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2006 Z06 Install: Part 1

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  • 2006 Z06 Install: Part 1

    Well, after over 2 years of planning and building I am finally starting a thread on my project. The car is a 2006 Corvette Z06 and it all started with me wanting to install a Nav unit for the stock bose HU. I bought an Avic Z1 when they first came out but decided to install that in my pickup truck as I was trying to get my wife to drive it more and not put the miles on her car. So the Nav unit went into the truck….which turned out pretty nice. Although I still want to put some new drivers and amps in there, but that’s another thread.

    So after putting the Nav in the truck, I started looking at options for the car. I thought about just going to the local Car Toys and having them install a system but that’s an arm and a leg for a nice system and they never do it the way I would want it. Then I stumbled across a web site called This has a bunch of nut balls that install PCs and Macs in the cars. How crazy is that? Hmm….not a bad idea…my little wheels started turning. So I started reading and reading and reading some more. It was definitely not a plug and play sort of thing, complicated, challenging and best of all unlimited potential for integration and customization as well as a source of unlimited headaches and frustration. So I read and planned some more and finally decided to take the leap and begin. I bought my first system from an industrial computer builder. You can’t just plop in the desktop into a car, you need to consider power, power source, current draw etc. So I finally had a system, power supply and wiring. I got a monitor and a double din bezel to mount it in. Now I went and got some amps. I always wanted to do an install with McIntosh car amps so off to ebay for a set of amps. I got the amps, however I wanted to use an optical TosLink out from the computer (had to make sure the computer I got met that spec first and foremost) to allow for a clean signal with no ground loop issues and noise from the PC. I was pretty sure a PC in the car would create all kinds of RFI issues so using an optical out should nip that in the butt right away.

    Now, the issue was how to go from computer TosLink out to McIntosh amps. Damn, more reading and research. I finally found the Zapco DSP6 unit, exactly what I was looking for. I saw there was also a Pioneer (or maybe it was Alpine, can’t recall) unit that did DSP but it was more for 5 channel surround sound. I was going more of a SQ install and not looking to play Dolby Digital movies in the car with the DD surround sound. I wanted a more pure SQ install. So I purchased the Zapco DSP6.

    So armed with all the goodies, plus some sound deadening material I had everything I needed. Now I only had to decide how to do the install. I was a bit perplexed how on Earth I was going to cram all this into a Corvette. Then about 2 years ago, there was a C6 install that caught my eye . It was done by Bing. For those who don’t know Bing, go to his web site and you can see his work. His installs are largely the same, but they are nothing short of perfect and classy. Just the right amount of zing and clean as a whistle. I liked it. I even thought about shipping my car to him but decided that would be more trouble than it was worth.

    Then I started thinking, maybe I should just have someone do this for me. I don’t really have the time. Yeah it would be expensive but I wouldn’t have the headache. So I looked around and found someone that came highly recommended. I dropped off the car along with all the goodies: Amps, PC, Zapco DSP6 with the DRC, custom wiring, integrated wiring for Valentine, Custom mount for the DRC, Blinder Laser jammer. Needless to say, a monster install. Paid big money, took 6 weeks to finish. Got the car back and after a couple weeks decided I did not like the install. Took up the entire back of the car, I couldn’t put a damn thing in there. I was not happy with my choice of install options. The guy did a great job, did exactly what I asked for. I didn’t like it. So I ripped out all the stuff from the back. I took a few pictures but didn’t get any with all the panels in place, but it pretty much looked similar to what Bing did.

    So after pulling everything out, this is what I’m left with:

    Crap, now what am I going to do? Only one thing…do it myself. Buffalo bagels, not what I wanted to do.

    So, over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting up different threads chronicling the install. It is a complete PC, sound system and interior upgrade along with a few custom items I did myself.


  • #2
    That sure is the long way around to get to this point but I believe you will find this a very rewarding experience and when it's done, there is nothing like popping open the hatch, showing the goods and saying "I did this myself"

    Good luck with it.

    Oh and just my first impression from what the installer did: Easy on the MDF!! That sheeite adds a lot of weight. Your not exactly working on a truck, it's a ZO6!
    My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE


    • #3
      The install is done. I decided to wait until my install was finished before posting because I knew things would change as I went down this road and I didn't want to have an install log that was half done and waiting for finality forever. So as you follow along, things will come to an end pretty quickly.

