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2001 Impala Complete Replacement

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  • 2001 Impala Complete Replacement

    I started this project off wanting to have every type of functionality built into the dash. I wanted TV, Radio, DVD, GPS, Diagnostic Information and a Media Library. But what I wanted most was to make the design stealth. I once heard that “If you stand out then you are destined for problems.” The problems they were referring to relate to unnecessary attention resulting in theft or vandalism. The design was to be as stealthy as possible by keeping the stock look.

    First, I replaced all the stock speakers with 230w a pair pioneer coaxial speakers. I did not use components because I wanted to modify the car as little as possible.

    Second, while I still had the factory radio in, I bypassed the stock amplifier that was located under the back dash. The sound the amplifier produced left a lot to be desired on the low frequencies. After bypassing the amplifier, the stock head unit put out speaker level sound rather than low level. It turns out that there is a wire running from the amp to the radio telling the radio that an amp is present. With control over the sound being controlled by the radio, the bass was a lot louder. If you have stock speakers then you would probably blow them.

    Connect: A1-A9, A2-A10, A3-A11, A4-A12, B1-B9, B2-B10, B3-B11, B4-B12

    Third, I wanted to add subwoofers. I also wanted to keep with the styling and bought Sony Xplod 12” subs that matched my car’s color.

    Because the back seats lowered, I wanted to add some interest to look at when the seats were lowered. Hence, I used a thick piece of shatter proof Plexiglas for the back of the sub boxes.

    To make the boxes able to be removable they are not fixed to the car, but use it’s physical constraints to keep the boxes in place. The boxes were also, for the same reason, designed as two separate boxes.

    To unify the look in the trunk, I made a large panel that went over the front of both of the boxes. As this state the whole panel with the boxes attached could move backwards, but not side to side.

    This is where the sub amplifier box comes into play.
    The sub amplifier has 4-gauge wire that runs from the battery terminal around the front of the battery, behind the headlight where the fuses are, around the back of the battery and behind the coolant overflow bucket into a rubber boot on the bottom passenger side of the firewall.

    I found this the easiest way to eventually get two 4-gauge wires through the firewall. The box for the amplifier was designed to fill the passenger –side cavity in the trunk. It was also designed to go from the back of the trunk to the front of the sub panel, to keep the subs in place.

    I designed the door for the amp box by drawing out a modified version of the Xplod “x” and carefully cutting the X out. Once the “x” was made I traced it onto Plexiglas and painted the “x” in black, only the side that would touch the backside of the door. This gave the backside of the door a nice finished look.

    Now that I had the subs and amp in I got bored and decided to put a computer in the car. This is where things got complicated and testy. After studying my car I decided the best place for me to mount the computer, would be on the hump under the side of the drivers-side seat. That also meant that all the seats, moldings, and carpet had to come out. This is my only car, so needless to say I was driving around for about 6 months to school and work with only a drivers-seat. If me and my wife wanted to go some were I would drive her car.

    I, being a computer fanatic, decided I was going to build a computer. I was going to build a nice a simple computer with a DVD-burner. I ended up using a Morex Cubid-6688 Case with a Via MII-10000 motherboard. I was going to use the onboard sound with 512mb ram. The computer did not need to be powerful and flashy. The screen was another issue. I knew that I wanted to completely get rid of the radio, so I needed a screen to fit in the radio opening. After a couple of months of research, I found that the Xenarc 700TSV would fit perfectly since I did not care about the button controls.

    I ended up having to cut off one mounting tab from the dash panel. The clip that was directly below the radio hole had to go, because the screens buttons needed to go there. For power I ran a constant wire from the Auxiliary power drop, which I knew I was going to use for the computer also, to the screen.

    I did not worry about the power being on, because when the computer is of the monitor only draws micro watts. My battery has yet to die because of that.

    On the other side of the dash is a pushbutton switch that I got for free from NKK switches as a sample. It controls the lit foot pedals and the sub amp. But there is one catch; the constant source for this switch is the amp turn-on lead on the M2-ATX. There for the amps cannot turn on until the computer says so regardless of switch position.

    After I got the computer running and the sub amp running. I figured out two things; the output level was not high level at all, and the onboard sound driver furnished with the motherboard did not support 4 point surround. I had to use driver version 650b, and add the second amp as seen in the pictures. The second amp powers the four main speakers up to a 40-50 watt rating. Them the sub amp taps off the left and right rear channels at high level input. Yes, I did do that and it sound fine!

    After setting the GPS and Wifi up running the usb cables to the back dash, I started to think about connecting Radio and TV.

    My first try was a PCMCIA TV+FM tuner, but that didn’t work for more than one reason. I ended up 86ing the TV because I tried “listening to a DVD” once and about killed myself. So video while driving is a definite “no go”. Then I found out that I needed a radio tuner built for a car and did not want to pay 200 dollars for one. That is when the HDZ-300 and fellow MP3Car’er MJSGadget’s came into play.

    The controls and interface worked great, but the old version of the software crashed and I installed the new version which works great. Oh, by the way, this is when I switched from the onboard sound to the Sound Blaster Audigy ZS since it had more physical ports to utilize.

    Now for some Issues that I ran across.
    1. Ground Loop: solved by using a better ground for the amps and grounding the HDZ, Legacy CD Changer, and computer to the same ground.
    2. Driver issue: fixed with updated driver, but now null because I don’t use the onboard sound
    3. Sound level, fixed by adding a 4-channel amp before the subs.

    When I get a chance I will put the wiring diagram up. I am also planning on putting the little video up. One last thing to do is to build a false floor for the trunk.


  • #2
    I cant seem to push the four gauge firewall. what did you do to get it through ,? vaseline?
    "You know what I mean? But at the end of the day, it is what it is." - The most articulate thing someone could say.


    • #3
      To make it easier I used a metal coat hanger as a fishing tool. I taped the metal coat hanger to the 4gauge wire together for about 4 inches of it. I found this next step easier if I took off the passenger wheel. I cut a slit just big enough in the bottom of the boot on the outside of the firewall and from the inside I fed the coat hanger through the hole. Then pulled the wire and hanger though. The rubber on the inside is two parts, but don't remove it. Just forcefully separate from the hole outward until you can get the wire through. The hanger goes through the firewell nicely and then you can pull on the hanger to pull the wire through. Pulling is easier than pushing. I managed to get two of them through using the same method.

      I do have a video at " Click here for the video " if you want to download it. Don't expect much in the way of sound quality, it is only a camcorder mic. That sweaking in the trunk is from the 3rd brake light lense and only happens when the trunk is open.


      • #4
        I noticed when I was putting in the HDZ-300 tuner. That the signal quality sucked. I spent a while trying different physical location to shorten the antenna wire. Then I ran across a wiring schematic for the OEM plug for the radio. and found this:

        Car Radio Ground Wire: Black
        Car Radio Illumination Wire: Gray
        Car Stereo Antenna Trigger: White

        Left Front Speaker Positive Wire (+): Tan
        Left Front Speaker Negative Wire (-): Gray
        Right Front Speaker Positive Wire (+): Light Green
        Right Front Speaker Negative Wire (-): Dark Green

        Left Rear Speaker Positive Wire (+): Brown
        Left Rear Speaker Negative Wire (-): Yellow
        Right Rear Speaker Positive Wire (+): Dark Blue
        Right Rear Speaker Negative Wire (-): Light Blue

        I used this as a guide and plugged in the OEM radio to find out the different states of the white wire. I deduced that the wire has a constant 12volt current however small it may be. I felt weary about wiring it to a constant source, so I wired it to the ignition source on the power drop. The signal quality got exponentially better.

        I also have plans to utilize the Gray wire that might output the signal to control the dimness of the radio thus allowing me to use it to control the dimness of the Xenarc. My theory is if the car puts out a varying 0-12volt current on this line depending on the percentage of dimness and the Xenarc has a signal line that outputs a voltage from 0-3.4 depending on the dimness: then I can use either a voltage divider for a static percentage drop in the current roughly 3.5 ratio, or I can use another potentiometer to dynamically reduce the voltage and set the potentoimeter to the proper setting. I want to go with the later, but will test it first. If my hypothesis is true then I will build a small box that accepts the signal wire from the dimmer switch, and a negative and 12v constant wire from the computer for a regulated 12v current for the screen. It will output a 12v+, 12v-, and a 0-3.4v (max) variable current. Hopefully I will have time to work on this in the next two weeks.


        • #5
          Here is the current wiring diagram.


          • #6
            Where exactly did you ground all of that stuff thats in the trunk? If you look at my post 24 and I had found something to ground to but I wanted to be sure. if its ok.
            "You know what I mean? But at the end of the day, it is what it is." - The most articulate thing someone could say.


            • #7
              I grounded my AMPs and stuff other than the Switch and the Screen to the center of the rear of the trunk. I made my own grounding point under the trunk latch with a tapping metal screw, metal washer and grinder. Picture to come soon.

              That bare spot just to the top right is where I tried to ground it first. Dogh! You can't ground to plastic stupid!


              • #8
                I've got everything together but I'm getting a little noise in my front speakers . not even in the back . Have you every put your power wire near a speaker and got interference?
                "You know what I mean? But at the end of the day, it is what it is." - The most articulate thing someone could say.


                • #9
                  Yes. If you look at my wiring layout, that is why all the speaker wires are alteast six inches away from any power wire, or electrical device.


                  • #10
                    Well, some old dumbass lady cut me off driving down the highway and now I am waiting for her insurance to tell me whether or not my car is totaled. I am also interested in how much they will give me, or what they will do with all the stuff I have in there.

                    If it is totaled I will be having a new canvas for a new project.


                    • #11
                      this may sound like a stupid question but im kinda a noob and im look at a smiler set up but what glue did u use to attach the brackets to the screen and hows it holding up for you


                      • #12
                        I used plastic epoxy and just put one layer thickness at a time until the depth was right. Then I put the ears on and epoxied over them. Make sure you take all electronics out of the case before you start working with it. The fumes from the epoxy are dangerous to electronics.


                        • #13
                          thanx man


                          • #14
                            Well... My car is totalled. I told the insurance how much I wanted for the "Audio" system. I will be finding out how much if any they will give me for the audio system tomorrow. If they won't give me what I want I am going to tell them to remove all the add-ons so that I can come pick them up.

                            My new canvas is a 2004 Silverado Extended Cab, but I will need some time to totally redesign the system. If anyone has any suggestions as to the designs of the new system in the Silverado then let me know. The sad part of the whole thing, I never decided on a perfect front end.


                            • #15
                              tell me if you get your "audio" 'equipment' back and if the screen was cracked and it sounds like you ethier have bad luck or your a bad driver or the carpc thing is not the right thing for you
                              1992 thunderbird .... white with black interior gaming PC 500 watts of power per channel and 1000 watts to the sub unknown psu and a V6 supercharged that came stock. ........... I need help