Posts Tagged ‘Toby Broadfield’

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!




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:



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”:


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:


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


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:



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


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:



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


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:



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:


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



A quick test fit of the climate control:


A complete texture coating of the panel:


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



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:








Received my display yesterday… courtesy of Jeff & Jordan Innovations. Thanks again for the hookup! As most of you know I kind of build clusters from time-to-time, so I’m looking forward to building one for myself to house this bad-boy. It should actually be a bit more of a challenge than the clusters I have fabricated in the past, considering it doesn’t exactly fit into the confines of the OEM housing. But I prefer a challenge over easy… the reward is always greater!

I chose the MXL for a few reasons:

  • AiM Sports appears to be the leader in race displays
  • I like the clean look of the MXL
  • I like the fact that the display is completely customizable via a computer
  • The MXL supports CAN bus hook-up. Which means I can simply wire 4 wires and it will read every sensor off the LS3 ECU. Hookup consists of: IGN, GND, and two CAN wires.
  • I’m finally getting back to working on the car. The Christmas rush has kind of passed at work, so I’m not so mentally drained in the evening. As of yesterday, I still had the complete motor setup in the car as I wanted to give any potential buyer the opportunity to come see/listen to the motor and take it out for a spin given decent weather conditions. I’m tired of waiting for someone to buy this as a complete set, so I’m officially paring it out. I figured I’d better get the car in the spot it’s going to sit in for the next few months before I tear it down. That spot would be in the garage at my house. Although my shop would be easier, warmer and all of my tools are there, I chose to do this at my house for several reasons. Since I work a minimum of 6 days a week, it’s hard to get the energy to stay there after work and then work on my on vehicle… that’s just spending too much time in one place. I would also be neglecting my family. If you remember, my wife and I had our second daughter 4 months ago. So by doing this at my house, I am readily available if I’m needed. I can also simply walk out to the garage at midnight and tear into it.

    So the first order was cleaning the space. If you are a family man, you probably know what it’s like to have kids and all of the items that go along with having them. I had Power Wheels, bicycles, strollers etc. taking up valuable real-estate out in my garage. So I spent an hour or so yesterday getting that all moved to the basement. I need ample room for getting the motor out with the cherry picker, room for the new motor set, random parts, room for body panels and so on. And since I only have a 2-car garage, this meant that my wife’s car has to stay out all winter in the driveway along with my TL that sits out anyway. So I promised her I would toss on a Viper remote start system to help ease the pain. Winters can get down as low as -15 degrees here and we have the possibility of 20″ of snow tomorrow night. So she is not happy about this whole thing to say the least. But she knows who she married and understands my obsession with building cars.:D This is where it’s going to sit for awhile:

    Unfortunately it was only about 25 degrees yesterday, but with the door shut, it was surprisingly comfortable without heat in there. I only had a couple hours to tinker with it, but got most of the AN lines removed, intercooler piping, intake, started to pull the engine harness etc… some of the stuff ready to be sold:

    Of course Emily loves to help old Dad and get her hands on a ratchet or wrench. She clearly understands that rule # 1 is: Don’t F up the car.

    Kyle came over to help me remove the hood. I didn’t quite trust my wife or my little helper:

    Well here it is, time to sell everything! Copied from my post on Zilvia:

    As you may know, I am getting ready to swap in an LS3 over the winter. Considering nothing from this setup will be utilized for the V8 swap, I want to try and sell it as a complete drop-in swap… basically from the FMIC all the way back to the driveshaft and everything in between. This will be great for someone who is planning on an SR swap and is going to do a lot of top notch aftermarket to go along with it. It will save you a lot money in the long run. Drop it in and go, no tuning needed etc.

    The fist dollar amount represents what I paid for everything. When I bought the stuff, I bought it for the cheapest I could find it at the time. All items were brand new at the time except for the motor and transmission of course. The dollar amount on the right represents a fair used price of what I would ask if I was parting it out. Keep in mind, all parts are in mint condition, as seen in pics. If I can’t sell this thing as an entire package, then I will start to part it out. So these used prices will give you a really good idea of what I will be asking if that time comes.

    With the purchase I will be including a brand new Wiring Specialties engine swap harness for your particular chassis. Mine is very specific to my vehicle and it will just be easier on everyone if I include a new one. I will most likely include the fuel pump(R33 GTR) and radiator fans(Spal) since I will probably need to run something different anyway. I didn’t bother pricing in the little crap like the Turbo XS manual boost controller, new OEM water pump, oil pump etc. Nor the Gallery Fresh dress up bolts, as I feel those are for appearance purposes only and I don’t expect to get anything for them. This setup also has full working A/C with the R134 compressor. It will include the custom lines to work in the S13 chassis.

    So just to give you an idea, I have right at $19,000 into this list. Fair market used value comes out to $12,310. I am asking $11,000 as a package deal or OBO. Please post, PM or email me at: if you have any questions.

    Also, please feel free to post if you have interest in a part or want to call dibs. This will help give me an idea of how much interest I have if it comes down to parting it out.

    • $3500/$2900 S15 engine w/6-speed trans; no more than 65,000 miles
    • $1500/$1000 Apexi Power FC D-Jetro(w/MAP and intake sensors) Tuned for 400whp and 333wtq
    • $1400/$800 Blitz twin disc clutch/flywheel
    • $500/$300 Driveshaft Shop aluminum driveshaft
    • $950/$600 Greddy FMIC
    • $375/$200 Greddy oil pan
    • $690/$350 Greddy radiator
    • $340/$100 Greddy aluminum pulleys
    • $50/$20 Greddy 4” intake filter
    • $550/$350 Greddy intake manifold
    • $550/$400 70mm throttle body N15
    • $120/$75 Tomei N15 throttle body adapter
    • $1350/$950 Garrett twin scroll GT3076R .78 A/R
    • $1500/$1000 Full Race twin scroll manifold
    • $349/$200 Full Race downpipe
    • $220/$130 Blitz downpipe
    • $99/$40 Full Race dump tube
    • $349/$200 Tial 44mm wastegate
    • $219/$130 Tial 50mm BOV
    • $550/$300 PE 850cc injectors
    • $400/$250 Splitfire coil packs
    • $530/$300 Toda 264 cams
    • $225/$100 Toda valve springs
    • $110/$50 PE Kevlar belts
    • $148/$80 Brian Crower titanium retainers
    • $69/$30 Tomei rocker arm stoppers
    • $40/$29 Golden Eagle vacuum box
    • $115/$60 Billet oil filter relocate
    • $109/$60 Samco radiator hoses
    • $350/$200 Hose techniques couplers and t-bolt clamps
    • $30/$15 Custom 4” intake pipe
    • $50/$20 Custom 2-1/4” hot side piping
    • $75/$30 Custom 3” cold side piping
    • $225/$150 T1 crankcase breather box
    • $1100/$600 All custom Earls braided nylon lines w/Earls AN fittings: fuel, pressure, oil, coolant etc.
    • ??? Gallery Fresh anodized bolts
    • ??? Turbo XS manual boost controller
    • $125/$80 Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator w/Earls inline fuel filter
    • $100/$40 Custom short throw shifter w/titanium shift knob


    The following pictures were taken by Nate Hassler of Modified Magazine: