-step instructions, I think it will convince a lot DIYers that they can accomplish this on their own. The most common size of driver that is going to work in an area like this is a 10″.

First off the area I’m working with:


Once you pick your area, use quality masking tape to cover the entire area and go past the actual area you are going to lay fiberglass mat. It’s important to keep the tape as flat as possible and not to kink up on you. It’s obviously not possible to make it perfect, but do your best:


Next, and actually a really important step, is to use a marker to mark out the shape you want the back of the enclosure to be. Now there is no rule to where you make your mark, but the following picture should give you an idea of why I made it where I made it:



Had the luxury of working on a real clean 360 about 3 weeks ago. My customer had bought it used and put a lot of money into rebuilding the engine, all new interior with custom carbon fiber trim and freshened up the paint. I simply installed a nice Alpine head unit with XM and the Alpine add-on KTP-445 amplifier. Nothing custom or crazy from me, but the car was nice enough to make an appearance into my blog.

A week after the Ferrari, I got the opportunity to work on my first Audi R8. I installed an Escort Passport 9500ci built-in radar detector. Pretty much the best of the best as far as radar detectors go. Front and rear radar, front and rear laser shifters, full GPS etc. I must say this car was a real chore to install this on.

Me taking the rear motorized wing off to gain access to remove the rear garnish:

Nothing like drilling a big hole in the back of a brand new $240,000 car. This was for the rear sensor that mounts to the license plate. This hole was drilled behind the plate:

Since the exhaust is right behind the bumper, I figured it would be best to use some heat treatment on the cable. I cut strips of reflective gold to wrap around the cable:

Reassembly time:

Scads of electronics under the rear cover behind the seats:

Unfortunately no more pictures were taken. This thing ended up taking so long that I didn’t monkey with continued progress pics. I worked on it until 4:00am then came back and hit it again at 8:30am. It was the most time consuming vehicle I have worked on in my 20 year career.

In the last month or so I have had some pretty nice vehicles to work on. I must admit that it’s nice to get to work on cars like this. Generally it really sucks, as far as the install, to work on exotics and old muscle cars. But the quality of the nice ones makes me forget about all the difficult bullshit that goes along with the install.

First up, 1969 Camaro! There literally was not one single part on this car, not one, that wasn’t brand new. Every single bolt, screw, nut, body, glass etc. was brand new. I posted about this car awhile back that I would be getting to work on it. I know it has around $200,000 into the build. I did a modest $3,000 system in it for my customer. I wanted everything hidden to maintain the clean stock look that it had going on.

Firebird tail lights:

Rare ZL1 big block… # 005 of 200:

For the audio, I used a an Alpine CDE-123 to head the operation. The car had an aftermarket gauge panel that has a provision for a single DIN radio… lucky me!

All marked and ready for some air-saw action:

Radio sleeve mounted and waiting for some wiring:

As stated, I like to hide the speakers, but not necessarily at the cost of an audibly bad location. The rear deck was pretty basic; maintain the OEM rear deck panel and under mount the Hybrid Imagine series 6×9’s. The metal did need to be air-sawed out:

Interior back in… you would never know there was anything back there:

Time to get a little more creative for the front stage. I like installing 6.5’s down in the fresh air vent in the kick. There’s a huge cavity and it’s solid metal down there for good acoustics… no flimsy metal that will resonate. I simply make a 1/4″ baffle board to cover up the huge oval hole left over from the fresh air vent:

Some Second Skin sound deadening over the baffle and in goes the Hybrid Audio Clarus 6.5″ mid-bass driver:

Next is to modify the OEM kick panels and still maintain an OEM-ish look. Whomever built the car had already cut the plastic section off the back that housed the adjustable vent:

I also came up with an ingenious location for the tweeters that will push them high on the kick, out from way up under the dash and allow me to customize a grille that will flow with the rest of my work. I also cut out the large location where my mid-bass grille will go:

I ground down the plastic lip so that it would angle the tweeter:

Kick panels ready for grilles:

A quick test fit:

Tweeter grilles, start with 1/4″ wood:

Wrapped in 2 layers of grille cloth:

Glued in place:

Test fitting the mid-bass grille that I also cut out of 1/4″:

Finished drivers side kick:

Passenger side installed:

As for the amplifiers, I used two ARC Audio XDi 804’s. Each one is 80×4, which I bridged down to 2 channels to make 240 watts RMS at each speaker. I simply tucked them under the rear deck out of sight:

I have another cool little work project that was dropped off today.  I will be installing a simple, respectable system into a nice 68′ Camaro.  The car just came out of the paint shop.  It doesn’t have any interior panels except for the seats and dash.  I told the customer to leave the other stuff out to make my job easier.  I will be doing a budget minded system, then a little custom work to go along with it.  To start off I am doing a set of Hybrid Audio Imagine series in the kicks and another set in the rear deck.  I will be fiber-glassing an Alpine iXA-W407 double DIN into the dash.  The center dash area that is a simply fake wood grain sticker now, will be fiberglass and painted body color.  Then finishing off the trunk completely with my own fabricated side panels, back panel, front panel(the subs will be behind it) and a false floor where the amplifiers will be under plexi.  Then he will be coming back for me to fiberglass a center console to tie in the fiberglass piece I do for the double DIN.  I think the center console I’ll do a combination of body colored fiberglass and black leather.  Here are a couple of pics to get you started…. then the usual picture folder which I will be updating by the end of the week: Larry’s 68′ Camaro Audio System

Jesus, this Mr. X guy is out of control.  I received a call today asking if I could do a system in his boat that is being built.  I said of course, if it floats, drives or flies I can put a system in it.  I did a killer install in a 42′ Formula for another customer over the past several years.  My customer keeps having me update and add more things over the years.  This so called Mr. X is getting a 388 Skater.  This thing will have twin 1100hp Sterlings and will be capable of 150 mph+.  I actually hate working on boats, but I’m pretty thrilled to be working on this one.  I’m not exactly sure when it’s going to happen, but I’ll keep everyone in the loop.  Here are some pics of a 388, not his though….

I delivered Mr. X’s F150 today and I now have his Icon 4×4 at the shop.  I looked this thing over for about 45 minutes and I must say this thing is stout!  Icon doesn’t miss anything.  Every inch of this FJ40 is perfection.  I can’t wait to tear into this thing.  It’s getting a fairly tame setup, budget wise, compared to the Ferrari and F150.  There won’t really be any type of custom work, but I’ll still be sure to post up some pics since this thing is very unique.  I’ll leave you with a pic I snapped right before I left from work.

Officially completed the Ferrari today.  The thing absolutely rocks and sounds phenomenal.  A very basic setup of front Hybrid Audio Legatia 7″ mid-bass/mid-range drivers, a set of Hybrid Audio Legatia V1 tweeters and a pair of JL Audio 8W3v3 8″ subwoofers.  However, I have 600 watts RMS just for the doors and 750 watts RMS for the 8″ subwoofers…… so it gets loud for when the top is down.  The amplifiers consist of a JL Audio HD600/4 and a HD750/1.  I used an Alpine CDA-117 for the source unit.  DONE!

Again, please feel free to check out my Fotki account for specific build pics: Ferrari F430 Spider System Build Pics

Here are a couple teaser pics of his next toy I’ll be doing in a couple months or so once it’s done being built.  I still have his company truck and Icon 4×4 to do first though.

I have been really busy working on the Ferrari for about a week now. Unfortunately I don’t always get to work on it all day. I get busy answering the phones, helping my salesman with customers and helping my other installers with problem vehicles. Also, this type of vehicle simply takes three times as long because of what it is. It just isn’t as easy as working on a 2000 Camaro. My other challenge is that I could not permanently modify anything in the car. So it took a lot of planning and ingenuity to accomplish my goal. As of today, I have everything done except the fiberglass enclosure. Today I laid the first coat of resin on it before I left work. I’ll start laying fiberglass mat tomorrow.  Please feel free to check my Fotki account for a complete array of build pics….. Ferrari F430 Spider System Build Pics

Custom Door Speaker Adapters w/Integrated Grill

Integrated Amplifier Rack In The Boot

Custom Fiberglass Enclosure

Skeleton Before Stretching Material

Stretched Material Ready For Resin

I will update with the finished pictures of the enclosure.  It should be done Thursday.

Ferrari F430 Spider System Build Pics

…….. and I’m greeted with this.  I will be installing a pretty sick system into this thing starting tomorrow.  It will probably take me all this week and maybe a little next week.  The owner, which I have never actually met and probably never will, had two of his guys drive up and drop it off.  We will call the owner “Mr. X”.  The guy picking up the other dude that was driving the Ferrari, was driving Mr. X’s Icon 4×4.  It’s a hand built FJ40 that is done by Icon 4×4 out of California.  I suggest you check them out, they are baller….. and can be built however the hell you want it.  This one had a price tag of around $100,000.  Needless to say, I will be dropping a gnarly system in it once I am done with his F150, which will be arriving once I am done with the Ferrari.

A good client of mine called me this week to talk about a system for his Ferrari.  Well actually, the owner didn’t call, his right-hand man did.  I have never actually talked to this client, even though I have worked on three of his vehicles and am getting ready to do his 2010 F-150.  The F-150 will be for his PR/marketing people.  They want to be able to pull up to a college campus and rock out while they hand out product.  One of the three jobs was his limo.  I did a lot of fiberglass work and plenty of audio/video of course.  He was very satisfied with my work and I have now gained his trust for the important jobs.  So back to the Ferrari…. after all it is the reason I’m typing right now.  The only issue I have is I’m not even sure which of his Ferrari’s I’m doing.  Probably the F430 Scuderia…. but maybe his new 599 or 458.  He hasn’t actually decided which vehicle he wants the system in.  Maybe all three if he likes the first job.   So I sent him over a generic system quote for “a” Ferrari.  Pretty much top of the line stuff….. one set of components, two 8″ subs in a custom fiberglass enclosure, a multi-channel amplifier and a CD Player.  Very basic setup, but with a price tag of around $6000 installed.  This thing could be one of the best sounding vehicles I have done in my 17 year career.  I’ll be sure to keep folks updated and with pretty pictures to-boot.