      Weight really wasn't a big concern as I can always add more ponies But the larger amount of MDF did turn me off just a bit. It was all hidden when the panels were installed.

      After having done this project, I will say I did have a great sense of accomplishment when it was done. I also stood back and said I will never do this again to another car....not to this degree anyways.



      • #4
        Ok, so I have torn out the first install. Now I need to figure out what my goals are so I sat down and made a list:

        Maximum cargo space in the rear (no jokes, it’s too easy)
        SQ audio install all the way with McIntosh amps and PC for source, not after dBs
        Audio source from PC to amps must be TosLink optical out/in
        Maximum sound deadening
        System to be run by PC
        Onboard OBDII reader and logger
        Onboard HPTuners for flashing different engine tunes and logging
        Hardwired Valentine One
        Hardwired Laser detector and jammer
        Onboard Video security and DVR
        Front facia camera
        Rear backup camera
        Harness bar for track usage
        Upgrade interior and exterior lights to LEDs
        Install HID fogs

        And finally it had to be complete stealth. I didn’t want anyone to know any of this was in the back when you opened the hatch. The only thing you would see are the sub boxes (can’t hide those) but the rest of the stuff would be invisible.

        There are other items that made it into the list and some that worked their way out but for the most part that’s the system. So now onto the teardown. I figured this would be a long process. I was right. I parked the car in the garage towards the end of March 2009 and it didn’t move for a year! It wasn’t until March of this year that I moved the car and started driving it again. We’ll get into why it took so long.

        I started looking at the back section trying to figure out where all this stuff would go. I had a lot of equipment I was trying to put in minimal space. So I needed a plan of what was to go where. So the first thing was to decide where to put the subs. I knew to keep maximum usable cargo space they needed to go where they were out of the way. The logical spot is in the corners. How do I do that? I looked at commercial sub enclosures and there just weren’t any out there that really fit what I wanted to do. I had an idea of what I wanted but wasn’t sure how to do it…I didn’t have any experience with making that kind of enclosure but knew there were those out there that did. So I decided they would go in the corners, one in each corner with some custom sub boxes. Turns out a friend of mine is a whiz with making custom fiberglass goodies so I started bouncing ideas off of him. I came up with this general idea:

        So that is the general idea for the sub boxes. We’ll get back to those later on. For now I needed to start gutting out the interior and get started on laying out the components:

        Well as you can see there is not a whole lot of room for much of anything else back there. The black box in the middle is the PC and it’s just not quite the right shape or size for this area. It won’t fit in the cubby hole which is where I really want to put it. I can’t find a case that’s the correct size for the cubby. Maybe I can come up with a solution for that. In the mean time I’ve got wiring, fuse box, DSP6 processor to pack in there as well. I can’t find the space for it. Damn. On top of that, how the hell am I going to mount this stuff. I don’t want to put down a slab of MDF for me to screw in anything. That will take up too much height. I decided the limitation of the height could not go above the lip behind the seats. That was as high as things could go. I would put in a false floor on top of the components and then a carpet mat on top of that. That would take care of the stealth part. But I was not having a good time trying to cram everything into my predetermined constraints.

        So, I continued to fiddle with component placement while moving onto the tear out and sound deadening portions.

        The tearout:

        And one with the Dash and Doors torn off:

        We’ll get back to the dash a little later. I hope I remember where everything goes

        Due up next: Door insulation…wu-Hoo!!



        • #5
          Ok, so I now want to press forward into sound deadening the rest of the car. My previous install laid down a pretty comprehensive layer of Damplifier and Damplifier Pro throughout the cabin and the back hatch area. When I had gotten the car back from the original installer I noticed that it really wasn’t much quieter than it was before. So I started doing some more reading about the different products and what they can and cannot do. I then realized this stuff didn’t really block sound, it prevented vibrations. I want some sound deadener in the car. So I did some more reading and decided to buy some Luxuary Liner Pro to deaden the entire car. I had spoken with a sound engineer and his advice was to plug every possible hole in the car where sound could permeate…an impossible task. But I set out to deaden and plug as much as I could.

          I first needed to decide where to install the drivers and which drivers I would use. I had initially decided to do a 2-way active up front with a pair of 10 inch subs in the back, Seas RT27f tweets in the front and Seas RW165’s for the mid bass as well. This would allow full active processing of all drivers with the DSP6. But shortly into the build I decided I really wanted to do a 3-way active up front. The mid bass drivers were going into the doors in the stock location. Not the best solution, but kicks were out of the question due to the space contraints. I could not one on the drivers side, just not enough foot room. So they had to go in the doors. This, I felt, would affect staging mostly and SQ to some extent. So I decided I would go with a pair of mids in the upper part of the doors to help with staging and to not drive the Seas drivers to the limits of their frequencies. That brings another problem. Now I have another set of channels for which I don’t have any processing power to go active. So I either go active 3-way with a passive Xover for the subs or buy another DSP6…not something I want to do or have the space for. I’ll deal with this issue later…I need to get started on sound deadening, I can tell this is going to be a real PITA.

          So I start with the passenger door (driver door was done the same way and there is a mixture of pictures from the two). I pull off the door panel and find the Seas RW165 driver installed in the stock location forward and down. My installer had made a nice MDF ring to install the driver. However, I see there is NO dampening material in the door at all but there is a couple pieces put on the inside part of the outside door panel, but nothing on the inside part of the door. I pull out the driver and there is nothing protecting the driver from water damaging it. It already shows a few water spots. Thankfully I have not washed it but once since I got it back and have not driven in the rain. So there is no damage to the driver. So I get started with the vibration mat followed by the Luxary Liner pro deadening material.



          • #6
            Now the Luxury liner pro goes in.

            You’ll also notice some expanding foam is some places to seal off areas I can’t get any of the deadening material in place:

            That is pretty much the extent of the door deadening and insulation. The doors are heavy and solid and close with some authority. Next I will address the speaker mounting and protecting the mids from water. I will also cover up that big hole at the back of both doors.

            One other thing you will see in that second picture is the side airbag sensor. I had to be very careful not to damage that sensor or have anything in the way that might interfere with it. The extra padding probably increases the likelihood of the side airbag deploying in a more minor incident since the intrusion depth might not be as great as it was before.



            • #7
              Ok, now that all the dampening and deadening stuff is in place, I need to address the speaker mounts and the big hole in the back. Luckily, my previous installer made a pair of speaker mounts for the front section. In the C6 the subs sit in the doors…they are big *** holes but crappy *** subs. So he cut some 3/4” MDF mounts for that hole. They are very nicely done…saved me some time but cost me a fortune for what I paid him…let’s not go there. He also cut me some covers for the back holes as well…again nicely done and something I won’t have to mess with.

              This is a picture of the back cover in place:

              The speaker mounts in place:

              He did cover them with some thin foam type material which was nice, I like the way he did that.

              The problem I saw though was the MDF was not protected from water. MDF does not like water...AT ALL. I was concerned this would become an issue over time so I wanted to address this. I decided I would spray some sort of covering over the wood to protect it from water. I wanted something that was made for a harsh environment, tough, would last a long time. So I went to Home Depot and thought I could find some spray on bedliner type stuff. That stuff is good. I looked and couldn’t find it. Damn. But I did find something else that ended up being just as good. It was called Plastidip and is the same type of stuff they dip tool handles in to coat them in a rubber type coating. This was a spray on version of that.

              So I bought a few cans of this stuff and started going to town on the wood parts. And I mean going to town…I sprayed the holy hell out of these things with about 10 coats of this stuff.

              Then I installed the big piece back into place. I placed a bead of silicon adhesive along the edge and then screwed the panel into place:



              • #8
                Now with the parts mounted back in place with some additional dampening material in place:

                Now the driver needs to go into place. I need to make a protective covering for the back to keep the elements out of the driver. I got some foamy type baffles from Parts Express. They were a little deep and I was afraid the window would clip into the baffle so I cut the back off one about the depth the driver would sit and then pushed it in from the inside and hot glued it into place:

                Then I mounted the driver into place:

                There’s an extra layer of sound deadening in those two pictures but I later had to remove that because I couldn’t get the door panel back on. We’ll get to that soon.



                • #9
                  Next I have to cover the silver foil of the dampening material with something nice and flat back. I have some left over foamy pad type dampening stuff from the earlier install. I’ll cover the driver with masking tape and spray the adhesive on the foil and then place the material in place:

                  I’ll trim the middle away and then spray some flat black around the edge to cover any small exposed parts:

                  Finally we’ll need to mount the mids to the door panels and then deaden the inside of the door panel:



                  • #10
                    And finally, we’ll fit the door panels back in place. When I first tried to do this they would not go. I could get them on but the door pins would not stay seated so I knew I had too much material in place. So I found the spot that was causing the trouble. I had to remove the dampening material as well as some of the wood given the new material on the door panel. Here’s the result:

                    It was a gigantic mess. It took a good 30 mintues to vacuum/blow all that crap out of the car. Fortuneatly, all the interior was gone from the car including the headliner. Everything was out.

                    The reason everything was out was because it was all off getting a new cover. I figured since I had the entire thing apart, I might as well get rid of the crappy plastic leather and cheap plastic parts and get some stuff that this car deserved. So I had the entire interior redone in leather and Alcantara. I also had most all the cheap plastic bits laminated in Carbon Fiber. Not a carbon fiber silk screen but real CF.

                    Finally I got the door panels back from the leather and assembled the CF bits on as well then installed the panels to finish off the doors:

                    That’s it for the doors folks, they are done. They are heavy, solid and when you close them, they make themselves known…it’s a good solid THUNK. I had a minor buzz in the driver side by the mid range. Turns out it’s grill was buzzing against the doors metal screen. I fixed that issue and no more buzz.

                    Next we’ll do the interior cabin sound deadening. That will go quick as I don’t have as many pictures of that then we’ll get to the amps and PC installing.



                    • #11
                      great work so far! i def. agree on the Z06 needing the Cf treatment from the factory, and it looks great!
                      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

                      next project? subaru brz
                      carpc undecided


                      • #12
                        Thanks. The CF looks SOOOOOO much better than the plastic in there. I didn't go over board, I think I did just the right amount and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

                        Also, I got several emails and replies about those baffles behind the Seas mid bass drivers. Bad idea apparently so I'll be pulling out the baffle and cutting out everything except a cover on the top.



                        • #13
                          i decided not to mention it-- it was something that would have worked itself out when the speakers were lacking. your on the right track though-- in my own install, i used some pieces of gasket rubber above the mids to prevent water from coming in direct contact with the driver components(peerless hds 6.5" nomex drivers)..

                          the other thing about those particular foam covers is their cone shape-- with certain mids, like my hds's, the magnet is almost as large as the cutout, so the cone shape would completely block the back wave of the driver..

                          another thing to keep in mind with the door panels is to try to keep the openings along the bottom clear so water can drain from the panels correctly..
                          My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                          "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

                          next project? subaru brz
                          carpc undecided


                          • #14
                            Now on to the sound deadening of the cabin but first a few pics of the original dampening material:

                            And some more I added:

                            I did the back wheel wells and all back behind that area as well as all the vertical parts of the back hatch. I didn’t take any pictures of that but you get the idea.



                            • #15
                              Now for the true sound deadening material:

                              And I do similar applications to the back along the wheel wells and inside quarter panels and vertical areas. All in all it takes me about 3 months of working here and there to get this part done. I will not be quitting my day job, I would starve trying to do this for a living.

                              While having the car apart I wanted to have my tweets in the A-pillar. Problem was I did not know how to do this but I did know someone that did. Problem was this particular someone would not do them without the car present so he could properly aim the drivers. So matter how much I tried to get him to do it he wouldn’t. I respect a man that sticks to his principles. Good man Bing! So I tried to line up a fellow Corvette forum member to let him borrow the car for an afternoon. I just about had this done when Bing emailed me saying he had another C6 in the lineup for an install. Send him the A-pillars pronto and he could get them done. So off they went to bing for his magical treatment. Here’s a few pics of them. I borrowed some previous pics from Bing but the process is the same:

                              The pillars are then sent off to be covered in black Alcantara. All in all it takes about 5 months to get the pillars sent to Bing and back from the leather shop. It takes forever but the end result is worth it.